Friday, September 14

Guest blog from Annika! She’s headed to the American Open and she recaps her experience working to qualify for the meet below. Annika put in A LOT of work over the last year and more. And while there were setbacks along the way, she stayed positive and put in the work. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

I started Olympic Weightlifting to get better at the lifts for CrossFit. A few classes in, I hit my first split jerk and something sparked inside of me. Maybe it was just the tingle I felt in my foot and calf having just stomped into the floor, but I liked it and wanted more!

Over the last four years, I trained Oly a few times a week and competed in a few local meets. Even with my love of the sport, last September I found myself eating way too much, not exercising enough and lacking fitness motivation. That same month, I volunteered at the American Open Olympic Weightlifting Series 3 when it was hosted in Grand Rapids and found myself in heaven for three days. It re-lit that spark and I decided I was going to qualify for the American Open in 2018. That goal was going to be tough to achieve: I needed to lose weight, get a lot stronger, improve my form, and better my performance in the gym and on the competition platform.

In September, I was in the 90 kg weight class. The qualifying total for the AO that I could reasonably achieve was in the 75 kg weight class. Knowing I needed to drop a good amount of weight and increase muscle mass and strength, I signed up for nutrition coaching with RP Strength. I let my coach know that my ultimate goal was to compete in the AO in 2018 as a 75 kg lifter, and we got right to work. Since then, I have worked my butt off, literally and figuratively. Getting into the gym at least five days a week, many days lifting and CrossFitting, weighing in and reporting to a coach twice a week, I lost 18 lbs, 3% body fat, and increased my muscle mass and overall strength. To help with lifting form and skill, I drilled a lot, added in accessory work, had one-on-one time with the coaches and attended a weekend lifting camp. I have PR’d my weight totals across the board, with the most important gains in the snatch and the clean & jerk. (That was all so much easier to list than it was to complete.) Even though I worked HARD for months, I still had setbacks with both my body weight and training. With the support of our coaches, my nutrition coach, friends and the CF family, I kept moving forward, even if it was after a step back.

My first attempt at qualifying for the 2018 AO series was in March 2018 at the Spartan Open. I was about five pounds too heavy at that time and did a bit of a drastic cut to make weight, but I made it. My session did not go as planned. I missed weights I knew I was capable of and in the end did not get the required total needed to qualify. I was absolutely crushed. For a while after that, I lost faith in myself. I did everything right, so why didn’t things work out?!? What did I do wrong?! After talking about it with coaches, friends and doing a lot of self reflection, I figured out that both my body AND my mind were not in the right space that day. I had put an immense amount of pressure on myself, telling myself, “This is it. You will qualify today. You have to qualify today” That just wasn’t the case. I still had until August to qualify for a 2018 AO meet. I totally stressed myself out instead of enjoying the process and loving what I love to do. I knew I was going to have to learn from my mistakes and move on with the determination to not let that happen again. I got back into the gym and back on track with my diet.

Then came the Michigan Summer games on June 23. I was naturally at the correct weight, and both my mind and body were in a good place. No stress, just excitement to be there and give qualifying another shot. I confidently made all 6 lifts and got my qualifying total for the AO series! I was simply elated! One of the best parts about it all was having my best friends there on the side of the platform and backstage supporting me through it. I was going to Vegas!

The AO series that I get to attend is #3, in Las Vegas! My plan, above all else, is to have fun! I am really looking forward to watching and absorbing what I can from all the amazing athletes I will be around. I plan to be excited and grateful that I get to be in the same place, at the same time, competing beside some of the greats. And, if I happen to run into Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Alyssa Ritchey, Mattie Rogers, Jourdan Delacruz, or any other of my inspirations, I hope I keep my awkwardness to a minimum.

AO3 runs Thurs 9/13 through Sun 9/16. I am one of 1,600 lifters! I will lift on Saturday 9/15. My session is #14, 76 E, starting at 10:25 AM MST (12:25 PM EST) on the Stripes platform. If you are interested in watching any of the lifting that weekend, here is the live stream link:

Workout for Friday, September 14
"Bear Complex"
Complete 5 Working Sets
1 Set = 7 times through Complex:
1 Power Clean
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press
1 Back Squat
1 Push Press
*Barbell cannot rest on the floor at any time*
*3 min Max for each set*

CrossFit 616