Gabby M. - Putting In The Extra Work to Excel and Compete
I found CrossFit the summer of 2013 and did CrossFit kind of workouts at my local YMCA back in Saratoga Springs, NY. When I moved to Boston I got a job at Sports Club LA as a Front of House Member Service Manager and got access to all types of good quality fitness equipment to do all sorts of exercise programs. I was still able to do my CrossFit type workouts in an open functional area by myself but would still do like cookie cutter bodybuilding stuff like triceps push downs or leg press etc. During that time I was actually working towards my NASM certification to become a person trainer but quickly realized that I was just learning and training people to kind of expect the same movements and become very stationary- the intensity was not there. Sports Club LA ended up being sold and the Chestnut Hill location closed, which focused me to finally check out a CrossFit Gym in fall of 2014. So over a year and half later I finally met and experienced what CrossFit was all about and have been hooked every since!
I started with the daily WODs for a couple of months and then signed up for our in-house throwdown and got my first glimpse CrossFit competitions. It brought me right back to the competitiveness feeling I got playing hockey. After that competition I continued to attend classes and really began testing my strength in as many movements as possible, which sometimes would be working past the class hour just to get a small improvement on a lift or gymnastic skill. I signed up for my first partner competition at CrossFit Craic in March 2015 with another girl at my gym and we came in 3rd place. Fun fact, we actually competed in the same competition this year and got first place, which is crazy! Shortly after that initial competition, I knew I wanted to keep getting better and become a well rounded CrossFit athlete, which meant working on skills on my own time. So a few other people and myself started programming some of our own extra work that we ended up doing before or after classes to continue to improve.
I have a few favorite things about CrossFit competitions. First, being able to see all the time, energy and hard work pay off when I PR or go faster then I thought I could. Also, surprising the competition around me! The other is seeing and competing against new CrossFit athletes that push you a little bit further then you might go in a normal training session at your own gym. Also, I have always loved the ramp up and game day time atmosphere. Then, when its time to preform, you show everyone what you can do when all eyes are one you.
Some advice for a new competitor would be if you are motivated and want to get better at CrossFit there is not harm in putting in extra time and working to become a better athlete. You need to be committed to wanting to work on lifts, skills and drills that you might not like or even when you're sore because those little pieces create the athlete you aim to be. There is a lot that goes into the training sessions and people need to be aware that all of the work takes extra time! Sometimes other people see the big lifting number and fast metcon times and think they can do that no problem and jump right in. However, as an athlete you really need to listen to your body by warming up, stretching, and recovering so that you can compete at a high level all the time.
A few things that I have learned over the course of all my comps and training in CrossFit is your body is crazy machine that can do anything when you put the work in. Mental toughness is a very really thing, it will push you to go further and harder not only during workouts but outside of the gym as well. Lastly, its awesome to get out of your comfort zone and test yourself against a new crowd. Competitions test your fitness and allow you to create new goals!