It’s not easy being the Fittest Woman on Earth. Just ask Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, first place finisher at the 2014 CrossFit Games, out of 300,000 competitors. Performing Workouts Of the Day (WOD) ranging from a triathlon and a rope climb to Olympic lifting and handstand push-ups, the sport of CrossFit really does test an athlete’s ability in all things, which helps push them forward. And while this Canadian-native, who, mind you, can snatch 195 pounds, felt stronger on the field than ever before, this year’s Games went a little deeper for her.
“There comes a time in a young girl’s life when there’s a shift into thinking that skinny and light is beautiful,” says Leblanc Bazinet. “For me, doing CrossFit and changing my view on myself and on beauty itself made me realize there should never have been this shift.”
While she does still like her hair to look pretty, Leblanc-Bazinet now values herself based on what she can achieve, which includes 80 consecutive pull-ups in a row, a 320-pound back squat, and 20 unbroken muscle-ups.
So what can someone who has already taken the highest honor in his or her sport still hope to achieve? “I want to find the limitation of my body and use that to inspire others to forge their own destiny,” she says. In the meantime, Leblanc-Bazinet shared with us the hardest workout she’s ever done. Try it, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
When did this infamous workout go down?
It was at this year’s CrossFit Games in California. They announced this workout way before the Games so I kind of practiced it a little bit before. But I never did the whole thing, because I didn’t want to push it by myself — I wanted to save it for the CrossFit Games. I knew it was going to be a hard one for me because they pretty much put all my weaknesses into one workout. But I knew I could do it. I hoped I only needed to be as good as I am to stay at the top.
Set the scene for us…
We’re all in front of a rower and we’re waiting and everyone’s cheering us on, but we’re not going yet. The tension is just building, and building, and building, and you know you’re going to start soon. That’s the worst moment because at this point you just want to puke from the nerves. And you start asking yourself “what the heck am I doing here? I don’t want to do this anymore.” And then they announce “30 seconds,” and it’s like “Whoa, this is getting real!” In that moment, my switch flips from bubbly Camille to focused tiger. Nothing will stand in my way — then we start.
What do you remember about it? How did it make you feel?
During the run, I remember I wanted to pass out almost the whole time. My last mile of running I kind of started to burp, and I remember one of the spectators on the sideline go, “Uh oh,” and I was thinking, “Yeah, I know I’m in trouble!”
What was the hardest part?
The run was the hardest because it was at the end. And because of how hard I pushed in it. I’ve never pushed like that before. I finished under 40 minutes, 39:53.
What mantra or thoughts helped get you through?
I don’t really remember much about the run. But I do remember telling myself, “Don’t regret the fact that you slowed down or stopped.” So in my head I kept saying “No regrets, no regrets.”
And then I remember at the last 250 meters of the run I was trying to push to finish and I had a little conversation with myself: If I go there, I’m going to pass out without a doubt, or I can stay here at this pace and let one girl by me — which is what I did. And as soon as I crossed the finish line, everything collapsed and I knew I had made the right choice of letting this one person go by me. Otherwise I would have passed out before the line.
How about the row? Since taller athletes have a slight edge on the competition, did you feel you were at a disadvantage?
I row a lot to try to have more of a love relationship with it than a hate one. But everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses. The goal is to make those weaknesses not so weak and those strengths really strong.
Was there a light at the end of the tunnel?
No light really, just completing the WOD.
Would you ever do it again?
I would, but I definitely need a full year to get ready mentally to go there.
I think going there once kind of showed me that I didn’t die — nothing like that happened. So it kind of gave me this power of knowing that I can push my body to that point.
How did you recover from it? Any injuries?
No injuries at all. I’m someone who really focuses on technique so I keep my body safe. I would say maybe I had a little bit of heat stroke, and as soon as I finished this WOD I went and had an ice bath to bring down my body temperature. Then I had some bodywork done. I recover with protein and carbs post-workout and take a nap.
The 2014 CrossFit Games Triple 3 WOD
Note: This workout was performed by a professional athlete who struggled immensely doing it, and had medical professionals on-site in case of emergency. Perform at your own risk, should you be so daring.
To hear more about Camille’s CrossFit training, follow her on Twitter at @CamilleLbaz.