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Rising CrossFit Stars: Linda Altemark

Name: Linda Altemark

Age:  35

Occupation/job: Social worker

Background in sports: got kicked off the football team as a 7 year old. I’ve tried different forms of exercise, like the gym, swimming, thai boxing, bjj… lost interest after a while.

CrossFitting since: September 2009

Affiliate: CrossFit Uppsala, Sweden

What WOD/class made you decide to become a CrossFitter?
It wasn’t a single WOD or class that made me decide to start training CrossFit. My husband Martin got introduced to CrossFit by a friend of his in 2005/06. I thought it looked really stupid. I mean why would anyone willingly put themselves through that kind of torture? Eventually it grew on me and I started getting really curious. Could this be for me? So I started thinking about CrossFit and how I could benefit from it. When Martin and Björn decided to open CrossFit Uppsala, in september 2009, it was a given to become a CrossFitter. Probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

How often do you train now ?
4 – 5 times a week.

Do you follow any speciel programming or are you (just) doing the WODs at your box?
I do the WODs at the box and, in addition, Martin does some programming for me.

Which one of your CrossFit related accomplishments are you most proud off so far?
If I have to choose one accomplishment… My 100 kg deadlift! I had only deadlifted 85kg before that.

What is your next goal(s)?
Hm, let’s see… I have to learn how to kip. Also I have to practise all sorts of lifts and presses. My upper body need to get stronger for sure. And I have to overcome my fear of medicine balls and box jumps… and over head presses… coordination is another thing that really needs improvement. The list goes on…

The most difficult thing in CrossFit ?
There are many difficult elements to CrossFit. To me the most difficult thing would be all kinds of presses… Techniques in weightlifting and anything that require coordination and/or precision.

How do you keep the motivation high?
CrossFit is constantly challenging and constantly varies. This, to me, is highly motivating. Not knowing what todays exercise will be, makes training fun. Also CrossFit has changed me a lot. For the better I might add. Both physically and mentally. I’m happier and healthier than ever before. I have a more positive attetude towards hardships in life and work. I’ve also become more competitive, so measuring and seeing results motivates me. In addition to all this we also have great fun as a group while training. Martin and Björn have really succeded in creating a fantastic atmosphere at the box.

Any good advice for new CrossFitters?
Find your strengths and your weaknesses. Train both! It’s really fun to do the workouts you’re good at and thats great! It may not be as much fun to do the exercises where you think you suck or get scared (which I do a lot). But the feeling when you succed is even greater. Try to get a mix of strong and weak that makes and keep training interesting. Set long and short term goals in realistic time frames to help motivation. Have fun, play a lot!

Any questions for the community ? (this is your chance to ask experienced CrossFitters anything!)
What are the dangers of constantly thinking about CrossFit?

Do you plan to attend any CrossFit competitions?
I’ve never been interested in competing before. But as I was watching all the athletes going at it at CrossFit Sectionals in Stockholm, feeling the great atmosphere where everyone were cheering eachother on I wanted in. I made a decision to start competing. So yes! I will probably end dead last but who cares, as long as I do a little bit better than before.

Linda has just signed up for FIT AS FU*K CROSSFIT CHALLENGE 25 SEPT in Køge, Denmark.

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Rising CrossFit Stars: Anja Wagner Hansen


Name: Anja Wagner Hansen
Age: 28
Occupation: Scandinavian Procurement Planner
Background in sports: Nothing serious, running, aerobics
CrossFitting since: November 2009
Affiliate: CTC Køge

The WOD/class that made you decide to become a CrossFitter?

The day I was introduced to my first Power Clean, there was simply no turning back; it was just so utterly cool.

How often do you train now ?

5 days a week: 5 WODs, and 2-3 times a week of strength training, if I have time I try to fit in some pure cardio as well.

Do you follow any special programming or are you (just) doing the WODs at your box?

I started out “just” doing the WODs at the box. But just after the Danish CrossFit Open 2010 I saw that I needed to step up my game and get stronger. I needed to get my weeks and workout more structured if I was to really see the results in the WODs. So I got some help from Ditte to get in some ‘heavy days’ in my schedule. So yeah, I follow a pretty defined schedule with focus on getting stronger in the basic lifts and getting more reps in on other basics such as push-ups & pull-ups.

Which one of your CrossFit related accomplishments are you most proud off so far?

I am extremely proud of my first 100 kg Deadlift naturally, that felt sooooo good. But I must say that I was ecstatic too the day I first climbed a rope and not to mention the first kipping pull-ups I did. WOW, what an amazing feeling. (I never in a million years thought that I’d be able to do all of that stuff).

What is your next goal(s)?

  1. Cleaning up my squat, and backsquatting 70+ kg
  2. Learning to love Overhead Squats… hmmm
  3. Getting stronger arms for sure, so I can get closer to being able to doing all the really neat stuff too… Handstand Push-ups, Muscle-ups etc.

The most difficult thing in CrossFit ?

To not get addicted to it!!!

Anything with upper body strength and stabilizing weights above the head gets difficult for me.

How do you keep the motivation high?

I savor each time I improve in anything, and I really mean anything. I look back just 4 months to what I was capable of doing then and compare it to what I am capable of doing now. I really see that I am moving forward each day so this is naturally the highest motivation for me.

I try to share the experiences with the fellow CrossFitters, and try to learn from their experiences as well as my own. The CrossFit community is a truly inspiring one, motivation wise there is so much to be gained in the community. So all I really need to do is to look at the people I train with every day and see how hard they fight, that just keeps me motivated to fight even harder too.

Any good advice for new CrossFitters?

“Squat for your life”. Getting a solid squat seems to be the key to a lot of the lifts, so just keep squatting.

Just keep celebrating the small improvements you see from one WOD to the next. And keep track, if you’re anything like me you might not be able to remember that you did 5 push-ups more than your last max, so write it down.

For the ladies: Don’t be afraid to train with the guys, they’ll just push you to do better. Scale the exercises if you need to, no shame in that (but try and scale a little less each time).

Any questions for the community ? (this is your chance to ask experienced CrossFitters anything!)

Am really getting concerned about injuries, an injury right now would really kill it for me. Can I do anything preemptive to avoid the injuries? Am mostly worried about the knee joints & elbow joints. What can I focus on to keep seeing results in the upper body strength? I am currently trying to fit in a lot of push-ups and pull-ups, anything else?

Do you plan to attend any CrossFit competitions?

I will be attending the Fit as Fu*k CrossFit Challenge in CTC Køge on September 25th and getting butterflies just thinking about it…