Ep 130 – Kristi O’Connell on Training for Joy and Balance

Ep 130 – Kristi O’Connell on Training for Joy and Balance

“We, ultimately- we love CrossFit, but we also view CrossFit as a way for us to be fit and do things outside of the gym.  And do them together.  We always try to continue reminding ourselves of that, so, in the spring we'd like to do an obstacle course race.  And I think that’s a new mindset shift for me, is that, it used to be, oh no, I can’t do that, I’m going to get hurt.  But then it’s like, we’ll why do you have all this fitness?  So, you have it to compete, but I think for me it’s like, I’ll go to the Games. I will do my absolute best.  I love to compete, I’m not gonna just go there and not try.  I’ll try my hardest, and I think just knowing that I’m taking a different approach this year.  And knowing that ahead of time and preparing myself for that. Whatever that outcome means, I’m still gonna work hard.  I’m just gonna make sure that I’m not sacrificing my family, my body, and everything else in order to maybe get into the top five or the top ten or whatever it may be. - Kristi O’Connell

Kristi O’Connell, formerly Kristi Eramo, has been passionate about fitness her entire life.  A former collegiate swimmer and endurance athlete, she made her first appearance at a CrossFit Regionals competition in 2014, and by 2016 she placed first at the highly competitive Central East Regional.

Following three CrossFit Games appearances as an individual between 2016 and 2018, Kristi placed 26th in the world in the 2019 CrossFit Open, qualifying for a spot at the 2019 CrossFit Games as an individual.  Instead, she made the surprising choice to decline her invitation as part of an effort to be more present with her friends, family and her community at CrossFit Polaris.

As fate would have it, an unexpected invitation to join Team Invictus X, had Kristi competing at the 2019 CrossFit Games after all, but this time as part of a team who prioritized FUN.  The experience helped re-ignite Kristi’s passion for training, and also helped her to evolve her approach.

These days, Kristi enjoys working out daily alongside her husband and her friend, Dan Bailey.  Her training volume is much lower, and her focus is primarily on running her affiliate and making time to disconnect and be present with the ones she loves.

I had the chance to catch up with Kristi and we chatted about the importance of connecting your training to your inner “why,” how her mindset and approach has shifted over the years, and what she’s doing to make sure she continues to find joy in fitness.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Kristi’s recent marriage & name change
  • How her approach to training has evolved
  • Her plans for the 2020 CrossFit season
  • The importance of using your fitness to enjoy life
  • What led Kristi to compete on a team in 2019 after qualifying as an individual
  • Connecting her training to her inner “why”
  • The hormonal impact of training as a competitive athlete
  • How Kristi is learning to slow down, disconnect, and be more present
  • The impact of technology and social media on her training and her stress levels
  • How Kristi started doing CrossFit
  • How she met her husband, Patrick
  • The challenge of switching her career path from an accountant to a gym owner
  • What it’s been like to compete with her mom, Donna Eramo, at the CrossFit Games
  • Why Kristi decided to join Team Invictus X for the 2019 CrossFit Games, and her reflections on the experience
  • Three things Kristi does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Kristi

You can follow Kristi on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.


Related episodes:

Ep 45 – Dan Bailey on Moving West, Training for 2017 and Danny Broflex

Ep 102 – Jason Khalipa and the AMRAP Mentality

Ep 104 – Physical Therapist & CrossFit Games Athlete Amanda Barnhart

Ep 121 - Christy Adkins & Lindy Barber on Transitions in Life and Fitness

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

This post was originally published on January 21, 2020.

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