WEDNESDAY WINS: HOLLY P.!
“CrossFit could save the world”
Holly P. is not just an amazing all-around athlete and woman, she’s pretty much a coach’s dream personified. She understands that CrossFit is all about the long game — that is, living a long, healthy and fulfilled life because of the wonderful things CrossFit can bring to it.
By CrossFit standards, she’s an “OG”, starting her journey in 2012. “I really buy into the CrossFit old school methodology. Pat Sherwood (he might be my favorite CrossFit OG) said that if you are doing a “deadlift 3-3-3-3-3” correctly, that should be all you need for the day. More isn’t always better because it’s often done with less intensity and you should strive for intensity over volume. He also said his biggest piece of advice as a coach to new athletes is that he wants them to come back the following day. It really speaks to the ‘CrossFit for life’ concept.”
She grew up very active playing sports like gymnastics, softball and field hockey but wasn’t great at any of them. “I worked hard and never and never was the star player. It always seemed to take extra work for me. But I found myself in the position of team captain often because I was always a great cheerleader.”
Yep, that makes total sense to us. When she’s working, she’s working hard. But at the same time she’s also supporting everyone around her (yet another reason why the coaches love her and her fellow athletes love being around her). “I’m equally happy when I find success as when someone else does. I was with Jess when she recently hit a PR – and I was so happy for her!
She also finds inspiration in the ‘Leaderboard’. “What I love about it is that it’s not always about you. Right now I love the morning classes because I’ve found some great rabbits to chase. I love Andrea. She does so much work that if I’m even close to her and that’s awesome. And Jess has an engine that she can go fast, but also heavy. It’s awesome to be around them. What people need to realize is that with so many levels of athletes here, someone is likely looking to chase YOU at the Leaderboard.” That’s a brilliant notion and something we should all think about. All of us are rabbits and all of us are being chased.
A math teacher, she cherishes her summers. But not only because of more time off, but it means more time for CrossFit. “During the school year I do as much of the Cove programming as I can and I come every Saturday. “It’s nice to get IN the gym. Toes to bar, pull-ups, heavier barbells. Rowing. All the things I can’t do at home that I love.” Being in class is so motivating. It just drives you to do more. The tricky part is that while it can be so good, it can also be dangerous. In the past, if I were last at something I’d hyperventilate. I would debate going lighter just so I didn’t finish with everyone watching me. I’d get hit with that negative voice. With time I’m realized that I just need to take a deep breath and remember it’s all about fitness for a lifetime (not a score). My ego has definitely calmed down so I’m in a better place to know where I can push myself and where I can’t.”
Another CrossFit philosophy is that we should celebrate our strengths, but more importantly, work on our weaknesses. This concept has been engrained in Holly since WAY before CrossFit entered her life. “I remembered in field hockey I needed to better at running. So I’d start adding accessory running to my training to attack the issue.“ She recently re-tested the Open workout 18.2 and crushed it. “I re-did 18.2 because that’s the one where I was the lowest in percentile vs. the other Open workouts (did we mention she’s a math teacher?). The workouts you don’t want to do are exactly the ones you should do. For me, right now, that’s anything with the assault bike. That thing gets me every time!”
Throughout her CrossFit journey, she’s had some major life changes. She got married, had two beautiful boys (and got her L-1 along the way). “Being pregnant made me really realize that I was on a different path than other athletes. I coached at a gym throughout my first pregnancy, worked out five to six days a week with high intensity and everyone said ‘Holly, that’s so great! You’re going to have such an easy delivery’. But actually, it was a terrible delivery. What I didn’t realize is that by training so much pelvic floor was turned on all the time and was actually making things worse.”
“My kids are only a year apart, so I never really got back to my original level before Grant (her second child). This postpartum has been so different. If a workout calls for 50 doubles, sure I could do it. But I’d pee on the floor. It’s just not worth it. I break it up in sets and get the 50 done, but in a way that works for me”.
With so many pregnant women at the Cove and our focus on better serving these athletes with P/PP (Pregnant/Postpartum) programming tracks, we love Holly’s perspective on this. “People will say ‘listen to your body’. But it’s not your body anymore. This body is one you don’t know. It just grew a human (or are growing one) and you pushed it out of your body in a place it doesn’t fit. Organs have moved and have changed. They say it’s almost a year to make the baby and a year to recover from it. It’s just a chapter. A year is a blip on the radar of your life. Give yourself grace.”
She’s six years into CrossFit and it continues to add value to her life. I think the biggest thing CrossFit gives me an overall healthier mindset. It gave me a set of goals. There’s always a new movement and always something to get better at. I feel confident because I feel strong. And I love what it does for my kids. Ethan does “jump boxes” at home. He brings out mats for burpees and recently called himself a coach”. It’s become a family affair.
Her nutrition is better than ever too. “I try so hard here that I don’t want to sabotage that with eating badly. Nothing makes me want to eat something more than someone saying no. Counting macros is great for me because I can have a Rolo or a Reese’s if I plan the day right. It’s math so I love it!”
“I also love that my kids get to see me eating the same food they eat. I never want them to say, “Mommy can’t eat that because she’s on a diet.” Instead, we work on moderation and choices. We eat pizza every Friday but pair it with vegetables and refrain from sweets that day.
This is definitely the best I’ve felt aesthetically in years! I know part of it is consistency in the gym, but I think most of it is using nutrition to complement my workouts. I need energy to keep up with my boys and can’t afford to get hangry so macros has made sure I’m eating enough calories to give me good energy every day and the right types of food to make me feel strong, not slothy.”
But I REALLY love CrossFit because of the methodology behind it. As a math teacher I love that everything is data. Success is in the numbers. The weight is improving. The times get faster. Movement patterns get better and it applies to real life. I even love the rep scheme 21-15-9 that is core to CrossFit. It drops by 6 and they are all multiples of three.
I’ll read what Glassman (CrossFit founder) says and think to myself ‘that’s genius’! I think everyone should do it. I think it could save the world.”
We do too Holly. Yes, we do!
In 18 minutes:
Find a heavy set of 2 Deadlifts
12 Overhead Grip Bent-over Barbell Rows
10 Partner Glute Ham Raises
5×5 Overhand grip Deadlifts (conventional or sumo) – work up to no more than 70% of 1RM – no dropping from top
12 OH grip BBRs
10 Good Mornings (can use band, unloaded barbell or light barbell)
EMOM for 12 minutes:
Min 1: Farmers Carry (two KBs/DBs in each hand, walking the gym)
Min 2: Max Doubles
Min 3: 15/10 Cals Assault Bike Sprint
P/PP MetCon Scales
Focus on pinning back shoulders during farmers carries – do not let shoulders round forward. Keep ribs stacked over hips.
Sub doubles for rope waves
Coach’s Tip: Heavy day for Deadlifts! Your work up to your heavy set of 2 will be quick but be smart with the weight jumps. As always, form over weight. For the metcon, we want constant movement with the Farmers Carry…you shouldn’t have to set them down. You should have at least 20 seconds to get from the bike back to your Farmers Carries. If not, cut some cals down.