Unwrapping the gifts of CrossFit with Christmas Abbot
Unwrapping the gifts of CrossFit
By Jamie Shane
At 5’3″ and a light 115 pounds, Christmas Abbott’s size belies her power. From CrossFit Regionals to NASCAR pit crew to Inked magazine cover girl, she is fiercely bold in everything that she does. As the owner of CrossFit Invoke, a CrossFit competitor, and a CFHQ trainer, Abbott inspires athletes to take chances, work hard, and shape themselves into everything they want be. Inside and outside the gym, she mentors and motivates, living life fearlessly.
Independent, charismatic, and enthusiastic, Abbott shares with us a little of what makes her so special.
Every CrossFit athlete has a story that points to what inspired them to take up the sport. For Abbott, it was the need to get healthy after years of smoking. During her time in Iraq as a civilian contractor, she was introduced to CrossFit by a soldier and has loved it ever since. But after the first flush passed, Abbott found new inspiration.
“I have a past, and sharing that is important to me. I believe it helps people see they can change their path no matter where they are in life. I stay inspired when I hear the stories of people whose lives I have helped to change. They are incredible.”
As a CrossFit trainer and trainer of CrossFit trainers, Abbott knows that motivation is the name of the game. But when it comes to motivating herself, she admits that teamwork is often the steam in her engine. This is no surprise as she competes in the Games Teams division!
“Training with my female partners really motivates me. We know each other’s struggles in the workouts and in life, so when we train together we can help each other stay motivated. Seeing gains for them is equally as exciting as seeing my own.”
All CrossFit athletes compete, even if they never post their scores to the board. It’s the heart of the sport; whether we compete with others or with ourselves, that core is always there. Abbott knows all about this by putting herself out there in the Opens and the Games—and placing.
“My family was really excited when I decided to start competing, even though initially they didn’t understand competing in fitness. It wasn’t until NASCAR that they really understood what I was capable of doing!”
Pride and Joy
As a coach, Abbott knows the value of coaching in the sport. More than just a taskmaster, the role of coach is to push, pull, elevate, and console. We asked her what was the best piece of advice her coach ever gave her; it boils down to this:
“He told me to have fun with it and leave the floor proud of your work. It was before my first competition and I was in serious doubt of myself. My coach told me to enjoy what I was doing and I would do better.”
CrossFit creator Greg Glassman was once asked why all the benchmarks are named after girls. His response was that anything that left you lying on the floor wondering what had just happened had to be named after a woman. Benchmarks are part of the CrossFit soul, and most athletes have a love/hate relationship with them—except Abbott! She loves them all.
“I dread, but love, Fran. I really love Diane. I get pretty excited about Murph or Helen… maybe I am just a classic benchmark junkie. There aren’t any I don’t want to do, even Jackie, where I am terrible at rowing.”
In December 2013 Abbott became nationally ranked as an Olympic lifter at the American Open. She can snatch 140lbs, clean and jerk 170lbs, squat 225lbs, and deadlift 255lbs. Abbott might be tiny, but she sure is mighty!
“I love all the Oly lifts. Seriously! Asking me to pick a favourite is like asking a parent who their favourite kid is. I couldn’t compete in weightlifting without loving each of the lifts.”
Abbott knows that nutrition is where many athletes fail, which is why she travels and lectures on the subject. However, when she sets goals, she expects rewards. Her recovery meals are for both the body and the soul.
“For recovery I love my protein shake with coconut water. It’s like a chocolate milk treat without the inflammation. Cheat meal? That’s a cupcake, of course! Most any flavour will do.”
In addition to the seminars, coaching, and training, Abbott is the owner/operator of CrossFit Invoke in Raleigh, NC. She finds it incredible and daunting all at once, but loves the challenge and the reward, noting that the good definitely outweighs the hard.
“I love my businesses and have so much fun being involved in all aspects of them. It’s a learning experience as you go, and I’m always looking to make improvements across the board.”
“Women who start CrossFit or any intense workout regimen usually have an idea of a figure they want to have. Soon after being into that workout regimen, what they thought they wanted turns into a more performance-based drive rather than an esthetic one. Women eventually see that their bodies are machines, not just made for photos. Bodies are beautiful artwork and I work especially hard to keep mine in top performance capability. I’ve always been drawn to the human body and I believe showing mine in the “raw” reflects that women who are strong and have muscles are also feminine and have beautiful curves. I will probably always show my body off in some way; my body has a lot to say.”
Abbott is the first female to ever join a NASCAR pit crew. In the beginning, officials thought she was pulling a publicity stunt. But once they saw what she was capable of, they put her on the team. She learned about more than tires from the experience and earned some surprising rewards.
“NASCAR was an incredible experience. The reward was in the level of discipline that it took. To be so regimented and have the pay off be one-tenth of a second faster as a PR was incredible.”
Ask any CrossFitter, male or female, about shoes and you are likely to get a lively discussion on Reebok versus Innovate—but not Abbott. Her favourite shoes aren’t for running or lifting, they’re low pump black Chanel’s.
“I love them! They were a reward to myself after a gruelling project. I live on reward but these were especially rewarding.”
Christmas Abbott isn’t a woman who sits still. She doesn’t rest on her laurels, and she doesn’t do one thing when there is so much else to do. She knows that CrossFit is her place and her purpose, and she is reaching out to motivate as many people as she can. The future of Abbott is bright and rolling full steam ahead, so stay tuned …
“I’m working on a fitness subscription to be launched by December or January. I am also doing my nutrition seminars throughout the winter and into the spring. There are a few other items in the pipeline, but I don’t like to get too ahead of myself!”
Christmas for Christmas
Christmas isn’t actually a Christmas baby, but she sure does come close. Born December 20, her mother decided to go ahead and name her after the celebration. Some kids might find this annoying, but not this Christmas, she loves it!
“I actually can’t get enough of it. Funny fact is that I’m highly allergic to real Christmas trees when they’re in the house. Now I have a fake tree that’s massive!