Carly just started physical therapy school Wingate University. She attended high school locally at Greenbrier. She was an intercollegiate soccer player at the University of South Carolina for 4 years before transitioning into crossfit and Olympic weightlifting exercises.
Can you describe the type of training you enjoy doing now? What would a typical workout day/week look like for you?
My training mentality has drastically changed since finishing my competitive soccer career. While at school, I was under pressure to maintain a certain level of fitness in order to pass fitness tests and play 90 minutes in a game. My training has transitioned from approximately 80% cardio workouts with some added in strength components to approximately 80% high intensity interval workouts with some added in distance runs or even hikes. Throughout the week, I usually do crossfit at least four days a week, if not five. If I have time on the weekend I will go to crossfit to get a workout in, but I also enjoy an occasional run (I feel as if runs elongate my muscles after a week of heavy lifting). While at the gym, I do a fairly in-depth warm-up that includes both static and dynamic stretching. In regards to workouts, they vary each day. There is almost always a weightlifting component that will include either deadlift, snatch, power clean, squat clean, overhead squat, etc. Our WODs (workout of the day) will be made up of different exercises that must be performed in a varied time format.
What were some of the most difficulty challenges in transitioning from soccer to crossfit/Olympic weightlifting?
In transitioning from soccer to crossfit/Olympic weightlifting, I think that the most difficult transition was learning how to sufficiently warm-up my body. Warming up for a soccer game or practice is very different than what I need to do at the gym. While they both include quick movements that could potentially injury a muscle, the activities performed are very different. Not only do I use my upper body much more, but I have to work on flexibility (especially hip and shoulder) in order to be successful at Crossfit.
You’ve competed in one crossfit meet. How was it?
My first and only crossfit competition experience was actually very successful. I competed in a competition that had partner workouts. My partner and I won each WOD and the entire competition. The competition did remind me of the constant pressure to perform that I was under throughout my collegiate career that I quite frankly do not miss yet. I do not intend on participating in another competition any time soon, but maybe my mentality will change over the years. I truly enjoy workout out for ME. I enjoy not being told what to do or being judged on my performance.
Do you have any future competitions in mind? Or any specific goals for your current training?
As for my current training, I do have goals in regards to my Olympic weightlifting. I have PRs in most all lifts that I like to test every few months. I feel a sense of accomplishment because I know that working on my weightlifting not only increases the amount of weight I can move, but I also know that crossfit improves my strength to a large extent. It is difficult to make specific crossfit goals because it is almost impossible to measure your performance since it is so constantly varied.
What are some of your favorite methods of staying injury-free while training? Have you encountered any sort of new injuries since your transition to crossfit? If so, how did you mange them?
Everyone who says that crossfit kills your body is right to an extent. If you do not properly stretch and prepare your body for your workouts, you will get hurt. Every muscle in your body is worked in somewhat abnormal ways and it does present a large window for injury. If I complete a warmup and have not worked up a sweat, I will jump on the assault bike or rower to get my heart rate up and to ensure that by body is ready to go. While working on weightlifting, I am always sure to warm up with lighter weights. I will never increase by weight by more than 20 pounds between reps. If a weight is too easy, I see it as my body continuing to warm up, not a waste of a lift. When my weights get heavy, I will increase my weight by 5 pounds at a time.
Do you plan on continuing to train for crossfit while in physical therapy school? How do you think the training will be different?
I would love to continue my crossfit and weightlifting training when I go to grad school. I am hoping that I can find a gym that is reasonably priced because I will not have an income and crossfit gyms usually run between 100 and 150$ a month. If I cannot attend a crossfit gym, I will do my best to simulate HIIT workouts at a regular gym while continuing to work on my weightlifting.
Lastly, do you have any advice for people transitioning from collegiate team sports to crossfit training? Or for those trying to stay fit while also making the grades to get accepted into grad school?
Transitioning from collegiate team sports to crossfit (or any other mode of exercise) can be difficult. I believe that most student-athletes have a mentality that if they do not exercise like they did in college, they will feel sluggish or even feel overweight. I have completely changed my means of exercise and feel like I am in equally as good of shape or even better shape. While I am at a different level of fitness (I most definitely cannot play in a 90minute high-intensity soccer game but can back squat 250lbs.), I know that my body is still healthy. I have also learned that you can exercise anywhere. You do not need gym equipment or even a road to run on. Body weight workouts can be equally as tiring as a long run if you allow yourself to have little rest and do a high rep scheme. In regards to a busy schedule that many students or full-time workouts do face, time is most definitely precious. If you are only able to workout for 20 minutes, it is better than nothing. Exercise is great for minimizing stress levels, no matter how long it is done for. The most important to be in regards to staying healthy and fit is having a healthy diet. You can out-eat any exercise. On days that I do not have time to exercise but have eaten healthy, I know that I am still bettering my body because I have given it the proper fuel it needs.