This year CrossFit HQ created “super” regions by combining two to three of the classic Open regions. It now means would-be Games athletes are having to square off against each other months earlier than in the past. It also means punching a ticket to the CrossFit Games is harder than ever before, a fact highlighted by the sheer number of former Games athletes (and competition favorites) unable to qualify in 2015. Those athletes include: Josh Bridges, Kenny Leverich, Wes Piatt, Gabe Subry, Brandon Swan, Matt Chan, Patrick Burke, Garret Fisher, Zach Forrest, Jordan Troyan, Travis Mayer, Guido Trinidad, Orlando Trejo, Natalie Newhart, Gretchen Kittleberger, Lauren Brooks, Christy Adkins and Tiffany Hendrickson.
In addition to making the CrossFit Games even more exclusive than before, HQ has also elevated the Regional phase of the competition to greater heights than in year’s past. Placing high at Regionals has never been more respectable. Look no further than Josh Bridges’ 6th place finish in the California Regional. Bridges is a 3x Games athlete with 2nd, 7th, and 4th place finishes under his belt. He was widely regarded as a favorite for the 2015 title. Is he less fit than he was last year because he finished in 6th at his Regional this year? Hardly. Instead, it points to just how good 6th place actually is. The same can be said of Leverich’s 7th place finish, or Matt Chan’s 9th place finish. You no longer need to make it to the CrossFit Games to prove your worth as an athlete. Regionals is an exclusive club all its own now.
Like a season of Game Of Thrones, expect anything, and everything, to happen from year to year. New competitors will emerge and former elites will have to fight harder than ever to retain their status. The only thing guaranteed is a fight to the end.
Perhaps the best example of the newfound competitiveness at Regionals is Christy Adkins. Christy is a 6 times Games veteran. All 6 appearances were consecutive appearances dating back to the 2009 CrossFit Games. Her 6 appearances include 3 top-ten overall finishes, as well as numerous top-five event finishes. She is one of only a few competitors in the world who can boast such an impressive resume.
2015 Atlantic Regional
Things didn’t go according to plan this year. At the 2015 Atlantic Regional Christy placed 6th, one spot away from a seventh Games appearance. Does that means she’s losing her edge? Absolutely not. It means 6th place at Regionals is more legit than ever. If we dive into Christy’s Atlantic Regional performance we find two blips, Events 4 and 5. Both were the “specialty” pieces at this year’s Regionals (Handstand Walks & Max Snatch).
But even the best have been shown to slip up on these types of events from time to time. Just ask Sam Briggs. At the 2014 Europe Regional, Briggs had a poor showing on the Handstand Walk event. Ultimately, it kept the reigning CrossFit Games champ from defending her title, despite Briggs dominating the rest of the competition (she accumulated five top-five finishes and one top-ten finish). Christy recalls her experience with the Handstand Walk event:
“Shame on me but [the handstand walk] took me by surprise a little bit. I know that I am not a D1 gymnastics caliber handstand walker, but I thought that I would be able to hold my own and score in the middle of the pack on this. I was taken aback at how many women were more proficient in the movement.” -Christy Adkins
Christy calls heavy snatches her “white whale”. She’s struggled with them her entire CrossFitting career, but has worked hard to make gradual improvements. She even devoted herself to a 6 week snatch program leading into the Atlantic Regional. Her confidence with snatching heavy was at an all-time high. She felt “well prepared to hit 155-160 lbs”. At first, everything seemed to be going smoothly. She nailed her first attempt at 148 lbs, then this happened at 158 lbs:
A freak mishap caused Christy to chase the bar forward several feet, pulling her out of position, and erasing any time she might have had at a second attempt. It was a weight “that [she] had lifted in practice, even after handstand walking, many times”. How crucial would a second attempt have been? Massive. In fact, all weekend long several athletes were missing their first snatches, only to nail their second attempts moments later within the same 20 second window. Also, up until the chase forward, Christy’s attempt looked solid and very doable.
In the end, Christy racked up a very impressive 4 top-five finishes. These were the classic “CrossFit” style workouts, and, if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past 6 years, it’s that few people are as gifted as Christy when it comes to CrossFit. But, again, given the increased level of competition at Regionals now, all it takes is a single slip-up.
“The critical error for me was missing my second attempt on the snatch. If I had made my lift attempt of 158#, I would have been able to qualify for the games. I had a moment of lost focus in the chaos of the event and missed the lift.”
Upon investigation of the numbers, she’s right. Christy finished the Atlantic Regional in 6th place, 12 points out of the 5th place spot. A successful 158# snatch would have given her 15th place for that event. 15th place would have earned her 57 points, or 22 more points than she actually received.
Given Christy’s impressive resume, we thought this might be the perfect time to dive into the numbers of one of the best CrossFit athletes on the planet. You’ll want to get to know her a little better, because, trust us, she’ll be back.
Christy has been CrossFitting for quite some time now. She’s made some incredible progress over the years. Below is a table of some of her notable Benchmark, Hero, and Lift scores.
|Cindy||4/28/14||25 rounds + 5 + 10 + 8|
|Back Squat||4/14/15||275 lbs|
|Shoulder Press||3/5/14||105 lbs|
|Clean & Jerk||210 lbs|
Training (volume, days per week, etc)
Looking to become a Games athlete yourself? There’s no better competitor to model your training after than Christy. Six straight years at the CrossFit games means she’s probably doing something right.
In the past 3 months alone, leading up to the Atlantic Regional, Christy has worked out a whopping 217 times. That works out to about 18 times per week, and, if we factor in her two full rest days per week, about 3.6 sessions per day. Here’s what one of her March weeks looked like:
Rest & Recovery
Christy values her rest and recovery big time, taking 2 full rest days per week (Sunday & Thursday). They both used to be complete rest days, but recently the Thursday rest day has evolved into more of a “recovery” day. Christy comments, “This year, I have done a little bit more on my Thursday rest day, like some mobility, stretching, and an occasional swim. My other rest day is still completely off. It recharges me mentally and physically to have that. I think the main reason I have felt so good in training this year (healthy, no major injuries, progress in many benchmarks) is that I have been able to prioritize recovery more than ever.”
In addition, Christy has made the leap to full-time CrossFitter. She quit her job as a school nurse at the end of last year’s Fall semester to focus solely on her CrossFitting. Her rest and recovery have benefitted tremendously. She is now able to “sleep 9-10 hours a night, see Airrosti for soft tissue treatment more frequently, get massages 1-2 times a month, and use Normatec compression, and the Marc Pro, every night [to help her legs and sore muscles recover].” I’m willing to bet most people aren’t dedicating that much time to taking care of their bodies. It’s helped Christy stay at the top of her game for 6 years now.
- First thing in the morning: An “About Time” meal replacement bar (350 cal) with coffee
- About 3o min later: 3 eggs, scrambled in bacon grease with frozen mixed vegetables and 3 pieces of bacon
- During the day while training: 1-2 Fuel For Fires and an “About Time” protein shake
- Around 2 pm: chicken with rice, sometimes sweet potato
- Dinner at home is a steak or two burger patties, rice or sweet potato and a veggie or salad.
- On the nights she works out: An “About Time” protein shake after dinner, with melatonin and tryptophan, blended with 2 spoonfuls of almond butter and a frozen banana.
As for “cheat” meals, she indulges when she wants, but it’s never anything too crazy. She’ll have a dessert or some bread about once a week. She’s also a sucker for dark chocolate (aren’t we all). Alcohol consumption is also few and far between. She doesn’t “like how [she feels] the next day for training when [she has] even one drink”.
One competition doesn’t make an athlete. Christy has six year’s worth of accomplishments that more than validate her abilities as a CrossFitter. And, as we’ve already learned from the number of amazing athletes unable to qualify already this year, 6th place at Regionals isn’t too shabby either. There’s no doubt in our minds that she’ll return stronger than ever next year. The rest of the field better watch out too, because there’s nothing scarier than a top athlete with unfinished business. In fact, her performance at Regionals this year has given her confidence moving forward:
“Competing in the Atlantic Region, against 6 other games veterans, including the 2013 games champ and four others who have finished in the top ten, I saw that I am still a formidable opponent with the prowess to stand among the ranks of elite CrossFit athletes. That lights a fire in me to continue to improve for next year. I know that with hard work, I have what it takes to return to the CrossFit Games.”
Even with all of the confidence in the world, Christy still plans on making some changes. The biggest one is moving to San Diego, California through the 2015 Summer and Fall seasons to train with CJ Martin at CrossFit Invictus. She’ll still be collaborating with long-time coach (for all 6 years), John Main, but Invictus’ reputation as a powerful developer of Games athletes was too good to pass up. Upon visiting them this past year, Christy instantly fell in love with the culture and staff there. As for the specifics of her training, it’s still a little early for Christy to know exactly how she’ll attack the upcoming off-season:
“I am usually not evaluating my year and how I should approach next season until mid-August. Unfortunately, this competition year has been cut short. So my world is a little turned upside down right now.”
She does, however, foresee a healthy dosage of weaknesses work, strength work, and skill and technique practice. In the end, Christy’s future, and, really, anyone’s future, is unpredictable. The only thing we’re absolutely sure about over here at BTWB is that this year’s Games will be lacking a little something with her gone.
Photo Credit: Artiga Photo