Just a little more than four months ago, 23-year-old Andrea Ager stood with her team, Brick CrossFit, at the Home Depot Center for the final event of the 2011 CrossFit Games. The last team event, a memorable combination of Girls: “Elizabeth,” “Fran,” “Isabel,” “Grace,” “Diane” and “Karen,” would determine the overall winner of the Affiliate competition.
Ager faced the 30 snatches at 95-pounds of “Isabel” while enthusiastic Brick fans cheered her on as she spent the next 7 minutes and 15 seconds, battling a weight that was close to her one-rep max. Seven minutes. Not the most competitive “Isabel,” and certainly not something that was going to put Ager at the Games as an individual. However, Ager’s CrossFit training, of barely a year, had really just started.
Ager is no stranger to competition. She was a four-year track and field athlete at Mesa State College. So it is no surprise that the day after the Games Andrea was back to training. Six weeks after that, Andrea popped up on the individual competition scene.
She competed against a slew of Southern California advanced individual athletes in a three-part series: “The Next Level Invitational,” a local competition. Kristan Clever, 2010 Games champion, happened to be one of the women Ager went up against. After a hailstorm, and a quick re-figuring of the workouts, Ager came out as the winner, taking Clever in the floater WOD. This win sent some reverberations around the SoCal CrossFit community.
Two months later, in the same competition series, Andrea set out to face her Games nemesis, “Isabel,” mixed in with a 4.5 km bike ride, in a workout aptly named “Cyclebel.”
“I was really worried about that WOD because I hadn’t practiced high-rep snatches since the Games, but I dialed in on form and I got 3:30 at the NLI,” Ager said.
Not only did she cut her time in half, but she has also cut her weight since the Games. She competed in the Games at 155 pounds, and, now, she is holding at 140. An immediate concern for most would be a loss in lifts, maybe even a change in overall ability. For Ager, the change has been a huge one, but not in the way you may think. Andrea went from a snatch of about, “110 to 115” at Games time to a current snatch of “140.” That’s not only a 25-pound gain in four months, but she also hit the prestigious bodyweight snatch.
Diet is clearly an important part of Andrea’s training. “High fat. High, high, high, fat,” she explains. “And all different kinds of meats. I eat salads, all vegetables, and I’m drinking some milk to gain a bit of weight back. No enhancements, no artificial protein.”
She says she’s not OK with anything unnatural. “I don’t take pills, or dietary supplements. Definitely no energy drinks. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I need [additional] stuff to train. I train all the time. It’s survival. If I am in a canyon I don’t want to be wondering if I’ll survive without my supplements. I try to get all my vitamins from the food I eat. The only thing I take is fish oil. No fruit, and no alcohol, and I eat about a pound of bacon everyday.”
This high fat diet fuels Ager’s rigorous training schedule. “I do at least one really long, pretty hard workout, and one or two supplemental WODs each day. I really go by the way I feel. If my legs feel good, I trash my legs. If my arms feel good, I go for a 30 muscle-up workout,” she says. “On rest days, well I never take full rest days, I go to the beach, I do bar muscle ups, I run, I do intervals on the sand, rest, relax, gymnastics, stretch. I go to a different atmosphere.”
Her coach, Ronnie Teasdale, of CrossFit Mean Streets, helps facilitate her high volume training. “He coaches me to compete, to take off seconds, to be smart … to rest at the right times. He helps me be intelligent about my workouts.”
This weekend, Ager not only achieved this goal, but she solidified her place amongst the elite. Again she faced not only Clever, but 3rd place 2011 Games competitor Rebecca Voigt, and two other Games athletes Katie Hogan and Lindsay Valenzuela.
Ager is hungry, and as SoCal’s Dark Horse, she will be the one to watch during the 2012 CrossFit Games season.