When you think of the top female CrossFit athlete’s in the world you undoubtedly think of the Dottir ladies, how they manage to pack so much power into those beautiful Icelandic bodies remains a mystery.
But, you don’t need to sail away from SA shores to find incredible female athletes who embody the strength, agility, metabolic conditioning, drive and commitment that the Dottir ladies do, meet Natasha King, one of our very own inspiring powerhouse athletes.
Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial CrossFit bridge the name Tash King is not new to you, as a CrossFit Level 2 coach, the nutritional advisor at Cape CrossFit, a member of the Wolf Pack and a role model for the sport locally, WODup was only too excited to spend some time getting to know this athlete a little better.
WODup: So whilst we all watched and cheered at our TV screens during the Meridian Regionals this year in Spain, many of us don’t know your journey into the sport. How exactly did Tash find her way into CrossFit?
Tash: I had been playing competitive provincial level hockey since high school but stopped when I got a “real job” and didn’t have time train any longer. Once I moved to Cape Town, I really missed playing on a team and being active so I decided to join a soccer team. It was the competitive nature in me that came out and inspired me to want to get better, stronger and fitter, preferably without having to train for hours upon hours. I turned to Google and a search that soon led me down a rabbit hole that ended at Cape CrossFit’s doors. Once I arrived saw the rope hanging outside the stairs and the tyres piled up in the parking lot I was sold.
Three months in, I competed in the Open and that was when I fell in love with the sport. I quit soccer, learnt to do pull ups and haven’t put the barbell down since.
WODup: Tell us about you training, who does your programming and what does your training schedule look like?
Tash: I follow the Cape CrossFit Competition Program, programmed by Chris Oman but he individualises particular aspects for me around my weaknesses and areas that I need to work on. My usual training schedule includes two workouts per day with Thursdays and Sundays as rest days. In the morning I generally focus on my weaknesses and in the afternoon I train with the rest of the Wolf Pack crew.
Before a competition, Chris will often taper our programming cycle. Before heading off to Regionals in Spain this year, our training volume reduced substantially in the week leading up to the competition although we maintained intensity and included some light barbell work to focus on speed. You can’t hope to get fitter in the week leading up to a competition – the hard work gets put in in the months before.
WODup: The Cape CrossFit Wolf Pack is well known and revered in local CrossFit circles, but how exactly was it formed?
Tash: The Regional team was selected based on our standings after the Open. The majority of us have been training at Cape CrossFit for years and we’re pretty much family.
It’s hard not to form a bond in the weeks leading up to competition or on the competition floor itself. We all have the same goal and respect the work that each member puts in every day to achieve it. We are definitely a tight crew.
WODup: Let’s talk Spain. What was the experience like for you what were the greatest lessons learned?
Tash: Spain was mind-blowing. To compete alongside athletes of that caliber was a dream come true. It has also undoubtedly served as the biggest motivation for my personal training to date. I came back more hungry as a competitor and set my goals a lot higher than ever before.
The highlight of Regionals outside of competition was watching Annie, Sara and Briggs go head to head in the individual WOD’s. Those women are inspirational. Similarly, watching our South African athletes hold their own on that floor was really motivational. CrossFit is still a young sport here in South Africa and we’re still catching up to international standards. We have some very impressive athletes and equally impressive coaches, we just need to give it some time.
I think the biggest challenge we experienced at Regionals was during the synchronized toes to bar, it’s in instances like this that the real challenge is to keep your head screwed on properly and adapt to the situation. Our team and coach were not only 100% prepared for the weekend but also 100% supportive so when things didn’t go as planned, we were well prepared to handle it and move on.
I walked away knowing we are far more capable than we thought, we can put up one hell of a fight and our goals are even bigger for next year.
WODup: Whilst you’re a role model locally, who in the sport internationally do you most admire?
Tash: Just one?! Annie has always been a favourite of mine. I love her work ethic, tenacity and the fact that she is always smiling, but who can forget Camille. She’s the epitome of old school cool and the woman I’ve watched and followed since I first started CrossFit.
WODup: As a Nutrition Advisor at Cape CrossFit, tell us a bit more about what your nutrition looks like and what’s the best advice you would give to other athletes when it comes to nutrition?
Tash: I weigh and measure my food and eat according to my macro nutrient breakdown. Depending on my training for the day my food volume also changes. On heavier training days I eat slightly more for recovery and to fuel the tougher workouts.
I don’t eat any processed or refined foods with the exception of some dextrose which I have during my heavy lifting sessions, other than that I stick to whole foods which I get from The WholeFood Pantry.
My advice to athletes is pretty simple. Eat like an athlete and take your nutrition seriously. It’s how you recover and fuel your body. For me, making sure that I am providing my body with the best nutrition I can give it is non-negotiable.
WODup: What are your favourite and least favourite CrossFit movements?
Tash: My favourite movement has to be the rope climb, I love all the gymnastic work. My least favourites are definitely the assault bike and wall balls.
WODup: So we have to ask, does Tash have any secret indulgences she won’t give up?
Tash: I will never ever in my life give up Sushi.
WODup: You’ve already had a fantastic start to 2016, going forward what are your goals for the year ahead?
Tash: My goals are always the same: get stronger, faster and fitter and by doing so secure a spot on our Regionals team for next year.
WODup: And finally, which moment stands out for you as the highlight of your CrossFit career to date?
Tash: I’d have to say my two career highlights to date would be competing at Regionals in Spain as well as reclaiming our title of the Fittest Team in Cape Town earlier this year.
Author: Nicky Lundin
Founder of WODup. Nicky is a professional business entrepreneur by day and passionate CrossFitter by night. Nicky comes from a trail running and mountain biking background.
She is passionate about health and nutrition and is committed to find and developing new ways to grow the sport of CrossFit within South Africa.