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Kelly: [0:03:22] At 28, Lauren Fisher has been one of the best known names in CrossFit for quite a long time now. Over the years, she’s collected Top Ten finishes at the Games, third place finish at the CrossFit Games on her team, and seven overall Game appearances in total. At age 20, she represented USA Weightlifting at the Junior World Championships as well as a recognized athlete in the sport of CrossFit weightlifting. Lauren’s versatility, determination, and boundless enthusiasm continue to make her a popular fan favorite. It’s interesting because Lauren is one of the first generation of CrossFit athletes to come through in the modern time of CrossFit in the CrossFit Games, starting at 18. Through her own journey, she’s founded her company, Grown Strong, and her mission is to challenge women to tap into their individual strength to see that strong is beautiful and giving up is simply not an option. Fisher’s formula is a surprisingly simple one: Stay dedicated and work a little harder than anyone else; success will follow. We caught up with her during a break in the middle of the CrossFit season. She’s home in San Diego, but her current home is in Iceland training with the legends. Please enjoy this episode.
Juliet: [0:04:26] Hey, Ready State listeners, if you like what you’re hearing, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show. Lauren, welcome to The Ready State Podcast. We’re so stoked to chat with you today.
Lauren Fisher: [0:04:38] Thank you so much. I’m super excited to be on.
Juliet: [0:04:41] So I’m going to just cut Kelly off right there and jump right in.
Kelly: [0:04:44] Typical.
Juliet: [0:04:44] You started competing in the CrossFit Games in 2012, but I think at that point, you were quite young. Tell us a little bit about how you found CrossFit and how you started competing and what it was like for you. How did you kind of know at the beginning? You’re like, oh, okay, I’m kind of good at this, maybe I should be a competitor.
Lauren Fisher: [0:05:01] So I started CrossFit back in 2008. I was like 13 or 14 years old. And I started training back at CrossFit 209. So with Gabe Subry and Vince Carter. OG, Gabe used to be a Games athlete back in the day.
Kelly: [0:05:16] Kickin’ it old school.
Juliet: [0:05:18] Yeah. I remember Gabe.
Lauren Fisher: [0:05:19] Exactly. And so I wanted an extra strength and conditioning program for basketball and CrossFit kind of fit that narrative. I loved how CrossFit was challenging me every day and I was competing against myself to be the best. And it didn’t really happen until maybe my junior year of high school was when I really was like I really like CrossFit and I really want to get more into this. And Gabe Subry at the time was like, “Lauren, I could see you competing at the CrossFit Games.” And I was like, “What is the CrossFit Games?” And he ended up telling me more about it. And then I ended up looking up to girls like Julie Foucher, Camilla Leblanc-Bazinet, Jenny LaBaw, all those girls. And it was my senior year of high school is when I did my first CrossFit Open. And I ended up competing in the 2012 regionals against all the OG athletes. I mean Miranda, Jenny, Annie Sakamoto. And I was like this young little girl against all of these that I always looked up to.
Kelly: [0:06:15] Titans.
Lauren Fisher: [0:06:17] And it was like so amazing to compete against them and I took 12th place at that regionals. And that fired me up. And then I ended up moving to San Diego the following year to go to college and I ended up training at Invictus with C.J. And then I think from there, my career kind of took off.
Kelly: [0:06:33] Let me ask you this: You’re one of the first generation of CrossFit athletes who came of age as a teenager and actually were exposed to CrossFit as a teenager. There’s definitely, we’re seeing different results. Some kids are becoming super specialized very early in CrossFit. I heard you say that you were a basketball athlete. Did you do other sports in school? And did you stop doing those sports in high school when you discovered CrossFit?
Lauren Fisher: [0:07:02] So I actually played volleyball my freshman and sophomore year and then I played tennis probably my sophomore and junior year. But basketball was my main sport. So I kind of did those; I did basketball and volleyball in the off season of basketball because I didn’t want to do the conditioning, which is kind of funny. When they have the off-season conditioning and I didn’t want to do that so I played another sport. Because I played for one of the top-level basketball schools in the whole nation. And so it was tough, challenging practices and everything. But I played those sports. And I played basketball my whole time at high school but it was probably around my senior year of high school when I was getting scouted by colleges and I wanted to go on to play in college. But I was like, I’m just getting burnt out by basketball; I really like this CrossFit thing. And the funny story is so one of my basketball games my senior year of high school, it was like one of the biggest games of the year, we were going to be on TV, on ESPN, I think. And I told my coach, “There’s a CrossFit competition this weekend that I want to do and I’m going to miss the basketball game.” And he was so mad at me for missing the basketball game. He’s like, “What is this basketball going to do for you?” And he ended up benching me for the next two weeks after that game because I went to this CrossFit competition that I really wanted to do. And from there, I was just like I want to do CrossFit. And that’s kind of how it all started.
Kelly: [0:08:25] Did you get paid that weekend when you went and competed? Did you get paid and win?
Lauren Fisher: [0:08:31] No, I didn’t get paid. But I think my team ended up podiuming. I just remember it was one of the competitions in Sacramento with Blair Morrison and I think maybe Ben Alderman. It was one of those competitions. I just remember one of the workouts had 300 double unders in the middle of running and rowing and I ended up doing all the double unders. And everyone was like, “Who is this girl doing all the double unders?”
Kelly: [0:09:55] Why is she so good at jumping? Oh, wait, she plays basketball. I wonder if your coach still follows you now and is like, “Dammit, she was right.”
Juliet: [0:09:02] Yeah, yeah, that basketball coach.
Lauren Fisher: [0:09:03] He actually still follows me and he’s super proud of everything I’ve done in CrossFit. And my whole high school’s super supportive. They’re all super proud of everything I’ve done. So it definitely paved the path for my career in CrossFit.
Kelly: [0:09:17] Coach, if you’re listening, shouldn’t have benched your star athlete. But whatever. Whatever.
Juliet: [0:09:21] Okay, so the other thing that happened to you, because I feel like you rose up or started to rise up in CrossFit right as Instagram was also a thing. And so I feel like you sort of blew up on Instagram as well.
Kelly: [0:09:34] One of the first CrossFit Instagram stars.
Juliet: [0:00:00] I feel like you were really one of the first CrossFit, Instagram stars. But I think at that time maybe you were like 18 and you were like a college student and training in CrossFit. What was that like? Or especially now that you’re no longer 18, you’ve had a longer career, you can kind of look back and you’re more like a real life adult now, what was that like for you? Was that weird or awesome or what was that experience?
Lauren Fisher: [0:09:56] It’s so funny how we call it an Instagram star and now we have these terms like influencers and people with a following. But yeah, man, I was on Instagram in the early days. So I had an Instagram back in high school. And then obviously my following didn’t really start growing until I moved to college to train at Invictus. And 2013 was when I started posting more on Instagram. And I just did it for fun. I just wanted to share my lifting videos. But I think back in 2013, I just kept PRing. You’re kind of that young teenager, your body doesn’t hurt.
Kelly: [0:10:31] Trust us, it was annoying to watch you PR every day. Every day.
Juliet: [0:10:35] Well, that’s because your body’s made of plastic at that point of your life. You’re actually made of plastic.
Lauren Fisher: [0:10:40] Yeah, and so I was just like PRing all the time and people were like, “Wow, this girl is really good.” And it was back when there was no really Instagram algorithm and my videos just showed to everyone. And I just kept gaining followers. It was crazy. And I was just like I honestly just posted for fun. I didn’t do it because I wanted to gain a following. I was like just I like this, I like sharing what I’m doing and I want to be an inspiration to others. And it really kind of blew up. And it’s funny to look back because I remember there was one of these college parties, I had like 10,000 followers, and my friend and I, we were going to get kicked out of this college party, and I went up to the front of the line, I was like, “Hey, I have 10,000 followers on Instagram. Can we get into this party?” And they ended up getting me into the party. Because I had 10,000 followers on Instagram. Just kind of funny looking back. But yeah, it was weird and it was funny all looking back but I think now as an adult, I mean Instagram is just, it’s a love/hate relationship. I sometimes do not enjoy social media. And I think so many people probably looking at my social media think I do enjoy it. But it gets really hard when you constantly have to share things. And then there’s always negative people talking down on you. And it just gets to be something, it gets harder and harder.
Kelly: [0:11:54] It’s funny, we’ve seen a trend. What’s remarkable is you were one of the first in CrossFit, even first generation of athletes to become, talk about and transparent on social media and have that be a part of the identity and also the way you fed yourself through sponsorships. I mean I don’t think people realize you were one of the very first people. And people were very resistant to going on Instagram because we had Facebook and we had YouTube. I was on Twitter heavy and Juliet’s like, “You should really get on Instagram.” I was like, “Twitter’s everything; Instagram is nothing.”
Juliet: [0:12:27] I know. Now you don’t even open Twitter anymore.
Kelly: [0:12:29] I go on Twitter to make sure-
Juliet: [0:12:30] You go on Twitter like two times a year.
Kelly: [0:12:30] There’s no dumpster fires. But now we’re starting to see this generation of athletes and coaches like you who have good livings on Instagram but suddenly are getting crushed by the TikTokers. Have you made it over to TikTok? Because we’ve heard really superstars complain about this young generation of TikTokers and I’m like you sound exactly like the people who are kvetching about the young generation of kids on Instagram. Have you made that switch over to TikTok yet or does it just feel like it’s incessant?
Lauren Fisher: [0:13:02] I wish that I made a switch to TikTok earlier than I did. I made it a little bit too late because I feel like now all those people who made it early have a really large following. Now that’s kind of bad to say. I wish I would’ve made it to TikTok earlier because it would’ve played more in my favor. But I think TikTok, when I first looked at it, I was like this just doesn’t look like my style, there’s no reason why I want to be on this platform. But as I soon started watching it more, it is a really fun platform. It makes me laugh. And Annie and I, we started doing, now our team, doing some of those TikTok dances or those fun videos. I think it’s just a fun way to be a little kid again almost. But I still feel like Instagram is more of the platform where I provide that inspiration, positivity, sharing educational content. And I feel TikTok, you actually can share that educational content. You can actually learn a lot on TikTok. It’s just a different style of learning. It’s very short and to the point. And Instagram, I feel like you can get more in depth. So I mean, yeah, I’m on TikTok. You can follow me @laurenfisherrr with three R’s. I need to somehow get @laurenfisher the real name. The person who has it has not posted a thing. And so if anyone listening to this can help me with that, that’d be awesome.
Kelly: [0:14:22] I like to point out to my children that because I’m an adult I watch all the TikTok viral videos on Instagram reels two weeks after they’re hot, like an adult. I mean that’s like a grown ass man does, right? I wait until it all makes it over to Instagram.
Juliet: [0:14:38] For better or worse, we’re on TikTok now and I have seen your team dance videos, and they’re adorable. So keep them up. They’re adorable.
Kelly: [0:14:44] We do appreciate to see the goofy side. Sometimes your life is austere sometimes and very difficult. People don’t quite get that. And we’re going to get into that, especially with Yami’s programming. But it is fun to watch you guys mess around a little bit. I know how goofy you guys really are.
Lauren Fisher: [0:15:01] I think it’s kind of funny too, it was around the quarterfinals, so I don’t know if you guys followed along with the quarterfinals. But our team took like 100th in the first workout of quarterfinals. And everyone was like, “Oh, they’re doing too much TikTok. They’re not taking this seriously. I thought they were the team to watch. But they’re doing too much TikTok.” And then all of a sudden, we ended up doing well in every other workout. And then everyone still of course said those comments. And then we went to semifinals and took first in every workout. And Khan was like, “Oh, too much TikTok, now obviously we’re doing well.”
Kelly: [0:15:35] Oh, snap.
Lauren Fisher: [0:15:35] But it’s kind of funny how people make those negative connotations. Just because we’re having fun doesn’t mean we’re not training hard. I mean if you look at any professional sports of the teams in the locker room, especially the Golden State Warriors, those guys are goofing around, having a fun time, dancing. They’re having fun. If you’re too serious, it’s going to play over to your actual competition. If you’re too serious, it’s not going to be fun. And we’re having fun and that carries over to us out on the competition floor.
Kelly: [0:16:06] Do you personally feel like there was a moment, because I heard some real wisdom in there, and some of the best coaches in the world like Anson Dorrance of UNC really, they train intensely but then they’re goofballs off the court and they do a lot of playing off the pitch. Did you ever feel like you made that mistake where you felt like it had to be serious and was not sort of the element of joy in it?
Juliet: [0:16:26] The joy, the play and joy.
Lauren Fisher: [0:16:28] I actually talked with Annie a little bit about this. I felt like last year before the West Coast Classic I was competing individually and I just was so serious. I just had my headphones in. I didn’t really want to talk to any of the other girls. I was so nervous on the inside. And I was just like so serious. And that’s not who I am. I love laughing, I love having a good time, I love having fun. And that’s what I do every day in training. But it’s like why then in competition do I have to turn into this serious Lauren? And even my fiancée, Rasmus was like, “Lauren, you just need to have fun. You need to loosen up and have some fun.” And I ended up hurting my elbow at West Coast Classic last year in the first event, so obviously that’s not fun. But it goes to say, maybe if I wasn’t so serious, I don’t know, if you’re too serious, it’s going to carry over into the competition. You need to be who you are. Some people, that works with them, maybe they are a little bit serious before the competition, they are a little bit more serious towards training, or maybe you’re more of a goofy person and you like to have fun and be a little bit more lighthearted. I think that’s me. And it definitely carried over to this weekend. I haven’t had that much fun competing in a long time.
Kelly: [0:17:40] You’ve been doing this for over a decade.
Lauren Fisher: [0:17:41] Yeah.
Kelly: [0:17:42] That’s a really powerful statement.
Lauren Fisher: [0:17:42] Yeah. Exactly. So I just need to be who I am during training. And Annie and Katrin and I, we’re laughing so much during training and having just so much fun.
Juliet: [0:17:54] So I have to know because I don’t want to focus on negative, like the TikTokers of the world, but I must know and I have to think other people who have heard you say it out loud must know, what was the workout on which you guys got 100th? And I’ll put the context here that of course, I think of you guys as udder goddesses of CrossFit and exercise. But I have to know.
Lauren Fisher: [0:18:15] We did. It was a shuttle run burpee workout. It was like shuttle run, 15 burpees over the line, and then it was like three shuttle runs, 20 burpees over the line, four shuttle runs, 25 burpees over the line, and it was like all syncro burpees over the line and then two pairs did the shuttle runs. And the funny thing, we just overstrategized that workout; we were thinking about the standards so high. And I think it just definitely did not play to our part because we were like why did we just overstrategize a burpee, for example. And obviously, we only had one shot at it and then we ended up taking 100th place. I called Annie that day and we just laughed. I was just like, “I can’t believe we just took 100th place.” And the funny thing is we’ve done that workout now, Jami asked me to do that workout three times since we took 100th place and now we actually have a score that will put us around third place. But I think we’re probably going to keep doing it until we can get a first place score in that workout because it’s just we need to get better at burpees and so it’s a good workout for us to keep doing Now it’s called the team CFR special. So if you see that in our program, you know we’re doing the shuttle run, burpee workout.
Kelly: [0:19:29] Oh, it’s so good.
Juliet: [0:19:31] I do want to talk a lot about your move to Iceland and Jami and a bunch of the things you’ve already mentioned. But before I do that, one of the things that I’ve already mentioned as I was reviewing your CrossFit career that I noticed or was reminded of is that you actually have gone back and forth between competing on a team and as an individual, which I think is at least in my understanding, pretty unusual because it does seem like most of the individual athletes who switched to team, that’s their play from then on. I know you competed on a team in 2015 and then you went back and competed for quite a few years after that as an individual. So I guess my question is tell us a little bit about your competition, trajectory, and your thinking about competing on a team, going back to individual, going back to team.
Lauren Fisher: [0:20:16] So well, 2012 was my first year actually competing. And then 2013 was when I went team for my first year. And I did that just because I was still really young. I was only 18 years old. And at the time, it was just like I wanted to get more competition experience. And so that’s why in 2013 I did team. And then in the following year, in 2014, C.J. at the time was my coach and he felt like I was ready to finally qualify as an individual. And that’s the year I went individual for the first time and I took third place at the Southern California Regionals and I qualified on and then took ninth place at the CrossFit Games. So that was ending on a high that year and then the following year I competed in 2015 at regionals as an individual. But I sprained my ankle really bad. Literally like a week before the competition, my ankle was so swollen I wasn’t doing anything. I ended up landing on one of the ropes during Tommy V. That was one of the regional workouts. On the second to last rope climb during our simulation, I landed my ankle on the rope. And so that year, I ended up not qualifying simply because my ankle, I could barely run and anything at regionals. I was on so much ibuprofen. And so that year at Games I ended up doing team because one of the girls, she ended up getting surgery or hurting her knee, and she got surgery. And so she was completely out. So I took her spot on the team so the team could end up competing at the Games. So that’s why I went from individual to team.
And then from 2016 to 2018, I was individual. And then 2019 was when all of the changes happened in CrossFit. It was very, I was very doubtful about what was going to be happening that year because it was 70 plus athletes qualifying onto the CrossFit Games. And there were just so many changes happening, that was the year I was like I think it’d be more fun to do a super team and actually try to get a really good team together. And so that’s when I was on a team with Ras, my fiancée, and then Tommy, Venus, and Regan, and we took third place at the Games. And then 2020, I was planning to do individual, but then COVID stopped my season because everything after December, you basically, if you didn’t qualify for any of the competitions, then you weren’t going to go on. So I was like, well, there goes my season, 2020. So I didn’t even get a chance. And then 2021, I didn’t qualify at West Coast Classic. I hurt my elbow on the first event, the snatch ladder, and ended up having to get elbow surgery. I tore the common flexor tendon, the 155-pound bar. And I ended up competing the rest of the weekend on a hurt elbow. And literally could barely straighten my elbow by the end of the weekend. So it’s kind of been a weird up and down sort of career, I guess.
Kelly: [0:23:10] You mean you’ve been an athlete.
Lauren Fisher: [0:23:12] I’ve been an athlete. Yeah. I guess that’s normal. I mean injuries are a part of the sport, so yeah.
Kelly: [0:23:17] We just saw another athlete go down with a rope injury. I’m thinking off the top of my head, Rich Froning, you, Scott Panchik. We haven’t figured out this rope at the bottom of the climb thing yet.
Lauren Fisher: [0:23:28] I think like all gyms, everything, there just needs to be no hanging rope because it’s just so dangerous, especially when you’re moving so fast in a workout, you’re not thinking about that rope hanging on the floor, and now we’ve come to the point where we can just slide down the rope and jump really fast and you just don’t want those wasted seconds to think about where’s my foot landing. So yeah, I’m really bummed out for Scott Panchik.
Kelly: [0:23:54] That’s super bummer. Okay. How did you end up moving to Iceland from San Diego? I mean you’re a California kid, you move to Iceland. What is that like? You change coaches, you have a new team, you’re in a new culture, you’re eating dried fish between deadlift sets. Things are really different there. What’s that like? How’d you get there?
Lauren Fisher: [0:24:19] So funny thing, I was planning to go individual this year. That was the whole goal. And I actually switched over to Training Think Tank at the beginning of this season, started working with Max El-Hag and I started working with Perrin. And they were amazing. And my plan was to make it back to the Games as an individual. And they were helping me recover back from my elbow surgery. And I was definitely on the right trajectory with everything. But then Annie ended up reaching out to me, I think it was around November, and she sent me an Instagram message and asked me if I wanted to do a girl’s team at Wodapalooza and I was like, shoot, this would be really fun, I really want to do this, but I was just hanging off a pullup bar in November.
Kelly: [0:25:02] Wow.
Lauren Fisher: [0:25:03] And I had done no chest to bars, no ring muscle ups, nothing, and to Max, I was like, “I really want to compete in this competition in January with Annie.” And he was like, “That sounds really stupid. You’re not going to go from hanging off the pullup bar to 150 plus chest to bars come January.” So I told Annie, I was like, “Hey, I’m not ready for Wodapalooza, I can’t do it.” And she’s like, “Well, don’t worry. there will be other times we can compete on a team together.” And I was like, “When are there going to be other times we’re going to compete on a team together?” And then she ended up messaging me back and was like, “Hey, do you want to do a team for the CrossFit Games?” On Instagram she sent me this message. And I was like, did she really just send me an Instagram message asking if I wanted to do a team for the CrossFit Games?
Kelly: [0:25:43] Do you want to uproot your whole life?
Juliet: [0:25:45] I love that. I love that.
Kelly: [0:25:47] DM. That’s the greatest DM ever.
Lauren Fisher: [0:25:48] The greatest DM ever. And I was just like, “Hey, need to hop on a call and actually talk if you’re serious about this and logistics and stuff.” And ended up getting on the phone with her. She asked me to move to Iceland. She told me she’s been wanting to do a team for years. She just feels like this is a really good year for her to do a team. She just really wants to do it. And she just needs to put together the team. I was the first person she had reached out to. There was no guys on the team. And she had just wanted to hear what my thoughts were. And I was like, “Well, this sounds really fun.” And I think ever since I started dating Rasmus, he’s very adventurous and he does stuff like this. I ended up moving to Dubai because of him. And then I was like, well, it sounds like a crazy opportunity. When am I ever going to live in Iceland to train for CrossFit and also get the opportunity to train with Annie and see why she’s been so good for so long? I was like this sounds very fun. And so I ended up getting back to Annie and was like, “Yeah, I’ll do it. As long as we can figure out apartment and all of that.” And then I ended up moving to Iceland and now I’ve been there since January.
Kelly: [0:26:56] That’s amazing. And what have you learned? What is different about-
Juliet: [0:27:00] Yeah, I mean what is the secret? I mean you said what is the secret of Annie-
Kelly: [0:27:00] There are a lot of superstars that come out of the North.
Juliet: [0:27:03] Let’s hear it.
Kelly: [0:27:03] Are you a transplant? Do they even recognize you with your dark hair?
Lauren Fisher: [0:27:09] People speak to me in Icelandic. So I go to the grocery store, they start talking to me in Icelandic and I’m like, “English,” and I start talking to them back in English. Secret with Annie. What is the secret? Well, she’s really serious. She has no fun in training. No, I’m kidding. That’s not how it is at all. Annie is one of the most fun people. I love training with her. I was really nervous moving to Iceland and I’ve heard obviously it’s very dark during the winter, it’s cold. I was like maybe I’m going to get lonely. All we’re going to do is just be focused on training. Annie’s going to be so strict with her nutrition. It’s going to feel like more of work and a job. And that’s what a lot of people were telling me. And I was just like, I don’t know, I just feel like there’s more to the story than what people think. And moved to Iceland, it’s been far from that. Annie is so much fun. She was disappointed with me when I told her I hadn’t had ice cream yet in Iceland. She was like, “Lauren, I’m disappointed in you. You need to go get ice cream on Saturday.” Because I hadn’t had ice cream yet. And she loves her cheat day Saturdays. She is so much fun. She’s just like any other normal person. I just think form the outside looking in, you think, wow, Annie Thorisdottir, she’s one of the best in the sport. And I have had a blast training with her.
Kelly: [0:28:24] Let me ask you this. Her partnership with Jami Tikkanen, who is again, full transparency, one of my besties, and he’s been on this podcast, we’ve worked together for a long time, they have one of the most I would say storied athlete, coach relationships/partnerships. And I think about the dyads of Harry Marra and track and field with his decathletes. I mean really, it’s a remarkable partnership. What is it like to live that partnership firsthand and what have you noticed about changes in your own training because you’re not unsuccessful yourself. And so dropping in and speaking a whole different language and getting spun up on a whole different training methodology, that must have been a shock.
Lauren Fisher: [0:29:07] Jami is second to none. He is amazing. And he’s so smart. And I just love how passionate he is about coaching. I mean he’s been doing this for a long time and you can see just between Annie and him, it’s easy for Annie to be like, “Hey, Jami, I don’t like this or this isn’t working,” and Jami will figure out how to fix it. And I just love how hands on he is with all of us. It’s not just with Annie and with BKG because they’ve been here for a while. He’s working with every single one of us; with me, Tola, Khan, Kat. He’s there every single day. And what I love is it’s not just like he’s there for our lifting sessions and there for gymnastics. He’s there during our cardio sessions. When we’re running on an AssaultRunner for 7,000 meters, Jami is right there with you the whole time, telling you to focus on your breath, giving words of positivity, maybe yelling at you, like, “Lauren, you’re not going to slow down here. You’ve got this.” That’s what makes an elite athlete. And that for me has been, for me I’ve always struggled with cardio and conditioning, but when I have my coach there, when he’s believing in me more than I believe in myself, that’s what makes a difference. And I think I’m just so excited for where the whole team is going to be in August because having Jami coaching us, and also Frederik’s been amazing too, having those too, it really is second to none, like I said.
Kelly: [0:30:34] I love that you brought up Frederik, thank you, who is elite athlete.
Juliet: [0:30:39] In his own right. yeah.
Kelly: [0:30:40] In actual professional sports, not just CrossFit.
Juliet: [0:30:42] But now he’s an OG. I always think of him as like a kid, but he’s not a kid. He’s an OG. He’s an OG now.
Kelly: [0:30:47] Staying at our house, he was a child.
Juliet: [0:30:49] Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Okay, so Kelly will be annoyed that I ask you this question but I like it and I think people like it. And that is-
Kelly: [0:30:56] Kelly is going to hate things that people like. Go ahead, J.
Juliet: [0:30:59] Yes, exactly. Can you give us a day in the life of training in Iceland with the team, start to finish? What do you do? What do the workouts look like?
Kelly: [0:31:10] I want to know the strange things that you eat.
Juliet: [0:31:10] Give us a day in the life. What are you eating?
Kelly: [0:31:14] How has your nutrition changed?
Juliet: [0:31:14] Yeah, give us a day in the life because I know people would love to have a peek in the door of what it looks like.
Kelly: [0:31:19] Have you eaten whale meat yet?
Lauren Fisher: [0:31:20] No. I just got asked this question yesterday too and I haven’t eaten whale meat yet. But I feel like I need to try it to just say I’ve done it. Day in the life of living in Iceland, all right. Well, usually I get up around 7, 7:30, and then I make breakfast in the morning. I have the same breakfast I’ve been doing for six or eight years. I have two egg whites, and I have oatmeal with berries in it, maybe a little drizzle of maple syrup. I’m really sad though because I love the Trader Joe’s Breakfast Sausage in America, but obviously Iceland doesn’t have the Trader Joe’s Breakfast Sausage. So usually, I would do that with my breakfast. But they don’t have that.
Juliet: [0:32:00] You can’t really carry that in your luggage when you go back. Yeah.
Lauren Fisher: [0:32:02] No. So I usually do the eggs with veggies in the morning and then I also have Momentous Collagen Protein with my electrolytes in the morning. And then I’ll do green tea. So everyone knows that I’m not a coffee girl. I drink tea in the morning, which is really funny, but it tastes good. I love it. And then I go to train in the morning. Maybe, really it depends. Usually, we do lifting in the morning. So depends what liftin we’re doing, maybe snatch or back squat. And then we do accessory work. So what I love about Jami is everything is so focused with our training. If we’re going to lift, usually that’s all we’re doing. We’re just doing lifting and accessory work. So we’re not doing a workout in the morning because he wants all the emphasis to be on the lifting and to focus on that. So maybe in the morning we’re just doing lifting and accessory.
Kelly: [0:32:51] And let me jump in that you guys hosted I believe the highest total in snatch of all the teams. Is that correct?
Lauren Fisher: [0:32:58] We won the total by all the teams so far that have competed by 25 pounds.
Kelly: [0:33:04] So maybe something’s working. Okay, keep going. Sorry.
Lauren Fisher: [0:33:07] It is working. Also, Tola’s really strong. He snatched 140 kilos so easy. It was so inspiring to watch.
Kelly: [0:33:16] Trust us, it’s annoying to watch.
Lauren Fisher: [0:33:17] Yeah, it’s annoying. It’s like why do you have to make everything look so easy when you lift? But then anyways, usually, then I’ll have recovery protein after my workout. And then I’ll go home and then maybe I might-
Kelly: [0:33:30] Do you take a nap?
Lauren Fisher: [0:33:31] It really depends how I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ll take a nap if I’m really tired. It depends. If we have conditioning in the morning, I might end up going home and taking a nap. But if we just do lifting, then I go home and work on Grown Strong a little bit. I’ll also do some of my own social media. And then I’ll make lunch. But thankfully we also have had a food prep company making some meals for us, so I’ve been eating those as well in between sessions so I don’t have to make lunch. And then I get ready. I make another tea. I have matcha tea in the afternoon with a little bit of caffeine. And then I go to the gym and maybe we’ll just have a conditioning workout, like a nasty Jami workout that literally leaves us all on the floor questioning life. Maybe sometimes me in tears.
Kelly: [0:34:18] That sounds right. That sounds right.
Juliet: [0:34:21] He’s a savage.
Lauren Fisher: [0:34:22] Yeah. And then literally stretch after. So then we’ll all maybe hang out in stretching. We’ll talk about our workout like what went well, what could have been better, and stretch a little bit. By the time I go home, maybe it’s like 4:30, 5. I’ve actually been maybe saunaing and cold plunging after my workout when I was leading into semifinals. So it really depends. Some days I’ll also go in the hot tub at CrossFit Reykjavik, which is nice because they have a hot tub at the gym. They also have a cold plunge tank and a sauna, which is super nice. So depends how I’m feeling. But maybe I’ll do some recovery, go home, eat again, maybe I’ll watch a show while I’m eating because I’m really tired at that point and I need an hour to just decompress. And then I’ll make some more food because I eat again. And then maybe I’ll work a little bit. And then maybe I might have another snack if I’m still hungry. So there’s a lot of eating involved in my day. And then I usually like to decompress and read a book. I also make sure to do my breathing at night. And then go to bed and repeat.
Kelly: [0:35:27] What time do you go to bed and how many hours of sleep do you get?
Lauren Fisher: [0:35:29] I try to get to bed before 10 because apparently if you get to bed before 10, you get more deep sleep at night. And I try to aim for around nine to ten hours of sleep a night.
Kelly: [0:35:40] Do you track your sleep?
Lauren Fisher: [0:35:41] I track my biometrics. So HRV and recovery. So that’s one thing too. Jami’s looking at our HRV in recovery because if we’re constantly in the red, if he’s not going to keep pushing us with our training, he’s going to maybe deload a little bit or taper or just be like, hey, what’s going on, what do we need to fix with the training. So we are all tracking our recovery and sleep and stuff.
Juliet: [0:36:03] Do you notice that you guys all… Like let’s say you get a red; do you notice everybody else on the team is also getting a red? Are you guys tracking each other in that way, certain training blocks really blow you guys all out so your HRV is low or is it all over like Annie will have a green, you’ll have a red?
Lauren Fisher: [0:36:22] It’s all over the place. But we can all see what we’re getting. And usually, it might be Lauren in the red and everyone else in the yellow. I don’t know why. We’re working out, I’m just like what is up with my… It’s crazy because when I’m resting and not really doing much training I’m always in the green and it keeps going higher and higher. But then all of a sudden, I was literally in the green leading into semifinals because we had to taper and everything, and then all of a sudden, Friday, I was in the red. And I was like, geez, I didn’t feel like… We just did two workouts yesterday, why am I already in the red. But yeah, we’re all over the place. It’s really hard to predict. Some days Annie might be in the red and I’ll be in the green. And she might come in sick that day. Not sick, but she’s not feeling super well.
Kelly: [0:37:04] Jami has been tracking recovery metrics, biometrics, for as long as I’ve known him. He was the first person on some of this early tech. He was actually even a tester with some of these companies. He had iPads dedicated to these things and tracked a lot of athletes. Has that always been part of your process and do you find it useful information to know what’s going on under the hood for you personally?
Lauren Fisher: [0:37:29] Usually, I will track for maybe a month and then I’ll forget to charge it and then I’ll take it off and then I don’t wear it at all. I feel like this is the first time I’ve actually stuck with something. And I think because Jami’s pushing to see where we’re at with our recovery and it makes a difference in our training, so I’m actually sticking with it. And it’s actually the same thing with me writing my results in my program. I’m usually really bad at it. But Jami’s so on top of it. Saturday after training, he’ll be like, “Hey team, just a reminder to upload your results into your training log. Make sure to get it uploaded by tomorrow.” And then I’m like, shoot, I haven’t uploaded for three days. And then I’m like really bad at it. So I’m trying to be better about uploading my results right after the training session. Otherwise, I forget. And then Jami also made me, because he noticed when we’re doing team workouts, no one uploads a team time into the workout spreadsheet. And Jami was like, “How am I supposed to look back if we’ve done a workout before and I want to see your time and if we redo it, it’s not in there.” So he’s like, “Someone on the team needs to upload the results.” So he made me the person to do that. And of course, then I forget one week and I wanted to go in the whole spreadsheet and be like, “I’m sorry, Jami, sorry, Jami, I messed up.” But then I didn’t do that. I just told him at training.
Kelly: [0:38:48] We’ve seen the professionalization of the CrossFit athlete. And I have openly said it, I don’t think there are a group of athletes that train harder, are more dedicated, more disciplined, there’s zero error. It’s very difficult to compare being a full-time CrossFit athlete at the elite level to almost any other sport. It’s a degree of difficulty in terms of skills and load on the body and managing. Do you feel like there is a culture now where there is an emphasis on recovery and that there’s pressure to make sure you are actually handling your business in the evening and sleeping and eating enough? Because it sounds like maybe one thing that you’re doing that’s working for you because you’re eating a lot more. And you’re really focusing on sleep. Do you feel like in the shared environment of being able to track all these things that there’s more peer pressure to really make sure that you’re not going out and drinking? Not that you would do that or staying up late or bingeing. Does that make sense? Are you feeling like that’s a key element?
Lauren Fisher: [0:39:47] I think being on the team, you don’t want to be the weakest link on the team. And I actually think we’ve been a really good influence for someone like Khan on our team who usually every Saturday after training, he’d go out in Australia with his friends and drink like 10 beers after training on a casual Saturday. But Annie will be like, “You had a beer on Wednesday. Why are you drinking one beer?” And Khan will be like, “Well, I just like the way it tastes.” But Annie will just be like, “Why are you drinking that?” So it’s just we’re all on top of each other. For example, Annie will say something funny. “Why are you eating ice cream on a Thursday; it’s not Saturday.” One of the first things she said to us was there’s a really good bakery next to the gym-
Kelly: [0:40:32] Don’t mess with the queen.
Lauren Fisher: [0:40:34] Yeah. Don’t mess with the queen. There’s a really good bakery next to the gym and they make homemade fresh cinnamon rolls and she’s like, “Cinnamon rolls only on Saturday.” So it’s like that stuck with us. All right, we can only have cinnamon rolls on Saturday. But I think just honestly, being on a team, like for example I know one day Jami made an optional swim workout. And it’s just when one person goes to swim it’s just well, you went to swim, now I need to swim. So it’s just like we all just push each other to be better. And maybe if someone’s feeling a little bit tired but it’s like, well, I did not want to miss out on my running session; I just know this is my weakest thing. I need to do my running. It’s like we’re all lifting each other up.
Kelly: [0:41:17] That is fantastic. I love that.
Juliet: [0:41:18] I love that he puts it in optional workout. I’m like there’s no way that is optional. One person does it, it ceases to be optional. I love Jami.
Kelly: [0:41:25] And I love cinnamon roll Saturday, especially a fresh baked cinnamon roll in-
Juliet: [0:41:30] In Iceland, that sounds amazing.
Kelly: [0:41:31] That’s bananas. Okay. One of the things that happens a lot is just being a full-time athlete is all-consuming; it really is. And managing social media on top of that and keeping your sponsors happy and being a human being and having relationships doesn’t oftentimes leave enough time to expand or to try to make a change. We’ve seen people like Kate Courtney who we’ve had on here, suddenly she’s created a scholarship program for her high school athletes to try to get them to continue mountain biking. You have done the same thing, all of a sudden having a little bit more capacity, being mature enough or time enough or old enough, and you have started a pretty cool program called Grown Strong. Can you talk about that?
Lauren Fisher: [0:42:15] Yeah. So I started Grown Strong back in 2014 just as a signature T-shirt. I launched it and it had Grown Strong on the back of the T-shirt. And it was something I had on Instagram. I started hash-tagging Grown Strong because it was inspired through my own journey. I grew up with three older brothers, and as you can imagine, nothing was ever easy. They constantly pushed me around.
Kelly: [0:42:42] And they’re good athletes too.
Lauren Fisher: [0:42:43] They’re good athletes too. I would literally go out and play basketball with my brothers outside in the backyard. And they’d just push me into the bushes. And then I’d come inside to my mom and I’d be crying. And I’d be like, “Mom, they pushed me into the bushes.” And she’d just be like, “Well, you can either keep crying and staying here with me or you can wipe your tears away and go back and play out with them.” So I’d wipe my tears away and I’d go back and play out with them. And that’s kind of where the whole message of Grown Strong came about. And I just want to inspire other women that hey, you too, no matter what you’re going through in life, you can be grown strong. So it first started as apparel and then over the years we branched into what I know best, and that’s fitness. And I feel like so many women still struggle with their body image; they struggle with looking too muscular; they struggle not fitting in. And I feel like Grown Strong is a safe place for women to feel vulnerable, to share those secrets, to talk with other women who are going through certain things, and to find strength through fitness. And that’s what Grown Strong is all about.
Kelly: [0:43:49] I love it. And people find that where?
Lauren Fisher: [0:43:48] Grownstrong.com. We are going to be coming out with an app in the app store very soon hopefully. And we offer five different fitness programs based on your time and your equipment level. Yeah, so you can find on grownstrong.com and we also have an Instagram @grownstrong or Facebook.
Juliet: [0:44:08] That’s interesting you say the whole bulky thing because I just posted a little thing on my Instagram about it this week.
Kelly: [0:44:13] Which I don’t know why because you wish you were bulky.
Juliet: [0:44:16] Well, I know, but Kelly doesn’t get it. What I was trying to explain to him over the years, there’s been so many women in my case now I mostly hang out with middle aged moms who I think intellectually know that it’s probably good for them to lift a weight, but they’re just so afraid of becoming bulky.
Kelly: [0:44:33] Going from a size zero to a size two.
Juliet: [0:44:35] Yeah. It’s still this very pervasive thing. And especially in CrossFit, obviously, if you live largely in a CrossFit community, it’s people are excited about bulky women.
Kelly: [0:44:45] No, no, no, no. They’re not bulky women.
Juliet: [0:44:47] Well, but you know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying. But you step out of that community a little bit and there still is so much fear. And I wonder if you see that with your program and if you’re trying to figure out ways to say, hey, first of all, you’re a competitive CrossFit athlete, good luck all these middle-aged women getting bulky, is what I’d say. But what’s your feeling?
Lauren Fisher: [0:45:07] I think so many women for example get intimidated by CrossFit. And I think a lot of women think if I do CrossFit I’m going to get bulky or if I lift weights I’m going to get bulky. And I think that’s one thing with our program. It’s like, hey, you’re not going to get bulky by lifting weights. I think a lot of women think the easiest way to… They want to lose weight or they want to lose that belly fat, they think, oh, I need to run, I need to run on the treadmill more, I need to run outside, I need to do more cardio. But it’s like, hey, no, that’s actually the opposite. You need to lift weights to build that lean muscle, to lose that body fat, and it actually is going to make you look more toned, not bulky, and you’re going to get those nice looking shoulders that you want to get or those abs that you want to get. And I think it’s just so easy to be intimidated and think, oh, so and so lifts weights on Instagram and she’s super big and she’s super bulky, so I’m going to look that way. It’s like, hey, no, we are all made differently, different body image, different body type. Your body’s going to react differently. It’s also how is your nutrition, what are you eating. There’s so much that goes-
Kelly: [0:46:21] What are you drinking?
Lauren Fisher: [0:46:22] Yeah. What are you drinking? There’s so much that goes into it. And it’s cool to see there’s girls inside of our community asking those type of questions and we have our inhouse nutritionist, Jen, who’s so amazing. And she’ll get back with literally five points, this, this, and this, and they’ll be like, “Wow, I never thought of that.” And it’s like, yeah, there’s so many different things to think about that you just don’t know. And I think that’s one thing that our program helps with.
Juliet: [0:46:49] That’s so awesome. How do you find the time to do all this? Now that we heard a day in the life, how are you fitting all that in, obviously on the periphery of training. But how do you make it all work?
Lauren Fisher: [0:46:58] I’m super lucky to have my fiancée Rasmus running Grown Strong behind the scenes. So we actually have our own headquarters space in San Diego. And we have a team who’s making all the amazingness happening. And I get to train and just spread the word about Grown Strong. And I get to train and the team is making everything happen. So honestly, would not be able to do it without Ras and the team.
Kelly: [0:47:22] I said recently behind every strong woman is a strong man and people didn’t realize that I was totally kidding. But I’m happy. Juliet, you are the strong woman. I am Juliet Wiscombe Starrett’s support staff and happy to be there.
Juliet: [0:47:36] Perfect. Thanks. Thanks.
Kelly: [0:47:36] We ran a gym, owned a little gym for 16 years called San Francisco CrossFit. And for a decade and a half people would come in and be like, “I’m really worried about getting strong or big.” And what we would always say, I just figured this out very early on, I was like, “Well, when you start getting too big, let me know and we’ll change your programming.” And that was all people needed. They’d need permission to be worried. And of course, they’d get a pullup and I’d be like, “Ooh, your lats are so jacked now. You did one pullup.” It just never happens. And one of my favorite athletes around this is Kara Saunders who is just such an incredible human. And she is on the stronger side of athletic women in this sport. But she puts up pictures of herself as a kid. And she’s been jacked. And she had quads her whole life. Like she-
Juliet: [0:48:22] Yeah, it’s true, you see her beach photos in Australia as a kid, you’re like, wow, you had jacked quads as a little kid.
Kelly: [0:48:29] And I try to remind people if you haven’t always been jacked, good luck getting jacked when you’re 40. It really just doesn’t happen. Doesn’t happen. I don’t know what people think it works, but sign me up. I want to take the thing that makes me jacked and bulky.
Juliet: [0:48:39] Okay. So we are recording this right in the middle of CrossFit Games season. Can you tell us where you guys are in that process and what’s next? What’s upcoming from a schedule and competition standpoint?
Lauren Fisher: [0:48:52] So we just competed in Amsterdam at the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown. And we won last weekend, which is exciting. So now I’m just having a week in San Diego, just getting some sunshine, recovery. And then once I get back, Games training is going to start. And I’m super excited, a little bit scared and nervous because I’m like semis training was tough, how is Games training going to be? But yeah, we’re lucky to be in the first semifinals so now we have I think a little bit more than eight weeks until August to progress and keep reaching where we need to be. And then we’ll compete in Madison come beginning of August for the CrossFit Games.
Kelly: [0:49:33] Who do you think is your biggest competition? Because it is fierce.
Lauren Fisher: [0:49:38] Definitely Mayhem. I mean they are the rating champs. Everyone talks about Mayhem and obviously Rich and his team, they’re very good. The women on there, they are very strong. And it’s going to be fun. I honestly, I prefer the challenge. I prefer it to not be easy. And I think for us, we all want that. And I think it’s going to be really fun to go up against them.
Kelly: [0:50:02] Fantastic. When do you head back to Iceland?
Lauren Fisher: [0:50:05] Next Tuesday.
Kelly: [0:50:07] And what are you most missing from Iceland?
Lauren Fisher: [0:50:09] What am I most missing from Iceland? Mexican food. That’s an easy question. I’ve had my fair share of Mexican food. I went to this place in Iceland, they’re like, “This is the best Mexican food in Iceland.” And I went there and I’m sorry, it was just like average. It’s not like the best Mexican food. Obviously, I’m half Mexican. So my mom will make homemade Mexican food, homemade guac, tacos, she makes homemade tortillas. And all of that is so good. So for me, I love being home because my mom spoils me. And then also I mean we live right next to the border here in San Diego, so if I wanted to, I could go across to Mexico and get the best Mexican.
Kelly: [0:50:49] I smell another business opportunity.
Juliet: [0:50:52] And don’t forget the Trader Joe’s Breakfast Sausages. I feel like I need to go get some of those right now because I’ve had them but I need to go buy some.
Lauren Fisher: [0:51:00] The Chicken Breakfast Sausage. You cook them on a little cast iron pan with some eggs. I don’t know, I just love them. I’ve had them for years.
Kelly: [0:51:06] Pro tip.
Juliet: [0:51:06] Pro tip. We’re going to go get some.
Kelly: [0:51:08] Lauren Fisher, you told us about where you were on TikTok, you told us about Grown Strong. Where can we follow you and see your exploits? Because personally, it’s really fun to watch an American abroad. I think it’s so fun you get to compete in Amsterdam, you’re living in Iceland. I think a lot of us have a dream of picking up our lives and having a completely strange experience. Where can we follow your shenanigans?
Lauren Fisher: [0:51:33] Yeah. So you can follow me on Instagram @laurenfisher. I also have my own website, www.lauren-fisher.com, so you can basically see where I’m at on any social media platform. I’m on YouTube. I’m actually going to be coming out with a few little touristy videos in Iceland, some things that we’ve done. So those will be fun to watch. I blog more on my YouTube channel. Going to come out with a day of my eating on there. So yeah, @laurenfisher, lauren-fisher.com, and @grownstrong, www.grownstrong.com for my business.
Kelly: [0:52:05] Last question: Who is goofier, Annie or Katrin?
Lauren Fisher: [0:52:08] That’s a tough question. They’re both goofy.
Kelly: [0:52:11] I love it.
Lauren Fisher: [0:52:12] I can’t pick one.
Kelly: [0:52:13] That is a smart call. Smart call. Lauren Fisher, thank you so much for joining us. Such a pleasure.
Juliet: [0:52:17] Thank you so much for being here.
Kelly: [0:52:19] It’s so nice to see you.
Juliet: [0:52:20] So fun to hear about what you’re doing. And seriously massive luck at the Games. of course, we will be rooting for you guys from San Francisco.
Kelly: [0:52:26] And I’ll just say lastly, I know Jami is a slacker so thanks for making him look good. I’ve been hoping that someone would come along and make that guy look good finally.
Lauren Fisher: [0:52:34] I love it. Thank you guys so much.Back to Episode