Games Athlete Jamie Hagiya Loses and Finds her Fitness during Pandemic
After being a competitive athlete since she was a young child, 2016 CrossFit Games athlete and former Division I basketball player Jamie Hagiya retired from competition in 2019. “After my last year competing at the Games with a team, I was just kind of lost. And I realized I had never really taken a break from training,” said Hagiya, the owner of Torrance Training Lab in California. So she decided to ease off her training and loosen the reins on her diet.
- Before she knew it, she was eating out four nights a week, “and eating late at night and fried foods and heavy foods, like noodles. You know, all kinds of delicious things,” she said laughing.
- Then COVID-19 hit, her gym closed, and Hagiya found herself stuck at home, isolated, coaching Zoom classes and eating too much. Her training was reduced even further. “I would do little 15 minute workouts here and there, but that was about it,” she said.
- By August 2020, Hagiya had packed 20 pounds onto her 5-foot-2 frame. “I was just big. My clothes didn’t fit well. My loose gym clothes were tight and uncomfortable, my back was hurting and I was very insecure,” she said, adding that she also felt tired and lethargic a lot of the time.
One big thing: While it could have been tempting for Hagiya to hide — and especially to hide from her 120,000 Instagram followers — she did not. Hagiya kept posting her home workouts and let the world see that she was human.
- “I’m a normal person. I like to eat good food and socialize with my family with food. Things always revolve around food, and just because I competed at the Games, I’m no different than anyone else. I still have to work hard to find that balance,” she said.
Nipping it in the bud: Shortly after seeing a video of herself a bikini jumping into the lake “with a big beer belly,” she laughed, she knew it was time. “I knew what I needed to do,” she said.
- What Hagyia needed to do wasn’t to embark on an overnight overhaul of her diet and training. She just needed to start chipping away little by little, going back to healthier habits as frequently and consistently as she could, she explained.
- She also knew she needed to make fitness fun again. So she launched the Jam Method, an online programming company that focuses on fun, sweaty workouts that don’t require spending three hours in the gym, she said.
The result: Through “eating normal portion sizes again” and following her own Jam Method workouts, Hagyia has dropped 20 pounds since August and feels like herself again.
- “And I just did 255 pounds for six (back squats) the other day. My strength is going up and I feel so much better,” she said.
The big picture: Hagiya’s message to those who have been struggling to create or maintain healthy habits, especially during COVID, is simple:
- “Just starting is the hardest part. Just start and then be consistent and patient. It won’t happen overnight. Just be consistent, and lots of positive self-talk,” she said.