by Lauryn Lax
“Raw talent” is not taught. It’s born.
Michael Jordan was born to slam dunk.
J.K. Rowling was born to write.
Rich Froning was born to CrossFit.
And TFG Pro Female leader, Bethany Branham, was apparently born for the sport of fitness too.
Branham, 23, has only been CrossFitting for about a year-and-a-half, but with a first place finish at Wodapoolza in Miami (Women’s RX division), a fourth place finish at TFG, and fourth place finish at the South Regional, Branham may have found her natural gift.
“No matter what I do, I give 110-percent,” the small-town girl from Hutto said.
Like many greats in the sport of fitness, Branham grew up doing gymnastics. When she retired her 8-year career, it was on to triathlons, then half-marathons, and then body building.
“My varied training background really allowed me to dabble in all components of CrossFit—gymnastics skills, endurance and some strength training. I was secretly training for the Games…and didn’t even know it,” she said.
Branham admitted she was skeptical though.
“I thought everyone gets hurt. When I was a gymnast I suffered from a back injury and all eight doctors I saw couldn’t figure out was wrong, so I’ve always been super cautious,” she said—this after deadlifting 255 lbs. for a total of 36 reps.
It didn’t take Branham long to realize that CrossFit was where she belonged—a much-needed change, mentally and physically from the body building scene.
“I competed in physique and figure, but even though it was a lot of hard work, I never felt completely fulfilled. I was always worrying about what I could or couldn’t eat, it really was just a beauty pageant with muscles,” she said.
What would new Bethany say to her old self—or other girls, fearful of “bulking up” or getting the CrossFit body?
“Make the switch! Just do it. It’s so much better! It’s a way better fit and you’re going to get more holistically than body building [or just working out to look a certain way] does,” she said.
Branham has the opportunity to inspire others to love the skin they are in as a personal trainer, and budding athlete herself—training approximately 4-hours per day most days of the week under the guidance of veteran CrossFit Games athlete Jenn Jones-Astle. Jones-Astle programs Branham’s weekly training run-down, as well as occasionally hosts training weeks for Branham at her home box, CrossFit Eado in Houston.
So what’s next for Branham?
“I am just trying to stay present right where I am at, but the Games is definitely where I want to go…then, of course having a family and opening up my own gym—every CrossFitter’s dream, right?” she said.