Meet Dani Speegle. Most of you probably don’t know Dani. She is new to CrossFit, very new in fact. New, as in she started in September…only four months ago. Since then, she has started competing in the Orlando area and is looking forward to her first experience in the CrossFit Open.
With a 165-pound snatch only a few months into CrossFit and a gymnastics background, keep an eye out for Dani as you might see her rising up the leaderboard in the coming years.
Who is Dani Elle Speegle? Tell us a little about yourself.
The first thing that comes to mind is that I am a fierce competitor. Even a game of monopoly is a time to get serious. It runs in my family; you should see my mom watch jeopardy. I’m also a very decisive person. Once I have my mind made up about something or I’ve got a certain vision in my head I stick to it and don’t waiver from it at all. Some call it stubbornness and they would probably be right to do so. I’ve been an athlete all my life so any kind of sport or outdoor event I love to be a part of. I love being around friends and family. I would much rather spend a night in bed with Netflix or a book with chocolate milk than go out; maybe borderline antisocial (lol). I’m a huge animal lover and would happily spend all day with animals. Also a die hard Roll Tide fan.
When and how did you get started in CrossFit?
I got involved in CrossFit in early September 2015. It’s really due to a coach at my gym (CrossFit OwnIt), Asante Richards, that I got really involved into this sport. He took it upon himself to become a kind of mentor to me. He spent tons of his own personal time walking me through the basics, helping me with my technique, and so on. Mostly his job was to make sure I went home cause I would have stayed in the gym all day everyday. More importantly than what got me into CrossFit is what made me stay. The community of CrossFit as a whole is truly amazing, but there’s a special family bond at COI. The love and support everyone shows each other is like nothing I’ve seen before in any other sport community I’ve been a part of over my athletic career. Matias Rodriguez, a coach and co-owner of the gym has been a major support system and genuinely wants to see every athlete in the gym perform their best both within and outside of the gym. Asante Richards is a coach I hold a huge amount of respect for and has so much knowledge about the sport and the weightlifting portion of it for being so young. There are so many great characters at this gym and it keeps me going back day after day.
What did you do before CrossFit?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. From a very early age and through a large portion of my life I was a gymnast. For a brief period of time I tried out soccer when I was young, but my parents decided maybe it wasn’t for me when instead of defending the goal I was picking flowers on the field for my mom. I tried out diving for awhile. I did Varsity track and volleyball in high school, as well as club volleyball. My freshman year of college I was on a rowing scholarship, I did some sand volleyball, then I ventured back into track. I bounced around from sport to sport and loved every second of it all.
You won your first competition at the Festivus Games a couple months ago. What were your expectations going into the competition? How did it feel to win your first competition?
Going into that competition I was terrified. Up to that point I had been obsessed with watching CrossFit videos so I built up the competition in my head and was half convinced I would be competing against athletes like Brooke Ence and Sam Briggs. Even though everyone told me it was a beginners competition I was convinced I would come out on the other side completely defeated. The morning of, I was a complete mess. I couldn’t sit still, I asked a million questions, and I know I drove my coach crazy; It’s amazing he stayed there the entire day with me. I’ve calmed down since my first competition so my others haven’t been as bad, but I still get butterflies every time.
Obviously it was wonderful to win my first competition and it gave me the boost of confidence I needed at the time to tell myself that I could move forward in the CrossFit world. It was a major first step for me and after that I took off running full speed, head first into this sport.
What are your plans for 2016? What is your goal for the CrossFit Open?
The first plan I have is to graduate college. Then I want to devote time to Crossfit and my training. I plan to take a solid year and fill it with Crossfit and more Crossfit. As for the 2016 Open, it will be my first one so really my main goal is to survive. I want to get a feel for the competition out there and where I stack up this early in the game. In all honesty I feel as though everyone’s first open experience is a humbling one and I’m preparing myself for the harsh realization of exactly how much work and how much farther I need to go to achieve my goals in this sport.
Which CrossFit athletes do you look up to?
Brooke Ence is the first athlete that comes to mind. Her journey and her hard work and dedication to her dreams is astonishing. Also, I mean, her body….literally every Crossfitter’s dream. However, my idols are really the athletes I see everyday, and the ones who are by my side through every workout. My fitness family at CrossFit OwnIt are the ones I aspire to be like and make proud.
What does your diet look like? Do you take any supplements?
My diet is clean eating for the most part. My gym has a joke that we are Paleo-ish. We’re paleo until we’re not. I think when it comes to diet you need to keep the thought “everything in moderation” in the forefront of your mind. I don’t think it’s good to completely cut anything out of your diet. When I say that I’m talking about carbs, or sugar, or items such as that; it just causes cravings. I, myself, have completely cut out items such as fast food, and soda out of my life; things that have no place in the human body. I do take supplements, but I keep it pretty basic. I take BCAAs during and after my workouts, creatine after my workouts, and then a whey protein isolate also after my workouts. During my first month of Crossfit I was sponsored by Phyziqued Pro Fitness. That company, and it’s founder Jose Gonzalez showed me so much love and support for being a brand new athlete and I could never express enough appreciation towards them. Currently at the present time, I’m sponsored by About Time Nutrition, and I love their products. Everything is all natural and more importantly I can pronounce every word in their ingredients. Sometimes it is a good thing to go back to the basics.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the gym (hobbies, etc)?
Eating. I feel as though if I’m not in the gym I’m cooking or eating or planning a meal. I will plan my entire day around food. That’s day to day life though and if I’m out of the gym I try and enjoy the outdoors. You can find me scuba diving, enjoying some beach time, or anything involving the ocean. When I’m home with my family in Colorado you can’t keep me inside. I love to camp, ski, run with my dog, conquer 14ers, white water rafting, rock climbing, etc. When I want downtime though I’m always scrolling through Netflix or reading.
Do you have any unusual talents?
Unusual talents?-Ya nothing super cool about me.
Ok, how about some rapid fire questions…
This is where I say the Rich Froning Documentary, right? (: OK, So really anything with Bennidict Cumberbatch in it; you can absolutely say I’m obsessed. Other than that I’m a huge nerd. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games; you name it I’m all over it. My serious side however is a huge fan of V for Vendetta.
Last book you read?
I read some selected stories from a Sherlock Holmes book. Also just finished Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
Favorite TV Show?
When it comes to TV I’m a huge fan of Thursdays. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and the Big Bang Theory. I also love the Sherlock series.
What song is on repeat right now?
I have albums on repeat. Right now I got Tory Lanez, Bryson Tiller, and Hozier on repeat at the moment.
Do you have a nickname?
I’ve had several nicknames so far in life. When I was a gymnast my nickname was Dasha, which is Russian for Danielle. (My coach was from Russia). My family has called me Punkin my entire life, and when our close family friends (also from Russia) caught on they started calling me Tikva which is Russian for pumpin. My family also calls me Speeglette. Many friends and gym members nowadays call me D or DanDan or just Dan. Pretty much I’ll answer to anything.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
Snatch for lifting movements. For body weight movements it’s absolutely any handstand movement.
What was your last PR?
Snatch at 165# and back squat at 275#
Nanos or Metcons (or Inov-8)?
Favorite cheat meal?
Chipotle and pistachio ice cream
Where can people find you on social media?