"I focus really hard on my training and leave my body to just do the rest itself. My body has completely transformed, but so has my life."
When last year’s CrossFit Games Open rolled around, Olivia Wilson had only been doing CrossFit for two months, and had never snatched 75 lb. more than once. After signing up to compete in the global, online competition she was faced with 13.1: a workout involving 30 snatches at 75 lb.
Despite the daunting task, Wilson managed to lift her one-rep max 12 times.
This year, Wilson has registered for the Open. She is “aiming to do a bit better than last year.” But that statement seems understated when you look at just how far she has come in the past 16 months.
Thanks to CrossFit, she successfully managed to transform her life from being a sugar addict—in her everyday diet and as an aspiring pastry chef—to a paleo chef and soon-to-be paleo blogger.
“My entire life has changed because CrossFit is more than just exercise,” Wilson said.
“(CrossFit) has completely changed where my career was heading and the way my life was going,” she added. “The environment, the variety—everything about it has had such an effect on my life.”
In the past two years, Wilson has lost 45 kg (99 lb.) Her body is now leaner than it has been for most of her life.
But for Wilson, that’s not what CrossFit is about.
“I don’t do it for aesthetics,” she said. “Yes, that might have been why I started, but now I’m all about being stronger, fitter and faster.”
“I focus really hard on my training and leave my body to just do the rest itself,” she continued. “My body has completely transformed, but so has my life.”
And it’s not just her life that has taken a drastic turn for the best. Wilson dragged her two brothers along to her CrossFit box in Brisbane, Australia, and between the three of them, 100 kg (220 lb.) has been shed. Her mum and dad are now also eating cleaner with a stronger focus on health and fitness.
“I guess my experience has had a ripple effect,” Wilson said. “My whole family is loving life, feeling better and looking better, and I can’t explain how proud I am of them.”
After securing a position as a paleo chef through her CrossFit connections, Wilson is now also hoping to connect with a wider audience through her food.
Wilson’s healthy recipes, which she trials at home for her family and members of her affiliate, CrossFit Explosive, will soon be featured on a prominent Australian blog.
“Now I just want to help people realize that healthy food can be delicious and nutritious,” she said.
“I've also applied for an online course in the psychology of eating, aiming to understand people's relationship with food to ultimately help them achieve long-term health,” Wilson said.
In preparation for the Open, Wilson stepped up her training with a stronger focus on her weaknesses.
As well as incorporating Olympic lifting, her weekly six-day training schedule includes gymnastic skills and metabolic conditioning.
“I work on weaknesses like gymnastics, and anything on bars or rings,” Wilson said.
“Lifting is my strength and I love it,” she said. “My aim is to hit a 60-kg snatch and an 80-kg clean and jerk by June.”
But first comes the Open, which Wilson is feeling ready to tackle properly for the first time.
“I’m hoping and praying that the Open workouts will incorporate a lot of lifting and not much gymnastics,” she said. “What do you think my chances are?”
Ben Fuller is the head coach and owner of CrossFit Explosive and has witnessed Wilson’s transformation since she first joined the affiliate last year.
In 2014, he’s hoping to see her progress even more.
"As Liv's fitness has developed, so has her personality,” Fuller said.
“She has come a long way since 13.1, and I’m really excited to see her achieve a huge improvement this year," he added.
Despite opening it’s doors for the first time just over a year ago, CrossFit Explosive isn’t ruling out making an appearance at the Australia Regional in 2014.
Last year, the affiliate performed well in the Open, finishing in 56th place in Australia. This year, the box hopes to finish inside the top 30 to qualify for the Australia Regional.
However, while she is on the team roster for 2014 and enjoys local team competitions, Wilson doesn’t necessarily think she’s at the regional level just yet.
“I’ve never been athletic or fit so I don’t know what my body is capable of,” she said. “Obviously, it can do a fair bit, but all I can do is keep training right, eating right, working hard and see where that takes me.”
From what she has achieved so far in just a small space of time, it’s hard to put anything past Wilson. And the Open is set to be another interesting step in her CrossFit journey.