© 2019 by Karli and Emily Buckley


Why I stopped competing in CrossFit

I frequently get asked questions about my CrossFit competition days and if I have any intentions on going back to competing. In short - the answer is not right now.

Let's rewind.

Taking it all the way back to my hard knock life in Park Slope, Brooklyn - I grew up playing soccer.  You could not separate my soccer ball and I. I slept with it at the bottom of my bed, went out for hours and just dribbled up and down every street in my neighborhood, and you could always find me after school at the field participating in as many back to back practices as I could - with any team that would let me train.

Ultimately, my soccer obsession landed me at the University of New Haven as a starting forward. My UNH days were nothing short of amazing. I played my heart out every game, scored a ton of goals, and was fortunate enough to play with some of my really phenomenal teammates (special shout out to Holly Dawson from Scotland and Claire Siekanic from Alaska).

I lived and breathed the whole student athlete lifestyle. I even used to repeat our fitness tests on my own time after practice and work on my touches to make sure I was performing at my greatest potential.  This passion and determination was recognized by our lacrosse coach, and I was then given the opportunity to come to one of their practices - just see if I was any good.  As a native New Yorker, I had never even seen LAX before and was so sure I was going to be awful. For the record, I was really...really bad.

I didn't know the rules, couldn't catch or throw, and felt really out of place for the first time in a long time.  But, i'm stubborn as hell and I couldn't just accept that I was bad and give up. Instead, I asked one of our all American teammates (Ashley Ferrandiz) to help me learn. Ashley taught me all about the rules, throwing, catching and defense tactics. Eventually after some time I was OKAY. Still not good, but okay enough to be on a nationally ranked team earn a starting spot 💁🏼. 

So, that means that I was a dual sport athlete from my sophomore year (freshman year I just played soccer) all the way through a grad year. Safe to say, I did get better at lacrosse as time went on and by the end of my career I'd say I was not half bad.

Then I found CrossFit.

While I was in college, I was introduced to CrossFit.  I was looking for a program that would help me become a better athlete, and ultimately I found a few gyms that helped become a self - proclaimed badass. 

I have a very soft spot in my heart for the gyms I started at : CrossFit South Brooklyn, CrossFit Virtuosity, and CrossFit Milford.

After I graduated grad school, I moved back to NYC. There, I got involved in all kinds of fitness : kickboxing, rucking, trail runs, CrossFit - any kind of fitness. You name it, and I was all about it. Shortly after, I was given the opportunity to start training with a few of the higher level athletes at CrossFit Virtuosity. When I heard Jessica Pamanian (name drop - google her name and 2010 CrossFit Games) was a part of that group, it was a no brainer for me. 

I ended up training with, and actually developing an obsessive relationship with my 5 teammates.  Our chemistry together, mixed with a little bit of fitness, paved the road to The CrossFit Games (2014).  This is a truly fond experience that I hold very close to my heart.  Very few athletes have gotten the opportunity to compete at the highest platform in our sport and I love love love my teammates who made that experience possible for me.

Soon after the Games, I dabbled in Olympic Lifting, making two back to back qualifying trips to the American Open. I will be 100% honest, I spent very little time specifically training to qualify for these events. As a very small athlete (110lbs), I had developed enough strength from competing in CrossFit that I was able to hop over to Weightlifting and qualify for a national event.  These events were fun, and a great accolade, but I still missed the atmosphere of CrossFit competitions.

A few years later (2017), I ended up back on a team with 2 of my Virtuosity teammates: Paul Delanoy and Ariel Fernandez. Reuniting with them on the competition floor was awesome.  At the end of a long weekend, we ended up in 9th place at Regionals, just missing punching a ticket to the Games. 

When Regionals were over, I took a hard look at myself, my life, my relationship, my fitness goals, and career trajectory.  While I was having a blast competing, I came to the realization that the amount of time, money, and emotional investment that goes into training was taking away from other areas of my life.  When I thought about this, the most important areas to me was my relationship with my wife, and the development of my career.

I made a resolution for myself that I would not spend money on pursuing any competitive athletic dream. I would instead use that money to invest in furthering my career and on creating experiences with Karli.  This naturally changed the way I train and has given me a new outlook on my fitness lifestyle.

So to answer the age old question of will I start competing again - my answer is not right now. I'm enjoying exploring my fitness in a more flexible way.  Some days I feel like going for a run, or focusing on high level gymnastics, or hitting a really hard CrossFit workout, or signing up for a challenging trail run. I'm content with focusing on fitness for longevity and maintaining balance with a little bit of fun.