CrossFit enthusiast Loring competes in Wodapalooza
Shalynn Loring has been a devoted follower of the CrossFit exercise craze since her college days at Kansas State University. She and two of her friends recently turned that dedication into a trip to Miami, Florida, for the annual Wodapalooza Fitness Festival.
CrossFit exercise incorporates elements of high-intensity interval training, Olympic-style weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises.
"Everything we do is considered a functional movement," Loring said. "It's training for life. The exercises are designed to emulate what we do in real life. You do squats in the gym; you squat to pick up your kids."
Founded in California in 2000 by Greg and Lauren Glassman, there are now over 13,000 affiliated gyms around the world. Members complete 'WODs' each day, or 'Workouts Of the Day'
Loring first got connected with CrossFit while attending college at K-State, but her fitness roots go all the way back to childhood.
"My dad has a master's degree in kinesiology," she said. "I've always been fascinated by the movement of the body."
Throughout her schooling in Scandia, Loring was active in sports, including track, volleyball, basketball and cross country.
"When your dad's a coach, you pretty much get involved in everything."
Loring also got a degree in kinesiology, and is now the manager of CrossFit North Cloud, which is located in the old Lincoln Elementary school. She is Level 2 certified in CrossFit.
One look at Loring and you know this is a young woman who has devoted her life to keeping her body as fit as possible. Except for the occasional splurge on donuts. More about that later.
"What I really like about CrossFit is that it welcomes everyone at all levels and all abilities. You can compete against other people or compete against yourself, because we're all a community. We're like a family. I've gained a lot of friends doing CrossFit."
Two of those friends are Anna Woods and Danielle Nicole Givens, who Loring has competed against at various CrossFit competitions in the Midwest.
"I got a call from Anna one day, and she said that the three of us should try to qualify for Wodapalooza as a team. I thought it was a great idea."
Wodapoolaza is an annual competition held in Miami's Bayfront Park that attracts athletes from all over the world. It is an elite competition in which only the best-of-the-best can qualify for.
To try to qualify for Wodapalooza, Loring, Woods, and Givens - the Lollisquat Guild team - competed against 500 other teams from around the world in the three-person intermediate division. The teams all performed a series of 10 different workouts, some of which measured their individual achievements, and some that combined the times of all three girls. The scores were posted online, and only the top 60 teams would qualify for Wodapalooza.
The Lollisquat Guild finished in the top 60.
The girls arrived in Miami on January 16 to get ready for the three-day event, which would be held on the beach near Miami.
Day One of competition started at dawn, and it was a 5K beach run that also sent the girls into the water to swim to a buoy.
"It was really exciting, just to be there competing with so many outstanding athletes," Loring said. "We got to warm up with the CrossFit pros. These are some of the best athletes in the world, so it was kind of like being a high school football player and getting to warm up on the sidelines with an NFL team."
Day Two was a relay that incorporated 250-meter swims with skiing-style calisthenics on a machine. While one girl was swimming, another team member would perform the skiing maneuvers.
"The swimming part was the toughest part for me," Loring said, "because there was really no place here in Concordia I could train for that."
Day Three was another relay of events that included weight lifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics-type exercises, including a 20-meter handstand walk.
Out of the 60 teams in the three-person intermediate division who qualified for Wodapalooza, the Lollisquat Guild finished 34th.
"We're really happy with how we did," Loring said. "We'd never competed as a team before; we never trained as a team before the event, so there was a lot of learning as we went along. But we had an amazing time! It was just really awesome to be able to compete at that level."
Four days in Miami, the Mecca of winter fun and a city with a legendary nightlife. Did the girls visit any of the famous clubs?
"To tell you the truth, we were so tired at the end of each day we didn't even go out at night. We didn't even go to the wrap party on Sunday night."
But the girls did stay one extra day in Miami to rest up and see the sights.
"We mostly just walked up and down the beach. It was so beautiful. But the first thing we did that morning was hit the donut shop."
Even an elite CrossFit competitor like Shalynn Loring loves donuts.