Icelandic Annie Thorisdottir may be a two-time CrossFit Games champion, but her fire for competition still rages.
The 32-year-old skipped the 2020 games to welcome her daughter Freyja into the world and returned the following year to place an impressive third place. It marked the fastest return ever after giving birth in the history of CrossFit.
Last October at the Rogue Invitational in Austin, Texas, “Iceland Annie” finished second, making a dramatic statement that showed the two-time Fittest Women on Earth are still going strong.
“Thor’s Daughter” talks about her famously intense workouts, how being a mom has affected her training, how she approaches fitness and nutrition, and how her latest challenge; participating in the CrossFit Games 2022 leading the CrossFit Reykjavík team, makes her more motivated than ever.
You have a background in gymnastics and athletics, do you think it was an advantage to start CrossFit?
I believe the benefit is having body awareness and already being comfortable with a decent volume of training, as well as basic calisthenics skills. However, upon entering CrossFit, I had to learn how to move external objects. I wasn’t used to lifting weights and trying to have a smooth run. If you watch a gymnast run, it’s quite steep.
Do you think people focus too much on weight rather than shape?
I think it was a bit more like that before, but now people listen more, or maybe the coaches are just a bit more educated or used to working with people, since the sport has grown. It’s a matter of being patient and believing in the process. One of the most common tips I give people is to learn how to move well first, then you can do high intensity with lighter weights, then the weights will catch up.
You recently posted a very challenging 20-minute EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) workout. How often do you do them and are you a fan of EMOM?
We’ve also been doing 40-minute EMOMs once a week for the past few weeks. This 20 minute workout was sort of to end that cycle. It was a REAL one for sure. I really appreciate them because you know you can finish the job when you’ve already done it for 20 minutes, so of course you can do five more minutes and then another five, but your head tells you it there is still too much to do. This is where you have to grow and convince yourself that you can do it. It’s those moments of inner battle that make you stronger.
When it comes to tracking your blood pressure and recovery, what are the most important types of information you see on your Whoop?
I really like using it to track my sleep, it keeps me accountable and helps me go to bed earlier, which I really need. I monitor tension and recovery but don’t let them affect my workout for the day unless the reading is very low in the red. I will also see how I feel because (being very low in the red) is usually an indicator that I am getting sick. Otherwise, (if the reading shows I have the ability to handle more) I just modify my training so that I feel a little more during this session…and then make sure that a rest day arrived. The Whoop is a great way to see if I’m going too far. The menstrual cycle tracker is also very beneficial as it helps me monitor how much I need to fill up, especially during my period.
How do you approach nutrition on a daily basis?
I make sure I have enough carbs during training and then eat protein right after each workout. The week before my period I add extra amino acids during training and carbs are also even more important during this time because we can’t store carbs in the same way as at other times in our cycle . Otherwise, my intake stays the same most of the time and I’m just even stricter as I get closer to competitive season. I am something called RP Strength to track my nutrition and the supplements I use are all from Transparent Laboratories but I think it’s very important to make sure your food is always well stocked and clean.
How do you incorporate recovery time into your week?
I do an “active” recovery day every week, where I do zone 2 heart rate work for about an hour, as well as mobility work and a sauna. Then, I take one “full” rest day per week, and on that day, I play a lot with my child!
For recovery on training days, sleep and refueling are top of the list. Other than that, I do mobility or scraping with muscle scrapers. I use a sidekick every night and then I take CBD®cbd soft gels 50mg twice a day.
Do you think everyone should consider incorporating CrossFit-style routines into their workouts?
I think everyone should lift weights and I believe high intensity interval training is one of the best ways to train.
It is clear that you love group training! What are the benefits of training alongside other people?
You get the push and the drive. I like having others around me. I have fun at the gym, I train with other like-minded people. We can have fun, then push and improve each other when it’s time to GO.
You said you felt more motivated than you have in years. Why do you think this is?
I feel like I’ve found a different motivation and drive than I had before. After giving birth to my daughter, I just wanted to see if I could get my feelings back and then I wanted to compete. No “need” or pressure, just me wanting to let myself compete and hopefully show other moms that it’s their decision about what they want to do after giving birth. Now I also do it for my family and I want to be a good role model for my daughter. It’s also new for me to be part of a team this season. I have even more people who depend on me, and at the same time more good training partners.
I felt very good at the end of the past year, I finally had the impression of regaining full control of my body. After participating in the Rogue invitationals in October, I knew I wanted to continue. I had thought about competing as a team for years but never got around to it, so I decided this year to give it a go and try to make it work. It did and it definitely makes me grow even more as a person and as an athlete. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone again, and I believe that after this year, I will have learned and grown so much to become the best athlete I have ever been.