She just turned 21, started CrossFit the old HQ in Santa Cruz, Calif., she trains with one of the most competitive gyms in Northern California and she’s got a renewed focus and fire.
Whitney Heuser, a college junior, even has CrossFit Games experience. As a member of the 2011 Diablo CrossFit team, she’s had a taste of the most coveted of CrossFit competitor experiences. She was on the same team when it took 3rd place at the 2011 Northern California Regional. Having competed at the Home Depot Center, she knows that singular joy of being down on the field in that quintessential Games experience.
Now, Heuser is ready to experience these things as an individual competitor in 2012 with her 4th place finish in the Open in the Northern California Region. There is no doubt Heuser is an exceptional athlete, and that training and competing has been a large part of her life for many years.
While on her high school softball team, she started training at the original CrossFit box in Santa Cruz with trainer Jason Highbarger. At that time, her goal with CrossFit was to simply round out her training and improve her softball game. In fact, Heuser started CrossFit because her dad insisted she find a way to cross-train as a high school ball player. And that’s what it was for her – a great training program.
After heading off to college and playing softball at St. Mary’s in Moraga, CrossFit fell off Heuser’s radar for a short time. But she wasn’t gone for long. She decided to attend the CrossFit Games for the first time ever, and in 2010 headed down to Carson, Calif., as a spectator. She was simply awed by what she saw.
She became more involved at Diablo CrossFit, completing the Level 1 Seminar in December of that same year. The 2011 Open started a few months later, and by the end of the Open, Heuser was in competitive CrossFit mode. She still had no thoughts of competing as an individual, but the Diablo team experience was a great one – the training, camaraderie, fun and the Games.
Heuser loves having fun with CrossFit, but her fun has become focused and certainly has an air of seriousness about it. She’s training now, not just playing in the gym. She follows a very strict paleo diet, and trains in gymnastics and Olympic lifts to be as prepared as possible for the Northern California Regional.
She’s even succumbed to the encouragement of her coach, Jeremy Jones of Diablo CrossFit, and has started keeping a journal of her food, sleep and training. Jones has become her coach only recently, programming individually for Heuser, although she continues to often train with the team she knows and loves. In this move from the team, both in softball and CrossFit, Heuser appreciates the many lessons she has – dedication to training, proper nutrition, and the value of sleep. As an individual competitor for the first time, she sees the importance of personal responsibility for her own training and schedule, balancing the many things vying for her time, and the high demand there is now for her to be personally accountable.
Going individual was a big decision for Heuser — the Diablo team is like a family with weekly dinners and regular training sessions. But it was not a hard one. She is still part of the team, and now feels their support even more. She’s thrilled to be an individual competitor this season; she has given up softball, giving her far more time for training and a singular sport focus. Her time at the gym is still fun, but it’s focused with a strength program and a plan of attack in her skills training.
With the Regional events announced, Heuser is excited to tackle each and every workout. She loves them all, with squats being one of her particular strengths. She knows, just like everyone else looking at those workouts that the 70-pound dumbbell will get heavy, but she is determined and ready to work her way to a fabulous finish in 2012 – and back to the Games, this time as an individual.