Anne Austad’s vibrant red curls and jovial smile are easily the first things one will notice upon meeting her. However, Austad is also giving the world of CrossFit another reason to take a look, as she is a new “Annie” to consider.
Austad currently sits amongst some of Southern California’s top women. After three weeks of Open competition, she ranks within the top 10 in Southern California and 116th worldwide. In 2011, she qualified with a top 10 ranking in the North West region and top 100 in the world.
Austad’s commitment to athletics dates back to childhood when her parents signed her up for gymnastics at age 5. "I have been walking on my hands and doing cartwheels down the grocery store aisle since I can remember. My parents would have to drag me out of the gym when class was finished," she says.
Her history with the sport continued and she competed at the collegiate level at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where her team won the 2007 National Title. It was her mom who introduced her to CrossFit when at home on holiday break her senior year. Her mom started doing “this CrossFit workout thing,” she says and encouraged her to try it. At the time she was busy with gymnastics at school training two to three hours a day. It was when she came home for the Christmas holiday that she was able to first sample the sweet taste of CrossFit.
When she graduated, she began regularly CrossFitting at Scottsdale Healthcare CrossFit and she entered her first competition in October of 2010. "My competitive drive started immediately and I won the competition,” she says.
In 2010, she was training consistently with the team at Northwest CrossFit in Seattle. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011 where she is currently a Registered Nurse at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. When she took her first steps inside the hospital, she immediately knew she wanted to work there. Her love for kids brought her to the Gastrointestinal Clinic at Children’s Hospital where she works with chronically ill children who must be fed through a tube or intravenously. She works not only with the children but their families, as well. “These kids are really sick and anything you can do to make their day a little bit easier means so much.”
Austad’s big heart, coupled with her mental fortitude translates into her commitment as an athlete. She spends four 10-hour days a week at the hospital and on the days that she works, she begins her mornings as early as 5:30 a.m. to run or lift.
Her training takes place at CrossFit Eagle Rock, which is owned by her brother and coach. Here, they get to work out together, which she calls, “an amazing perk.” They help keep each other motivated and push beyond their self-imposed limits daily. The two took on the recent WOD Wars competition, where their team was aptly named the "Sibling Rockers" where they made it to the final workout and finished 4th overall.
Her training for the Open has consisted of “taking fewer breaks by telling myself that I am at Regionals competing to qualify for the 2012 Games," she says. Her diet has also recently taken a turn to strict paleo, cutting out the cookies and even nuts. “I’m feeling good so that is helping me stay motivated to be strict,” she says.
She has also had to deal with a speed-bump in her training, which occurred in June 2011 just after Regionals. On a birthday dare to perform 23 burpee back handsprings (you can visit her Facebook page for the full video) she dislocated both shoulders. “My body was so tired from training, my arms gave out,” Austad says.
With the heart of a true CrossFitter, however, she admits she was back in the gym the next day just working on leg dominant movements. She says she still deals with “the weaknesses,” but continues to hold strong.
Austad shows true dedication and motivation to succeed. She shows up everyday and has trained for the past two years to prepare herself for this moment. She has a mantra that helps her in everything she does: “I am training for life. I am dedicated, determined and disciplined every day.”
Through reminding herself of this, she has been able to stick to her training and improve her skills daily. "This mantra helps me with everything I do, from waking up at 5 a.m., to go WOD before work to resisting the red velvet whoopie pie I’m craving right now," she says, "I am able to stick to my plan and achieve my goals because I am committed to a better lifestyle."