We Love Fitness

meet the top female competitors in crossfit

Katrin Davidsdottir

  • 2-time “Fittest Woman on Earth” Reebok CrossFit Games champ (2015/2016)
  • 4 appearances at the CrossFit Games (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
  • Country of Origin: Reykjavik, Iceland, now based in Boston
  • Reebok Athlete
  • @katrintanja

Calm, collected, and bubbly despite the grueling workout schedule she maintains, Katrin Davidsdottir, 23, makes you want to lean in to hear her secret. Her coach, Ben Bergeron, has set the bar high, but it’s her consistency and mental training that have helped her garner wins at the past two CrossFit Games. “I read a lot of sports psychology about elite athletes, their approach to training and competition, and what they’ve had to overcome.” But she doesn’t do it alone: “Ben is definitely the one who gets my mindset straight on a daily basis. He makes sure I’m focusing on the right things and constantly developing my character.”

GRIND AT THE GYM

Improvement doesn’t come easy, so you have to love it. “I love training and the daily grind at the gym.” In other words, she has found her niche. “My favorite part is right after a workout, when I’ve worked hard and just know I’ve gotten better. I leave the gym better than when I walked into it.” But she’s sure to listen to her body. If she’s especially tired or sore in a particular area, she works with her coach to switch it up before her next workout to avoid injury. “I definitely do have a plan, but I am constantly checking in and asking myself, “Am I working hard enough?”
I want to make sure that every workout I do I give 100%.”

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Beginners 28-Day CrossFit Workout

NO TRAIN, NO GAIN

After her big win at the 2016 CrossFit Games in July, her volume isn’t high. “It is important to take some time to give both body and mind a break. But by September I was back at full speed. I couldnt wait!” she says. Yet what about when the stakes are at their peak, just before the CrossFit Games? “My training was at its all-time high before the [2016] Games. I worked out two to three times a day, five days a week.” Days 6 and 7 were lighter days, reserved for swimming. “Games training is my absolute favorite time of year! I love working hard toward something. It’s also when my coach tries to get me out of my comfort zone, so training is full of surprises and overcoming things I thought I couldn’t do.”

MIND OF A WINNER

Any competition is a surreal scene, but the CrossFit Games is a unique spectacle all its own. “In competition I want to make sure I stay focused on myself and give my best effort every time. My goal is to come out of it with no regrets, to know thatI left nothing in the tank. In training it’s easy to focus on yourself and run your own race. That’s when I’m in my comfort zone and not racing anyone. So when it comes competition time it’s important to not get caught up in running someone else’s race or comparing yourself with other girls. I want to be the absolute best version of myself.”

103,000: Number of individual women Davidsdottir had to best in 2016--over five weeks of Opens and Regionals (the worldwide matches they compete in to secure one of 40 slots in their category in the Games)--to keep the title of "Fittest Woman on Earth."

Tia-Clair Toomey

  • 2nd place in the 2015 and 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games
  • Country of Origin: Gladstone, Australia
  • Reebok Athlete
  • Owner, CrossFit Gladstone
  • @TiaToomey

For one athlete this year, before the Road to Rio there was Carson, CA, to contend with first—the home of the 2016 CrossFit Games. Tia-Clair Toomey, 23, had always wanted to compete in both the Olympic Games and the CrossFit Games in the same year ever since starting CrossFit seriously in 2013. This year she pulled it off with grace, making her Olympics weightlifting debut with a “Second Fittest Woman on Earth” silver medal already in hand. In Rio she placed fifth in her category (58kg Group B, finishing at 189kg). Not shabby for a first-timer.

You could easily say that focus and family got her to where she is today. “I set a goal for myself and wake up determined to achieve it, not only for myself but for Shane [Orr], my fiancé and coach [along with Miles Wydall], who has sacrificed his life in order to help me reach my goals.” Now that she’s tasted second place twice at the CrossFit Games, she listens really carefully to her body to know how hard to push herself in training. Yet she also knows when to pull back. “Shane always programs for me ahead of time. And I generally stick to it, but I might feel a bit tired after a heavy day and he’ll change the program on the spot.”

SEE ALSO: 9 Foundational CrossFit Moves

LOVE WHAT YOU DO

CrossFit took over her life in 2013, and just six months later she started weightlifting competitively, too. It’s a deep-set passion that was just waiting to wake up. “My favorite aspects of training are skill work and learning and performing new tricks. Also lifting off against the boys I train with!”

INSPIRED LIVING

Toomey is what we’d call a 24/7 CrossFitter, because she also owns a CrossFit box, CrossFit Gladstone. And she’s there every day except Sunday to coach athletes, new and veteran alike. Her advice to newbies and aspiring women: “Surround yourself with supportive and caring people and always have fun.” This humble, soft-spoken athlete is always one to watch. Her favorite quote: “Winners focus on winning, and losers focus on winners.”

Kari Pearce

  • 5th Place in 2016 CrossFit Games
  • Country of Origin: New York City, United States
  • Coach at CrossFit Spot
  • @karipearcecrossfit

TRAINING FOR THE TOP SPOT

Training at such a high level of competition is as demanding as it is rewarding, and Kari Pearce is always pushing limits. “My favorite aspect is that there’s always something to get better at. I like the constant challenges my coach, Mike Varrato, gives me. It’s fun! Plus, I enjoy playing around with different strategies for workouts to find out what my body can handle and what works best,” says Pearce. “My least favorite aspects of training at this level are the aches and pains. I love training and don’t always like taking it easy, but it’s required on days you aren’t feeling your best.” Pearce explains the importance of checking in with her body before a workout: “My coach writes my program, and I follow it 95% of the time. There are some days my body is just tired, so I have to adjust the weights and/ or exercises. There are also days when my body feels good, so I like to get in extra work.”

SEE ALSO: Chipper: The Hardest Workout in Crossfit History

LOOKING AHEAD

Pearce finished fifth at the 2016 CrossFit Games and is looking to improve upon that result for 2017. “Currently, my coach has me on a five-day-a-week program, focusing on accessory work, gymnastics endurance, and MetCons/conditioning.”

MENTAL EDGE

“Having been a gymnast for 18 years, I’ve gotten a lot of practice with mental training. It’s helpful to envision myself performing before I take the competition floor.” She also tries to do other competitions throughout the year in order to stay in a competitive mindset. Her advice to other women who have just started or are looking to get into the sport is to not get discouraged. “Don’t be afraid if you don’t master everything the first time you try it. As with anything else, consistency is key. If you get frustrated, just don’t give up. Stick with it and know the movements and workouts will get better.”

SEE ALSO: 13 CrossFit WODs to Live By


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We Love Fitness - 2013