Intense CrossFit workouts give athletes a lift

MARYSVILLE — Kelsey Nagel works an office job in Bellevue and works out in Marysville. While working full time, she does CrossFit — an exercise philosophy and program, but also a competitive sport, that incorporates Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises.

Kelsey Nagel and Kyle Flanders of CrossFit Marysville competed in the CrossFit Games in Carson Calif.

MARYSVILLE — Kelsey Nagel works an office job in Bellevue and works out in Marysville.

While working full time, she does CrossFit — an exercise philosophy and program, but also a competitive sport, that incorporates Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises.

Participants follow workout plans online, and train at gyms, called “boxes,” which are warehouses that have the proper equipment, such as boxes for jumping, barbells and kettle-bells to perform the exercises.

For her, CrossFit is an outlet for her career, but they both complement each other.

“It’s such a good program in style and workout even if you don’t do it competitively,” she said. “It’s like an addiction.”

She works for Concur Technologies in Bellevue where she manages two teams making up 13 people in sales. It’s a lot of micromanaging and “herding cats,” but doing CrossFit on the side helps her manage the stress.

“Health and wellness and managing a successful company go hand-in-hand,” she said.

But she also competed recently on a team of six people during the CrossFit World Games in Carson, Calif.

Last year, her team placed third in the world but fell to 22nd this year.

“We still had a good time and we learned a lot,” she said.

“Some things didn’t go our way,” she added. “We performed really well when we had to perform as a unit.”

Balancing work with her other passion is simple. She’s played sports while balancing classes so she sees it no differently.

She played soccer and track throughout college. She was no stranger to the weight room either.

“Some things came a little easier than others,” she said.

She did CrossFit for six years, starting out in Seattle, and competed by herself since 2010. She finally making her move to Marysville where she’s been training for two years.

Nagel, 30, would love to compete in the CrossFit games again, but she wants to make sure her body is able to recover.

“I would like to, but it’s hard to come right off of it,” she said. “I want to be realistic about my career and body.”

After training by herself, she was met by her teammates in Marysville, where they would devise their future team to compete in the world games.

“I have developed some amazing friendships,” she said. “You walk into that gym, and you feel like you’re at home.”

She thinks it benefits the city from a health and wellness standpoint.

“Everyone goes out of their way to talk to you,” Nagel said. “It’s a really unique thing about the community.”

Her teammate, Ryan Swobody, who also manages the CrossFit in Marysville, joined CrossFit to stay in shape as a firefighter.

“It helps in our day-to-day lives,” he said.

He has been involved with it for six years and coached for five of them.

“The biggest thing for me is to test myself and bring some glory to the hometown,” he said.

Swobody played baseball and football for Marysville-Pilchuck, which he graduated from in 2002.

So, being a competitive person, he could see himself doing another sport if it wasn’t CrossFit, he said.

“It’s the people that make it fun,” Swobody said.

He started lifting weights with his teammate, Noah Pester, in a garage. They eventually got their certification to become coaches and opened the CrossFit in Marysville.

“Noah and I got very invested in the Olympic side of it,” he said.

Kyle Flanders, 22, got into CrossFit to get in shape for baseball season while playing for M-P, which he graduated from in 2011.

Knowing your own biology. He also had fun during the CrossFit games but also enjoys the lifestyle.

“Your buddies make it fun, and you want to do it all the time,” Flanders said. “The biggest secret is to have as fun as you can.”

But even at his young age, he still contemplates if he will do it again competitively.

“Physically, I feel great, but you have to know your own biology,” he said.

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