Ep 70 – USA Track & Field Heptathlete Tiffeny Parker on Beating the Odds

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“I was the first person at the track and, and I was the last person at the track. And for me, it was, it was an Olympic gold medalist telling me that that extra 5% that I’m willing to put in, that’s the difference. That’s the difference between being a collegiate athlete and a professional athlete.” -Tiffeny Parker

In this episode Pursuing Health, I sit down with USA Track & Field athlete Tiffeny Parker.  Tiffeny competes on both the national and international stage in the heptathlon, and competed at the Olympic Trials in 2016. A volleyball player from a young age, Tiffeny got a late start in the heptathalon, but saw early success, placing 4th at Junior Nationals shortly after learning the sport.  She went on to compete at the collegiate level while studying Business and Marketing at Azusa Pacific University.  There, Tiffeny found an ideal training situation, and she developed ties with an elite community of athletes that she would continue to surrounded herself with even after graduation.

Tiffeny has faced many odds on her road to success, including the unexpected passing of her mother, a major life event that she credits with giving her the drive to pursue athletics as a profession. She has also faced injury and athletic disappointment, but has learned to rely on her community and use a positive mindset to aid in unlocking her full potential.  Tiffeny was introduced to the CrossFit world when Chris Hinshaw recruited her to help teach athlete Camille LeBlanc Bazinet how to hurdle during the 2015 CrossFit Games on 24 hours notice. She has worked many top athletes, including Katrin Davidsdottir, Mat Fraser, team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and more.  She is currently training in Dallas, TX  as she sets her sights on the 2018 IAAF World Championships.

I caught up with Tiffeny in Cookeville, TN in the spring of 2017 to talk about her track career, how she became involved in the CrossFit world, and what wisdom she has to share from her experiences.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Tiffeny’s introduction to the CrossFit world during the 2015 CrossFit Games
  • What it’s like to work with elite athletes
  • How the heptathlon community parallels the CrossFit community
  • The different approach Tiffany uses to train CrossFit athletes vs. the textbook method for teaching how to sprint
  • Tiffeny’s current training program
  • Her athletic background and finding heptathlon after growing up playing volleyball
  • Coping with the sudden passing of her mother and how it changed Tiffeny’s mindset
  • Tiffeny’s decision to pursue track and field as a professional career
  • Dealing with athletic disappointment
  • Tiffeny’s path to the Olympic Trials
  • Tiffeny on training with a partner vs. training solo
  • What types of athletes Tiffeny is currently working with
  • Three things Tiffeny does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Tiffeny

You can learn more about Tiffeny’s anaerobic training program through her website, and you can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 08 – Chris Hinshaw on Regaining Functionality and Endurance Coaching and Programming for the CrossFit Community

Ep 14 – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet on moving forward, engineering, and body image

Ep 53 – Amelia Boone on achievement and growing through obstacles

Ep 55 – Lindy Barber on Overcoming a Life-Changing Injury and Finding Her Flow on Team CrossFit Mayhem

Ep 56 – Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Ben Bergeron on the Process of Creating a Champion

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.