West alumna earns CrossFit world title for Fittest Female Doctor
Karla Solum, D.C., CCSP®, West ’10, has made a career of helping her patients “Elevate Human Potential” – which also is the name of her Minnesota-based practice.
And when it comes to leading by example, few can match Dr. Solum’s commitment to achieving optimal health, wellness and fitness potential.
In fact, by posting impressive marks in the recent CrossFit Open, which placed her 164th worldwide, 17th in the north central division, and third in her home state of Minnesota, Dr. Solum was informed that she also ranks as the “fittest female doctor in the world.”
The CrossFit Open, which takes place during February and March, is the first stage of the CrossFit Games season, and is the sport’s largest “community” event of the year.
Hundreds of thousands of athletes compete in the worldwide, online competition, where they complete the multi-exercise workout at a CrossFit-affiliated gym, and submit video of their performance, if they place among the top 20 within their region.
As a result of Dr. Solum’s impressive accomplishment in the CrossFit Open, she qualified for the CrossFit Central Regionals (May 26-28 in Nashville, Tenn.) for the second year in a row (and her third trip overall) – the first step toward her ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2017 CrossFit Games, Aug. 3-6, in Madison, Wis..
“I have truly had to overcome a lot of physical adversity this year, but my mind and spirit are fueling me through this,” said Dr. Solum, who has been competing this season on a torn ACL and a severely sprained ankle.
“This is only an athletic accomplishment – but, I would not be the athlete I am today if it weren’t for all the knowledge between my ears,” said the former West campus Sports Council officer who graduated with academic honors.
“It was a surprise to learn my ranking placed me as ‘the fittest female doctor in the world’ – and, as a chiropractor, I’m proud to represent my profession at the top,” noted Dr. Solum, who in addition to the patients she treats at her Moorhead, Minn., practice also provides care for competitors at events sponsored by the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), USA Beach Volleyball, and USA Weightlifting.
A three-sport athlete at Concordia College, Dr. Solum has also competed in triathlons, but, entering her 30s, she was looking for ways to broaden her athletic potential (as well as satisfy her competitive spirit).
In late 2012, she was introduced to the sport of CrossFit, a competitive fitness sport that incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics (power jumping), powerlifting, gymnastics, kettlebell lifting, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises.
After just one week she was hooked and started going to the gym at 6 a.m., four to five days a week. Dr. Solum earned her Level 1 Certificate in 2013 – and a year and half later, she qualified for her first CrossFit Regionals.
Dr. Solum’s ascent in the sport of CrossFit is all the more impressive given the severity of a snowboarding injury that she suffered in 2007, when she broke her low back, and ruptured a disc in her spine.
“As I laid on the slope for about 35 minutes, unable to feel or move my legs, I promised myself that I would never take another day in life for granted,” said Dr. Solum, a Level 2 Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting, who now trains three to four hours a day, five to six times per week.
“I am always striving to be ‘Better than Yesterday,’ and I encourage others to do the same. Teaching people how to move properly is one of the best gifts a doctor can give their patients, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy being a chiropractor: I get to help people move better while reducing the risk of injury and improving their overall performance, whether in sports or daily life.”