Milking the Open

February 7, 2014

Kate Rose

Wake up at 4 a.m. Feed the cows. Get in the car. Drive an hour. Work out. Drive home. That is Lisa Allmendinger’s daily schedule.

“Competing in the Open makes me feel like a real athlete."
~Lisa Allmendinger

Photos by Colin Darling

Wake up at 4 a.m. Feed the cows. Get in the car. Drive an hour. Work out. Drive home.

That is Lisa Allmendinger’s daily schedule. When she comes home, she comes home to two kids and 200 cattle on a dairy and grain farm in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. After she gets home from a workout at CrossFit Steinbach, she’s taking her daughters to preschool, play groups and various lessons. And there are always chores on the farm. 

“My job in the barn is primarily feeding the calves—newborn to 2 months,” Allmendinger said. “We have an average of 19 calves in our calf barn, but only about eight of those are on bottles. … Once the feeding is done I will fill up food bins with fresh silage, as well as lay down fresh dry bedding for them. There is always something to do in the barn.”

Despite the responsibilities of motherhood and living on a farm, she never likes to miss her morning workout.

"In the summer, I often awake at 4 a.m. to get my workout in,” she said. 

The same is true even in the winters when it’s cold and icy in Canada. After a year at CrossFit Steinbach, she’s signing up for her first-ever CrossFit Games Open. 

“Competing in the Open makes me feel like a real athlete,” Allmendinger said. “It’s my motivation to get out of bed and keep pushing hard.”

“My morning workouts depend on the girls’ activities for the day,” she continued. “If we are out of the house all day or there’s a lot of work to do … I will work on Olympic lifts or strength skills, plus a met-con. If the girls have activities in town, or we have a free afternoon, I will jump on my treadmill or bike … and then head into town for a noon CrossFit class.”

CrossFit has given Allmendinger balance in her busy life.

“I am definitely a much happier person when I start my morning off with a workout,” she said. “I feel happy and relaxed. I have so much more patience with my kids. … The girls are so young, so training in the morning is what’s best for me and my family. And luckily for me I really enjoy it, so I make it a priority. A happy mom means happy kids.”

The benefits of doing CrossFit have extended beyond her own health and performance improvements.

“I think it’s important for my girls to see their mom feeling strong and confident, because it develops confidence in them,” she said.

Her commitment and determination has not gone unnoticed.

“She has drive. She makes things happen,” said her coach Colin Darling. “She appreciates the community aspect of our gym, and realizes there’s a broader community out there and that she can be part of it, as well.

Allmendinger started CrossFit after having her second daughter.

“After we had our second baby, I wanted to get back into shape,” she said. 

She wasn’t satisfied with running alone and suffered injuries from overtraining. She saw CrossFit athletes online and was impressed.

“Watching these men and women completely blew my mind,” she recalled. 

Then she signed up for the introductory classes at CrossFit Steinbach, the affiliate closest to her farm.

“After my six weeks of On Ramp, I couldn’t believe what my body was capable of doing,” she said. “I love how there is so much room for improvement and … you never get bored. You are constantly striving to be better than yesterday. For me, that is the best feeling.”

And that is her driving force for participating in the Open.

“I cannot wait to see how many improvements I make this year.”

Darling said she’s ready for the Open.

“She definitely has an engine and sheer work capacity,” he said. “Few can match her in the gym. If they program 7 minutes of burpees again, she’ll kill that one.”

Allmendinger added: “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Open this year and put the skills I have learned to the test.”