Emmalee Teribery is having one hell of a good year. This firefighter from Aurora, Colorado who trains and coaches at CrossFit Verve in Denver secured her spot to the 2013 CrossFit Games by winning events 3 and 6 at the South West Regionals. She has been CrossFitting since 2008 and happens to be one of the original members of Matt and Cherie Chan’s gym, member no. 7 to be exact. She jokes it was fate to have the same number as her favorite Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway. She must have been taking notes on Elway’s career because her persistence is paying off.
I couldn’t wait to sit down with one of my favorite South West athletes and find out a little more about her. This girl doesn’t just light up the gym when she walks in. She triggers a laser light show. If I could bottle up the explosive energy and smile of this electric athlete and sell it as a pre-workout I’d be able to retire before I hit 35.
Wendy Spin (WS): First of all, congratulations on your first trip to the CrossFIT Games! I’m so excited for you! How are you feeling leading up to the Games?
Emmalee Teribery (ET): Thanks! It’s finally sinking in that I’m going. I didn’t expect to make it even though it has always been the goal. Nerve-wise it’s finally catching up with me. All I can think is, WOW! I’m finally going to the games!
My body feels great. Nothing is hurt or broken. I’ve been getting a massage twice a month. I’ve seen the chiropractor four times in the past two weeks and he’s phenomenal. He does acupuncture and cupping and all that so my body feels great!
WS: Have you always been an athlete?
ET: I grew up doing gymnastics. My mom had one rule for us growing up. We couldn’t be home watching TV and sitting on our butts. That meant either a job or athletics. I have two sisters and all three of us got into gymnastics. I wouldn’t say I was the better of the three, but I excelled a little more at the strength stuff. In high school I got into freshman football with the boys. I did cheerleading my sophomore year, and then did gymnastics and track (pole vault) my last two years.
WS: Wait a minute. Did you just say you played football?
ET: Yes, (laughs) I had never played before but I went to their summer camp and I was faster and stronger than a lot of the boys. They put me on a bench press and I was lifting 185# at 14 years old. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if it hadn’t been for my background in gymnastics. If I ever have kids they are going into gymnastics.
WS: What did you do differently this year with your training compared to previous years?
ET: This has been an amazing year for me. My husband is super supportive. He makes my protein shakes before I go to the gym so I can have them right after. I mean good protein shakes with almond milk and peanut butter. He doesn’t care how long I have to spend at the gym. Whatever I need to do he supports it. He is awesome! As far as my training goes I hired Zac Pine this year around the time of the open. He knows me and my background, my strengths and weaknesses. I had to go for it. I couldn’t keep coming up with things to do myself. I couldn’t just focus on the stuff I hated and needed to get better at because then my other skills would start to fall. I needed someone else to pay attention to that. It also means I’m not here for 3 hours. I’m here for an hour and a half. He does an amazing job programming with my 10 day work schedule and energy cycles. If I’m going to do three workouts a day, then it needs to be programmed on a day I have more energy. It gave me a lot of consistency, which I needed.
WS: Speaking of your husband, I was going to congratulate you on your recent nuptials. You got married in Vegas right after Regionals. Have you gotten a chance to relax into married life at all this summer?
ET: No, but he writes me little notes before I go to work. We are really nice to each other. He was recently gone for a big military training weekend. They put him through absolute hell, so I wrote him a note saying sorry it’s been all about me for these past six weeks, but as soon as we’re done it will get back to normal.
WS: What nutrition plan has worked best for you?
ET: I started Zone/Paleo around the time of the Open. It was more my husband’s push than mine. Growing up my mom had the attitude that you can eat whatever you want as long as you’re active, so I still had that attitude. I was still seeing gains and PR’s so it wasn’t a big deal to me. My husband wasn’t seeing as big of gains with his training. Around April we both had time off and started with two strict weeks of Zone/Paleo. I’m not 100% Paleo because I love bread! We plan it into our breakfast as our carb blocks. That’s actually what I had for breakfast before event 6 at Regionals. My husband asked me what I wanted and I said peanut butter toast!
It has helped my training because it forces me to eat. On days where I have 2-3 workouts and I’m coaching all day I don’t eat because it’s hard to do those things on a full stomach.
WS: As the Games workouts are being released, is there one in particular you’re looking forward to?
ET: I’m really curious about Naughty Nancy, specifically the word “Naughty.” My mind races seeing people’s comments online about it. There is no security. I’m most excited about the obstacle course. I think it’s something different, like Camp Pendleton. People can do it or they can’t. There’s no way to train for it. I like the ones that are more of a skills test vs. set weights. You know how much you can deadlift and clean give or take 5-10# with the adrenaline of competition. The obstacle course is more true to the element of being prepared for the unknowable.
WS: What are your interests outside of CrossFit? Do you knit or anything?
ET: I wish I could knit and had that kind of talent. As lame as it may sound my husband and I just like to chill. We have only known each other for about a year and a half. He’s a firefighter also, so the days we have off together are our days to chill. We are avid movie goers and huge fans of Red Box.
For the past 6 weeks my training for the games is his training for the games. We hiked up Apex Mountain (Golden, CO) last week. He had his rucksack and I had a backpack with a dumbbell in it. We did a workout at the top of the mountain together. He’s gone swimming and running with me because he has to. He’s my husband. (laughs) It doesn’t leave a lot of free time. We are talking about getting a pet after the games is over.
WS: What do your coworkers at the fire station think about your trip to the Games?
ET: A lot of them have no idea what CrossFit is, but if I mention the repeats on ESPN they are like, “Oh yeah, that’s what you do?” They are really supportive. Some people I didn’t expect are some of my bigger fans. I created a community page via facebook so some of the people I work with and don’t see very often can follow. So it’s kind of cool. It wasn’t hard to trade shifts for time off during the Games.
WS: It sounds like you’ll have a lot of people cheering for you in your Games debut, myself included. Before I let you get back to your training I wanted to get a few fun facts on you.
What is your favorite Protein Powder?
Progenex Loca Mocha with a cup of almond milk and a tablespoon of peanut butter tastes exactly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I’ve gotten a several people here at Verve hooked on them. Reward yourself after your workout. It’s fantastic.
Nanos or Chuck Taylor’s?
I have about six pairs of INOV8’s. It was the first CrossFit shoe I bought myself and I love them. I use Reebok’s for the rope climbs but it’s taking me awhile to get used to the feel of them. I think I have fat feet so the Chuck Taylor’s don’t really work for me.
Do you take a pre-workout supplement?
My theory is, if I get a call at the firehouse and I have to go perform at max effort then I don’t get to take a pre-workout, so I don’t take one before I train. In the event that I do need it, it’s there and will probably be more effective since I don’t take it all the time.
Chicken or Steak?
Favorite Jump Rope?
I have a Rogue Rope that I love.
Five rounds for time of:
- 12 Deadlifts
- 9 Hanging Power Cleans
- 6 Push Jerks
I also love “Karen” because it was my very first CrossFit workout. I was working out with Matt and Cherie Chan in the park. It was part of the foundations program back then. I did it with the 10# wall ball and I was annihilated. I like to look back and see how far I’ve come.
Do you have any plans after the Games?
I’m an avid Bronco fan so we’ve talked about going to training camp. We have a trip scheduled for the fall and maybe a honeymoon in January or February. Maybe I’ll take a week off of training to reset, figure out some new goals, and go from there.
You can follow Emmalee on the CrossFit Games site here: http://games.crossfit.com/athlete/14319