Name: Tiffany Hendrickson
Height/Weight: 5’1” 130lbs
Current City: Layton, UT
Gym: Wasatch CrossFit
Job: Stay-at-home mom of three
Clean and Jerk: 205lbs
2014 CrossFit Games 11th Place
2013 CrossFit Games 31st Place
Tell us about your athletic background and how you got into CrossFit:
I grew up doing gymnastics. I started at age four and attended Boise State on a scholarship, where I competed all-around. After I got married, I just stayed active. About four years ago, my husband pointed out that there was a box down the street. Eleven months later, I participated in my first CrossFit competition and I was hooked. I’m a very competitive person, but I never got into running or racing or anything like that, and CrossFit gave me the opportunity to be in that competitive environment again. After my first competition, my coach, Damon, suggested that I train for regionals.
Can you give us a brief overview of your current training schedule? How many hours a day/per week do you train? How do you balance strength, conditioning, and skill work?
After last year’s Games, I realized that I needed to be serious about having an off-season. When I went into the 2013 Games, I was honestly feeling really burnt out. Immediately after the Games, I just trained for fun—which I know is sort of against the grain of what most other people are doing, but I’ve found that it’s really beneficial for me. From about August to September, I just train for fun and only go into the gym a few days a week. Around the middle of September, I start going in around six days a week again—usually just a couple hours a day until about after the holidays. Then, I start two-a-days until the Games. In the morning, I train for about 1.5 – 2 hours. I come back in around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon for another couple hours.
As a smaller athlete, one of my biggest weaknesses is strength training, so I do a lot of lifting, heavy intervals. I have a couple days of base training—longer cardio. I also like to stay sharp with my gymnastics stuff, which is my bread and butter, so I make sure I can get on the bar and on the rings and stay fresh with those movements.
Do you follow any specific kind of diet?
No, I don’t. When I’m out of the gym and not training as often, I’ll try to clean up my diet a little more. Then, I’ll lean towards a paleo lifestyle, but very, very loosely. Once the season starts for me, I pretty much eat whatever I want. Honestly, I’ll probably have pizza once or twice a week. I definitely try to eat for performance, so if I feel like I’m sluggish or not recovering. I’ll listen to my cravings. If I really want a starch, I probably need it.
What do you think was your biggest weakness coming into CrossFit and what did you do to address it?
Strength. After my first year at Regionals as an individual, I realized I really needed to be serious about increasing my strength capacity. I did a lot of squatting, pressing, and pulling. I hated it at first, but it’s funny because I felt like my bias completely changed… I eventually came to a point where I just wanted to lift heavy weights instead of the running and the traditional metcons!
You say that you focus on muscle-up in your gymnastics clinics. What tips do you have for athletes striving to acquire that coveted first muscle-up?
The first thing I would say is consistency—gymnastics is very technical, like lifting. Put something specific into your programming for building gymnastics strength and to get you onto the rings on a regular basis. It comes down to having great foundational strict work—strict pull-ups, strict dips. Do enough of that so that the muscle-up doesn’t have to be a hit-or-miss movement.
What’s your favorite hobby outside of CrossFit?
I love the outdoors. I love to camp with my family.
In 2013, you finished 31st at the CrossFit Games. This year, 2014, you finished in 11th place. Do you think any particular changes in your training or your approach to competition helped your performance this year?
As I mentioned, taking time off made a big difference. I also think that this year I trusted my intuition more. On days when I felt run down, instead of beating myself up emotionally, I was able to go with the flow. I allowed myself to do other things, and that kept me a lot more motivated.
What are your current training goals?
Just improve upon this year. With CrossFit, you never know what’ll be thrown at you, but I have my own benchmarks that I’ll track. I think I did a lot of things right, and I think I’m going to forge ahead and keep growing. Haha, always the focus is getting stronger. I’ll continue dedicating my energy to strength training and enjoying the process.
Where do people go to find and follow you?