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This week on the Barbell Shrugged podcast we are joined by Andrea Ager, former collegiate track & field athlete turned high-level Crossfit competitor. If that name rings a bell it’s for a very good reason. Andrea is one of the most well-known and recognizable athletes on the scene, which is actually a very interesting topic of discussion all in itself.
“You may know Andrea from her Instagram feed, where she can’t stop smiling.” I figured this topic would come up at some point during the podcast, I just didn’t realize it would be the very first thing out of Mike’s mouth. “In fact, Chris Moore has described you as, ‘Smiling too much.’”
The obvious downside of being well-known is that there will always be haters and trolls, that’s for sure. They are going to comment about you, your style, your choices, your beliefs, your mistakes and short-comings, and yes, even your smile. I was ready to take all that on at the start, I just didn’t expect being called one myself!
Mike was smiling just as wide as Andrea ever has, so it was obvious he had this move planned. I was left squirming with nothing to slide underneath or behind, so I tried to back away slowly to higher ground, without much success I might add. “Now, hold on, I was simply saying that, Wow, Andrea smiles a lot. Let me say, having met you, I get it. I think I’m smiling more often now myself.” Even a bit of kind editing leaves me sounding guilty. Mike easily blocked the shot. “That’s not how I remember the conversation.”
He was right to pin me down. I had done a bit of hating, at least in his view. In truth I think I was just envious, maybe a little aggravated. I might have even been more motivated by Andrea than I would have liked to admit. That’s because, if nothing else, she is a reminder that the clock is ticking. If there’s something you really love in this life, like training and sharing your fitness story for example, then you should probably spend more of your precious time doing it. Sure, why not smile more often and just as wildly?
After chatting with Andrea it became clear that she was more than just a really happy Crossfit chick with a popular social media feed. She’s an experienced, high level regional competitor who has been part of some really tough competitions. She’s learned some valuable lessons the hard way, like the importance of setting better, more intrinsically focused goals and spending far less time comparing yourself to others.
That last bit might be the most important lesson of the show. You just cannot make the most out of your training, your situation, and your uniqueness if you’re worried about what others are doing, what they are capable of.
Andrea’s also surprisingly open minded and receptive to new training ideas and styles, which is something aspiring athletes should really pay close attention to. She waste’s no time, surrounding herself with the very best training partners and coaches she can find. That might mean flying into San Francisco to drill weightlifting with the magnificent Diane Fu, or maybe it’s committing to a wild and novel three-month training sabbatical with THE powerlifting master, Louie Simmons.
It’s clear to us now why Andrea is so well known. It’s not luck. It’s not the smile and looks alone, although this certainly does help, who are we kidding. But no, the bulk of Andrea’s success still comes from where you would expect. She has devoted her life to becoming a better athlete and coach. She works incredibly hard, takes on the risks, makes all the necessary sacrifices, and delay’s gratification today in exchange for better performancetomorrow. Let me say, I’m glad I got the change to know her better. She’s the real deal.
To learn more about Andrea, or to book her for a seminar, make sure to visit TheAndreaAger.com. You can also check out her YouTube page for some cool training videos. Who know’s, you too might find yourself looking past the smile.
P.S. Make sure you to check out this weeks TechniqueWOD during the break. Doug will teach you all you need to know about the front squat. Who know’s, maybe you’ll learn how to grow a killer pair of Ager Bomb style quadriceps!