December 14, 2012
CrossFitter Goes OLY
By Kate Rose

Rachel Siemens, who competed on CrossFit Taranis' Games Team two years in a row, will pursue weightlifting full time.

Photo by: Caragh Camera

Photo by: Caragh Camera

Landscape photo by: Macklem

CrossFit helped Rachel Siemens find her passion: Olympic weightlifting. And she's got a new medal to show for it.

Siemens, who competed with the CrossFit Taranis team at the CrossFit Games, finished third at the Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships and Olympic Qualifications, in June. At a bodyweight of 63 kg, she snatched 71 kg, and cleaned and jerked 97 kg, for a total of 168 kg.

In October 2011, Siemens started training at Taranis in Victoria, British Columbia, and was chosen for their Games-qualifying team in the same year. Being at the CrossFit Games in 2011 aided in her love for the barbell, and by 2012, she focused solely on weightlifting.

“Leading up to the 2012 Canadian Nationals, I lifted four to five times per week and did CrossFit one to two times per week,” she says.

After Nationals in June, she switched back to CrossFit full time and competed in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games with Taranis’ team for the second time.

After pondering her performance at the 2012 Canadian Nationals, Siemens decided she needed to focus on weightlifting. It was a tough decision, she says.

“Honestly, making the choice to stop training CrossFit was harder than breaking up with a boyfriend,” she says.

She has her eyes set on the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Trying to CrossFit while improving my lifts took away from my gains and energy for technical training,” she explains. “While I love many aspects of both sports, weightlifting is totally the cats pajamas.”

Siemens is now training with a balance of 90 percent weightlifting, 5 percent gymnastics and 5 percent kettlebell work. Her focus on lifting does not preclude her involvement with Taranis and the CrossFit community, however.

“I am still in touch with the community and planning to compete in the more strength-oriented competitions,” she notes.

She is excited to see more events combining weightlifting and CrossFit come up in the Canada West region, she says.

Even having not done a single CrossFit workout since this year’s Games, Siemens is planning to participate in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open. 

“I’m not going to train for the Open. Just participate for fun,” she says.

Siemens, who finished eighth in the Open for Canada West in 2012, says if she qualifies for Regionals, she’ll pursue the Games again.

“The goal is to have fun and to see where I stack up in Canada West — even without training for CrossFit in eight months.”

As of now, Siemens plan to compete in the 2013 season, but not with CrossFit Taranis. “I’ll still be involved with (Taranis) via judging comps,” she says. “And I will be completing the Open there as ‘unaffiliated.’ Right now, I train full time with the Pacific Coast Nomads, a weightlifting club coached by Rob Macklam.”

Siemens says she loves CrossFit, but is choosing to focus so she can compete and excel at both her passions.

“The CrossFit community is so unique and magnetic, I can’t stay away, but I think for now, weightlifting is the way for me to go.”