Anybody who has been doing CrossFit for longer than a year can agree that the growth of the sport is staggering. When I first stepped foot into Petranek fitness in 2008, I didn’t expect to see CrossFit on ESPN so soon. As CrossFit continues to wrestle through these growing pains, one thing is for sure: It is not going anywhere.
Reebok’s huge investment has brought a lot of attention to the community since the 2011 Games. The 2012 CrossFit Regional Competitions from around the globe proved this growth. Just the competitiveness alone is so much fiercer than a couple of years ago that several Games level athletes from just last year are falling short of qualifying this year. Individual competition has become a full time job. If you have the potential to compete at Games level but do not own your own box or have an occupation that allows for the appropriate amount of training, your chances of qualifying are no where near as good as they were 2 years ago.
I have had the opportunity to compete in CrossFit over the past couple of years and have truly enjoyed the challenges it brings. Instead of trying to compete individually this year, and ending up with a mediocre performance (because of an ongoing injury, as well as other pursuits), I decided to go team. Before the open, I decided to join my current gym, DogTown CrossFit, to put together the best team we could.
The weekend of the So Cal Regionals brought the best athletes in Southern California to one location. Our team was pumped, and ready to see what we could do. We practically had the entire DogTown CrossFit gym there cheering us on, which was Incredible support on their part. I was ready to crush 5 of the 6 workouts. It felt so good to be back out there, feeling the intensity of the crowd. There were several highlights in our teams performances that made it an unforgettable experience. The crowd went crazy when Dusty Hyland was doing HSPU’s like air squats in WOD 1. Passing 4 teams as the anchor in WOD 2 put a permanent smile on my face. In WOD 3, Scott McGee and Niki Osimo handled the heavy dumbbell snatches with precision and accuracy. WOD 4 brought out April White and Liz Burn’s squat and press power. Everyone dug deep in the snatch ladder, achieving 1000 lbs collectively. While several highly ranked teams struggled to get their girls through the last two muscle ups in WOD 6, Niki and April used their training to execute them with little or no time wasted.
I would be lying if I told you our team was completely prepared for the So Cal Regionals. We did not have the luxury of being able to train together on a consistent basis. Often times, we practiced the workouts with only half the team present. We knew from the beginning what obstacles we were faced with, but that didn’t stop us from truly believing we had a shot at the Games. CrossFit is a game of consistency, and this becomes especially apparent with teams. Throughout the competition, our ranking hardly waivered. In the end, we locked in a 5th place finish out of 30 teams, and ranked 30th in the world by the end of all regional competition. We were only 6 points away from a games spot, but I can honestly say our team gave it their all, and it was the best competition experience I have personally had to date.
I love this community we have built. I know there is a lot of controversy with big sponsors coming in and turning CrossFit into something it hadn’t intended to be, but as long as you personally stay true to your character, that can’t happen. Most importantly, love what you do, and if you ever feel like it isn’t making you happy anymore, than it’s time to make a change. I have been so blessed to have the relationship I have with SFH as their creative director, with Life As Rx as one of their athletes, and with several CrossFit gyms in Southern California. Whether you are a CrossFit Games competitor, or on a weight loss journey and a new member of a CrossFit gym, we all are in the same community of people supporting one another and striving for greatness.
Stay tuned for the next blog post: Finding a balance.
Ben Hopkins is a product and furniture designer, and currently works as an environment designer at TOMS. In addition, he has worked as SFH’s creative director since the birth of the company on the west coast.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @imbenhopkins