Amy Morton: Setting Her Sights on the CrossFit Games, and So Much More
In case placing 32nd in North America in the CrossFit Quarterfinals isn’t impressive enough, try doing it as a full-time mother with a career as a Senior Orthopedic Research Engineer, with only 60 minutes a day for training. This is 33-year-old Amy Morton’s reality.
More on Morton: Though relatively unknown to CrossFit fans, Morton isn’t new to the sport. She competed at Regionals twice on a team and was the alternate on the Ocean State CrossFit team who placed 14th at the CrossFit Games in 2017. She also qualified to both the Atlas Games and Asbury Park Sanctionals last season, but both were canceled due to COVID-19.
- Though Morton has priorities beyond her fitness, she said her training consistency since 2013 has led her to somewhat accidentally be able to compete with the best in the sport. It’s something that has come as a bit of a surprise to her, she explained.
- “I really didn’t change anything in my training. It has just become a natural progression after years and years of training. I guess I have just sort of learned what I’m capable of. I used to look to workouts and think they were impossible, but then would surprise myself. Now I believe I can do it and try to make them harder. It really just has been a progressive pushing of my boundaries” said Morton, who works for both Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University Medical School.
- This “progressive pushing of boundaries” in the last eight years has helped Morton earn achievements like a 230-pound clean and jerk, a 330-pound back squat and a 180-pound snatch.
- During Quarterfinals, Morton’s best event was the four rep max front squat, where she hit 260 pounds.
One big thing: Morton doesn’t even have a personal coach, nor does she follow an individualized program that is designed to tackle her specific weaknesses and help her peak at a specific time of the year. She has risen through the ranks simply by joining in on group classes at Ocean State CrossFit in Cranston, RI with her partner Stuart Swanson, who has competed at the CrossFit Games twice in the Men’s 55-59 year-old division.
- “We mostly just do classes. I think that’s a big nod to our owners and coaches. They have done a fantastic job striating the workouts for different people’s levels,” Morton said. “I really am a product of my gym.”
- While classes make up the bulk of her training, she also does carve out some time when she can, often before work on the days she doesn’t have her son, to work on her weaknesses. “Or sometimes I can squeeze something in at lunch like a swim session,” she said. But generally, unlike most of the other athletes who will be competing at the Semifinals this spring, Morton trains just 60 to 90 minutes a day.
Looking ahead: Morton admits she learned a lot about her weaknesses during Quarterfinal weekend, namely about how she needs to improve her ability to handle multiple hard efforts on one day, for multiple days in a row, in the next seven weeks before the Semifinals.
- “I have a lot of work to do to get my body ready for three workouts a day. It’s not something I excel at yet,” Morton said.
- “I have been trying to maximize my time on the weekend and hit multiple workouts, but usually if I go hard on Saturday I’ll take it lightly on Sunday, so that’s something I have to get better at before Semifinals. I did so many things sore and tired (during Quarterfinals). It was a wake up call for me,” she said.
On the CrossFit Games: When asked if she thinks she can make it to the Games this summer, Morton took a deep breath, let out a sigh and said, “I think I have to believe.”
- She admits believing in herself is one of the “biggest hurdles” she has to overcome in the upcoming weeks. “I’m still having a hard time getting used to the idea that I’m an elite athlete,” she said.
- “But every time I finish a workout ahead of a big name, like inching out Amanda Barnhart on the first workout at Wodapalooza (last year), or beating some other big name, helps make me realize that I have it. I do have some disadvantages, but sometimes my best really is enough and that’s a hard thing for me to realize,” she said.
While Morton would love to qualify for the Games this summer, what’s more important to her is continuing to live a balanced life pursuing a career she loves and being a good mother.
- “My friends keep saying, ‘If you want to make the Games you’re going to be faced with a decision of having to sacrifice something,” Morton said.
- She added: “But I don’t know. I’m just going to try to maximize the time I have for training. I have a wonderful career and I really enjoy it, so apart from taking time off to travel to a competition, I’m not going to. I’m just going to have to try to do it all.”