Real People, Real Fitness: From Parties To The Podium

Today I want to introduce yall to a fantastic human being.

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Spoiler alert: She’s a badass.

I met Emily a little over a year ago, when I started working at Starbucks. At that time, she had yet to set foot in a Crossfit gym.  A year later, things sure are different, not only is she doing Crossfit but she’s started competing as well.

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I’m not a Crossfit fanatic like she is [tried a WOD with her once, and no way am I even close to her level!], but there is no denying the positive impact Crossfit – and I think especially the community at her “box,” Crossfit Bios – has had on her.  Personally, I loved having a friend at work with whom I could “talk shop” about fitness!  A lot of good memories came out of that little espresso-sweatshop, from talking about being stronger than a lot of guys, to comparing muscle soreness, to standing in the back room of the store comparing our ratio of boob-to-chest-musculature. [I will forever be ringleader of the IBTC.]  And it was so fun to see her progress – she’s not one to admit it easily, but she’s somewhat of a prodigy.  But even cooler than all of that was seeing .how much more confident, happy, and stronger – both physically and mentally – she grew as she threw herself into this newfound passion.

Her story is powerful, so I’ll let Em take it from here…

***

What competition did you just complete?

My first competition 2 weeks ago was called “The Rookie Rumble” in Hercules CA. Meant for crossfitters who have only been doing the sport for a year or less. The weekend after that I competed at a local competition “Bringing Color Back” in Folsom at Crossfit Anywhere. A partner competition, and also a bit higher level of competition.

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What did the competition workout entail?

The Rookie Rumble had 3 short workouts [WODs]plus the final work out if you made it. [The workouts were completed using]  light weights, meant for you to sprint through them, trying to get as many reps, or the fastest time you can. .

  • WOD #1 for time: row 500 meters, 40 goblet squats, and 30 kettlebell swings @35lbs.
  • WOD #2: 7 min AMRAP of 8 deadlifts, 8 hang cleans, 8 shoulder to overhead @65lbs.
  • WOD #3: 5 min AMRAP of 8 box jumps and 5 dumbbell snatches on each arm.

[It was] definitely a test of motor and mental strength. They released the workouts a week in advance, so I was able to practice them before hand.

Bringing Color Back was a different story… This competition also had 4 workouts as well, they only released 2 ahead of time.

  • The morning of competition we found out the first WOD was run 2 miles with a 35 pound bumper plate (needless to say we weren’t excited).
  • WOD #2 was strictly weight lifting, we had 12 minutes to find a 1 rep max of snatch, clean, deadlift, and strict press. Kelly took the snatch and clean. I had the press and deadlift.
  • There was a “floater” of 20 tire flips for time. 800lb. tire (heavy af) we did it in 1:48.
  • Last but not least was “the chipper” (aka WOD from hell). So between you and your partner you had 24 minutes to do 50 handstand push ups, 50 burpees, 50 front squats @115lbs, 50 pull ups, 50 overhead squats @75lbs, 50 toes to bar, 50 power cleans @115lbs, and 50 burpees.

[Maggie’s commentary: Just reading that last WOD set off my gag reflex.  Yeesh.]

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What were your results (i.e. placement), and can you give us a breakdown of your score?

Rookie Rumble I placed 2nd overall out of like 60 women. The first 2 WODs I stayed stop 4, the 3rd WOD I took first place (was stoked about that). The final WOD I placed 2nd out of 5 girls, so that took me to the 2nd spot on the podium. My main goal with those workouts was beating my practice rounds I did at the gym the week prior, and I did on every one. All by a pretty good amount.  Bringing Color Back was rough, but Kelly and I ended up taking 5th place out of 8 teams. Pretty good considering there were regional athletes competing along side us!!

What was the hardest part of the competition physically?  What about the hardest part mentally?  Was it different than what you had anticipated being most difficult?

I always underestimate the WODs, I think to myself “ehh that won’t be too bad” and I always curse all the way through the work out because it’s always a lot worse… every single time.  Rookie Rumble: Physically I pushed myself the hardest I could on every WOD. I collapsed on the ground after each one.  The way I see it, if I didn’t collapse, I didn’t work hard enough.  Mentally it was tough, because you can always do 1 more rep. Whenever I have work outs like that I count by 5s. Just 5 more and another 5 and before I know it I’m done. And simply not stopping, no matter how bad I wanted to. You get tired, you shake your arms out for a second and keep going. Bringing Color Back: Physically way more taxing. I’m still feeling sore a week later. And I definitely didn’t think any of those WODs would be easy. But it was a lot better pushing through the pain with a partner.

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How did your training change when you decided to specifically train for this competition?

Training did not change much at all. Still went through my daily programming like normal.

How long had you been doing CrossFit when you decided to compete?  

About 6 months in.

What brought you to CrossFit, and what made you stay?

I’m not really sure what made me want to start. All I know is I needed a change. So I contacted Corey [Maggie’s commentary: Corey is a coach at Crossfit Bios and actually one of my former coworkers!] on facebook and I was in the gym that Saturday doing my first ever WOD. After that I was hooked. I finished my onramp sessions and I started doing the classes with the other members. After about a month of that, Corey kind of took me under his wing and I started doing this program called The Outlaw Way. Peter and Corey had this expectation for me, I think. They knew I could push myself beyond what I thought I could.  Thats still the case to this very day. Corey is the strategizer, and the explainer.  Peter gives me “the nod” and tells me to get more weight on the bar. Aside from the great coaching, is all the close friends I’ve made. We’re all family in there, I love it! We all cheer each other on, when i’m struggling with something there’s always at least 2 people yelling at me to keep going.

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Speaking of coach corey….

“I have nothing but great things to say about Emily as an athlete. We give her programming and she follows it exactly as written. It’d take an act of God to break her routine. That consistency has been huge for her progress. She’s kind of a smartass when I correct her…we’re good friends so I expect it now. My favorite part about coaching her is the fact that she trusts me 100%. If I see a gap in her game I’ll tweak the program to fix it and she never thinks twice about my decision. I mean it sincerely when I say that Emily has the athletic ability, the commitment and the work ethic to go far in the sport of Crossfit.”

– Corey

Any suggestions for folks who are considering trying CrossFit, or those who are already doing CrossFit and considering competing?

If you’re even thinking about trying crossfit.. DO IT! It will do great things for you, and you will love it! And the best part is, that anyone can do it.  I want to share the love I have for the sport with others. The cool thing about competing is you don’t have to be super serious, just go have fun! Just being in the atmosphere is great. Who wouldn’t want to sit and watch super fit people walk around all day.

What exercise or benchmark WOD has been the most challenging for you?  In what exercises or areas of training have you found you have a natural strength? (Do you have a favorite WOD?)

I feel like all the benchmarks are all still very challenging to me. My natural strength is my legs. My upper body.. I’m still working on. Along with gymnastics and everything else. I’m a whole lot stronger than when I started. I couldn’t even do a pull up. As far as a favorite WOD, I don’t think there’s a favorite, but I do love conditioning. Well.. love and hate.

What does your recovery process look like between workouts?  

On rest days, I go through the crazy process of napping and watching netflix. I try to stretch and foam roll as much as I can. It’s not my favorite thing to do.

Is it all CrossFit, all the time for you…or do you enjoy some variety in your workouts?  If you mix it up, what other sports/athletic endeavors/physical activities do you enjoy outside of CrossFit?

It kind of is all CrossFit all the time for me.  I train hard 5 days a week so I’ve got to utilize my rest time. But sometimes I’ll go for a good swim or a run.  I also love hiking, snowboarding, or wakesurfing.

What has been the biggest change in your life since starting CrossFit?

Its safe to say my life has changed tremendously since my first day at Bios. People regularly ask me what I did before I started crossfit. My response is that I partied and drank a lot. Now my bed time is at 9pm every night at the latest and the worst thing I put in my body is ice cream and candy. Oh, I do love my junk food. But other than that… I feel like I’ve found a hobby that I’m absolutely in love with. And the best part is, that I get to do it every day! I’m finally able to feel confident in my body. The muscles I seemed to grow overnight were sort of a shock to me. I had to come to terms with that. But overall it is safe to say I’m a happier human. (:

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Do you have any goals for the next year or two in terms of CrossFit, competitions, etc.?

I would love to keep competing the rest of this year.  I’m going to work my hardest and see how I do with the CrossFit Open workouts next year. I also would love to coach, maybe I’ll get my certification later this year.  The big goal would be making it to regionals eventually.  I believe in myself and so do my coaches.  So why not dream big?…I’m willing to put in the work.  I’m hungry to get better.

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***

Don’t you just love that?

Dream as big as you’re willing to work.

[Might just become my new motto for July/2015/life…]

And that attitude is one that could change anyone’s life, whether you’re doing Crossfit or triathlons or powerlifting or ballroom dancing.  Dream as big as you can, and work as hard as you can.
Embrace grit.
Embrace sweat.
Embrace challenges.
And have some damn fun with all of it.

***

If you want to see more of Emily’s Crossfit adventures – and you should, because something tells me we’re going to see that girl in the Games someday – you can follow her on instagram.

Local and interested in Crossfit?  Whether it’s your 1st WOD or your 100th one, check out Crossfit Bios!  Great coaching, welcoming community, and they all truly love what they do.

Thanks for sharing, Em!

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