WHO: CrossFit athlete Dani Speegle.
WHAT: Log lifts that would have impressed Paul Bunyan at the 2022 Rogue Invitational.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Speegle made her mark last weekend at the annual CrossFit competition in Round Rock. After she’d already won the Texas Oak log-lift event by hoisting a 205-pound modified tree trunk over her head, the fitness influencer from San Diego decided to loft a heavier, 215-pound log, just for the heck of it.
As she prepared for her final lift, thousands of fans cheered from the stands. One young boy in the front row waved a neon-pink sign decorated with a handwritten “MY FAV DANI.” She was confident she could deliver. “An athlete can always tell when they’re getting close to a weight they might fail,” Speegle says. “I knew I wasn’t close, so walking up to the log on the last lift, I knew it was going up.”
She tightened her belt, stepped up to the log, and then curled the piece up against her chest and pressed it above her head, where she balanced it like a 215-pound crown. She grinned, showing off the “GIRLS WHO EAT” lettering across her chest. It’s a motivational catchphrase and hashtag that Speegle uses on social media to support women of all body types, appetites, and levels of activity.
“This world has, for a long time, put so many limitations, structures, and rules on what women can and should be,” Speegle says. “I want to continue to break down those walls and destroy the stereotypes that have plagued women for so long and continue to cause women to feel small, unheard, and unloved.”
Speegle’s highlight lift came at the end of a day that couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, thanks to a bout of food poisoning. “It was never ‘Maybe I’ll quit,’ ” Speegle says. “It was really just about waiting it out. By the end of the day, I was feeling better. The beginning of the day, I just relied on the adrenaline and fed from the atmosphere of the crowd.”
Judging by the adoring applause Speegle received, the crowd fed off her performance, too. “You continue to be an inspiration to so many girls [that it’s] cool for a girl to be strong,” one follower wrote on an Instagram post Speegle shared after the competition. “Eat whatever the heck you want and be a badass!!!”