Craig Hedges – CrossFit Athlete Statistics
Name: Craig Hedges
Date of Birth: 01/09/1993
Weight: 84 Kg (185 pounds)
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Location: Cambridge, New Zealand
Craig Hedges – CrossFit Athlete Interview
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I emigrated to New Zealand in 2010 from England and recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Leisure Studies from the University of Waikato. I’m currently enrolled in a master’s degree which is focused on concurrent training theory. I gained ASCA Level 1 accreditation (strength and conditioning) and have been coaching CrossFit and weightlifting for just over a year.
How and why did you get started in CrossFit?
I was looking for a bit of a change from the typical “bodybuilding” style of training. Coincidentally, I overheard an advertisement on ESPN for the 2013 CrossFit Games. I saw big dudes lifting big weights and being a bit of a fitness addict, I immediately researched CrossFit on Google and YouTube. The next day, I found a CrossFit gym in my town and went through a 4 week induction into CrossFit. I then started attending classes a few times per week along with doing some of my own training from my garage gym. It took about 2 weeks for me to realize I was hooked on CrossFit!
What is the best thing about being fit and living a healthy lifestyle?
I enjoy the discipline of a healthy lifestyle. We all like a burger and potato chips from time to time, but the key is feeling like it has been earned and you deserve it. Everyday tasks like running, walking and lifting things are never a problem for me now. Knowing that I am taking care of my body is great. We only get one body and one chance in this life, so why not be as fit and healthy as you can be to prolong the life you have?
What do you like best about CrossFit versus traditional weight training?
Anyone can walk into a “traditional” gym and do curls and tricep extensions, but not everyone can do gymnastics, walk on their hands and perform heavy Olympic lifts all within a 20 minute workout. I can get a great workout in just 15-20 minutes doing a CrossFit styled routine versus training for over an hour doing traditional isolated exercises for individual muscle groups. Secondly, the atmosphere and community feeling you get when you workout with other people is great. People speak about the community in CrossFit all the time, and as an outside observer you think it’s just all talk, until you actually get inside a CrossFit gym and do the workout with the class. Everyone is pushing each other to do better. It is an awesome feeling!
Tell us about your biggest CrossFit influence?
On a larger scale, it would be the elite CrossFit athletes like Matt Fraser, Rich Froning and Josh Bridges. We all look up to those guys, but it is the training partners I have and the people at the gym who are a really big influence. Hitting a workout with your friends or doing a workout that’s so beautifully painful is incredible. My friends help encourage me to push past my comfort zone. My CrossFit training partners definitely have a huge influence on me!
Have you competed in any CrossFit competitions?
Yes, many of them. However, not as often as I would like because of school and work commitments, but I compete as often as I can. Competitions always push me to go harder and take me out of my comfort zone.
What is the biggest misconception about CrossFit?
I think the biggest misconception about CrossFit is that it is performed by people who can’t compete in bodybuilding. Or, that we all just scream and throw barbells in the air and flail around on pull-up bars. However, people who do CrossFit regularly, or people who actually understand the fitness industry, know that it is an incredible and effective training methodology.
What are your favorite CrossFit WODs (Workout of the Day)?
I have two favorite CrossFit workouts (I like short and sweet versus long and grinding). My first is “DT” and I do it with a 70kg (155 pound) barbell.
5 Rounds for Time:
- 12 Deadlifts
- 9 Hang Power Cleans
- 6 Push Jerks
- My fastest time so far is 7:30
My second favorite workout is “Murph“. I do it while wearing a 10 kg (20 pound) weighted vest.
1 Round for Time:
- 1 Mile Run
- 100 Pull Ups
- 200 Push Ups
- 300 Squats
- 1 Mile Run
- My fastest time is 44:37
What are your favorite CrossFit exercises?
I always love using a heavy barbell and doing snatches or clean and jerks. I also really like gymnastic movements like muscle-ups and handstand exercises.
What are your least favorite CrossFit exercises?
I enjoy pretty much all of the movements, but thrusters seem to always get the better of me. Also, assault bike sprints take part of my soul with them!
What kind of cardio do you like best and why?
In my bodybuilding days, LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio worked for me and my body responded very well to it. I still enjoy a nice 30-40 minute walk for cardio. However, I really enjoy adding some cardio training (running, rowing or biking) in with some barbell movements like squats or bench presses along with standard bodyweight movements like pull-ups, push-ups and muscle-ups. I feel it is more rewarding and more effective that way.
If you could give somebody starting in CrossFit some advice what would it be?
You have to be patient. Despite what you think you already know, you won’t learn everything in 6 weeks. Using proper technique over weight is the key in the beginning, especially with complex movements like Olympic lifting. There are always new things to learn like different techniques, skills and movements. I have been doing CrossFit for over 2 years and I’m always learning and refining my movements. Certified CrossFit coaches know what they’re talking about and don’t be scared to ask other people for tips and advice since everyone has been a beginner once and I have no doubt people will be willing to help. Also, don’t hide from your weaknesses and face up to them early to make them a strength. You will see yourself improve a lot faster within the sport that way, I guarantee it.
What type of nutritional supplements do you use?
The only supplement I take are protein shakes. I actually use mine as a pre-workout meal to give me some energy before my morning workout sessions. I also take a lot of vitamin C.
What type of food or supplements do you consume pre-workout and post-workout?
I have never used a stimulant-based pre-workout supplement before (other than protein shakes). I’m not against them and I know they benefit some people, but they just never appealed to me. I just make sure I drink enough water before I workout. My post-workout meals includes some chicken or meat and usually some carbs like rice or potatoes.
How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food?
I definitely have a sweet tooth and chocolate is my weakness for sure! I make a point of eating clean Monday through Friday. That way if I have some treats on the weekend, it’s not so bad. Cheat meals are definitely something I like to feel I’ve earned. If I’ve had a good training week and worked hard then I will treat myself.
What are the top 10 foods we would find in your kitchen?
- Whole Wheat Bread
What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to stay on a clean diet?
I make a point to get a salad with my meals. If I am getting fries then I usually always get an extra side of veggies to compensate. Again, I make sure I earn it. If I know I’m eating out at night, I may throw in an extra workout that day or the day before so I’ve earned it. Willpower is the key. Try to avoid cheating on your favorite food once and it will get easier to avoid it again in the future.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Being a student is difficult. There is definitely temptation to eat as cheap as possible, which usually means unhealthy foods, but making smart choices are easy when you know what to look for. Sometimes, if I’m running from one job to the other, or I just finish a workout and don’t have time to eat a healthy meal before heading back to class or to work, then it is really hard. However, even quick meals can still be healthy, so just be smart about it.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Meal #1: Protein Shake and a banana (pre-workout).
- Meal #2: 3 Whole eggs and oatmeal (post-workout).
- Meal #3: Chicken and carbs (rice, potato, whole wheat bread), veggies.
- Meal #4: Snack: fruit, milk, cereal (on certain days, it’s pre-workout meal #2).
- Meal #5: Chicken and carbs (rice, potato, whole wheat bread), veggies.
How does your family, friends and significant other react to and deal with your strict CrossFit lifestyle?
My family is supportive and they are happy that I’m living a healthy lifestyle. My friends are supportive also and push me to achieve things. My closest friends usually ask how training is going and what my CrossFit numbers are. My training partners are friends who are living the same lifestyle as myself so we push each other.
What are your top 3 tips for losing body fat and getting shredded?
- Limit the number of cheat meals.
- Perform regular cardio.
- Change up your training and keep your body guessing.
What are your top 3 tips for building muscle and packing on size?
- Eat more.
- Lift Heavy.
What is your training routine like?
- Monday: Some type of pressing movements for strength (shoulder press, bench press) and usually a 10-20 minute WOD (Workout of the Day) that involves multiple movements, running, burpees, kettlebells, barbells.
- Tuesday: Morning Workout – Back Squats (heavy) and a WOD. Afternoon Workout – Snatches (heavy) and clean and jerks (heavy). I usually do some gymnastics movements also.
- Wednesday: Deadlifts (heavy) and hard intervals on the rower, bike or some running work.
- Thursday: Morning Workout – Another press exercise and Olympic lifts and a WOD.
- Friday: Squats and gymnastics movements (pull-ups, muscle-ups, handstands).
- Saturday: Deadlifts and anything that has been missed throughout the week or something that needs extra attention. It might include some technique work on lifting or other skills.
- Sunday: I usually take Sunday off for a rest day and just do some active recovery (stretching or low intensity cardio).
I usually do a WOD that involves a strength movement prior to starting like heavy bench press for strength. It’s the same thing with squats, deadlifts and gymnastics. Whatever the strength movement is, I usually perform that movement or similar movements with a lighter load and higher volume in the WOD.
What is your favorite healthy food and your favorite cheat food?
For healthy foods it’s eggs, oatmeal and chicken. For cheat foods it’s pizza (thin crust) and chocolate.
How do you stay motivated?
My training partners are the key to staying motivated. I enjoy working out and it is something I look forward to every day. I never have that dreaded feeling of not wanting to workout. I am excited to show up to the gym and work hard because that feeling afterward is incredible!
What does the future hold for you?
When I first started, it was just to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but the more I get involved in CrossFit, the more I want to achieve more within the sport. I would love to be in a position to qualify for regionals within the next couple of years.