On Her Terms: Caity Matter Henniger

March 12, 2012

John Koenig

Three months into CrossFit, Bill Henniger signed her up for the 2008 CrossFit Games, saying, "I'm paying, you're going."

Three months into CrossFit, Bill Henniger signed her up for the 2008 CrossFit Games, saying, "I'm paying, you're going."

In 2008, when many of us didn't know anything about CrossFit, Caity Matter (now Caity Matter Henniger) won the CrossFit Games.

Since then she’s been busy helping build Rogue Fitness with her husband Bill Henniger into the iconic brand and business it is today. Since her victory in 2008, she has attended hundreds of CrossFit events, helped Games coverage, and has been featured on ESPN3.com as a Games announcer.

In 2012, she’s throwing her hat back in the ring and is competing in the Central East.


As many other successful CrossFitters, Henniger’s competition career did not start with CrossFit. She has been a competitive athlete all her life, assailing to such heights as professional basketball in the Women’s National Basketball Association for two years after graduating from Ohio State University.

“I always loved basketball. It was pretty cool to be able to go on and play the sport you have loved for so long, and for that to become your job,” she says.

Henniger’s professional basketball career ended after multiple leg surgeries due to an injury sustained while playing. She looks at her decision to retire from basketball a smart one.

“I’d done everything in the sport I wanted, and realized there was going to be life after basketball,” Henniger says.

Soon after, she was introduced to CrossFit. “My strength and conditioning coach said you need to try this CrossFit thing, I think you’d be good at it and like it,” she says. “And here I am today.”


Henniger makes her transition to CrossFit sounds easy. “I went over to Rogue, did one workout, crushed it and loved it.”

Three months into CrossFit, Bill signed her up for the CrossFit Games, saying, “I’m paying, you're going.”

The rest is history as Henniger went on to victory saying, “Even with basketball and track and field backgrounds, the Games was probably the most athletic experience I had ever had.”


Many ask Henniger why she left the competition side of CrossFit. She says she never really left.

While many professional athletes find their careers terminated by injury, Henniger used hers to find a new way to compete. “The first time I got in a CrossFit gym with others doing the same workout, and it’s all ‘3-2-1 beat ‘em,’ she says. “That was all I needed, and you can’t ever really shake that feeling.”

After spending a couple of years devoting her time to helping Rogue Fitness grow, her training is back to normal. Henniger now gets in one workout daily. With 40 to 60 minutes at the end of her day, Henniger gets in some strength work, then a quick workout.

“I’m ok with this hour in the gym and I put a lot of volume into it,” she says. “I’m always going to do a strength move, then go into the workout. I get the same amount of work that two workouts would be.”

Looking at the sport of CrossFit today, Henniger appreciates how much it’s changed from her Games championship in 2008 to 2012. “Not that it’s not fun now, but it’s clearly a sport, people want to win. There’s a big prize at the end of it, and if you’re not training all day to get to that point, you’re probably not going to get to it,” she says. “If you’re going to be competitive, you’re going to have to spend more time than I am. Rich Froning Jr. can hit four or five workouts [in a day]. I can’t, and I don’t want to.”

Henniger says she works a fulfilling, difficult full time job. Her workouts don’t dominate her life, or represent who she is, but she loves CrossFit and approaches competition seriously.

After Open Workout 12.3, Henniger sits in 25th place in the Central East.