It’s finally here… the weekend of the 2011 CrossFit Games. We certainly hope you all are coming to watch – it promises to be quite a spectacle. Remember you can watch a lot of the action via their live (and tape delayed) feed at games.crossfit.com. You can also get a lot of info from the Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/crossfitgames.
The following video and CFLA Team interviews are a result of our amazing community. Big shout out and thanks to Todd, Ross and Carlos for the video, and to Jane Kim – who singlehandedly organized a fundraiser for the Team and put together the following interviews for all the team members. Thanks all… and see you at the Games!
TEAM CFLA Interviews
Coach Kenny is a jack of all trades. Not only does he teach hip hop classes on Tuesday nights, he also performs stand-up comedy at clubs all across the nation. Anyone who has been a hundred feet of him knows how hysterically funny he is, how his body moves and bends, unbelievably, like a rubber band, and how incredibly infectious his energy can be. As a former and long time athlete, Kenny has played soccer, ran track, raced in triathlons, performed in dance troupes, and studied martial arts. CrossFit is obviously and naturally a perfect sport for Kenny. And so is coaching… which is why Andy asked him to coach Team CFLA for the Crossfit Games. Why is Kenny the best and why do his athletes love him so much? It’s because Kenny is happier coaching athletes than being one. He understands how to compete in sports and what it takes to be successful and most of all, as Kenny told me, “I am turning into my mom – she is addicted to coaching and she can coach anything. I called her a few weeks ago and told her just how blessed I was to be coaching at CFLA and how thankful I am that I grew up in a family that was surrounded by world class athletes and coaches.” Coach Kenny is definitely a family kind of guy who loves his mom and has a picture of his beloved daughter on his phone. This is why his athletes love, respect and believe that he is the best coach ever… because he treats CFLA and his athletes like they are his precious family too.
Jane: How are your athletes doing? What have you been doing with them in the past several months?
Kenny: Training has been great. When you have a group that has been willing to do the requisite work like this team, it makes coaching easy. My job was to get our athletes as balanced as possible. And unequivocally each of them are really well balanced compared to when we started…which, again, is testament to their hard work. We pulled out a lot of stops in preparation for these moments… Road trips, private training, kick ass sports chiros and healers, and massive changes in approach to training and movement. My intent has been to create a team that has athletes that focus on the process of movement versus the result of the movement… a philosophical challenge for many CrossFit types.
Jane: The athletes talk about how much they have learned from your coaching. What have you learned about your athletes?
Kenny: I’ve learned that our team has a very powerful and unique quality: That EACH member understands intuitively, intellectually and emotionally that WE are a UNIT. In a sport that is largely individual with all sorts of ridiculous egos – our team is the opposite. Egos can be cancerous to group and team endeavors – our team seems to have the antidote to that kind of toxicity. All of them have put their ego’s aside – and I’m not just talking about our “A” team – I’m talking about everybody that has trained with us… Cathy, Don, Jonesy, Armen, Omid, Devlin, Steve W, Matt M, Niki M, and Big Perm. As a whole, this group has trained week after week putting their bodies on the line to improve our “team” and buying into the very notion that in order to compete – we MUST to do it as a group… trusting each other, communicating, relying on each other, and working forward together. This is how CFLA does it, and in my view, regardless of how we place, we are defining how teams can model themselves: Respect and Love of team and gym first. Be a team. Everything else follows from there. I travel a lot and I’ve been to close to 50 CrossFit gyms, and I will tell you from talking with box owners from across the country, we are lucky to have a team that’s not all about individual bad asses. They get that our freakin’ community has supported us and, without that, it is highly unlikely that we’d be at the Crossfit Games. Did I mention we’ll be there? Take the shirts and pants off kids, let’s dance!! What just happened? We, our entire community, are a team and in many ways a family… that we need each other… and we do… and our athletes need our help. This makes them feel special and I know that you perform better when you have that foundation of support. That is symbolic, meaningful, and a performance enhancer. Word up!
Jane: You are referring to the fundraiser and all the support you’ve received from the CFLA community. I can tell that the support of the community is really important to you. It is obvious that you love CFLA. Coach, do you have any message you would like to send to CFLA?
Kenny: Regardless of what happens this weekend, I want to say “thank you” to everybody. Thank you Andy for hiring me and believing in me. I want to say “thank you” to all the coaches on staff… Becca, Michael, and Jonesy, for allowing team members alter WODs and/or jam up the tall room. Thank you to Dr. Mathews and Manolov and Golub and Alyssa. Thank you to the team for allowing me to lead. All of you are so fucking amazing as individuals that I’m getting a lil’ teary. And last, thank you to our community that supports with so much passion and love!!! WE are going to the Games people – and WE are gonna make sure the rest of the CF world is put on blast because we are one unified group of teamworkin’ fools that know how to kick ass AND have fun doing it!!!!
Andy is a killer athlete who crushes every WOD as if he invented CrossFit. This isn’t too far from the truth considering Andy began coaching CrossFit at his gym, Petranek Fitness, long before it transformed into CrossFit Los Angeles. He was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corp and a professional adventure racer, but once he discovered CrossFit in 2004, he became the Coach Andy we know and love. There are too many stories to tell in over four years that I have known Andy but I have to say my favorite memory is of my intro baseline when I first joined his gym. I had such a hard time getting through the squats and pushups that once I was done, he brought Pukie over to me and asked if I needed a minute in the restroom. As I sucked in air and tried to prevent myself from passing out, he explained to me that basically, I was completely out of shape, that my squats sucked big time, and that I needed an emergency intervention. I think out of fear of him and for my health, I joined that same day. Who would have thought that in a few years, I would be in my next favorite moment with Andy at CFLA’s holiday party being ICED? I think he almost died from laughter when he conned me into holding his full bottle of Smirnoff Ice… like some frat boy… bringing out his youthful and energetic smile. Again, out of fear, I downed it… had to… he’s my Coach who told me that it shouldn’t take 12 minutes to complete the baseline so many years ago. I do as Coach Andy tells me to do because he has changed my life.
A few weeks ago, Andy had surgery due to a very painful and serious case of hemorrhoids. His two-week recovery was no easy journey and anyone who has read his blog knows that Andy has been through a lot. Although not at full-strength and probably needing to rest more than he has been doing, Andy returned this week to work at CFLA. Fortunately, he has brought with him one-hundred percent of his energy and more importantly, that infectious and crazy laugh.
Jane: Andy, it is so good to have you back at the gym!
Andy: It’s good to be back. The last three weeks have literally been the most painful of my life. To go from one-hundred percent, full-strength, CrossFit Games ready fitness one day, to crippled in pain 4 days later unable to move out of bed and remain that way for 2 weeks, was life altering.
Jane: You’ve definitely lost some weight.
Andy: I lost 12-13 pounds and am still feeling not myself. But I know that it will all come back, and the only way to get it done is to get back to the daily practice of training … very easy at first! I’m so grateful for the support and love I’ve received from the community… from home-cooked meals, to phone calls and emails, I felt very supported! Thanks to you all!
Jane: Obviously, we are all so disappointed that you had this setback with the surgery and won’t be competing in the finals. I assume are too. But what is so surprising to me is how positive and upbeat you are.
Andy: You know, in the big scheme of things, the world, my entire life, the CrossFit Games is just a little blip. Missing it is a tiny little bump in the road. When I’m centered and thinking about my life this way, it’s easy to be positive and upbeat. Of course, when I drop back down into my ego, it’s really disappointing and depressing. I can’t think of something I’d rather be doing than going ‘at it’ with our Team at the Games, and sitting on the sidelines isn’t usually my forte. But this time it will be for sure!
Jane: As the head coach of the gym and an elite athlete, it was a given that you would end up on the Team. How was your experience at the Regionals? How does this compare to your past years’ experiences with the Games?
Andy: Regionals was amazing. Since we went in ranked literally in LAST place, I had zero expectations. I suspected we were better than our numbers showed, but had no idea that we were THAT much better. The other part that was different for me was competing with a team. Two years ago when I qualified and competed in the Games, I went as an individual. As great as that was, it was nothing compared to camaraderie, community and shared experience as Team. Competing and then qualifying as a Team was so much more satisfying and meaningful than as an individual!
Jane: You are obviously an expert in this sport and have been CrossFitting for almost a decade. As a coach yourself, was it difficult to have someone else coach you?
Andy: Great question… and no… it was actually a relief and a huge help. If you look at the best athletes in the world, ALL of them have coaches. It’s incredibly rare to see someone competing at a high level without someone helping them along the way, having their back, seeing their blind spots, helping them move through obstacles and difficulties. We all need help to perform our best… having Kenny as my… our… coach was one of the best decisions we made!
Jane: Have you been in communication with the team and Coach Kenny? How are they doing?
Andy: Absolutely! Now that I’m not competing I’m actually working with Kenny in coaching the team through the Games. The great thing about my relationship with Kenny is how mutually supportive we are of each other and how well we work together. I’m certainly not going to get in the way of him being the head coach of our Team, but I’m going to help any way that I can! Oh, and to answer your question, they’re doin’ GREAT! As Kenny continues to remind them, this is an opportunity that may NEVER come around again. Soak up every minute, be present, do your best and have fun. If there were a motto for our team, that would be it!
Jane: Do you have any coaching advice you would like to give to our CFLA and CrossFit community?
Andy: I’d like EVERY CrossFitter in Souther California to consider it a mandatory part of their training as an athlete to attend at least 1 day of the Games. Is this realistic? Absolutely not. Is it that important. Absoutely!
Logan has had a long athletic and professional career as a college baseball player and as a catcher for the San Diego Padres. You would think he would want to take a break from all of that, considering how busy he is working at CFLA and training students at Functional Fitness. But with Logan, his competitive spirit doesn’t allow him to take a back seat. When challenge calls, he is always there to answer it…and, in this case, he’s poured blood, sweat and tears to compete with Team CFLA. While most of us envy his ability to crush and destroy every CrossFit workout, we also admire and respect his easy-going personality. Anytime I walk into the office, he always greets me with a smile and a “hello.” That’s just the way Logan is… except when he is attentively trying to learn the correct steps to a hip hop dance routine… then it really gets serious.
Jane: How has your training been for the Games?
Logan: Training has been such a unique experience. Training has been terribly hard, and incredibly fun. It has been a learning experience through and through. We really have tested our potential.
Jane: We are now only a week away from the Games. How do you feel?
Logan: The excitement is mounting. We started this whole process over eight months ago and it has been a long road coming, and I am excited to execute. We’ve trained and trained and trained, and now it is time to DO!
Jane: You were a pro athlete and played for the San Diego Padres. How does this compare?
Logan: Training on Team CFLA is much like being a professional athlete again. I really have re-learned what once resonated with me well in my baseball career, which is that you’re never as good as you think you are, and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you’re struggling. The key to this thing is to commit to a process oriented approach in a result oriented sport.
Jane: How is it like training and competing as a team?
Logan: I’ve learned to know my teammates, like teammates should. Knowing someone isn’t knowing their favorite color or what they think is funny. Knowing someone is seeing them at their very best, and seeing them at their very worst. I want them to know that I wouldn’t want to lock arms and walk out into that arena with anyone else.
Jane: As you know, we’ve been fundraising to help pay for the team’s expenses and a lot of CFLA students have really gotten involved in contributing to the donation box.
Logan: Seeing the donation box evokes the same emotion as seeing people in the stands during competition with the blue CFLA jersey on. We got into this as a community. We advanced to Sunday at the Regionals as a community, and qualified for the Games as a community. We are in it together.
Shirley Brown is one of the coaches at CFLA, a personal trainer, and a cheek of Sweet Cheeks. If you have ever tried one of her many recipes on her website, you know that she can cook and bake! Most recently, you may have noticed on her facebook profile picture that she is sporting a pirate’s eye patch like her other teammates. She never takes herself too seriously, but she does take her teammates, her coach, and the Games very seriously. In fact, serious enough to get up and swim at the Santa Monica College pool at 7 in the morning! I joined her recently at the pool one morning with bleary eyes and found her smiling with bright eyes. She jumped into that pool and didn’t complain once as Emily commanded us to swim laps. While as, I grumbled and moaned at Shirley. But watching her swim with enthusiasm quickly perked me up and her cheerful energy made it all fun. I remembered thinking how grateful I was to be swimming with Shirley.
Jane: What does Coach Kenny have you do to prepare for the Games?
Shirley: Coach Kenny and TEAM CFLA rule. I could not do what I’m doing without them. With Coach Kenny it’s always something new and entertaining. He makes workouts more fun by including burpees with dolphin sounds and pogo sticks. He keeps me motivated and wanting to do better. Intensity and volume is up and it feels like we live at the gym, it’s a pretty cool place to be! I feel like an athlete with care from doctors to a coach checking on me daily.
Jane: It’s great that the team has doctors who regularly work on injuries and help the athletes maintain healthy bodies.
Shirley: It’s actually really cool!
Jane: How are you mentally preparing for the Games?
Shirley: Training for the games is a test of your body and also your mental state and well-being. I have learned that staying calm for me is KEY. Over the years I have seen that I have a competition mode and a practice mode. When the Games come, I am in competition mode. I’ve also learned that I have the BEST team ever. Having my team right beside me helps me do much more than I thought I could!
Jane: I know that you have mentioned to me before that the CFLA community has been really supportive. For example, you told me how happy you were last week when a bunch of regular CFLA folks jumped in on one of your team workouts and started rowing with you.
Shirley: The community has been there to support with cheers, encouragement, hugs, smiles and photos. I’ve learned just how everyone is super willing to give their time and support! I feel special because our community is willing to support us financially too! It lets us know that we have a very caring community.
Jane: I’ve learned that competing at the Games is expensive! With all the chiropractic appointments, a team coach, trips to San Luis Obispo to the UFC/MMA training facility, running biomechanics at Training Adventure, and pool workouts at Santa Monica College, that’s just the cost of training. For the Games itself, you have to factor in hotel, food, and equipment. Hopefully, the fundraiser can help with some of this.
Shirley: It’s a major help and a bit of relief to have $$ to pay for some of our expenses! Thank you community! It’s going to be a blast and I am so happy to have everyone come to support.
Working out with Annita is a humbling experience. It wasn’t always like that, especially when she first joined CrossFit LA. Don’t get me wrong! She was definitely fit, considering she had ran track in college, but I was always able to partner up with her on WODs. Yesterday, I realized, she was in a league of her own when she finished in almost half my time. As I watched her lap me in Annie at around minute 2, I thought how amazing she is and that she had become an elite crossfitter in the last 8 months of training for the Games.
I told her as such after I finally finished Annie after much cheering and coaxing by Annita. She responded, “Training has been tough but fun. It has been great having all my teammates beside me, supporting me when I thought I couldn’t do any more and cheering me on when I accomplished something I never thought I could.” Annita definitely has had some tough times during her training. One of my favorite stories of hers is the time Coach Kenny took the team to San Luis Obispo to train at a UFC/MMA facility. Annita had to push a wheelbarrow with sand bags weighing over 150 lbs up a hill, sledgehammer a tire, jump on the tire, and bunch of other crazy things. She didn’t think she could finish the workout and was feeling less than confident about herself as an athlete. Coach Kenny gave her the encouragement and support she needed to get through the workout.
Jane: What do you think about your experience in San Luis Obispo and training in your journey to the Games?
Annita: I have learned that I am stronger than I think I am. Not only physically but mentally and emotionally. I have also learned that my teammates and coach are not only amazing athletes but amazing human beings as well. They are all truly amazing and I am blessed to know them.
Annita continues to talk about all the support she has received and not just from her teammates and coach, but CLFA community as well. She is amazed by how many people have contributed to the fundraiser.
Annita: I am so stunned that people have donated to our team. It is such a humbling thought that people care so much. It makes me want to work that much harder to not let anyone down!
Jane: Any last thoughts about the CrossFit Games?
Annita: I am very nervous about the Games but really excited! I never thought that I would be here competing with such amazing people on my team and facing the Crossfit world. I love my coach! I love my teammates! Go Team CFLA!!!! It’s time to show the world what we are made of!!!!!
Lauren, who moved here from Denver about a year ago, is one of our newer members to CFLA. A fast runner and a natural athlete, it was an easy choice for Coach Kenny to put Lauren on Team CFLA for the 2011 Games. With a great sense of humor, her husband and constant cheerleader Ricky by her side, and a humble heart, I have watched Lauren transform completely from someone who hangs and workouts at CFLA to an elite athlete crushing workouts six days a week. It made me wonder how her new and intensive training made her feel. As I realized quickly in our interview, Lauren has not lost any of her bubbly sense of humor and positive attitude.
Lauren: At first it was very overwhelming! I was very good at working out 3 days a week and “relaxing” the other 4! The first week I had to work out 6 days straight…I couldn’t move! It has since gotten much easier and when we’re finished with the games I won’t know what to do with myself those other 4 days now! It has been an amazing experience. I feel stronger and in better shape than I ever have in my life.
Jane: No kidding! I’ve seen you work on handstand pushups which you couldn’t even do a few weeks ago.
Lauren: I can do things I never thought possible! Thanks Jonsey for helping me with my handstand pushups! Pshh…I can do handstand pushups!!
Jane: Didn’t you and your husband move to Santa Monica about a year ago? I remember you telling me that you really felt connected to LA once you joined the gym.
Lauren: Ricky and I moved to California a little over a year and a half ago. We knew no one but each other. The gym has become our family! This has been an incredible experience and although many times I’ve wanted to, I would never give up! CFLA is my family and I’m so grateful to have each and every one of you in my life! My wonderful husband, Ricky, deserves a lot of credit too! I’m one lucky lady! His continued support and love has been unconditional. Thank you!
Jane: What have you learned about yourself?
Lauren: I have learned that God did not intend for me to EVER have a 6 pack! No matter how many days a week I work out, it’s just not the way I’m made. I also have learned that I can do anything if I just try hard and practice! My teammates are a few of the most amazing people I have ever met. They have become good friends and I’m so proud to compete with each of them.
Jane: It sounds like you are having a good time with your team even through the intense workouts. What about Coach Kenny?
Lauren: Coach Kenny Kane is pretty incredible. He is the goofiest man I know, makes me laugh constantly, and makes me push myself to limits I never knew possible. He has put in a lot of time with each of us individually and as a team. We are so lucky to have him as our coach!
Jane: Has the community been supportive?
Lauren: It was amazing to see everyone show up at Regional’s to support us and the continued support is really great. Training for the games has been a huge time commitment as well as a physical, and financial commitment. With each donation it allows us to not have to worry about the “little” things as much and really put all our efforts into kicking butt. I will kiss each of you after this is over and thank you personally for all of your support! Come Friday! I’m SO excited… what an amazing experience!
On many occasions, I have seen crowds of CFLA students enthralled by Zach’s supernatural speed and gravity-defying box jumps. During the Whole Life Challenge prelim, I watched him go through burpees like I go through a box of chocolate- super fast and insane to watch! An athlete all of his life, (Zach told me later that he had to do millions of burpees during football practices), he joined CFLA and became an immediate threat to anyone on the leaderboards. It was a given he would end up on Team CFLA as an elite competitor. Yet Zach, who I have always found to be personable and a great guy to hang out with, still knows how to have fun. Just ask Becca, who Zach recently challenged to a hip-hop dance-off at Training Adventure. If anyone is interested in watching, the two of them are suppose to be dancing tonight.
Jane: Tell me how your team workouts been like?
Zach: Over the past seven months, Team CFLA has been forged through hard work, commitment, sacrifice and FUN! While the intensity and volume have certainly been stepped up in recent weeks as we have approached the big dance, it has been a long process of slowly building our engines, strengthening our weaknesses and fine-tuning our bodies and minds. It’s really been amazing watching everyone “mature” as athletes over the past 2 months as we’ve really gotten into the competition season.
Jane: Do you ever tire or get injured from all this training?
Zach: What has been most interesting and most difficult is staying right on that borderline between peak performance and injury/overtraining/physical & mental fatigue. We’ve been fortunate to have access to world-class coaches and other training resources to keep ourselves healthy and ready to go on a daily basis.
Jane: As a former football player, you know what game day feels like. Do you feel prepared for the Games?
Zach: I just can’t wait for it to actually be here! There has been so much work, sweat and pain that has gone into training for the games that I want to finally get on the playing field. I’m sure as the day gets closer the butterflies will start fluttering a bit, but that means I’m ready.
Jane: What have you learned about yourself during all of this?
Zach: Given the highs and lows of this entire experience, the days I felt like a rock-star and the days I felt like staying in bed at 6 on a Sunday morning, I’ve come to embrace Woody Allen’s notion that “80% of success is showing up.” Yes, there was much work to do once I was there, but my mind has all too many excuses and just learning to ignore them and “chop wood” on a daily basis has proven to be a surefire way to get better.
Jane: You’ve been on sports teams before. What is it like being on Team CFLA?
Zach: Being on a team for the first time since high school has reminded me of just how thoroughly rewarding such an experience can be. Each of the other members of Team CFLA are so overwhelmingly dedicated and passionate and fun to be around that I feel fortunate to consider myself part of this extraordinary group. And to be clear, when I say Team CFLA, that goes beyond the 8 of us who are technically on the team, but to 15-20 who have consistently shown up and sacrificed for more than half of a year to help us get better. I wanted to take a moment to thank the Kenny Kane Train for all his awesome support and to acknowledge the unbelievable job he’s done as our fearless leader.
Jane: It sounds like you have a lot of respect for Kenny’s coaching style.
Zach: Kenny has an incredible way of drawing the best from each of us, knowing when to push and when to make us laugh. In addition, we are certainly not the typical gym or team and I think it’s only appropriate that we cheer and dance and just march to the off-beat of our own K-Train drummer.
Jane: Anything else you want to mention?
Zach: I would like to thank everyone in the community for their tremendous generosity. When I tell people about my gym, they look at me somewhat cross-eyed when I explain that these are people I talk to, hang out with, go out with (and get into trouble occasionally with), and consider as my mentors and friends. I feel fortunate to call CFLA my community. I hope everyone knows that WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE GAMES!! See you in Carson!
When Lacie first joined CFLA in January of this year, rumors of her incredible strength and athleticism immediately started spreading like fire. Curious, I decided to check her out during a class. It wasn’t too far into the WOD before I was completely in awe as she push-pressed a barbell with heavy plates that must have weighed as much as her. Lacie may have been new to CFLA and had only been crossfitting for a year, but there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she would end up this same year on Team CFLA for the CrossFit Games. Being on Team CFLA may have changed her by making her a stronger elite athlete, but she is still a deep and caring person. As Danette Rivera commented to me recently, “She is everything I want in a friend and gym-mate. She has worked so hard to become as strong as anybody at our gym and I’m so proud that she represents me as at the CF Games.”
Jane: I recall that you had joined our gym only recently.
Lacie: I came to CFLA in January of this year after going to a few other gyms in the LA area. I started crossfitting in early 2010 at Undisputed Fitness in Santa Fe, New Mexico before moving to LA in July of 2010.
Jane: Wow! You have not been Crossfitting that long. How did you end up on Team CFLA?
Lacie: I have always wanted to get to the point I am at now and be in a place where I could be competitive at crossfit. I was asked to workout with the team and took that as an opportunity to push myself and learn strategy, training and technique. It just worked out that I did all of those things and ended up on the team. I have learned so much and have gotten much stronger and more importantly, MORE CONFIDENT!
Jane: As a former Jr. Olympian in volleyball, you’ve already had experience competing in a team. How has your experience been with Team CFLA?
Lacie: I have grown to love every single one of my teammates and coach. They are all truly amazing people and I feel so grateful for the time we have spent training and bonding with each other. I couldn’t be more excited to see them put it down at the games. Our team is not just a small group of people who train together but the entire community at CFLA. The energy that has been growing at this box seems to get bigger every day. Everyone is pushing themselves and everyone is getting better. This is inspirational each and every day. The fundraiser is so thoughtful and generous and I can’t begin to thank everyone for the support and the love they have shown. It proves that this is more than just a gym, it is a community.
Jane: From what I’ve read on the Team Banner (the messages on the blue paper next to the water fountain) it looks like the CFLA community loves you back. How do you feel now that we are just days from the Games?
Lacie: I feel great, excited, nervous and I seriously can’t stop thinking, dreaming, breathing CrossFit! ARGGGGGGGG!!!! GO CFLA!!!! ….and THANK YOU!
On yesterday’s CrossFit LA website, Becca poignantly explained how Coach Sam ended up at CFLA. She told a heartwarming tale of her connection to Sam’s family and the hometown they came from. I don’t have those connections with Sam, but I can say that I know him pretty well for other things… like… his skimpy and too tight white shorts he often wears to the gym. Sam recently told Jennifer Shoskes, “If it was socially acceptable, I would wear short shorts every day.”
For those of you who have never noticed Sam in these form-fitting and too short shorts, I present you his idol, Larry Bird. It’s true that Sam is really into his too tight white shorts, loves dancing to the Cupid Shuffle, and enthusiastically shakes his tail-feather in Coach Kenny’s hip hop class, but Sam is also very serious and determined when it comes to training with his teammates for the Games.
Jane: You’ve been injured in the past few months. Have you been able to train?
Sam: I’ve been injured & banged up a lot over the last six months (numerous back injuries, vertebral misalignments, strained muscles from my neck to my ankles, etc.), but I’m finally starting to feel healthy. I’ve been staying away from full-on CrossFit workouts for the last couple of weeks, instead opting for strength work and conditioning—lots of deadlifts, front squats, and presses with some rowing intervals, running, and sprint work mixed in.
Jane: Wow, that still sounds like a full workout to me! Although you didn’t get to compete at the Regionals, you will be competing at the Games.
Sam: When I first started training at CrossFit LA, all I wanted to do was to be able to hang with the Andys and Zachs of the world. Andy is a tremendous athlete—one I’ve admired and aspired to be like for a long time. I wish he was healthy, but it’s an honor to fill his physically tiny but metaphorically gargantuan shoes.
Jane: Are you nervous, excited, ready for the Games? What are you doing this week to prepare for it?
Sam: It won’t really hit me until I’m out there on the field that this is really happening. This week? Sleep, eating, staying loose, smiling. Everyone’s definitely pulling for me. If I never hear the question “Are you ready?” again, though, that’d be OK.
Jane: I’m sure you get that all the time, especially these days. Becca gave a little background about you on the CrossFit LA website. She really made it seem like you were destined to be here at CFLA.
Sam: I moved to LA after graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics and no plan whatsoever. I knew I liked CrossFit, so I got my Level 1 Cert and started looking for a gym to train at. From there, I guess it just kind of worked out. Love this place.