Calgarian nurse gearing up for Regional Crossfit competition

Nadia Yangui is disarmingly calm, and well-spoken face-to-face, but don’t let that fool you. It is when the clock starts on the white walls of the Crossfit gym, otherwise known as ‘the box’, that you can bear witness to the animal that she holds within.

She is currently on a strictly regimented eating and workout routine in preparation for her upcoming competitions; Crossfit Opens, which continue for the month of May and Weightlifting Nationals. If she qualifies in the top five events at the Opens she will go on to compete in Crossfit Regionals.

According to her Coach Curtis Laughren, this possibility is very likely. Laughren owns Yangui’s home gym, Crossfit Above All, and has trained her since the beginning.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing in the beginning, I would tear my hands and be so sore, but I loved it,” says Yangui.

Weightlifting is one of the core workouts of Crossfit, here Nadia Yangui performs a jerk. Photo by Jennifer DorozioThis rocky start came after coach Laughren approached her on a Stairmaster at a local gym with the proposition to start Crossfit.

“Yangui is a natural athlete, and I could see right away that the competition that comes with Crossfit workouts clicked with her,” says Laughren. “She has a history competing in figure skating and track and field so I drew on that competitive nature.”

While she may have started out like any other, Yangui quickly took to the sport and now boasts incredible achievements, to name one a 300 lb backsquat.

Crossfit in a nutshell is a combination of functional movements cycled in a repetitive patterns designed to build an overall stronger body. Some examples of these movements are rowing, squatting with weights, chin ups, wall balls, and handstand push-ups – to name a few.

Laughren says that the appeal of Crossfit is that anyone can come in at any level and find something they can do, “If you’re a first timer I want you to have more fun than anything else so that you keep coming back and keep working at it.”

“I think for me, Crossfit has redefined what it means to be strong.” – Nadia Yangui

He is not so easy on Yangui however, her regime for preparing for competition leaves room for little else, and it can take up to three hours of training a day.

Laughren says Yangui consistently displays a focused and disciplined lifestyle, “Which not everyone could do, and that is why she has achieved so much.”

On top of this routine, Yangui finds the time to work her day job as a charge nurse at the South Calgary Health Campus.

She says sometimes she gets odd looks being a woman with such a strong build, “I think a lot of people think, ‘Oh that body type woman shouldn’t look like, that woman shouldn’t be that strong.’”

This doesn’t stop her, she says, “I think its awesome… even at work I’ll wear a long sleeve lulu and people will say, ‘I didn’t know you had biceps.’”This position is called a ‘clean’, this sets up for a ‘jerk’, which is when the bar is pushed even further above the head. Photo by Jennifer Dorozio

Being a girl in this sport comes with its own set of healthy competition, as Yangui puts it.

“We have a saying at the gym where we say, ‘Strong like a girl, you should do that strong like a girl’ meaning woman can be powerful,” says Yangui. “I think for me, Crossfit has redefined what it means to be strong.

With competitions looming it’s easy to second-guess progress but Yangui says it’s all about mind over matter.

“There are times, even during workouts, that I want to quit but it’s all about staying out of my head because in the end it’s worth it.”

Produced by Jennifer Dorozio

Thumbnail courtesy of The Toths Photo & Film

jdorozio@cjournal.ca 

The editor responsible for this article is Cheryl Russell, crussell@cjournal.ca