Brett Roberts has a teen CrossFit class in Charlottetown, P.E.I. that’s filled with girls. Oh, boys are welcome to train, but these young ladies have been inspired by the exploits of Anikha Greer, a teenager herself and an emerging CrossFit champion who trains at this very gym.
They push-up, pull-up, lift and squat. They sprint and jump and sweat. And they get strong. Not quite as strong as Anikha, but strong. Greer began right where these girls are when she was just 12. Gymnastics wasn’t cutting it for her and when she stumbled into CrossFit 782, it was love at first lift.
“When I was in gymnastics, I liked being strong and fit and being able to beat the boys in an arm wrestle,” says Greer. “I liked being stronger than the guys and I kind of wanted to keep that.
According to Statistics Canada and ParticipACTION, less than one percent of children aged 12 to 17 were meeting Canada’s 24-hour activity guidelines during Covid-19, a precipitous drop from a modest 15 percent pre-Covid. But Greer is a young woman in overdrive, setting an example for young and old alike to get moving.
The 18 year-old from Bonshaw, P.E.I. was one of 40 elite women competing in the prestigious Wodapalooza fitness meet in Miami in January. Fatigued by illness, she wasn’t pleased with her overall 12th placing in the multi-discipline event, but she did win one of the individual workout sessions of her first major pro event. A CrossFit WOD, (workout of the day) comprises a circuit of designated functional exercise movements. In competition the routines are timed. Greer’s winning workout, the Celebrate 10, included five rounds of 15 handstand push-ups followed by five overhead squats with 125 lbs. on the bar, five ring muscle-ups – and 15 overhead squats at 85 lbs. She completed her circuit in 10 minutes 39 seconds.
“People were asking how are your arms and I was like, ‘fine… don’t feel a thing’. The adrenaline was so high you could have asked me to run a marathon after and I would have been OK.”
A former competitive show jumper, Greer is focused fully on CrossFit as a career. She trains six hours a day, five days a week, and takes self-directed philosophy courses online through the University of Prince Edward Island. Her training day begins at 8:30 with a long aerobic session, running, biking or rowing. Metabolic interval workouts include lots of lifting and strength work. After a huge carbs lunch, it’s more of the same for afternoon workouts. This young powerhouse is 5-foot-2, 141 lbs. and cleans 250 lbs., squats 325 lbs., and can deadlift 350 lbs.
She’s good with being a role model.
“One of my whys is to show young girls that being strong and muscular is not something they need to feel ashamed about,” says Greer. “If you love soccer, that’s great. If you love running then do it. Find what you enjoy doing physically and fall in love with improvement. It’s what keeps you motivated.”
Lead image by Patrick Clark
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