CrossFitter and Climber Erica Stokes Says You Need To Join Team "Touch It"

CrossFitter and Climber Erica Stokes Says You Need To Join Team
As legendary climber Alex Lowe once said, "The best climber is the one having the most fun."

That quote instantly brings Erica Stokes to mind. She's an all-around athlete and although her main workout of choice is CrossFit, she's fallen in love with climbing and uses both disciplines to help her stay active. What we love the most about Erica is that she finds fun everything she does but still approaches it all with an open heart and fierce mindset.

She is truly an amazing athlete and reminds us that you don't ever have to box yourself into one method of movement. You can love and be good at them all!

PS - What is team "touch it"? Read the interview to find out... and join!
Erica Stokes
Lives in San Diego, CA
She's an Optometrist by day
And climbs at Mesa Rim and The Grotto by night
If she isn't responding to your texts, she's probably out in Mission Gorge or exploring new crags!

Do you remember your first time climbing? Don't spare any details!
My first time climbing was in North Carolina at an indoor gym March 2019. I wore Nike sneakers and went halfway up an auto belay, then got scared and started trying to downclimb my way back down. Next time I made it up a bit higher but was still terrified. I then tried some bouldering (still in my Nike sneakers) and had a blast finishing an easy climb.

What has your climbing journey been like? What are your goals for this year and beyond?
This summer after moving to Southern California I forced a group of friends to come climbing with me then went back the next day to sign up for a membership! The past few months I’ve just really been enjoying wall time with friends and trying not to take myself to seriously. Gumby Life!
In addition to climbing, you're also a CrossFitter! What is your general fitness and training program like?
I started CrossFitting 5 years ago and I just really like being active! I train CrossFit 3-4 times a week. Each session has a lifting component (squats, Olympic lifts, deadlifts, etc.) and a metabolic conditioning component which is mainly just heavy breathing and moving. Since I’ve been at it for a while it takes a bit less thinking and I feel like I can zone out during my workouts which is awesome after a full day at work!
How did you get into CrossFit and how do the two sports complement each other? What are the benefits of each sport?
My best friend from college was CrossFitting during our junior year and man, was she dedicated. I was curious as to what the hype was all about and I thought it was cool that she had muscle and was super strong! The first CrossFit class I ever took left me sore for days but I felt really accomplished and was addicted to that. Having good body awareness from CrossFit and my 15 years of dance training has really helped me find the right body positioning while climbing which makes a difference in harder climbs.
Having some level of strength going into climbing I thought was helpful but I found myself learning less technique at first and trying to just pull myself up the wall (which gets exhausting lol). Being stronger was definitely a positive thing once I learned better technique! CrossFit taught me decent grip strength but finger strength was something completely new that I had to work at slowly.
What are some of your favorite recovery tools and tips when you're not being active?
I’ll bring myself to a yoga class every now and then to try and stay strong and limber! In the summer anything outdoors feels like active recovery like playing volleyball at the beach, biking, hiking, or going for a jog! Since it’s been colder out I find myself resting HARD on my off days. Although we do have a rice bucket and a hang board in the garage that I’ll play around on if I’m not climbing that day.
What's a topic within the climbing community that you feel strongly about?
I actually really love and appreciate climbing etiquette. Since I’m still learning I don’t mind hearing or seeing beta if I’m struggling but I honestly appreciate that people ask to hop in on the project or ask if I want a tip rather than just sending the project after I fall or telling me what I should do if they can see I’m sitting there thinking about the moves. I think it shows a level of respect towards a fellow climber. 
Any other fun life or climbing musings you'd like to share?
I have a friend that’s been climbing for something like 20+ years and something she kept saying really stuck with me. Anytime I’d look at a tough boulder problem or think I wasn’t strong enough to hit a move in the cave she’d say we’re ‘Team Touch It!’ So just try it and let’s see! And no matter what the grade now I’ll go up and try a few moves. Team touch it makes climbing way more fun than getting stuck feeling like your not a V-whatever climber so you can’t try that problem or that route.
Have questions for Erica? Share them below! You can also find her on Instagram @stokedd.

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