Meet the Women of 'America's Strongest Adaptive Athlete'

Posted by Raeanne Pemberton on

I had the pleasure of interviewing three of the four female athletes from America's Strongest Disabled Athlete set to take place May 13th in Columbus, Ohio. This year is the first year for a female class to be filled at this competition, and not with just one or two women. We were excited to see that there four females signed up to compete, and we knew we wanted to hear their stories. Sabrina Reiswig, Amber Stoffel, and Holly Miller are names you will hear again, because these ladies are doing big things in the world of adaptive strength.

Sabrina with a strong overhead snatch

To call them pioneers is an understatement. These women have poise and class and an immeasurable strength. They are from different regions of the US, have different disabilities or limitations, yet they have many things in common. They spoke to me of their challenges, and of how they regularly overcome adversity. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this interview for me, was the revelation that they don't think of themselves much differently than I think of myself. They don't see their limitations as an excuse or a reason to give up, and they wake up day after day and train hard to reach goals, just like every other athlete who is able bodied (or not).

Amber with a dumbbell press

With my limited knowledge of the adaptive strength sports, I learned a great deal. There are organizations that I had no idea existed and the resources are out there for anyone with any limitation who wants to get started. Reading the words of these women will inspire you. But listening to their voices and their sincerity will give you the motivation you need to get started, or to keep going.

You'll find the transcription and link to the interview below. Scroll to the very bottom to give the YouTube video a watch or click here. I will also link their social media accounts and any important links mentioned at the bottom of the page. I hope you find their stories as inspiring and enlightening as I did. Enjoy! -Raeanne

Holly pulls a truck
 

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Hi guys! I am Raeanne Pemberton, and I am here with three of the athletes who are competing in America’s Strongest Disabled Athlete on May 13, in Columbus, Ohio. I am so excited to have Sabrina Reiswig, Amber Stoffel, and Holly Miller here with me; three of the four female athletes who are competing with physical limitations. We can’t wait to get started! Thank you ladies for being here and giving us your time today.

 

Raeanne: The first question, is, give us a little bit of information about how you got started in strongman or strength sports in general What road led you to here? Sabrina, let’s start with you.

 

Sabrina: Well, I started actually as a wrestler. I was competing as a wrestler in Junior High for two years (as freestyle) and four years in high school. That was my first strength sport. That is truly a strength sport. I was one of two females on the team which was pretty rough. Even back in the 90’s, females were not looked at as the same. My competitions were very few but when I got on the mat, I gave it my all and I worked pretty hard to train. I wanted to do the best I could in any of my matches.

 

Flash forward to 2015, here I am, I have gone to school and traveled. I am a military spouse, and now I have two babies. I am easily 40 lbs heavier than I was before I had babies. I was like “something has to give.” I am an amputee, and I have been an amputee since I was 8 years old. But any extra weight for an amputee is so hard on the body. I knew I had to get into some sort of physical fitness, so what do I do? Low and behold, I drank the “Kool-Aid of Crossfit!” I started going to CrossFit SolaFide which is just down the street from us. I didn’t love it. I really didn’t, not at first. I was battling so many adaptions. I didn’t study the adaptations prior to going into the box. I struggled at it for a couple months. I finally saw a video from the Working Wounded Games, I thought “Wow, that’s so awesome.” These people are the epitome of strength and courage in general. I thought, “I can do this.”

 

I started training last year in March and that’s where (WWG 2016) I met Amber. Talk about strength, man! She is a beast! I just loved being around everybody who had somewhat a similar story. Not that they were all amputees like me, but just to come into physical fitness and being able to do what everybody else is doing, in kind of a different way sometimes. Sometimes we are doing it exactly the same, with exactly the same weights. We just have to figure out what would be our Rx specs. Sometimes that’s a struggle. I like competing in the adaptive versions of competitions because it’s apples to apples vs. me being compared to an able-bodied person. I can’t get down to a 90 degree squat, that’s not possible for me. So, is that fair? If I can’t possibly do that?

 

Raeanne: So, how long ago did you start CrossFit?

 

Sabrina: Well, I started CrossFit a year and a half ago. I went for a couple months and gave it a go. I really didn’t like it. I was struggling all the time and I wasn’t really doing anything that was really helping me. Then, a friend of mine was going in at 4:00am, and I asked her if I could come in and work out with her. She said yes! I said, “Ok, so I’ll be there tomorrow. What are we going to do?” She said, well I’m going to row a 10k tomorrow. I was like oh my God! I couldn’t back down! I was like, “Ok, I’ll be there.” I got through that 10k. It hurt! Bad! But it gave me the confidence in my abilities. Even though I may not be able to do it as quickly or as pretty as someone else, I got through it. It took a lot of practice, and I’m happy that I stuck with it since last March.

 

Raeanne: That’s awesome. Thank you Sabrina! So, you said you were an amputee since about eight years old?

 

Sabrina: Yes, I had bone cancer when I was eight. It’s a rare form called Ewing Sarcoma. It was in the lower part of my leg. In order for them to make sure that I was clean (of cancer) so that they could give me chemo for preventative spreading of the cancer, they ended up amputating. It was too far gone. At age eight, you are trying to explain to a doctor what you’re feeling. It’s pretty impossible. And, then, on top of it they don’t believe everything you say because you’re just a kid. I was told I was having growing pains, or trying to get out of school. Not saying I wasn’t trying to get out of school (laughs). They took an x-ray and saw that yeah, something’s wrong. It’s been a blessing in disguise. I totally view life differently just because I’ve grown up being an amputee for this long.

 

Raeanne: I completely understand how this might change your perspective. Sabrina, you mentioned you met Amber at the Working Wounded Games? Amber is your story similar? Did you CrossFit before hand? What was your journey like?

 

Amber: Yes, this will be my first strongman. I’ve been crossfitting for five years and I’ve been actively competing in Crossfit for a year and a half now, maybe two years. I’ve done Working Wounded Games twice. Crossroads Adaptive Alliance puts that on in DC each year. Adaptive athletes from all over the world come out and compete. They are specific for us. They are not easy. It’s fun because it’s this huge community of “us” and we don’t have anything to prove, but it’s a really good time. It’s great!

 

So, I’ve been crossfitting for five years. The Working Wounded Games started bringing in some heavier objects. Then, this past September I went to Ohio to compete with an all adaptive team at a completely able-bodied team competition called Back at the Ranch for Hope in Dayton, Ohio. We didn’t get the workouts until half an hour before the heats started. It was all carrying yokes, kegs filled with sand, logs, toes to bar off of two by fours. It was this whole new world, and I loved it. I make a fitness goal every year (I don’t make a New Year’s Resolution) to get me out of my comfort zone. My goal last year was to do strongman. I put it off because I wasn’t sure how to train for it. But, I have noticed more of the male adaptive athletes are moving into strongman. So, it kind of showed me what they were doing. I was like “I have to, I need to do this!”

 

Raeanne: So is this both of your first strongman show? Sabrina and Amber?

 

Sabrina: Yes, this is the first year that Disabled Strongman has had any females registered. They have opened it up to females in the past, but this is the first year they have had any females compete.

 

Raeanne: That’s awesome. So, Amber have you had your upper body limitation for a long time? Or is it something you were born with?

 

Amber: I was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. My hand got caught in the amniotic band and it stopped the growth. So, my right arm is shorter. I don’t have a full hand and I had a double thumb at one time. I’ve had surgeries on it in the past. So, all of my life.

 

Raeanne: I find it so intriguing that you guys are doing all of this! It’s so awesome and so inspiring. So, Holly tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started.

 

Holly: I started doing Crossfit, it’s been about, going on 4 years now. I used to teach aerobics classes and I did a lot of cardio stuff.  When I started to have surgeries for the back problems that I’ve had, I ended up gaining a little weight after every single one of them. I got lazy, got fat, and stopped working out and life happened. I became complacent. One of my former students (I’m a high school teacher) was going to join a gym in the town I live in. She said “The first class is free, why don’t you go with me?” I went and started doing crossfit after that. The gym owner, where I work out at, he is really more into strongman. They won’t be renewing their crossfit affiliation this year, and will focus on strongman.

 

Raeanne: Very cool! So how long have you been doing crossfit?

 

Holly: Four years. Since about 2013, May or June or so.

 

Raeanne: Nice, I find it incredibly interesting that all of you have a crossfit background. I do too. It’s sort of a gateway.

 

Holly: Wouldn’t call it a background, I wasn’t very good at it (laughs). I enjoyed it. Most of what I loved about it was the family atmosphere of the gym and how intimate it was. It wasn’t just like going to workout at Planet Fitness where everybody did their own thing. Everybody did the same thing and cheered each other on. In crossfit, the person who does the worst gets cheered on the most.

 

Raeanne: Totally. I think you will find the same in strongman.

 

Holly: I’ve done a couple strongman competitions, just from my gym. We do a Highlander competition every year. I’ve done that for a three years. We have a few other competitions that our owner puts on with other local gyms. I always go into it knowing I’ll always come in last. I don’t care, I just want to do a little bit better than I did last time.

 

Sabrina: One of the things we have in this event, is that we have two divisions. We have a standing and a seated division. Holly, are you doing the seated division?

 

Holly: Chris (Vachio) suggested that I do the seated one. I’ve done standing in everything else I’ve done. The one event he was worried about was the car deadlift. I could probably do it, but it would be better if I did the seated version for that. I think that’s the only thing that’s different isn’t it?

 

Sabrina: Yes, it’s a car drag instead.

 

Raeanne: Can you guys explain the events? Sounds like a car deadlift variation?

 

Sabrina: Seated might be different, but standing, we are doing a car pull. We are also doing a viking press, about a 150 lb viking press for time. We are also going to be doing a sandbag medley. Which is 100 lbs, 100 lbs, 150 lbs, and a 200 lb bag. Then, a safe lift which is roughly about 150 lbs. We may do progressive, or for time. We haven’t gotten exactly what the weights will be but we do know the events which is nice because we are really kind of new to this. Those weights might be interesting for us.

 

Holly: I’ve done some of these events before. It just depends. I’ll have to talk to him more to see, get the final weights, and at that time maybe decide? Maybe all of us compete in the same class?

 

Sabrina: Yeah, that might make it interesting. I don't know what your limitations are?

 

Holly: I actually didn’t talk about mine (laughs). I’m actually totally different than anybody else. I wasn’t sure I’d qualify for a disabled or adaptive athlete competition. I definitely know I can’t keep up with everybody at my gym. I’ve had four back surgeries. I have a bunch of metal holding everything together. I was born with a lot of degenerative issues. I have an implanted spinal cord stimulator which is kind of like a tens unit, but it’s implanted in your body and runs up your spinal column. I recently got a diagnosis of having some psoriatic arthritis. Which, is the autoimmune disorder of psoriasis which attacks your joints and tissues around your joints. I have a mish-mosh of things going on. You know, I’m not missing a limb or anything like that. I haven’t seen a lot of people in adaptive strongman that have issues like mine. Chris said, you might as well go for it.

 

Sabrina: Hey, sometimes we have disabilities that can’t be seen.  That’s part of this world too.


Raeanne: Definitely. So, can you guys tell me what a safe lift is?

 

Sabrina: So, a safe lift is a back load. It’s on a lever, the safe is going to be behind you and it’s a tricep push. You’re pushing it down and you’d lift the safe up behind you. It’s working on your triceps more than anything else. The safe lift itself, is that the size of the safe and weight of the safe will determine what he does as far as our competition goes. It’s downward strength vs. an overhead press. I’ve always struggled with overhead just because of balance issues. You know, with only one leg, balance is the hardest part. But I feel like the safe lift will be better. I practiced it in the gym and I was surprised at how much I could do with that movement. We are all going to realize we will have strength in some movements and weaknesses in others. That’s just part of it.


Raeanne: Right, so which events are you guys most excited for?

 

Amber: Sandbags!

 

Raeanne: What does that look like for you guys? What are you doing with sandbags?

 

Amber: I think we put them up and put them on something.

 

Sabrina: Yes, it’s a loading event. I’m nervous about that one. My grip strength definitely needs some work. I did get some sandbags from the same company who is sponsoring the event, Cerberus. I bought two from them to figure it out. I loaded one up with 100# and one with 150# and I was like “wow.” I can lift them, it hurts, but I’ll get better at. Just need to work on it. I’m most excited about the car pull. I’ve always looked at those events and thought “Wow, that’s so cool, I want to pull a car!”

 

Holly: So fun, my favorite event ever!

 

Amber: That’s the one where I’m like how am I going to hold that rope? It’s a thick rope! So like, (shows her hands), it doesn’t…. (laughs)

 

Sabrina: How am I going to pull??? (shows pinching motion) (laughs)  

 

Raeanne: From what I hear Amber, you’re pretty strong so I don’t know if it will matter!!

 

Sabrina: Yeah, she’s got that one arm! That one big arm! I’m going to start calling her Trogdor! (laughs)

 

Holly: The one thing I love about working with disabled athletes is that we can all make fun of ourselves, and it’s okay. If you don’t laugh about it, sometimes, you’re going to cry. You just have to go with it, and make fun of it and own it.

 

Sabrina: It’s that harder outer shell. If I create that, nothing can really penetrate that and hit me in the core, into my heart. If I don’t let it in, it doesn’t affect me. I agree, Holly.

 

Amber: I use it as a way to make people comfortable too. If they see me joking about it, making light of myself, they would be more comfortable. Sometimes if I don’t pick something up right, I say things like “Man, I could really use another finger right now.” Stupid stuff like that. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves.

 

Sabrina: An interesting thing is, we are all teachers. Granted, I am a stay at home mom now. But on my first day of school, I’d ask my students to figure out what happened to me. Their best story for why I only have one leg. They’d come up with the best stories. Got hit by a reindeer! Got bit by a shark! (laughs) But it was funny, because I could laugh at their stories. You have to let it go, especially around kids. Kids are going to be harder on you than some adults. Some adults are just pretty bad too, but if you just sit there and let them laugh and you laugh with them, and drop another joke, it takes that pain away a little bit.

 

Holly: If you don’t it’s like the elephant in the room. But if you bring it up, it breaks the ice.

 

Raeanne: Definitely. I’m a teacher too by the way, holler! :-) So, what is your training like? Do you go through strength cycles? What’s that like for you?

 

Sabrina: Well, I am training crossfit three days a week since I’m still doing CF competitions. I have strongman training three days a week. I also run because I’m part of a group called Amputee Blade Runners which provides blades for amputees who want blades to run. Insurance won’t cover that. We try to get eyes on us to create awareness to bring in money to supply those blades. Between running, strongman, and crossfit, my rest day is saturday and I’m  still running 2-3 miles on that day. It gets intense, but burning the candle at both ends has been my M.O. for as long as I can remember so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.

 

Raeanne: That is crazy girl! You do a lot! You are a machine.

 

Holly: I’m tired just listening to it! (laughs)

 

Amber: Part machine! (laughs) Running and rest day don’t go together! (laughs) PRior to this I was crossfitting 5 days a week. I just started strength volume training. I do that four days a week and Saturdays we have a strongman class at my gym that I’m still going to.

 

Holly: I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking. I had my daughter in 2015. Funny enough, when I was pregnant I was in the least pain of my life because my hormones kicked in and helped my autoimmune issues go away. If I could stay pregnant the rest of my life I’d be fine (laughs). I went through a bad bout of postpartum depression and I’m finally, after a year and a half, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t work out for a while. I was hit and miss once a week. So, I’ve been trying to make that hour a day a priority. I try to go in at least four days a week to the gym and on other days I’ll go for a hike or do something with my daughter. Hopefully this summer I’ll get in more time and I’ll start achieving more goals that I want to achieve.

 

Raeanne: I will say, just like everything in life, we have seasons. We go through ups and downs, valleys, and peaks too. It’s definitely seasons. For one of my last questions, a lot of people might wonder why you put yourself through this extra physical challenge when you already have a natural challenge which makes life in general harder than the average person? What makes you put yourself into this position where you have added challenges?

 

Sabrina: It’s kind of interesting. I’m 37 years old, I have a limited time for how long I can compete. Staying healthy is by far my number one reason. But, it also comes down to being able to pave the way for the next generation of athletes who want to come in and realize that having a disability doesn’t debilitate them. My motivation is being able to ensure that individuals who see these events or athletes competing who have a similar disability or one they can empathize with, they will either know of someone who might benefit from that or benefit themselves. And, that those organizations are already set up, it won’t be a guessing game. We have gone through the guessing game. If we can have organizations that set up workouts for those certain limitations, it will be that much more seamless. My driving thought is, “am I leaving my mark so that someone else can benefit?” I’m not in it for myself. I could be, and I have been, but that doesn’t work well. I’d rather be working out for someone else. If I am working out for someone else, I do better. I’ll work a lot harder. That keeps me motivated.

 

Amber: So, I’ve never actually asked myself that. Why do I keep doing this? My first two years of Crossfit was like therapy. I left crying most days. It takes me (and most adaptive athletes) two to three times as long as a normal person to pick up the movements and to figure out the adaptations. Like Sabrina was saying, if we don’t show up to these competitions, if we don’t do them, people won’t see us on social media or out there and think, “Hey, I can do that.” You know, the adaptive world, I discovered it two years ago and this past year it’s just blown up. We have two great organizations who do programming daily for wheelchair athletes, for upper athletes, lower athletes and it’s all the same workout adapted for each category - Wheel Wod, it’s amazing. Just knowing, you know what? I can do it. There is no reason I can’t go do it, it’s something I love. I teach 600 kids, I see them all. They know I compete, they know I lift. They will ask me how I did in a competition, or brag to a new student. I have had kids say, “You have shown me that girls can do whatever boys can do.” If a new kid comes in and asks questions, my kids will explain my hand to them. It’s very powerful to see the kids and how much compassion they have, and how accepting they are just because I’m in their lives.

 

Holly: Originally it was for selfish reasons. I wanted to look and feel better. But especially with social media, I’ve had people come up to me and say that they didn’t think they could do it, “But if Holly can do it, I sure as hell can do it.” I try not to make excuses, I try to do what everyone else is doing. But I can’t squat quite as far down or I have to lift less, or it takes me a lot longer to get my workouts down. I just want to show girls especially, or other people with limitations, that they can do it and there isn’t an excuse out there to not do it. It’s not going to look the same for everyone. Stop being lazy, stop making excuses for yourselves. You’ve got to get out there. A lot of my high school students follow my Instagram. They will come to school and say “Wow, Mrs. Miller, I saw your lift last night.” They think it’s cool that their teacher lifts and I could probably toss them around if I wanted to (laughs). I will copy what the other two ladies said, it’s important for women especially, to understand they aren’t limited to just doing aerobics or Zumba classes, not that there is anything wrong with that. But, that strength training is important.

 

Raeanne: I love that you all said very similar things. You are truly pioneers. That’s so exciting. You’re right, there is no excuse. Just do something, just move. Amber you mentioned Wheel Wod? They do programming?

 

Amber: Yes, it originally started as an avenue for wheel chaired athletes because their adaptations are so different from anyone else's, it’s not like they are just squatting lower, etc.  So, they programmed just for them. Then, at Wodapalooza this year, a huge crossfit competition in Miami, they opened it up to standing athletes as well as seated. Wheel Wod programmed both the qualifiers and competition wods for the adaptive division of Wodapalooza. Wheelwod began programming for standing athletes at that point to get us ready for the competition.  We just had an Adaptive Open with our own leaderboard.  Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance and Wheel Wod headed that up which included standards videos and live announcements.  They literally adapted the regular open workouts within one day and had them ready to go for us. We all had the open workout; the seated, the uppers the lowers, it was all the same. It was really cool, we were all going back and forth on Facebook. It was community through social media. Wheel Wod has daily programming that gives seated, upper and lower athletes the same workout with the needed modifications.

 

Sabrina: Both Amber and I participated in the Wheel Wod Open. What’s kind of cool about that is you’re taking the Crossfit Open, and being able to take that workout itself and make adaptations for individuals who need adaptations. I think they did a really good job, we were doing almost the exact same movements with the same weights. Our requirements were a little different. Like I said earlier, I can’t squat to 90 degrees. So, a quarter squat was okay for me to complete that rep. Being able to compare apples to apples, limitations to limitations, it makes the playing field a little more level. We feel like we are competing against individuals who are just like us.

 

Amber: And he doesn’t take it easy on us either! (laughs) We have the same movements, chest to bar pull ups, snatches, single armed dumbbells instead of both. But the weights are the same. If he thought we could do the movements, we do them with straps. He is going to push us and get us out of our comfort zone. Just because we have limitations doesn’t mean he is going to take it easy on us.

 

Raeanne: That is awesome! I am glad you mentioned that. I think there are people out there who don’t know about these resources.

 

Amber: Crossroad Adaptive Alliance is another organization that I got started with, they are amazing as well. They do the Working Wounded Games.

 

Sabrina: Crossroads offers actual courses that you can have come into your gym and show your coaches how to work with adaptive athletes. I think education is the important part. How do we continue to teach able bodied individuals how to work with athletes with limitations? It doesn’t have to be a disability. It could be someone with a torn tendon. That is a limitation as well. It ranges from major to minor. I think education is super important for us to continue this movement.

 

Amber: One last thing about Crossroads. They provide grants to adaptive athletes to compete and get certified. So, just putting that out there. If you go to their website, you can download the application and apply for that and get certified. They are wonderful.

 

Raeanne: Great! I’ll make sure to post those links and give shout outs! Very cool. I have two questions left. My first is, what would your one piece of advice be to someone who is watching who is able bodied, or limited but they are wanting to get started? What would you tell them?

 

Sabrina: I guess my one thing would be, if you’re starting out, or even now… the days that you don’t feel like it are the days you need to do it. It’s not for any other reason than understanding that the post results are going to make you feel better. Pushing yourself through the “I don’t really want to,” and getting to the end of the workout will in return give you the feeling of being glad you did it. Waking up at 3:45am, there are definitely a lot of times I don’t want to do it. But after my workout, I take on my day in a totally different way than if I don’t workout and I’m tired and lethargic. It’s totally different. Push through it, get through it.

 

Raeanne: Great advice!

 

Amber: Mine was given to me, when it came to pull ups, I haven’t figured out pull ups yet. Logan Aldridge is another adaptive athlete and he says, “is it painful or is it uncomfortable?” He says you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I think a lot of times, we go into new situations and it’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to look like a fool doing something for the first time. I know I’m not the only one. So, just do things you want to try that take you out of that comfort zone, no matter what it is. Find someone to help you along the way. There are so many avenues and resources, someone will be willing to help.

 

Holly: The biggest thing, is that women in general tend to be intimidated when they walk into gyms where there are men. They want to take baby steps and don’t want to jump right in into doing strongman or crossfit. But that’s the best way to do it. It’s like learning a language. You want to learn spanish? Go to Spain. Immerse yourself. Realize that by walking in that door, you might be the motivation that someone else needs to do the same thing. They might have a physical limitation, or anxiety, or depression, they might feel like they can’t wear shorts to the gym because they think they look bad. Starting is always the hardest thing. Once you’re in there, you might think, this is fun! I can do this!

 

Sabrina: I agree with you Holly, I think signing up for something that’s totally out of my comfort zone (and Amber was saying this earlier too) gives me the motivation to work harder because I don’t want to look like a fool when I get there. If I sign up and pay the money, I’ll work harder.

 

Holly: Exactly. Doing it with other people helps too, I did a tough mudder a couple years ago with some people from my gym. It was awful, and there was a couple obstacles I couldn’t do. I knew that, and it had nothing to do with not wanting to do them, I just physically couldn’t do them. But I had a team of people who cheered me on, and I cheered them on.

 

Raeanne: Absolutely. You have mentioned community a few times. The strongman community, the strength community at large, is awesome. It’s so great to have Facebook and social media to connect with those people. That’s definitely a huge part of it. I want to wish you guys really good luck. I don’t think you’ll need it. You’re less than a month out. I can’t wait to see how it goes. My last question, is what’s next? After Ohio?

 

Sabrina: I have more crossfit competitions. I’ve always been told doing strength or olympic weightlifting will always help you in crossfit because it always helps with increasing strength. I might have persuaded Amber a little bit to do this competition. There was no gymnastics! We don’t have to do handstand pushups! That was appealing to me. Especially for people with disabilities, sometimes those movements are harder because you don’t have the extra limb to help you. I thought, this could be cool for Amber. This is strength, and she is strong. This is different from crossfit competitions. I am looking forward to seeing how this is because it’s my first time. After this, I might sign up for next year, I don’t know! (laughs)


Raeanne: You’ll probably be hooked.

 

Amber: (Laughs) So she posted on Facebook that she was doing it, and I had really been doing one of these. I saw it was in Ohio so I thought I’d pass. But it’s perfect. It’s so much better if you’re doing it with someone. We talk all the time about the lifts we are working on and what we are doing.  It’s community and having that support right off the bat.

 

I placed top three in my Adaptive Open. So, we have online regionals starting the day after the strongman show. If I place top five in that, I’ll move on to a big competition in Canada in July. My big goal is moving into Rx right now. I have the weights for Rx, but it’s the gymnastics that I don’t have. That’s why she was saying that there is no gymnastics! For me, holding on to bars and figuring out how to use straps is something I’m working on. I like competing, I’m hoping strongman goes well. I’d like to keep doing that. In all honesty, I’ve had some setbacks with my hand and shoulder from over compensating. Thinking long term, I have to figure out if crossfit is best for me or if I need to move into strongman and olympic lifting. It’s just playing it by ear and seeing what’s available.

 

Raeanne: Wow, congratulations! That’s awesome.

 

Holly: Congrats! What’s next for me is I want to get my butt back into the gym and start making improvements. Start getting more into the adaptive athletics and competitions. Like I said, I never thought about doing adaptive competitions until I saw a post on Facebook. I thought, Hmm, I can qualify for that. I think I found my niche where I may not be the person coming in last. I may still come in last, but at least I’m working with people who understand what it’s like. It sometimes just sucks that you can’t do what other people can do. It’s not a failure on your part, but it’s just not physically possible. I’d like to get more involved in that and bring a new eye to people who aren’t just amputees, but who have issues that maybe aren’t as visible, like my own.

 

Amber: We definitely need those people. As we continue to grow, we can continue to expand our divisions. As more come, they can have their own divisions.

 

Sabrina: There are also divisions that are major, minor, neurological that we had at the working wounded games. It’s really kind of similar to what you’re saying, you’d fall into one of those divisions. I think you’d like it. The community is definitely there. Who knows? We all show up and we can do a plug for strongman! (laughs)

 

Holly: Now that i know you guys, it helps to be a part of the community, especially women. Maybe we can be pioneers in the realm of adaptive athletes and strongman!

 

Raeanne: I think you guys are phenomenal. It’s a huge honor to get to know your stories and backgrounds and plans. I’d love to meet you someday. Maybe at the national level, I think it needs to happen to have those divisions soon for limited athletes in all strength sport federations.

 

Holly: Where are you guys all from? I’m from Cleveland area, in Ohio.

 

Sabrina: Clarksville, TN

 

Amber: I’m in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Raeanne: Again, thank you for your time. I know we are all busy people. I can't wait for updates. Good luck and kick butt!

 

Sabrina: You too! Good luck on your competition.

 

Raeanne: Thank you!

 

All: Bye!

 

_ _ _ _ _ _

Amber on IG
Holly on IG
Sabrina on IG

Holly's Gym: Blind Dog Gym
Amber's Gym: CrossFit OptiMize
Sabrina's Gym: CrossFit SolaFide

Wheel Wod
Amputee Blade Runners
Crossroads Alliance

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