News | August 26, 2021

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Student’s quick rise to top CrossFit athlete inspires others

When she decided to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, Blaise Betten found more than a path to a bachelor’s degree.

She found her passion for CrossFit, and Betten hopes her degree in health science and minor in entrepreneurship will help her take that fitness passion down a future career path.

Photo shows FGCU student
A junior health science major who’s minoring in entrepreneurship, Blaise Betten is already a social-media influencer and hopes to own and operate her own fitness facility in the future. Photos submitted.

A form of high-intensity interval training, including movements such as squatting, pushing and pulling, CrossFit has quickly proven to be the perfect match for Betten. This summer, Betten competed in the Spartan Race in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and placed first out of 93 athletes in her female 18-24 age group, and second overall in a 956-woman field.

Most impressive: It has only been one year since Betten began her CrossFit journey.

She has always been athletic, competing on the swimming and basketball teams all four years at Pasco High School in Central Florida. “I’m someone who is never satisfied, and I find that to be a good thing because that means I’m always trying to do better,” Betten said.

Now a junior at FGCU, she transferred to the university in fall 2020. “I wouldn’t have started CrossFit if I didn’t move down here,” said the Lakeland native. Her cousin, who lives in the Naples area, invited her one day to CrossFit training and has become her biggest inspiration since.

Betten is looking forward to two more competitions this year: the Vanguard scheduled Oct. 9-10 in Lakeland, and another Spartan race Dec. 11 in Lake Placid, Florida.

Off to a fast start

Betten loves to train in the mornings, saying, “It gets my day started and leaves me feeling productive for the rest of the day.”

She warms up to music.  “I know I’m in the zone when the movements start to flow, and I have the drive to just get the workout done,” Betten said. “I’m always constantly trying to improve and strengthen.”

She usually trains for two to 2 1/2 hours. This includes strength drills such as one or two conditioning exercises in the form of EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) workouts, in which the goal is to complete a certain number of reps of a particular exercise within 60 seconds. Body-building work follows, and lastly, stretching.

Betten maintains the same routine until the day before a competition, when she cuts back to a light workout.

Photo shows FGCU student
Betten beat 92 other women in the 18-24 age group and placed second overall among almost 1,000 female competitors at the Spartan Race in Colorado earlier this summer.

She’s already in the endorsement-influencer arena on social media as a user of 1st Phorm fitness products. Betten has codes linked on her Instagram for those who want to try out these supplementation products, which are geared toward competitive athletes. The company espouses 12 core values, which include such tips to life success as leading by example, being disciplined, accepting responsibility and taking initiative.

“1st Phorm is a brand I really trust and stand by. When it comes to supplementation, I always recommend them,” Betten said. She uses her platform to “teach others about proper recovery surrounding training and how to continue a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym.”

The health science application to her passion is obvious, but Betten also plans to tie in knowledge and experience from her minor in entrepreneurship and someday open a fitness center. Until then, she knows that she can help others as a social-media influencer.

“I definitely want my social media to grow in the right way,” Betten said. “I know I am a resource for people, and I want to show how beneficial it is to have a passion. It is more about the journey than the destination.”

Inspiring others

On that journey, Betten likes to take things day by day. “I try not to think about tomorrow because it hasn’t happened yet,” she said. “I know I am in control, and I trust myself with that.”

So much in control that she inspires two peers near and dear: her roommates.

“Blaise has taught me so much,” said Hannah Foley, a sophomore in business management. “The biggest thing that Blaise has taught me is to have an open mind; Blaise goes into almost every situation with an open mind, and that’s something I really admire about her.”

Foley says she’s inspired by Betten’s dedication to a healthy lifestyle, as is another roomie, Karli Fratina, a sophomore in communication. Fratina was inspired by Betten’s CrossFit journey to start on her own fitness path with OrangeTheory, similar to CrossFit as a form of high-intensity training with a one-hour, full-body workout focused on endurance, strength and power.

“I appreciate (Betten’s) discipline and determination,” Fratina said. “She has taught me that not reaching a set goal isn’t failure but a stepping stone.”

Betten continues to take her own giant steps along the CrossFit path, even as she has a powerful impact on those around her. And one gets the feeling this Blaise will blaze past any future obstacles in her way.

— Sarah Angel is a junior English major who is part of a student intern writing team with University Marketing & Communications. Students interested in a writing internship should contact Keith Gibson at [email protected]