As a single mother, Danielle Hale knows what it means to work hard. Balancing a full-time job on the CrossFit Affiliate Support Team, taking care of her 8-year-old daughter and training six days a week, she has already proven she can handle the pressure of a full life and compete at a high level in CrossFit.
After finishing 10th at the 2012 Southern California Regional, Hale decided to ramp up her training, improve her skills and get stronger for 2013.
Currently, she sits in fourth place in SoCal. Despite finishing first in the region on 13.3, she was surprised to see herself at the top of the Leaderboard.
“Usually, I’ll put my score in and wait for my heroes — people like Kristan Clever, Rebecca Voigt, Andrea Ager and Valerie Voboril — to put their scores in and then I watch myself fall in the rankings,” she says. “After finishing this week, I’m honestly just happy to see my scores near theirs. It is an amazing feeling.”
Going into 13.3, Hale and her coach, Steve Boyd, of CrossFit by Overload Murrieta, set a goal of 20 muscle-ups; she nailed 25.
“Steve makes a plan and I follow it,” she says. “If he tells me to go faster, I go faster, if he tells me to slow down, I do. I just listen to him and go. It works.”
After 13.3, she sits in 19th place worldwide.
Hale is a relatively small athlete at 5-foot-4 and 132 pounds. She is good at high-skill movements, like muscle-ups, and people often assume she was a gymnast.
“I love going to our gym’s gymnastics classes, but I have never been a gymnast,” she says. “I did (gymnastics) for about a week when I was 10. I grew up playing softball.”
Regardless of her size, she still managed to finish 198 reps — eight snatches at 120 lb. — on 13.1.
“I love snatching and feel very comfortable under the bar,” she says, “so I was excited to see that workout. I was not always confident about snatching, though. I failed the 115-lb. snatch in the ladder at Regionals in 2012. I went to the bar shaking and afraid. After that (failure), I wanted to snatch and clean and jerk everyday so that I wouldn’t feel that fear again.”
This year, Hale and her coach adjusted her training so she was Olympic lifting daily. Each training session she snatched and clean and jerked often adding squats, as well. After lifting, she would work on skills or metabolic conditioning, and on occasion, both.
“Now, I feel comfortable under the bar and love Olympic lifting,” she says. “There is no more fear there.”
Besides adding more lifting to her training, Hale attributes her success to her community and her daughter, Cameron.
“I am a single mom, but I do not look at it as an obstacle. Cameron, my daughter, is my everything. She loves CrossFitting and she has so much fun. She is really into it. She can do pull-ups and handstand push-ups. She loves being in the gym, climbing the ropes, climbing the wall, flipping tires. I work hard to be a good example for her.”
As a family, their bond and choices have been strengthened through CrossFit.
“CrossFit has guided me (to make) better choices,” she says. “I've learned true discipline and commitment to achievement. It has helped me in guiding Cameron with school, and sports and life in general. We both know that we have to work hard for the things we want to accomplish. Our routine is super busy, but so healthy and happy. I love my life with her. We are very thankful for CrossFit being such a big part of it. It's really inspiring to see so many CrossFit moms and kids who have been positively impacted as we have.”
Inspired by her daughter, the members at her gym, her training group and her coaches, Hale aspires to be both a good athlete and person.
“The coaches and community at my gym are great. I want to do well because of all of the work the community puts in to me and Cameron, and all of the love they give us. I am inspired by my daughter and my community and want to make them proud.”
Armed with two goals this season, Hale is ready to put her training to the test. First, she would like to make Regionals. Then, at Regionals, she hopes to finish in the top 10.
“I want to put my training to the test and see where that takes me,” she says. “Anyone is going to get what he or she puts into it. Making the Games is my dream, but it will be tough because I am surrounded by so many awesome women. We’ll see if I did what it takes to make the Games.”