The world of functional fitness is full of passionate athletes from every corner of the globe changing their lives in the name of fitness. Each person is on their own unique journey to becoming a happier, healthier, fitter version of themselves, each inspiring in their own way. One such person is New Zealand’s Nicola Hanna. This year’s Open was her sixth, and she landed in sixth in her country. Like any athlete will tell you, tackling this sport is a full-time commitment. Hanna’s dedication caught our eye, so we caught up with her about training, nutrition, and maintaining balance in her life. Here’s what she had to say!
The WOD Life: What’s been your biggest learning lesson thus far in fitness/nutrition?
Nicola Hanna: The biggest lesson I’ve learned in fitness is you need to be on point with your nutrition! This is what fuels you and enables you to make the most of your training. Plus, it helps you to recover in between sessions.
After changing my nutrition, I was able to hit double sessions five days per week and feel like I could go again on rest day if I needed to. (I had always struggled with a lack of energy in the past.) In terms of nutrition, number one is to stop being afraid of carbs and number two is to be accountable to someone. It makes a huge difference.
TWL: What’s your greatest memory from your athletic journey?
NH: My greatest athletic memory would have to be the going to the Games in 2016 as part of the team from CrossFit East Tamaki. It’s such an amazing experience and even better when you get to share it all with a bunch of your friends. The second year, we had more experience on our side and were able to enjoy it a lot more than the first year, where we felt pretty beaten up most of the week.
TWL: How do you find balance in your life?
NH: Finding balance is really hard! When you work as a coach, plus train for competition, it has a way of taking over your life, especially when you’re really passionate about it, as well as so many factors outside of training to work into your day. My partner helps me a lot by reminding me I need to switch off when I’m not at the gym, and on Sundays, I like to take a complete rest from both training and work to catch up with friends/family or go to the beach, etc.
TWL: What’s the best piece of advice you have for other athletes?
NH: My best advice to athletes is to wholeheartedly commit to your goal. Create a support system and do everything you can to reach that goal. It doesn’t happen overnight, so you need to be enjoying the process daily in order to last the distance. Whether you get there or not, you will never second-guess your effort or regret the time you spent pursuing it. 🙂
Main image: Courtesy of Nicola Hanna