Interview: Haley Adams Talks About Her Year Away From CrossFit Competition

Almost exactly one year ago, Haley Adams took to Instagram to announce that she was stepping away from CrossFit for the 2023 season. 

In her social media post, she stated that she had been doing CrossFit since she was 14 years old, and it was time to put herself first. She wanted to work on herself, both mentally and physically.

She also said that the 2024 comeback was going to be big.

And it starts this week. Adams is back and participating in the 2024 CrossFit Games season.

“I’m planning on competing,” Adams said on a recent episode of the Made for More podcast hosted by Reagan Davis. “I’m very excited to give it a run again, and this time in a different mindset.” 

This isn’t the same Haley; she’s older, wiser, and more in tune with herself than she has ever been. And she got to this point with a bit of help from her friends.

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Early Successes Lead to a Crossroads

In an interview with the Morning Chalk Up, Adams and new friends/training partners/coaches Hayley and Josh Murillo talked to us about Adams’ early career.

It began when Adams left her home in North Carolina in 2017 to move to Cookeville, TN, to train with the Mayhem crew. She treasured her time there.

“It definitely helped me to get to where I am at. There were people there pushing me every day, extremely like-minded people,” Adams says.

The training worked — after winning the 16-17-year-old age division in 2018, Adams began competing in the women’s individual division. In her first year in that division, she finished sixth. In her four years competing in that division, Adams has never finished lower than ninth place.

But after the 2022 CrossFit Games, Adams started to have real problems.

“I was having all these mini breakdowns, and I didn’t want to be in the gym. I was doing a ton of lifting, so my body was hurting so badly. So it was around December 2022 I had a really big moment. I thought to myself, ‘What is this? What am I doing?’ And I sat with that for a few weeks. And then, one day, I woke up in the middle of January and realized I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to do it,” Adams says.

“I remember that morning; I felt so at peace because I knew that was it. I’m going to take a year off.”

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As soon as Adams made the decision, it felt as though the weight of the world was off her back. But that didn’t make announcing it any easier.

“I was so scared to tell anyone because I was going to disappoint people.” Adams shares. “Because in my head, I believe that they only liked me for CrossFit or they were only proud of me or loved me because I did good in it.”

“I was embarrassed to tell them. I started by mentioning the idea to a few people to test the water, which is sad that I had to do that. I just wanted to see how they’re going to react.”

When Adams finally was able to tell people, she remembered it felt freeing, and it’s easy to understand why.

“I came out pretty fast in sports,” she says.So from when I started to now, I’ve just had eyes on me as I’ve grown up.” 

“It’s so hard having people constantly judge you for the way you perform and the way you look like, all when you’re 17 or 16 years old. When you’re growing up, trying to deal with all that pressure.”

A Season “Off”

Adams did many things during her time off, but one of the most important was the connection she made with Hayley and Josh Murillo, whom she met through a mutual friend. 

The ladies especially hit it off, and a friendship quickly developed. Whenever Adams was in Los Angeles, where the Murillos made their home, there would be coffee hangouts, lunches, and long chats. 

The Murillos have a roster of competitive athletes they coach in person and remotely, and the group worked out together often. 

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But for the ladies, there were no expectations. Hayley Murillo had recently given birth to her and Josh’s daughter, Rogue, in the winter of 2022, so training had a different look for both women.

It was exactly what they both needed: fitness without expectations or questions. The coach/athlete relationship began organically.

“There was a thought in the back of my mind about maybe working together because I knew if I ever wanted to compete again, I needed to change things up a little bit and have a coach and not be in a training camp,” Adams says. “I knew that Josh and Hayley were super knowledgeable and really good people.”

Hayley says their relationship evolved gradually.

“I don’t think there was a moment where Haley [Adams] said, ‘Yea, I’m going to compete,’” Hayley says. “But there wasn’t a moment where we said we were going to coach her, either.”

Josh Murillo recalls the week that it started to materialize: “I remember getting a text from Haley, saying, ‘I think I’m going to go to the gym this week.’ We told her, that’s great, good for you! And then she responded by asking, ‘Can you send me some workouts this week?’ After that was done, she said, ‘So what’s next week?’”

 “And I thought, oh, there’s next week. Okay, cool. Eventually, it just was a thing,” Josh laughs.

This “thing” is going pretty well for all involved. 

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of part 1. The second part picks up with Adams discussing her mindset in 2023 and toying with the idea of retirement from competition. 

Photo credit: Josh Murillo

The post Interview: Haley Adams Talks About Her Year Away From CrossFit Competition appeared first on BarBend.


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