When Michelle Anderson joined the box in August 2018, toes-to-bar seemed like one of those crazy CrossFit movements that only experienced athletes could pull off. “I thought I’d NEVER be able to do it,” she says. But, after committing to three WODs a week and adding a few extra sit-ups to her daily routine, Michelle can, indeed, bring her toes to the bar!
That’s how it happens. You follow the program and put in the work, and your body surprises you with its true potential. Next up for Michelle: unbroken toes-to-bar and handstands. We have no doubt that 2020 is her year.
Read our Q&A with Michelle Anderson and get to know March 2020’s Athlete of the Month!
How did you discover CrossFit?
I was reading about the latest research that indicates that lifting weights and engaging in high-intensity workouts are the best exercises for the body, especially as it ages. This box was down the street from the apartment where my sweetheart moved. It seemed like a sign that we should at least try it out.
Why did you end up sticking with CrossFit?
First, the coaches are great. They are physically impressive but completely approachable and encouraging. Second, the box welcomes women. Third, the way CrossFit works, you are only competing with yourself. Everyone is working to become stronger, and it takes hard work for anyone to become stronger, no matter where they are—and everyone respects that work.
What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
I like the way CrossFit makes me think less about how my body looks and more about what it can do and how it feels to live inside it. I never thought of myself as an athlete. But, CrossFit surprises me. You follow the program, and you get stronger. It’s that simple. I am stronger at 53 than I have ever been in my life—and I see that there is so much further to go, which is exciting. Moreover, even after a painful workout, even when I am sore, I feel quietly elated and at peace all day.
How do you make time for working out?
For me, consistency is key. I make three classes a week and stick to it. It’s not so much time that it feels overwhelming, but it is enough to see results.
What’s your favorite type of WOD?
I actually like the variety. Every day seems to tackle a new part of the body, a different kind of balance, stamina, flexibility, or strength.
What recent achievement or PR are you most proud of?
I can now do toes-to-bar. It’s astonishing. When I first started CrossFit, I thought toes-to-bar was the most beautiful and insane move ever. I thought I’d NEVER be able to do it. Then I started doing a few sit-ups at night, trying to make small but consistent changes to be healthier, and all of the sudden—bam!— did it. I haven’t yet learned how toes-to-bar to bar fully from a hanging position without stopping in between, but that’s coming!
What goal are you currently working on?
I want to learn how to do a handstand this year.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
I’m a college president and a mom, two jobs that can feel demanding at times. I like that I am not the president of anything when I am in the box. I am not the boss or the mom of anyone in the room. I am just a beginner, trying to do something that is hard, which is a free place to be.