• Coach E

Interview with CrossFit Athlete, National Weightlifter and Record Holder - Agata Herbert.

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a couple weeks since my last interview so I’m mega excited to bring you this one with CrossFit athlete, National Weightlifter and National record holder Agata Herbert. Alongside competing Agata also coaches and is a qualified CrossFit Trainer and Nutrition Coach. As you will read she has competed against some of the biggest CrossFit athletes in the game, that some of you might have seen on Netflix! As you can imagine she has a lot of experience and I’m sure you will all enjoy reading what she has to say. So lets gets stuck in.

So what was your journey into fitness?

Since early childhood , I always stayed active. I have also been extremely competitive and was finding any form of sports activity as a great opportunity for another challenge. My journey started early in primary school and involved swimming, tennis and athletics. During the last years of primary school I joined the local basketball club and continued to play for nearly 15 years. After so many years of competing, I decided to take a break to focus on my education. It didn’t stop me from staying active. My interests moved more into recreational running and resistance training.

How did you first get into CrossFit?

After moving to the UK I discovered CrossFit and Weightlifting, which instantly ticked all of my boxes. I joined my first CrossFit class early in 2013 not long after moving to the UK. I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed the competitiveness of this sport and the whole community aspect that goes with it.

For those reading who don’t know what CrossFit is. How would you describe it?

Generally, it is a high intensity type of training that is normally ran in groups and utilises movements that our bodies are familiar with. It is commonly used as a core training for various athletes. It does make you very fit in a very short time.

How does the ranking system work for CrossFit athletes and what is the highest you have been ranked? Do you have a target ranking you are working towards?

There are many events being held each season but I think the most important is the CrossFit open and Sanctioned events. Winning one of them qualifies you to the CrossFit Games held every year in the US. Every ranking is based on total points earned for qualifying workouts. The higher you score for each qualifying workout the less points you get. The least points you earn your ranking is higher. So far I have attended two sanctioned events, but since then my goal is to earn my spot in the Games.

What events have you competed in and where? Where was your favourite place to compete?

Over the last seven years have competed in several events. So far my biggest achievement was to earn my spot in Lowlands Throwdown in Netherlands and Strength in Depth in London in 2019. Both events were sanctioned and so far my favourite events.

What does a normal training week look like?

I train 6 days a week and I make sure I have at least one full rest day each week. The programme of training will depend on the upcoming events. Generally, I spend a lot of time working on gymnastics skills and I have dedicated weightlifting, strength and conditioning sessions.

I know that you work full time alongside training, competing and coaching. How do you manage your time? How do you find it having a full-time job and competing at such a high level?

It is certainly not easy and involves many compromises and a lot of dedication. I try to stay efficient and maximise the time I can commit for my training and recovery. The diet plays a very important role here.

What’s your diet like? Do you stick to a strict diet? Is it different on training days compared to rest days? Does it change on the run up to competition?

My diet is fairly strict and relative to the volume and character of my training on particular days. It is based on supplying a right balance of macronutrients, enough micronutrients and energy. As a general rule, I will up carbohydrates on training days and up fats on rest days. The quality of food is very important as well as the macro nutritional balance.

Competition days require a separate approach. The quality of food is not as important as keeping the energy levels and boosting recovery. So the main focus is on supplying enough easy release carbohydrates and protein.

So I understand you competed in your first sanctioned CrossFit event last year. How was that experience and what did you learn from it? How did you get on?

I really enjoyed competing at this level, I was impressed by the level of judging and the organisation of these events. I competed against some really high level athletes and finished in the middle of the pack. It was a great experience to be able to see the athletes that you normally watch on Netflix. It gave me a great image of where I was and what I needed to improve in order to rank higher.

Have you ever competed against any of the CrossFit athletes who we see on tv competing at the games? If so what was that like?

I competed on the same floor as some great athletes, such as Sara Sigmundsdottir, Jamie Green, Dani Speegle. I was warming up next to Sam Briggs, Laura Horvath, the list is long. It is definitely one of greatest and most memorable experiences.

I hear you have recently been selected for the Scottish weight lifting squad. How did that come about?

I have ranked as a top female in my weight category and established a couple of Scottish records, in Clean and Jerk and the highest total. Based on 2019 season I have been selected to the national Scottish team and I am hoping to compete by the end of this year.

Will you need to change how you train and eat to compete in weight lifting competitions?

I have dedicated weightlifting sessions which correspond with the rest of my programme so normally there is no need to adjust my training. I don’t normally need to cut weight for my weight category so there is no need to adjust my diet before weightlifting events. The weightlifting training obviously needs to be adjusted closer to the competition day so that I can peak for the event.

I know you also coach CrossFit. What advice would you give anyone who is wanting to get into CrossFit?

I would say: just go and try. You will either love it or hate it. The best thing about CrossFit is that it’s totally scalable and can be adjusted to suit everyone’s level of fitness.

What’s next for you? What competitions have you coming up?

Some of my events have been cancelled due to Covid-19, so I am currently getting ready for the 2020 season.

I would like the thank Agata for her time. I know she has a very busy schedule so thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I’m sure a lot of you will have found it an interesting read and maybe even inspired some of you to give CrossFit a go. I would also like to wish you luck with all your future competitions and events and keep us posted on your success.

I would also like the thank and credit:

RXd photography – Strength in Depth 2019 photos

Peter Ostrowski – Castle Games 2020 photos

Frozen in Time photography – Strength in Depth 2019 photos

Pete Williamson Photography – Strength in Depth 2019 photos.

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Keep evolving!

Coach E.

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