Katrin Davidsdottir on the Next Five Years of CrossFit and How Long She’ll Compete

A couple weeks ago, we had the opportunity to sit down with a couple of CrossFit’s top athletes at a Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 launch event. Our goal was to score sit down time with each athlete and ask a few hard hitting and lighthearted CrossFit related questions we’ve been wondering about.

What does 2-time Reebok CrossFit Games Champion Katrin Davidsdottir think CrossFit will look like in the next five years? Which athletes would she love to switch places with? Read on to find out.

[Curious about the new Reebok CrossFit Nano 8? We’re giving away two pairs, so enter here for your chance to win!]

BarBend: What do you think CrossFit will look like over the next five years? Will it continue its same level of growth at a competition level [say from 2012-2017] compared to 2017-2022? 

Davidsdottir: I think the sport’s going to keep growing. When I first got into CrossFit, I was a good athlete and I worked very hard, but I’d only been doing CrossFit for six months before I made it to the Games. That wouldn’t happen today. The level of athlete that makes it to the Games is not by accident. I don’t want to take anything away from myself because I’m proud of what I’ve worked for, but I did have big holes.

I didn’t have a big endurance base, I didn’t have great weightlifting technique, I was okay in every aspect, but had big gaps. Now, I feel like you have to be a very complete athlete to make it to the Games. You almost have to be a full time athlete, the amount of time it takes to train every aspect you need to excel in is a lot. You can no longer only be good at everything, you have to be great at everything. Even at the Regional level, you have to be a very complete athlete.

And it’s not only everyone is moving better, but we’re learning a lot more about what is efficient. We’re learning the amount of volume it takes to get as strong and fit as we can, while being as efficient as possible because we only have this one body. There’s also a lot of time that goes into our recovery, nutrition, and sleep – I just think we know so much more now.

At the top level, you now have a weightlifting coach, a running coach, a nutritionist, a massage therapist, and a coach that oversees everything. I love it because there’s so many ways to improve on a regular basis. I think it’s going to be exciting to see the type of athlete that comes from the sport, for example kids who are starting CrossFit early, will they be the best CrossFit athletes of the future, or is it athletes coming from gymnastics and football? It’s still a young sport and we have much more room to grow and learn.

Then let’s look at the knowledge of CrossFit. It used to be only athletes who knew athletes, but now I’m suddenly getting stopped in places like airports and grocery stores. Normally when people stop me I’ll ask where, or if they do CrossFit, and some respond with neither at all. That always surprises me, people who don’t do CrossFit know what it is and who the athletes are. Personally, that’s what’s shown me how much it’s grown.

BarBend: You started CrossFit at 18 years old. And we don’t really know how long successful CrossFit careers can go for yet, how long do you think you can go and maintain this level of fitness? 

Davidsdottir: I honestly think it’s a mixture of how much you love it and how much your body can tolerate. Right now, when I get asked how long I want to do it, my answer’s always the same, ‘as long as I love it and see potential’. If I can see I can improve, then I want to keep chasing. I never want to be at a point where I think I could have done more. At the same time, I perform my best when I’m loving what I’m doing, so it’s that and truly taking care of the body.

You have to be getting your 8-10 hours of sleep, work your nutrition, do great warm-ups, work on muscle activation, and movement patterns. It’s so taxing, we train with so much volume and intensity that it’s going to ruin something if you’re not doing it correctly. I honestly don’t know, but I’d guess there’s a peaking age, maybe around 28 like other sports. After a certain point, recovery is going to take longer and it will be tougher to continue on. I think I have more years in me.

BarBend: If you could switch bodies with any athlete in the world, who would it be? 

Davidsdottir: Simone Biles or Aly Raisman. I love gymnastics, and I was a hard worker, but I was never great. I was the one that loved conditioning, but lacked learning skills quickly and naturally. They’re like cats, go graceful and powerful, so I’d like to know what that feels like.

BarBend: What’s the toughest part of being one the fittest female athletes in the world? 

Davidsdottir: I think it’s ingrained in me to find the good in everything, but I guess the toughest part is that this is my number one right now. I put it in front of everything. If I have to train, then that’s my priority, for example, I showed up late for Christmas dinner. I was with my dad in England for three days, but only saw him for two dinners and a breakfast because I’m training all day.

That part is tough, but at the same time, I don’t want to complain about it because that’s my choice. I’m so thankful everyday that I get to do this and make a living out of it.

Feature image from @katrintanja Instagram page.

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.