“I told my coaches that I wanted to be one of the best, and we’ve done whatever we can to try and get there.”
Less than two years after starting CrossFit, Amanda Goodman qualified for the CrossFit Games. For the University of Bridgeport gymnast and 2013 North East Regional second-place finisher, it was all part of the plan.
“From day one, I hit the ground running,” Goodman says. “My first real CrossFit workout was Fran, and I remember how much I didn’t like what happened during it and how it made me feel. But for some weird reason I knew I wanted more, and that’s when I committed to getting as good as possible at the sport.”
Goodman took up CrossFit in August 2011 under the guidance of CrossFit Performance coach Ben Kelly. While the former vault specialist initially hoped to build a career as a personal trainer, it wasn’t long before she found a calling as an aspiring Games competitor.
“I told my coaches that I wanted to be one of the best, and we’ve done whatever we can to try and get there,” she says. “I’ve been training with Ben Kelly since I started CrossFit. And as of this past January, (2007 CrossFit Games champion) James Fitzgerald has been designing my programming.”
While Goodman’s 10 years as a gymnast gave her excellent explosiveness and body awareness, longer workouts were an issue from the start.
“Since day one, the focus has been on training Amanda how to breathe,” Kelly says. “Being a vault specialist with world-class strength and power, it truly has been about building her engine and handling heavy breathing under fatigue. She has developed nicely over two years to the point of her hanging with the best of them.”
Goodman’s first Regional experience came as part of the BK Athletics team in 2012, where she was inspired by the individual women’s performances.
“Amanda knew she wanted the Games as an individual after watching Jenny Davis kill it last year,” Kelly says. “She was there and soaked it all in like a sponge. We sat down on return and had some very honest discussions about what competing at that level required.”
That meant looking outside their box for programming.
“James and I (drew) out a plan which encompassed him designing the training, and I would implement and execute on the ground at BK Athletics,” she says.
Heading into the 2013 North East Regional, Goodman had her sights set on qualifying for the Games. But it wasn’t until Event 3’s burpee muscle-ups that she started making people take notice. With great precision, Goodman powered through all 30 reps in six minutes flat and was the only woman in the North East to complete the workout under the time cap. She says her gymnastics experience helped her stay consistent, even under fatigue.
“I’m sure the awareness of how my body moves helped in that workout, especially the technical movements. My plan was to just keep moving. I practiced the workout before, and I actually finished a little bit faster than I did at the Regional. But that’s got to be the plan: keep moving and make sure you don’t miss a rep.”
Goodman and fellow Games qualifier Danielle Horan battled for the region’s top spot. Despite a win on Event 7, where Goodman sprinted to her platform just two seconds before Horan, she finished the weekend in second place.
For Goodman, the weekend’s toughest test came during Event 6, which culminated in an epic lunge to the finish with third-place finisher Kaleena Ladeairous.
“Just getting into the shoulder-to-overheads and lunges, I knew that was going to be a limiter for me. As far as how hard I had to push, that was the toughest one for me on the weekend.”
Goodman says seeing Ladeairous pull ahead almost derailed her plan of steady pacing throughout the workout.
“Even though she was right there, I still wanted to stick to my plan and not let her affect me too much, and for the most part, I did,” Goodman says. “But it definitely pushed me harder than I thought I would have done.”
With her ticket to Carson, Calif., secured, Goodman has turned her focus to endurance. She says having two different coaches allows her to attack weaknesses more effectively.
“They’re a great team, and they continue to challenge me both mentally and physically,” she says.
Now training six days a week, Goodman is hoping the Games will include more advanced gymnastics movements, an area where she excels.
“I’d love to see parallette handstand push-ups, maybe rope climbs with no legs, even the monkey bars (Killer Cage) from 2011.”
She’s still sticking to her original plan and working to become one of the best in a sport where she’s going toe-to-toe with much more experienced competitors.
“I’m aiming for the podium. In my mind I see myself up there,” she says. “Elisabeth Akinwale and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet are also doing amazing stuff. Maybe we’ll see Sam Briggs up there, as well, but I’m definitely not ruling myself out of the possibility.”