Tell us a little about you…
I’m Leilani Lopes and I’ve been crossfitting since I was about 13. It started with doing skin the cats on homemade rings suspended on tie downs, box jumps on hay bales, and bear crawls on the wet dirt outside our house started as a fun way to spend time with my Dad. After doing homemade WODs for a while out in the Oregon countryside, my Dad took his training (and me) to a local box in pursuit of a like-minded community. This is where I fell in love with the sport.
Who inspired you to pursue CrossFit, aside from your Dad?
I remember watching Annie Thorisdottir win the CrossFit Games for the second time – I’ve never been so inspired to pursue a passion of mine before, it was unlike anything I had ever seen. Shortly after I competed at Best of the West and decided to do away with traditional sports like soccer, track, and lacrosse.
What did CrossFit become for you after you switched from more conventional sports?
No longer was CrossFit something cool that I did with my dad a few times a week, the sport had become my own passion. It taught me about resilience and how to face, and take on, adversities in not only athletics but in life. I feel like CrossFit enables me to become a better person, every single time I train.
You mention adversities, can you elaborate on this?
Sure. I was born with flat femurs and throughout my life, I would dislocate my knee, a lot. At 14 I found out I had a partially torn medial patellofemoral ligament and turned to CrossFit to heal my body (and also to avoid hip surgery). By the time I was 16, I only made it halfway through the Open simply because I didn’t have BMUs. By the time I was 17, I placed 85th in the world during the CF Open. Sounds good right? Until BMUs were announced in 16.3 (still didn’t have them).
Then what happened?
Well, despite having ranked highly in every other workout that year (even top 20 in 16.5) I didn’t make it to the games. In 2017 I competed as an adult in the Women’s Division. I was sitting in the top 100 in the region, but warming up for 17.3, my knee dislocated – game over. I learned a lot in those next six months.
What exactly did you learn from injuries that have translated into your training and life in general?
You can’t do everything at once. You’re not invincible, you don’t have moments and opportunities forever, and it’s a blessing to be able to create and mold and develop your body every single day. Nothing is given or guaranteed, every lift could be your last lift, and to me, that simple fact is motivating. Additionally, accessory work (consistent accessory work that is), has made the biggest impact on my training to avoid injury, feel good, and be able to perform at my best every time. Adversities have taught me the importance of being positive and confident about their bodies while living a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. I want other girls to look up to me the way I did to Annie that very first time.
Why do you choose SWOLVERINE?
Honestly, I just love the brand and the people behind it. I love being a part of a team of athletes who believe in taking care of themselves not only in the box but in the rest of their lives as well. The products are great and I highly recommend working with them to find your perfect stack.