Tia-Clair Toomey: Training To Win
Tia-Clair Toomey is not your average 23 year old. Hitting the CrossFit world by storm in 2015, she earned herself a second place finish in her first Games appearance and was also honored as Rookie of the Year. While she certainly hit the ground running, she had no plans of slowing down going into 2016. Not only did Toomey finish her second CrossFit Games with another silver medal around her neck, but then went on to make her Olympic dreams a reality, not even a month later.
photo: Shane Orr
Originally, Toomey had planned to be an Olympic Track and Field athlete, but life and weightlifting had another plan for her. She wasn’t just representing Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as the country’s top-ranked female weightlifter, but also the first athlete to compete in both the Olympics and the CrossFit Games in the same year. Heading into her third appearance at the CrossFit Games, Toomey has big shoes to fill—her own.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Toomey after she qualified for the Pacific Regional in second place for Australia behind her Invitational teammate and Australian counterpart Kara Webb. Meet Tia at the Fitness Show this weekend, April 28-30 at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney. For more information please visit: www.fitness-show.com.au.
Katie: In 2016, you were the first athlete to compete in the CrossFit Games and the Olympics in the same year. How did you mentally prepare and what was the recovery process like?
Tia-Clair: It’s something you train for all year round and dedicate your life to so when it comes to game day you are ready for anything thrown your way.
K: So far you have achieved massive success in your CrossFit career in just a few years. Did you feel like your past successes added more pressure on you going into this season? How did it affect your training for this year?
TC: To some extent yes but it wasn’t because I was worried about what other people were saying it was because I wanted to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke. I feel like it motivated me so much more as I knew I had to train really hard and be prepared for everything.
K: When you first started CrossFit you weren’t to fond of it, yet you still pursued it. What caused your shift and what is your favourite part of CrossFit now?
TC: I would have to say the friends that I made through it, CrossFit allowed me to meet new people and stay active at the same time and in that point in my life that’s all I wanted as I had just recently moved to Gladstone where Shane [Orr] and I didn’t have any friends or family. My favourite part is being able to do what I love everyday and getting to travel around the world.
K: What does a typical training day look like for you while preparing for the CrossFit Games?
TC: Not every day is the same but my favourite days are getting up to coach the morning classes then having breakfast with Shane at a small cafe in Tannum (20mins away from Gladstone) near the beach. Then going to the gym to do some weightlifting and gymnastic skill for about two hours. I’ll then go home and play with the dogs before I go back in the afternoon and do a couple of Metcons and if it has been a good day of training we will go to the movies.
photo: Preston Smith Photography
K: Your background being in track and field, how does training for CrossFit compare to training for a race?
TC: Quite different as everyday at the track is the almost the same but CrossFit has so much variety everyday is very different.
K: What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete? How did that challenge elevate your drive?
TC: So far my biggest challenge was coming 2nd at the 2016 CrossFit Games for the 2nd year in a row. So far throughout training I’m constantly asking myself, ‘is this enough to win The Games and I’m yet to see if the hard work will pay off?’.
K: Who has been your biggest influence as a CrossFit athlete and what has been the biggest piece of wisdom they have offered you?
TC: Chad Mackay and Denae Brown are my biggest influences. They are always display good sportsmanship and always have time for everyone.
K: What is your best advice for aspiring Games athletes?
TC: To enjoy the journey, work hard and do your best. That’s all you can ask for, you never want to put yourself under too much pressure.
Connect with Tia on Instagram @tiaclair1