Annie Sakamoto: The Spirit of CrossFit
Ann Marie Sakamoto: The Spirit of CrossFit
The spirit of crossfit is one of the most powerful forces in our society today. A force which has been able to inspire people all over the world to become better versions of themselves through training, competition and self-improvement. Ann Marie Sakamoto is a person who embodies this spirit.
She is an athlete, a competitor and she’s also a wife and mother to her two children. All these things are reflected in her work ethic, determination and dedication to excellence.
Her passion for fitness started at a very young age when she would practice gymnastics with her family. At the time, it was something that she enjoyed doing because it helped keep her fit and strong. After high school, Ann Marie decided to pursue a degree in Exercise Science so that she could continue competing in sports such as gymnastics and figure skating.
Her first experience with competitive bodybuilding came later during college where she competed in bikini contests as well as local shows. This was all done on the side though as her main focus during this time was completing her degree.
After graduating college in 2009, Ann decided to take her love of fitness one step further by becoming a personal trainer. She also became involved with CrossFit and fell in love with the intensity and competitiveness of these classes. All this hard work and dedication would pay off three years later when she made her debut as a competitive CrossFit athlete at the 2013 SoCal Regionals.
From there her popularity as a competitor and coach continued to grow which led to the development of her own fitness app called “Building with Sako.”
Her success as an athlete also lead to several sponsorships from companies such as Reebok, Adidas, MuscleTech and many more. Outside of competing herself, Ann has also shared her knowledge of fitness and training by becoming a CrossFit coach. Her specialties include coaching Olympic weightlifting, running technique, and gymnastics.
She also has her own online website where she gives tips and diet plans to help keep her fans and followers in peak physical condition.
As Ann continues to grow as an athlete, CrossFitter, coach and role model, her future is looking very bright indeed. Her positive attitude and love for the sport of fitness is a great asset to the community as a whole. Her accomplishments have earned her the respect of her peers and CrossFit fans all over the world.
For many people, the word “discipline” often carries a negative connotation. It makes people think of the strict and often unreasonable rules imposed by a demanding authority figure. However, this is certainly not the case when it comes to Ann Sakamoto.
The word “discipline” in her case could more fittingly be replaced by the word “Purpose” because she has clearly found hers.
Her story is an inspiration for all those looking to get fit and stay fit. Her physical accomplishments are indeed impressive, but more than that, her work ethic and attitude are something everyone should strive towards.
Annie sets a great example of what it means to be physically fit. Not only is she in peak physical condition herself, but she has also taken it upon herself to help others get there as well. The Annie Sakamoto we see competing today is the product of years of hard work and dedication in the gym, but her success didn’t happen over night.
It took years of long and grueling workouts to transform herself from a normal teenager into the fittest woman on earth.
“I never thought I could do it.”
When she first started, she didn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. As a teenager, she was quiet and introverted. A lot of her self esteem came from how others perceived her, and she didn’t feel like others saw her as athletic.
However, as time went on Ann realized that regardless of what others thought of her, she had to be the one to set her own limits.
In addition to struggling with a lack of confidence in herself, Ann also dealt with many health problems during her high school years. When she was 16, she was diagnosed with sleep apnea and needed to get a CPAP machine (a device that provides positive airway pressure to patients with sleep disordered breathing) in order to breathe at night. She also suffered from stomach pains which turned out to be a result of an ulcer.
At the time, she didn’t know what was causing these medical issues and would often become discouraged by them. But, as she started to get into fitness, she slowly realized that if she took better care of her body, then it would respond better. Her ulcer went away and her sleep apnea disappeared.
“I wanted to be a better version of myself.”
Ann’s passion for health and fitness truly began when she was in university. As a kinesiology student, she had to take an introduction to biology course. The class was more focused on the subject than any of the classes she had taken previously and it peaked her interest.
From there, she started to take every biology related course she could.
In addition to her interest in biology, she was also starting to develop an interest in personal fitness. During high school, Ann had taken a gymnastics class and was interested in trying out other sports. Previously, Ann’s knowledge of working out mainly consisted of doing sit-ups and push-ups.
However, once she got to university, she started to learn about the many different types of exercise that are available.
Ann took many exercise classes such as kick boxing and aerobics. Her favorite types of classes were the ones that included a lot of cardio. During this time, Ann started to become more confident in herself and no longer focused on what others thought of her.
Instead, she was more concerned with improving herself and her body.
“I started to feel like being active was making me happier, rather than just fitting activity into my schedule.”
Ann’s university also had a climbing wall in their athletic center. She had tried it once before while visiting her brother and had a lot of fun. So, when she finally joined the campus rec center, she made sure to check if the wall was open.
When she got there, the place was empty and she got right to work.
While scaling the wall, Ann felt a sense of contentment that she hadn’t felt in a long time. During her first year of university, she had been so concerned with her classes and fitting a social life into her schedule that she didn’t have much time to herself. Having the climbing wall at her disposal was a blessing since it allowed her to take time out for herself to do something she enjoyed.
After an hour or two at the wall, Ann felt a great sense of accomplishment. She had worked hard and climbed to the top of the wall without any assistance. As she wiped off her hands, she looked over at the wall again.
It was tall.
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The first thing that surprised Ann when she stood in front of the wall, was how tall it actually was. While she knew it was going to be taller than the last one she had climbed, this one seemed to almost reach the ceiling of the gymnasium. The holds were also larger which made it appear even more daunting.
Ann had joined the campus rec center so that she could practice at the climbing wall whenever she wanted. So, she had the entire place to herself. Since there was no one around to encourage her, she decided to rely on self-encouragement instead.
As she starting climbing, she could feel her hands starting to sweat. Ann had never been a very athletic person, so keeping her balance on the wall was difficult at first. The first couple of times she fell off, but after some practice she was able to complete a few circuits without falling.
After a while, Ann felt comfortable enough to climb a little higher than before. She still hadn’t tried the very top of the wall, since she was still a little afraid of falling. As she climbed higher on this visit though, she saw that there were small groves for fingers and toes that she hadn’t noticed before.
With these, she was able to climb almost to the top.
With each visit, Ann felt herself getting better at climbing. She was able to do more laps and climbed higher on the wall than she had before. As the weeks passed by, she noticed that her stamina was increasing and she could climb for longer periods of time.
During the first couple of weeks, Ann had told herself that she was going to climb this wall no matter how long it took her. However, some of the other girls on her floor had invited her to go out with them on Friday, so she decided that if she hadn’t climbed the wall by then, then she would treat herself to a nice dinner at a restaurant in town.
Ann couldn’t keep track of the number of times she had scaled the wall. She knew it was at least twenty, but it might have been more than that. Every time she went, she would attempt to climb a little higher than before.
Her hands were starting to feel stronger and she knew that she was going to reach the top before the month was over.
She didn’t even realize that she had been climbing for an hour when she felt her right hand slip off a hold. She immediately grabbed for another one, but couldn’t find anything to get a good grip on. For half a second her feet just dangled in mid-air, but she managed to swing them over to the right and find a foothold that she normally wouldn’t be able to reach.
Ann started laughing. She had been so focused on climbing higher that she had forgotten to make sure that her hands and feet were securely placed before moving to another hold. This lapse in judgment could have cost her everything, but instead resulted in a amusing moment of panic.
Her laughter brought a broad smile to her face. She hadn’t done that in a while. After months of suffering through endless exams, grueling practice sessions and stressful training, she had finally learned how to have fun again.
After this moment of self-realization, Ann decided that there was no way she was going to climb down and immediately head back to campus. She would stay and climb this wall as many times as it took her.
With that goal in mind, Ann immediately attempted to climb back up, but stopped just short of grabbing the first handhold. Instead, she looked at the wall with new eyes. It wasn’t just a wall anymore, it had become something personal.
Something that was standing between her and something that she wanted.
The problem wasn’t the challenge of the climb or even the height. It was one stupid hold on the thirty-fourth floor that had Ann frozen in place. It was stupid, childish even.
If she couldn’t get past it now, then what would happen when she faced other challenges in her life?
Ann took a deep breath and looked at the problem again. There were holds everywhere. Some of them were just a little bit too far to the left or right for her to reach, but there were plenty that she could get. All she had to do was figure out the best way to reach them.
It took her nearly an hour, but Ann finally found a combination of hand-and footholds that worked. Once she had successfully made it past the first hold, the rest of the climb came easily to her. It was still nearly five hours before she reached the roof, but it didn’t matter because she wasn’t distracted by thoughts of failure anymore.
When she pulled herself onto the roof, Ann felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Nothing like this had ever been possible in her old life and it was all because she took a chance and tried something new. She had climbed farther, faster and more efficiently than others who were accepted into the Black Hooks.
If anything, this proved that she had made the right choice.
Ann looked down at her hands once she was on the roof. They were raw and bruised, but she had expected as much. The fun wasn’t even in the climbing for her anymore, it was in proving to herself that she could do it.
With one goal accomplished, Ann looked around to see what else she could practice on while she was here. The building was an old abandoned warehouse and there wasn’t much up here. Mostly just empty skylights and ventilation ducts.
The only thing that looked climbable was a metal ladder that led down from the roof. Ann frowned when she saw it. It just looked like a simpler version of the wall she had just climbed, but she knew that if she could solve one, then she could solve the other.
With a new goal in mind, Ann walked over to the metal ladder and grabbed the bottom rung. Just like the wall, each rung was a handhold that would help her climb down. All she had to do was figure out the right way to approach the challenge.
She spent the next four hours climbing up and down the ladder from various starting points until she found one that worked for her. From there it was just a matter of refining her technique until she was able to climb down in a single minute.
When she was satisfied with her time, Ann headed back to the ground and returned home. Her goal had always been to join the Black Hooks, but now she had a new goal. She was going to be the best climber in all of Klyton because when she did, people were going to have to take notice.
The Black Hooks especially if she wanted to join them.
She was going to show them all that she could be more than just some cute girl that they would pester for dates.
Her mother certainly hoped so otherwise Ann would probably get herself killed trying to prove it.
With her new goal in mind, Ann spent every day after school and all day on weekends practicing her climbing skills. If it could be climbed, then Ann could climb it by the time she entered middle school.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Inside the Box: How CrossFit® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body (JC Herz – 2015 – Harmony)
- Bulky but Still Beautiful: Representations of Healthy Femininity in the CrossFit Narrative (TJ Murphy – 2012 – books.google.com)