*Fittest woman in the Netherlands and 45th of the World
Leonie, tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Leonie Henrich and I am a Crossfit athlete. This year I became the fittest woman in the Netherlands and because of my performance I participate in the Crossfit Games in America. You can compare the Crossfit Games with a ‘Crossfit World Championship’, only the very best are allowed to participate in this competition. I also do more competitions and train about 3-5 hours a day.
Can you tell us more about Crossfit? What is it and how do you recognise it?
At Crossfit it is important that you are a powerful all-round athlete. You have to be able to do everything and above all to be prepared. There are three elements: gymnastic movements, cardio exercises and Olympic weightlifting. These are the three elements they use in competitions at maximum weight and in high intensity. At the Crossfit Games they test all elements, but you never know in which way. That’s the fun of Crossfit.
How did you end up in the Crossfit world and what made you the best in the Netherlands?
I really wanted to get fit and exercise more, but I noticed that I found (almost) every type of sport boring. At the time my boyfriend was doing Crossfit and that’s how I started to try it out. As you can see it got a bit out of hand! I started when I was 19 years old and have been doing this for 6 years now.
Being the best in the Netherlands doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes a lot of time in training as well as the right nutrition. Your lifestyle changes completely. During training I have noticed that you need a strong positive mindset to perform well. This means that you have to feel good about yourself and take the time to recover after a (heavy) training. In addition, genetics is also important, it helps if you have some predisposition for sports.
It also happens that you have to do things that you are less good at. That’s why I make sure I keep a balance between different workouts to keep it fun. You need to do things you don’t like to become better. But you need to make sure you also keep doing the things you like to not lose the fun.
What I also consciously practice is reflection. How do I feel? Do I still like what I do? Or should I change something? This way I know what I am doing and what I am doing it for: to become the best in Crossfit. I make sure that I work hard during training. The pain I experience (occasionally) is part of that.
How do you deal with emotions and victories? After all, you are an athlete and victory and disappointment are inevitable.
I try to see the positive in things. This means that I try to keep fun in what I do. You also have to do things that you don’t like. During training I have to do 40 minutes of cardio and when I am doing this I think to myself I can listen to music for 40 minutes! (As you might have noticed, I don’t really like cardio exercises.)
“I also have a lot of discipline, if I go for something I give it my all.”
She trains 3-5 hours a day to become the best in Crossfit
What is very important to you besides Crossfit?
To spend time with people I love. I think it’s important that I have people around me who support me.
How can we recognise Leonie? How do family and friends see you?
You can recognise me by my openness. I am very open to people about how I feel and what I think. I also have a lot of discipline, if I go for something I give it my all.
Leviy is dedicated to Synergy. What can’t you do without?
For me, Synergy is very important because I am connected to myself and the people who support me. I can’t live without family and friends who make my dream come true. In addition, the sponsors make sure that I can do what I’m doing right now.
Crossfit is not a team sport, however in what way does collaboration enable you to achieve these results?
Crossfit is not a team sport, but it is a ‘Community-Sport’ as we call it. Everyone in the Crossfit world knows each other and has a lot of respect for what is being done. The cooperation with my Coach, Michael Go, is also very important because he directs and guides me.
Watch the episode about Leonie now!
Foto credits (1+2): Reebok & Barbellphotography