Just when you think you're tough enough


Sheila Barden raises the bar for CrossFit Games 2016

Sheila Barden, who trains at CrossFit Kinesis in Gretna, is preparing for the CrossFit Games next month in California. (Eric Taylor)
Sheila Barden, who trains at CrossFit Kinesis in Gretna, is preparing for the CrossFit Games next month in California. (Eric Taylor)

You gotta believe it to win it, and that couldn’t be more true for Sheila Barden.

“I think as an athlete, I went through a switch. I went from thinking to believing.”

Sheila Barden didn’t just believe she was going to win the Central Regional CrossFit title last month in Columbus, Ohio — she knew she was going to win. Training at CrossFit Kinesis in Gretna, Barden took home the top spot in the women’s open division at the regional event and qualified for the Reebok CrossFit Games July 19-24 in Carson, Calif.

It was the first regional title for the 28-year old from Omaha as she will be making her second trip to the CrossFit Games.

“I set a goal in January that I just wanted to qualify for the games. Then at the end of the Open qualifying period, I told myself I was going to win the regional,” Barden said.

“About three weeks before regionals, I texted my coach and said I will win regionals. Then I looked at Kyle [Kasperbauer, founder of CrossFit Kinesis] and told him the same thing.”

Barden’s prophecy proved true as she earned a one-point victory in the regionals.

“I did the bare minimum of what I needed to make sure I won,” she said. “If I would have needed more, I would have done more. But I wanted to save my body.”

She’s saving her body for what lies ahead next month in California. She will be going against 39 of the top female CrossFit athletes in the world. The women’s open division ranges in ages from 18 to 39.

“These are amazing athletes and people. I’ve become friends with many of my competitors, but when we’re out there competing, it’s war,” Barden said.

Barden finished 25th in her only other CrossFit Games appearance in 2014, but she says that experience has been a learning tool for her.

She got the motivation from watching a CrossFit competition on television.

“I was sitting there with my husband and I told him there was no reason those girls should be on TV and not me because I could do everything they were doing,” she said. “They made it look so easy. Of course when I started, I found out it was much more difficult.”

Barden’s fully committed as an athlete. She trains five days a week for roughly nine hours a day in the gym. She’ll spend another day doing more low-key exercises like swimming, running and rowing and on the seventh day, she’ll rest.

Read more at Omaha.com