Meg Reardon: Training for the CrossFit Games (While Injured!)

Meg Reardon is a multi-time CrossFit Games athlete living and training out of New York City. One of America’s fittest women, Meg gives insight into the life of an elite CrossFitter training at the top levels and working to make a living in the sport. She also discusses a recent Open-related injury and her current training game plan. What’s it like to train for the CrossFit Games when you can only do upper body movements? 

In this episode of the BarBend Podcast, David Thomas Tao talks to Meg Reardon about:

  • Meg’s recent knee injury and getting ahead of nagging and repetitive injuries (1:30)
  • Do CrossFit Games athletes bench press? (4:00)
  • Meg’s planned season schedule (note: this was recorded before many Sanctionals competitions were canceled due to COVID-19) (6:10)
  • Was the 2020 CrossFit Open more difficult than normal? (6:40)
  • Wodapalooza from an athlete’s perspective (9:20)
  • How even a brief gymnastics background can help with other athletic pursuits (11:50)
  • Looking to teenage athletes for confidence and inspiration (14:20)
  • Benefits of the new CrossFit competition schedule, specifically for athletes looking to make a living off the sport (17:00)
  • Meg’s ideal CrossFit Games super team (19:37)
  • Games athletes who intimidated/inspired Meg in her first years competing (23:15)
  • Strategizing CrossFit Games events (25:00)
  • What Meg would like to see from future CrossFit Games events (27:28)
  • Competitors to watch at the 2020 CrossFit Games (31:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

The Open is always difficult. Honestly, more than anything, it’s mentally more taxing than it is physically. Especially, if you’re trying to qualify. For the average population, it’s something fun. It’s a workout. You get this test where you’re…

David TaoDavid Tao

 

“Fun,” like everything in CrossFit is fun in quotation marks, right?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

We like to go dark and black out…

…if you consider that fun. The Open is always difficult. It’s always so stressful for competitors. You are going to push yourself to your limit, especially if you are trying to qualify.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to Meg Reardon, a multi-time CrossFit Games athlete who lives and trains out of New York City. Meg gives remarkable insight into what it takes to become a Games-level athlete and perhaps most importantly, to stay at that incredibly elite level. We also discuss the ins and outs of dealing with injuries, while maintaining fitness levels and work capacity.

 

Also, I just want to take a second to say, we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice. Now let’s get to it.

 

Meg Reardon, thanks so much for stopping by the office today. I got to say, the first thing I noticed when I met you downstairs was you were on crutches today, which I wasn’t expecting.

 

What’s the back story there? How are you feeling?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I recently went and saw a doctor because I had some knee pain going on since the Open.

 

Obviously, you beat yourself to the ground during the Open. Trying to qualify, was able to, which is great, but I was having some knee pain afterwards for a little while. Certain things, a lot of the impact stuff, was really starting to cause a lot of pain through my knee.

 

I went and saw a doctor. What they diagnosed was early stages of stress fracture. Stress reactions in the knee. No fracture yet, but they were, “At this point, the recovery process is really important. You need to try to be off of it as much as possible.”

 

I was supposed to compete at Wodapalooza. Ended up having to pull out of that. Now, I’m staying off of it for four weeks. We’ll reassess and re-evaluate, and see what it’s like next.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I was going to ask, what does that mean for your game season? The answer is, you don’t really know yet.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Exactly. They basically said three to four weeks minimum, three months max of just healing. I’m really avoiding all the impact stuff. The running, the Olympic lifting, the playoff stuff was the most affecting it. Right now my training is a lot of pressing and pulling which is great because those are things that I needed to improve on anyway. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise to be honest.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You’re focusing on a lot of upper body pressing and pulling I would assume. For conditioning what kind of options are you comfortable with right now?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Right now a lot of swimming which is great. I’m in the pool two to three times a week. I can still bike to some extent. The thing is I just can’t really do anything super sprinty. That’s a lot of pressing into the bike pedals like that. I can do arms only biking which is terrible if you’ve ever done it.

David TaoDavid Tao

Like arms on the air assault bike?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

It’s miserable.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s the worst thing in the world.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Honestly it’s terrible.

I can row a little bit as well. Again it’s just really not…anything that’s really I’m pressing into the leg I should try to avoid. It’s really up to me and how smart I am, which is tough. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

We saw the bench press as part of an event at Wodapalooza. When they test Max rep bench press at the games this year, you’re going to be ready for that?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I’m so ready.

David TaoDavid Tao

Are you benching? I got to ask.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yes, of course I am. I’m benching. I’m getting a lot of strict stuffing, a lot of strict pressing and it’s crazy because when I first started doing this I was very skeptical about doing the bodybuilding stuff. Since doing it, I’ve done it now…I’ve been doing it for almost two months. I’m obsessed with it.

 

I’m like wait, I actually don’t even like Matt Collins. I just want to body build all day long.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I just want to get the pump and I don’t want to breathe that day.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I want to have the arm veins and not have to breathe heavy and that’s about it. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

The CrossFit community’s going to lose you to bodybuilding. It’s inevitable here.

This is just a complete athletic career change. What is the CrossFit benchmark workout? Is it Lynne that is it’s like body weight bench press and strict pull ups? Is that it?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

No, that’s the one with deadlifts and power…

Is it Lynne? Linda.

David TaoDavid Tao

No, that’s the one with deadlifts and power…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Linda is what we did at regionals, the last regionals. [inaudible 4:55] I know which one you’re talking about. I think I’ve done a variation of it but not the full like I think that’d be so hard to do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

There is no bigger pump I’ve ever felt…

…than that you just feel like a tick. You’re just so swollen.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

How long did it take you?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I don’t remember a long time.

Look at me, a lot longer than it would take you. Come on.

 

I don’t want to say you got injured during the Open, but you had the stress response coming out of the Open. We don’t know exactly where that originated. It’s something you’re feeling. I’ve talked to a couple CrossFit Games athletes now who had some injuries coming out of the open.

 

We had Kari Pearce on the podcast. She was actually nursing an injury. She did compete at water polluted, though.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah. It was Achilles or something like that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It was her Achilles. She was able to catch it early, much like you’re doing. Danny Spiegel not anyone I have talked to super recently, but she has a torn and labor of coming out of there.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah. I spoke to her this weekend as well. She has a tear in her shoulder. She’s trying to avoid the surgery or out as well and just prehab and be smart. The good and bad thing obviously, it’s not great to be injured, but it is inevitable when you’re doing things like this and you’re competing in such a high volume.

 

The good thing is, yes, you caught it early on and also we have a ton of time. We still have a lot of time. I changed up my season schedule just because I was supposed to compete at Wodapalooza and also West Coast classic in a few weeks, but I decided to be smart and pull out of those.

 

Hopefully, the goal is still to peak at the CrossFit Games. That’s the end goal. Hopefully, being smart now will pay off in the end.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you think this Open was…This is completely anecdotal. Three people are having injuries out of the Open or precursors to injuries out of the Open. Does it say anything? There’s hundreds of thousands of people in the Open.

 

Was there anything about this Open that you thought was particularly tough or that maybe you thought might have contributed more than previous Opens to injuries or something like that?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

The Open is always difficult. Honestly, more than anything, it’s mentally more taxing than it is physically. Especially, if you’re trying to qualify. For the average population, it’s something fun. It’s a workout. You get this test where you’re…

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Right. We like to go dark and then black.


“Fun,” like everything in CrossFit is fun in quotation marks, right?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Right. We like to go dark and then black.

 

If you consider that fun. The Open is always tough call. It’s always so stressful for competitors and you are going to push yourself to your limit especially if you are trying to qualify. There are definitely fine lines and we try to move as efficiently as possible. You’re repeating a lot of these workouts.

 

It’s taking a toll on your body for sure. Also, to think the games was only a month and a half, two months before that, too. There wasn’t a ton of downtime. It just was overused. I was doing a lot of running and stuff like that as well and that is all contribute to what happens.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Yeah. That certainly does make a lot of sense. I do have to ask about your experience. You’re used to competing at Wodapalooza. If you go to an event like Wodapalooza, you’re used to competing. Was this your first time at Wodapalooza as a spectator?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Actually, it wasn’t, but I will say spectating is so fun.

 

It is, in my opinion almost more difficult than competing because you’re having to watch everybody and run from event to event, stays the same.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Or hobble or scoot. You were on a scooter.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I was on a scooter, just scooting around. My fiancée was competing. I was running around to her events, but it was also cool because I got to meet a ton of people whereas I normally wouldn’t be able to do that because I’d be eating and sleeping and sitting in the cold air and not being out on the sun. It was a fun experience.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Did you have any sponsor obligations? I wasn’t there this year, but any of you like, “Meet Meg Reardon at 12:00 PM at this tent.”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 got to stop in Victory Grips, which they’re such an awesome supporter side. There was no brainer for me, so Victory Grips than Harbinger as well. I stopped in with both those and chatted with them and hung out at the booth, which is cool.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I’ve never been on that side of an event experience and I probably never will. Is like, a meet and greet. That’s a good way actually. If any brands are looking to just get some downtime at the booth and make sure no one comes by, schedule a meet and greet with me and I guarantee you no one people will just do actively avoid…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I doubt that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

People will so actively avoid the booth. It’s just a great way. If you’ve got clean stuff or reorganize your inventory. What about Wodapalooza, specifically…It’s a unique event. We all know that. Even if you’ve never been there in person. On the water. It’s in Miami.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah. It’s awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

What do you like about that event and what are some things about that event maybe for the athletes perspective that you might not love?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Oh, man. What I like about it, again you’re right there. The atmosphere is great. The weather was awesome. We had one day that was rainy, but it’s still you’re in Miami. It’s beautiful weather. As far as things you dislike, the programming is you never know. It’s up in the air, but that’s for any event.

 

Any sanctioned event, you never know how the programming is going to go. This year they were saying it was very pull bias. A lot of pulling workouts.

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, pulling.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Pulling.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Not pool-like swimming.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah, pulling.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

There’s always swimming, a lot of pulling is there.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah, there is. There’s always swimming. Normally, they do have an event where you’re getting upside down and getting inverted, and they didn’t have that this year.

 

A lot of people were pretty upset about that but it’s difficult stuff. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you at any sanctioned event. You just have to prepare for that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What are some of the weaknesses that even if you hadn’t experienced this pre-injury? What are some of the weaknesses that you knew you were going to be attacking coming into this season?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

My strict stance and pushups, and my overall press strength. Things like dips. I consider myself a much better puller than I am a pusher. I love this rope climbs, pull-ups, muscle-ups, stuff like that.

 

The things that I’ve always struggled with are being inverted, pressing myself my body weight, pressing out of a dip, things like that. Those are things that we already had planned to attack after the games regardless of anything.

David TaoDavid Tao

That makes a lot of sense. For those who don’t know. What is your athletic background, pre-CrossFit. I always enjoy talking to athletes to see where some of their weaknesses or imbalances might have originated. It’s often before they even took up the prospect and they bring some of those strengths, but they also bring some of those weakness [inaudible 11:37] .

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Right. You never know because you just get into it early on and you’re like, “Oh, this. I love this sport,” but then you start trying to be competitive and you realize things that you’re not great at.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Also, when you first start off, the things you are great at are the things you spend the most time, it makes you feel good.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

laughs] Exactly. I played Division 1 Field Hockey in college at the University of California Davis. I played that growing up in a middle school on and then prior to that I was a gymnast which is super helpful. I was only till about 10 years old doing it competitively.

 

Even once I was able to translate and bring it back to CrossFit, I remember it is like I never stopped. Having that background was super helpful as well.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What age were you when you started doing CrossFit?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

CrossFit, I was in 13 so 21-ish, maybe 20, 21-ish

David TaoDavid Tao

I feel like in 2013 that she just looked off-screen for confirmation.

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I’m really bad at maths so I’m afraid I can’t see…

 

…if I’m correct.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Let’s see this many years old. 21 back in 2013…Early 20s, I feel like a lot of people were discovering CrossFit. Nowadays that’s over the hill as far as taking it up.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 I know. Now I’ll be 28 in May and I feel like I’m old which is so crazy to say. [laughs] In the CrossFit terms, there are still people that are a lot younger than me now so I’m like, “Oh, man.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I think on the women’s…This is again anecdotal. I don’t have the spreadsheet in front of me. Generally, the women’s side of competition tends to run a little younger…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

They do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 …than the men’s side. Yeah. How young do you think is the cutoff or is the bare minimum for a lot of these women competitors? We saw Hayley Adams…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Oh man, she crossed age.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

…she was teenager in class, last year’s top 10.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

She was great. She did great. I don’t think there’s an age limit. You also see on the other end Sam Briggs who is destroying people still and she’s in her 30s. It all depends on just fitness level, mentality, and then also the background, and if they’re healthy or not, too. That’s obviously super important as well.

 

I don’t know. I wouldn’t say there’s a limit. I think the younger they are, just the more room they have for growing and becoming better.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

One thing I’ve noticed and this is a little bit of my own experience just in life, when you’re a teenager you think you’re the best at everything or you think you have no limits. It’s amazing to me…it can be a mental advantage if you’re very young…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 It’s true.

David TaoDavid Tao

 …because your confidence is like super-high. You have a teenager ego.

 

Some of those mental limitations, they aren’t holding you back as much.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I wish I got into when I was a teenager because I know I was sassy like I was so…

 

…disrespectful I probably would have been even better. I just thought I was better than I was and so that probably would have helped me.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Yeah, because a lot of our mental limitations are like, “I can’t snatch this it’s too much weight. It’s 10 pounds or 5 kilos or whatever above my PR.” When you’re 17 you’re like, “Yeah, I can do that.”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

You know what, honestly we need to be thinking like that now, too. That’s very important, that mental game.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 Just hang out with more like snot-nosed…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

That’s what I should do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

…bratty teenagers and just try and get that mental acuity from them…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

That’s what I should do for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

…that unbridled ego.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You were able to qualify for the Games out of the Open this year. First off, congratulations.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Thank you.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

How does that change…this is going to sound like a dumb question. Obviously it’s probably a weight off because you don’t have to go through the regionals process, you don’t have to wait for months and months and months to figure out you’ve qualified for the Games. You know much earlier right now.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Right.

Remind me, was this your first time qualifying for the Games out of the Open or have you done that before?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Remind me, was this your first time qualifying for the Games out of the Open or have you done that before?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

This is the first year yes that I qualified out of the Open, not my first time at the Games. Last year was the first year they did the worldwide Open qualification process too, so I wasn’t able to do last year.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What was your qualification? Where did you qualify last year for the 2018 Games, remind me?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I qualified at the MAC, the Mid-Atlantic.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Got you.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

In the Open I had one workout that trashed me and put me down the leaderboard. I was able to qualify in April at the MAC but I was also still doing a lot of team-stuff last year, too. I was going back and forth. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do to be honest. I had no clue.

I was on either end. I really enjoyed team but I also still wanted to try to be an individual competitor. You really don’t know how many years you have left as a competitor. Every year you qualify gets harder.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Now that you’re at the ripe-old age of 27 years old.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Getting old.

David TaoDavid Tao

You got to…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Listen I have arthritis on my knees. I’m getting old.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I say I shouldn’t be joking about that.

You have athletic miles on your body. Definitely adds up.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yes.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I reaWhat do you think of the…now that we’re like…we’d call it two years into it for the new qualification procedure for the Games, things are shaking out a little bit. People have experienced the sectionals. They have a few under their belt. What do you think of the new qualification system compared to the old one?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I really like it.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Really?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I really like it. It allows people to have more opportunity to be seen, get that exposure, train and do events. A lot of times prior to this you had just the Open Regionals in the Games. You really only had three stages to show if you’re able and if you can do it and qualify for the Games.

 

Now you have a lot more opportunity which is really cool. You get to compete with some of the best on different stages all over the world. It’s your choosing as long as you can qualify for those. There’s more opportunity to make a career out of it, to be honest.

 

Athletes are now able to get paid to go to these things and whereas in the past you really weren’t making any money doing this. It’s a really cool change and it’s going to grow the sport a lot.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What was your initial reaction when some of those changes started coming down the pipeline?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Honestly, I didn’t even really know what was going on. No one did because it was chaotic at first when they started making all these changes and it wasn’t until the Games that I realized how cutthroat it was with the current system.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 Early on, that first event, they were like, “Oh, we’re going to cut some people.” They cut half the field the first event. I was like. “Whoa, this is savage. I better get my head right and make sure that I can stay in this.” That was when it got crazy. Again, everything with change, it’s going to be inevitable. You have to learn to adapt and get better.

Oh, OK.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 Early on, that first event, they were like, “Oh, we’re going to cut some people.” They cut half the field the first event. I was like. “Whoa, this is savage. I better get my head right and make sure that I can stay in this.” That was when it got crazy. Again, everything with change, it’s going to be inevitable. You have to learn to adapt and get better.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You mentioned competing on teams. I know that’s something you’ve done in the past. You seem like you still have a lot of love for it. Is that something that you might switch to more permanently in the next few years, or do you still want to compete for a few more years as an individual?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

I think I definitely want to try and ride out the individual side of it as much as I can. It’s really cool to be able to see growth every year that you are competing, and see yourself get better out on the competition floor.

 

It’s definitely a much different commitment. Team is so difficult, too. You have literally individuals making super teams.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Many CrossFit Games individual champions are on teams side now.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

It’s crazy. They just had a Wodapalooza, the Mayhem Team had 27 CrossFit Games under their belts, amongst the four of them. Tasia, Rich, Scott and Chyna. That’s crazy. That’s insane. That side is getting just as difficult as well.

 

For me, this is something that allows me to see if my hard work has paid off. I definitely want to continue to try and qualify, as long as I can, as long as I’m healthy. As long as I’m enjoying it and loving it. At the end of the day, if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth it at all.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK, hypothetically, you can build any super team. You can pick yourself and any three other Games competitor. It has to be two guys, two women. They don’t even have to be Games competitors, it can be anyone in the CrossFit community, but probably Games competitors. What is that team?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 Oh, man.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I’m going to hold you to this.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

This is going to be really hard, I don’t even know. I cannot even think about it. Someone would have to compliment my pulling strength, maybe Kari Pearce because she’s a really good presser.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Not a bad choice, off to a good start.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

She would be really good. As far as the guys, if I could steal Rich, I probably would just because he is so well-rounded, has done this for so long. He’s one of the best competitors in my opinion.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

To clarify, you are the team captain here, so you have to call all the shots.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Oh, man. That would be hard then against him.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You’re the boss reach around? I should’ve said at the beginning.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah. I’d be pretty nervous to that to be honest.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK. Got one more slot?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

One more slot? If I wanted to definitely take home, that would be probably Matt.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

He again, super well rounded. I’d like him and Richard be a pretty good pair.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

They trained together a lot.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

They do and I feel like neither of them really have any weaknesses per se, although they might say they do, but when you see them on the competition floor, I would say no.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

All right. That’s a super team.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Matt Fraser, Rich Froning, Kari Pearce, Meg Reardon, five CrossFit Games championships coming up in a row. If you could convince that, you could convince all those people to be more impressive than actually winning because I would expect that team to win.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Right. I would be the weak link on my team. I feel like I should start training crazy hard.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You and Kari would probably have to move to Tennessee for that to happen. I don’t think you’re going to convince Matt and Rich to move to New York.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 No, no, no. No shot. Yeah. We would have to move for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It would be a cost of living adjustment someway. You generally want to go cheaper.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yes. Definitely. [laughs] .

David TaoDavid Tao

 

t the Games, remind me of your first year at the games?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

2016.

David TaoDavid Tao
  1. I couldn’t remember it was 2015 or 2016. That year, you were competing against a lot of…2016 there was by that point a ton of established games.
Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Right. Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Who were you most excited to compete alongside in 2016?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Honestly, actually probably Becca Voigt to be honest.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Oh, great answer. She’s OG.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah. She’s an OG. She recently joined the same program [inaudible 22:11] , but about almost a year now. She’s under the same coach as me as well now.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Who’s your coach right now?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

David Charbonneau.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK. Yeah.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

The program is called Forged by Zoos. Tim Paulson is on that as well. She actually reached out to me. I’d seen her a few months back and she’s like I started Forged by Zoos because I saw your process or your progress since, which is really cool when you know she said that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Wait a minute. Becca Voigt was like, “Yeah, I saw what you were doing…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yes. I was like, “What?” Yeah, but I remember in 2016 competing one of the workouts I was a bring handstand push-ups and I was competing alongside her and I remember her saying like, I don’t know how to do these. You know when someone is a great competitor when they get out on the floor and they just get it. They know how to do something. That was her.

 

I remember watching her. I was struggling with these ring handstand push-ups and she was next to me and she got one, and then she kept doing more. I’m like, that is so cool to see you. Someone who can just adapt on the fly. It’s so important in any competition. For me, she’s such an inspiration, someone I look up to for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Were there any Games, athletes, could be any of the years you could be at the Games, who intimidated you?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Oh yeah, there’s a ton. We’re not supposed to show it.

 Intimidate and also inspire, Tia is incredible. She’s an incredible competitor and someone that everyone looks up to. She’s got a really great attitude when she’s on the floor, but she’s fierce. She doesn’t talk, she’s focused. It’s pretty cool to compete alongside her.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Who’s the friendliest?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Friendliest, probably Sam Briggs. She’s a jokester.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

She’s so nice, and everyone says that.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

She is so nice that. She keeps everything light. We’re in the corral, we’re all super-serious, and then she cracks a joke and everyone’s laughing. It makes it a lot more fun, for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Who surprised you the most?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Surprised me the most?

David TaoDavid Tao

You were maybe expecting them to act a certain way or operate a certain way, and they were not what you were expecting? Could be you had a preconceived notion from social media, something like that.

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone that…Surprised me on the competition floor would be Haley Adams, because I didn’t know how well she was going to do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I don’t think anyone besides…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

We both lived in North Carolina prior to this.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

That’s right, she’s not from Cookeville.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

No, she’s not. We both lived in North Carolina. I trained with her a few times. She was so young. I knew she was going to be great, but I didn’t know when she was going to come up and be so great. She had a great performance last year. It was cool to watch that. She’s so sweet and so humble, so that was cool.

David TaoDavid Tao

Has the new cut process at the Games or…I guess it’s still called the new cut process, because we’ve only seen it once, has that changed your approach to training and competition?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

At training and competition, now you have to approach every workout full-on.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Like it could be your last.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 It could be your last, so you have to be methodical with how you’re approaching each workout. For example, last year at the Games, the first few workouts were so important. It was so crucial how high you placed on those, because that could save you some points when the bigger cuts started happening, and less people were involved.

 

You have to approach every one really smart. If you know it’s something that you could potentially win, you’ve got to try to go all out. If it’s something that you’re doing damage control with, you have to play it safe. You have to be a lot smarter. That’s really what it comes down to.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

The first workout at the Games last year, when they cut…Was it half the field they cut after the first one?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

It was half, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

It was the rounds 400-meter-run, legless rope-climbs, and squat snatches. It was a mono-structural endurance element. It was a high school gymnastics element, and it was…I call it moderately-loaded weightlifting element.

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

It would be moderate, for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It was 185 for the guys. What was it, 135?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

It was 130 maybe, or I think it was 130. I don’t know if it was 135, but somewhere in that range.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

 

How did you approach that workout, and what did you ultimately think of that as a first-cut criterion?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I thought it was a great test, to be honest with you. Legless rope-climbs, I had said earlier, they’re one of my favorite movements. It was definitely much different. The ropes were a lot thicker, so it was more of a grippy test as well. They were a little bit higher, in my opinion. They said they weren’t, but they were definitely higher. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Maybe it just feels higher outside.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 Potentially.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Most people aren’t doing rope-climbs outside.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Potentially, yeah. When I was going up that rope, I was like, “Wow, this seems quite high.”

 

It was a really good test. The 400-meter was displaced in there to make your heart rate stay high the whole time. There was no time for your heart rate to go down. You had to be pretty smart, because the rope climbs, if you were to rush those, a lot of people were starting to fail, and you had to rest. The longer you’re resting, the more time you’re losing.

 

That was definitely a workout where you had to be really smart, and capitalize on your strengths, and maybe stay back, or be smart on the things that you’re not as strong at.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What would you like to see from the games that maybe we haven’t seen in recent years as far as events, things tested, things like that?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

He does a pretty great job with the test, to be honest with you.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I like how you can say he, and everyone knows exactly who you’re…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah, Dave. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 If you’re not super into CrossFit, if you’re if you’re not following CrossFit super closely, when they say he, it’s Dave Castro.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

It’s Dave Castro.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s always Dave Castro.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Always the mastermind behind it. I do think he does a very, very good job of testing the right elements. I would like to see maybe, like last year, I got cut actually right before the sprint workout which would have been one of my favorite workouts to do. It was the zigzag.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

On turf too with [inaudible 28:14] . You’re comfortable with that?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

That’s right. I played a field sport, so I would maybe like to see that even earlier on, some more sprinting style stuff. I love the sprint workouts. Those are things that I like to capitalize on. The things that I have to improve on are the longer, like the ruck run last year was a 6K. That was rough for me.

 

Those are things I’m still having to improve on, but I would like to see maybe some more sprinty stuff early on, but you never know. It’s a tossup. This year they said that everyone was going to go through at least three workouts before the first cut. I guess, we’ll see.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

That’s definitely a different mental state than last year. Do you think we’re going to see shooting at the Games?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

No. Actually, Dave Castro just did a podcast and he said that the shooting event, the Rogue, was not a test of fitness at all and that he wouldn’t never program that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

That was Mark Bell’s podcast he was on?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

I actually hadn’t listened to the full episode, but you’re already ahead of me.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah. I haven’t listened to the whole thing, but I did hear about this and he said he wouldn’t program, which is good for me because I’m not a great shooter anyway. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 When that came up with the Rogue Invitational, were you at the Rogue Invitational last year?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I was. I was on a team last year.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK. You weren’t shooting on the team?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 Teams didn’t shoot.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 When you saw that come up, did you start thinking, “Oh I have to practice shooting now?”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yes, I did. A lot of people did that. I was like, “Oh, man, I’m actually not good at this. I probably should just try to get to a shooting range like once or twice before the Games.” I wasn’t able to, but now it’s good to know that he’s not going to program that. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Wouldn’t that be the peak Castro, he would reach new heights if he said he was going to program this? Then, it was like, “Archery, it’s something that’s technically, it’s not shooting a gun.”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Actually, a funny story. I did take an archery class in college. It’s like a recreational credit. Terrible at it. I’m so bad. Some people were legit pros at archery. It’s a very intense sport and I was not good at it.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 I competed in archery as a kid.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Did you?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I was in middle school and it is very intense and it’s very difficult.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

People are very cutthroat. If you’re not good, they basically tell you it’s not for you.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Archery is like them all, I like to do better archery is like the most clickish…It’s not like a support. I haven’t shot. I was like, it competitively since I was a kid. It’s very exclusionary. You can’t train with us. You’re not…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Oh, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It’s the opposite of CrossFit.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Ok.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I’m kidding. I don’t actually know if that’s the case or not. Who do you think is looking really strong? Let’s focus on the women’s side. Who do you think is looking really strong? We’ve had a number of sectionals. We obviously had the Open. You did very well in the Open. I know you have your eye on your competition. Who’s looking really, really good this season?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

The first two people that come to mind will be Sara Sigmundsdóttir and then also Kari Pearce. They both look really, really strong and healthy right now. Sarah’s definitely done a lot of events. I don’t know how many more she’s planning to do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 She has just this extra gear of being able to compete more frequently than any other human being.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Seriously, it’s crazy and you fry [inaudible 31:20] when you’re competing.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 Most people do. Maybe she doesn’t.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

She’s maybe a robot. I’m really not sure. Her and Kari, I mean, Kari is always such a well-rounded and consistent competitor. I don’t think people give her enough credit, but she always manages to sneak in and surprise everybody.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 Kari, I very much have on…We haven’t done predictions yet for this year because it’s a little too early in the season. Kari is very much on my podium prediction.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Yeah, she’s touching it this year if not standing on top of that. She’s working on the weaknesses that she says she has and she’s going to do a really good job.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I am biased Kari is, I consider her like a very good friend. I’ve known her for a long time.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

She’s awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m coming from a completely biased perspective here.

 

This isn’t just like.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Again, the crazy thing is you never know because it all comes down to events and order of events. It’s where a lot of times people are completely wrong.

David TaoDavid Tao

Kari, maybe her big weakness is leg strength. During the clean event, last year….

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

She jokes about it, too. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

She’ll joke about like, “Yeah, I need to get my legs stronger.” The good news is Kari has gotten her legs stronger. With her gymnastic aptitude, if she gets those Olympic lifts up and if she gets that leg strength up, it’s hard to spot any particular weakness for her. Her running came a long way.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Even as a shorter athlete, she still can hold her own on the machines as well. Again, as far as pressing, Mary last year is a perfect example. She’s the only competitor to do strict handstand push-ups the whole time. That’s just insane to me.

 

I remember the first time I ever met Kari Pearce, it was at Regionals in 2015, I think. I met her and I believe that was her first year qualifying for the Games. I jokingly asked her because she could just knock all the domestic stuff out of the park. I was like, “How many handstand push-ups can you do in a row?” She answered, she was not kidding, 200.

 

Oh what?

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s kipping. For her, it’s like, “Now, it’s you…”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

That’s still crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

She was like, “Yeah, it’s not the failure. It’s just I got tired of being upside down.”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon
David TaoDavid Tao

 

I wish I could do 20 without stopping, still kipping.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 [laughs] Seriously, same.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It’s just that’s out. That’s ridiculous.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

That’s crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Given the fact that you’ve had to take a little time off your feet and you’re still training but you’re not necessarily doing the heavy leg stuff, are you worried about your leg strength in your Olympic lifts heading into the Games?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

No, not necessarily to be honest. My squat strength and my squat endurance is always been something that even if I’m not squatting consistently, doesn’t go away. Just because of my background and something like that, I’ve had bigger legs. I would be more worried if I had something going on with my shoulder and I wasn’t able to press.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 Interesting.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

It’s tough because you do see people on Instagram squatting, and you see on competitions squatting and I’m like, “Man, I wish I could squat.” [laughs] I’m a little jealous right now. Running too, running is important.

 

I know that this is the smartest thing for me to do. If I would’ve kept pushing through the pain, it would have gotten worse. Unfortunately, I had to. I cannot rest right now so I have to.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Prior to this injury, what were your Olympic-lifting numbers looking like? I do a follow-up question to that.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 You mean my max lift?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Yeah, actually, it’s not your clean inject.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I’ve snatched 200 pounds before. I’ve clean injected 235 pounds. I would say above average. Obviously, there’s some strong girls in CrossFit as well, but I’ve considered myself one of the athletes that was able to still walk into a max of competition and put up a good enough number that I wouldn’t affect me or hurt me on the other end of it.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What do you think are the baseline numbers?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

They pretty high now. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Right. I remember Lindsey Valens Whaler — this was years and years ago. This is probably 2012 or ’13 — was the first female CrossFit Game competitor to snatch 200 pounds and everyone was like, “Oh, wow.”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Now people do it consistently. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Now it’s like that’s what you…

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 It’s pretty insane.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Yeah, you need that coming into it. What do you think are those baseline numbers?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

I would say for a snatch, probably somewhere around a 175 point snatch should be pretty consistent, being able to hit that consistently. Clean at least, over 200 pounds. Putting a clean and jerk together like maybe a two. You saw what was the open workout this year? What did they finish at? You could see at least over 200 pounds for that pressure. Moving consistently being fatigued.

David TaoDavid Tao

You have to at least be able to hit the top numbers on those open workout ladders.

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Exactly.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

OK, last question. Podium predictions for this year for the women. It’s OK to be biased. It’s OK. I don’t necessarily care so much about your reasoning but if you’re a betting woman what is your podium look like this year at the Games?

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

My personal goal is to be in that top 10. I am going to try and make to Sunday, that’s my personal goal.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

If you didn’t say that, I’d be really upset.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Why are you even here, right?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I’d be like, “Meg, we’re recording a podcast for a reason, come on?”

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Oh, podium. I think we’re going to see Tia on podium, if not at the top. She looks really good this year. I want to say Kari. I think Kari will be on the podium. The third girl, I think it’s going to be someone that maybe we’re not expecting. Maybe like a Haley Adams, potentially? Maybe a Meg Reardon, who knows?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 I want it to be a complete unknown. I want it to be an unknown or Meg Reardon. I want someone to come completely out of the woodwork.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

That’s cool, I like seeing that when someone sneaks up or surprises you, and it’s not the same people. You’re like, “Yes, it’s great.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It’s harder to do that now than in the earlier days of the CrossFit Games. In the earlier days, somebody could take up CrossFit, and two years later, they were gunning for a podium spot. Now, people don’t just come out of nowhere as much anymore.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

It takes longer to build that baseline of strength, in the end.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

It does, it definitely does.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

The days of Matt Frazier, geez, I remember his first regionals.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 It’s crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

He was a former weightlifter. He didn’t want to take his shirt off because he wasn’t as cut as everyone else. Now he very much is.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

Now, he lives with his shirt off.

David TaoDavid Tao

I would love to see a wildcard, and/or a Meg Reardon on the podium.

 

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Yes.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 It’s not a very big podium. They don’t have a lot of spots.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

 

 It’s really not, and it’s really cutthroat. They’ve got those cut systems in place early on. You gotta bring you’re A-game to each event. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You can’t see this if you’re just listening to the podcast, but I just ran into the mic with my mouth. I should be able to know better by now.

Meg, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. I know we’re going to record some other content today. Thanks for coming in. I really look forward to seeing what you’re capable of doing this summer.

Meg ReardonMeg Reardon

Thank you. I appreciate that.

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