Rachel Weiss to Compete in Functional Fitness Worlds
We’re thrilled for our own Rachel Weiss as she prepares to represent Balance Gym and the United States in the Functional Fitness Worlds Competition in London next week. We chatted with her to learn more about the competition, how she’s preparing, and more! (Interview has been edited for length and clarity).
Balance Gym: We’re so excited to chat with you! So, what is functional fitness, and how is it different from CrossFit?
Rachel Weiss: Functional Fitness is essentially CrossFit – we are doing the same movements seen in CrossFit (gymnastics, weightlifting, aerobic etc). However, CrossFit is a private company, and can make whatever changes it wants to the CrossFit Games and its structure, which they’ve done a lot of in the last few months. Functional Fitness is a sports federation (such as USA Weightlifting). The long term goal for International Functional Fitness is to have Functional Fitness be an Olympic sport, and for every country to have its own federation. It much more structured, for example there are 6 domains tested for the individuals, aerobic capacity, strength, power, mixed modal, body weight skill, and body weight endurance. There is also a strong focus on athlete’s rights and keeping athletes informed.
BG: What is the Functional Fitness Worlds competition?
RW: It’ll be a huge competition of functional fitness, with about 20 countries sending teams to compete! The US is sending a full team (3 individual men and women, and a 4 person team, 2 men and 2 women), and I will be competing on the team. The team was determined based on the results of Nationals, which were last month in WV.
BG: So how have you been training for the event?
RW: So obviously I still do CrossFit every day, but what got me interested in this is my friend Gretchen Kittelberger. She is a CrossFit Games athlete herself, and trains out in Virginia. This entire organization is her project. She’s amazing, and she has put so much work in to creating and growing this sport! So she suggested I should compete, obviously with the potential prize being a free trip to London to compete! I’ve been training as I always do – doing CrossFit and trying to get fitter. Now that the events have been released, I’m focused on practicing the individual components that I’ll be competing.
BG: What kinds of events will you be competing in during the competition?
RW: I’m competing in the same sort of events you would expect at a CrossFit competition, biking, running, muscle ups, rope climbs, hand stand push ups and handstand walks, thrusters and snatches! All the fun stuff! And because I am on team, a lot of my pieces are in relay with my teammates….which means when you go, you have to go 120%!
BG: What are you most looking forward to about the event? What are you most nervous about?
RW: I’ve never been to Europe! So honestly, I am most excited to be headed to London! There are also some really amazing athletes on the team, so it will be really fun to train and spend time with the team! I always get a little nervous about competing. Especially on a team, you always want to do your part to the best of your ability. But I like competing, even though I do get nervous!
BG: How has Balance helped you prepare for this event?
RW: Being part of the CrossFit Games team for Balance in 2017 has been incredibly helpful. I know that stepping out on to that floor that I have performed in other high pressure situations. I know that I can turn it on when the clock starts. That experience is huge. I am confident that I will be an asset to the team. Also, everyone here at Balance has been amazingly supportive with me competing! It’s been a lot of work over the last few months, between the qualifier and competing at Nationals. Everyone has been really curious about it, maybe next year there will be some more Balance people competing as the sport grows!