Tell us a little about you...
My name is Chelsea Nicholas, I’m 32 years old, from Seattle and have been doing CrossFit since 2012.
Where did your fitness/athletic journey begin?
Growing up my main sport was gymnastics. I also participated in cross country and track through high school (plus one season of diving my freshman year). I pole vaulted for two years in college then found CrossFit shortly after graduating.
What’s your favorite part of your sport?
What really hooked me with CrossFit was the measurable improvement, there is nothing more motivating than results! The competitive nature of CrossFit also helps push you in training, whether it’s comparing your WOD scores with other gym members or signing up for actual competitions, competing is good way to add intensity and accountability to your workouts.
What do you do outside of training?
Outside of CrossFit I work as a Structural Engineer in the Aerospace Industry. I decided I wanted to be an engineer when I was 12 years old. Pursuing two passions has forced me to refine my priorities and focus on what really matters. Time is valuable and I hate wasting it. I find that it adds balance to my life and ensures that my sport never feels like a job. Other hobbies include hiking, biking, golfing, paddle boarding, and being an auntie!
What’s your favorite kind of dessert?
Definitely ice cream. I have a really hard time saying no to ice cream, especially if sprinkles are involved.
What’s been your most memorable time as an athlete?
CrossFit has taken me all over the country competing, it’s my excuse to travel and see new places. These competitions/trips are definitely a highlight for me.
What have been some trying times in your athletic career and what have they taught you?
Like many athletes, I’ve had to overcome injury. In 2015 I tore my UCL in my right elbow. That was the exact moment I learned that I was not invincible and that my body could give out before my mind. Injury forces you to become a smarter athlete, a focused athlete and an athlete who perseveres. Recovering from this also taught me how resilient we are. Injury is part of the sport and we all have to overcome our own obstacles at some point.
Another challenge for me was trying to keep up with the changes to the competitive structure of the CrossFit season. Every year our regions would grow; when I started it was the Northwest Region, then they added Canada West and eventually the whole West Coast. Each year my placing would improve despite the growing field but I was always slightly behind the curve and never quite landed in a qualifying sport for the Games.
Then eventually they got rid of regionals all together and changed the structure of the Games completely. It felt like what I had been training for and chasing for years no longer existed and I was a bit lost. I took a step back for a couple of months and tried some new fitness challenges (200-mile bike ride, training for a marathon, etc.) until eventually I was approached with the opportunity to join a team. This was something I had never considered before but the offer was too good to pass up and I hopped on board. I’m really excited about this new adventure!
Tell us a little about your accolades
I competed at the CrossFit Games Regionals for five years, on a team in 2014 then as an individual in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. My placing improved every year, finishing 8th in 2018, just three spots out from a qualifying spot at The CrossFit Games. I’ve competed at several other well known CrossFit competitions across the country as an elite individual athlete including two years at Granite Games and four years at Wodapalooza. For the 2020 season, I have joined a team and we will be competing at a couple of sanctionals, working to earn a spot at the CrossFit Games.
What does your diet/nutrition look like?
Currently, I do not track macros. I have before, usually to make sure I eat enough calories to accommodate my training volume, but after years of doing that, you begin to develop a concept of how you need to be fueling your body. I try to follow some common guidelines with my nutrition such as limiting gluten, dairy and other foods that cause inflammation. I have some go-to recipes that I use for meal prep, a couple of my favorites are honey garlic chicken thighs, stuffed bell peppers, and taco salad. I’ve found sustainable habits that help me feel good in the gym while still enjoying my food.
Tell us a little about your training regimen - how do you prioritize your performance with the rest of your life?
I worked with a remote coach for several years, Robin Lyons. Her brilliant programming made me the athlete I am today. Being an athlete with a full-time job we made it a point to focus on quality over quantity. I train five days a week for 2-3 hours/day, and we put my rest days during the week to accommodate my work schedule. Most of the time I train alone because it is the most efficient with a busy schedule.
I enjoy the social aspects of CrossFit but that is not what motivates me, I’ll push just as hard alone in the gym as I would in competition. These little tips won’t work for everyone, but they have made it easier for me to balance everything I have going on in life with my performance. I do recommend working with a coach, they are professionals and can help you achieve your goals given all the variables in your life. If not a coach, then find a good program and stick with it.
Currently, I follow the Lift Heavy Often as in Everyday weightlifting program written by my teammate, Elijah Muhammad, for my strength work and coordinate the rest of my programming with my teammates.
What’s the biggest piece of advice that you’ve been given, that’s made an impact on you as an individual, that you wish to share with others for their journey?
Do not be afraid to put yourself out there! In fitness and other aspects of life. That’s how you gain experience, learn and grow as an athlete and a person. At the end of the day, the only person you should worry about impressing is yourself. Be your own biggest fan and your own motivation. This mindset will build new confidence in you and help you achieve all your goals.
Why do you choose Swolverine?
I choose Swolverine because it is a brand I trust and respect. I tend to be a minimalist in terms of supplements and Swolverine products are clean and natural, which is very important to me as an athlete.
What are your favorite Swolverine products?
My go-to supplements are whey protein for post-workout and collagen protein to support healthy joints (added bonus, it is also great for your skin, hair, and nails!). I also like to sip BCAAs through my training sessions.