Clydesdale Media Podcast

We catch up with our old friend Paige Semenza to find out what the motivation is for her to come back for another season and to get back to the CrossFit Games.

0:00 Intro 
0:57 Rogue: Committing to the Season
4:59 Training & Recovering through Back Issues
8:23 Purpose & Shifting Approach
12:16 Misfit Athletics: Background & Coaching 
15:30 Shirts for Semifinals
17:47 Semifinals: Knowing the Workouts Early
21:41 Semifinals: Consistency & Confidence
28:33 Training with Makenna Enslin
33:22 Back in Knoxville 
34:59 Wrapping Up

What is Clydesdale Media Podcast?

We cover the sport of CrossFit from all angles. We talk with athletes, coaches and celebrities that compete and surround in the sport of CrossFit at all levels. We also bring you Breaking News, Human Interest Stories and report on the Methodology of CrossFit. We also use the methodology to make ourselves the fittest we can be.

I was born to kill it.

I was meant to win.

I am down and willing,

so I will find a way.

It took a minute,

now it didn't happen right away.

When it get hot in the kitchen,

you decide to stay.

That's how a winner's made.

Stick a fork in a hater on

my dinner plate.

What is going on, everybody?

Welcome to the Clydesdale Media Podcast.

We're featuring the athletes

of the 2024 CrossFit Games semifinals.

And I'm so pumped to talk to

Paige Semenza today.

What's going on, Paige?

Not much.

How are you doing?

I'm good.

I'm good.

I had a bad cold yesterday.

It's starting to go away today.

So we're in recovery mode.

All right.

So we talked like last November.


And it was right after Rogue.

And we had this conversation

about that you had to

decide what this year was

going to be for you and

either commit yes or commit no.

And you used Rogue as a barometer.

And obviously, because we're here,

you committed yes.

Yeah, I did.

Yeah, there was...

kind of a lot that happened

in my personal life since Rogue.

And it was really like,

it took a lot of figuring

out like what I wanted to do,

still stuff that can make

me pretty emotional.

So I won't get into details, but yeah,

I think this has been

honestly one of like the

clearest years I've had

mentally with training, with competing.

So there was a huge physical

setback last year with my back injury.

That was the huge question after Rogue.

you know,

being able to deadlift near

nearly 400 pounds at Rogue,

having not touched a

barbell for a long time before that,

that was kind of like, OK,

my body is still responding to training.

It still is in it.

So the physical side of it

was kind of there.

The mental side was where it was like,

you know, what is this year going to be?

What is it going to mean for me?

And through, you know, through December,

through January, February,

it was kind of figuring that out.

And just finding a different

meaning and purpose for this year,

you know, every year.

you're competing in CrossFit.

It's like, oh, we're competing again.

We're doing it again.

We're doing it again.

But it's not like that.

It's every year is different.

Every year has its own set of challenges,

its own set of rewards and losses.

And every year is different.

So it's never been the same.

And that's kind of the fun

part about it is you find a

lot of growth in

in those types of challenges,

in that unknown, in that uncertainty.

So yeah,

here we are again and feeling prepared.

Yeah, it's like, gosh, every time you talk,

I have like eight roads I

want to go down.

Whenever you're goal setting,

if you don't have the right why,

it just is never going to come, right?


And I thought that's what we

were kind of getting at

last November is you just

had to find your why for this season,

and it sounds like you have.


It's funny.

Just, you know,

yesterday I posted a story

of just going and doing a

zone two session and I

posted my playlist that I listened to.

And if I go back to last

year and I look at

playlists that were like, okay,

this is what gets me fired up.

This is what is motivating

for me right now.

This is what kind of gets me going.

The music is amazing.

a complete 180 from what I'm

listening to currently um

and it's like you just go

through different phases

right you just you get into

different likes and

dislikes and finding what

works and finding what doesn't work um

And that's kind of never ending, right?

That's just evolving as a human.

So it's kind of, you know,

just a small little example there.

But yeah, you know,

you learn a lot from last year.

You take those wins and you

build off them and you take

the losses and you use them

as lessons learned.

So it's just another year of doing that.

So last year,

one of my team members

interviewed you after one

of the events at, uh,

in Orlando and you would

kind of reveal it in that

moment that you were

dealing with a back injury and, um,

and that you were just,

you were just proud that

you were where you had a shot.



With everything that you're going through,

you go to the games and

it's your best finish ever.




Yeah, it was.


And then so that's how I got

off guard in November when you were like,

I need to take a step back

and just decide because you

have gotten better year

over year over year every

time you go to the games.


So health in the back is good now?

Yeah, it took a lot of time.

It took a lot of trial and

error figuring out what is

working and what isn't working as far as,

you know, just mechanics with movement.

I've had to kind of,

rewire my entire squat mechanics.

I ended up injuring myself

pulling a bar from the floor,

but what we've really come

to find out is that my

squatting seems to be the culprit.

I tend to be very posterior

chain dominant with my squats,

not using a ton of quads,

things like that.

So needing to sit more

upright in the squat,

not letting my shoulders

and my butt be so far away

from each other.

just so my low back wasn't

taking so much of a load from the weight.

And that's been a very slow process.

But every day I go in,

I make sure to really warm up my hips,

my back.

I sit in the bottom of a

squat daily for five

minutes or more every day.

And it's really,

really made a huge difference.

I get some physical therapy

done at least once a week.

So I really have just been

staying on top of it.

And what a difference

mentally it makes when you

can prep for semifinals the

way you're supposed to.

Being able to hit the

training pieces as they're written,

being able to hit the

volume at the right time,

and being able to do it feeling healthy.

Just mentally, it made me realize how...

like much of a dark place I

was in last year, having to, you know,

find these, you know,

having to figure out how to

train without hurting myself more.

And, you know,

just mentally and physically,

it was exhausting.

So that's why after Rogue, it was like,

I really just needed to take time to

figure out if I can get

healthy or if this was

gonna be another year of

battling this mysterious

back issue that I can't

quite seem to figure out

yet or haven't found the

solutions to yet.

So fortunately, we've been really able to

you know, figure it out.

And it's been, it's been really awesome.

It's been a lot of fun

getting to train with a

healthy body and just the right mindset.

So it's been a really good prep.

I mean, I've talked to you several times.

It just feels like there's a

weight off your shoulders this season.


You just seem different right now.

Yeah, I think a lot with my personal life.

I've had to make some changes.

I've had to make some big changes.

So I think that has a lot to do with it.


just trying to approach everything in

a way that doesn't set me back even more.

Just continuing to...

I have a note with like my

goals and you know, what are my purposes?


what is my purpose of training and

competing this year?

I have a note and I, I read that.

pretty much every day.

Um, and it just helps me get aligned with,

okay, what, what do I need to do today to,

uh, give my best, you know,

bring my best self to the day.


some days are way better than others

and I still have days that I struggle.

Um, but yeah, I,

there's been a lot personal

life wise that I have

been trying to grow through

um and just be a better

person so whether that's in

an or out of the gym uh my

back injury I think has

really coming out of that I

think um I can just see

things a lot more clearly I

can I'm a lot more

self-aware with how I approach

training how I approach

people at the gym um so

yeah it's it's been I I'd

say a good six seven months

of growth um yeah so yeah

why and I'm I'm not trying

to dive into your personal

life and I'm not I've had

12 back procedures so I

understand back pain

yeah like it is it is

debilitating it is

depressing like very in a

very bad mindset and it is

it is tough to get out and

yeah like yeah you are not

a good it's hard to be a

good person when you have

back it is and it's you

know sometimes it just takes something

to kind of snap you out of it.

So that's kind of where I was at.

I made a lot of changes with training.

I now have a great training partner,

and we train together

nearly pretty much every day.

So I've had to make some big changes.

I get up at 6 a.m.

We're in there for a good

three hours together.

Her name is McKenna Enslin.

She'll be training.

She'll be at semifinals this year as well.

So this will be her second year.

But we go to the same gym

and she's a coach there.

I'm a coach there.

We've become great friends.

She follows Misfit Athletics.

So we have...

I'd say something that's

pretty special that not a

lot of people have as far

as training partners and, you know,


So I'm grateful to have her

and she's a full-time physical therapist.

So she's in for work at 10 a.m.

Monday through Friday.

So our time to train is in the morning.

And a big change for me was

getting up to go train with her at 6 a.m.

And last year I struggled to

want to get out of bed at seven.


you know,

now I'm getting up at five consistently.

So that was a huge change.

Um, and it's been incredible.

Like I, I,

there's been no downside to it at all.

You know, that's awesome for you.


So you,

you mentioned misfits and one thing is,

you know, that's,

that's a group that's been

very loyal to you and you to them.


And when I was at the games last year,

I sat with Draw Your Dagger

and those guys, and they love you.

They're awesome.

What is that relationship with Lake,

and how much support do

they give you through the season?


So, um,

I've been with Misfits since 2018

and I remember applying for

the remote coaching

application and I put on

there that I wanted to make

the games and I had like

just signed up right before, uh,


So it was like right in for

regional prep is right after the open.

And, um,

Yeah, like it was at that time,

it was a long shot.

And I was signed up with

Gabe and Gabe was kind of

just getting out of like

the full time Misfit Athletics.

He just started a full time

job in cancer research.

He has two kids.

He has a family at home.

So I think, you know,

there's a lot of

adjustments there for him

as well when I first signed up.

And he works with our Masters athletes.

So I was his only individual at the time.


crazy enough that year I

qualified and just every

year since it's been, um,

getting to know each other

a little bit more and a

little bit more and a little bit more.


and I've developed a really great

relationship with Gabe, my coach, uh,

and with, uh, Drew and Sherb and, uh,

Jen and Ted.

And, you know, they're just,

they're this small little family and, uh,

Believe it or not,

like a lot of them have a

few of them have known each

other since high school.

So like they're in and of

themselves are very small

core group of friends

who've been doing this for a long time.

So you just kind of like.

you just either fit in or you don't,

you just get along with them or you don't,

or, you know,

that's kind of how I think

it is for any training camp.

It's like, you got to find your fit.


and I was lucky enough that the first

one was my fit.

So, um, now Gabe is like a, you know, he,

I can go to him about anything.


talk to him about more of like, you know,

personal life things and

things outside of CrossFit

than I do with CrossFit because, you know,

a lot of the outside stuff

has such an impact on what

we do in the gym.

And he was so helpful when

it came to making a lot of

these bigger transitions this past year.

So yeah,

my relationship with them has been

uh awesome it's it's I feel

just as close to them as I

do with uh our gym like my

owners here um you know

they're also just great

friends um and I would

again not many people can

say that um I also coach

for misfit athletics I'm a

remote coach um so you know

they're more than just a

training company to me they

they're people that you

know hopefully I can stick

around with for a little

while longer even when I'm done competing


a lot of people put out shirts this

time of year to get support for semis,

and you have one of the coolest.


I thought that – I think

Drew came up with the logo.

But, yeah, it's pretty sweet.

I'd say it's – I mean, maybe,

I'm just throwing it out there,

a little nod to Taylor

Swift since I think like

four of six of our athletes

are Taylor Swift fans.

I don't know.


So, yeah.

So the design is so cool with the snake.

I mean,

the snakes are the one thing I am

deathly afraid of.

It is really cool.

Yeah, I don't love them.

I definitely don't love them either.

But I think it speaks to

exactly what we're trying

to get across here.

So yeah, I'm pretty excited.

It was a decision between

white font or black.

And I was like, oh,

I don't know what to go with.

I know the white will stick out way more.

And Drew was like, yeah,

white will be more visible.

Black says you're there to

make a statement.

And I was like, okay, black it is.

So we're coming to compete.

Yeah, we're coming to compete.


Are they still available?

I don't believe so.

You can check on the website,

but I think it was just pre-sale.

So last I heard that ended on the 9th.

But I can always find out.


And they're a collector's item now.

Yeah, it is.

It is fun to see like year after year,

there's a different shirt and it's,

it's really cool when you

can walk into the gym and

almost every day,

at least one person has a

Semenza or an insulin shirt on.

So it's cool that, you know, our gym rep,

you know, supports us in that way.

And we get to represent both

our gym and Misfit athletics.

And, um,


it's a special feeling when you walk

in and you see people wearing your shirt.

So Wadzomi says,

black feels more like a tattoo,

much better.

That's a good point.

Make it permanent.

Make it stick.


So this year,

the events have been released way early.

Does that hurt training when

you know what the movements are?

No, I don't think so.

It'll be cool to see some of

the nuances figured out

with this first weekend.


the run is going to be different

for every venue.

I feel bad for this.

I think it's the Asia region,

a bunch of zigzags.

That's going to be tough.

But it'll be figure out what

the handstand walk is,

what are the little things

that we need to know ahead of time.

I'll definitely be sick of

these movements after semifinals.

So right now training is

it's still a mix and match of everything.

It's still variety,

but making sure that we hit

the stimulus of what these

workouts are going to feel like.

So I know that you said

before we got on the air

that you were out running this morning.

So did you get a chance to

see Europe or were you busy

doing your own thing?

No, I didn't watch.

We were at the gym this morning.

So I only live like five minutes away,

but I don't typically watch

any of the events or

regions going until maybe

in the evening when I'm

just kind of hanging out at home.

I don't like to get too caught up in it.



You couldn't see much

because they're not live streaming it.

So it's with like an iPhone

up in the stands.

Um, so you can,

so in Europe you can see

that the clean and jerks

and you run out the door

and you see them come back in the door.


I have a feeling that's what it'll be

like in Knoxville.

Like this is where we were back in 22.

So it is a cool venue.

I really love the feel of it.

I think it has a lot more of

like an intimate feel than Orlando had.

But I have a feeling it will

take it like outside the

venue and around.

It won't be easy to see.

Yeah, from being there a couple of years,

there's no room inside for sure.

like they can even do the as

cory put it in the chat the

dmvq line that but there

are like loading docks

right out where the finish

line is behind that okay

open up those like big

garage doors and you can go

right there okay I yeah I

don't fully remember like

what it looked like

You know,

we were only in the warm-up area.

The warm-up area was pretty small,

which is fine.

I mean,

day three will be pretty nice that

it's just individuals.

So it shouldn't be too bad.


And your cat has made his appearance.

Yeah, she has.


So, yeah, I,

I don't know if I learned

anything watching because

of what you can and can't see.


And I mean, like, you know,

you can test that workout multiple times,

but if your run is a bunch of zigzags,

obviously your, uh,

your pacings are going to be different,

you know?

So, um,

you could still get the feel of it.

You could still, you know, figure out,

you know,

where you kind of hit the

bottleneck of the workout, but.

Ultimately, you kind of have to,

it's one of those where you

got to wait and see what it looks like.


Which is fine.

Some, some women did some touch and goes,

some didn't.


Some people waited till the

last round to do the touch and go.


And that seemed to be like

what paid off more than

trying to do it earlier.


In the thing.

So that's about it.



I've talked with other

athletes that this set of

workouts are as classic

CrossFit as it gets.

You can drop them into 2015

and they still work.

Is that an advantage for you?

I don't know.

I guess we'll see.

I do like the workouts.

I don't feel like I feel

confident with all of them.

I like the,

You look at our region, it's like, okay,

our region is really, really fit.

So my goal going in is just

to finish in every event

consistently as high as I can.

So I'm not looking for...

you know if I could hit a

home run somewhere I'm I

will but I i think with our

region we have so many

well-rounded athletes that

it's it's a matter of like

how high can you finish

consistently to stay in

that top 10. um so I i do

fairly well when it comes

to consistency I i think

that's kind of like my

strong suit is I can finish

fairly consistent in most

events um so that will just

be my goal going in uh

to to land myself on as high

as I can on that

leaderboard so what blows

me away and and I'm I'm

trying not to get you to

give me the athlete answer

but I'm going to say this

what blows me away is that

you are consistent and last

year you were consistent

not a hundred percent so

yeah does that give you

confidence that now that

you are in better health

and you have had better

training that you have more

confidence going into this season?



I think last year I was still confident.


I had a really big hiccup on event two

with the ring muscle ups and the go rock.

Um, if I didn't have that hiccup,

I was pretty solidified in the top 10.

Um, and,

I'm super excited to see how

this year plays out,

knowing that I've been able

to hit training as well as I have.

I feel healthy.

I feel strong.

I feel confident.

I love that we're moving

moderately heavy barbells

for a lot of reps at a time.

You're adding and running to that.


You're adding in a ton of rope climbs,

some box jump overs.

Like I do love the

combinations that we have here.

And I've been hitting a lot

of things that are

considered weaknesses for me.

Some of them are perceived weaknesses.

Some of them are just

weaknesses in general.

So I'm really excited to see

how that plays out this year.

Um, again,

I know it is a super fit region

and it's really hard to say like, yeah,

I'm shooting for top five

or I'm shooting for top 10.

Like I'm shooting to qualify

and I have confidence that I can do that.

Um, so it's exciting.

I am excited for this year.

Uh, I also, you know,

wasn't putting a ton of

pressure on this year.


just based on how the first half had

started, um,

So, sorry,

just making sure that wasn't on.

I kind of had a lot of

uncertainty with how the

year was going to play out.

But with how it has played out, I'm ready.

I'm ready to get going.

I think what's interesting

about the season is last

year you had six people in

your semifinal.

So, like, if you hit a home run,

you could have a bad event

and it didn't hurt you as bad.


For example, Sidney Wells, right?


She wins an event, she loses an event,

but it kind of all went out

in the wash because a lot

of people fell down the leaderboard.

Now you only have 40.

So consistency becomes more important.

And every workout is so well-rounded.

Like there are no

monostructural only things.

So like it is going to favor

a consistent athlete like you, I think.

So, yep.

And it's just making sure that, you know,

I stay in it mentally.

I'm fueling properly.

You know,

I'm not an amateur when it comes

to eating and fueling for these weekends.

I know they catch up to you.

And I think a lot of us that

have experience kind of at

the games level or, you know,

multi-year semis level, you know,

having three events on the

final day is a –

I think that's going to

change the leaderboard up quite a bit.

Some people just don't

understand the stress and

what stress does to you and

how it can impact your performance.

So yeah,

I think that coming in with

experience helps.

I'll echo that with a quote

from Saxon Pancheck.

He said, Sunday is all,

are there all execution events?

and with the pressure of it

being sunday and three

events it is going to be

the veterans that should

handle that better yeah so

um you know not my first

rodeo I i tend to do better

in competition than I do in

training um I can just kind

of level up a little bit which uh

you know, is obviously an advantage.

So I'll be trying to do that

and just bring my best self.

Do you get that from being

an athlete your whole life?

I think so.

Yeah, playing division one sport,

playing ice hockey, you know,

you have your high pressure situations.

So, you know, it's experience.


hockey is a little bit different.

You're out there with a team of people.

CrossFit here,

it's you're out there on the

floor by yourself.

You know, if something goes wrong,

it's on you.

You got to correct it.

You got to figure it out.

Um, but yeah, I mean,

we've had some high level games, uh,

back in college that, you know,

there's a lot of pressure on it.

It's a lot on the line.

It's either you, you block the shot or,

you know, your season's ending.

So, um, yeah, I,

I definitely think that

sport and the experience from, you know,

my past with,

with college and high school

comes into play.

Your alma mater's had a lot

of high pressure games lately.

Hey, they're doing all right.

They are.

It's so fun.

It's so fun to see them winning.

We didn't win back when I was there.


So this will be your first

year with a training

partner on the floor with you.


And back with you.

Yeah, man,

we tried really hard to get us

both like either like, you know,

obviously I wanted to be in the top 10.

I want to be in that final

heat to start the weekend off.

But like next best thing would be like,

we're both in 11 through 20.

So we can be on the floor

for the first event together,

but it didn't quite work out that way.

which is fine, you know?

So either way, it'll be exciting.

I think now, um, you know,

last year McKenna was also

following Misfit athletics

and with my back injury, like I really,

really kind of backed off

of being around anybody.

I just, it was,

I didn't know how to handle it.

I didn't know how to, um,

approach training I didn't

know how to approach being

around other people when it

came to training like it

was just a lot and I

obviously if I could go

back I would try to change

some of those things um

because I feel like you

know I not that I let

anybody down but like you

know McKenna is still a

really good friend of mine

and I want to see her

succeed as well so um this

year uh I really

made a promise to myself

that I wouldn't kind of go

off into the dark side by myself.

Um, I wanted to be able to be here,

be present, be there for McKenna.

I want to be able to just

kind of be an example for her,

but I also want to be a

great training partner and

she's a great training partner for me.

So it's like, there's so much benefit to,

you know, sticking it out.


And I think this year,

like I've seen so much

growth in her just through

the season of training.


and it's fun to watch because obviously

a lot of the things that

she's going through, uh,

even just as her second

year are things that I've gone through,

you know,

just through the years of training and,


sometimes I smirk because I

know that she's got to

figure these things out on

her own and work through them.

And I smirk because I've had

to do that too.

Um, and it's cool to see, you know,

a young athlete like her

just have no excuses.

Like she sucks at something.

Guess what?

She's going to do it anyway.

And she's going to work on it.

Um, she is going to get frustrated and,


she's gonna figure it out afterwards.

And in those moments,

I just like to be a support.

I feel, you know,

I don't feel like I'm

obligated to do that.

But like, I want to, like,

I want to be there.

It gives me purpose.

And yeah, I, you know, as an athlete,

she has so much potential.

So it's like,

why would I not want to see her succeed?

Because like,

it's not often you can find

two athletes from the same gym.

Um, number one from the same gym,

just in general, but two,

two athletes that get along

so well that can, um,

really succeed in the sport.

So yeah.



so my next question is with someone like

that in the back and in the

warmup area and all that stuff,

will it help relax you and

make you a better athlete on the floor?

Yeah, I think so.

And I think I could say the same for her,

like, um,

we've really like,

I practice what I preach.

If I tell my athletes, my remote athletes,

like, hey,

you should be warming up on a

machine for 15 minutes.

Guess what?

I'm warming up on a machine

every single day for 15 minutes.

And none of that kind of

stuff changes when we get to semifinals.

Like all of that,

all of those small daily

habits all come into play

when you get there.

So it's like,

the warming up part of it is

this is another day this is

another training session

the upside to semi-finals

is it's either one two or

three events a day so on

the one and the two it's

like these are very light

volume days for us like

warming up for one or two

events a day is nothing you

know at the games you're

sometimes warming up for four events

And it's like, OK, well, 12 to 15 minutes,

four times in a day,

like you're adding a lot of

volume to your day.

But that's how we do it here.

And it keeps us healthy.

There's you know,

we don't have these nagging

injuries going on.

So, yeah, it's, you know,

practice what you preach

and you take your daily

habits to game day because

those are what made you fit

in the first place.

So I'm going to finish up with this.

And that is in the Western,

they're going to be in

Carson and this iconic venue that is,

you know, famous in CrossFit,

but you're going back to someplace,

you know, you know,

you've qualified there before.


Do you think it's better that,

that you can be comfortable

where you're going or is it

better to be someplace cool and iconic?

I think it depends who you

are as an athlete, you know, having like,

I think at this point,

there are a lot of athletes

who have traveled to compete, you know,

whether it was the year of sanctionals,

and you're traveling to

Brazil or France or Italy,

like wherever it was, like,

you've pretty much gotten

yourself outside of your

comfort zone at least a couple of times.

So I think as an experienced

athlete that shouldn't have much

of a factor, like going somewhere new.

I do love that we're going

back to Syndicate.

I thought the venue was great.

I thought the organization

did a really good job.

I'm staying in the same

exact Airbnb I stayed in two years ago,

which will be nice.

So yeah, I did try to,

not that I'm being superstitious about it,

but if there could be a

level of comfort in there,

you definitely want to have that.

Yeah, I love the venue at Syndicate.

I love the way the stands are elevated.

It just gives it a cool look and feel.

And it's intimate.

It feels very intimate in there.


Yeah, that's what I like about it too.

So I'm excited to go back.

Well, this is awesome.

You're one of my favorite athletes.

My kid just started playing ice hockey.


Good for you.

It's going to be a lot of trouble for you.

I like it.

Hopefully he has fun.

We will be rooting for you

hard at syndicate.

Good luck in everything.

And I hope you have a great

and rewarding season.

Hey, thanks.

I appreciate it.

Thank you to everybody in the chat.

Again, this is Clydesdale media podcast.

We're featuring the athletes

of the 2024 CrossFit game semifinals,

and we'll see everybody next time.

Thank you so much.