Few people can say they have successfully built a career on working out.
But in Camille Leblanc-Bazinet’s case, being able to lift heavy, swim fast, and climb ropes isn’t just her job, it’s her claim to fame. And this time last year, her untouchable physical ability took her all the way to the top of the CrossFit Games in Carson, California, a feat that earned her the coveted title of Fittest Woman on Earth.
Sure, she can back squat a max of 310 pounds, and her personal best for pull-ups is a jaw-dropping 80 reps. But once we got to know her, it was more than her benchmarks in the gym, or her notoriety in the world of fitness that made us put Camille on our cover. What floored us about this athlete was her insatiable appetite to win, her refusal to fail, and her damn-unbreakable determination to never give up. And with the 2015 CrossFit Games right around the corner, Camille is as hungry as ever.
SFM: What does it feel like to compete in the Games?
CLB: We compete at multiple locations, so each location has its own theme and ambience. Last year we had a workout at the beach, free and open to the public. It feels like an exhibition. There were thousands of people on the pier cheering us on. I felt like a Baywatch girl.
SFM: Why do you think people love to watch CrossFit?
CLB: Since I started, I’ve been to the games every year and I always wondered why people would pay to watch us train. Why would someone want to watch me do push-ups and air squats? But now I realize that people are impressed by athletics, and the Games are a place where you can see people who are able to achieve almost any physical task. They can lift a maximum load, but also walk on their hands.
SFM: What was the most challenging part of the day for you last year?
CLB: The hardest for me was the Triple 3 (a 3,000 mile row, 300 double-unders and a 3-mile run). It was just painful.
SFM: What is something that CrossFit has taught you about yourself?
CLB: Don’t be self-centered; be open-minded. Use as much help as you can get. The kind of support and community that CrossFit has will make you way better than you thought you could become on your own.
SFM: How has CrossFit changed your perception of health and fitness?
CLB: I used to train pretty much by myself. I used to do the whole abs, superset workout, then run forever thing just to be skinny and have abs. I wish I knew then that to have abs, you have to lift heavy weights.
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SFM: How do you feel about being a famous athlete?
CLB: It was never my goal to have people know me and talk about me, I was just doing my thing and following my own path to reach my goal. Now that I see that I affect people, I really embrace that role and try to give information about health and fitness, and have a positive mental attitude. Being famous isn’t what I like. What I like is that I can help people.
SFM: What does it take to be a champion?
CLB: You have to be relentless and always hungry for more. People think that just showing up and doing the work will be enough, but it’s not. You have to be smart and willing to do things others are not.
Read the extended interview with Camille and get the photos and descriptions for the Crossfit workout below in the July/August issue of STRONG Fitness Magazine.
Written by Kirstyn Brown, Editor-in-Chief | Photography by Paul Buceta