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Photo by Kimberly Potterf

The Third Fittest Woman On Earth

Ohio State football players are some of the strongest, fastest, fittest young men in the country.

But let’s be clear: Shellie Edington is fitter – and she’s almost 50.

Edington has the credentials to back up that claim, as the Columbus CrossFit athlete was recently crowned the “Third Fittest Woman on Earth” in her age division at the annual CrossFit Games, held at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. 

College football training camp is one tough month, but consider the three-day onslaught that is the CrossFit Games: athletes compete in eight fitness events – or “WODs,” short for “Workout of the Day” – one of which includes a 2,000-meter run and 10 rope climbs to 15 feet…without using your legs to climb. Another involves rowing 1,000-meters then completing 125 pull-ups and 35 repetions of 85-pound push jerks (moving a barbell totaling 85 pounds from shoulder to overhead). That’s just two. 

It was Edington’s second appearance at The CrossFit Games. In 2013 she finished 19th–just one spot from last place. Her rise to the podium this year is one of the biggest one-year improvements, ever, by a CrossFit Games athlete, in any division. 

Oddly, Edington partly credits her meteoric rise to more food and less exercise.

“We focused this year on eating more, resting more, and training smarter – not harder,” she said.

Edington trains with Mitch Potterf, the owner of Fit Club, the downtown Columbus CrossFit affiliate, and a long-time stalwart in the Columbus CrossFit community.

“Shellie is one of the hardest working, most coachable people I know,” said Potterf, praise which Edington returns.

“Mitch is my training. I do whatever he says, pretty much,” she laughed.

Just like any OSU elite athlete, Shellie’s training is deliberate and organized.

“I train five times a week with two full rest days. I try to eat as clean as possible and sleep at least eight hours a night.”

Potterf agrees that Shellie is committed to a plan that supports her elite status.

“She has organized her life, career, nutrition, rest, recovery and training to accomplish her goals,” he said.

Edington laughs when asked about how she thinks an OSU football player might fare at the same events she did at the CrossFit Games.

“I think [they] would do well on the deadlift and sled pull, but I would definitely win the handstand walk, legless rope climbs, burpee muscle-ups, and probably the rest of the other workouts. I would love to compete against them!” she said.

And if OSU football players think it’s difficult striking a balance between being a top-level athlete and a student, Edington is also a successful business owner. Her company, Tumblin4Kids, is a youth gymnastics organization that provides gymnastics training to children across the state of Ohio.

She actually credits her training with helping her build a better business.

“I had put 10 years of sweat equity into building a business, and it was time to focus on my health,” she said. “CrossFit made me a better gymnastics coach and business owner. I would have never figured out how to launch my own affiliate program without what I learned from this.”

It’s safe to say that Edington is winning at life. She’s an accomplished athlete, coach, business owner, and mother. And at 49 years old, she’s proving that age is no barrier to living a happy, healthy, successful life.

– Lyndon Collins