Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, and the hours of practice, and the coaches who have pushed you, is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back . . . play for her

ANNÍE MIST ÞÓRISDÓTTIR first entered the CrossFit scene in 2009, when she finished eleventh at the CrossFit Games. At the 2010 Games, she took home an incredible second-place win before becoming the world’s first back-to-back female champion, claiming the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” in both 2011 and 2012. After recovering from a severe back injury in 2013, Anníe returned to the big stage and finished second at the 2014 CrossFit Games.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I mostly give books about Icelandic nature: Iceland Small World by Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson or Iceland in All Its Splendour by Unnur Jökulsdóttir, with photographs by Erlend and Orsolya Haarberg. I feel like that is such a big part of who I am and where I come from. I believe in the energy, strength, and freedom that nature gives.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
The Five-Minute Journal gives focus to each day. I got it at Urban Outfitters. And maybe the Spiralizer, too. It makes salad so much more fun and interesting to eat.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
I injured my back, bulged out disc L5-S1 in 2013, and it made me realize how much I love training and competing. I didn’t know just how important that was to me until then.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
“Dreams come true. You just have to be willing to work for them.”

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I love watching cartoons. I even go see them at the movies. They make me happy. I never get tired of Despicable Me.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
I’ve tried to stop worrying too much about the future. I focus on making the most out of every single day with the belief that it will bring me to where I want to be.

What is a favorite exercise (or a valuable one) that most CrossFitters or athletes neglect?
Lower intensity long endurance. Most CF workouts are high intensity, but we tend to forget hitting some of the other energy systems needed to build endurance and speed up recovery.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

I try to stay centered, focus on myself, and remember why I do this in the first place. My favorite quote is “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, and the hours of practice, and the coaches who have pushed you, is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back . . . play for her.”

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