Janet Black: What It Takes to be a Top CrossFit Athlete
When it comes to CrossFit athlete Janet Black, the word “fit” just doesn’t cut it.
As a three-time CrossFit Games athlete, Janet won first place in the Masters Division in 2015 and placed 3rd in 2016.
“My goal in 2015 was to get to the podium. It was hard for me to believe that I was in first place on the first day, and I knew there was a lot of work to do. The fact that I never fell out of first place during the entire weekend was a surreal moment, and certainly not anticipated!”
As a full-time teacher, mom and wife, Janet is accustomed to juggling many responsibilities. On top of this, she trains at least six days a week to maintain peak physical condition.
Balancing her training schedule can be tough, but the thrill of competition motivates her to stay focused.
“I have been competitive most of my life and it is through fitness that I can still compete. I compete with myself on a daily basis and I find great pleasure in pushing my limits and testing the capabilities of my body. My ultimate goal is to live a better life through fitness.”
Before her CrossFit days, Janet’s sport of choice was soccer.
“I played in college and as an adult on a semi-professional team in Dallas. I used to coach soccer at SMU in Dallas.”
In 2010, Janet decided to switch gears when she was introduced to the CrossFit world . The challenge and variety it offered was the perfect fix to feed her appetite for overall fitness excellence and pushing herself to the limit.
It was during her first season with the DC Brawlers GRID League in 2014 that she was introduced to Crossrope.
“Weighted jump ropes was an element that would be a part of one our races. I had never worked with a weighted rope, so I was excited for the challenge! And I knew that these ropes would help my fitness and regular rope skills.”
Janet was excited to start making Crossrope part of her workout regimen, as it was around this time that weighted ropes were incorporated in the CrossFit Games.
“Being able to train with weighted Crossropes made me feel like I was already ahead of the game and had a real leg up on the competition. Now I welcome any rope challenge they want to throw my way, and I would not feel this way if I had not been introduced to Crossrope.”
To be a successful CrossFit athlete like Janet, it’s important to target every muscle group, and then fine-tune to build strength, stamina, and speed. Training with Crossrope adds versatility to her workouts.
“I try to incorporate the full Crossrope system on a weekly basis. I have used the ropes to help me warm-up, I use them in workouts and I also use them to help supplement my conditioning. They really add a new element and a different layer to workouts.”
And it’s important to always be in peak condition, because even qualifying for the Games is no joke.
In order to qualify, you must compete against 17,000 others from around the world who are all vying for a spot. After the Masters shrinks the pool of qualifiers down to 200, only the top 20 are picked based on video submissions.
With such stiff competition, Janet is always trying to up her game.
“As a teacher, I’m off in the summer so this allows me to increase my volume going into the Games each year. This year, I feel like I have the time I need to train properly. I am listening to my body and focusing on training and targeting different muscle groups every day.”
Some days, Janet works out at home and other days in the box. And there’s nothing she won’t do to get herself in shape – from rowing, to swimming to running.
“This season, I want to take the time out for more auxiliary work and focus on mobility and flexibility and simply run more. Although this work is not as much fun and is time-consuming, it’s extremely important.”
Janet’s training is truly a family affair. Her husband, who doubles as her coach, helps create programs for her. He built her a platform in their garage so she can do workout from home. And now that school is out, Janet’s daughter, who just finished the 4th grade, helps Janet plan her week – when to fit in workouts, and when it’s time to play.
“At times I have to train when I don’t feel like it or maybe run at my daughter’s soccer practice instead of making it to the box. My husband and I make a great team, so that helps.”
Since using the Crossrope Plus Set, Janet has noticed some significant improvements.
“I have become more fluid with my rope skills. My regular rope DU’s continue to get easier. I continue to enjoy the challenge of them.”
But Janet hasn’t always been a weighted rope expert. Although she’s an elite athlete, she still had a bit of a learning curve.
“I want people to know that it’s ok if you’re not good at it at first. It took me awhile to get really comfortable with the ropes. I found you have to respect the weight of the rope and get hit a few times before you learn. They can be challenging, but that’s what training is all about. My advice would be to start light. Not every rope is created equal. The heavier ropes need to be gripped differently to respect the weight of the rotation.”
The next challenge on the horizon for Janet is the 2017 CrossFit Games. Though she won’t be competing as part of the DC Brawlers GRID league, she has already secured a place as a Master.
What’s Janet’s advice to those who are trying to achieve peak physical fitness?
“Always remember why you started and be sure to have fun! We should work to find the best version of ourselves. Through fitness we can become stronger in all aspects of our lives.”
Janet has only a few weeks left until the CrossFit games. This will be Janet’s fifth trip to the games, and there’s no reason to think she won’t kick butt again this year.
Questions, comments or words of encouragement for Janet? Leave them below.