Erin LaVoie is a world class athlete in Lumberjack Sports. She is a 3 time “Iron Jill” World Champ, she set 2 world records in the underhand chop and she is a 2 time medal winner in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, on top of all that she was also in the Guinness Book of World Records for most Christmas Trees cut down in 2 minutes. She is also a CrossFit athlete and co-owner of Predation CrossFit.
You may have seen Lumberjack Sports on ESPN before but if not we will give you a quick rundown on what they are. Lumberjack Sports are competitions held where the lumberjacks compete in various events sawing and chopping wood for time as well as log rolling, axe throwing, pole climbing and other events. Needless to say Erin can more than hold her own with the big burly lumberjack men and women. She sat down to talk with us.
How did you get started in Lumberjack Sports?
I was going to school for Forestry at Spokane Community College. They had a team there (SCC Gyppos) that practiced right down the hall from my classes. It looked interesting and I had to try it out, so I did. I had my first collegiate competition 5 days after I joined the team, also after I swung an axe for the first time. I put in hours and hours of training – I don’t like to suck at things. I placed in all of my events at the comp. and just had a blast. That was the last collegiate competition for the year, but the Professional circuit was just getting started. Myself and a few other guys from the team went to several of these over the summer. I was just good at it. I started placing quite a bit, then was invited to The IronJill Championships in Lufkin, TX. Here, I started to make a name for myself. I started attending more and more competitions – was invited to several other Championships – the ball was rolling, and I hung on.
Do you prefer to be called a lumberjack or lumberjill?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I like Lumberjack because it is called Lumberjack Sports, and traditionally that is correct. But then again, I am a girl so……. Can I go undecided? I think either one is badass.
What are your favorite and least favorite events?
My favorite event is definitely the Underhand Chop. This is where you stand on top of a log, chop half way through, spin around real fast and finish it on the backside. I love the talent it takes. Strength, Endurance, technique, coordination, Power, and definitely accuracy. I have picked up a few toes for people – Yuck!! Because of all the talent it takes, I don’t need to look like a beast to win. It is also a fantastic feeling to pull on that axe and with clean lines just smash into a piece of fresh wood. Beautiful – Oh I love it!!
Second favorite is Log Rolling. I feel bad if I don’t give props to this event as well. There are two people on a log in the water, and a middle line you cannot cross. The last man standing after best of 3 or 5 matches is your winner. Since I started CF, my legs have become so much stronger. I have more control of the log now. I can feel when people try to roll it on me, I hit the breaks, then I can actually roll it back on them. Meaning I spin it as hard and fast as I can and throw them in the drink. I win!
My not so favorite event would be the axe throw. Oh my gosh, my nerves get me on this one nearly every time. I can throw bulls-eyes all day long in my backyard. Once I hit a competition it is an entirely different story. This really is the easiest event, but for some reason I just cant handle the pressure.
*The video below is of Erin setting the world record for cutting down Christmas Trees in 2 minutes. Erin doesn’t start until about the 3 minute mark but it is good to watch the whole video to compare her to the first competitor.
[youtube width=”615″ height=”500″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4oJqoE8GYY[/youtube]
Tell us about winning a medal in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games.
It was pretty freaking Awesome! That was one of the best competitions I have been to. I love the cameras, the people, and the competitors. Every spot was earned, so the field was great. If you won – You won. And you still had beers with everybody after it was over.
This was prior to CF. If it had been after, oh I would have crushed it. However, it was still such a great time. I was fairly new and they didn’t see it coming. I trained hard – so hard, and I saw it coming.
We must ask, where do you keep the medal?
I have it hanging up in the box. And I look at it everyday.
What made you get started in CrossFit?
I started CF through a friend at the time. It took me a while to really understand what the heck it was – Fran what? But I liked what it did to me. I will always remember my first 12 minutes of hell. As many KBS as I can do, then take a 200 m. jog, for 12 minutes. I started with a 25 pound bell (named Sweet Pea) and I completely blacked out 14 swings in. I have worked out 5-6 days a week in a gym, sometimes twice a day, for nearly my entire teen/adult life. I remember standing there doubled over, waiting for my sight and hearing to come back, thinking “damn I have wasted so much time and money – WOW”. That was it, I was sold. That friend became my boyfriend, and now my fiancé. We started working out in our garage. Soon friends came over to join the fun. The garage got small, so we got a bigger one. That’s when Chance and I thought – I’ve always wanted to own something, let’s do this thing. So we stated Predation CrossFit.
How has CrossFit affected your Lumberjack Sports performance?
I have always been a “go get em’ type”. I mean I trained really hard because I don’t like to lose. But after starting CF, things seem well I guess Easy now. My events are over before I know it. I stand up and walk away ready for the next thing, like nothing even just happened. I feel so much stronger and more powerful now. I have much more endurance. And it all came from not just getting stronger, but learning how to manage my body better, and being more efficient with everything.[youtube width=”614″ height=”500″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVq5xHaBpTQ[/youtube]
Do you ever get worried that the other lumberjacks/jills might start CrossFitting to level the playing field?
Sometimes I wish they would. That’s mean, but seriously CF is so good for everybody. I say bring it on. Just means I will have to train harder and I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.
Favorite and least favorite CrossFit exercises?
I pretty much love everything. Well…. except pistols. I am pretty good at them, but they tear up my back. I need better flexibility before I get after those guys again – if ever. But really though, I always work the things I hate or am not good at, and I start to like them. Besides when you know everybody else hates things such as Burpees and Thrusters, it only makes sense to like them, get after them, and crush everybody who is standing around crying about it.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are working out?
Ha. I actually made a play list for the Open last year. And I’m laughing that I’m going to tell you.
Ride to California, Paper tongues – Let’s Go, Trick Daddy feat. Twista and Lil Jon – Can’t be touched, Roy Jones Jr. – Diamond Eyes, Shinedown – Flower, Moby. This year Mercy, Kanye will definitely be on my list.
During wods though, I usually have it on Eminem, or Nicki Minaj stations from Pandora. I have to fast-forward the real nasty songs though – Some of them are just wrong.
But Don’t go judging me now. Outside the box, or just when I’m cleaning or stretching I love country. Old country. Johnny Cash station is good. Its just that beat when I workout that carries me through when I need it.
We all have at least one, what is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
I would rock my ass off to all of my songs. I don’t care. I could probably get rid of Brooke Hogan’s “Rough me up” though. Where’d that come from?
Tell us what your diet looks like.
I won’t pretend – I love the idea of Paleo, but I have a very hard time doing it. I rebel so hard every time, so I stopped trying. I hate my workouts if I don’t eat clean. It‘s so true that you can’t out train a poor diet, and the day is just sluggish and lame. Nobody has time for that. So, I do eat really clean, however I do enjoy a treat every now and then, and I do love to go out for drinks with my friends.
Breakfast: A lot of bacon and eggs, with some fruit or avocado. Or just left overs.
Lunch ish: Love salads with at least 12 different things in them and canned fish on top.
Dinner: Some kind of animal with lots of nice veggies.
List the top 10 foods we would find in your kitchen:
- I always have a ton of nice veggies in stock. The more random ones are fun. Fruit-wise I like grapefruit or bananas.
- Canned Stealhead (we catch them and can them, delicious).
- Elk meat (that I shot), Meat, Meat, Meat.
- Soda water.
- Nuts for sure.
- Almond milk – kind of my go-to sweet snack.
- Dark chocolate.
- We have two coffee makers – Keurig, and Nespresso. Love coffee.
- Yogurt – its so easy when I’m running late. Which is almost always.
- Guinness – I don’t get to drink it often, but it better be in the fridge.
Favorite cheat food?
Definitely carrot cake. I can crush some carrot cake. And sometimes red velvet muffins.
Do you take any supplements?
Just fish oil when I go off the deep end. And Progenex after a workout, or if I am traveling and can’t get some good food into me.
What does the future hold for you?
Who knows. I guarantee though, that I will have a blast, and I will do everything I can – Because I can.