The 2007 CrossFit Games Champion Weighs in on the CrossFit Games Competition

Before anyone makes assumptions that other nations need more spots at the Games, there was a noticeable multinational representation on the podium.  There are a number of factors that go into these participation numbers in each area of the globe; consider these possibilities:

  1.  Those athletes might not have to “fight as hard” to move on from regional level to world level competition – This will never be known but is a thought, changing to a world regional might do that plus 100 issues though that come with that.
  2. The “training” abroad is maybe…dare I say…more thought out? – Essentially plans not based on random activity but focusing on what is needed to round out each athlete more so in the year “might” be reflected on the podium… (#1 might help this and time will also tell if this is the case)
  3. Again uncomfortable I know, but maybe they “want it” more? –  That might sting a little for a few.

The variation was exciting to see, knowing that the sport is growing internationally and will continue to be recognized as that, a sport. Now all we need is governance on it for coaches and athletes to ensure a future for all those involved without commercial interests alone.

Watching from afar on the FB feed (what I call BW – “Bizzaro World” – Seinfeld fans will get that one) goes to show just how many people tune in and have no idea about the sport. I know I might be new to the scene of watching though that lens as I “share” my screen with 70K other people who can post any thought that just pops into their head. Watch any other sport and the “fans” have at least some idea as to what is happening. But I could simply NOT get past the comments…from “everyone is doped”…to… “oh he is so doping..” …to… “Rich would have TnG’d that Snatch he did for the win”…to… “can anyone see what is happening or is this feed frozen on Brooke Wells?”.

Anyhow, I guess there are fans everywhere that have their say as they can, and maybe I just found it disturbingly odd. This peaked my interest on how many there ARE out there who are being brought in to the system with the wrong idea in mind?…purely out of marketing to watch the athletes perform these physical feats, or maybe I am just old and naive.

Could not help but notice just how “tired” some athletes seem to be at the Games from start to finish. I do not mean fatigued from a few hard sessions but seemingly just no “pop”, “vigor”…etc…was it different workouts that highlighted these athletes? Was it incorrect training plans of maybe Constantly Varied Functional Movement in planning for Games like tasks which require LESS THAN random training? Was it time people see that one cannot just do anything anymore and think to compete against the best for the entire weekend in July/Aug? Is it lifestyle – which after the regionals does not support the trek to Madison? Is it a LACK OF a fight because some folks are new to it and are excited and just blow it all out of the park in their mind BEFORE they even start?

In any case, there were some athletes I would expect more from, based on how they performed at regionals. Where at the Games the events were not THAT FAR different in a lot of cases but they were just simply “tired” compared to what I saw at Regionals; maybe we will never know.

There were a broad array of tests. This was nice to see in a change from the opens and regionals. As I mentioned previously, the coach and athlete that can move their way through lots of random things in the open. I would still concur that the athletes getting to the Games might vary if the Open level were as broad and balanced -i.e. longer cyclical events, max weight lifting events, challenging gymnastics events, shorter cyclical events. It is not a right or wrong but a challenge to the brain to understand “testing” fitness competencies AND wondering if that can be done through challenging these fitness competencies or “hoping” that they are tested through lower load, 10-15 min time frame mixed pieces.

Besides the “frozen feed” responses was my first chance to see the FB chat…on HOW everyone else was talking about HOW everyone else was talking about HOW everyone else was talking about the CrossFit Games. No where is it more apparent of the closet coach and fitness expert than on FB. When all these folks come out and hammer on how they “know” these athletes and their training and what they are eating, etc…in a LOT of cases, they are just hurt and bothered because of how most of these athletes look, and secondly due to their fitness level – where the athletes are in Madison, and they are on a couch somewhere with a keyboard (ironically watching the entire thing…). Third, its due to these athletes doing more on Sunday than they can in one session and because these athletes are FITNESS athletes. These internet coaches thinks they are categorized like them because they both exercise! one cannot be any more wrong – this is a sport of fitnessYOU are doing fitness for exercise – two VERY different, VERY far apart things!

Having some athletes NOT lift their max and still do well is nice to see. We all aspired in the beginning of CrossFit to be as balanced as anyone and well rounded. However the majority of the participants worldwide today turn into specialists of couplets in CrossFit and actually become less balanced. It was good to see some top athletes not winning an event that they might have easily won years back. Athletes like Matt Fraser taking a 2nd-5th here and there because they are more well rounded mentally in the entire weekend AND physically in each of these capacities tested. There is still more in the tank for some of these elite athletes, which is exciting to see that the standard will continue to be pushed.

However, people need to recognize that everyone doesn’t increase their Fran score, 5K Run time and Snatch max over and over forever. Its called max potential and aging. Get over it…

If you want to win at CrossFit, you must learn how to make dynamic contractions AS aerobic in nature for as long as possible AT THE RIGHT TIME. This was so apparent from dissecting the sporting history of the top athletes. Before anyone gets on a weightlifting kick for every 8 year old out there to make them into Games champions by the time they are 20 years old, just know that there are multiple ways to get contractions on the body at an early age that benefits long term athlete development for the sport of fitness, WITHOUT hampering the high percentage that will not be resistant enough to handle these intense contractions long term as they grow.

Combine this long term work with a solid killer instinct, apparent from Tia and Matt, along with a burning desire inside and smart training at the right age and you got yourself a winner.

Want to see how Mike Lee prepared Tennil Reed for the CrossFit Games? Click here to download her complete training plan!