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Column: Trainer qualifies for national CrossFit competition

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One of my favorite things in the world is to see people passionately pursuing their dreams. What’s even more goose-bump worthy is watching people accomplish their goals earlier than expected.

Raw, unfiltered joy and pride are emotions I never tire of witnessing.

I saw those emotions recently when I met Nicole Holcomb, who owns 812 CrossFit in Columbus.


Holcomb, 27, placed second at last week’s Central East CrossFit Regional competition. The title earns her a spot in the upcoming 2014 CrossFit World Games in Carson, California.

When I talked to her on Monday, Holcomb’s well-deserved bliss was still fresh on her face.

“Three years ago, my five-year plan included opening 812 CrossFit and qualifying for the CrossFit Games,” she said. “Last weekend, I was fortunate to complete that list.”

Holcomb’s rise to the top came fast. She was introduced to CrossFit only three years ago, while on her honeymoon.

“There was a CrossFit facility across the street from the gym I was working out in, and I saw all these people flipping tires. It looked really fun,” Holcomb said. “When we got home, I looked it up and fell in love with it.”

She fell in love with it so much that she convinced her husband to open Columbus’ first CrossFit training facility.

“There was nowhere to train,” she said. “I was a part-time trainer before, so I switched all of my clients over to CrossFit, and it took off really fast.”

As a trainer and gym owner, Holcomb has an ideal setting for preparing for competition. Her days are spent doing endless repetitions of handstand push-ups, legless rope climbs and weighted one-legged squats. Her workout program incorporates Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, bodyweight movements, flexibility exercises and more. She can clean and jerk 215 pounds, bench press 250 pounds and run a mile in 6 minutes and 30 seconds.

Holcomb works out every day. Five days a week she works on strength, doing what she refers to as “farm-boy strength.” The other two days she does active recovery, meaning she completes long endurance sessions of running, rowing, biking or swimming.

Her relentless dedication has paid off, earning her a spot at the CrossFit World Games.

“This is something I’ve wanted since the first day I started doing CrossFit,” Holcomb said. “It’s something I’ve been working so hard for. It’s hard to believe that I actually did it.”

According to the CrossFit World Games website,, the July 25 event will feature the “100 fittest men and women in the world.” Those top 100 competitors earned their spots from a list of more than 200,000 athletes.

Just getting to the regional competition is a dream for most CrossFit athletes. Only 48 of 2,000 women qualify. Holcomb has earned a spot every year she has tried, finishing 12th in 2012, sixth in 2013, and second in 2014. Only the top three move on to the World Games.

“The biggest pressure was making it out of the regionals,” Holcomb said. “This is the big leagues.”

Between now and July, Holcomb plans to continue her training schedule in Columbus. She also plans to work with CrossFit Coach Doug Chapman, from HyperFitUSA/CrossFit in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Chapman also trains the Central East first place finisher, Julie Foucher.

“It will be nice to train with someone, to suffer together,” Holcomb said. “CrossFit is about friendly competitiveness. It’s nice because everyone encourages each other. We both want to do our best, but we also support each other.”

While she is proud of her personal progress, Holcomb said she gets even more joy through helping her clients reach new goals.

“I love introducing people to new and different ways to increase their work capacity and to push them to reach higher levels of fitness,” she said. “It’s so great to watch people working for new goals and doing something out of their comfort zone. It makes you grow so much because you have conquered something. I see people

take that confidence into other parts of their lives.

It’s such a great feeling to know that I can impact my client’s lives.”

812 CrossFit now has 90 members, ranging in age from 11 to a woman in her 70s.

“A lot of people see CrossFit and think they could never do it,” Holcomb said. “But everything we do can be modified. I didn’t gain my strength overnight. You just keep growing and gaining strength.”

Holcomb said the best part of CrossFit is the camaraderie.

“I love the community aspect of CrossFit,” she said. “We are all friends encouraging each other to do our best.”

Paige Harden Langenderfer is a proud lifelong resident of Columbus. A former Republic newspaper reporter, Paige is now a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She can be reached by email at

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