904’s Fittest: Jennifer Hauser
Name: Jennifer Hauser
Weight: 128 lbs
Results from CrossFit OPEN 2014
Masters Division – Southeast Region: 5th place
Masters Division – Worldwide: 49th place
Qualified for next level of Masters on April 17th-21st
Clean and Jerk: 160#
Overhead squat: 170#
Back Squat: 245#
Max unbroken pull ups: 42
Max unbroken ring muscle ups: 4
Max unbroken bar muscle ups: 18
A superwoman walks among us. She doesn’t saunter or strut. But she has a body built for discipline and a mind that can justify putting aside distractions. In fact, Jennifer Hauser ignores the chatter around the latest fad workouts and diets and sometimes the complaints at home to train for a super race we call the CrossFit games.
Even if 42 pull ups aren’t your thing, there’s something eye-opening about Jennifer’s ambitions and her ability to balance competitive CrossFit with family and work life. After 10 years of dabbling in running, Jennifer tried Crucible CrossFit in 2012. Completing her box’s Paleo challenge, she was hooked on the energy and well-rounded workout – sprinting, endurance, high skill, flexibility, and high function exercises that prepare you for anything.
She also loves that CrossFit athletes have equal access to a paramount worldwide event. For a minimal fee, any athlete can measure themselves against the elite on a worldwide platform…the competitive gym member, the self-taught garage lifter. They all do the same workout.
CrossFit is unique in that the 5 weeks of the Open, every CrossFit athlete shares the Leaderboard with the elite. While Jennifer’s hard work has paid off (she’s now qualified for Regional’s in Masters), she hasn’t forgotten that as a CrossFitter, she’s representing the guy who lost a 100 lbs, the girl who did her first pull up, the greater community and the achievements they’ve accomplished.
While it seems that many CrossFitters live and breathe gladiator workouts for imagined moments of heroism, Jennifer shares in her interview that being a CrossFitter is evidence that a forty year old working mom and wife is capable of anything.
JB: As a time-crunched working mom and wife, how do you make the most of your CrossFit workouts?
Jen: Because my time is limited, I’m as efficient as possible with everything. My husband and I work hard in the evenings to ensure that everything is ready for the next morning. Each morning, I leave the house while the rest of my family is sleeping and as soon as I walk through the doors at Crucible CrossFit, I try to leave everything else behind and give each workout 100%. Sometimes conditions are great and I have slept and eaten well. Some days, not so much! For example, when I did the last workout of the OPEN, I had been up half of the night with a sick child and I was 3,000 miles away from home, while visiting my sisters during spring break. I tried not to let it affect me mentally or physically and I surprised myself -it was one of my best workouts!
JB: Do you compete with yourself or do other names on the Leaderboard motivate you to work harder?
Jen: Both! I write down my workout each day. I like to compare benchmark workouts to track my improvement. I often compare results with my sister (who got me involved in CrossFit and who lives in Oregon), with whom I have a friendly, competitive relationship! I love racing with my early morning crew as we constantly push and encourage each other. It is also great when I have the opportunity to race against Colleen Lehane, who is our top Regional athlete. She definitely pushes me and I like to think that during some workouts I can push her too! It doesn’t matter if I am working out with Regional Competitors or someone who just started CrossFit and is learning the movements, though. We all encourage one another. It is a great, friendly competition!
JB: Is it possible to be on “auto pilot” in CrossFit with so many of the workouts requiring skill and focus?
Jen: There’s no “auto pilot” during CrossFit workouts. Not only is my body working hard, whether it is heavy weight or high skill, such as a Muscle Up or Snatch, there is a huge mental component to CrossFit as well. The mental toughness required to concentrate on movements leaves very little room for auto pilot. That being said, there is one movement in particular during which I do try to go on autopilot…burpees! Those, you just have to push through!
JB: How has your work as a physical therapist helped or hindered your progress in CrossFit?
Jen: Overall, it has helped me. When I first started CrossFit, I was a little nervous because I had heard what others have probably heard – that I might get an injury if I tried CrossFit. I knew, though, that with any sport, injury is possible if someone doesn’t train properly. I’ve been a physical therapist for 15 years with Select Physical Therapy and have worked with a very wide variety of injuries and movement disorders. I feel that I am excellent at identifying the cause of an injury, how to fix it, and that I have a great understanding of proper body mechanics and movement analysis. I’m constantly working on improving my olympic lifting technique and high skill movements. I also have an outstanding coach, Lance Scott; he’s been instrumental in teaching me these techniques and programming all of my workouts. Together, with his knowledge and my understanding of anatomy and biomechanics, I feel like it has helped me succeed.
JB: Despite CrossFit’s popularity, there are still people who see women with barbells overhead or tires used as exercise equipment and wonder, “Can I do that?”. What is your response to those people?
Jen: Yes, you can! The beauty of CrossFit is that all movements can be modified or scaled down as necessary. I can honestly say that people of all ages and fitness levels, and women, in particular, shouldn’t be leery of trying CrossFit. When I first started, I couldn’t do a pull up workout without using a band to help me. Now I can do 42 without stopping! The functional movements that we do translate to increased strength and endurance in our everyday lives. I want to be able to keep up with my three very active children for many years to come and I feel like CrossFit will help me achieve that goal and more!