At just the age of 20, Haley Adams is just scratching the surface of her CrossFit potential, making it hard to believe that her introduction to the sport was by chance.
In just two years of moving up to the adult division of the CrossFit Games, Adams has placed 6th and 4th. This, after winning the teen division in 2018.
The North Carolina native had participated in just about every sport during her youth and had begun to experience some burnout with the rigors of gymnastics and cross country. Located next to the gymnastic facility was a CrossFit gym. Adams begin taking notice of the women lifting weights, jumping rope, and showcasing their athleticism and power and thought, “Wow, that’s really cool, and I would love to try that.”
“I looked up CrossFit Games because I knew nothing about it, but I would see these girls competing and they had just had the teen division the year before because I remember watching that,” Adams says. “With being very competitive, I wanted to try it and I was able to make the games the next year and after that, it was a wrap. I just fell in love with the process, training and the rest is history.”
Adams is now under the tutelage of four-time Fittest Man on Earth Rich Froning and CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN, while also taking online courses as a student at Tennessee Tech — all this while being a full-time cat mom to Ollie.
While elite athletes are pretty in tune with listening to their to their bodies when it comes to training intensity, Adams’ reliance on her Whoop, the personalized fitness and recovery tracking app, now gives her access to all the vital data to track how she performs each workout.
“Learning more about my sleep, recovery, what things help me feel better, and having the data to prove it has been huge,” she recently said on the Whoop podcast. “Even the little things, like when I eat, what I eat, and knowing how that affects me have made a big difference with my performance.”
With training two times a day, the system has been vital in accessing her understanding of where she’s at recovery wise. When we spoke with her, Adams’ recovery number was at 98 percent; the highest it has been a long time. She mentioned her recovery number is typically in the red, usually in the 30s and 40s, sometimes, even the 20s, depending on high-volume training days. For most people, when it’s in the red, it’s best to scale back your workouts or even rest a little more.
For Adams, asking Froning for a day off is hardly if ever an option. Instead, she’s learned to eat more on those days, increase her carb intake for the day and during her workouts. During her workouts, she’s also learned not to move around too much in between sessions, to allow her body and breathing to calm. Afterward, she’ll get her body moving by going for a walk, take an ice bath or enjoy her favorite recovery method.
“I love the sauna,” says Adams, who recently partnered with Whoop. “I’m usually in there for about 25 to 30 minutes and about two to three times a week. Obviously, a lot of sleep as well. I try to get a minimum of eight hours a night.”
Is Haley Adams Crossfit’s Next Superstar?
With Haley Adams impressive showings, some are touting her as the heir apparent to the CrossFit throne. Pressure like this might seem too much, but she doesn’t run away from those expectations and her goal is to win the games within the next few years. Even with all the attention she’s receiving, she says that not much changes from when she’s training to when she’s competing other than the stakes.
“I think that’s why I do much better with in-person comps because I don’t get stressed out with anxiety,” Adams says. “I just try to imagine myself doing well, like with another day in training. This is what you always do and I’m around the people I’m comfortable with. I get really hyped up on adrenaline and love having competition because I feel like that’s where I thrive.”
It’s only been a few years since she saw those women in that CrossFit gym. She saw something new, different, and challenging and decided to take a chance. Now, she’s in a position where the eyes of little girls are now watching her and reaching out on social media for tips and insight. Her advice to them echoes the sentiments she would’ve given her younger self.
“Make sure you learn all the basics first, be smart, and make sure you’re having fun,” she says. “Find someone who has your best interest in mind and just trust the process. Make sure you’re also playing other sports as well because you want to have fun with anything you do and not get burned out with one particular activity.”