Blonyx athlete Emily Abbott will be representing Canada West for a second-straight year at the CrossFit Games. Follow the Blonyx blog each day during the Games—July 22-26—for behind the scenes recaps of Abbott’s Games experience as it unfolds in Carson.
Abbott Quick Facts
Previous Sport: Won two National Basketball Titles at the University of Windsor
Years doing CrossFit: 2.5
Dream Games Event: “Moving something heavy, where you have to have a lot of grit and
suffer. That’s my bread and butter. Anywhere deep into the pain cave for 30 seconds or so.”
Emily went deep into the pain cave last year, winning the Sprint Sled 2 event.
Nightmare Games Event: “A big, long-ass handstand walk that has to be unbroken.”
Favourite Pre-Competition Breakfast: Pancakes, bacon, potatoes, fruit
Games Girl Crush: Brooke Ence
Pre-Games Interview with Emily Abbott
What are your feelings heading into Carson like this year compared to your rookie
season last year?
EA: I’m so much more confident this year. Inwardly, last year I was freaking out, questioning my
skills and was so nervous about what workouts were going to be announced because I didn’t
want to embarrass myself. This year, I feel like whatever is thrown at me I can survive. I’m pretty pumped and pretty calm.
That's not fear on Emily's face on the left at the 2014 CrossFit Games briefing meeting, it's determination.
What are the biggest physical gains you’ve made since last year?
EA: My push-pull strength in my upper body. It’s still nowhere near where it should be, but my
upper body strength and my lats have grown a lot.
How did you improve your upper body strength so much in one year?
EA: Justin (Thacker) implemented a twice a week, old school upper body strength plan. Bench
press on Tuesdays. Strict press on Thursdays. Lots of bar dips, rows, strict pull-ups, false grip
pull-ups, strict handstand push-ups, weighted handstand push-ups, strict muscle-ups. I also did
a lot of max effort upper body strength work, and some upper body muscular endurance work.
Goal this year?
EA: Last years my goal was don’t get last and don’t embarrass myself. This year, I think I can be in the top 20.
How do you mentally prepare?
EA: A lot of mental prep comes from the physical prep. Knowing my gymnastics feels good, my
lifts feel good. And I do a lot of little visualizations as events come out. I visualize what I will look
like in the event, what it will feel like. I visualize doing well. And there’s this book that Tom (Abbott’s boyfriend) bought for me called Mind Gym. I re-read some of those chapters and implement those practices. They talk about mindsets. One article talks about figure skaters who work their asses off for four years and then have to do one skate at the Olympics in order to win a medal. Instead of getting super nervous about their skate, that final skate is their prize for all the work they’ve put in over the last four years. That way, they can skate without abandon.
Are you more relaxed training for the Games than for Regionals?
EA: Yes. Training for regionals, I was definitely getting to the point where I was somewhat
hysterical. Since we were the last week, I had to keep going over the workouts, and all the other
regions were going, and it was super stressful. For the Games, though, it’s more fun, but I also
don’t want to miss any elements of training. I’ll be in bed and I’ll think about something that I
forgot about and should be working on—like more parallette handstand push-ups and ring
handstand push-ups. Or I’ll think I should go to a turf and practice handstand walks and prowler
pushes. Or I’ll think, ‘Holy shit I haven’t done any triple unders’—and then I’ll pull out my phone
and write it in my phone to remind myself the next day.
Are you having as much fun competing as you look?
EA: Definitely. I mean, I guess I always get super nervous leading up to the first event. Well
most events, actually. But I always think of this quote from Braveheart. The movie came on right before I went to the ECC (East Coast Championships): “All men die, but few men really live.” The reason I do CrossFit is because it makes you feel alive. It’s such an adrenaline rush. When I’m waiting for an event to start, I’m nervous and thinking about how much it’s going to hurt. But in that moment, I’m so alive.
Don't forget, if you want an insider's point of view on the trials and triumphs of the CrossFit Games, follow Emily Abbott's experience nightly through the Blonyx Blog!