I thought it'd be fun to record a podcast and talk about some of the lessons my family and I learned while attending the CrossFit Games. And if you don't care a lot about CrossFit, don't worry! This episode is for everyone — I'll be applying the lessons learned to all fitness journeys and everyday life. Now, let’s jump into today’s episode.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/243
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- Where you are isn't a prediction of where you will be (7:16 ,9:35)
- Go back and focus in on the basics and not leave it behind (12:00, 12:15)
- If you want to keep fighting for it (14:47, 19:22)
- Take big feats inch by inch (22:52, 25:16)
- Community matters (25:32, 28:52, 29:26)
- Everyone deserves a second chance (31:47, 33:22)
- Do a lot of different things. It doesn't have to look a certain way (37: 03, 38:27)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 243.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:59
Hey! So my husband is joining me. And we're going to be talking about something really fun, which is a trip that we took with all our kiddos to the CrossFit Games.
Amber B 1:10
So fun. And we did this at the beginning of August. And I thought it'd be fun to record a podcast and talk about some of the lessons that we learned attending the CrossFit Games. Now, some of you couldn't care less about CrossFit. And you're like, “Is this episode even going to be something that I'm going to take time to listen to?” And we're going to talk about the CrossFit Games. We're not gonna only talk about the CrossFit Games. We're really going to kind of take some of the lessons that we learned at the CrossFit Games that are applicable in everyday life, in any fitness journey, and any journey really, that you're going on, or any goal that you're trying to seek. There were some really beautiful arcs and lessons that we saw and witnessed at the CrossFit Games that are completely applicable to you in whatever stage of your journey that you're on. Plus, it's been a long time since you've been on the podcast.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke and today we have a really fun episode for you. Because it's not just me today.
It's true. The last time I did it was like two years.
Amber B 2:01
It was like a long time ago.
Before the pelvic floor stuff.
Amber B 2:05
No, we really want to talk about when we bought the home gym.
Oh, that's true.
Amber B 2:09
So that was a little bit more recently. But yeah, it's been a hot minute since my husband has been on the podcast. So it's fun to have another person on the podcast, you're gonna hear some stories. I'm sure you're gonna hear some stories that maybe I wish you hadn't heard. He asked me before and he said, “Is it okay if I go off script?” I was like, “Yes.”
Kids and hot sun. I don't know about that.
Amber B 2:30
Yeah, we'll talk all about what we learned, some lessons that were learned during that experience. So let's dive in.
Amber B 2:38
Okay, so this story kind of starts in December Christmas time of last year, when TJ and I were trying to decide what we were going to get for our kids. And the last couple of years, we've tried to do more of an experience like a big family gift experience, rather than buying a bajillion little presents. Two years ago, in 2019, we actually got Disneyland season passes.
That was awesome.
Amber B 3:05
For the three months that it was open in 2020.
It was actually just enough time.
Amber B 3:09
It actually was perfect. We had Disneyland passes from January until you know it closed down on March 13.
Amber B 3:16
And it ended up being fine because we ended up getting reimbursed for all the time that we didn't use it. But that was our 2020 Christmas present. And so, we were looking for something similar to that this Christmas. And I think I had the idea.
Well, you had been a Rogue.
Amber B 3:31
Oh, that's right. I went to the Rogue Invitational in 2021. And that was super fun. And so I had this idea that it would be really fun to go to the CrossFit Games and thought maybe we should take the kids
Because they love watching it like we show whenever the events are on, Ambers always watching and we're watching event after event and the kids know all the names of the athletes and they're like, “Where's Tia? How was Justin doing? Who's qualifying now?”
Amber B 3:54
They love Mau.
They do actually really love Mau, the teenage athletes in particular.
Amber B 3:57
Yeah, I mean, they've seen all the CrossFit documentaries. They watched the CrossFit Games with me. Yeah, they know a lot of the athletes and so we thought wouldn't that be just like a fun family adventure to go take the kids to the CrossFit Games? So we ended up, I bought off of Etsy, a Rogue plate, it was like a blue 45-pound plate.
A Christmas ornament
Amber B 4:19
A Christmas ornament-size plate. And we wrap that up and give it to the kids and we told them, “Hey, your Christmas present is that you guys get to go to the CrossFit Games.” And they were super excited. So fast forward. You know that's in December. Now fast forward to August. It's quite the delay between the present
and the delayed gratification
Amber B 4:38
Yeah, and the actual present. And we hopped on a plane and flew out to the Midwest, which was an adventure in and of itself.
Yeah, getting to the airport's always fun. We flew out to LAX, didn't we? We hate driving to LA, but that's okay.
Amber B 4:53
But we flew out of LAX and we landed in Madison. We first went to my sister and have fun with my sister in Michigan and then we flew to Madison, and then when we got off the plane and got into the rental car, remember what the kids were like? It was hilarious.
When we were driving out into the fields? Yeah, like out of the airport? Yeah. So our kids growing up in the city as we've never really spent any time in farmland or anything like that. And so when we are driving through the fields of Madison, on the way to the hotel, we were gonna stay out. We were surrounded by cornfields.
Amber B 5:24
And it was super green because they'd seen farmland before, but it didn't like California farmland. I mean, we go through farmland every time we go from Orange County up to San Francisco, like-
lots of orchards and-
Amber B 5:36
And it's like brown. I don't know. Like, it's like brown farmland. In Madison, it was super green, like green as far as the eye could see. And just, like cornfields forever. And my kids could not believe it.
Yeah, they were looking around left there was corn as far as the eye could see. They look to the right, corn as far as the eye could see. My daughter looked around, she said, “This is where all the corn in the world will come from.”
Amber B 5:58
And then she said, “This is where all the ethanol is made in the world.”
I think she had just done something about ethanol and or like history class or something.
Amber B 6:06
Yeah, we actually took some really cute videos of the kids just being astounded at the countryside.
How green it was, how much corn there was.
Amber B 6:15
And obviously, different it was this was a really important trip for us to take so that you could get some perspective-
Like that was the wind right there. Like as soon as we like got to that point, I went and expanded their mind.
Amber B 6:27
Yeah, get them out of California. I guess it's like, show them other places. So that was really fun. And we had a really awesome hotel, we had some hotel issues, trying to secure a place to stay. Because I was really on top of things and scheduled an Airbnb super early, like early.
And Madison is not a big place. Things sell out.
Amber B 6:46
Yeah. So I got to Airbnb in February of 2022 for August, and the person ended up canceling it like three months later. And so then, I was left scrambling trying to find a place. But we found a really nice hotel that had two bedrooms, plus living space. And so that was enough for us and our four kids, and have a kitchen and things like that. So that's us arriving at the CrossFit Games. Any other stories you have, before we dive into it?
No, let's get into it.
Amber B 7:16
Okay, so the first lesson that we learned attending the CrossFit Games. And this one, I think is so applicable again, regardless of what goal you are trying to achieve. Because what I found working with a lot of people is that everybody feels behind like nobody's walking around being like, “Oh my gosh, I'm so much further along than I ever thought I would be. This is amazing.” Everybody feels behind, everybody feels like they should be further along than they are in their journey. And so the lesson that I pulled out as we were watching was where you are isn't a prediction of where you're going to be in the future. And this happened after day one, because for those of you who know, Tia Clair Toomey, is the five-time fittest woman on earth at this point. She's won the last five CrossFit Games. If you listen to any pundits talk about the CrossFit Games going to the CrossFit Games, and you asked who's going to win? It was like, “Well, of course, Tia, let's talk about everybody else because Tia is gonna win.”
She's just a class of her own.
Amber B 8:15
She's fit, she's amazing. She's heads and tails above the rest of the field. And so most of the people spend their time talking about who's gonna get second, third, and fourth, and not at all about who's going to get first. But for those who watch the CrossFit Games, Tia had some really, “bad” for her events on day one. And at the end of day one, she was in ninth place, which is unheard of. Like that does not happen.
Amber B 8:43
I actually have never seen anybody wear the leader's jersey, but Tia. Like all the years that I've been watching the CrossFit Games, since 2019. It's always Tia been wearing the leader's jersey and she was not wearing the leader's jersey at the end of day one.
I didn't know that they even gave her jerseys that weren't the leader jersey it was.
Amber B 9:01
It was really actually kind of jarring to see a white shirt and have it not be on Tia.
Like, “Who is that? That's not. Oh, weird. Okay.”
Amber B 9:09
Yeah, it was really odd to see someone else. So she was in ninth place at the end of day one and ended up having to like work her way back up. And spoiler alert, hopefully, you've already like, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t watched the CrossFit Games yet!” Here we are like a month later. If you haven't watched them yet, you probably weren't gonna watch them. She ends up winning the CrossFit Games and does stand on top of the podium.
By a large margin.
Amber B 9:35
Not as large as it's been in the past. It was less than 100 points, which in the past, it's been like 200 points. But I think it's just again, it's such a good reminder that where you are now is not a prediction of where you will be in the future. And I think it can be really easy sometimes to be like I am in an eighth place right now or ninth place, and have that be the prediction of what that's going to mean for the next couple of days. And to Tia, credit to her abilities as a competitor, she didn't let that stop her from continuing to perform. And there are a lot of benefits that come from things that have happened in the past, and the learning and knowledge you can gain from things that happen in the past. But it's also really important to leave the things that happened in the past in the past, right, like, taking the lessons from them, and applying them moving forward. But don't take the baggage from them with you moving forward.
Which day was it that she missed the single-ended that was the end of day one?
Amber B 10:29
That was day one.
Yeah. So, that's the other thing that was crazy about one of those events that didn't go so well for her. It was like you had to do 75 unbroken jump ropes. Just single unders, like if you don't do jumper like Crossfit, just normal jump ropes like if you just think of jumping over the rope, that's single under. And like most CrossFitters, Tia included, can do double unders, which is when you spin the rope twice underneath you in a single jump, which is, I will tell you from the personal experience very hard.
Amber B 10:56
But that's usually our X, like all of our workouts that you're ever doing in CrossFit, like the standard, the RX version that everyone's trying to achieve is double unders. And so-
Everybody who can do double unders, then it's harder. So why wouldn't you do it the harder way? But they don't know what the events gonna be like beforehand. And so then, when Tia gets the event, and she just, I mean, I don't know that inside of her head. I don't know what she thought. But my guess is she was probably not super flummoxed when they told her that she had to do 75 single unders, but she doesn't do single unders all day long would be my guess.
Amber B 11:27
Like ever, I believe she probably never practices single unders.
And since she hadn't practiced it, then you know, it didn't go as well as she wanted to, and you had to do 75 unbroken, which meant that when she got to whatever it was 45?
Amber B 11:38
It was like 50, she like got to like 50 or 45, or something like that, and ended up having a trip and that should start over. And this was an elimination event. And so you had to be in the top 20 to progress to the next round. And because of that one slip up, you know 50 double unders or single unders is a good chunk of the amount of time.
Yeah, you're just gonna be behind.
Amber B 11:58
She just never could make up that time.
Yeah. So I think that's another really good lesson, too, right? Like, even as we get more, whatever you want to call advanced, or we get more sophisticated, or we move on in life and think we're ready for the next big thing. Sometimes it's good to remember to go back and focus in on the basics, you know, and not leave that behind.
Amber B 12:15
Well, that was the point. So Adrian Bozman took over programming to the CrossFit Games for the first time this last year that was what he said. He said, you know, part of the purpose of doing this is to remind you that like, just because you have gone on to the next level, we always should be coming back to the basics and mastering the basics. And when you master the basics that will help you in doing those harder skills. And I think a lot of us when we get the harder skills, forget the basics. We're like, “I can do double unders, why the heck would I do single unders?” And his point is, well, the better you are at single unders, the better you're going to continue to be at double unders. So don't forget the basics.
Sometimes you have to go and then when you're stuck trying to move on again like sometimes you have to go backward a little bit to go forwards. Like I see that a lot in weightlifting where you think you're going up on your weights are getting stronger than that. But then you reach this like plateau and you realize, “Why can't I move forward?” And inevitably, what that usually requires is for you to go down on your way to some extent, fix a technique or form issue. And then you can continue to go back up. And so you feel like you're going backward. But really, you're just reestablishing the control or success or whatever, in that earlier stage that you thought you already passed. But you always need to go back to-
Amber B 13:22
I freaking remember when we hired our powerlifting coach, way back in the day. She was like, “What is one of your goals?” And I was like, “My goal is to break past this plateau”, I think it was like I was trying to get to 225 on my deadlift. I wouldn't like to get above 220. I want to get two plates on my deadlift and I told her that. And so she had me do some sets near that weight. And I did them and I sent him to her. And I remember she sent back my programming, and next week, I was going back to like 145. I was like, “What the heck?” I'm almost at 225. I'm five pounds away from 225. And no, she had a bigger vision, she had me go back to like 145, which in my head and in my ego was like, “Why am I going to 145? Like I can do so much more than 145.” But her whole point was that I needed to focus on some of my form issues if I wanted to get not only to 225 but to 250 and to 300 I needed to fix those form issues. And so I had to go back down and wait, work on getting the form right. And then I blew past 225 like it wasn't even an issue. But it's so hard because sometimes in your brain you're like, “I'm going backward.” And in fact, it's actually you have to go backward to go forward. But yeah, so in reality, it wasn't even going backward. It was going forward. It just looked different than I thought it was supposed to what's right. So good. Okay, anything else on that?
No, so good.
Amber B 14:47
Okay. Lesson number two is if you want it, keep fighting for it. So one of the coolest stories that I thought and that was really cool actually been at the CrossFit Games was Roman Khrennikov. So, if you again don't follow CrossFit, Roman Khrennikov is a Russian athlete who has qualified for the games five years in a row. And he only competed one year actually at the games, and it was in 2020 because it was online. But he has not been able to secure a US visa to come from Russia to the US to come to the games. So that means he's qualified for the games for five years and has never actually been able to come and attend and compete at the CrossFit Games. And yet the guy keeps doing it like that, to me, this is what inspiring is like, if you want to keep fighting for it. Because this year, he finally got that visa. And he actually moved to the US. His wife stayed in Russia, and had a baby, he didn't even meet his baby, because he was in the US training for the games. And he can't leave the US because heaven forbid, he can't get back into the US, has a baby, she ends up coming over like a couple of days before the games, brings the baby and he meets the baby for the first time. A couple of days before the game, he misses like a new child. Ends up competing at the games. And again, spoiler alert ends up placing second place. Like the phenomenal story of this guy who for five years, it would have been super easy for him to just say, “I can't get into the US like why would I keep doing this?”
Why would I keep trying? I already tried four times, right? And it's not like I just kind of was like, oh, maybe I'll try or maybe I'll do this as he qualified. Like that takes an insane amount of work.
Yeah, obviously he got second place at the games like his fitness is there. So anyway, there was so fun to watch him compete.
He was such a gracious competitor too and just I mean, I don't know, just the energy that came out of him and everything that he was doing. And it was a really cool story. Really, really fun.
Amber B 16:55
I remember a couple of times when he finished because we were in the stadium or in the Coliseum and we had seats that were right behind, like the finish line. And so I remember a couple of times when he crossed the finish line, and the crowd, just the crowd loved him. So they just would erupt and cheer for him whenever he would finish and he just would like, to be so gracious to the crowd. Like just waved and just you could tell he was like almost overcome with emotion just like how much gratitude he felt for the crowd receiving him in such a way. And you were just reading an article saying that he had gotten a bunch of like death threats and like-
Oh, yeah, I didn't realize that when we were there, but apparently, yeah, there were a lot of death threats and hate mail and stuff that went his way, I assume because of his country of origin. And you know, the politics of the day, which is just so unfortunate. But yeah, I mean, just another level that I didn't know that he had had to overcome to be there.
Amber B 17:49
Yeah. And he didn't get to have his flag, right? So the Russian flag was never like, most of the athletes had the flag of their country of origin next to the name, but the Russian flag was not up there. When he stood on the podium, everybody else had their flags, and he didn't have any flags.
And that was a rule from CrossFit because of the current geopolitical situation.
Amber B 18:07
Right. So it's like, all those things going on and he showed up and like, competed, and it was incredible to see him. I thought it was so much fun.
One of the great things about watching sports is like you just get to see and feel the energy and commitment that people bring to an event. And that guy, it just poured out of him. He was just like, so it's like, I can't find the word but excited, energetic, you know, emotional to be there after so many years.
Amber B 18:36
And he doesn't speak great English, which I can't even imagine that's another whole aspect of him being here. He doesn't speak great English. And so he had a translator with him everywhere. And I mean, it just so many aspects of things that he's had to overcome to be where he is, it makes me so excited to see where he's going to be in the next slot.
It's super inspiring, for me, at least as an individual just to watch somebody go through all of that because it just reminds me of the things that seem hard to me right now. Like, that can be overcome. Sometimes it might take longer than I think it should, and it might be harder than I want it to be. And you know, I'd have people that don't might want to see me succeed, but you know, he can do it. And it's kind of inspiring to think maybe I can do it too.
Amber B 19:22
Yeah. And he has had a visa for five years. So he and his wife and their baby are gonna live in the US for the next five years. He's just been confirmed at Rogue, he's gonna compete at Rogue, he's going to be back at the CrossFit Games, and I just think he's going to be super awesome to watch. But that lesson of like, if you want it, if you desire it, fight for it. If you want it, it wants you back. Like keep going, keep going for it. I thought that was so awesome.
Amber B 19:48
Okay, the next lesson was Jacqueline Dahlstrom at the sandbag.
Oh yeah, I watched that again recently. Super cool.
Amber B 19:57
So the sandbag event. First of all, all they told everybody before the CrossFit Games was that Saturday night was going to be the big lift event. And historically, the big lift event has been clean, snatch, or some sort of heavy barbell lift. Well, they threw a big curveball at everybody and they instead did a sandbag clean. So like an odd object style, almost like a strongman competition style event. And honestly, I was a little bummed.
I was too. I was disappointed because I really like watching people clean and jerk and I like watching people snatch and I like barbells, so it's fun for me to see people pick up a barbell and so when and then you know, I really like Gui who is Brazilian and I served a mission in Brazil and so like Gui's really good at barbell is beautiful.
Amber B 20:43
You want to watch like a beautiful lift, watch his snatch from last year's game. It's like, it's poetry in motion.
It's just beautiful. And so I was like, all kinds of excited to watch Gui kicked by to this and nail it and just throw up heavyweight. And then when they said it was gonna be a sandbag. I was like, “Who wants to watch somebody pick up a sandbag?” I don't know that I'm gonna enjoy that very much. But I was super wrong.
Amber B 21:06
Yeah, it was actually a super cool event to be in the Coliseum. First of all, the number of people that were in that Coliseum, most attended an event the whole entire weekend, including the last event, I was so shocked that there were more people at the sandbag event than there were even at the final event on the last day. And the energy in the crowd was like it was another level. And what you're saying?
Well, I just mean the energy that comes out of credit so going back to that idea, one of the things that's fun about watching sports is like watching people pour their energy and emotion, and commitment into performing something. Like that sandbag event is just this like, I don't know, I'm sure there are super techniques and ways to do it. But for the athletes on the CrossFit field, who had probably never picked up sandbags anywhere near that heavy, what you really ended up seeing was an incredible amount of exertion, just like physical exercise, like pouring it out. Like I will get this bag up on my shoulder and try, try, try. And it's just so electric to like, watch people just like pour their heart and soul into those things.
Amber B 22:07
Yeah. And I was listening to some back-end stuff before the athletes came out onto the field. A lot of them like couldn't even like lift those heavy sandbags. So for example, like the women, a lot of them were like 200, like they couldn't even get 200 up. And when they got on into the field, the number of women who went past 200, like everybody blew their own darn minds about what was possible, because they said the energy and the electricity and like everything that came from the crowd,what they couldn't do in the back, you know, I remember a lot of the guys saying like they couldn't do 300 in the back and the heaviest guy like the guy did 340. You know, like, that's way beyond what they could do in the back as they were warming up, and I just think that energy and electricity just completely contribute to it.
Amber B 22:52
So it was really cool but the lesson that I took away from that event. So the top two women who lifted 250-pound sandbags were Jacqueline Dahlstrom and Danny Spiegel. And if you look at Jacqueline Dahlstrom and Danny Spiegel, you can't imagine any two different body types, like completely different body types. Danny Spiegel is thick, and has legs with tree trunks and this huge booty, and like she is like, strong. When you look at her, you're like, “That girl is strong.” You can just tell her by her body. She just is strong. And you look at Jacqueline Dahlstrom and I think she weighs like 135 pounds. She's a smaller athlete, she's a thinner athlete, she definitely you don't definitely don't look at her and say that girl is really, really strong. And if you put her next to Danny Spiegel, and you're like, who's gonna be able to lift more weight on the sandbag? 99% of people would say Danny Spiegel but Jacqueline Dahlstrom went neck to neck with any Spiegel and the but the unique thing about the way that Jacqueline Dahlstrom did it was like she'd inched the bag, like she would get it up and she would get it somewhere near and then she would slowly inch it and then inch it. And then she would inch it and like finally get it up onto her shoulder and she would be done. But she took the whole process inch by inch by inch by inch, right? And was able to get the bag onto her shoulder. And so that lesson to me was like taking these big, huge sandbag moments. And taking them inch by inch by inch by inch. And just you know taking it bite-size at a time to be able to do something really, really amazing in the long run.
Yeah, that's really true. I mean, that's just a good lesson to remember, sometimes you have to take things one step at a time.
Amber B 24:44
Yeah. And I read something so that sandbag she lifted was 1.6 times her body weight.
It's so insane. I've tried to pick up like what was the heaviest we figured it out that heavier sandbag I picked up at the CrossFit gym was like 100 pounds and I weighed 180 And I probably weighed 200 and the time I did that. Yeah, 100 pound sandbag was really, really heavy.
Amber B 25:02
I couldn't even pick it up. I think I did the 50 pound bag.
It was just crazy.
Amber B 25:07
It's just hard. So that was really awesome. And I think just that reminder, taking big things an inch at a time is how you get things-
And don't limit yourself to what you think you can do.
Amber B 25:18
That's a good one, too.
Yeah. Right. Like, I mean, I didn't watch that documentary that you were saying about, like what they could do before they lifted. But if you were to assume that on the stage, you wouldn't have been able to do any more than you had done beforehand. She wouldn't probably have not been able to do that.
Amber B 25:32
Totally. Yeah, that's good. Okay. Next lesson. This is number four. And this is the lesson that who you surround yourself matters. That the community that you choose to surround yourself matters. One of the highlights of the events this time around was called The Capitol. It was event number five, and it was they did a whole bunch of like pig flips, which is like a big huge 3 to 500 depending on if you're male or female. Yeah, big log, square, or rectangle-
Just think heavy block that you have to like flip over like a like a Lincoln Log, but like really heavy or TinkerToy. Like when multiply to a thousand. And like a lego.
Amber B 26:12
They're really like 300 pound Lego. It's like a life-size lego.
Like longer than your car.
Amber B 26:21
Anyway, so they had like some pink slips. And then they had to do a 3.5-mile run. And then they had to carry some jugs that like a farmer carries. And then they picked up this Husa felt bag which is like a big, almost like a sandbag that they had like carry up The Capitol stack steps like The Capitol in Madison and like finished in the capital. We did not attend this one.
No, I kind of wish we would after, right afterwards.
Amber B 26:45
As a spectator, it was really hard because they moved so much. It was really hard to-
It would have been cool to be at The Capitol. It would have been fun to like watch the middle of the event, you know, and it's like a parade, right?
Amber B 26:58
Like there's only one spot to be.
So it would have been cool if we could have been at the very end. But I'm sure we would have to get there like two in the morning.
Amber B 27:04
Yeah. And let me tell you what, it was hot.
It was very hot.
Amber B 27:07
And our Southern California kids were not used to it. They did not know the humidity and the heat. And so being outside was not nearly as fun for them. And like the waiting was really hard for them.
Sure, as was some of them are still pretty young. Yeah, so iPads only have so many batteries.
Amber B 27:24
So, we had to be very intentional about which events, we forced/coursed/encouraged the kids to come to, and invited the kids to come to. There we go. And The Capitol just was not on the list of ones that we actually attended live. So we watched it on TV. But The Capitol event was super cool. The very last, the male and females can be competed together, which doesn't usually happen. Usually, they're separated. But all the athletes competed together. And the unique thing about this event was that there was no time cap. So you just had to finish it. That was the purpose. Because sandbag event like you had to finish it. And Rebecca Fuselier, who was the very last athlete and was like 10 minutes behind the second to the last athlete, which is a lot of time.
And she was also like the 40th competitor, right? Like on the list of people that could get that qualified for the games. She was the lowest
Amber B 28:19
I don't think she was the 40th she ended up being the 38th on the cutoff. That's what you're thinking okay, but no, I don't think she was ranked 40th coming in. But anyway, she was 10 minutes behind the second to last person and she was, as were many athletes just dying by the time they got to the end. Like this was a grueling, brutal event. I listened to a Patrick Vellner talk and he said that his heart rate was in the 180s to 190s, and he just like couldn't control his heart rate because he was so hot and it was so grueling and like so long.
So long it was after the pig flip and after all that other stuff.
Amber B 28:52
The 3.5-mile run and then the jug carry. Anyway, it was really grueling event. And so Rebecca Fuselier by the time she got to the end she was just exhausted and the crowd could see that and so spontaneous and are with like some people kind of encouraging them what happened because she was the last athlete, there's no one behind her so they kind of circled around and they gathered around her like they filled in behind her in the-
the track that she was running/walking/ crawling
Amber B 29:26
in behind her and just surrounded her and like cheered her on to like finish this last carry up the stairs. And the pictures that you see from that like give you goosebumps of just seeing this crowd like fill in behind her, cheering her on picking her up and telling her that she can get across the finish line and she does and giving her energy and I think just that reminding that who you surround yourself with matters. Like I think she would tell you that she was able to finish that because that community picked her up, that community supported her and I saw that she could finish when maybe she didn't think that she could. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Yeah, I think that's one of those things. It's just fun about CrossFit or exercise in general, as most of you know, you're gonna find a lot of good people, you know, in gyms and things like that. And it's just nice to surround yourself with people that have similar values, similar goals, and then they help lift you up when you're struggling with yours. And you can do the same for them. Yeah, I had heard too, that that decision to allow the crowd to come in because they had had, like, you know, police or security or whatever, like lining the thing, so that no like spectators came into the street or whatever. But then at the end, like, I was positive, or somebody else was there.
Amber B 30:38
And I think some people started asking, I think, no, it was there. Yeah. And he's kind of like, “Can we do this?” And boss was like, “Yeah, that sounds great.” And so they said, “Let the people come in.”
And then that's it. It was so helpful, right to have that support.
Amber B 30:51
Yeah. And I think it just is like an iconic moment for what CrossFit is, is like, one of the whole purposes of CrossFit is the community that is associated with it as you said, it's like that's a big part of what CrossFit is, is getting people together in a box together, doing hard things together, cheering each other on supporting each other. That's one of the things that makes CrossFit unique and amazing. Is that community and so why don't like an iconic picture to see the community picking up an athlete and helping her to finish.
Because everybody wants to see her succeed. Like who in the crowd is out there going, “I hope she doesn't make it.”
Amber B 31:29
And even the athletes, like there were athletes, like Noah was over there, like helping her to, like, push on, he doesn't know her from Adam, like, it's not like they compete or trained together or anything like that, you know, just everybody like wants everybody to do their best and succeed.
And so it's a good lesson, to surround yourself with people that have those goals or have that same desire to see through.
Amber B 31:47
Okay, and then the last lesson that I had was the idea of second chances. So, another big storyline in the CrossFit Games this year was Ricky Garard. Ricky Garard tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2017. I think it was the 2017 games and had a four-year ban for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. I think he got a second place or third place. I can't remember that year. And they ended up taking his medal away. He was a Rookie and they took his medal away. And you know, it's a big deal. Like, they test for these drugs and he tested positive. And he ended up owning it and said, “Yeah, I did do it.” But it was a big deal. And so he had a four-year ban and wasn't able to compete in anything in CrossFit. And this was his first year back. And so as you can imagine, there's a lot of controversy around that of whether he should be allowed back or not, and whether people should like him or not, and like, all of those things, but he did serve his time. And this was his first year back. And so everybody was really interested to see him can have his second chance at doing it “the right way”.
Amber B 32:57
And spoiler alert again, he ended up placing third place after Justin Medeiros and then Ricky Garard. But maybe this is like the feeler in me. I was really glad that like for the most part the crowd was really kind to him. Like I live the last thing I wanted was for the crowd to like boo him.
Yeah, that wouldn't have been any fun to watch and be a part of.
Amber B 33:22
I don't like just like felt really gross to me. But for the most part, the crowd was really respectful of him and cheered for him and I thought it was really neat to see him come back. And that reminder that like we all do dumb things, we all make mistakes. And this idea of coming back and having a second chance at things I think is powerful.
I agree. Totally.
Amber B 33:45
So those were my lessons. Did you have any other stories that you wanted to share?
Well, my other lesson that I can't believe you have mentioned was not to cook steak in your kitchen in a hotel room, unless you want it to smell like three days.
Amber B 34:01
Do you want to tell that story?
Oh, so when we travel, I mean we enjoy eating out but we don't like to eat out like all the time, you know, and so like once a day, it was kind of our goal and when we were out in Madison, and so that meant like you know we sort of hotel we stayed out ahead of breakfast bar so we had breakfast there and then we would usually do lunch and then dinnertime was trying to figure stuff out. And so we went to Walmart and we bought stuff and we just we made the mistake of thinking steak would be fun because my boys like to eat steak, and so we tried to cook our steak on a frying pan in our little kitchenette with like no real ventilation. I mean, I ended up covering the steak with a lid on the frying pan so it didn't like splatter everywhere but the smell kind of got all over the rest of the hotel room for the rest of the time.
Amber B 34:50
I think it was that bad. I mean it did smell like steak. Yeah for like the next couple of hours but I didn't think like the next day. It was bad. Maybe I just got used to it.
I think we just got used to it like every time I walked in the hotel room. I opened the door. I'm like, “Oh, yep, there it is. That's it.”
Amber B 35:03
Still smells like steak in here.
Sorry for whoever comes next. Because those hotel room windows only opened like two inches. So ventilation was suboptimal.
Amber B 35:12
Yeah. Other stories that come to mind for you? You did say that you didn't know how much I like Crossfit.
Well, so guys, listeners, friends. I mean, I knew Amber you think you know your spouse, and then we get to this event and I'm like, “Honey, I knew you liked CrossFit. I didn't know you were like a super CrossFit nerd.” As you know, like all the players, the second line people, the third line people, who they qualified for it, what event and how many years they've been doing it and, you know, we would be like walking past what to me look like random people on the sidewalk and me to be like, “Oh, that's Emma McQuaid.”
Amber B 35:52
No, I'm impressed. You know, Emma McQuaid's name.
Who was it? We stopped and to talk to her. She's a teenage competitor, and you took a picture with her.
Amber B 36:03
Oh, Emma Cary.
Yeah, Emma Cary. Yeah, it was great.
Amber B 36:06
Emma Cary didn't compete for this time around. She hurt her back in Dubai. She's 17. So she didn't get to compete for this time around. But she was there at the games. And so we're walking past her –
And was like walking past some random person. As far as I know. She's like, on the side talking to her friend. She's a teenager. So like, I mean, it's not like I have anything against teenagers. But don't stop and talk to her, have any particular interest in people's like-
Amber B 36:25
Oh, my gosh, that's Emma Cary. Do you want to get pictures? I was like, “Absolutely.”
So being on Instagram has your name.
Amber B 36:33
She was super nice.
She was super grateful.
Amber B 36:35
Yeah, she was very, very kind, very sweet. Well, and that was, I mean, it was nice for me to be on that side of it. Because every now and then somebody comes up to Amber and is like, “Oh, hey, I follow you on Instagram.”
Amber B 36:45
Shout out to people who came and said hi to me at the game, so shout out to those people.
So, I always kind of wonder what's it like to be on the other end of that, and it was fun to watch Amber's fan girl out on the other end. So that was cool. Thanks to everybody that came to say hi to Amber, too. That was fun.
Amber B 37:00
Yeah, that was really fun.
It's fun to meet you guys.
Amber B 37:03
The other thing that I really loved about the CrossFit Games is that it still is small enough that you really have a front-row seat to the athletes, like you can get really close to the athletes while they're competing, and the finish line and things like that. And that was really neat to be able to be that close to the athletes. And honestly, one of the reasons that I wanted to bring the kids to the CrossFit Games is because I think it's so awesome for them to have that athletic, fitness-oriented style person and for their bodies to be the thing that they grow up idolizing or like modeling. Especially for my daughter, like I just love the idea of like, seen as an “ideal body”, someone like Danny Spiegel, you know, which is like not what most people would say, “Oh, that's like the idea of the female body.” Right?
Like a fashion model, super tiny, occupy less space in life,
Amber B 37:58
Not trying to always like diet to be smaller. But like, Danny Spiegel, they asked her, like, “How did you do it?” And she's like, “I eat a lot of crumble cookies.”
Somebody actually gave her crumble cookies because I knew she liked them.
Amber B 38:11
Yeah, like, but to me like that. That's who I want my daughters to emulate. Like stop trying to be smaller, stop trying to be thinner, like take up space, use your body to go do freaking cool things.
Do a lot of different things. It doesn't have to look a certain way.
Amber B 38:26
Well, that's actually an interesting point, too. Like if you are already going in that direction. If you just, for example, take Danny and Jacqueline Dahlstrom. You put those two people next to each other. They have totally different body types and they can both do amazing things. Like you don't have to look a certain way, you don't have to be a certain size, you don't have to wear certain types of clothing to accomplish whatever your goals are.
Amber B 38:51
Yeah, I was listening to Adrian Bozman talks about programming the games. And I remember him saying that one of his goals was to have events where different body types like you wouldn't be able to pick out who was going to win based on their body type. And so he gave an example. I think it was the echo press where it was an echo bike, like and that's all bike and then the handstand push-ups. And he said he loved that event because I think I want to say it was Colton Mertens and Jason Hopper, who if you look at them Colton Mertens is the shortest man out there. They actually call him the hamster, like he's really short. I don't know how tall he is. Maybe 5'5″. Like, the man is really short. Jason Hopper is really big. He's like tall and big. And just like a big guy. You would look at like Colton Mertens and Jason Hopper and just, and they're completely different body types. And yet on that event, they kept going back and forth, like Colton would do better on the handstand push-ups because his arms are shorter. And then you get to the bike and then Jason Hopper would catch up because he's a bigger guy and he can pat has more power output on the bike, and then Colton burns would go ahead on the handstand. And then so it was like these two completely different body types going back and forth neck to neck on this and I can't remember who like eked it out. But the idea was this idea that everybody can do something and it's not just like this event is for this type of body type, it's like he loved having it be a toss-up I was like who's gonna be really good at the vet, we don't know, this you different body types.
Well, and we've made that observation too, that because you are so close to the athlete, you really get a view of their physiques and all of these people are training ridiculously hard. You don't get to the CrossFit Games without putting in lots of hours, and seeing the difference in muscularity, or just general size or definition, or whatever physique attribute you want to pick that may or may not be important to you. Like, we're just different people. Some people are going to be super responders to training in the sense that they're going to put on an incredible amount of muscle and look super lean and jacked, and others are not. And it doesn't necessarily mean just because you look a certain way that you haven't tried hard enough, or you haven't worked hard enough, or isn't, that means you need to go and do more. There are always a lot of just variables that come in there. And I thought that was super interesting. Because, again, you don't get to the CrossFit Games without a lot-
Amber B 41:16
They all put in very similar training time periods and hours in the gym, right? The same training schedule grossly. Yeah, and yet a completely different aesthetic.
Yeah, aesthetics. Well, and then, you know, on that same tone, like even in just maybe circling that just a slightly different direction. Like when you look at the younger athletes compared to the older athletes, you see the maturity that develops from years of training. But it's years of training, right? It's not like, you know, she just spent a couple of extra weeks in the gym. And now her muscle mass is so much larger or smaller.
Amber B 41:51
You know, something else that I forgot to mention that was really cool as a spectator that you probably didn't get to appreciate, as somebody watched it on TV. When my very favorite Mel O'Brien is just one of the youngest athletes competing at the CrossFit Games. She's 18 years old, she ended up getting second place after Tia, she was incredible, is an amazing performance. She has been training with Matt Fraser the last six months who retired in 2020. But previous to that had one five CrossFit Games. And he's been her coach. One of my favorite things to do was to find Matt and find Matt and watch him watch Mel. Like Kate and I would do that where we would be like, “Where's Matt? Where's Matt?”, and we'd watch him watching her and just the excitement and like, how he was and how thrilled he was with her. It was just super fun to watch him watching her because he was so there with her and so in it and just wanted to see her perform and do well. And then when she did well, he just was like, over the moon happy. So that was a fun thing. You don't get that if you're not at the event, but I would always like where's Matt, where's Matt and I kind of knew where he kind of like would float around and then could see him watching that and that was really fun.
That was super fun.
Amber B 43:104
I didn't ever see Shane watching Tia.
I saw him once did you on the sandbag. I saw him over in the corner when he came over.
Amber B 43:15
So anyway, lots of fun. Okay, so quick recap of those five lessons that we learned from the CrossFit Games: number one is where you are isn't a prediction of where you will be. Number two is if you want to keep fighting for it. Number three is take big feats inch by inch. Number four is community matters. And number five is everyone deserves a second chance.
Amber B 43:36
Anything you want to say to wrap up?
So fun. I had a good time at the Games is this fun talk with all your listeners.
Amber B 43:41
That's awesome. Thanks for being here. This wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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