The CrossFit SuperStar - Unicorn or Raging Rhino?

In the bay area, we have a lot of CrossFit superstars to look to.  Heck, we even have 3 regional level athletes housed in our own gym.  And being a CrossFit bad ass?  It's a pretty sexy gig.  Strong as hell, metabolic engines for days, effortless body control and movement prowess that puts every onlooker in awe.  With all that uber-awesome, it is no surprise that "go to the games" ranks high on the newbie goals list.  But have you ever thought about what it actually takes to become a she or he beast?  What you aren't seeing behind the scenes?  Boat loads of work. 

To try to give you a better idea of the CrossFit Pro's day to day looks like, I decided to interview two or our amazing buddies.  While Colleen Fotsch (UB she beast) and Jeb Simmons (Trent's Wisconsin thunder god of a brother) span the spectrum in terms of age, gender, and athletic background, you will find these two share a lot of commonalities in what they are willing to put on the line to stay on the top.   Here is what these two 2015 regional athletes and drafted Grid athletes had to say about their sexy life....

When did you start seriously CrossFitting?

C: 2 years

J: 5 years, 2 1/2 as a serious CrossFitter (After seeing that someone from my "own blood" was able to make it to such a high level. I knew I had to give it a shot! That meant really focusing on my weaknesses and forcing myself to do the things I hated.)

How often/how long do you train?

C: Right now I train 5 days a week (varying in length) with two off days and one of those off days as an active recovery day.

J:  I workout 2-3 hours a day. 5 days a week. Us old guys need our rest!!  Generally the first hour is barbell work. The second is my strength portion. And then my conditioning at the end.



What sacrifices have you made to get where you are?

C:  First, buckling down on my nutrition. Getting on a nutrition plan this year played a significant role in how I performed in the open and by no means was it easy. It’s definitely way easier to eat what I want when I want  but the progress I’ve had from the RP diet from both a physical and performance stand point makes it worth it. Between training and work I have to make sure my time is well balanced. Making sure I get enough sleep is huge. 

I guess I could say I’m giving up going out on the weekends but honestly I’d rather be in the gym, at the pool/beach, or just hanging out at home with friends. So long story short I don’t necessarily think of these things as sacrifices because I’m getting to do what I love to do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

J:  Ha! Where do I begin! My life is long hours at the gym! Good and bad! No going out and drinking, eating bad food, things like that of course. I'm sore everyday!! There's days I come home and do absolutely nothing Cuz I'm so tired from working out. I literally fall asleep the minute I sit on the coach! My wife and kids probably sacrifice as much as I do or more!

What were some of the most important changes you have made to create success?

C: First, surrounding myself with likeminded, supportive people. That starts with my coach, James, I don’t think he hears enough how great of a coach he is. Not that I’ve done many opens so far but this year I felt extremely prepared for the workouts and that is thanks to James’ programming and coaching. Having an awesome coach and training partners has been extremely important in my regionals prep this year. It’s important to have a coach and programming that as an athlete you believe in and even when you don’t have the best training session you can still know that it will make you better. Secondly, deciding to work with RP was a life changing decision and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to perform like I did in the open if I hadn’t dialed in my nutrition. Finally, one of the biggest changes I made shortly before the open was that I started to actually believe in myself and what I was capable of doing. I am very lucky to have really supportive people around me from UB, Cal strength, family and friends that believe in me when I start to doubt myself.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.41.52 PM.png

J: Hard work #1. You have to be willing to put in the work! Whether it's getting stronger or just working on your mobility it all plays a huge roll in getting better at CrossFit. Often I have people tell me they wanna get to where I'm at... I tell them what I do and they look at me like I'm crazy! #2-get your mind right! So much of CrossFit is the mental aspect! Many people out there don't realize that. There's so much strategy that goes into every workout.  You have to learn to stay focused when you're deep into a workout and you wanna die. Snatch is already a very difficult movement when you're fresh. Now try and do it when you're dead tired... You better know what you're doing! #3 Good Technique. I believe that technique will get you through a workout faster than brute strength! Technique is huge!! Watch any top athlete out there... Their technique always stays on point the entire workout!

What are your goals moving forward?

C:  Moving forward there are a million and one goals that I have for myself in and out of Crossfit. First I want to get 100k followers on Instagram… just kidding ;). For now some of them include qualifying for the Crossfit Games, make a splash in the Grid League, and start doing some Crossfit coaching. And by doing all of this if I can inspire or motivate anyone to work hard and do what they love that means the world to me.

J:  Now that I'm a Masters athlete I feel my journey just started! I wanna make it to the CrossFit Games and win of course!  I'm gonna go and kick some ass on the grid for NPGL!  Go New York Rhinos!! And I would love to compete on a team with my younger brother, my CrossFit inspiration, Trent someday! I feel that getting drafted has opened up a lot of new doors for me and I'm gonna run with it as far and as long as it will take me!

So the next time you see a CrossFit superstar, remember that ain't no unicorn.  That's a bad ass rhino.  They are insatiably dedicated, voraciously focused, and  terrifically hard working rhinos.