Double Alumna Conquers CrossFit

Competitive CrossFitter Christy Phillips in the gym. Photo by Hannah Hayworth.

Competitive CrossFitter Christy Adkins hits the gym. Photo by Hannah Hayworth Photography.

By day, you can find Christy Phillips Adkins, SPHHS BS ’07, SON BSN ’11, at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, where she serves as the school nurse.  The academy is for dedicated adolescent artist-athletes, who rely on Adkins for her expertise, especially when it comes to sports injuries.

Adkins, who has degrees in exercise science and nursing, knows firsthand what this type of dedication requires—she’s an award-winning CrossFit athlete who has competed for the title of “fittest woman in the world.”

For anyone who’s missed the memo, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that has taken the world by storm in recent years.  Competitions like the Reebok CrossFit Games have gained a significant following, and CrossFit gyms continue to crop up all over the country.

“The number one reason that I am so passionate about CrossFit is the sense of belonging that I feel in the CrossFit community,” says Adkins. “The camaraderie and support is unmatched with anything else I’ve ever participated in.”

Adkins was introduced to the CrossFit style of exercise during her senior year at GW, when she was working as a trainer at a local gym.  Her friend, Melody Feldman, SPHHS BS ’10, (who now owns CrossFit MPH in Washington, DC) showed her the ropes.

“[W]e competed against each other in the workouts every day,” remembers Adkins. “I loved that the workouts were always varied and that with every workout, I was learning new movements.”

Within a year, CrossFit became a regular part of Adkins’ exercise regime, and she started competing in 2008. By 2009, she had earned first place at the MidAtlantic Qualifiers for the CrossFit Games.

Adkins is now a five-time CrossFit Games competitor, which keeps her busy—in order to compete, each athlete must qualify through two levels of regional competitions.

Adkins flips a tire during a CrossFit workout. Photo by Hannah Hayworth Photography.

“The first qualifier starts at the end of February and the second qualifier is usually in May or June. The Games are always in July, so at this point, my preparation for the games is a year round effort!” says Adkins.

That means she’s in the gym five to six days a week for about two hours a day, doing everything from heavy weightlifting to rowing and swimming.  But hard work and discipline aren’t new to this double alumna, and she credits GW for influencing both her path as a nurse and as a competitive athlete.

“My professors, like Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Ms. Alex Dickman and Dr. Todd Miller were great mentors. They taught me the value of physical activity for health and well-being and impressed upon me that a degree in exercise science goes way beyond personal training,” Adkins explains.

“Nursing professors like Dr. Carol Lang, Whitney Hodges and Dr. Nancy Falk, “she adds, “taught me valuable clinical skills, but also opened my eyes to nursing careers outside the hospital setting.

Adkins started her CrossFit career as she was finishing up her first degree, and was a competitor by the time she began GW’s accelerated second-degree nursing program.

“The 15 months in that program were the busiest I’ve ever been in my life and CrossFit was my outlet. With the support of the professors at GW’s school of nursing, I was able to still compete in the CrossFit Games that year (2010) and also graduate with honors.”

Today, things haven’t necessarily slowed down for Adkins (who recently married fellow CrossFitter Tim Adkins), but that’s no problem.

“CrossFit has helped me get better at goal setting, discipline, self-motivation, reacting to failure, asking others for help, and many other life skills that are so valuable to have for success in any field,” she says. “I continue to learn about myself as I train and compete.”

So if you’re considering trying CrossFit, Adkins encourages you to get out there.

“Don’t be intimidated by the “high intensity” reputation,” she says. “CrossFit movements and workouts are scaled to fit the needs of the individual. The coaches are there to teach you…sign-up for a beginner’s class and give it a try!

Want to know more?  Follow Adkins on Twitter (@christyphill) for news and updates. And check out this video profile by Reebok CrossFit Games for a look at Adkins’ life and training regime!

Photo credit: All photos by Hannah Hayworth Photography.

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