"I've done a lot of obscure type sports in my background, like white water kayaking and stuff. I enjoy things like that. Challenges."
Pip Malone is the only new face among Australia’s individual Games-bound athletes after placing third at the 2013 Regional. With a strong background in national- and international-level sports, Malone feels ready for the mental and physical toll the Games will bring.
“I like to go into it (competition) without any expectations. I always have goals, but I wouldn’t use the word expectations,” Malone says. “Because I have competed as an international athlete before, I’d go beyond saying that I don’t want to just go and compete for the experience. I’d like to go over and actually make people watch me.”
Despite having no expectations, Malone has carefully considered the field of athletes competing at this year’s Games.
“Everyone is set in places in the top girls, but I think if the workouts go towards my strengths, I'm definitely in with a shot to do some good things, so we'll just see what they throw at us,” she says.
Malone has been following the ‘Give’m Cold Steel’ training program at CrossFit GCS, which she credits for her excellent performance at the Australia Regional.
“The training program I follow has probably been one of the things that has got me to the Games in the first place,” Malone says. “Having a sporting background has helped, but my specific training program definitely got me through Regionals.”
The ‘Give’m Cold Steel’ program was designed to train athletes specifically for the CrossFit Games.
“It’s been training me specifically to compete as a Games athlete, but Regionals was really, really tough, so it came down to my training program,” she says. “Leading up to Regionals, I was hitting all my weaknesses until we found out what the workouts were and then for that couple of weeks, literally all I did was the movements that were going to be at Regionals and just bits and pieces of the workouts.”
The narrow focus of that training was mentally taxing for Malone, but proved to be beneficial at the Regional. However, her training leading up to the Games has been much more fun, she says.
“Leading up to the Games, it’s a lot more fun, mentally, because I’m just doing everything I possibly can to prepare for anything,” Malone says. “It’s also not quite as demanding on my body because I’m getting a lot more variety.”
Not knowing what the events will be at the CrossFit Games means that Malone gets to play around with lots of different workouts.
“I’m always going to have weaknesses, but now they’re at the level that I need them at to be competitive at the Games, so it’s just building on those strengths that I’ve gained and the things that I’m good at, like gymnastics stuff,” Malone says.
“It’s basically trying to amp that stuff up to the ultimate level, like handstand push-ups are one of my best things so I’m trying to do them on rings and with huge deficits and stuff like that to make everything harder.”
Like most athletes, Malone is preparing for the obscure and unexpected. In fact, she’s hoping for it.
“Obscure things I feed off because I enjoy things like that,” Malone says.
“I’ve done a lot of obscure type sports in my background, like white water kayaking and stuff. I enjoy things like that. Challenges.”
While Malone relishes those obscure challenges, she has no idea what Dave Castro will come up with for the Games.
“I really don’t know what they’re going to throw because I really don’t think you can actually predict it,” Malone says. “I would like to think they’re going to do maybe an obstacle course again but maybe incorporate endurance with it. So it could be like some sort of long, triathlon-type thing but have obstacles throughout it.”
While physically Malone is preparing for the unexpected, her diet remains mostly unchanged.
“I've always just been gluten free,” Malone says. “I don't follow one specific fad diet.”
How much she consumes is based on her training.
“It also depends on my training intensity and volume. Generally, when I'm coming up closer to a competition, the intensity at training goes right up so I need to eat a lot more, whereas off-season, I go really strict. I guess you could call it paleo but I wouldn't say I follow the paleo diet,” Malone says. “I just say gluten free, basically.”
Malone’s Games preparation has included a collection of fundraisers, including an athlete shirt from her sponsor Reebok, which supporters could purchase to help pay for the cost of getting her to the Games.
“We did an online funding page, which got a lot of attention that I just was not expecting at all, so the community really helped me out there which was just awesome,” Malone says.
“We've got a fundraiser at CrossFit Revolution X, which is a fundraiser for Chad, myself and the Active team,” she continues. “They're running a morning workout and they're going to run an in-house competition … everyone’s been really supportive.”
Malone is grateful for the support.
“America is so big, but Australia, we definitely have a unique community here,” she says.
The anticipation of the unknown is exciting for Malone.
“Everyone keeps telling me that it’s going to absolutely blow my mind at just how ridiculous it is, so I’m actually just really excited to be shocked and surprised by it all.”