Interview with CrossFit Games Master Champion Shellie Edington

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Shellie Edington – CrossFit Athlete Statistics

  • Name: Shellie Edington
  • Date of Birth: 10/15/64
  • Height: 5’3″
  • Weight: 130 pounds
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Shellie Edington – CrossFit Athlete Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia and I lived there throughout college. I was a gymnast for a number of years and I started with acrobats and dance when I was three and then started gymnastics when I was twelve and competed at an advanced level. Then I got married in 1985 and moved to Cape Cod with my husband when we had three children. We then moved back to Ohio and I stayed at home with the children for about 5-6 years and then I started working part-time in preschool where my children went. I noticed there was a real need for physical activity, so I started tumbling with kids. I have certifications for that along with C.P.R. and communicable diseases. I’m also CrossFit certified (Level 1).

How and why did you get started in CrossFit?
I wanted to be a better gymnastics instructor. When I was 46 years old, I had lost a lot of strength in my shoulders and my knees were bothering me and I had to do something or I would have to retire from actually coaching and hire people to take my job or take my position.

What is the best thing about being fit and living a healthy lifestyle?
There are so many benefits. I think the best one is being able to inspire people to get off the couch and move. Remember that you are not done yet and you can do it. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s hard, but you can do it! It’s amazing to help inspire others to become the very best version of themselves every day while working and striving toward their goals so that they can be the person they’re meant to be for their family, their loved ones and their co-workers.

What do you like best about CrossFit versus traditional weight training?
I like the fact that it’s performance based and that it’s not based on aesthetics. Traditional weightlifting is like bodybuilding which I don’t really like and I feel like it is fake. I like to be judged on performance.

Who is your biggest CrossFit influence?
I like Rich Froning since he’s a Midwest guy. He came out of nowhere and won multiple CrossFit championships. I have seen him dig himself out of holes when he’s competing at the CrossFit games and it’s impressive. We are kind of built the same way also (small and stout). He’s not really a runner or a swimmer, so I kind of relate to him in that area. The first female CrossFit master that I heard about who also has a social media presence is Susan Habbe. I saw where she had won the CrossFit games and back in 2011, there wasn’t that many masters on social media and she was one of my first influencers.

Have you competed in any CrossFit competitions?
I have competed in the CrossFit games for the past 5 years and that means all of the opens and the qualifiers along with team series. I did regionals one year with a team from my gym in 2012 and I’ve done local competitions.

What is the biggest misconception about CrossFit?
That you’re going to get hurt doing CrossFit and that it’s different from regular exercise which is not true. CrossFit is just another type of exercise and people can get hurt doing anything like walking down stairs or mowing the lawn.

What are your favorite CrossFit WODs?
My favorite WODs are Amanda, Diane and Annie. I loved the obstacle course that was at the CrossFit games this year. It was awesome of so much fun!

What are your favorite CrossFit exercises?
Pretty much anything gymnastics based like muscle ups and bar muscle ups. I also enjoy doing Olympic weightlifting exercises, but it’s something I still have to work on. I’m not very fast so I need to work on that.

What are your least favorite CrossFit exercises?
My least favorite CrossFit exercises would be swimming and running.

What kind of cardio do you like best and why?
I like cardio workouts that involve a barbell or a kettlebell. It’s hard for me to do cardio for any length of time past about twenty minutes since I get really bored. So, I really don’t like cardio that much, but I do it because I know it makes me better.

If you could give somebody starting in CrossFit some advice what would it be?
I’d say it’s just basic exercise and anything can be modified so you can do it. It might be scary, but you can do it.

What type of nutritional supplements do you use?
I take vitamin D3 and a multivitamin. I also drink branched chain amino acids when I train and then I drink a protein shake at the end of my workout.

What type of food or supplements do you consume pre-workout and post-workout?
For pre-workout, I definitely eat carbs. For post-workout, I eat both carbs and protein. It depends on how much I’m working out and training. It definitely changes as the volume of training increases, the volume of food increases. I like Rootz nutritional supplements along with About Time products and Isopure. Those are supplements that I’ve been able to use since they don’t irritate my stomach. When I’m trying to keep weight on, I love eating a Perfect Bar. If I need a meal replacement, I love the RXBAR and I eat them on a daily basis.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food?
I have a cheat meal every day and it’s a Starbucks Iced Grande Americana with mocha sauce!

What are the top 10 foods we would find in your kitchen?
My mother-in-law lives with me and she eats whatever she wants and she’s eighty years old. There are definitely lots of Trifecta meals because I don’t really cook. I have gluten-free bread, water, coffee, almond butter, eggs, veggies and fruit.

What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to stay on a clean diet?
That’s easy, just get a salad with meat on it.

What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
I have been on this CrossFit train for so many years that the lifestyle has just become habit. I believe developing those habits and reinforcing those habits helps me stay very disciplined. In the beginning it’s a challenge, but then you re-engineer your life so that everything works around CrossFit to help you have a successful outcome and then it’s just a matter of repeating it.

Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
I eat a piece of toast with almond butter in the morning and a cup of black coffee if I’m working out first thing after getting up. I have an Olympic lifting competition coming up soon, so I’ll definitely get serious about lifting. I try to give myself a little bit of a break because the CrossFit season runs eight months. After my workout, I definitely have a meal with two eggs, a waffle, some bacon and a cup of coffee with water. Lunch would be either a salad with meat on it with some sort of lean protein like chicken or salmon. Dinner would be meat, brown rice or a potato and mixed veggies or a salad. Sometimes I feel like I need to supplement more protein and I do like drinking a shake at night. I definitely drink branched chain amino acids when I workout and then protein after my workout.

How does your family, friends and significant other react to and deal with your strict CrossFit lifestyle?
They are used to it by now and it doesn’t really impact them to negatively anymore. I’d say the two months leading up to the CrossFit games are the worst for my family because I’m so focused and I’m training so hard that my brain can’t function normally. I turn into an athlete at that point. I’m not a mom, I’m not a sister, I’m not a daughter and I’m not a wife. I’m just an athlete. They know this and they’re cool about it.

What are your top tips for losing body fat and getting shredded?
Exercising a lot is the key. Doing lots of CrossFit workouts and doing lots of cardio. When I’m training for the games or I’m training for the open, I do twenty minutes of cardio first thing every morning when I wake up. Swimming made a huge difference for me for getting shredded and lean. I had to really increase my intake of food when I started adding swimming two to three times a week. It just depends on who you are and your body type like how much lean muscle mass you have because lean muscle is going to burn fat faster. I’m at a very low body fat percentage right now and have low glycogen reserves so I have to eat to fuel myself. We’re all different and depending upon what level of fitness you are at, it depends on how much you need to eat and how much you’re training.

What are your top tips for building muscle and packing on size?
I really don’t want to pack on size. I’m basically maintaining where I’m at. I went from about 145 pounds when I started CrossFit and then I went on the Paleo diet from 2011 to 2013. My weight fluctuated and it went down from 145 pounds to 117 pounds and then I got back up to 125 pounds which I felt was too light. So, about 130 pounds is where I’ve kind of leveled out at and where I feel is a good weight for me as a CrossFit competitor. I didn’t really add a whole lot of muscle. I just had to eat a lot of food and ate 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight for about a year or two in order to make sure that as I was not tearing down my muscles from all the training. I needed to eat the protein to repair and build muscle. A serving of creatine at night really helps in the way of your body not breaking down its muscle why you sleep because your body still has to function and it’s still metabolizing and if you don’t have a lot of fat on your body, it will try to use your muscles so you have creatine in your system as that helps avoid your muscles from being broken down while helping your body to rebuild itself. I definitely recommend talking to your doctor about how much protein you should consume, but for me, it was about a gram of protein per pound of body weight so I was trying to eat about 130 grams of protein a day divided up into six meals. Currently, since I’m not trying to pack on muscle and get bigger, my protein intake is lower. Now, I probably eat about 3 ounces of protein per meal with 3 total meals per day.

What is your training routine like?
It varies pretty dramatically throughout the season. Monday is a rest day. During the fall season I will be teaching gymnastics. I’ll be coaching CrossFit in the morning then gymnastics mid-morning and then I will be coaching gymnastics again in the evening so I’ll be doing to a regular CrossFit WOD on Tuesday. On Wednesday I will be swimming and doing CrossFit. On Thursday I do CrossFit and Olympic lifting for about two hours. On Friday I just swim. On Saturday I do CrossFit for about an hour. On Sunday I do Olympic lifting for about an hour. As the CrossFit Open comes up, I’ll be adding more cardio and ramping up my training. Then there is the qualifier so there’s a constant and steady ramp-up of adding more training as I get closer and closer to the games so that by the time I get to the games, assuming I qualify, I’ve worked so hard that the competition programming is like nothing so I look at it as I go. The anxiety while lying around all day waiting to compete is not fun. It’s amazing how much how different it is from your regular life and how it can take a toll on you.

What is your favorite healthy food and your favorite cheat food?
My favorite cheat food is a Starbucks Iced Grande Americana with mocha sauce. There’s so many healthy foods I love. Fruits and vegetables are awesome. I love salmon and filet mignon. I’m not a huge fan of chicken. Beef is packed with protein and I believe it’s very good for you because it’s very rich in nutrients.

What is your favorite body part on yourself and on the opposite sex?
I guess I would say my abs because it seems to be what everybody comments on. On a man, I like a nice broad chest.

How do you stay motivated?
It’s definitely the CrossFit community that keeps me going. I enjoy working out and I enjoy seeing what my body can do. Those moments when you set a personal record are awesome! The moment when I realized I could possibly make it to the CrossFit games was incredible!

What does the future hold for you?
Right now I’m basically doing what I’ve done for the past five years. I’d like to write a book and I’m working on that concept. Another exciting thing is that my coach and I are going to start doing a podcast soon. We will be promoting our programming of MasterFit and helping masters become master athletes in the way of going to the games or whatever their goals are.

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