CrossFitter Michelle Palmer weightlifting. | Courtesy Michelle Palmer
IDAHO FALLS — Michelle Palmer went from not being able to do a pull-up during her first year of CrossFit to earning multiple CrossFit awards, including being honored last week at a competition.
The mother of three placed second in the master’s women 35 to 39 age division at the Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival in Miami, Florida. Wodapalooza is an event where thousands of athletes from all over the world come together to compete in various activities on Miami’s Bayfront Park. The competition ran from Feb. 19 to 23.
“I knew that this is nearly one of the most competitive competitions that you can attend, and I wanted to be there,” Palmer told EastIdahoNews.com.
The Wodapalooza competition incorporates a variety of weightlifting and cardio events, and Palmer said athletes don’t know which events they’ll be competing in until they arrive.
“I was most nervous about the unknown (events),” Palmer said. But ultimately she said she did well.
Courtesy Michelle Palmer
She got her start in the sport five years ago when she attended her first CrossFit class. Palmer had always had a passion for health and fitness from a young age when she was a dancer, but she immediately fell in love with the sport. She’s since kept at it, even when life gets challenging.
She became pregnant with her third child shortly after taking up CrossFit. But she continued to do CrossFit throughout her pregnancy, and as time went on, she became more serious about the sport.
She is a member of Maltese CrossFit in Idaho Falls.
“I love the challenge behind it. I love the learning environment where you’re perfecting skills,” Palmer explained.
When Palmer decided her goal was to qualify for Wodapalooza last January, it was something she said she was nervous to say out-loud for two reasons. Palmer said if somebody found out that was her plan, she knew she’d be held accountable to get there, and if she didn’t qualify, people would know she fell short.
To avoid that scenario, she prepared for Wodapalooza by hiring a coach and spending several days a week doing two-a-day practices. She did all of this while balancing her family life at home.
“I think people underestimate their abilities,” Palmer said. “I’ve learned that I can accomplish anything that I’m willing to put the time towards.”
Michelle Palmer with her family. | Courtesy Michelle Palmer
Her coach, Adrian Conway, recognizes the time she puts into the sport is one reason why she performed well at Wodapalooza. But, it’s also her “raw strength” and her “physical capacity in aerobic fitness” that Conway credits to her success.
“A lot of our sport in CrossFit, as you can imagine, is painful. The training day in and day out demands a very specific mindset and mentality, one that is seeking growth and okay with that physical pain,” Conway said. “She excels at that mental toughness and mental fortitude in order to put her body through what she needs to.”
Before Wodapalooza, Palmer placed first in Idaho in the CrossFit World Open women’s division. She’s ranked 26th out of about 17,000 athletes worldwide in the Women’s Masters (age 35 to 39) division, according to her sponsor, Leavitt Womens Health Care.
Palmer will return to Florida in April to compete at the 2020 National Masters Weightlifting Championships and World Masters Qualifier that she prequalified for in Aug. 2019. From there, her sights are set on competing at Worlds later this year and becoming a World Champion Weightlifter.
“I’d like women to realize they can set and achieve goals of their own, even if they’re a busy mother or working mom,” Palmer said. “As a mom, it’s hard to pursue things of your own, but I think it’s important to be an example to our children.”
Michelle Palmer after she placed 2nd in the masters women 35-39 division at the Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival in Miami, FL. | Courtesy Michelle Palmer
Michelle Palmer doing a CrossFit workout on the bike. | Courtesy Michelle Palmer
Michelle Palmer at the Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival in Miami, FL. | Courtesy Michelle Palmer