The Reebok CrossFit Games are over but don’t fret there is more to come! WOD Gear Clothing Co. in Pasadena, California is hosting the 2nd annual WOD Gear Team Series on July 28th. More than 70 teams will compete at the Rose Bowl Stadium drawing 3,000 or more spectators.
WOD Gear Clothing Co is sponsoring 17 year old Valerie Calhoun from Northern California. She is one of the world’s youngest female Crossfit competitors. I had the pleasure (via email) of interviewing book author, CrossFitter and co-owner of WOD Gear, Gabriel Pelino and Crossfit competitor Valerie Calhoun.
Gabriel -It’s great to meet you even through email. You are doing so much for the Crossfit community. While researching for this email interview I have been “pinning” a lot of your clothing line on my Pinterest Crossfit board and people love it! It’s spreading through the Crossfit community there too. I must confess that the kids line is my favorite! Those are some really cute ideas.
The Reebok Crossfit Games has just wrapped up. The games are so inspiring to watch. How does your WOD Gear Team series set itself apart from the Reebok Crossfit Games? or would you say that the team series is an addition to the games?
“I believe that our event is “unique” in itself because we are only a “team” competition and we did that by design. We feel that the team aspect is an extension of community which CrossFit is all about and which we try to emulate as a brand. Also, being on a team gives many individuals the opportunity to compete who may not be ready to compete on their own. There is a strength that comes with being around others that you know will be there to support you and lift you up. Finally, the “Games” are for the elite in the CrossFit arena. Our event is open to all regardless of where they are in their CrossFit journey. We know that CrossFitter’s love to compete so we wanted to create a venue that would give those, who may never make it to the games, an opportunity to give their all in a venue such as the Rose Bowl. It just so happens that we also have individuals, who participated in the games, participating on teams in our upcoming event. We are really excited!”
WOD Gear Clothing Co is currently sponsoring Valerie Calhoun. What was it about her that made your company decide to sponsor her as part of the team?
“We first met Valerie and an event here in Southern California over a year ago. We were so taken by her and blown away at this young girl competing with women twice her age. We started to talk with her and her mother and just fell in love with the both of them. We just put it out there and asked if she would like to be a part of our team which we really like to call a family. She said yes and the rest is history!”
I was incredibly touched after reading about the book you authored American Daddy: A Father’s Heart Revealed. As a parent do you use Crossfit as a model of health and fitness for your children? Does the box that you work out at have a Crossfit Kids? Do you or would you allow your children to become involved in Crossfit Kids?
“Creating American Daddy was such a labor of love for me! I do preach “CrossFit” to my children which are 6 and 15. Both my wife, Denise, and I love to take our younger son to the box with us. He loves the atmosphere and you can always find him swinging from the rings as well as setting up his own obstacle course incorporating burpees or box jumps. My wife is also a CrossFit Kids certified coach so our kids can’t escape it. My older son spends most of his time on his guitar which he is quite talented at. I would love both of my kids to get involved when one of our boxes incorporates CrossFit Kids into their teaching.”
Is it possible that the WOD Gear Team series will ever include kids teams to compete?
“Yes…we have been in talks about how to incorporate that in the future. We know that the kids are the future of CrossFit and we want to create a place for them as well as the adults.”
In your Bio on the website it says that your favorite WOD/Movement is double unders. Please tell me how you mastered them? Some of the forums discuss their favorite jump ropes to help them master it! Do you have a favorite?
“I was really fortunate that Double Unders came easy to me. I was always pretty good at jumping rope so I just took to them. It really helps me during WOD’s where I struggle. I would say that my favorite is one of the speed ropes. I don’t really have a brand that I am behind but enjoy the wire type of rope with small handles.”
Which movements are you still working on?
“I was afraid you would ask this question…:) I am terrible at the overhead squat! I have no flexibility at all when I have the bar over my head. It is such a difficult movement for me. What is ironic is that I am pretty strong when it comes to push presses and things like that, for an older guy, but I have no strength in this movement. I need a lot of practice!”
Are you involved in deciding which WODs to include in the games?
“I play a small role in that area. We have an amazing team that we have brought together to help us in that area. They consist of my business partner and four other individuals who own CrossFit gyms or are coaches. This is what they do on a day-to-day basis so I leave it in their hands. I will take a look and get the information on the final WOD’s but really leave it up to my team. I trust them and they do an amazing job!”
What do you find is the most rewarding part of creating the WOD Gear Team series?
“There is noting like bringing a community together! The CrossFit community is filled with special individuals and being around them is so rewarding!”
Thank you for your time Gabriel. I wish I was there to watch it in person! Will there be any live coverage? Maybe on UStream?
“Thank you Pamela for this opportunity! I am so grateful!!! We won’t be streaming this year but as we grow we will most definitely have the desire for that. Wish you could make it. It’s going to be one heck of a time!”
Valerie – It’s great to meet you even through email. I have read your other interviews and watched video footage to help me learn a little more about you and hopefully not repeat a lot of the same questions that you have already been asked. I’m in my second year of Crossfit and when I see you and think about how long you have been doing it, I think “WOW, How lucky she is!” You have your youth on your side! I know that you have discussed age being a factor in the beginning, the intimidation of competing against more seasoned CrossFitters.
Now that you have been competing do you feel that other women are now intimidated by you, with your youth, speed, strength and now 3-4 years worth of training?
“Intimidated by me? No. But I feel they look at me as a good competitor. I’ve been competing for a few years now and I don’t think people look at my age a whole lot anymore. Youth has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is being young and recovering quickly, but the disadvantage is that my body isn’t fully developed yet and still the lack of experience.”
Coming from the world of gymnastics and having your bone fragment condition, have you had any problems with any of the Crossfit movements (hand stands, muscle ups, etc,.)?
“Coming off my injury with gymnastics I do not have the same elbow issues I used to have. The constant pounding and over training in gymnastics is what caused it however I do not have problems with any Crossfit movements thankfully.”
In a video interview your trainer was discussing your diet and that he was having you text him everything you eat. I would imagine that your diet would be Paleo or very close to clean eating. What has been the hardest food to give up? or do you still indulge every now and then?
“In regards to my diet, my main focus is on eating more. I admit I have a bad habit of eating too little even while I workout a lot which is why I’m starting to eat a lot more tri tip, steak, and chicken. I do allow myself to indulge sometimes because I still want to enjoy some foods and I know I will burn it off. For the most part I normally stay pretty clean with my eating but I’m definitely not perfect.”
When you a train at a box the members and trainers become like a second family to us. I think that is what separates Crossfit from a lot of other gyms. In my experience my husband tried it a couple times with me at Crossfit Unity but gave up and I mostly Crossfit alone. Although my son would like to join. What about you? Does anyone in your family train at Rocklin Crossfit with you?
“Every person at a Crossfit box becomes like family which is what I love about Crossfit. I got my mom to start about a year ago and she’s been hooked ever since! She loves taking a class together and I’m glad she loves Crossfit!”
Some weeks the WODs, they get me! My times are really slow or for some reason I have to go light on my weights. What about you? Do you ever have weeks or days like that?
Of course everyone has their off days. Luckily, I haven’t had an off day in awhile and don’t get them often but either way it’s normal. When I have an off day I push through it even if I don’t want to and afterwards I’m glad I did it.
How did you come about being sponsored by WOD Gear Clothing Co?
“In regards to Wod Gear, I actually met Gabe, owner of WOD Gear, a couple years ago at a competition in 2010 OC Throwdown. We talked and he introduced me to WOD Gear and since then I’ve been part of their family. The WOD Gear community is very supporting and is just a great group of people.”
I read that you train up to 4 times a week during the school season and 6 during the summer. Are you doing special WODs to train or are you doing what every other member is doing that comes to the box that day? Many of us will stay after to work on double unders or box jumps just things that need improvement. What weaknesses if any do you work on?
“For my training I do not just focus on just the regular class wods everyday. I do a lot of metcons, throw in some chippers, and I focus on skill work as well. I worked on muscle up to a ring handstand pushup and got them a couple weeks ago! My weaknesses that I work on include row, wall balls, and heavy deadlifts.”
Many people that don’t Crossfit get really intimidated when they watch the Crossfit Games and competitions. They immediately think, ” I can’t do that!” What do you say to those people?
“To those people who doubt themselves after watching the Crossfit Games, I would say don’t let others intimidate you and most importantly in the end you’re competing against yourself so as long as you give 100% you can’t ask for more!”
Training involves some discomfort and soreness. What do you do for your own recovery?
“For my own recovery I give my body time to rest and heal which I believe is super important. It’s all about listening to your body.”
Is your end goal to be the Fittest Woman on Earth?
“My end goal is definitely to compete individually at the Crossfit Games and a dream would be to be the Fittest Woman on Earth. I definitely have a lot of work to do to get there but Crossfits what I love to do!”
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions Valerie! Best of luck to you and your team during the games.
For more information about the WOD Gear Team Competition click on the hyperlink!