SGPT Interviews StrongWoman Kelsey Nagel

By Brad McLeod 11-22-2011
SGPT Interviews Strong Woman Kelsey Nagel

Kelsey NagelSEALgrinderPT: Tell us about yourself.

Kelsey Nagel:I am 26 years old and was born and raised in Seattle, WA. I have been active my entire life playing soccer, volleyball and running track. I went to University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA for college on a soccer scholarship and then moved back to Seattle in 2007.

I found CrossFit in 2009 and haven’t looked back. I got my level one certification in summer of 2010 and bought into Lynnwood CrossFit in December of that same year. Aside from my life at the gym I work for a technology company just outside Seattle.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

KN:Yes, you could say that 🙂 I started playing soccer in 1st grade and played all the way through high school and college. I also played volleyball and participated in track all through High School. Soccer was my main sport and I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to a division one school in California, University of the Pacific. At UOP I was a four year starter and was a captain my junior and Senior years.

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SGPT: How did you get started with CrossFit and StrongMan/Woman

KN: I played soccer after my college career with a semi-pro team in California and then moved home to Seattle and was in the process of tryouts with the Semi-pro team up here when I tore the labrum in my left hop socket. I had to stop playing soccer until I had surgery…That was the last chapter of my soccer career. From there I needed to fill that competitive void and a friend approached me about this thing called CrossFit. I tried it out for a bit in our Globo Gym and stopped because I was putting on muscle in my upper body and wasn’t used to that being a soccer player.

I came back to CrossFit after my hip surgery and started off and on through summer of 2009. It wasn’t until November of 2009 that I decided to really give this a shot. After a couple weeks of training I was told that there are actually competitions for CrossFit and I was going to do my first on in January 2010 – only 2 months away. After Sectionals in 2010 I was hooked on the competition aspect of CrossFit and I haven’t looked back.

I have more of a strength bias so when strongman and powerlifting became an option I dove right into that.

SGPT: Can you tell us about some of your recent competitions and placings?

KN: I competed at the Northwest Regionals back in June and placed 7th overall. I won two events there – the two that were strength-based – shocker. In October of this year I competed in a SPF Powerlifting Meet that we hosted at Lynnwood CrossFit. I place 2nd in the CrossFit division with opting out of the bench press due to a bad shoulder. I back squatted 256 (not a PR) and PR’d my deadlift at 356. November 12th I competed in Mt. Rainier’s Strongest Man/Woman (Sumner, WA) hotsted by Rainier CrossFit and took first in my weight class. There are a few more competitions around here that I will be competing in before the Open starts in February. One on December 10th in Bellevue, WA and then we (Lynnwood CrossFit) will be hosting a two day pre-open challenge January 21st and 22nd.

SGPT: How do you typically train?

KN:I have a training partner Emily Jackson who pushes me every day. We have been programming for ourselves for the last year or so but recently I switched to have Jesse Ward program for me and I’m loving it. He has a way to program so my strengths stay strong and my weaknesses get better all while working around my ailments – Pretty impressive.

SGPT: What about diet – how do you eat and fuel yourself on
competition days?

KN:I normally bring a cooler of snacks and water. If you were to open my cooler on competition day you would find the following things. A gallon jug of water, a couple Fuji Apples, Turkey meat, an avocado, nuts, vegetables, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, Lara bars and Kill Cliffs.

SGPT: Do you take any protein supplements or post
recovery workout drinks?

KN: The most consistent thing I take would be SFH Fish oil and Kill Cliff anti-inflammatory drink. I met Matthew A. from Stronger Faster Healthier ( at the Strongman event and was immediately hooked on their liquid Fish Oil…It’s awesome.

I also take their protein powder post workout. I drink Kill CLiff all throughout the day and post workout – Besides tasting amazing, it helps fight inflammation post workout and truly makes a difference in my recovery.

SGPT: Have you had any injuries in the past and how did you deal with them in training?

KN: I tore my labrum in my hip playing soccer. After further review (MRI’s, X-rays etc) the doctors found that I have hip dysplasia…Basically shallow hip sockets. They said that they could do arthroscopic surgery and fix the torn labrum but that wouldn’t fix the cause of the tear which was the way my hip sockets were structured. So we opted to go with an Acetabular Osteotomy which is basically breaking the pelvis and shifting it over to make my hip socket deeper and bolting/screwing me back together.

I now have 3 screws in my left hip that will be with me forever. I was non-weightbearing for 3 months. I progressed from a hospital bed for a week, to a wheel chair, to a walker (yes with tennis balls on the legs), to crutches and then slowly began walking (sometimes with a cane). That is my most “major” injury, besides that I have what the normal soccer player has, bad ankles and old hamstring tears.

SGPT: Do you have any pre-competition or hard workout warmup or mental drills you perform?

KN: No. Nothing in particular. I don’t consider myself someone that needs to spend a ton of time getting “in the zone” or mentally prepared. I actually do the opposite. I try to keep the attitude light and fun. People get too serious sometimes…all you really need is a nice warm up a couple deep breaths and then its go time.

SGPT: What are you reading now?

KN: I’m working my way through the book “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf.

SGPT: Thanks for the interview Kelsey.

Kelsey Nagel: Sure thing!

About the Author:

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