Health & Fitness

Influence: Mat Fraser and Annie Thorisdottir

I’ve always been intrigued with CrossFit but I never fully understood the sport. I can recall watching Rich Froning dominate the competition at the CrossFit games on TV, and not fully realizing what it all meant and how much these athletes put themselves through with CrossFit. It was only a few years ago that CrossFit was heavily critizicized in magazine articles and online. There were stories of people at their local box not performing movements correctly and seriously injuring themselves. Coaches were scrutinized and scoffed at for not providing a safe environment to work out in and for ignoring certain safety precautions with certain workouts. It was definitely split down the middle: people for CrossFit and people against it.

Enter spring 2018. After going back and forth in my head, I decided to join a CrossFit gym. Since I was 14-years-old, I’ve been used to working out to some degree. Playing football in high school, I was invested in learning about fitness and how to get bigger, faster, and stronger. After high school, I put on some pounds and decided to make a change with my workouts and nutrition. I transitioned to P90X and got my ass kicked during the exercises (specifically plyometrics). From there, I stuck with the P90X programs (P90X2 and P90X3 respectively), and although I achieved excellent results and enjoyed the workouts, I yearned to learn more about fitness and to challenge myself once more.

After completing my first workout at my local box, I was hooked. I started researching the heck out of CrossFit and how to get better at it. In just three months of Crossfit, I’ve managed to do handstand pushups, chest to bar pull-ups, and toes to bar. Now I still can’t do consistent double unders (I’m working on it), but I’m excited to learn more and get more involved with CrossFit. As with anything that I do, I try to research a successful person at a skill or sport that I want to get good at it.

Two names popped up and caught my attention immediately: Mat Fraser and Annie Thorisdottir. These two athletes get after it, and they both have been consistently good over the years. So I started to delve deep into the CrossFit world, and explore and learn about these two incredible athletes.

Mat Fraser drew to me because of his drive to get better each and every time that he stepped into the gym. I also loved the fact that he expressed openly that he had stuff to work on when he started CrossFit (i.e., cardio). Mat worked like hell, and it showed. In the CrossFit men’s division, Rich Froning dominated and won four straight years (2011-2014), but Mat Fraser was firmly behind winning second place (2014-2015).

That all changed in 2016, where Mat Fraser dominated and won first place at the CrossFit games. Fast forward to 2018, and Mat Fraser is once again your CrossFit games champion (for the third year in a row). I love Mat’s tenacity and his relentless work ethic at trying to get better each and every day. Mat is a true champion and someone that you can learn from whether you do CrossFit or not. Watching videos of Mat has motivated me to get after it even more in the gym, and I’ll continue to look to him for how to get better and how to outperform my competition.

Next up is the Iceland warrior princess, Annie Thorisdottir. What I love about CrossFit is that the women are just as dominant and strong as the men. Annie is an authority in the CrossFit community. She’s the first woman to win the CrossFit games twice (2011-2012). She’s such a likable person, but her grit and determination while training is something to behold. While watching Annie, I was inspired and in awe of her physical being. Her form and the way that Annie moves is flawless. Pushing herself to the absolute limit and training in different methods made me a quick fan of hers. You can bet on one thing when you’re watching the CrossFit games: Annie Thorisdottir is never out of it. It’s an incredible feeling watching one of your athletes train and compete, and you can learn and adapt your training accordingly to set you up for success in the gym.

CrossFit is a big part of my life now, and I love stepping into the gym and pushing myself to limits that I thought I could never get past. Life is all about learning, discovering, and finding out how far you can really go. I encourage you to seek out something that you’re interested in and give it your all and see where it takes you.

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