Rising to the top of your sport is no easy task and staying on top is even harder. Mary Schwing knows this all too well after winning the Masters Women 60+ division at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games and finishing 3rd at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games. Heading into the 2014 Games, Schwing is looking strong and poised to win her second title and capture her third podium finish in as many years. She's currently ranked first worldwide after winning both the 2014 Open and the inaugural Masters Regional (two wins and two Top 5 finishes in all 4 events). Schwing took time out of her busy work and training schedule to talk with Box Basics about her training, goals, and experiences as an elite CrossFit athlete.
CrossFit entered Mary's life back in 2011 as something fun and active she could do with her daughter. Prior to CrossFit, Mary considered herself strong, healthy, and fit: "I think a big part of my early background was growing up on a farm. I learned how to do the farmers carry at an early age. From my 30s on I spent most of my time surfing or running."
Like many of us Schwing discovered that CrossFit was unlike anything she had ever encountered. The intensity of CrossFit pushed her to her limits: "I thought I was in pretty good shape to begin with as I would surf or run several times a week. There was the humble piece and then the recovery. I was surprised at how sore I was and the time needed for my recovery. Some of my friends thought I was a little crazy."
As a member of CrossFit 808 Schwing eventually caught the eye of owner, coach, and Games athlete Elyse Umeda who set her on the path to becoming a competitive crossfitter. In training with multiple Games athletes at CrossFit 808 and utilizing a training program designed by programming genius CJ Martin of CrossFit Invictus, Schwing rose quickly and established herself as one of the best Masters CrossFit athletes in the world. In 2012 she reached the pinnacle of her sport and had her most memorable CrossFit moment: "Realizing that I won the gold in 2012. It goes beyond any words I could say."
Schwing credits her coaches, training partners, and fellow box members for the success she has seen and for keeping her calm and mentally prepared for big moments like the Games: "Elyse and all the coaches at 808 are fabulous in being patient and giving with time, energy, and knowledge. I would not be on the podium without them. I try to remain calm and have calm people around me. I just remind myself I have worked hard and don’t forget to have fun!"
2014 is shaping up to be another big and exciting year for Schwing as she continues to work on her strengths (weights and mental toughness) along with her weaknesses (gymnastics movements and flexibility) in preparation for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games. This year the most important thing on her mind is to put forth her best effort on every event and to enjoy the experience: "My goal is always to go into the Games and do the best I can and have fun along the way. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to participate with so many super athletes".
We wish Mary Schwing the best of luck as she competes in her third Reebok CrossFit Games this July.
Chris Spealler is not only a CrossFit legend, but he's arguably the best bodyweight specialist to ever compete at the CrossFit Games. Watching him fly through muscle ups or handstand walk his way past the competition was truly amazing and inspiring to watch.
With over a decade of CrossFit experience as both a coach and athlete, and with 6 Games appearances, Chris Spealler has racked up a wealth of knowledge on proper movement and technique.