Focusing on Strength (And Snatches)

Focusing on Strength (And Snatches)

By Whitney Kailos

I’ve always been goal driven and interested in how hard you can push the body. On the morning of my 21st birthday, I ran 18 miles and then went out to celebrate being able to legally drink. I practiced my swagger walk that night, so sore, and spoke of no training; only my best friend knew about the marathon I was about to tackle.  And the marathon was just the beginning.

second-place-baby-300x300.jpgIn between the long runs and sprint workouts, I ended up fracturing my pelvis. The doctor told me I needed to start weightlifting to build bone mass and to consider other options for exercise. “What about running? When can I start again?”

I’m a girl – we do cardio. Did I consider picking up a barbell? Nope, not once. I sat there pitying myself that I couldn’t exercise.

Enter triathlons; swim, bike, run. I could swim and bike at the time due to my injury, and weightlifting just wasn’t an option to me, so the pool and stationary bike it was. Once I healed from multiple injuries, I attempted my first sprint triathlon (400 m swim, 10 mile bike, 3.1 mile run). I completed a few but needed more of a rush, so I took on training for the Olympic distance (750 m swim, 24.5 mile bike, 6.2 mile run). I podium’d  at my first Olympic because I was the only one in my age group, but of course winning confirmed I was hooked on this sport.

IMG_2331-200x300.jpgThen came the CrossFit Full Circle Groupon. I’ll try anything once, but I was extremely terrified because I didn’t think I’d get through fundamentals without hurting myself or someone else. But I passed! And I started doing a few classes per week to fill the gaps when I wasn’t training for a triathlon. I scaled everything, and any workout that had cleans, snatches, or jerks made me run the other direction, literally. I would immediately cancel and go on a 5 – 10 mile run because that was obviously the logical thing to do.

I continued incorporating CrossFit workouts into my triathlon training. I began to see results, PR’ing every single race I competed in. Muscle started emerging. I even got my first bodyweight pull up. My body was transforming, but I still wasn’t convinced it was from CrossFit. I also admit I continued to stay away from snatches, cleans, and jerks because … I was scared.

In the fall of 2013, I received an invitation to compete nationally in the Olympic distance triathlon. How did this happen? Weightlifting and muscle mass. I decided I was never going to train without integrating CrossFit or lifting into my programming. When I decided to complete my first Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), I used a CrossFit endurance program. I finished under the time I wanted, and with no injury!

whit-abs-200x300.jpgFast forward to the present; I have made the decision to step away from triathlons and focus on strength. It’s a substantial change to my years of endurance training, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. Weightlifting and CrossFit have transformed my body in so many ways, increased my confidence, and continue to be a major challenge for me every day.

I did my first competition this past fall with the best team I could ever imagine. Crazy to think when I first walked in the doors at CrossFit Full Circle, I couldn’t do one pull up. Now I can do 5 with +25 pounds added to me.

I wouldn’t do snatches because I didn’t think I could, and now I wish I could work on them every day because it is my nemesis, and I will get better.

CrossFit Full Circle has taught me that with dedication, patience, and learning the process along with the movements, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I’m thankful to have found such a great community, educated teachers, and most importantly girls should lift as much as they can!




Ready to take that first step toward transforming your body and your confidence? Check out our 90-day Start Up Package, and join us at Full Circle!

1 Comment

  1. I am extremely proud to coach Whitney: Very few students I have ever had have followed instructions and done what was asked of them in the way that she has.

    She could still stand to eat a few more cheeseburgers though. I predict some impressive performances on platforms and muscle up rings in the coming years.


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