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Female Athlete of the Month: Haley Johnson

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Athlete of the Month: Haley Johnson

Haley is our Female Athlete of the Month for April 2017. Haley is our youngest selection yet at only 18 years old. She has accomplished so much in her short time (just over a year) in CrossFit and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.  She has a fierce drive to get better that few can match. She talks about how CrossFit is the first sport that has really stuck for her, that she loves and wants to devote time to. She also talks about the rewards of accomplishing something you formerly thought wasn’t possible for you. She is a true example of hard work when it comes to the gym and we couldn’t be prouder to call her our Athlete of the Month.

Andrew: Hey guys welcome to Crossfit Palm Beach. My name is Andrew Frezza and I’m joined by our athlete of the month Haley Johnson. So Haley is our youngest ever athlete of the month. She just turned 18 and she started with us about a year ago back in March of 2016 and she’s responsible for one of the best moments of CrossFit Palm Beach. She just completed the open this year and in 17.2 she got her first three bar muscle ups right before the buzzer and it was an amazing moment. So we’ll talk a little bit about that with her and just get to know her a little bit more as an athlete and as a person. So just tell us a little bit about yourself, you are one of the youngest athletes we have. What drew you to CrossFit and what did you do before CrossFit and all that? 

Haley: Before CrossFit I did softball from like 4 years old to probably 13. I did softball until my freshman year. I did it because my mom was like you have to do one more year, just one more year to see if you want to do it throughout high school and I dropped it after that. I was like worn out, I don’t need to do it though high school. I tried basically every sport; I tried swimming, I did soccer, which soccer is not my thing, track, running and then running really stuck for a while and that’s what I did directly before I came to CrossFit. I got into half marathons and signed up to run a marathon and then I started CrossFit and I was like okay, this is going to take over now. As soon as I started I was hooked, but my brother and his girlfriend they’ve done it and she does Olympic lifting so I went to one of her meets and I was like okay I got to get into this it looks so fun. So I think that’s really how I got into it, watching him do it and watching her do it.

Andrew: What do you think it was about CrossFit that kind of clicked for you where there are other things didn’t?

Haley: I don’t know it’s just the fact that it’s your own thing, like you don’t have to work as a team on this and I’m very focused when it’s just me and I’m not worried about letting someone else down and so CrossFit is like all me and I know all that is on me so I think just realizing that and realizing how much you can change. So I remember his girlfriend Katie was only a year in and she was like winning meets and stuff and I was like wow she’s so strong already and she’s only a year into it. I just think the possibly for progress is so cool about it, you can go so far so quickly in it.

Andrew: Cool, so what was that like when you just started do you remember any of your specific workouts?

Haley: Yes, I remember the very first time I decided to come here for CrossFit I Googled it and research it and was like okay I’m going to do it. I just turned 17 at the time so I was nervous. We’d just moved down here from Virginia and I came in. I was very nervous and it was intimidated because everyone was dropping weight and I’ve never been around that but we went in and I remember like sweating so hard in the first 10 minutes in the work out I was like heavy breathing. I thought I was in shape from running, but it’s a whole different thing. It was the warm-up and  I don’t even think I got through the work out. I remember I was so intimidated and then, I’m glad I stuck with it because now it’s like I’m familiar with it and I love it.

Andrew: What progress have you seen over the last year and what’s been the biggest change for you?

Haley: My strength, like things that I never thought I could do like pull ups, strict pull-ups I thought that would never happen I know I can actually do strict pull-ups, I can do a muscle up. When I first started CrossFit I would always watch videos just to see what people are doing, like the better people, and I was like muscle ups, what? how does that work and the weeks that I’m snatching and then clean and jerk like from where I started out. The first time, I have a video of my first snatch. It was 35lbs and now I’m doing 95 and It’s like wow, just in a year my body got so much stronger, so I think my physical strength and my determination. I’ve always been someone who works so hard but CrossFit has drawn another, like I would push myself so hard in this more so than anything else, I don’t know what it is about this. 

Andrew: That’s cool we definitely see that on a daily basis. What’s your favorite CrossFit movement?

Haley: Burpees 

Andrew: Weird-o

Haley: I think it’s because I learned how to pace myself when doing them, but I love burpees.

Andrew: What’s your least favorite CrossFit movement?

Haley: Deadlifts, I really don’t like deadlifts and I need to work on it because I know that’s just because I am weak in my back, that’s my least favorite, I’m not fond of them. 

Andrew: What’s your favorite CrossFit benchmark workout?

Haley: The one with jump rope and sit ups…

Andrew: Annie

Haley: I like that because I love double-unders. I can’t wait to do Murph again this year, but last year I did it scales and that was really fun because it was like a long grinding workout and I love the ones like that when you’re just drenched in sweat and it has running in it so that’s my perfect work out. And I’m excited to try and do RX this year so and see what happens.

Andrew: What’s your favorite food or cheat meal?

Haley: I love cookies, those big chocolate chip cookies are my favorite but yesterday I ate two cupcakes, so probably I don’t know I really like sweet things more so than pizza or something. Shout out to Dom for the macros.

Andrew: Do you have a favorite quote or motto that resonates with you? 

Haley: I have a ton.

Andrew: You can give us a couple if you think of more than one.

Haley: I like the saying ‘hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard’ because I felt like some of the moves in CrossFit, push-ups doesn’t come naturally to me, it’s something that I have to work a little harder at but you have people who come on they just pump them out so I don’t know. I can see that when talent gets lazy, I don’t know I just like that one and everything that Katrin Davisdotter says! I like her so whenever she say something I always follow it.

Andrew: Just like scrolling through Instagram….

Haley: Yes so I would say the talent one is probably my favorite.

Andrew: What’s been your proudest achievement so far in CrossFit?

Haley: The muscle ups, I think that the muscle ups were probably the best moments because it’s seeing my hard work come together and not only that but seeing the people surround me, God has blessed me so much with all of these CrossFit family to stand around and watch me and cheer me on, so that just show me on much everyone is behind me and supports me and believe in me so that made the accomplishment feel even more great. Just being out there and I think you have the picture with me up there on the bar like laughing, crying whatever it was but that picture describes everything perfectly.

Andrew: Yeah that was an awesome moment!

Haley: Yes

Andrew: Tell us a little bit more about doing to your first open. What was that like?  You were able to RX all the work out that’s really cool. But what was it like to be in the open for the first time?

Haley: It is really fun It is different from anything that I have ever experienced, the way that everyone comes together and even people who just started CrossFit like some of the New You people are doing the open and it’s awesome because you can do it RX, you can do it scaled and you can do it less than scaled if you want to. Everyone does that and I think it’s really cool to see everyone come together and do the same work out. For me it was cool because it was going to be my first open, my benchmark and next year I would see how much stronger I’ve gotten through that and I’ve been keeping a list of things on my phone of things that I need to work on now so I have like about couple pages full of this and this and this so the open have played out what I need to work on. So it’s really been like a benchmark for me to see what I need to improve on.

Andrew: You are so young, you’ve I already accomplished so much in a year but what does the future looks like for you, what are some of the main goals that you are in the next year too and also long term? 

Haley: So definitely in the next year, this summer I’m going to really focus more on training because it’s my year to compete at Wodapalooza as a teen and I just want to work hard and do whatever I can do as best as I can do in this sports because it’s really something that’s stuck for me so If I can take it as far as to go to the CrossFit games in a couple of years I would love that so just do my best and do what I can do, put in hard work and reap the benefits.

Andrew: What do you love most about CrossFit Palm Beach? 

Haley: The community, the family, me and my mom talk about it all the time, I feel like if something ever happened to my parents everyone here will take me and it’s like no we’ve got you, you are good . It’s such a family you walked in and everyone is talking then ‘hey what’s up?’ and talking about their days and everyone is encouraging and it’s awesome I’ve met some really great friends that I hang out with outside of the gym from here so it’s cliché but it’s a family. I went to YMCA before this and I’ve gone to Gold’s gym, I’ve gone everywhere and you don’t get it anywhere else even at other CrossFit gyms. We’ve got something special here for sure.

Andrew: Last question what advice do you have for a person who just started CrossFit or a person who is considering starting?

Haley: Stick with it and put in the work, it gets discouraging sometimes if you see some of the athletes who have been doing it for five years you get discouraged like why can’t I lift that much, why can’t I do those movements yet but if you put in the work and you keep working at your pace then you’ll get there, you will improve and that’s all what it’s about so you can’t focus on anyone else but yourself so stay focused.

Andrew: awesome! Congrats Haley, thanks for everything.