“My goal is always that I want to be better than I was last year, I want to be better than I was yesterday."
For the second year in a row, Kara Webb has qualified for the CrossFit Games as the Australia Region’s fittest woman. Webb dominated the 2013 Regional, joining a small group of women around the world to complete the 100s Event, and finishing 17 points ahead of her nearest rival, Ruth Anderson Horrell.
She finished 19th in Carson, Calif., at last year’s Games, and her performance taught her a lot about what kind of athlete she is.
“I learned more about myself as a person, and I think my strength and my weakness, depending on the situation, is always my mind,” Webb says. “I learned how to spend a lot more time figuring out who I am, and how I need to do certain workouts to suit me as a person.”
This growth was evident at the Regional, particularly in Events 4 and 6, where Webb finished first in arguably the two toughest events of the competition.
During workouts, Webb remembers cues from her coach, Brian Bucholtz.
“There (are) particular workouts — usually the ones that I'm nervous about — where he's like, ‘You're nervous because you know you need to hurt for this one, you know it's one you can do well and they're the ones that you get the most scared about, because you have to want to hurt,’ and that's really the difference,” Webb says.
Webb is a product of hard work and consistency.
“I train once a day, usually at 2:30 in the afternoon, which is pretty specific,” Webb says. “I train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I have Thursday off as active recovery, then I train Friday and Saturday, and I have Sunday as a total rest day.”
The only thing that changes in that routine leading up to Regionals and the CrossFit Games is volume.
“On Wednesdays leading up to competitions, I do several workouts in a day, which I don't do any other time of the year,” Webb says. “I can do anywhere from say three to maybe four or five workouts in a day, but well balanced. It's not going to get me stronger in any way, or really make me better, but it teaches me how much I need to look after my body on that day.”
Webb tries to treat those Wednesdays as competition days.
“They’re kind of like a competition day — warming up and cooling down, eating properly and drinking enough water … and also learning how to mentally do that other workout when you don't particularly want to,” she says.
She adds: “Usually among that, I'll have a workout that I have to do on my own, without any music, either in my garage or in the gym by myself. That workout is usually something gross, like I've done 150 burpees for time, or 100 kettlebell swings with a 32-kg kettlebell for time, to try and sort out how to do it by myself, and work through it on my own without any external influences.”
As well as being a dark-chocaholic, Webb also enjoys her 4:30 a.m. fruit smoothie and her Friday night sushi.
Apart from that, her diet generally revolves around meat and vegetables, and becomes more methodical coming into competitions.
“Coming closer to competition, I lose my Friday-night sushi. I'll just cut that out, and then also I more adjust the size of my meal and the time of day,” Webb says. “I'm a little bit more methodical about when I eat it and how I eat it. I try to slow down a little bit and potentially change the cooking to roasting or slow cooking, or something that's a bit easier to digest.”
Unlike many Games-bound athletes, Webb and Bucholtz aren’t doing any unusual training to prepare for this year’s competition, despite Dave Castro’s tendency to program something completely out of left field.
“We generally hope that if you do CrossFit, then you should be able to turn up,” Webb says. “If you're good at CrossFit and they throw something weird at you, then that's the whole concept behind CrossFit — to be able to be functionally strong, and functionally fit and functionally fast, so as long as I'm hitting all of those elements by doing CrossFit, then that should ideally translate into something weird.”
After a preseason chat with Bucholtz, Webb has high hopes for this year’s CrossFit Games, aiming for the number one spot on the podium.
“My goal is always that I want to be better than I was last year, I want to be better than I was yesterday. So I would like to be higher than 19th,” Webb says. “But then he (Bucholtz) said to me, ‘I don't want you to think about a specific number. We're not thinking about coming top 10 or top five. We're going to the CrossFit Games because you're aiming for number one.’”
“Everyone is always aiming for number one, and whether you get there or not, that's OK,” she says. “You always have the goal of that top level, so in saying that I'm aiming for number one, whether it be this year or whether it be next year. As long as my career goes, as long as it lasts, then I'm always aiming for number one.”
This doesn’t mean that Webb will think it’s all over if she doesn’t win the CrossFit Games.
“It means that I just keep going, keep working harder and see if I get there,” she says. “If I don't, I don't, but as long as I'm always striving for it, then at least I can say I did everything I could and I can walk away happy with wherever I sit.”