Holding a weightlifter’s heavy metal bars overhead, scaling quickly up a climber’s rope or exhibiting prowess on a gymnast’s steel rings.
It sounds like a sort of athletic superhero, but such is the normal routine of Davis CrossFit competitor and coach Kirsten Anderson-Pedri. It’s the training necessary for the jack-of-all-trades nature of CrossFit competition.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program named after the fitness company that designed it. It embraces a mix of exercises; everything from gymnastics to Olympic weightlifting.
“It’s constantly varied,” Anderson-Pedri told The Enterprise. “Every day we’re doing a different workout, and each can be pretty intense, so no one ever feels like they’re bored.”
She’s employed as a coach at CrossFit Davis, 2121 Second St., a licensed CrossFit gym that teaches classes of 10 to 20 people each day. She works alongside owner Scott Pfeifer, who also serves as a fire captain for West Sacramento Fire Department.
Besides spending time coaching, she’s been busy earning herself recognition on the competitive track. The CrossFit company hosts a test of fitness each year, composed of three stages: the open, regionals and world championships.
Anderson-Pedri began competing in the CrossFit Games three years ago. The competition always begins with the CrossFit Open, an inclusive contest in which anyone is allowed to participate.
She and up to 40 others from the local CrossFit gym annually compete from March 6 to April 3 with complete workouts — such as lifting 75 pounds in barbells overhead as many times as possible — posted online.
Each person is then judged and ranked based on their respective performances. At the end of the five weeks, the top 48 athletes in each region earn a berth at the three-day regional competition.
In 2012, Anderson-Pedri finished four spots away from qualifying for the regional event:
“Before that, I never really saw myself as being competitive in CrossFit,” she said. “Placing like I did lit a fire under me. I set a goal for myself the day after: to make regionals.”
A year later — after training six days a week, up to three times per day — she had improved enough to finish the CrossFit Open well ahead of the qualifying mark (the 24th position).
Thus, Anderson-Pedri made it to the aforementioned regional clash, which this year took place July 26-28 in Carson. After three days of competition, her execution of 12 CrossFit exercises was good enough for 14th place out of the 48 contestants.
Only the top three athletes advance to the final stage of competition, a televised event that features cash prizes. Still, Anderson-Pedri can count herself within the top 20 CrossFit competitors in Northern California.
Now, she has her eyes set on a repeat performance at the very least in next year’s competition and plans to train with the same regularity until then.
But what she’s already done is an impressive accomplishment, especially considering that — aside from some youth sports — exercise was previously never really a part of her routine.
“I was working for someone who suggested CrossFit to me,” Anderson-Pedri explained. “I came here to try a workout, and just barely made it through. But for some reason, I came back.
“After about a year and a half, I did a local team competition. I had the best time. I remembered how fun it was to compete, which I’d forgotten in my adult life.”
It’s tough, she admits, adding that there must be a certain willingness to be uncomfortable and endure bouts of muscle soreness required at the onset to see progress.
But there’s no better example of it being possible than Anderson-Pedri, who reminisced about the struggle to even do one pull-up or push-up during her CrossFit introduction:
“When I walked in for the first time, no one looked at me and said, ‘Oh, I bet she’d make it to the CrossFit Regionals.’ Knowing how far I’ve come has helped keep me going.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett