Once you leave high school and collegiate-level sports, the structure surrounding athletics disappears. For those who take up a recreational sport in adulthood, team practices often aren’t enough to keep them at the top of their game (pun intended). However, some adult athletes have found that CrossFit provides a solid base that helps them on the field or track, and in some cases, CrossFit has provided conditioning that they didn’t get when they played at the collegiate level.
For Danielle “Bangs” Caltabiano, a skater on the Houston Roller Derby team The Valkyries, CrossFit has provided her with a great deal of endurance. Bangs started roller derby in 2013, and in 2015, she began CrossFit. When she started CrossFit, she was looking for something that would help her build more strength than the boot camp classes at her gym.
“In order to be really competitive in roller derby, you have to not only have high endurance, but you have to have a lot of strength,” Bangs said.
Since she started CrossFit, Bangs noticed an improvement in her overall strength and endurance. CrossFit has helped strengthen her core and legs, both critical for competition. It’s helped put her on a level with younger, larger players who are often surprised at how strong she actually is. “I’m almost 39, and the older you get, the harder it gets to maintain your fitness levels and endurance,” she said. “Being smaller and older, I need more help being as strong as I can.”
Bangs also credits CrossFit for helping her come back from a broken ankle. She stayed off her ankle for six weeks, but as soon as she could, she was back in the box – and back on the track. “We use our ankles quite a bit in roller derby, and I needed that mobility and strength,” she said.
CrossFit has also helped Dana Karstensen, a former college soccer player, stay in shape for hockey. She plays ice hockey on both a co-ed team and in a women’s league, and she started CrossFit before she began playing hockey.
Playing in a recreational league is different from college sports since there aren’t morning or two-a-day workouts that often come with the territory. CrossFit helps keep Karstensen more accountable and also offers full-body conditioning that helps her on the ice. “It’s not just going to the gym and fitting in a quick cardio workout and arms,” she said. “In CrossFit, almost every workout is a full body workout. Depending on whether you do weights or scale for the day, you can get more strength training out of it than what people tend to realize.”
Additionally, soccer weakened Karstensen’s ankles – and CrossFit has helped her develop strength in her ankles more than any other conditioning. She also has more muscle mass than when she played soccer in college, and the mental aspect of CrossFit has helped her on the ice and off.
“When it comes to hockey, you’re pushing yourself to go,” she said. The mental side of CrossFit helps with power plays and breakaways, as well as life in general. “CrossFit gives you a whole new level of mental clarity to push yourself through what’s about to happen,” she added.
CrossFit works for everyone – not just Games athletes. Recreational and even professional athletes have found that the conditioning from CrossFit helps them play their sport better, and even gives them the mental toughness to get through tough moments in the game. For those looking to gain an edge, whether it’s in a recreational league or in collegiate sports, CrossFit can help.
This is a guest post from Christine Parizo, a half marathoner and new CrossFitter based in Houston. She recently qualified for guaranteed entry for the Houston Marathon and plans to run it in 2017. Christine blogs about running, CrossFit, and fitness at RunOutoftheBox.com. You can follow Christine on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
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