April 28, 2013
Improving Year by Year: Claire Fernandez
By Carter Jee

"I like how CrossFit creates new challenges every single day, and makes me a stronger person both in training and day-to-day life."

Photos by: Anthony Hewett, Empire Photographer

For the second year in a row, Claire Fernandez has finished the Open inside the top 10 in the Australia Region. 

After finishing last year’s Open in 10th, the native from Perth, Western Australia, went one better in 2013, ending up in ninth place overall.

"I'm happy that I finished one spot higher than last year in the Open, so that is one goal ticked off," Fernandez says.

Fernandez was introduced to CrossFit after doing some group training with director of Southern CrossFit, Hayden Thorneycroft (102nd in Australia in the 2013 Open) around four years ago.

"I like how CrossFit creates new challenges every single day, and makes me a stronger person both in training and day-to-day life," Fernandez says.

"The worst thing is not having time to include every single thing that I want to train in my program."

In 2011, Fernandez competed on a team at the Australia Regional, representing Southern CrossFit. By the end of the weekend, she booked a ticket to the Home Depot Center after helping the team finish third overall.

Later that year, Fernandez competed at her first-ever CrossFit Games event with Southern CrossFit finishing 25th overall.

The experience of competing at the highest level was valuable for the soft-spoken athlete.

"Participating in the team helped me get used to working out in front of a big crowd," Fernandez says.

A year later, Fernandez chose to compete as an individual.

After the 2012 Open, she recorded a 12th-place finish at the Australia Regional.

"I wasn't happy with my 12th-place finish in last year’s Regional,” she says. “There were a couple of events where I did better in training than at Regionals.” 

"I wasn't happy with my Diane time, which was much slower than my PR. In the lead up when we did the (workouts), my time for the row/pistol/hang power clean and the squat/pull-up/shoulder-to-overhead triplets were better, too."

With the experience of the 2012 Regional under her belt, Fernandez has taken a different approach to training in 2013.

"This year, I have been following a more individualized program," Fernandez says. "I have spent more time doing strength and skill work, as well as focusing on my weaknesses."

Aside from the change in training, Fernandez also changed her career in 2013.

"My passion is CrossFit, and so, in February, I stopped working in my office job and started coaching," she says.

Fernandez finds that coaching has made her a better athlete.

"When I am telling my athletes coaching cues throughout the day, it is reinforcing them in my own mind so when I get tired in a workout, hopefully I will fall back on the cues I know to help get me through it," she says.

The change in approach has worked with Fernandez placing consistently in the top 20 in Australia for each of the Open workouts. Her highest place was eighth in 13.2, while her lowest was 18th in 13.5. 

In the lead up to the Australia Regional in May, Fernandez plans on upping her training volume with heavier weights and tougher movements.

"I plan on increasing the training volume, more WODs in a day to get my body used to multi-event days," Fernandez says.

"The WODs will start to include more complex movements and the weights are going to be heavy. An odd, light met-con will be thrown in once in a while.”

Fernandez's goal for the 2013 Australia Regional is simple: "I want to finish in the top 10 and finish every event knowing that I have given it everything I can.”