“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”- Jenny Han
Changing the Conversation with Herself: Julie Hougard Nielsen Talks about her Transition to Team Division with No Shortcuts CrossFit
When Dr. Julie Hougard Nielsen stepped onto the competition floor at the European Semifinals, the 34-year-old Danish athlete knew she had something to prove. Not just to the massive stadium packed with hundreds of fans, but also to her team.
One big thing: Despite spending the past several years competing individually, including an Individual Games appearance in 2019 and two Individual Semifinal appearances in 2021 and 2022, Nielsen had never taken the competition floor with a team. But watching her out on the floor with her fellow team members of CrossFit No Shortcuts, you would never know.
The rookie European team might be new to the team division, but not to the sport of fitness, and over the course of the weekend, they combined their individual strengths to work as one and take first place overall after six tests, never finishing a single test outside the top ten.
For Nielsen, her experience in the team division at the European Semifinal was a learning experience and one that she hoped would continue to build her team for the upcoming CrossFit Games.
“Coming into the European Semifinal, we were a new team, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We hadn’t done an actual competition together before,” said Nielsen, noting that while they had competed once together in Madrid earlier that year, team captain Houdet was not there to join them, which changed the dynamic quite a bit.
“I think we learned a lot from this experience, being in this format and size of the competition [as well as] communicating under pressure when the competition intensity is there,” she continued.
The team has come a long way from last year when Houdet called up Nielsen and her fellow team members to build a team to represent CrossFit No Shortcuts.
Since their initial phone call, Nielsen has not only moved in with Houdet in Denmark but has also worked harder than ever to become the fittest version of herself.
“I have the expectation of going to the Games as a fitter version than I’ve ever been,” Nielsen said.
In 2019, Nielsen qualified for the CrossFit Games as an individual while studying for her med-school exams. But despite the incredible amount of work that went into accomplishing such a feat in 2019, Nielsen still believes that this has been the hardest season for her yet.
“For me individually, the team thing has definitely been a harder training season. Not just upping the volume, but also being aware of where three people are at and where I need to be,” Nielsen said.
“The mental part of being in comparison to people and feeling sometimes like you can be the weakest link or that you’ve had a bad day and how that impacts your team members [is also difficult],” Nielsen added.
“When you train alone, who’s going to notice if you take a break or slow down,” said Nielsen explaining that she feels a lot more pressure on herself when working with her teammates.
“I find this insecurity has been quite a surprise for me, but also a healthy thing to try to assess and to turn around and try to work on,” she concluded.
The countdown is on!The ELFIT CrossFit Championship‘s online qualifier begins in a week, on July 19, with the announcement of OQ 23.1 and 23.2. This year the Crossfit-licensed event is being programmed by new Technical partner, Underdogs Athletics.
Whether it’s a five hour drive to Yellowstone National Park, a ten hour drive to Bryce Canyon or even a 23 hour drive to Madison, WI to watch the CrossFit Games, we’re all familiar with that pain of extended sitting, without moving, in an overly packed vehicle.
Summer travel, excursions and exploration are all worth the tight hips and back, but there are ways to decrease the discomfort that could be limiting the fun once your destination is reached.
Four-time individual and three-time team CrossFit Games athlete Lauren Fisher has learned through a decade of competing at the highest level of her sport that it’s not just about physical fitness. Mindset matters, too. A lot.
It matters, not just for performance, but also when it comes to accepting and embracing who you are and where you’re at on your fitness journey, Fisher explained.
“Becoming the strongest version of yourself starts from within, both mentally and emotionally…Much of our self-criticism stems from our own minds, and by working on our mindset, we can show kindness and appreciation to our external bodies,” she said.
This is why Fisher’s company Grown Strong—a programming company aimed at helping women gain strength—is offering the Mindset Makeover Challenge for the fourth straight year this summer.
The details: Grow Strong’s free Mindset Makeover Challenge starts on July 17 and is designed for women who “want to revamp their relationship with their fitness journey and overall well-being,” Fisher said, adding that the goal is to help women “break free from mental barriers, gain clarity and experience personal growth.”
The challenge involves doing both an ab workout and journaling for 30 days, as journaling is something Fisher said has helped her “immensely,” while strengthening your core can have “a positive impact on various aspects of your training,” Fisher explained.
Further, the challenge provides participants with a range of tools and exercises, video demos, mindset tips, recipes and a 30-day free access to all Grown Strong programming and the Grown Strong community.
The big picture: To Fisher, this isn’t just another fitness challenge. It’s an opportunity to reset your body and mind, and “invitation to rediscover your true potential,” she said.
Does your gym bag smell like hot garbage? Yeah, mine did too. It’s so easy to throw all of your sweaty stuff into your gym bag and keep it in one smelly location without thinking about it until the next time you go to put on stinky wrist wraps or your still wet grips (sorry for the visual). My bag was a stinky disorganized blob that I fished through daily to find that one stray knee sleeve.
Enter Haven Athletic: they’re on a mission to help their customers avoid gym bag chaos and provide organization for your workout gear. I got my hands on a duffel and a backpack and have been using them for a month now, and here are my key takeaways.
Wondering what kind of vitamins you should actually be taking? OLLY knows what you should be taking depends on what you need. That’s why they make vitamins based on your goals. From reducing stress, supporting healthy skin and nails, or strengthening your joints: there’s an OLLY vitamin for that. Buy now and get 20% off any ultra strength softgels using code “SUMMER23”.
Athleisure is on a whole new level with Vuori’s DreamKnit™ Joggers. You’ll live in your joggers (and don’t forget a matching hoodie) once you put on their softest, dreamiest fabric. Get your hands on a pair today!
This Post for Your Friends Who are Intimidated By CrossFit
Do you have friends who have expressed interest in coming to workout with you, but are intimidated by CrossFit? We all remember what we thought before we tried it for the first time! Share this post with them to help them see from other resources that the gym is a safe space.
Team PRVN (CrossFit East Nashville) is hitting it hard with three weeks left until the 2023 CrossFit Games.
Congratulations to Games athlete Steph Roach, who was featured in an article by her alma mater Lynn University.
This Saturday, July 15th, Stronger Together Fitness in North Little Rock, AR is hosting the 7th annual SO Row Fundraiser in support of Special Olympics Arkansas. Teams of 6 will have 20 minutes to row max meters.
The event is scheduled to run from 9am to noon at the New Life Church student building.
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