I met Sarah Loogman somewhere around 12 years ago, and there is one thing that I know for sure about her. Whatever Sarah does, she will go all in and very likely succeed. It was that way in high school sports, college sports, academics, and now CrossFit.
Loogman, an Etna High School grad, qualified for the CrossFit Regionals last year, and although she didn’t advance to the CrossFit Games, she did well–even winning one of her heats.
Earlier this year, she moved from Redding to San Diego to join CrossFit Invictus. The Invictus squad finished 2nd in their regional, and qualified for the Games, which were held in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend.
I didn’t get to watch any of the events televised on Friday, but when I checked the leader board at the end of the day, CrossFit Invictus sat on top. The team stayed within sight of the podium the entire competition, and made the 10-team cut for the final workout. When all was said and done, Loogman and her Invictus teammates had finished 6th–in the world.
I sent Sarah a few questions and a request for pictures on Sunday night. Her reply said, “Ok, give me a few days.” The next morning I had the answers to the questions and the photos–classic over achiever.
Briefly explain the preparation leading up to the games, the time between regional and the finals, workouts, nutrition, rest, etc.
Our season has been very dedicated since January, which was when I moved to San Diego for this opportunity. We typically have five double-days per week, with a single session usually lasting about two hours. After the Open, our training for Regionals and Games was done through the weekends as well to prepare for these competitions since they fall on weekends. Our “off” days are usually active recovery days where we swim or do other low-impact movement and focus on recovery methods.
The phases of training change a bit. Once we knew the Regionals workouts, we were focused on excelling specifically on those workouts and strategizing them. The Games is mostly unknown, but there are certain things we’ve seen in past Games that we knew could come up. So we were spending more time outside such as ocean swims and even some rowing.
Nutrition has to be pretty dialed. Most of us on the team count our macro-nutrients and practice nutrient timing principles. The amount of training and intensity of it really requires well-practiced recovery, and nutrition is probably one of the biggest parts of that. Personally, that’s required a ton of calories – about 3500-4000 a day. It can be tough to take that in with quality sources. So sometimes that feels like its own labor. We were fortunate enough to be sponsored by Thorne this season and worked with WellnessFX who did our blood work and built us customized supplementation programs based on our exact needs. It was awesome to have people working with us to get us super dialed in and performing at our peak.
How did your team start each day of competition–the pre-competition period? How did you and your team spend your time between events?
We had a couple of early mornings this weekend so that definitely wore on us, but same goes for all the other teams. Because of the long days it was hard to get to bed early enough to get full recovery. We were fortunate to have people cooking for us, and also body workers who came to our hotel, or were available at the venue to reduce the things we needed to be taking care of, and also make sure we were in peak preparedness for the next event or day. During down time, we mostly stayed within our athlete area to rest or have meetings to strategize our next workout based on what we knew of it. And then, of course, warmup before the next event.
What event was the most difficult for you personally?
The Burpee Litter event was a tough one. That hay got rough! All of our shins and forearms were pretty beat up. But running the litter the first round was pretty fun! I think we passed six teams or so.
What event(s) were you particularly pleased with your performance and/or your team’s performance?
For the team, probably the “Rowing Worm” or Worm Rotation” event. We are a smaller team so that worm is relatively heavy for us and we encountered a few challenges with our judge on the rowing one. At Regionals, we fell apart in the worm workout, but here we overcame it and got stronger as we went and recovered really well by pulling together as a team and being able to make those on-field adjustments that we failed to do at Regionals.
Personally, I was really pleased with the clean and jerk. I hit 217lbs which is only three lbs under my all-time best, and the last time I hit that was when I was training for the American Open and focused almost entirely on weightlifting – I was at a heavier body weight and definitely much less “fit.” I wasn’t expecting to lift that this weekend.
When you saw that Invictus was on top of the leader board at the end of the first day, how was that feeling?
We didn’t have a lot of expectation on us, but we felt otherwise. So it was awesome to have the confirmation that we could hang at the top and be consistent across those first few events. At the same time, we didn’t think too much about it or hang on to it much because we knew we had a lot more work to do. For the most part we stayed off (looking at) the leader board most of the weekend and just focused on one event at a time
Is there one person on your team that usually seems to pick everyone up when things don’t go particularly well?
Nuno Costa is a veteran with eight appearances on the Invictus team to the Games. That experience obviously helps us a lot and he’s the one to pull us together before each event and get us focused on our roles. But overall, I think we’ve all learned to step up as leaders when it’s needed. We have to all be able to rely on each other and know when to take control.
At what point in your CrossFit career, did you decide to make going to the Games your goal?
After my first individual performance at last years Regionals, I started to consider IF I wanted to even dare for that goal. I knew that was a huge leap. So I went to the Games as a spectator for the first time to see it in person and help make that decision. I wanted to see if I saw it at arms length if I’d watch and know I wanted to do it, like when I watched Regionals in 2013 and told myself, “I want to do that.”
Of course, once I watched the Games I definitely had that same moment. I didn’t expect things to happen as quickly or on such a large scale as it has though. That’s for sure! That’s the cool thing about setting goals though – once you do, the doors open. You just have to make that commitment even if it’s scary and seems impossible. A year ago today, I would’ve laughed straight in your face if you’d told me I’d be 6th place in the world with Team Invictus at the Games. Not a chance I would’ve dreamed that. But when you pursue something whole heartedly, it starts heading to you too.
Please explain the experience of competing at the games as best as you can in words.
We left it all out there and exceeded everyone’s expectations of us. As one of the smallest teams, we weren’t even on the radar. Sure, we made a few small mistakes, but all in all, we never broke down and there wasn’t anything I think we can regret. And most importantly – we had fun! None of us are getting our pay checks for doing this, so it has to be something we enjoy and we did just that.
Short term, I’m heading to Austria in a couple of weeks to meet back up with my mentor, Julien Pineau, and speak at the first annual StrongFit Coaches Summit. Then, brief trips to Minnesota and Arizona. After that, I’m climbing Mt. Shasta!
Long term…I’m not sure! I think this whole experience has taught me a lot about the value and excitement of change. So I’m ready to an enter a stage where I can say I honestly have no clue what’s next and I’m okay with just finding out as I go. For now
Photo credits: Loogman individual photo – CrossFit Games, Invictus team photos – Taylor Conlon.Share on Facebook