Coach Jaime: From scaling to The CrossFit Games
Rewind the clock 5 years.
First year of uni, moved about 6 hours from home to go to study and had about 3 months of CrossFit experience under my belt. I decided to keep going along to classes at a box up the road about 2-3 times a week in between student life and a love for running.
I weighed 10kg less.
I ate pasta at least 4 nights a week.
I partied at least 2 nights a week.
For some (crazy) reason, I managed to be roped into competing in the 2011 Open. 5 weeks of online competition (1 workout a week). And fate meant we somehow managed to qualify a team of misfits for the Regionals.
I flew to Sydney to literally row 500m twice, do about 40 double unders and swing a 16kg kettle bell half a dozen times. At that point in time I couldn’t overhead squat 30kg (it was in one of the workouts), I couldn’t chest to bar pull-up and I couldn’t handstand push-up (wasn’t even remotely close).
I remember watching some of the individuals and teams with girls who could muscle up! Girls who could snatch 40kg!!!!!! It was insane. I couldn’t even clean and jerk that! It was close to my 1rm deadlift – and I was at regionals….
All in all, I didn’t really achieve a hell of a lot. But it ignited a little fire in me.
Fast forward a year. The 2012 open. I’d stepped away from CrossFit for about 6 months (too poor, too many parties and full time study) – but yet again, it didn’t take too much convincing.
Then came along a snatch workout. I got though 20kg snatches ok… but 35kg? I couldn’t even get 30kg close to overhead! I remember my mum flying up to support me and everyone crowding around me screaming and cheering, willing me with every inch of their being to get that weight above my head. It didn’t happen. But man, I realised that everyone in that gym surrounding me were not just my friends. They were now my family.
The gym qualified a team – which I wasn’t to be a part of – I did however, say that I’d go along and support… A weekend of drinking and cheering and watching hot dudes with no shirts on? No brainer right? Well….
I was in the stands, hungover as sh*t, watching the individual girls competing. Something inside me kind of clicked. As weird as it sounds it was honestly like I knew that that was where I had to be. Out on that stadium floor in Wollongong, as an individual. Their bodies, their form, their determination, everything about those girls out there was what I felt I wanted in life.
The next week I went back to the gym and snatched the shit out of a 35kg barbell.
Fast forward another year. Having poured a year of my life into this crazy sport, I had doubled my 1rm snatch, was back squatting nearly double bodyweight and had managed to catch that ever illusive muscle up and wrap it around my little finger. My clean had gone from 40kg on a good day – to 70kg….
Blood, sweat, tears, begging my parents for money and plenty of 5am starts had gotten me to this open. I was thinking “Team CrossFit NZ would be so awesome to be a part of” and ready to put my heart and body into helping the team qualify and hopefully securing myself a spot on that dream team.
It was the biggest emotional rollercoaster I’ve encountered and every hour of every day I was learning things about myself. The first workout had me in 70th – and a little bit of hope was born. I changed my game plan. Just like when I had sat watching regionals the year before. I knew exactly where I was going to be in a few months’ time. Out on that stadium floor in Wollongong as an individual. And I began to dig deeper. I hit those workouts with everything I had – I mean everything… sometimes three or four times in one week!
And you know what? I found myself inside that top 30 (Fist pump).
What?!!!!!! Hard work actually works???! Surely not?
Regionals as an individual was by far one of the best experiences of my life. It’s easy to watch top athletes and create a story in your mind that they are gifted and have always been as good as they are. It takes a sh*tload of hard work – and I do not regret one minute of the pain I put myself through on a daily basis.
Another year passed and another ticket to Regionals was earned. Again, coming home left me fired up even more and led to a one-way ticket to Melbourne to train under the highly regarded Ben Schwartz. Greatest decision I ever made – as we managed to qualify a team to not only win Regionals, but compete at the CrossFit Games!!! I now clean and jerk around 90kg, snatch 75kg and weigh in at 55kg. Talk about entering one little online competition to create some gains!!
It is a choice to enter, of course, but how will you ever know what you are capable of unless you give it a go? Competition may not be your thing, but life is about challenging yourself right? It’s about trying to continually improve. In my opinion, you should do it for yourself, see where your limits are and how far they can be pushed. Sure, your journey may not be the same as mine – but I am yet to hear of or meet someone who regretted competing in the open (and there is even a scaled section as well as masters and teens categories).
And guess what? We will all be there to support you. To pick you up when you lie in a sweaty mess, to cheer you on for “JUST ONE MORE REP” and to high five you at the end of every workout.
You’ll see PR’s.
You’ll see tears.
Maybe a little vomit?
And SO MANY smiles, laughs and hugs.
I literally have a million goose bumps thinking about this.
I can 110% guarantee that you will learn things about yourself. Not just weaknesses in your CrossFit, but things that will help you in your life. It brings the community closer together and it gives you a benchmark for your progress.
C’mon team – you got this!
2011 – (Yes that is a 35kg front squat and yes, I am very much on struggle street)….
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