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The Breaking Muscle Podcast

Dec 26, 2017

It’s easy to look through a screen at our favorite athletes and be filled with awe and envy. We tend to tell ourselves that if only we had their genes, or their athletic upbringing, or their sponsors and coaches and facilities, we could be that badass, too. But of course, this is a gross oversimplification of the person on the other side of the glass. Everybody struggles in their own way, fights their own demons, and overcomes their own measure of adversity.

There are few stories that better illustrate this than our guest today, Carleen Mathews. From a history of substance abuse, addiction, obesity, and an eating disorder, Carleen has scratched and clawed her way to the top in CrossFit, appearing three times at the Games. Every inch of her progress has been earned, and while an injury knocked her out of the 2017 Games, it also granted her perspective and strengthened her already stalwart character.

Carleen sat down with me to discuss what she learned from this season, and the obstacles she overcame to become the elite athlete we know today. We also touch on the social stigmas surrounding female athletes, how her life experiences have shaped her coaching, and her incredible efforts to improve her community through a number of outreach programs.

Many top-level athletes end up coaching because it’s all they can do when their careers are over, but Carleen overflows with a genuine passion for her craft as a coach and love for her athletes. If you’re ever in northwest Oregon, you’ve got to stop by CrossFit St Helens and experience the community she’s helping to create.