Name: Danielle Sidell
Occupation: CrossFit Athlete
“A lot of Crossfit is not about being the strongest or the most fit, it’s about who is willing to push through the pain the longest. Who can mentally endure the most, who is willing to go until they pass out. I’m betting on myself… That is what draws me to Crossfit…” -Danielle Sidell
There is no question that there is something special about Danielle when it comes to her athletic ability, but behind that raw talent is an athlete who is even stronger mentally. And that is why Danielle Sidell is a force to be reckoned with.
"You can teach someone the movements, you can coach them to be more efficient and strategic with a workout to get a better score, but when you’re standing on that line with another person, they have the same training, they have a similar game plan, they are all elite level athletes at almost the same fitness level, it comes down to who wants it more. I embrace the pain and I love it! When I die, I die on 'E'… Leaving it all in the workout."
Danielle finished the CrossFit Open in 10th place for the Central East Region after some incredible performances including a first place finish on Open Workout 14.3… but it was not love at first burpee.
"In 2012 my supervisor invited me to join him in a Crossfit workout at SPC Crossfit, in Kent Ohio. I honestly had no idea what Crossfit even was or what it was all about. I saw a clip of it on ESPN once and thought to myself ‘wow that looks stupid.’ Because I am an athlete of course I was willing to try this up and coming sport out, so I accepted his invitation. My first workout was 12.1 (7 minutes of Burpees)… why did that have to be my first workout…"
Tempted to walk out and never come back, Danielle not only pushed through those 7 minutes, but she found her passion and a team at SPC. That team went on to place second in the World at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.
In 2013 Danielle left the Central East region for Fort Lee in Virginia. She competed in the 2013 CrossFit Open while on base by submitting videos of her performances. Unfortunately Danielle was DQ’ed from the Open after not meeting competition standards on one of the movements. 2014 looks to be Danielle’s year of redemption. It’s not a question of “if”, it is simply a question of “when”.
“I was born to complete.” Says Danielle. “I want to be on that podium. I’m ready to shock the WORLD. Why not me? Why can’t I be the next Fittest Women on Earth?”
Danielle’s confidence comes from a lifetime of competition that started at a very young age.
"Right out of the gate I was a fireball, hungry and highly competitive. I have two older brothers and would compete with them every chance I could, even if it meant playing with the boys in our schools flag football program."
The praise Danielle received from beating her older brothers helped fuel her drive to compete and build her confidence. She was extremely successful in high school sports and at the collegiate level. She received a Division I scholarship from the University of Akron for cross-country and track and field and has a long list of championships won, honors received, awards, State titles, records, etc. She shares her success stories on her blog, but she also shares her moments of defeat such as her disappointing performance on CrossFit Open workout 14.4.
"During 14.4 I literally broke down. I was sucking wind after 39 calories. I, for the first time in a VERY VERY long time, let my mental self beat myself in the workout. I listened to my inner self saying 'take breaks', 'this is heavy', 'I am exhausted'…. I was telling myself every excuse in the books! I have never let myself beat myself that BAD in a workout before."
"I dunno, maybe I let the pressure get to me… Whatever the reason for my mental breakdown; it will NOT be happening again. This feeling I have in my gut, ugh, it is painful. It is heartbreaking and it is sad…. I got a taste of disappointment and I never want that taste on my tongue again. For anyone battling through a mental blockage, PLEASE, if you take anything away from this, PLEASE push through 2 more reps. When you want to stop, go harder/faster/farther!"
"Time to regain my thoughts and prepare for Tuesday. No one can afford to waste time dwelling on the past. I got this!!!!"
Everyone has bad days. It is almost impossible to be unaffected by a disappointing performance no matter what your training level. Danielle’s approach is to confront her bad days head on (often on her personal blog), work through them, and move on. She hopes this will help her learn and grow as an athlete and inspire her readers in the process.
“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.” ― John Steinbeck
Becoming an elite athlete does not just mean becoming excellent at your sport, it means becoming excellent at overcoming challenges and bouncing back from setbacks. This combination of physical and mental toughness is what helped Danielle secure herself a spot at the Central East CrossFit Regional where she hopes to qualify as an individual for the CrossFit Games.
Danielle also recently signed with the New York Rhinos and will be competing in the National Pro Fitness League (NPFL). The NPFL is the world’s first professional spectator sport comprised of co-ed teams that compete in “human performance races”. This is a dream come true for Danielle. Signing with the Rhinos and other sponsor opportunities have allowed her to quit her day job and focus 100% on her training and recovery.
Prior to signing with the Rhinos, Danielle was forced to cram all of her training into 1 ½ to 2 hour sessions after working an 8 hour day... and now she can call herself a professional athlete. It is almost scary to imagine what Danielle will become capable of now that she is able to devote 100% of her time and focus to her training. It is also incredibly impressive to realize the level of success she has achieved so far in her sport while working a 40 hour per week job.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given and the support that I receive. This is going to change my game dramatically. I will have more time to focus on the “little things”, such as mobility, flexibility, gymnastics, everything! I will no longer have to worry about working late and stress about getting to the gym at 6pm rather than 5:30pm. That will be a huge weight off my shoulders."
Danielle’s NPFL team so far is made up of elite CrossFit athletes such as Amy Mandlebaum, Shawn Ramirez, Ben Smith, Scott Panchick, and 2011/20112 World’s Fittest Woman, Annie Thorisdotter. Outside of the NPFL Annie and Danielle are opponents, but the league gives them the opportunity to compete as a team.
The NPFL season is tentatively scheduled to begin in August of 2014, one month after the CrossFit Games. Danielle will be putting everything she has into training and competing… and she couldn’t be happier about it. These opportunities not only allow her to devote more time to her training, but she sees it as an opportunity to interact with and inspire more people. Danielle thrives off of the support of her fans. Whether she is winning or losing, it is the ever watchful eyes of her fans and supporters that keeps her going.
"They are one of my biggest motivations. I love their feedback more than they’ll ever know. Being an inspiration is a dream come true."
Danielle wants to win, she wants to be standing on that podium in July, but she also wants inspire others to achieve their goals. Aside from podium finishes, Danielle’s goal is to travel, meet, and connect with the people that love CrossFit as much as she does. There’s no doubt in my mind that she will achieve whatever she conceives... and she would love nothing more than for YOU to join her on that journey...
"All focus and all drive baby! Not taking for granted a single day…. I have a lot I need to work on and not that much time to get it done. I am super excited for this next step in the season and I hope you all continue to follow my journey so we can experience it together! Stay motivated guys MUCH LOVE!!!!" –Big D
We are very proud to welcome Danielle to the Fashletics family not only as our Fashlete of the Month, but as a Fashletics Ambassador. Fashletics Ambassadors are women who embody strength and fierce determination inside and outside of the gym. Danielle's work ethic, athletic success, and especially her desire to inspire others makes her a model ambassador.