Check out this interview I did with Athletic Build. We discuss my training, inspiration and diet.
Check out this interview I did with Athletic Build. We discuss my training, inspiration and diet.
I’m so happy to be sponsored by the great folks at Nutriforce. If you want to give their products a try, use the code Agerbomb40 for 40% off at Nutriforcesports.com.
Try it out and let me know what your favorite is. I love the strawberry NutriWhey.
My friend, Ben Ceccarelli, made this awesome promotional video with me and some of my friends from CrossFit Horsepower.
“Pura Vida” means “pure life” in Spanish. Costa Ricans have made this term popular, saying it as a greeting, and describing any happy or beautiful situation to say…. Life is Good.
I noticed instantly that they have a light-hearted attitude to them. The “Ticos,” natives of Costa Rica, have an amazing ability to laugh in every situation. I noticed even when the boys picked me up from the airport that they straight up pause their conversations to allow time to laaaaughh. Without noticing right away, I actually changed my story telling to socially fit in with their way of life. When I found myself finishing explaining something or answering a question that was ending normally, I would make a joke at the end to make it more happy or ironic and we would all three just take time to laugh cause it just… feels good. Apparently if you’re not making friends out of strangers by finding things in common to sit back and laugh about, you’re doing something wrong. This worked in my advantage because I always try to be funny when I’m teaching. It’s usually a hit or miss but at this seminar I was on a roll- they were like confidence enablers to someone that’s making cheeseball jokes for hours through the seminar. I know I’m not really thaaat funny.
My favorite was when the owners of the gym, Diego and Marco were telling me horror stories about tour guides getting lost in the jungle deep in the rainforest for over seven days in monsoon season. How you could walk hours in one direction thinking you heard a car, and then all the sudden the echo makes you turn around and go in circles. We talked about all the animals that could be dangerous on the jungle floor… panthers, venomous snakes, spiders, wild boars. And then after me being pretty scared, they said, “that’s nothing, you know what freaks me out? We heard that in the states by the mountains some people just have BEARS going through their trash cans in their backyard. Now THAT’s scary- bears don’t mess around! The jungle’s way safer than that…”
Two athletes drove down from Mexico to attend the seminar, and a woman took a 10 hour bus ride in the heat all the way from Panama. There was a girl who reminded me of one of my cousins because of how many questions she had and how close she stayed by my side, who flew from Guatamala to attend the seminar. I have never seen such perseverance for an event I think of as a good time, where I show up and get to have face time with my people, while spilling everything I’ve ever learned into their brains. Here people are going out of their way to attend and take part in special days where they devote time to their personal development. A few girls from last year’s Latin America Regionals attended, and it was so cool thinking I could help them train against Games competitors that will represent their region this season on the big platform. I was inspired by everyone that attended with such enthusiasm.
After a day full of hiking miles in the rainforest to a giant waterfall, we went zip lining through the canopies. My favorite was our guide that looked at me after they told him I was visiting from the states as a professional CrossFitter, he looked at me and asked if that was some kind of dance. Ha! Later, after realizing we were into fitness I made a comment saying it must be hard lifting people up and pulling the heavy wires down all day and he said, “Ya you have to be very strong but we worry since we’re sweating all day from it that we’re not going to build as much muscle… like it is too much fast moving.” Oh it sounds like we sparked his interest!
It was easy to see that the owners of CrossFit 506 who toured me around their country for days after the seminar, were close. Business partners and best friends since childhood, they played devil’s advocate constantly. While one was always trying to scare me, telling me that people used to die on zip lines before they had built in breaks that slow them down, Nicho saying no one’s ever died in Costa Rica, and it’s very safe. Diego would tell me that they see crocodiles swimming next to them while they’re surfing if they go too deep, but the “people pleaser” would assure me when in the ocean they’re not territorial so they leave you alone. If one told stories about how territorial the crocs are when in the river, and how they kill anything in order to protect their 75 year long claim on territory…. the other would remind me- its ok, we are not planning on going in any rivers. When we saw red and blue rainbow macaws, I learned how they stay in couples and mate for life. I learned that if one dies the other commits suicide, but of course, the bright side is sometimes another macaw couple adopts it, and they live as a happy triplet for the rest of their lives! This went on and on until one night we went kayaking right at sunset, and I had to hope to God we would be safe…
We pulled out the kayaks… dragged them the short trek between the house and the rolling waves. They felt light after training all day, and we took them far, too far out, away from the shore. They started making fun of me and we were laughing so hard because I could NOT stay in mine! I was wobbling everywhere and they were joking about how the sharks come in to the shallow water at night to hunt because the water’s cooled off. I’m like that’s not funny- and I would splash into the water until I couldn’t even get in. They realized my kayak had a hole in it and was sinking fast. So we switched, and after they were talking in Spanish to each other for a long time, I started panicking this was serious… Diego ended up having to drag the full of water kayak as I paddled us to shore. Nicho was racing back, as his kayak also was sinking, and ended up having to pull his as well, trying to swim on his own. The moon was our only light, as I with no experience paddled as hard as I could to get this huge load to the beach, barely missing the huge groups of rocks to the right and left of our path. My arms were so tired, it reminded me exactly of rowing a 5K as hard as I could- but with someone on my back! They are so lucky I CrossFit….. After about half an hour, we had MADE it! We were all exhausted, and the boys kept talking about how they were trying to act calm but were scared to death of the sharks that more than likely were swimming below us.
I had a first world moment after I bought a shady iPhone 5 charger that didn’t work at all. Driving three and a half hours from San Jose to the beach on winding unpaved roads, having to swerve around people that were walking on the side of the road, and pulled over worker trucks. I mentioned if they had a highway to this beach it would probably cut the time in half. They instantly opened my eyes with saying, “This beach is secret and desolate and newly discovered. The way it is, is exactly what we would lose if there was a highway here.” I realized that proved I just didn’t get it…. And I made my best efforts to appreciate the road and the village from that moment on. This is why Ticos are the most happy, content, and upbeat people in the world, because life is pure, life is good, and they appreciate everything. They get it.
I ended up getting a little sick while I was there. My diet had changed while I was visiting, and I needed to talk to a doctor (I’m ok…..). On the phone he assured me he and his father are two of the most prepared and educated doctors in their country. To make me feel comfortable, he told me, “since I was so trusted and highly spoken of he considers me family. We are connected, we are all meant to help each other.” God guides us in so many ways, there is no way to possibly pretend there is such thing as coincidence. I tend to be more trusting then I should be, but I know I’m not the only one that’s watching out for me- if I was I would be in trouble.
Right now I’m staying at a beach house on the desolate North Pacific coast of the country. There are random ants and spiders crawling on the walls. There are no windows, just an entire wall of open shutters on one side of the room. The beach is lit up from the moon and just a short distance away from the house are the waves of the ocean hitting the sand…. and it’s loud tonight. Just another day of surfing and I’ll be back to my training partner and my gym at home, back to normal. For right now I’ll keep up with my bare feet on the platforms we made, a light, medium, and heavy barbell for whatever I come up with. My imagination runs wild with our rings hanging from the trees, and using the beach as our track…. Now this is CrossFit.
Pura Vida….. life is good.
Just as expected, The Battle of London was high energy, and exceeding expectations with the athletes, programming, and excellent judging staff and organization.
I learned a lot about myself as an athlete this weekend. I took 7th out of 150 individual females. I met some of the most aggressive European competitive exercisers there are, and I was impressed how much their culture has grown in just one year. It is obvious to most CrossFitters now that you can’t have lifting be a side hobby. It’s now an extreme focus, and most the men I saw looked like legit weightlifters with impeccable form and numbers. Of course you can tell who’s seasoned and who’s new, but the depth of strong people that can move weight, -and move it well, blew me away.
The arena was my favorite part of the experience. The 4,000 tickets that filled the entire sold-out Olympic Stadium, where the Handball Championships were held in the 2012 Olympic Games!
Heavy Grace, 30 Clean and Jerks for time at 80/55kg, 185/125lbs, was probably what hurt the springboard flooring. The second day because of the holes in the floor under the platforms, we were allowed to use the arena, only if we were not using any barbells. It was unfortunate but this happens at competitions often, maybe we just need to go back to parking lots, they seem to take the beating well. So the bodyweight championships began, with instead of a snatch ladder, a burpee ladder! There’s a first for everything… ever minute you moved down a chain of empty barbells and completed 3,6,9,12…. All the way to 27 hunched over burpees… and then a final amrap round if you made it there. I thought the staff did a great job making adjustments and substituting the final and keeping it exciting with a workout that began with 15 bar muscle ups!
I had made some friends from Ireland last year that I’d kept in touch with. We followed each other through the season, and we spent hours catching up over Nando’s chicken. I travel a lot, and most of the time by myself, so it’s nice to be able to connect with people, which gave me a reason to watch the masters, the men’s heats, and sit front row cheering with them. That’s what it’s all about, right? Next year if I come back for Battle Of London, I plan on scheduling a few seminars the weekend before. Then I can actually get to know the athletes and gyms in the area beforehand, and adjust to the time change for competition! I can’t remember the last time I took a nap during a competition, and during this one I took three! They were just little cat-naps, and I’m used to crazy sleep schedules, but that 9 hour time change is tough. When I woke up early on my first day of competition my mom was texting me that she “stayed up late tonight so that she could tell me good luck and to remind me to have fun!” She knows I can get really intense sometimes, but that’s the athlete part of the game, we care so much about our performance. At 3am Denver time I had done two events and was jumping as high as I could to rile up the crowd and get them to cheer for the last person getting their last reps.
One event that involved single arm KB squat cleans, and most people had never done them before. Every athlete in the warmup area trying to learn, with their coaches communicating to them in Spanish, German, Icelandic, and thickly accented English, proper form and technique. Everyone wants the edge, but each still sharing information and using tactical cues to help other athletes prepare.
Why do I like the Battle of London so much? The diversity.
The clashing of countries and languages coming together because at the end of the day, no matter where you’re from: if you love Fitness, you’re in. If pull-ups, running splits, and squat clean PR’s keep you up at night and day dreaming at the office about ‘what you’re going to do next time’ …. you’re in.
“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Last year I was searching for myself. I was in a time where all I cared about was the next competition. I needed the high of the max lifts, time cut-offs, and speakers blasting club music as crowds of people exited the arenas shaking their heads at the next heat. The roar of the crowds kept me fueled until the next workout as I proved to myself, more than anything, that I was good enough. I earned my way to each podium, and got just enough confidence to believe…. I was good enough. I was at a time last year where I relied on that confidence builder, and London was a competition I’ll never forget because of the new experience.
At th time I had been planning my trip to the UK, I had paid for every trip on my own. I went through constant events, and saved up for the “next big thing” based off prizes from the previous competition, so when I showed up, I knew I had a job to do. If I wanted this to continue I knew what needed to happen.
Traveling to my first big CrossFit event out of the country, I knew I would be the only American. Thinking I would blend in was ignorant, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I wore shiny high tops, bright colored sports bras, had huge hair and wore Jesus shirts that I was later told was very “American… of me.” I asked questions about kilos during the briefing and they answered in lbs… they knew exactly who I was, I was that big sore thumb screaming, “I’m the odd ball.”
Spending 40 minutes at border patrol just to get into the UK, explaining that I was staying with people I didn’t know (fans/gym owners) and going to a competition of a sport I struggled to explain, I started feeling my independence. I fought through the time change, and I distinctly remember the first time meeting two of my friends, Katrina Davidsdottir and Sam Briggs.
Looking back, I remember how lame my sense of direction was, and still is. I had three choices: confidently walk in the direction I thought was right and have to retrace my steps, ask 3 strangers for direction every step of the way, or just follow the nanos. I decided to Follow the Reebok and trusted friendly strangers with crazy accents which never failed me.
Thinking to only a year ago where I starting to make a name for myself, I had just signed my first real sponsorship with NutriForce Sports. I considered myself a free agent, until all the sudden I had responsibilities and contracts, and I wouldn’t have guessed within a few months I’d sign with Reebok. Everything came so fast, and it was one of my memorable steps in the right direction that made me feel like I was entering adulthood.
My definition of Independence:
Finding who you want to be, irrelevant of who you were nurtured to be.
Being separate from the norm, not taking the beaten path.
Making decisions based on career, financial support, family.
Taking responsibility for decisions and actions, discovering sacrifice.
I can never “un-do” the experience of trusting myself with an adventure I had no reason to seek out. I’m known for making irrational decisions based on passion alone, where friends sit me down and say, “ok lets talk about why… you want to do that… let’s make a list….”
Last year I got 2nd behind Sam Briggs. If you’re unfamiliar with the way the CrossFit Games regions work, Europe is it’s own region, where the entirety of all the countries in it’s continent only qualify three men, three women, and three teams to compete in the Games. So needless to say, we have the reigning champ of the world, Sam, the prior back-to-back champion, Annie T, and the young, experienced, strong Katrina from Iceland. Some might say those spots are “written off…” But there are dark horses in Europe that are dying to break down those barriers. I saw it last year and realized, just cause I didn’t know their name at first, doesn’t mean they weren’t beating me or going to die trying.
I’m on the bus from Heathrow to Victoria, next stop Stratford where the “Battle of London” takes place and I’ll be attending the athlete briefing. Neither Katrina or Sam will be competing this time around, which means to everyone else that made it from the online qualifiers or competed last year, I might have a bullseye on my back. I can’t wait for the abrasive excitement from fans that would say my name in a crazy accent and say, “CrossFit Games? Picture? Video? Your name is German yes?! Hug?!!” And wrap me up in a humongous hug.
I look forward to the mix of Spanish, German, Italian, and English accents chanting from the crowds. This year I’m here for different reasons… but I’m still here. I know what to expect, which makes me sit on the edge of my seat and count down the ticking seconds until the 3…2….1…. here we go.
Have a few seconds?? Then you can tune in and watch CrossFit Games new show “Sub 3 minutes” where Sevan Matossian interviews me about my move- and NO, it’s not because it will “be easy.”
I myself, showed up wide-eyed in LA finding a never-ending theme of learning and growing. Powered by my dreams and ambitions, I attempted to go every route possible all at once. I went through experiences that brought me to the team finals of the CrossFit Games, to coaching at and being apart of six unforgettable gym communities, to competing at a level around the world I knew would lead me back to the big stage where only the “proven” were allowed to make a run for the “fittest on earth.”
Competitions all over the world have opened up doors for big scale podiums, bragging rights, prizes, and even big purses to help glorify the accomplishment of being tested and crowned the most well-rounded athlete there. Sponsors have allowed women like myself to become professional athletes, as the sport grows and flourishes with strong female role models of hard work and discipline. I thank God for each opportunity to see the world, teach seminars, and be an open book, with nothing to hide. However, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be fooling anyone if I said I go to sleep with prayers and dreams of anything but earning a spot to the Games.
To all my fans, friends, and supporters, you can expect my full focus for 2014 in a new environment of training. God has blessed me with clarity and anticipation as my love for family and CrossFit take me back home.
Have you ever wondered the answer to these questions about Andrea? Well tune into this interview by Hoist at a recent AgerBomb seminar of hers, and find out the answers!
What got you to start competing in CrossFit?
Does your family think you are nuts?
Are you ever disappointed after competitions?
Why do you love coaching movement and teaching seminars?
What level of athletes are able to come to your seminars?
Is CrossFit for everyone?