When CrossFit Harbor East coach and athlete Carey Taylor gives a rundown of her normal day, you wonder where she has time for sleep, let alone a life.
The CrossFiitter turned Olympic weightlifter’s alarm goes off at 5.30am. She’s in the office as COO of a financial company by 7am for an 11-12 hour day, before hitting the gym for a couple of hours of strength training. Then there’s just enough time to inhale some dinner and watch a little TV before recovery sleep at 10.30pm.
Throw in regularly coaching CFHE classes, running Industry Athletics’ Barbell Club and studying for a graduate certificate in financial management through Johns Hopkins University, and it’s a hectic week.
But it’s a schedule Carey revels in.
“That’s kind of the nice thing about being in a CrossFit community. When I’m training, even though I’m being serious about it, I also enjoy that time with my friends in the gym,” Carey said.
“When I came home from college, I still had my high school friends but they still wanted to go out and party and I was kind of over that. It was just good to find people that were also into working out and getting strong …
“And coaching keeps me close to CrossFit and to the broader gym, so it’s something that is important to me. It allows me to see the gym for more than just my personal training and socializing and provides a different perspective on the role of fitness in other peoples’ lives.”
After growing up being involved in almost every sport and activity you can imagine, Carey turned to running after college for exercise and competition but found it unfulfilling.
“I tried to make myself a half-marathoner and I feel like my body was telling me no at the ninth mile every time and I didn’t feel strong as a runner.
“So I started CrossFit. There is a team aspect to it, cheering everyone on and competing against the person beside you but also competing against yourself and trying to get something you haven’t done before.”
“I remember after the first workout thinking it wasn’t that tough and trying to take a long run home. My legs were like Jell-O and I thought ‘yea this is going to work for me’.”
After immersing herself in the gym, Carey got involved in competitive CrossFit (she was an alternate for one of CFHE’s CrossFit Games Regionals teams) before realizing too see any success it would take the kind of time and dedication she couldn’t afford.
“Shortly after I sort of fell in love with weightlifting and found out I was pretty good at it.”
So, along with boyfriend Jamie Buxton, Carey started strength training and quickly improved her snatch from 155 lbs to 185 lbs and her clean and jerk from 195 lbs to 230 lbs and entered her first Olympic lifting competition.
“We had no idea what we were doing, we didn’t even know how to convert pounds to kilograms.
“So I did that meet in 2015, I won my class and was only 4kg under qualifying for nationals and that was after not really doing any programming. That really gave me the idea that I could compete in this.”
Carey achieved her best result in March, claiming bronze in her class at The Arnold – an American Open Series event – in Columbus, Ohio, with a personal record total.
Her PRs currently sit at 197 lbs in the snatch and 237.5 lbs in the clean and jerk and she has definite goals in both, wanting to lift 95kg (209.4 lbs) in the snatch and 115kg (253.5 lbs) in the clean and jerk in competition.
“I would love to get another medal in another national series event or at any national event. I would like to get into that A session for a national event. Those A session girls are the ones trying to get to the Olympics.
“I hope all those weights are in reach in the next 2-3 years. That’s really ambitious. To add a kilo or two can take a year but I think I’ve got it in me.”
So Carey will continue her work at the Baltimore Area Strength Athletes (BASA) gym in Rosedale and mix in CrossFit WODs to reach her targets.
“I just love that feeling of a good workout. I love the act of training, not just the end goal. I love the progress you get in the gym, how I feel after a workout and progress that I can measure.”