Five-time Fittest Man on Earth® Mat Fraser has welcomed a new member into his HWPO training program — five-time CrossFit Games athlete Amanda Barnhart. Barnhart has been competing at the CrossFit Games since 2018 and has no plans to stop any time soon.
Barnhart and Fraser spent half an hour discussing what led them to where they are now in their careers, the highs and lows of their fitness journies, and what they hope the future of CrossFit holds for them. Check out the full video podcast below, courtesy of HWPO’s Youtube channel:
The Past: From Physical Therapist to Crossfit Games Athlete
Barnhart’s early CrossFit career wasn’t all smooth sailing. Her first CrossFit Team Regionals was in 2016, after which she came home and told her coach, “We did terrible…I didn’t have any fun this weekend.” She was encouraged to compete as an Individual, and she did so the following year.
Her final year of physical therapy (PT) school came in 2017, with board exams in April and Regionals in May. Barnhart studied, trained, and worked 14 hours a day to fit everything in, starting at 5.30 a.m. every morning. She passed her boards and came 25th at Regionals.
That was a sucky feeling… I don’t want to be in the first heat, I want to be in the last heat.
Barnhart knew that if she could dedicate more time to the sport, she could tap into her true CrossFit potential. She graduated, got a part-time PT job to allow more time for training, and qualified for her debut CrossFit Games in 2018.
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Winning Isn’t Everything
Fraser and Barnhart discussed everything they love about CrossFit, a huge part of which is the relationships that have formed from it. Fraser described how “the people are the best thing — the friendships, the memories, the stories.” He met his wife, Sammy Moniz, through CrossFit.
Barnhart spoke about the value of being surrounded by like-minded people with the same goals and a passion for health and fitness. She stated, “It’s hard to find people that are like-minded when you’re so different than normal people in society.”
The Present: Drinking It All In
Barnhart’s thriving as a full-time CrossFit athlete and is excited to level up her training with HWPO. For 2023, she’s focusing on being present while competing: cheering crowd, booming music, and heightened emotional moments with teammates, friends, and family after the competition.
Fraser described how he did the exact same thing when he last competed, saying, “[When you’re older] you’ll have a handful of memories you can paint from memory. You’re in one of those moments right now.”
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The Future: Fulfilling Potential
Barnhart still renews her PT license every two years, as she plans to return to it in the future. Her love for movement remains as strong as ever. She finds joy in helping others learn how to move properly to prevent injury and is still open to learning more from HWPO programming:
I have so much more [potential] to get better, and that’s what excites me.
Barnhart hopes her eventual CrossFit legacy is to have been the best she possibly could be. She has no interest in attending the Games for the sake of it and watching herself slide down the leaderboard each year, but she’s confident that she’s still got a lot to give to the sport.
Featured image: @amandajbarnhart on Instagram