February 9, 2012
Pushing for Top 20: Heather Crippen
By Bree Donaldson

Many will enter the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open—CrossFit rookies and veterans, old and young, fit and relatively fit. Last year, more than 26,000 athletes from around the world competed in the Open. This year, that number will surely grow. One can only guess the full effect of the 2011 CrossFit Games airing on ESPN2 and Reebok spreading CrossFit from Santa Cruz, Calif., to Mumbai, India. 
Although many will enter, few will continue on to the next stage of Regionals. Only the fittest 60 men, 60 women, and 30 teams will advance. Vying for one of those 60 spots is Heather Crippen.
After finishing in 32nd place in Canada West at the end of the 2011 Open, Crippen spent the last year making changes to her training and nutrition in hopes of landing herself in the top 20.
Crippen started CrossFit just over a year ago, and has found a home within the CrossFit community. She has been rocking out workouts and honing her skills with her coach, Ken Andrukow at CrossFit Ramsay in Calgary. The payoff? “I managed to get ‘Grace’ down to 2:33 and a 4:04 ‘Fran.’ And after almost a year of struggling with them, I have finally got my muscle-ups,” Crippen says.   
Since her first official CrossFit competition last year, Crippen says she’s “gaining the guidance of a coach, while continuing to be part of a community has been key in the gains I have made.” Her programming varies depending on the day, and you can find her working on movements, skills, endurance, or strength as many as five times a day. “The support and energy you get from the community keeps you going,” she says. “It is awesome to have people to share some jokes with after a killer workout.”
Qualifying for the Regional competition last year was a huge accomplishment, which Crippen is doing everything she can to ensure she repeats this year. She is mentally and physically preparing to be among the best, the women she calls “CrossFit Goddesses,” and see her name in the top 10. Though Crippen is the first to profess that CrossFitters are “always learning,” she has spent the past year taking in every bit of knowledge to make her a more capable athlete.
Crippen has not only been working at improving as a competitor this year, but also moved her CrossFit box out of her home garage, and into a 2,500 square-foot bay, to meet the needs of the growing community.
Opening a box, raising two young boys, ages 4 and 2, being a wife and a avid CrossFitter, would seem more than a bit overwhelming to most. Crippen tells herself with everything “you just walk in and pick up the bar.”  Words you hear often when you hear her coaching one of her 117 members. CrossFit 403 is Western Canada’s newest CrossFit box, and is showing growth of more than 40 percent in the three months that it has been open. This community is strong and has a dedicated and powerful woman guiding them to exceed their goals.
Whatever you throw at Crippen whether it be “Grace,” “Fran,” or muscle-ups, she is sure to step up and “pick up the bar.”