This week, some 50,000 people are set to swarm the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. They're not coming for a soccer tournament or a Taylor Swift concert, but for a chance to see more than 500 athletes vie for the title of "Fittest on Earth." Yep, we're talking about the 2015 Reebok Crossfit Games. No longer just a cultish workout fad, CrossFit is a full-fledged sport complete with fan favorites and a live broadcast on ESPN.
Last year, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet took home the title of "Fittest Woman on Earth." This year will be the 26-year-old Canadian's sixth time competing in the event. Over the previous five years, she's placed in the top 10 four times. To say she's a fierce competitor is an understatement, and she's definitely one to watch (again) this year.
Health chatted with the former gymnast and chemical engineering student (she graduates next fall) about what training for the CrossFit Games is really like, body image, and more.
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What is a typical day like for you leading up to the Crossfit Games?
Normally, I start to change my routine about two months out. My day is always the same. I wake up at 8:30, eat a big breakfast, stretch. I normally eat three to four eggs, a cup of sweet potato, a cup of blueberries, and 12 to 15 almonds.
Then, 10 a.m. is my first workout: weightlifting and conditioning. Then I rest and recover, and eat lunch: always 3 ounces of meat like chicken, with kale or spinach, between 12 to 15 almonds or other nuts, and a cup of sweet potato or cup of blueberries. Every meal is the same pretty much; I'll just change the fruit.
I do more training from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. After that, I eat dinner. And sometimes I end the day with one more final session, about an hour of cardio, like running.
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What got you into CrossFit?
I used to play rugby before I got into CrossFit. The girls' team practiced at same time as the guys. And a lot of the guys were using CrossFit-type of workouts to do conditioning. At some point they challenged me to come try, and that was it. I was hooked.
Before that, though, I was a gymnast. I also played volleyball, soccer, and I've been skiing since I was about 4 years old.
You've said that CrossFit changed how you saw yourself. What do you mean by that?
I think body image is something that affects everybody as they grow up. I used to think beauty was a certain thing—you have to be skinny and look this way or that. Just growing up, but also starting CrossFit made me realize that trying to fit into this mold wasn't worth it. I don't care if I fit in. I just want to be respected.
To be honest, to be a part of a community where what you look like doesn't matter is awesome. [CrossFitters] value you a lot more by your actions more than anything else. And that put a lot of things into perspective for me.
In anything you do in life, you should never be focusing on the wrong thing. If you focus on hard work and being a nice person, it's funny how things just start to fall into the right place.
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Then it's safe to say you think CrossFit is a sport that's very welcoming to women?
Yes! CrossFit is one of the best things to ever happen to women in the way we view women in the world of fitness. It's not about what you look like, it's about functionality. It's the first time where function comes first and aesthetic comes next. It used to always be about what you look like, and within this community at least, it's not like that. I think this is so empowering for every woman of every age. When I was young, I wish I had that. I'm so glad I don't have any thigh gap!
Finally, are you worried about defending your title this year?
Nope. [Laughs] I'm looking forward to competing and showing off all the hard work. With this, it's like we work every day. We already filmed the movie, now it's time to play the movie!
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