Meet Alexis Johnson, 3x Crossfit® Games competitor and Klean Team sponsored athlete. Alexis is an inspiration to many with her determination and commitment as she strives for peak performance. Alexis has shared how she strives to be the best she can be as an athlete to help encourage and motivate others as she continues to push herself and reach the next stage of her inspiring journey.
What Motivates You to Keep on Training?
Alexis: The first thing you should know about me is that I love to work out, for the sake of working out. I train because I love being in the gym, becoming a better version of myself each and every day, surrounded by others doing the same. This love unexpectedly led me to qualifying for my first CrossFit® regionals (the stage before the CrossFit® games) in 2014. Since then, I have trained competitively, and competed at the CrossFit® Games three times (2016, 2017, and 2019).
Have You Always Loved Sport?
Alexis: Let me back up a few years and give you the whole story. As a kid, I did gymnastics. I wasn’t extremely competitive, but I still spent 4 hours per day, 5 days a week, in the gym. I wouldn’t have it any other way – I loved working toward new skills that, at first, felt unattainable. But after my senior year of high school, I wanted a ‘normal life’, or so I thought.
Leading into college, I promised myself I’d never set foot in a gym again. I stuck to this promise! Though I felt like part of me was missing. I was academically driven, but school came relatively easy, and I had a lot of free time that I was wasting. I was no longer achieving small daily goals, and I was becoming both physically and mentally unhealthy. I found a way to fill this void, a way that doubled as a solution to my physical unhealthiness: I dedicated myself to eating healthy, and restricting my calories.
What Challenges Have You Faced on Your Journey?
Alexis: Here’s something else you should know about me. When I decide to do something, I’m either all in, or not in at all. I quickly took “healthy eating” and calorie restriction to the extreme. I developed an eating disorder – I ate around 400 calories per day for over three years. At first, restricting calories gave me a sense of accomplishment. You know, the sense of accomplishment that I was missing from attaining a new skill in gymnastics. With calorie restriction, I was setting daily goals and crushing them – it filled the void, and soon it took over my life. After a while, calorie restriction was no longer a goal that gave me a sense of accomplishment, it was an obsession – something I couldn’t control. It became my identity. I lost friends. I lost interest in things I used to enjoy.
I had little to no energy and was constantly irritable. I treated my loved ones in ways that I am embarrassed of. I did many things that I am ashamed of. More than anything, I wanted my old, fun-loving and goal-driven self back, but I felt mentally weak compared to the disorder. I tried many activities, ranging from club sports to rock climbing – searching for something that would return the joy to my life. But with only 400 calories per day, I didn’t have enough energy to do them.
How Did CrossFit® Change Your Life?
Alexis: Then, I set foot into a CrossFit® gym. I was embraced by a community of people who did not know me, yet cared. I was inspired by the group of people with a common goal being stronger and fitter than they were yesterday. I desperately wanted to be a part of this community, and I used this as motivation to regain control over my life!
It was a long journey to recovery from there, but I slowly shifted my focus from calorie restriction to fueling my body for workouts. I began by forcing myself to eat before and after the gym. If I was going to have enough energy for an hour-long class, and if I was going to get stronger, I needed to eat. I made a promise to myself that I would never deny another invitation to go out to eat (this may sound like nothing, but I went three years denying every single one of those invites). It wasn’t easy – eating for fuel pushed my anxiety through the roof, and I hated every minute of forcing food down, but I knew what it would take. Over the course of a year, I went from 88 pounds to a healthy and strong 135 pounds.
It took several years to feel ‘normal’, and I will forever fight off the little disordered voice in my head. Now, with a shifted focus, and strong community of people who care about me, that voice is quieter and quieter. I’ve dedicated myself to inspiring others to regain control of their life amidst an eating disorder, and teaching them how to quiet the disordered voice. THAT is my why.
What’s Your Current Focus?
Alexis: My focus always was, and always will be, on becoming better than yesterday, both in and out of the gym. That’s what’s in our control. This led me to my first CrossFit® Games qualification, just two years after my first regional competition.
But, regardless of competition, I will continue to strive to be the best I can be. As someone who wants to maximize their potential, I focus on proper nutrition, supplements, rest, and recovery – this is equally as important as my time in the gym.
That’s why I’ve chosen to train Klean. The Beta Alanine, Creatine, and Collagen+C help support my training, strength, and joint health, while Vitamin D and Melatonin help with my immune support and quality sleep.‡