Ever wonder what Games athletes do in the final few days leading up to Event 1 at the CrossFit Games? West Regional champion Emily Abbott talks about how she spent Friday to Tuesday in LA.
After spending the last two months leading up to the CrossFit Games training in St. Louis and Boston, Emily Abbott arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, with five days to kill before Event 1 begins.
Saturday morning, Abbott, ventured to Paradiso CrossFit for one of her last big training sessions before the Games starts.
“I worked up to some max lifts and did some gymnastics tech,” Abbott said. Feeling more tired and low-energy than she was hoping, she decided to go to a stretch lab for recovery.
Emily got gymnasty at Paradiso CrossFit, one of her lesser strengths she's been tackling since the Games last year.
“LA has everything. I paid $30 and they stretched me for 30 minutes,” Abbott said. While useful, she admitted she was disappointed with the stretch therapist she was paired up with.
“They gave me this small Asian woman. I wanted one of the big buff dudes to stretch me out,” she laughed.
The next morning, Abbott decided to continue to dabble with a different recovery option. This time, it was cryotherapy, a treatment that cools the skin’s surface with extreme cold temperatures.
Abbott explained: “You get put into a tank and they pump in nitrogen and it gets super, super cold.” Abbott hasn’t been able to find cryotherapy in her hometown of Calgary, but she tried it in St. Louis this summer and has enjoyed the positive recovery effects she feels.
Cryotherapy has been around for three decades, but only recently has it made its appearance as a standard recovery tool for CrossFit athletes.
After a recovery-focused weekend, Monday was the day things formally got going for the athletes. There was the annual dinner—where the food keeps getting better and better each year. This year it was calamari and steak and prosciutto-wrapped melons. Monday is also the day athletes get their Reebok gear.
Receiving gear means going from table to table—from a sports bra table, to a shorts table, to a tank top and t-shirt table, to a compression gear table, to an outerwear table, to a giant shoes area—getting spoiled with more gear than you know what to do with at each station. This year, Abbott said athletes also received a customized Compex muscle stimulator unit—yet another recovery tool.
Lucky for the rest of us, the Reebok CrossFit Games 2015 gear is available on Reebok's website, unfortunately not for free!
“They really showered us with gifts this year,” Abbott said. “We got more swag than last year, and there are other things that are new this year, too. Like tomorrow night, Tom and I got these VIP invitations to a soiree after the events tomorrow evening.”
After getting their gear on Monday, Abbott headed to CrossFit Torrence with other West regional representatives Tyson Takasaki and Alex Parker.
“And we went to a track and practiced some cutting for the sprint hurdle event. And then we practiced jumping over a sign,” she laughed.
Tuesday rolled around, and Abbott’s recovery efforts continued. This time she decided to try a Myers’ cocktail—an IV made up of a high dose of a mixture of vitamins, including magnesium, calcium, various B vitamins and vitamin C.
“I was just feeling kind of low-energy. My body was like, ‘Fuck you, I’m done training,’” Abbott explained. Although the science behind Myers’ cocktails isn’t 100 percent agreed upon, Abbott explained she’s willing to try anything that might give her an edge heading into Wednesday.
“A woman with a botox face gave me the Myers’ cocktail. I couldn’t tell if she was 40 or 90, but she told me I’m going to feel so good tomorrow,” Abbott laughed.
Also on Tuesday morning, all Games athletes headed to Hermosa Beach to try out the prone paddle boards. They were called upon in groups of 20 to test out the boards.
“I can get up on my knees when I’m heading out toward the ocean or back toward the beach,” Abbott said. “You get way more power on your knees, but it’s safer to stay on your belly so you don’t fall off the board.”
The hardest physical aspect about paddling was how hard it was on her traps, she said.
“My traps burned right away,” Abbott said. “Traps, lats, triceps.”
Although new to a paddle board, Day 1, which consists of paddleboarding, swimming and sand bag carrying, is one Abbott is looking forward to.
The individual ladies are briefed before the swim/paddleboard event. Photo courtesy of games.crossfit.com
“It’s just grunt work. It’s awesome. I used to do stuff like that on the farm all the time,” she said.
While excited for the event to begin, Abbott admitted it has been nerve racking waiting for it all to begin.
Helping her through the stressful few days is her boyfriend, Tom, also a CrossFit athlete, but more of a lifestyle CrossFit athlete than a competitive one. Abbott said he calms her down by helping her keep it all in perspective.
“He’ll say to me, ‘Relax, CrossFit isn’t even a real sport,” Abbott laughed. “And then I think, ‘You’re right, why am I fretting so much about this?’”
So far, considering Day 1 is all about grunt work—Abbott’s favourite— it looks like she has nothing to fret about. Her first Games event begins at 7:00 a.m. Follow her at www.games.crossfit.com