Haley Adams’ first trip to Cookeville wasn’t a campus visit to Tennessee Tech, but a trip to train at Crossfit Mayhem, the famed training facility of four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” Rich Froning.
Adams, ’23 biology, is a North Carolina native who has made a name for herself in the sport of Crossfit and earned the title of Fittest Teen on Earth in 2018 and 6th Fittest Woman on Earth in 2019. As she prepares for the 2020 Crossfit Games, she is also navigating life as a college freshman.
“Choosing to come to college as an athlete was important to me,” Adams said. “I think it’s important to push yourself outside of, for me personally, Crossfit. Furthering my education does that for me.”
After spending some time in Cookeville training with Froning, who is also a Tech alumnus, Adams knew Tech was the right fit for her future.
“I knew that I wanted to stay here, and Tennessee Tech fit all of the checklists that I needed for school, so I knew it was a great fit for me,” Adams said. “I really liked how nice the campus was and how close it was to everything and how convenient it would be for me to be able to train and then get back to school pretty fast. All around, it really is just a great campus.”
After spending seven years as a gymnast and playing any and every sport she could get into, Adams tried Crossfit for the first time during her freshman year of high school, quickly finding her pace in the sport and “falling in love with it.”
“I love that it’s constantly varied,” she said. “It’s something new every day. I’m constantly challenging myself. It never gets easier. It always keeps me wanting to work hard.
“I plan to continue competing for as long as possible, as long as my body will hold up, as long as it’s healthy and I’m happy.”
Mixed in with her busy training schedule that has her working out twice a day for two to three hours at a time, Adams often starts her day with a quick walk from her campus dorm over to the pool in the campus fitness center. As a full-time student as well, she makes time for classes, studying and connecting with other students.
“I get asked all the time how I balance it all, keeping up with training and nutrition and being a student,” Adams said. “For me, it is really about routine and time management.
“My friends from the gym, they’re basically like my family. Even when I’m homesick, I have them. They’re like my big sisters and big brothers, so they take care of me. But then I’ve also made new friends (on campus) that I’ve become really close with and eat lunch with them every day and just hang out with them later, which is nice to have friends to talk about things other than just Crossfit.
“That’s been super helpful for me, being a normal kid for once.”
As for her studies, Adams know her interest in human science and a biology degree will be a combination that will help move her in the direction of her future.
“I decided to major in biology because I enjoy human science,” she said. “I know that if I decide to go into the medical field or something in nutrition, it will help me.”