This introverted art-school kid never thought she would eventually be involved in anything athletic, let alone be considered an athlete or as a professional in the field. Sports were the very opposite of drawing and painting…they were loud and physical and downright intimidating.
Because of how shy and awkward I felt, I never played a sport in school; I took painting classes instead. When I got older, most of my career was spent in a cubicle as a graphic designer/art director. However, after my daughter was born, I had to take a few years off, and found myself unable to get back in my field after so much time away. The first job I got coming back to the work force was as a Visual Manager for The Container Store, where I discovered how much fun it could be to do physical things like unloading trucks, climbing ladders, moving boxes, and lifting heavy things. I decided I never wanted to go back to cubicle life!
It was around that time in 2005 that I joined a gym where they offered circuit-style classes with barbells, dumbbells, and all kinds of things I had never worked with before. I asked so many questions of the trainers there that they told me to just go and get certified so I could finally have all the answers. I immediately earned certifications from the NSCA, ACSM, and ACE, started working at that same gym as a trainer, and I have been coaching ever since!
Training small groups in a circuit-style environment was how I began working in the field, but after being introduced to CrossFit and receiving my Level 1 in 2007, I was converted. Within the year, I earned my CF-L2 and opened my own affiliate, CrossFit Rx, in Atlanta, Georgia. The next year, 2009, I competed in the CrossFit Games, and came in 15th overall. In 2010, I made it to the Games again, and earned 22nd place. Three years after I opened my gym, in 2011, I made the decision to sell my gym to two of my assistant coaches and move to Virginia to partner up with Outlaw CrossFit and The Outlaw Way. During the year I was at Outlaw, I had opportunities to coach, be coached, and travel to various camps where I met a variety of other athletes and coaches who shaped my ideas (positive and negative) of what the sport needs.
I found that regardless of someone’s athletic experience, and regardless of whether they were brand new to fitness, owned a gym, or had a wall full of certifications, they NEEDED HELP LEARNING HOW TO MOVE CORRECTLY. To branch out and help more people, I began to work with more athletes via remote coaching, and have since expanded to include various services: programming design for both gyms and individuals, group coaching for general population as well as competitors, foundations coaching, nutritional counseling, and one-on-one sessions are now part of what I do every day.
I also understand that the field is constantly changing. We are always learning more about what training and nutritional protocols offer the most benefit, and I strive to stay current so I can deliver the best product possible. That’s why in 2016 I decided to further my certifications by obtaining both the CrossFit Level 3 and Level 4 Coach credentials. The journey is never over; I will always pursue continuing education via self-study, additional certifications, and mentorship opportunities….mostly, because I am a nerd about this stuff!
As a final note, I have coached, I have competed, I have made it to the Games twice and I have been around the sport long enough to be able to provide useful advice and feedback. I know each year brings stiffer competition and more daunting challenges. Want to try and get there? I can help. Just want to be a better mover and pick up your kids without hurting yourself? I can help with that, too!
- NSCA CPT
- ACSM CPT
- CrossFit Level 4 Coach (CF-L4)
- CrossFit Nutrition (2009)
- CrossFit Judges Course (2017)
For the majority of my competitions my name was ‘Laura DeMarco’. Any competitions from late 2011 until mid-2012 will have my short-term married name of ‘Nielsen’.
- 22nd place female overall in the 2010 CrossFit Games
- 15th place female overall in the 2009 CrossFit Games
- 5th place affiliate team (Outlaw CrossFit), 2012 CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals
- 1st place affiliate team (CrossFit Old Town), 2012 Capital Affiliate League Olympic Lifting Open
- 1st place affiliate team (Team Outlaw), 2011 Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge
- 1st place affiliate team (Team Outlaw), 2010 Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge
- 3rd place female, 75kg class, 2010 CrossFit/USAW Open
- 1st place for WOD #1 and 4th place overall at the CrossFit Dirty South Regional Qualifiers for the 2010 CrossFit Games.
- 1st place for WOD #1 and 3rd place overall at the CrossFit Dirty South Regional Qualifiers for the 2009 CrossFit Games.
- 1st place for female CrossFit Total at the 2008 SE Affiliate Games, as well as placing 4th female CrossFitter overall.
- January 12, 2012 – VIDEO: Leading by Example: Laura Nielsen
- August 10, 2010 – Athlete Pre-Interviews; VIDEO: [mov] [wmv]
- June 30, 2010 – All Over the Map: Alverson and DeMarco; VIDEO: [mov] [wmv]
- June, 2010 – VIDEO: CrossFit Southeast Women’s Comp by Boomer Alred
- June 30, 2010 – Tennessee Titan: The Southeast Regional; VIDEO: Southeast Qualifier, Women’s Division
- May 31, 2010 – Event Recap: Southeast Regional
- May 29, 2010 – Southeast Regional Update
- February 9, 2010 – VIDEO: 370# Deadlift, Laura DeMarco
- November 13, 2009 – Women’s Snatch Event, Heat 1
- August 22, 2009 – Robb Wolf’s Blog; Laura DeMarco: The Whole Enchilada!
- July 12, 2009 – Day 2: The Games Get Technical
- July 8, 2009 – Again Faster interview from the 2009 Dirty South Regionals; VIDEO: [mov] [wmv]
- May 8, 2009 – Southern Discomfort
- April 27, 2009 – Dirty South: Women’s Final Results
- April 25, 2009 – Dirty South: Day 1 Results