Ep 126a – Nicole Christensen on Growing a Thriving CrossFit Affiliate

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“I think I talked about nutrition so much, and I talked about functional movements, and I talked about scaling and intensity so many times in blog posts that I was just like, “Yeah, people get it now.”  And you forget that it has to be a constant message.  Because, while you and I might live and breathe CrossFit daily… medicine, you know, whatever it is. This is three hours of someone’s week.  So, we do have to give them more tools to ingrain it into why it’s important.  So, the education piece is huge.” – Nicole Christensen

Nicole Christensen started CrossFit Roots out of her one-car garage in 2008. Since that time, she and her husband Eric have grown Roots into a 10,000 square foot facility with an accomplished team of full-time coaches and staff. She got her coaching start as a swim coach in the Northern Virginia Swim League. 10 years later when she found CrossFit, she knew that it combined her passion for coaching with her belief in a lifelong pursuit of fitness and health.

In 2009 she was hired to the CrossFit Seminar Staff, and for more than ten years Nicole has traveled around the world to teach and coach the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Courses.

Nicole has an extensive competitive background and competed in five CrossFit Games Regionals, placing in the top ten four times. She is a well-known resource for women interested in continuing CrossFit throughout their pregnancies, drawing on her own personal experiences of training and competing while pregnant alongside her experiences coaching Roots athletes through own their pregnancies.

Nicole and I had the opportunity to chat at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and our conversation ran the gamut. In part a, we talk about her background, how her education as city planner influences the processes and systems that have helped grow CrossFit Roots into a thriving affiliate, and why she loves the community aspect of CrossFit. In part b, we do a deep dive on best practices for training while pregnant, to how she maintains her fire and love for CrossFit after 11 years in the business.

*Bio adapted from crossfitroots.com

In Part A of this episode we discuss:

  • Nicole’s background as a swimmer, softball player and hiker, and how she developed from being a poor swimmer to becoming a collegiate athlete
  • How our physical environment impacts our health
  • How Nicole got into CrossFit
  • The factors that led her to open an affiliate, and the process for opening CrossFit Roots
  • The practices that have led CrossFit Roots to become a thriving affiliate
  • How Nicole uses education to communicate with her athletes
  • How she creates a culture that recognizes the importance of modifying workouts
  • The most important qualities that she looks for in coaches
  • What drove her to be a competitive athlete, and how she motivates herself to perform beyond competition

You can follow Nicole on Instagram, and you can follow CrossFit Roots on Facebook and Instagram.


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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.

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