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Iceland’s Annie Thorisdottir may be a CrossFit Games champion, twice over, but her fire for competing is still raging just as hard as ever.
The 32-year-old missed the 2020 games to welcome her daughter Freyja into the world and returned the very next year to place an awe-inspiring third place. It marked the quickest ever comeback after giving birth in CrossFit history.
This past October, at the Rogue Invitational in Austin, TX, “Iceland Annie” finished as a close runner-up, making a dramatic statement that showed the two-time fittest women on Earth is still on great form.
“Thor’s Daughter” talks about her famously intense training sessions, how being a mom has affected her training, how she approaches fitness and nutrition, and how her latest challenge; entering the 2022 CrossFit Games by leading team CrossFit Reykjavík, is making her more motivated than ever.
You have a background in gymnastics and athletics, do you think this was an advantage with taking up CrossFit?
I believe the advantage is having body awareness and already being comfortable with a decent amount of training volume, as well as basic gymnastics skills. However, going into CrossFit, I had to learn how to move external objects. Lifting weights wasn’t something that I was used to, as well as trying to get my running smooth. If you watch a gymnast run, it’s pretty stiff.
Do you think that people focus too much on weight over form?
I believe it used to be a little more like that but now people listen more, or maybe coaches are just a bit more educated or used to working with people, since the sport has grown. It is a matter of being patient and believing in the process. One of the most common pieces of advice I give people is to learn to move well first, and then you can do high intensity with lighter weights and then the weights will catch up.
You recently posted a seriously challenging 20-minute EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) workout. How often do you do these, and are you a fan of EMOMs?
We have been doing 40-minute EMOMs once a week for a few weeks now too. This 20-minute workout was kind of to end that cycle. It was a REAL one for sure. I really enjoy them because you know you can finish the work when you have done it for 20min already so, of course, you can do five more minutes and then another five, but your head tells you that there’s too much left to go. That’s where you need to grow and convince yourself that you can do this. It’s these moments of internal battle that make you stronger.
When it comes to tracking your strain and recovery, what are some of the most important types of info that you look at on your Whoop?
I really like using it for tracking my sleep, it keeps me accountable and helps me get to bed earlier, which I really need. I monitor the strain and recovery, but I don’t let it affect my training on the day, unless the reading is very low into the red. I’ll also see how I feel because (being very low into the red) is usually an indicator that I am getting sick. Otherwise, (if the reading shows I have the ability to take on more strain) I just modify my training so that I feel a little more during that session… and then make sure a rest day is coming. The Whoop is a great way to see if I’m overreaching. The menstrual cycle tracking is also very beneficial as it helps me to monitor how I need to be fuelling, especially during my period.
How do you approach nutrition on a day-to-day basis?
I make sure to have enough carbs during training and then eat protein right after each workout. The week before my period, I add in extra aminos during training and the carbs are also even more important during that time because we can’t store the carbs the same as we do at other times in our cycle. Otherwise, my intake stays the same most of the time and then I’m just even more strict when I get closer to competition season. I follow something called RP strength to track my nutrition and the supplements I use are all from Transparent Labs but I think it’s very important to make sure that your food is always well sourced and clean.
How do you build recovery time into your week?
I do one “active” recovery day each week, where I do Zone 2 heart rate work for about an hour, along with mobility work and a sauna. Then I do one “full” rest day per week, and on that day, I play a lot with my kid!
For recovery on training days, sleep and fuelling is on top of the list. Other than that, I do mobility or scraping with muscle scrapers. I use sidekick every evening and then I take CBD MD, cbd soft gels 50mg twice each day.
Do you think that everyone should consider building CrossFit style routines into their workouts?
I think everyone should be lifting weights and I believe High Intensity Interval Training is one of the best ways of training.
It’s clear that you love group workouts! What are some of the advantages of training alongside other people?
You get the push and the drive. I like having others around me. I enjoy myself at the gym, training with other like-minded people. We can have fun and then push and make each other better when it is GO time.
You’ve said that you feel more motivated than you have in years. Why do you think this is?
I feel like I found a different motivation and drive than I had before. After giving birth to my daughter, I just wanted to see if I would be able to get back to feeling myself and then I wanted to compete. No “need” or pressure, just me wanting to let myself compete and hopefully showing other moms that it’s their decision regarding what they want to do post-birth. Now, I’m also doing it for my family, and I want to be a good role model for my daughter. It’s also new to me to be on a team for this season. I have even more people depending on me, and at the same time more great training partners.
I felt very good coming out of this past year, finally feeling like I was getting control of my body fully again. After competing at the Rogue invitationals in October, I knew that I wanted to continue going. I had been thinking about competing as a Team for years but never made it happen, so I decided this year that I would go for it and try to make it work out. It did and it’s definitely making me grow even more as a person and as an athlete. I’m stepping a little outside of my comfort zone again, and I believe after this year, I will have learned and grown so much to become the best athlete that I have ever been.