Photo by Kimberly Potterf

Eat More. Exercise Less. Become the Third Fittest Woman on Earth

Columbus CrossFit athlete Shellie Edington placed third for the crown of “Fittest Woman on Earth” in her age division (Women 45-49) at the annual CrossFit Games—just one year after finishing in 19th place. It was one of the biggest single-year improvements by a CrossFit Games athlete ever.

How’d she make the meteoric jump? She ate more and exercised less.

Photo by Kimberly Potterf

Photo by Kimberly Potterf

It’s important to understand just how hard it is to train for the CrossFit Games. To call the event “grueling” is a laughable understatement. Over the course of three days, athletes compete in eight fitness events—or “WODs” as CrossFitters call them (short for workout of the day). One event included a 2,000-meter run and 10 rope climbs to 15 feet … without using your legs to climb. Another event included rowing 1,000 meters then completing 125 pull-ups and 35 push-jerk repetitions with 85 pounds (moving a barbell totaling 85 pounds from the shoulders to overhead). And those are just two of the eight events.

“This year we focused on eating more, resting more and training smarter—not harder. I train five times a week with two full rest days.”

Edington trained for this gauntlet of fitness by focusing on things other than actual training. “This year we focused on eating more, resting more and training smarter—not harder. I train five times a week with two full rest days,” Edington said. She trains with Mitch Potterf—the owner of Fit Club, the downtown Columbus CrossFit affiliate. Potterf is a prominent figure in the Columbus CrossFit community. “Shellie is one of the hardest working, most coachable people I know,” he said. Edington returns his praise: “Mitch IS my training. I do whatever he says, pretty much,” she said with a chuckle.

Photo by Kimberly Potterf

Photo by Kimberly Potterf

To prepare for the CrossFit Games, Edington also plans her life around her diet and rest, in addition to her intense workouts. “I eat all the time and as clean as possible. And I try to sleep at least eight hours a night.” Potterf agreed that she 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.   

In addition to being an elite fitness athlete, Edington is also an accomplished gymnastics coach, mother and business owner. Her company, Tumblin4Kids, is a youth gymnastics organization that provides training to children across Ohio. She actually credits her CrossFit 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. 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 CrossFit,” she said.

At 49 years old, Edington is proving that age is no barrier to living a happy, healthy, successful life—all while being one of the fittest women in the world.