Meet Meg – Our BoxMate Athlete.
From getting engaged mid wall ball demo to leaving a career to fully focus on her CrossFit passion, BoxMate athlete Meg’s attitude embodies everything we love so much about the sport!
We caught up with Meg to find out what it is that she loves so much about training and some of her top tips for upping your own game inside the box.
So, Meg – how did you first become interested in CrossFit?
I went to my first ever CrossFit class with a past boyfriend in university whilst I was competing as a Heptathlete. I remember enjoying it (if that’s the right word for it!) at the time, but thought it was very hard. I think the session was bench press for strength, a snatch EMOM and then an AMRAP of sit ups, wall balls and pull ups. I just remember that I kept having to stop every minute because I was so tired!
I never actually went back because I was just so set on being an American Heptathlete at that time and I didn’t want to start attending CrossFit and risk interfering with my training.
Fast-forward three years and I came over to England to compete in the Heptathlon for Durham University alongside studying for my Masters. I was living with 9 (yes 9!) other American girls and I decided to try the dating scene on Tinder. People might give the whole ‘swipe right’ app a bad rep but it’s actually where I met (my now husband!) Richard! I have to admit I totally swiped right on Richard because I had seen he did CrossFit in his tinder pictures and he had a picture with his shirt off and his six pack showing (I mean, you’ve got to love a CrossFit guy right!? 😂) So, I swiped right and I’m so glad I did! On our third date he took me to his CrossFit gym and I just completely got the bug for it! I soon after quit the heptathlon and started doing CrossFit classes with him four times a week – I was hooked!
What was it like being proposed to at the box?
Ahh! I absolutely loved being proposed to at the box! It was a complete surprise and I genuinely had no idea whatsoever. Our coach was in on it and asked me to demo a wall ball for the class, meanwhile Richard got down on one knee and when I turned around from the demo there he was. I think what made it even more special is that Richard knows how important it is to me – CrossFit is what brought us together. It might sound cheesy but it’s where we fell in love and spent a lot of our ‘new couple’ hours together. For him to propose to in our box where we spend so much of our time and surrounded by all our friends was very romantic!
The whole class being a part of it made me feel so special and it just goes to show that a CrossFit box is so much more than a gym – it’s a community of friends too.
I must say, my legs were a bit wobbly after and I felt a bit weak…then five minutes later we had to build to a three rep max Back Squat… so, yeah, that was hard! 😂
What is it that makes CrossFit so addictive?
For me, it’s the fact that there’s always something that you can work on and improve. The possibilities are endless with it – you could do it for fun and just to enjoy fitness and healthy competition with your mates and the community, or you can do it on a competitive level and try to be the best you can be!
I’m lucky that I get to do both sides of it and compete alongside some crazy insane athletes! I’m definitely one of those people who will never stop until I am the best and in CrossFit it is nearly impossible to be the best – so that’s what keeps me constantly working at it.
I’m sure loads of people can relate to this, but I literally think about training all the time. When there is something I can’t do I want to learn to do it until I can. But, even without the competitive side I just think it’s good fun.
What would your ‘top tips’ be to a newcomer thinking of starting up CrossFit?
Nail the basics first!
Okay, so I’d say: nail the basics first. Don’t try to do all the fancy stuff right away or get yourself down about not being able to do everything that others in the gym can do who have been there for a long time!
Take baby steps, enjoy it, get stuck in and the rest will follow! Also – never be afraid to scale a workout! Remember “Scaling is not failing!” – Push yourself to your own personal limits and keep making improvements on yourself. Don’t worry about anyone else.
Also, make friends with the other members. CrossFit is so much more than ‘just in the box’. People at our gym go for trail runs, swimming, long bike rides, paddle boarding and so much more. If you get stuck in you can open yourself up to such a fun and varied way of keeping fit!
Tips for your first CrossFit Competition?
First up – how exciting for you if it’s your first comp! It’s obviously a little nerve-wracking the first time, especially if it’s a solo competition. Just remember that everyone feels exactly the same going into a competition, even if it’s not their first time. I’m still nervous before every competition, but for me it’s about channelling those nerves into a positive thing.
Try to get out of your head that nerves are bad. Turn those nerves into motivation!!
Picture yourself after the competition and how proud and alive you’re going to feel and hold on to that positive feeling. Imagining myself at the end knowing I absolutely went for it and gave it everything always pushes me through it and lets me give every competition everything I’ve got.
Also it is important to think about nutrition and what you’ll be eating the night before. I know some amazing athletes talk about having a pizza or curry the night before, but for me I really do believe in fuelling your body with the absolute best food you can. Stick to something you’ve tried and tested before a heavy workout and hasn’t upset your stomach – pre-comp is not the time for trying something brand new! I like to have a range of foods with me that I can pick at and decide what I fancy throughout the day at that particular time.
So, my checklist would probably look something like:
- Large Thermos of Coffee
- Granola Bars / Overnight oats
- Pasta Salad
- Sandwich with peanut butter and jam (sweet and protein filled!)
- Loads (and I mean loads) of water – sometimes there is a huge queue for the water fountain so take plenty.
- A spare change of workout clothes if you feel the need to change. Often there is a long wait time between WODs and you might feel more comfortable in a fresh set.
- Warm/ dry clothes to throw on at the end of the day/ while waiting around (think big hoodie and sweatpants)
- Flannel/ baby wipes (to freshen up midday – some of those workouts get sweaaaty!)
- A written list of the workouts (if you have access to them before) so that you can go through them if you need to help you feel calm.
When you’re giving a workout everything you’ve got, the likelihood is you’re going to be gasping for air and pumping blood as hard as it can around your body to get you through, so your energy levels are paramount! I personally try to eat sugars and carbs in the beginning and middle of the day and then get all the healthy bits in at night like veggies and greens and protein. So for example, I might eat some fruit in the morning but avoid it at night when my body is trying to wind down.
How important is it to you to track your CrossFit progress?
It is so important. Before BoxMate I didn’t track and I actually find it sad in a way because I now have no way of looking back and seeing how far I have come since the very beginning.
I can’t get that time back and even though it does frustrate me that a chunk of my CrossFit journey from the start is missing, now I track I can’t imagine training without it. It reminds me a bit of when my nan told me to keep a diary growing up (of course I didn’t listen) but now, just like she said I would, I do regret it as it’s so nice to be able to look back at those special moments. It’s the same thing with tracking your training – you want to make sure you can look back and see all the hard work that you have achieved.
For me, it is so important to track your progress because you can see down the line how much you have improved. It’s all of those little improvements that make such a difference.
In my box I hear people say all the time things like “Yes! Just checked BoxMate and I beat my last score by 5 kg” or by 10 seconds or whatever it is they’ve been doing. Often, they haven’t even realised they’ve improved before they’d checked BoxMate.
How has using BoxMate shaped your experience of CrossFit?
Using BoxMate has added a level of competition to my training which I love. I get to compare myself to my previous scores, but also to other gym members if I want to! We all genuinely push each other every day to do our best!
The ‘screen shot and share’ function is ace – I enjoy sharing my PBs and taking screenshots of my improvements and sharing them on social media. Sometimes I think before a workout or movement “Okay, I really have to nail this one so I can share it on BoxMate and get my confetti!” It’s like having your own personal coach on your phone saying “Look at what you can do! You’ve improved so much!” Getting that congratulations confetti is such a good feeling and makes the world of difference.
It’s not that I want to show off to people that I hit a personal best – it’s for me. It’s to show myself and prove to myself that I can do it! For me, tracking my training is all about proving to myself that I can improve and seeing the numbers add up it makes it so much more enjoyable and realistic.
What is your go-to song to get you pumped up before attempting a heavy lift?
Well, I went to a high school in Detroit and I absolutely love Eminem songs to help me get a good pump up! But for me it would have to be ‘Lose Yourself’ to really get me in the zone!
Finally, what are your CrossFit goals for the future?
My goals are to make it to a sanctioned event in the elite category. The absolute dream would to be on a sanctioned event team and make top five as a team. I’ve always loved team sport and I push myself so much harder on a team.
I would also love to take an athlete to the CrossFit Games as a CrossFit coach one day as I love passing on advice and helping to develop other people too!