What's your game plan?
2015 Reebok CrossFit Games winner, Iceland’s Katrin Davidsdottir, was crowned the ‘Fittest on Earth’ at the age of 22, reaching the pinnacle of success in her sport after only four years of CrossFit training. Some may believe her early success might be grounds for complacency.
However, Katrin will not rest on her laurels. For her, success means pushing beyond real and perceived personal limits, whether alone for an early morning training session or front and center at a competition. Katrin’s journey moves beyond the physical, incorporating mental toughness and discipline. Her approach to training and confidence in her own abilities as an athlete have made her a role model for girls and women around the world, proving that tough is indeed beautiful.
This is Katrin Davidsdottir’s game plan.
You have gone from a recreational CrossFitter to being the Fittest Woman on Earth in just a few short years. Now that CrossFit is your career, does that change your attitude in any way?
When I started CrossFit I went in with a competitive mindset. I think I’d been doing CrossFit for three weeks. When I came home from the gym one day I told my family, “I’m going to make Regionals” (laughs) and I did end up making the Regionals, and the Games that year. At that point, I was still a full-time student. Now this is my life! I dedicate every single minute to it and I put more pressure on myself to be the best me. It’s not just the hours at the gym… now I warm up well, I look after my nutrition, I weigh and measure my food. I spend an hour each day on recovery, I visit my massage therapist. I make sure that I sleep eight hours, and that I read sport psychology. I talk to my coach every day – and probably the biggest thing I’ve done is move here to Boston to be with my coach all the time.
What does being tough mean to you?
For me tough is all about confidence – confidence in my preparation, in myself as an athlete. Then there is mental toughness – I think people always look at mental toughness and relate it to the ability to work out harder. To me mental toughness is more the ability to focus, to shut out the media when they have the spotlight on you. It’s the ability to not compare yourself to other athletes.
Has CrossFit changed stereotypes of female athletes? What about your own views on toughness and beauty?
When I think about myself a few years ago the only thing I wanted was to be thinner. I wanted to be smaller than I was; I wanted to look like the women in magazines. Since I’ve started CrossFit all I want is to be stronger, fitter, and healthier. The great looks follow. That’s a bonus, but that’s not what I focus on.
If I could have looked up to women like the ones at the CrossFit Games when I was a young girl, they would have been great role models. Seeing strong females who just want to be healthy and fit is so important. I love it when little girls come up to me and want to have pictures with me and say they want to be like me. There is no better feeling than to be a role model for girls everywhere. You know, even when we’re at the Games we are thinking about being girly. I might have muscles but I love my long blonde hair, I love having glittery eye shadow and having my nails done and things like that.
Why are Icelandic women so successful on the CrossFit world stage and what do you think motivates them?
I think it’s the good role models. In Iceland we have really strong female role models. We’ve even had a female president. We believe that we can do everything. With things like winning the CrossFit Games or becoming a World Champion in anything, there’s such a distance, the goal can seem so far away. But the Icelandic wins in 2011 inspired everyone. We all train in the same boxes, so you see that it’s possible. We all push each other. When one gets better that makes the others get better.
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You went into last year’s CrossFit Games as the underdog, having missed out on the 2014 finals. Now you are the defending champion, how will you mentally manage that pressure in the days before and during the Games?
I’ll stick to what I did last year. Of course, it’s different. No one was really watching me as I hadn’t made the Games the previous year. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t working harder than ever. You know, not making the Games was the best thing that could have happened to me. It truly made me realize how badly I wanted to be there, and not just be there, but be there as the best version of myself. I know that there will be a difference this year; all eyes are on me and there is more pressure, and people are going to expect me to be a contender for the title again. I’m going to go in there and focus on one thing at a time. My goal for last year was to leave the field after each event knowing that I didn’t leave anything out there. If I can do that again I will be so happy.