"It has gotten to the point that you need a coach," Voigt says.
At 31, Rebecca Voigt seems to just keep getting better. When she enters the arena at the Home Depot Center in July, it will be her fifth time at the CrossFit Games, and she is more prepared than ever.
“I feel like I am ready. Am I more ready than I was last year? I don’t know,” she says. “I feel different. But the competition’s also different, so it’s hard to tell if I am actually ready, but I know that I am a better athlete than I was last year.”
In 2008, Voigt placed seventh at the Games. In 2009 she placed 20th, and in 2010 she again placed seventh. Last year she earned her best finish – on the podium in third place.
The Valley Girls
One of the biggest sacrifices Voigt made this year was no longer training everyday with the group of women that makes up the “Valley Girls,” consisting of Katie Hogan, Kristan Clever, Lindsey Valenzuela and Voigt.
All four women swept the Southern California Regional in 2011, and this year they only left one slot open for Valerie Voboril. This training crew who once threw down daily has begun to dissolve as each athlete is focusing more on their specific weaknesses with individual coaches.
“It sucks,” Voigt says. “Katie and I talk about it all the time – how much we miss just training together. We all are very different. My weaknesses are their strengths or vice versa, so it just didn’t make sense anymore.”
Nowadays the women get one or two workouts per week together.
“We just kind of followed each other ... well, followed Kris. Mostly, we did what she did,” Voigt says. “There isn’t anything wrong with that, or the way we’re doing it now, it’s just very, very different. It kind of makes me sad. With all the different coaches you can’t really just play anymore.”
The past couple years have introduced a new element to CrossFit: individual coaching.
“It’s gotten to that point that you need a coach. Now that I’ve been with a coach for about a year now it’s been different,” she says. “Even the dynamics in the gym with all the different competitors is different than it was last year. It’s one of those things that you are nostalgic for what it was. But I am grateful for where I am now.”
About three months before last year’s Games, Voigt began working with a coach. Now that she’s been working with CrossFit Endurance co-founder, Doug Katona, she says her training has significantly changed.
“Training specifically for me has been a lot of movements and skills that I’ve been focusing on this last year,” she says. “I’ve just really tried to clean up my technique and I’ve been learning how to make me a little bit more efficient. CrossFitters forget that speed is sometimes a bad thing. It’s about doing things more efficiently.”
Aside from her technique work, her training also includes a focus on mobility.
“Everybody wants to do all the strength components. But people forget that working on their mobility will actually help their strength,” she explains. “If you can get into a better position, you move more efficiently and effortlessly. It’s been eye opening.”
The addition of a coach has also changed Voigt’s nutrition. “I log all my food every week and I send it to my coach and he evaluates it to see how it affected my workouts. I’ve learned a lot more about nutrition and am also able to pass that on to my own clients,” Voigt says.
Her leaner body composition can be attributed to her cleaner eating. “I do paleo-ish. I don’t claim paleo; sometimes I eat black beans and yams,” she says. “It’s a lot of kale, spinach in my shakes in the morning and every two weeks I get a cheat meal.”
On the Games
When it comes to the athletes who qualified for the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, one thing is certain – they are dedicated.
“This is all encompassing,” Voigt says. “This takes over your life. I hate the question, ‘What do you do in your spare time?’ When training for the Games, you don’t have any spare time.”
Voigt’s placing at Regionals highlighted the work she has put in over the past year.
“I feel like I am going into this year pretty strong. There are still a lot of things that I need to work on, but at this point my weaknesses aren’t going to cut me off at the head.”
What would she not like to see? “Pistols, chest-to-bar pull-ups. Are people going to beat me at these? Yes,” she says.
Though Voigt may see these movements as weaknesses, this year’s Regional scores show they aren’t weaknesses by much. She tied for fourth on Event 2, which consisted of 50 pistols and did not place lower than sixth on any of the events.
When considering the Games, there are a few things Voigt says she’s looking forward to.
“I am hoping that there is a long run,” she says. “I know that my endurance is there, but if I could pick one thing that I would throw out forever and ever it would be the swim in the ocean. That was very nerve racking.”
Voigt and her coach have also considered the unknown and unknowable.
“I am excited to see what they come up with. They are really creative,” she says. “I’ve been to the batting cages; we’ve talked about hitting a ball for distance from a tee. We’ve been trying to get a little bit more creative ourselves.”
Though things have changed over Voigt’s five-year Games history, her passion and dedication is clear. “I love this sport. I love what this sport has done for me. It’s changed my life.”