Emily Rolfe On Working Full-Time While Doing CrossFit: “I have to make it work for me, and make it an advantage”

July 24, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Richard Veytsman
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Canadian Emily Rolfe, who will be competing in her third CrossFit Games next month, was on hand at the CanWest Games last weekend in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and took the time to chat with the Morning Chalk Up about the 2022 season.

Remind me: A quiet competitor, the 33-year-old former gymnast has placed in the top 20 both times she has competed at the Games—18th in 2019 and 15th in 2021—has had an event win on running-based workouts at both Games despite not having much of a running background, and said when it comes to endurance events, “the longer the better.”

  • Rolfe has competed as much as anyone leading up to this season—ninth at Wodapalooza, eighth at the Dubai CrossFit Championship and 16th at the Rogue Invitational—and has been working on her strength in hopes of reaching her “lofty goal” of being in the top 10 in Madison, WI this summer.

Q&A with Rolfe at the CanWest Games:

Morning Chalk Up: How are you such a good runner even though you were a high-level gymnast (until the age of 22) and don’t have a serious running background?

Rolfe: I don’t know if my technique is great, but I can go fast. I was the kid who won all those cross-country races in elementary school, and it was so stressful. By the time I got into Grade 8, I just had to win.

Morning Chalk Up: What was the journey to the Games like this year for you compared to other years?

Rolfe: Every time it’s different. Obviously I have more and more confidence each year, but the field at Granite (Games) this year was tough. It was a stacked field so that was kind of intimidating.

Morning Chalk Up: Were you disappointed when you found out you were at the Granite Games in an arguably more competitive field than the Atlas Games Semifinals in Canada?

Rolfe: Well, at first you didn’t see the roster. You only saw you were going to Granite Games…so I was excited, and then I saw the roster and I saw the roster at Atlas…It was kind of weird because I was one of the only Canadians who was sent (to the Granite Games), and I (asked), ‘Why am I not sent to (the Semifinals) in my own country?’ But then it’s like, ‘OK, well you can’t change it.’ Yeah, I can moan and be like, ‘Why am I at the hard one and I want to be at the easy one?’ But then my coach said, ‘Well wouldn’t it feel better if you made it the harder way?’”

Morning Chalk Up: Does it build your confidence knowing you still qualified out of the arguably more challenging field at the Granite Games rather than the Atlas Games?

Rolfe: Totally. That’s the thing. Now, looking back, and knowing I qualified from that tough field going into the Games. That gives me so much more confidence.

Morning Chalk Up: I know you are still working almost full-time (as a radiation technologist). Have you taken any extra time off leading up to the Games?

Rolfe: They have given me one (extra) day off a week for July, so for me that feels great. It feels like I’m barely working. It feels like such a help.

Morning Chalk Up: Do you feel like it’s a disadvantage compared to other athletes because you still work a full-time career on top of training?

Rolfe: I feel like I have to make it work for me, and make it an advantage for me. I do feel like I would overtrain if I wasn’t working. You waste as much time as you have. The days I’m not working, I’m like, ‘Oh sweet, I have the whole day to train.’ Am I more productive? I don’t know. I waste more time between pieces because I don’t have to rush off, and I’m less efficient.

Morning Chalk Up: I know you were counting your macros. Are you still doing that, and has it changed?

Rolfe: Yeah, I’m still the same. Just eating a ton. Eating a ton of carbs. I’m at 550 grams of carbs now. And my fat is 83 ish to 93 (grams), depending on the day, and my protein is around 180 (grams). And, of course, it’s constant check-ins. The last few weeks of training, because I’m doing so much, I’m waking up at 2 a.m. starved, so I’ll message my nutritionist and she’ll tell me to change this and this and this, or sometimes I’ll just snack by my bedside table.

Morning Chalk Up: How long do you plan to keep competing for?

Rolfe: Eventually we would like a family, but I think I have a few more good years in me, and I don’t see myself as one of them who comes back after having kids. That’s amazing, but that’s probably not going to be me, so I’m just going to go as long and hard as I can before then.

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