Edith Bosch: Olympic Games Medals, Judo and Crossfit

From Olympic Games medals in judo to Reebok CrossFit 020 Amsterdam, Edith Bosch on her career and journey so far.

Olympic silver and two bronze, The World Championship title and many more medals, I started by asking what Edith’s judo career taught her about life: “You have a choice,” she answered.

“Always keep on wondering: where am I? What do I want? How do I feel? Reflect on what you are doing to be sure you are on the right track. It will help you to be the best version of yourself and therefore happy!”

Edith Bosch is a former Dutch Judoka, competed on the highest level possible. She is the 2005 World Champion in 70 kg category, with additional three Olympic (1x silver, 2x bronze) and several World and European Championship medals.

Athlete’s ID:

Name: Edith Bosch
Country: Netherlands
CrossFit Box: Reebok Crossfit 020
Age: 34
Coach: Erwin van Beek
Favourite exercise: Sled pull drag and Tabata
Least favourite: Snatch and handstand push ups
Favourite quote: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”

Box Chat:

Hey Edith, what was on the training plan today?

It was:

7 rounds 3 min
5 bench press #103
5 butterfly pullups
5 back squats #103
5 Ring dips
Remaining time : Farmers Walk 4 x #35
Score : 5 -4 -3-1-2- 2 dips

If we go back a bit down the line of your life as a professional athlete. How did it look like back then?

Life as an Olympic athlete was constantly trying to improve myself, every day, every hour of that day.

To give you a little insight:

6.30: Getting up, monitoring the heart beat, weigh in, preps for my weight loss training (running).

7.00: Running (20 -30 minutes).

After that: breakfast, prep for training (mostly technique or strength training), train, lunch, sleep (approx. 1,5 – 2 hours), eat again, train (judo practise) eat, sleep and repeat.

This was the basic routine. Additionally, I had meetings with my trainers, physiotherapist, nutritionist, life coach and sport physician. The rest of the time (which wasn’t much left) I tried spending it with my family and friends. This was exactly my lifestyle.

Everything revolved around being a top athlete with the goal of being the best in the world.

What’s the sweetest memory you have from that time?

There are actually two: Winning my third Olympic medal at the London Olympic Games (2012) with all my family and friends there with me. The second sweet memory is my last competition (April 2013), becoming European Team champion. With all the upcoming youngsters and the oldies together and all the people I trained with. There is no better way to say farewell.

And what was the hardest part?

The hardest part is not really having a social life, nothing is more important than sport. Constantly losing weight. Dying over and over again during practise and being in pain most of the time. (These are the things I don’t miss).

edith article_small
From Olmypic medals in Judo to weightlfiting shoes and Speed ropes

The things I do miss are winning, the kill (throwing somebody flat on his back ), the adrenaline that rushes trough your body before and during a fight… fantastic!

Many athletes after they finish their professional careers kind of don’t know what to do next. But you started with Crossfit?

Within 4 weeks after doing my last competition I participated in the program called “Survivor” (try to survive on a deserted Island with 15 people you don’t know, mind games, voting, physical challenges). I won it and lost 16 kg in 32 days (which is not healthy!). When I came back there was nothing left of me (being 1.83m, I went from 76 kg back to 60 kg.) so I had to make a choice. Stay skinny and flat, not being able to eat, or start working out and gain muscles again. The choice was easy. Working out and gain muscles in a healthy way.

How and when did you found out about Crossfit? Have you done similar training before?

I didn’t want to do judo anymore so I needed another challenge. My sponsors told me about Reebok Crossfit 020. It was brutal, nice, challenging and good to give it a try. The owner of 020, Erwin van Beek has also been a former Judoka so the transition to the box was easy.

Well easy, my first WOD, I came in and thought, how hard can this be? I mean I am seriously going to rock here. After 1 hour I was still experiencing my first official Crossfit nightmare. How was this possible?

In my case the workout was like: “Welcome overconfident dream-girl! Everybody was faster, everybody was stronger”. The movements were completely different than what I was used to. After two days I was still feeling the training and was walking around like a wooden stick (imagine what that looked like).

What made me do a workout again? The atmosphere, dying together, supporting each other. And come on! I love challenges.

Movements are totally different then what I was used to during my judo career. So almost everything was new. To make a full, deep squat took me 6 weeks.

You’re are probably very competitive. So what are the plans with Crossfit? Any competitive goals as well?

Of course, I am now training for 1.5 years and constantly making progress. I have to be realistic though and I do know that I need time to build strength as well as learn the movements. I hope to qualify for the Lowlands Throwdown in September this year. But I will start competing again when I learn all the movements. If I am doing it, I am going to do it right.

How did you mentally prepare in the past for those big competitions like the Olympics? Do you still use a similar approach today when dealing with challenging workouts or learning new movements?

Mental toughness is one of my strengths and preps for the Olympics is an ongoing process. You need to perform your best when time comes. When I start my first fight I have to be ready, there is no turning back. No fear, fight till you die and never quit. The only way to get better in Crossfit is practising movements over and over again, and going into the red zone until you drop is an absolute requirement to get better.

What about nutrition?

Nutrition has always been a big part of my life because I always had to loose weight during my judo career. Which means taking an average of 4 months to make weight in a healthy way.

edith bosch crossfit
Edith competing for Reebok CrossFit 020

When I started doing Crossfit I also tried the Paleo diet. Which didn’t work out for me. I try to eat as many veggies and protein as I can, but before and after the workout I need my carbs. I eat strict 6 days a week. And then on Saturdays I take a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. A daily menu is hard to describe as I don’t want to pay attention to what I eat all the time. Especially after keeping a meal diary for over 10 years.

Thank you Edith and good luck with your future endeavours.

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