GGS Spotlight: Jen Smith

By GGS
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JenSmith10-450x340Name: Jennifer Smith
Age: 29
Location: Recently moved back home to Lexington, KY from Boston, MA working at Reebok’s World Headquarters

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
I see GGS as a movement empowering women to be healthier, stronger, and build confidence. It’s amazing to be able to represent all three of those.

How long have you been training?
I’ve been training for as long as I can remember. I played any and every sport growing up. I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 6 years.

JenSMith2-450x340How did you get introduced to strength training?
I started lifting weights when I ran track at the University of Kentucky. I ran the 800 and pole vaulted. We did weight training for pole vault.

What attracted you to Crossfit?
After graduating college, I was running alone.  I had always played sports with friends for as long as I could remember, because it was fun. CrossFit was a way to train with likeminded people and meet so many new friends while getting fitter! It was a win, win!

When did you first think about competing in the Crossfit Games?
I’ve competed at the CrossFit Games twice on a team (2010, 2012) and twice as an Individual (2013 & 2016). CrossFit Maximus needed another girl to complete their team and asked me to join in 2010, just a few months after starting. I actually didn’t want to get back into competing and also didn’t understand CrossFit competitions.

I remember thinking, "Why are these people trying to work out so fast?!" Once I competed my first time I was hooked.

JenSmith3I remember sitting at the CrossFit Games in 2012 on CrossFit Maximus’ team watching the final heads of the female individuals – wondering to myself if I could ever qualify individually or be "that" good. The next year I trained the best I knew how, fully committed myself to training, and won the Central East Regionals to qualify to the CrossFit Games.

What is something that you think many people have a misconception about regarding Crossfit?  

I can think of so many misconceptions, but the biggest one for me is that girls don’t want to get “bulky” lifting weights. I tell girls all the time that you won’t just morph into a bodybuilder physique with CrossFit. JenSmith5-450x340The girls that do get more toned are training multiple hours a day, and some can’t ever get that way. If it were so easy to bulk up, guys who naturally have more testosterone than ladies wouldn’t have to try so hard to get bigger! It just makes you a more in shape version of your own body type!

Also, people tell me all the time that they need to get in shape before they try Crossfit. There are so many different ability levels and ages in one Crossfit class. That’s the beauty of it! You could have an elite athlete and a 70-year-old woman doing the same workout. The older woman uses scaling options that work for her, but they both get the same stimulus out of the workout. There aren’t many things that are more impressive than that!

JenSmith1-450x340What does a sample workout look like for you?
My training changes everyday, but I usually do some form of strength training, Olympic lifting, and a couple workouts. It’s typically broken up into two sessions.

For example, my training yesterday looked like this:

  • 30 Power Clean & Jerks (105#) for time.
  • 5x7 Front Squats 3 minutes rest between
  • 7 Pullups & 7 Pushups On the Minute x 20
  • Work up to a heavy single Snatch on the minute x 15
  • 100M sprint On the Minute x 10 Min.

Favorite Lift:
Hmmm… That’s a tough one! I love all lifts, but if I had to pick I’d say cleans and deadlifts.

Most memorable PR:
I was competing in the East Coast Championship in Boston this past winter and hit a new PR for my Clean & Jerk at 235 pounds. The competitors came out one by one on a lifting platform with the lights out and a spotlight on us. We had 20 seconds from the point they called our names to start the lift! It was nerve-wracking to say the least! Even though this was the most memorable for me, any PR I get is a huge accomplishment!

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:

  1. JenSmith9-450x340Fast Car - Radio Edit by Jonas Blue
  2. Burn – Ellie Goulding
  3. Five Hours – Deorro
  4. Heart of a Champion - Nelly
  5. I Run This - Birdman

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:

  • Chapstick
  • Gymnastics grips so I don't rip on the pull-up bars!
  • Change of clothes. There’s nothing worse than stewing in your sweat!

Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
Training partners are way better! Getting fit is way more fun with friends!

Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
I think guys are scared of me at the gym! I rarely get hit on.

JenSmith4-350x375Most embarrassing gym moment:
I gave myself a black eye from high rings doing a muscle up! It wasn’t awful, but I definitely got some questions because of it.

Favorite meal:
Grass-fed burger with sweet potato fries.

Favorite way to treat yourself:
I treat myself daily. I’m a sucker for desserts. I usually have something sweet almost every day, but only if it's worth it!

Favorite quote:
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Be the best version of you!

What inspires and motivates you?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always tried to push my limits. I want to see what I’m physically and mentally capable of. I know I’ve been blessed with abilities that a lot of people would love to have, so I try to make the absolute most of it.

I try not to compare myself to anyone else, but to push myself as far as I’m capable.

Favorite book:
The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day I wake up, and immediately eat a banana with almond butter and coffee. I go into work at Reebok and train for about an hour before the day really starts. After training, I clean up, eat, and get ready for meetings, coaching their employees through Crossfit classes, and any other events going on. I usually finish the day out with the remainder of my training before heading home to eat and rest up.

JenSmith7-450x340I need a lot of sleep training this much. I always joke about how “uncool” I have become since I started training competitively for Crossfit.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
When I ran track at the University of Kentucky, we would run six to eight miles on average each day. Aside from feeling stronger and overall healthier from weight training, I’m so much leaner now than I ever thought was possible.

Next training goal:
Qualify for the 2016 Crossfit Games

What are you most grateful for you in your life?
Being blessed with confidence and a healthy body. There are so many people who have limitations holding them back that they can’t control, so I never take anything for granted.

JenSmith8-450x340Three words that best describe you:
Positive, driven, confident

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
Once you start lifting (and I’m especially passionate about Crossfit), it will blow your mind to see what your body is capable of. It may be intimidating at first, but once you get past that initial fear, it truly changes your life for the better. And it’s changed in more ways than just your physical health. The mental side effects are amazing!

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About the author:  GGS

GGS is an organization dedicated to empowering women. We do this by creating world-leading resources, and educational materials that help women, and health & fitness professionals who work with women, take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

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