"I literally cringe at the word 'can't.' It's the power of your brain that will get you the places that you didn't think you could go, and if you're already telling yourself that you can't do something before you try it, you're absolutely right. You can't."
As the second fittest woman in SoCal prepares for her sixth trip to the CrossFit Games, Rebecca Voigt has been refining more than her physical skills. This year, she has focused on eliminating negativity from her training, and is instead channeling her energies into what she can control: herself.
After finishing 10th at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, Voigt decided to name Ben Bergeron as her new head coach, replacing Doug Katona as she prepared for the 2013 Games season.
“I really feel like Ben and I have mostly tackled the mental aspects of my game,” she says. “I try to not get caught up in what other people are doing. It’s all about what I can control. I feel ultimately that’s helped me be more confident in what I decide to do in executing workouts.”
Now, she subscribes to more positive reinforcement.
“I literally cringe at the word ‘can’t.’ It’s the power of your brain that will get you the places that you didn’t think you could go, and if you’re already telling yourself that you can’t do something before you try it, you’re absolutely right. You can’t,” she says.
This attitude carried her to third place in SoCal in the 2013 Open. At Regionals, Voigt took first or second place in six out of seven events. Though she made podium, she was visibly upset to learn that she did not earn first place, losing to Lindsey Valenzuela by one point in the final event.
“At that moment, I was disappointed,” she says. “I felt like I had first place in me. I was disappointed with my rope climbs. I thought that those could have been faster.”
She adds: “The following weekend I went to the NorCal Regional to watch Katie Hogan, and seeing her and all of the outstanding ladies that didn’t wind up making the Games despite amazing performances — it put things in perspective. I should be truly grateful for my opportunity to go to the Games again, and just because I didn’t get first place in Regionals, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just one stepping-stone to the main event. I just need to be proud of myself for that.”
Remembering her experience from last year’s Games when a surprise event at Pendleton was announced on Monday night, Voigt recalls her stress.
“Last year in 2012, I went out on Monday,” she says. “I got a little bit flustered and drove all the way home that night instead of sleeping there because I couldn’t handle the stress by myself without my fiancé. Lots of interesting nerves.”
Now, Voigt is ready to tackle the stress head on.
“I’m going to have Katie (Hogan) coming down with me on the first day, and I think that’ll be crucial. (She) and I are best friends, and it’s nice to have somebody there to keep the mood light and not get yourself stuck in what’s going to happen, especially with all the hype.”
Through the ups and downs of five trips to the Games, she emphasizes that her takeaways from being a competitive CrossFitter are not at the podium, but in the community.
“Honestly, and as corny as it sounds, my favorite moments from the Games are just the friendships that I’ve made,” she says. “All of the people that I meet, when we see each other for the Games, it’s just pure excitement.”
Voigt says she noticed a big difference in the spirit of the competitors at this year’s Regionals compared to years past.
“Watching the Regionals this year and seeing how many people didn’t cheer each other on, that really stood out to me,” she says. “You see the past competitors that have been in the Games time and time again cheering on somebody that is still going, but there are some people newer to the sport that I guess don’t understand that part of CrossFit.”
She adds: “CrossFit is community-based. It’s what drew me to it in the beginning, and it’s important that everyone knows that that community extends to the highest level. I just really hope that all the new people will take the time to step out of their zone and cheer on and support everyone else.”