Let the Games Begin

Only 3 years into CrossFit and Alexis Johnson is walking into the Games ranked within the top 20 in the world. A major success story and motivation for athletes in every walk of life. Drawing a positive attitude and work ethic from a father who leads by example, Alexis has forged her name into the history books of the CrossFit Games.

Alexis is a true inspiration. Not only an athlete, but also on her way to a P.H.D in mathematics, she has prioritized the important aspects of her life and gives each 100%. She lives her life with the words “I never want to feel like I should have tried harder”, and from the looks of it, she couldn’t try any harder than she is right now.

The CrossFit community has grown rapidly in Houston, and as many have found out first hand, the positive attitude and support is infectious. This drew Alexis in immediately, the first day she tried CrossFit. On top of the community, she loves the fact that the results are quantitative. CrossFit has standard workouts – you may have heard mention of the names such as Fran, Murph, Grace or Annie. As you grow in the sport, you constantly go back to these benchmark workouts to see how and where you have improved. Some are heavy on gymnastics, some on heavy lifts, some are technical and others just require a ridiculous amount of stamina. One can constantly check their progress in the sport by going back to these workouts, and then focusing on strengthening their weaknesses. CrossFit is a mix of all types of backgrounds, so one’s strength could be another’s weakness. Over the course of the Open, Regionals and then ultimately the Games, a variety of workouts are thrown at the Athletes. You can watch the leaderboard and understand better how some excel at certain workouts and fall behind in others, but very few dominate in all. At the top of the Open and Regionals, Alexis is one of the elite that can dominate in all.

Alexis is most excited for the competition and the workouts at the Games. Some would say the spotlight or the fans, but Alexis is all about hard work and results. She greatly enjoys ‘going head to head in a workout, going rep for rep with someone’. Her competitive spirit truly shines through. When asked about future goals, she says she wants to get a world record in a workout, perfect her golf game, and revive her pole-vaulting from High School. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do all 3.

Neither CrossFit nor Math were her first choices when it comes to goals and passions, but once Alexis sets her mind to something it seems that there is no stopping her. During college, math was not her major, but she was drawn to math and just kept taking them as extra courses. After a time, she realized her love for math and the thoughts of becoming a professor. She changed her career path, taking enjoyment in the journey toward becoming a mathematician and loves the idea of becoming a professor. With a deadlift at 342# and a squat at 280#, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the classroom!

On the inside of the Athlete that you see on the field is a very humble person. Alexis grew up in Michigan, a Midwestern girl raised by a father who practiced what he preached. She says she wouldn’t be the person she is today without her Dad, and that he is a true hero. Growing up he always encouraged her and her siblings to have a positive attitude towards everything in life. This positive attitude is a key trait of most all Winners, and truly shows the power of thought.

She also has a great support network in her gym Allsport CrossFit. They follow her when she competes, always bringing a large fan base to cheer her on. She points out that everyone in the gym knows each other and that they are always welcoming to new members.

I asked Alexis about some common mistakes she sees people making in the gym and a big problem that she sees is juice diet fads. With a juice diet, you aren’t properly fueled for workouts and therefore people are forced to take it easy in the gym. She recommends properly fueling your body, and then exercising with full intensity, which will speed up your metabolism, shredding even more calories and allowing your body to make those changes.

She also says that people tend to set goals that are too long term, and recommends setting goals that can be attained in a week and then 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, keeping track of the progress along the way. As you attain those short term goals, you stay focused and positive because of the progress you’ve made and tracked.

On top of the quote that Alexis lives by, she also had something to say that really struck me as relevant for the times. Words that go far beyond fitness and, since this is taking place near the July 4th Holiday, I think is very fitting:

“Just like anything else in life, you are rewarded for the work that you put in”