The Legacy of Rich Froning

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Winning the CrossFit Games once makes you a great. Twice? All-time great. Three times? One of the best, if not the best ever. Four times? Legend. The fact he won them in four consecutive years? He is indisputably the fittest man in history.

There may be no other athlete or professional that works harder at his or her craft than Rich Froning does. In preparation for the Games, Rich spends 6+ hours a day training in his garage gym. This is undoubtedly exhausting both mentally and physically. His intense training regimen has proved to be successful as he has been prepared for all tests of fitness thrown at him year after year. Because of his passion and dedication to the sport, he has become the most consistent and dominant athlete in all of sports.

While he spends ample time training and focusing on CrossFit, he has other priorities in which he feels are more important. Sure, he makes a living due to fitness but he would be nothing without his faith and his family. As Froning has stated, the three most important things to him are faith, family and fitness. In that order.

Faith

In a time where it has become unpopular to be religious and overtly express your religious beliefs, Rich has made this the centerpiece of his life. He has often been quoted that he doesn’t want to be remembered for what he did in CrossFit, but how his faith lead him down the right path and gave him the ability to be all that he is. Rich-Froning-Galatians

If you don’t recall the 2010 CrossFit Games, Rich finished in 2nd place. He narrowly finished behind Graham Holmberg primarily because of his poor finish in the Wall Burpee/Rope Climb event. Being new to CrossFit, Rich wasn’t prepared for the rope climb as well as he could’ve been. This was ultimately his downfall in those Games and caused him to finish in 2nd for the first – and only – time of his Games career.

In his book First: What It Takes to Win, Rich explains what that rope meant to him. It was not just a rope, and his failure was not simply due to lack of physical preparation. He saw it as a sign from God that served to humble him and test his faith. Rich’s faith ultimately prevailed and he has become stronger in both his fitness and mental toughness as a result.

Rich has famously explained that he doesn’t want to be remembered for his accomplishments in CrossFit, but for being a dedicated follower of Christ and living in His honor.

Galatians 6:14 – May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Family

It comes as no surprise that Rich is quite the family man. He’s always been close with his family. In particular, he’s close with his cousin, Darren Hunsucker, who coaches with him at CrossFit Mayhem, and his father, “The Original” Rich Froning, who is often spotted in videos with Rich.

As he is close with his relatives, he is also extremely close with his wife, Hillary Froning. They are both great people who have done great things for organizations and other people in general. In fact, they even had fellow CrossFitter Dan Bailey live in their home for a while when he had nowhere to go.21be11aadea52fc2eb083b142a0f25e5

Rich and Hillary recently adopted their daughter named Lakelyn. This is their first child and, despite her size, a huge addition to their family. Now Rich has even more to train for: protecting his daughter from boys.

Fitness

This is what we all know and admire Rich for. His faith and dedication to family may not be as well known, but he prioritizes those two over his training. While he clearly puts his all into his training, just imagine how much he puts into God and his family. Amazing.

Rich is a former baseball player and fireman. He came from an athletic background and fell in love with CrossFit when he was first introduced to it. The rest is, well, history.

You already know that he won the Games in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He obviously achieved this through his relentless training attitude and unrivaled dedication to the sport. This past victory may have been his most challenging, however.

2014 Games

There were times during the 2014 CrossFit Games where Rich Froning looked, well, human. He resorted to walking during the run portion of the Triple-3 event in which he finished in 37th place. Then, he followed that poor performance up with a few more mediocre finishes in the Sprint Sled events. Even while Rich looked tangible and beatable for maybe the first time in his Games career, we were reminded of something: never count Rich Froning out.

With five total 1st place finishes in this year’s Games, Rich may have put on his most impressive overall performance despite his early shortcomings. He spent most of the Games on the outside looking in, but as soon as he claimed 1st place after Saturday night, there was no way he was going to relinquish his lead. You could tell by watching him on Sunday that he was prepared to give his all and exit the Games with nothing left to prove. He gave the champion-like performance that we’ve grown used to seeing from him over the years.

Legacy

It is hard to believe that we are speaking of Rich’s legacy when he is only 27 years old. That is a testament to how impressive and unbelievable he has been over the course of the past five years.

Rich has stated that this is the last Games he will compete in, as long as he won (which he did). With his family growing and the responsibilities mounting, it makes sense for him to take a step back. He will likely compete with the CrossFit Mayhem team and make them instant contenders for a top spot. That’s just how good he is.

Remember this: there will never be an individual more vital to the growth of his or her sport than Rich Froning has been for CrossFit.

When a person starts CrossFit and begins to read into it, it is inevitable that Rich’s name will appear.

When a person asks who is the “LeBron” of CrossFit, the answer will be Rich Froning.

There is no one person who is more synonymous with his sport than Rich is with CrossFit. Think about this: Rich just signed a deal with Reebok that has been rumored to be similar to “Peyton Manning money,” as he is also signed by Reebok. The NFL and CrossFit are obviously worlds apart, but Reebok has realized how important Rich is to the CrossFit community. He is not only the best at his sport, but he is a genuine person that any brand or sport would be proud to label him as “The Guy.”

Whether he decides to compete again or not, Rich Froning has left his mark on the sport of CrossFit. His success and work ethic has inspired many to aim to achieve the same.

When you look back on the CrossFit Games 20 years from now and your child/grandchildren happen to ask who was the Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky of CrossFit, you will undoubtedly say “Rich Froning.”

He is a legend.

Any questions/comments? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

Silver: Mathew Fraser and Annie Thorisdottir

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  • Name: Mathew Fraser
  • Affiliate: Champlain Valley CrossFit
  • Age: 24
  • Best finish at a Games: 2nd (2014)
  • Last year’s finish: N/A (First year)
  • Best finish at an event this year: Tie-1st (Overhead Squat)
  • Worst finish at an event this year: 23rd (Sprint Sled-2)
  • Previous year’s 2nd place winner: Jason Khalipa (3rd in 2014)
  • Why he made it to the podium. Pure relentlessness. He was a name being thrown around for a while prior to the Games as he seemingly came out of nowhere to take 7th overall in the Open. He turned even more heads as he took the North East regional with relative ease. No one knew exactly how he would perform in the Games since it was his first time, but man did he make an impression. This kid went toe-to-toe with Rich Froning on the final day and even beat him a few events in the days prior. He proved that he is strong, quick and composed as he turned a lot of doubters into believers in his first Games appearance. This is a name we can expect to be in podium contention for years to come.
  • 2015 Prediction: Podium finish. If Froning and Jason Khalipa actually are done, this kid could be the heir apparent.
  • Legacy: Too early to tell. This was only his first appearance and while he left a strong impression, he still has to prove he can be consistent over the years.

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  • Name: Annie Thorisdottir
  • Affiliate: CrossFit Reykjavik
  • Age: 24
  • Best finish at a Games: 1st (2011, 2012)
  • Last year’s finish: N/A (Sat out due to injury)
  • Best finish at an event this year: 1st (Midline March, Double Grace)
  • Worst finish at an event this year: 26th (Triple-3)
  • Previous year’s 2nd place winner: Lindsey Valenzuela (DNQ in 2014)
  • Why she made it to the podium: Because she’s Annie Thorisdottir. Enough of a reason? But really, she works incredibly hard and knows what it takes to be a champion. She’s been to the top of the podium twice and this 2nd place finish is her “lowest” finish of her career. Remarkable, considering she’s only 24 years old and still looks to have a lot left in the tank. On the final day, Annie did what Annie does best: win. She gave Camille Leblanc-Bazinet a real run for her money and fell short by just 40 points. Coming off a serious injury, Annie truly impressed this year and showed why she is one of CrossFit’s all-time greats.
  • 2015 Prediction: Podium finish. How can you not predict her to finish in the top-3? She’s never done so otherwise and looks to be back to old form.
  • Legacy: Legend. When you look at the 2011-2012 Games, you think of two names; Froning and Thorisdottir. The two of them helped CrossFit become what it is today. Annie showed women how awesome it could be to be fit and a total badass.

Any questions/comments? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

 

Keeping Chipotle Healthy

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(I will preface this article with a brief disclaimer. I am in no way trying to sway anyone from getting anything other than what they already order. If you want that flour tortilla or sour cream, go for it. It’s your money – you should enjoy it how you want to).

That being said, I’ve heard a lot of people say that “Chipotle is unhealthy” or “there’s easily over 2,000 calories in that.” In response to those statements, yes, Chipotle can be unhealthy and yes, there can be more than 2,000 calories in a Chipotle meal.

I italicized can for a reason. Your Chipotle order doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, you can get a meal that tastes great and is highly nutritious. You just have to know which ingredients to get and which to stay away from. I’ll give you guys a little run down the Chipotle assembly line and assess the healthiest choices in each section.

Burrito vs Burrito Bowl

Ah, the lovely flour tortilla. There’s something to be said about stuffing one of those with as many ingredients as possible, sometimes so much so that you need a double wrap. The flour tortilla tastes great, there’s no doubt about that. It has this taste that the burrito bowl simply lacks. However, by getting the flour tortilla you are already starting with 300 extra calories, including 690mg of sodium and 42g of carbohydrates. Most of our diets are high in carbohydrates as it is, which is fine when they’re being used to fuel our bodies and minds. But when carbs are eaten in excess and aren’t used, they get stored as fat. Excess fat leads to weight gain which leads to heart problems and so on.

I personally have grown a preference for burrito bowls over time. I’ve found that the workers are more generous with portion sizes when you have a bowl and more food fits into the bowl in general. To be honest, I’d rather double my rice than opt for the burrito.

Bottom Line: If you can fight the urge to get the flour tortilla, opt for the bowl. You will be able to get more real ingredients packed into a bowl as opposed to a tortilla, anyway.

White Rice vs Brown Rice

For most people, this seems to be more of a preference choice than anything. When compared side-by-side, white rice and brown rice aren’t very far off calorie-wise. However, white rice contains 375mg of sodium and 1g of dietary fiber while brown rice contains 165mg of sodium and 2.5g of dietary fiber. In general, you should try to minimize sodium intake when eating out due to the large amounts they use when cooking. Also, dietary fiber will keep you fuller longer and also aids in digestion.

Bottom Line: If you already have a preference, this one isn’t as big of a deal. But when it comes down to it, brown rice appears to be the healthier choice.

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

Another preference choice here. I just started getting black beans recently so I can’t compare taste from personal experience. Each type packs virtually identical amounts of calories, sodium, and dietary fiber. Black beans just so happen to have slightly less sodium and slightly higher dietary fiber.

Bottom Line: Again, this one is up to you. You can’t really go wrong here unless you’re skipping out on the beans on a whole.

The Meat

Chipotle offers a variety of meats for all kinds of tastes. They have chicken, steak, sofritas, barbacoa and carnitas.

The meat is probably the most important part of the order. What kind you ultimately get depends on what you’re looking for nutrition and taste wise.

  • Highest amount of protein: Chicken
  • Lowest amount of fat: Steak
  • Lowest amount of calories: Sofritas
  • Highest amounts of vitamins & minerals: Sofritas

Honestly, it is difficult to go wrong here. Chipotle raises their ingredients antibiotic and hormone free, so you know every choice is raised properly. They cook the food right in front of you on a grill which is also extremely healthy.

Bottom Line: Another preference choice here. Each type of meat has its own benefits. For the most well-rounded overall meat, I would go with chicken.

The Sauce

More so than any other category, this one is a true matter of preference. If you like a certain type of sauce, get it. It’s that simple. Just know that you will be adding a substantial amount of sodium to your order.

Bottom Line: Sauce is sauce. You wouldn’t go to Buffalo Wild Wings and not order sauce because it’s adding sodium, right? Exactly. In this case, get whichever you’d like.

The Others

This is where you can make or break your order. You have one of the healthiest ingredients on the menu in guacamole while you have a few of the worst in cheese and sour cream.

Most people are already aware that sour cream and cheese aren’t the most healthy ingredients. I would say that either one in moderation is fine. If you can’t envision your order without them, pick one or the other. Adding both may be going a little overboard on the saturated fat, but just getting one of them won’t hurt you.

As far as corn and lettuce go, both are completely acceptable. Each has its own health benefits and add very few calories to the order.

Now, if you don’t like guacamole for the taste then that’s fine. I can’t imagine how one wouldn’t, but that’s besides the point. If price is your main concern, don’t let it scare you away from getting it. Guacamole is made primarily with avocado which contains extremely healthy unsaturated fats. The added two dollars is definitely worth it for your taste buds and won’t hurt your wallet too much.

Bottom Line: Pick either sour cream or cheese, not both if you can avoid it. Ideally, you probably could ditch both altogether. Corn and lettuce are both acceptable as well. Guacamole is a must have in my book.

Chips

If there’s anything I’m pretty adamant on not ordering, it’s chips. I agree, they do taste good and complement the food very nicely. However, at an additional 570 calories and 73g of carbohydates, I don’t see any health benefit there. Personally, I would rather get a 2nd bowl than get chips on the side.

Bottom Line: No.

Water or Soda

Alright, alright. You’ve probably heard how bad soda is from your parents already so I won’t lecture you on that. But, if you’re going to get a water cup, please get water. I know Chipotle does nothing about it and doesn’t seem to care, but it just isn’t right.

Bottom Line: Drink the water and don’t steal. Your body and conscience will thank me for it.

My Order

Curious as to what I get? Take a look:

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As you can see, my order is under 1,000 calories even if I do get double rice. The meal has a good combination of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Verdict: Yes, Chipotle can be healthy. But if you’re already content with what you get, then go for it! It’s your choice. I’m just giving you some options if you’re curious on how to make Chipotle a healthy option.

Any questions/non-“I hate you for ruining my burrito”comments? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

Bronze: Jason Khalipa and Julie Foucher

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  • Name: Jason Khalipa
  • Affiliate: NorCal CrossFit
  • Age: 28
  • Best finish at a Games: 1st (2008)
  • Last year’s finish: 2nd
  • Best finish at an event this year: 2nd (Sprint Sled 1, Double Grace)
  • Worst finish at an event this year: 37th (Muscle-Up Biathlon)
  • Previous year’s 3rd place winner: Ben Smith (7th in 2014)
  • Why he made it to the podium: Work ethic and atypical training habits. Khalipa’s training is by no means standard as he trains for it all. Given his experience, Khalipa knows that the Games events look to exploit competitor’s weaknesses in order to see who is most prepared and fit for the task. He trains in a way that allows his body to adapt to whatever is thrown his way. It seems that every year there is always one or two events that throw him off his game. Most athletes would crumble at this point, but Khalipa seems to perform better after his worst, most humbling performances. This is exactly why he’s been able to be great and a podium contender for such a long time. He will be missed.
  • 2015 Prediction: Appears as if Khalipa is retiring.
  • Legacy: All-time great. Borderline legend as he has done so much for the sport both locally and globally.

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  • Name: Julie Foucher
  • Affiliate: CrossFit Ann Arbor
  • Age: 25
  • Best finish at a Games: 2012 (2nd)
  • Last year’s finish: N/A (Sat out to attend medical school)
  • Best finish at an event this year: 4th (Double Grace)
  • Worst finish at an event this year: 29th (Clean Speed Ladder)
  • Previous year’s 3rd place winner: Valerie Voboril (5th in 2014)
  • Why she made it to the podium: Experience and determination. The 2012 Games was huge for her as she gained invaluable experience and was able to get a taste of what it feels like to finish on the podium. Once you get there, you never want to finish anywhere else. In Foucher’s case. finishing 2nd only made her want 1st that much more. She came back this year stronger and faster than she was in 2012. She has stated that she will continue to compete for another year or two before she turns her focus to medicine, so you know she will come back with a vengeance.
  • 2015 Prediction: Podium finish. She has all the physical and mental tools to get there once again.
  • Legacy: Too early to tell. A 1st place finish could cement her as one of the all-time greats, but that is ultimately in her own hands.

Stay posted for a in-depth look at the 2nd place winners. Also, feature articles on the Champions will be released later this week.

Any questions/comments? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

2014 CrossFit Games Recap

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Froning, Fraser, Khalipa. If you missed my podium predictions, I somehow got this one spot on. Was it luck? Probably, but still pretty cool regardless. Here are a few notes from yesterday’s action and the Games on a whole:

  • Just when Rich Froning started to look human, he returned to his inhuman self. He took – no, this is not a typo – 300 of 300 possible points on Sunday. No one touched him. When Mathew Fraser challenged him in the Midline March and Thick ‘n’ Quick events, Rich blew him out of the water. By the last event, Double Grace, it was apparent that no one was going to stop him. He went into Sunday with a 5 point lead over Fraser and ended it with a 50 point lead. He is that good. There will never be anyone like him, maybe in ANY sport, ever again. He is a legend.
  • Mathew Fraser was all he was hyped up to be and more. He gave Froning a real run for his money and proved that he belongs up there with the best. Age and lack of experience did not seem to phase him as he consistently showed up when it counted most. This kid has a really bright future and with Froning and Jason Khalipa potentially retiring, he may have secured a spot on the 2015 podium already.
  • It’s going to be hard to imagine a Games where Jason Khalipa isn’t competing. He has been a staple in CrossFit for years now and has done so much for the sport. If this is truly it, he went out with a stellar Sunday effort and a well-deserved spot on the podium. He didn’t let his disappointing Saturday night finish bother him as he went out and did what Jason Khalipa does: perform his best when the stakes are the highest. Another CrossFit legend going out the right way.

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Leblanc-Bazinet, Thorisdottir, Foucher. Well, I had 2 of the 3 in my top-3, but I picked Alessandra Pichelli to take it all. Hey, I was only 22 spots off with her. A few notes on the women:

  • Camille Leblanc-Bazinet secured the top spot on the podium well before Sunday evening. While she technically could have been surpassed, she had a commanding lead over the other women and was not about to let go of that lead. There is no doubt that she came into this year’s Games with a chip on her shoulder after finishing in 16th in 2013. All of her hard work paid off and she should be right back in contention for the top spot in 2015.
  • While she may be used to taking 1st place, Annie Thorisdottir should be elated with her finish in this year’s Games. A few events early on threw her off, but she did what she does best and took 295 of 300 possible points on Sunday. If not for an injury in 2013, we may be having the same conversation about her that we will have about Froning being a 4-peat champion. Regardless, Annie is truly a legend and is the greatest women’s CrossFit competitor of all-time.
  • Another athlete who was inactive for the Games in 2013, Julie Foucher showed that nothing was going to stop her. She was consistent throughout the Games with very few slip-ups and her effort was good enough for a 3rd place finish. The fact that she performed so well after not competing last year is a testament to her work ethic and overall athletic abilities. Foucher is back and here to stay for years to come.

In the upcoming days, I will be writing individual articles about the athletes that reached the podium. Also, I plan to write a little feature on Chris Spealler in lieu of his retirement from CrossFit.

Any further thoughts/comments on the CrossFit Games? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

CrossFit Games Day 3 Recap

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Here are the men’s standings going into the final day of competition. Thoughts:

  • Rich Froning is back in first. Surprise? Not at all. However, this has been one of his more “average” Games performances in his career, yet he is still sitting in 1st going into the final day. That is a testament to how good Rich really is.
  • The rookie Mathew Fraser sits 5 points behind Froning. This is interesting because Froning potentially could have been 5 more points ahead of Fraser if he had won the OH squat event outright instead of getting fancy and going for the 400 lb. squat. Fraser looks hungry for a win and regardless of where he finishes, he has absolutely made a name for himself.
  • Josh Bridges is one of my favorite competitors. I really wanted to pick him to finish top-3 in my preview article, but I doubted his strength. Even though his finished in the OH squat and clean speed ladder events were subpar, he has managed to remain in 3rd place, only 12 points behind Froning. His performance in the Push Pull last night was outstanding, to say the least.
  • The podium is still as unpredictable as it was prior to the Games starting. Rich has first now and he obviously must finish ahead of Fraser and Bridges to remain in the top spot. Don’t expect those two to make it easy on him, though.

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And here are your women’s standings going into the final day of competition. Thoughts:

  • Well, Kara Webb is human after all. She got capped in the Muscle-Up Biathlon and the Push Pull events. She certainly isn’t out of contention for 1st, but it will take strong finishes coupled with poor finishes by Camille Leblanc-Bazinet for her to have a chance.
  • Aside from the Sprint Carry event, Leblanc-Bazinet performed exceptionally throughout the day. Her lowest finish yesterday outside of the Sprint Carry: 5th place. And that is exactly why she has as commanding of a lead as she does.
  • Just two points separate Annie Thorisdottir, Michele Letendre, and Valerie Voboril. They will all need strong finishes if they wish to be standing on the podium. Expect these the competition to be extremely exciting and come down to the last event.
  • It is obvious the Leblanc-Bazinet has a stronghold over the rest of the women. It will take poor finishes in the final events and very high finishes by the ladies below her for Leblanc-Bazinet to fall out of the top spot. Anything can happen, of course, but she has looked dominant and I don’t see that changing.

Any further thoughts/comments on Day 3? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

CrossFit Games Day 2 Recap

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Nothing short of a packed house yesterday at the “21-15-9 Complex” event.

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Here are your men’s standings after Friday’s events. Thoughts:

  • Definitely a lot of familiar names here. If I posted this prior to the “21-15-9 Complex” you wouldn’t see Rich Froning’s name on here, but a win in that event propelled him from 12th to 4th.
  • Jason Khalipa is reminding everyone just how good he is. Strong finishes in the final 3 events on Friday allowed him to take control of the overall lead.
  • Looks like Noah Olsen is here to stay. After starting off strong in “The Beach” event, he continued to perform extremely well and finds himself sitting pretty behind Khalipa.
  • We knew Josh Bridges wasn’t the strongest (remember the deadlifts at the 2013 Games?), but he is as fit as anyone in the field. The “Sprint Carry” event will be a challenge for him for sure.
  • Tommy Hackenbruck is an absolute brute. He has dominated the strength-oriented events so far and has held his own in the endurance-based ones as well. This guy is a real competitor.
  • 6-10 on the leaderboard are still very much in it. Scott Panchik trails Froning by just 8 points. Surprise? Definitely not after seeing them in the Central East Regional.

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And here are your women’s standings after Friday’s events. Thoughts:

  • Has any athlete, male or female, been more impressive in this Games so far than Kara Webb? She has dominated basically every event with the “Triple 3” being her only true hiccup.
  • That being said, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet has more than held her own. She trails Webb by just 7 points. If these two continue their stellar performances, expect 1st place to come down to the last event.
  • Julie Foucher has also been performing very well, yet she sits 59 points back from 2nd place. This doesn’t discredit any of the other female athletes below, it just shows how dominant Webb and Leblanc-Bazinet have been.
  • “Iceland Annie” made a big jump yesterday into 7th place. With her proven track record, no one ahead of her should feel safe.
  • Anna Tunnicliffe has been extremely successful in the endurance events, yet has struggled with others. Saturday will make or break her position in the standings.
  • My original pick to win, Alessandra Pichelli, is currently sitting in 16th place (oops). This is not to say she is out of it, but she is really going to have to dominate and hope those above her can slip up.

Any further thoughts/comments on Day 2? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

CrossFit Games Day 1 Recap

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A few notes after Day 1:

  • The Men’s standings contain a handful of familiar names. The list is lead by none other than the 3-time champ Rich Froning.
  • The other competitors should be particularly scared because Froning typically struggles with swimming events but came out strong this year and then took the tie for first in Event 2.
  • Rookie Mathew Fraser made it known that he is here to stay and ready to compete for a top spot.
  • Scott Panchik is backing up his talk and following closely behind Froning & co.
  • No surprise to see names such as Ben Smith, Jason Khalipa and Josh Bridges right up there in the hunt for a top spot.
  • Time and time again you see Froning come back a year later to conquer his weaknesses. He “shored” up his swimming (punny, I know) to put himself in a great spot after Day 1.
  • Friday’s events consist of the “Triple 3” (Row 3,000m, 300 DU’s, Run 3 miles – For Time) and Sprint Sleds 1&2 (Each a 100-yard sled push worth 50 points a piece).

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A few notes about the women:

  • Wow. Kara Webb came out and kicked ass in the swim then absolutely dominated the OH squat event. She’s sitting pretty right now after two strong finishes.
  • Camille Leblanc-Bazinet trails closely behind Webb. Rows 1&2 as well as the Burden Run in 2013 are a few events that gave her some trouble last year. She has a lot to prove in the “Triple 3” event.
  • Lauren Fisher showed everyone what all the hype was about. At age 20, she was able to OH squat 238 lbs., good enough for a 6th place finish.
  • Julie Foucher is back and ready to compete. After missing last year, the former 2nd place winner in 2012 put herself in a good position to challenge for a top spot after Day 1.
  • “The Beach” winner Anna Tunnicliffe clearly struggled in the OH squat event. She is going to need to have a really strong weekend to remain in the top-10.
  • Names such as Alessandra Pichelli and Annie Thorisdottir are absent from the top-10. Don’t expect for them to be on the outside for too long.
  • Talayna Fortunato was evidently hampered by her right hamstring issue. Nonetheless, she competed to her fullest and completed each event despite the pain.

Any further thoughts/comments on Day 1? Comment here or on Instagram @TheCanyonOfHeroes.

W2W4: 2014 CrossFit Games

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As always, the CrossFit Games is poised to be filled with intrigue, excitement and surprises. Both the men and the women have their fair share of story lines. From the 7th and final games for Chris Spealler to the return of “Iceland Annie”, this Games has it all. Here’s a heads up on what you can expect to see.

The Men

The Favorite – Rich Froning

This one is a no-brainer. Honestly, I have the utmost confidence that Froning will leave Carson, California after this weekend with his fourth Games title in a row. As usual, Froning dominated the Open and remained on top in the highly competitive Central East region. It seems like when everyone else gets exhausted, he is just getting going. He has proved year after year that he has the perfect combination of athleticism, composure and brains that are required to be a Games winner. Expect to see him back in 1st place this year.

The Underdog – Scott Panchik

Panchik has been breathing down Froning’s neck for quite some time now. At regionals, Panchik proved that he is up to the task of going head-to-head Froning. It seems as if competing against Froning makes Panchik that much better of a competitor. Panchik has stated his desire to win – regardless of whether Froning is contending or not – and not finish in 4th like he has the past two years. Look for Panchik to give it his all and ultimately contend for a top spot.

The Timeless Veteran – Chris Spealler

After not qualifying for the Games in 2013, Spealler thought he was done. He was ready to hang up the Nanos and spend more time with his family. Fast-forward to 2014 and he has qualified for the 7th Games of his career. He has worked so hard just to get back to this point and should be considered a serious contender. Despite his size – 5’5″, 150 lbs – he is stronger than meets the eye and is capable of competing with the fittest. This Games is sure to be emotional for Spealler as he leaves it all on the field.

The Rookie – Mathew Fraser

Fraser is as young and strong as they come. At the age of 24, he boasts impressive strength and a remarkable level of conditioning that is sure to turn heads. In his first year out of the North East region, look for Fraser to make some noise and potentially crack the top-5. He should give the veterans a serious run for their money, so long as he can stay grounded and not get over-anxious in his first appearance.

The NorCal Bear – Jason Khalipa

Khalipa is hungry to get back on top. After winning the Games in 2008, he has flirted with first place but hasn’t quite reached it since. Last year, he finished 2nd to Froning. Khalipa is going to come out firing this year and anything less than a podium finish would be a disappointment for him. He’s got all the tools physically, he just needs to stay focused on not burnout too early in the workouts. All signs point to another strong year for Khalipa.

Predicting the Podium

This is extremely difficult, as there are countless athletes that have the tools to finish in the top three. As tough as this is, here is my podium prediction:

1st – Rich Froning

2nd – Mathew Fraser

3rd – Jason Khalipa

The Women

Comeback Player of the Year – Annie Thorisdottir

She’s back. Two-time Games winner “Iceland Annie” returns this year after a back injury kept her sidelined in 2013. She won the Europe regional and placed higher than last year’s winner Sam Briggs, who failed to qualify this year. While the injury forced her to take a hiatus from training, don’t be surprised if Annie is back in the mix and in the hunt for a spot on the podium.

The Rising Sophomore – Alessandra Pichelli

Pichelli qualified for the first time last year at age 27. In her Games debut, she placed in 4th after a disappointing finish. Her sophomore effort is primed to be better than her first as she has another year of serious training under her belt. A top-3 finish is very well within her reach with the potential of taking it all.

The Consistent Veteran – Valerie Voboril

With two 3rd place finishes in the past 4 years, Voboril looks to contend for a spot on the podium again at the age of 35. Despite her age, she has showed virtually no signs of slowing down. If not for her poor performance in the rowing events last year, she would’ve had a real shot at taking 1st over Briggs. Another podium finish is a realistic expectation for Voboril.

The Canadian Contender – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

If not for a few sub-par performances in the run-heavy events, we may be referring to Leblanc-Bazinet as the 2013 champ. She dominated the latter half of last year’s Games and is poised to comeback even stronger this year. She is a relentless competitor and should be considered a strong contender in this year’s Games.

The Rookie – Lauren Fisher

Sister of 2013 Games competitor Garrett Fisher, Lauren has come a long way since her first attempt at the Games last year. While her brother did not qualify this year, Lauren sneaked into the Games through a difficult Southern California region. She has added significant strength since her last appearance and should definitely be in the conversation for a top spot.

Predicting the Podium

As if the men’s podium wasn’t hard enough to predict, the women’s is a total enigma. Here is my (lofty) podium prediction:

1st – Alessandra Pichelli

2nd – Annie Thorisdottir

3rd – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

Any questions/comments? Leave them below or email me at nsamra23@yahoo.com.

Why CrossFit?

CrossFit may singlehandedly be the most scrutinized fitness method out there. From the cult-like atmosphere to the lack of proper form, the naysayers have come up with it all. They’ve found all the possible negatives with CrossFit and put it all out there for the world to see. It’s ironic because today there are approximately 10,000 CrossFit affiliate gyms worldwide and over 200,000 people competed in the 2014 CrossFit Open. The numbers suggest CrossFit has continued to increase in popularity despite the negative words being thrown around about it.

It is true that CrossFit isn’t for everyone. Each individual has his own goals and knows how hard he is willing to push to achieve them. CrossFit is extremely physically demanding and not everyone is willing to push themselves to their limit, which is perfectly fine.

For myself, the monotony of back/bis, chest/tris, and shoulders/legs really got to me. It is a proven method that has allowed a lot of people to reach their personal and fitness goals, but it just wasn’t for me. I wanted something more. Something that would kick my ass, make me more well-rounded athletically, and just plain stronger. That something was CrossFit, and it has proved to be so much more than that. So what can CrossFit do for you?

CrossFit will humble you. When you watch the games and see the likes of Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa throwing around ridiculous weights with stellar form and relative ease, you will be in awe, yet feel inferior. And this is exactly what should drive you. With hard work and the utmost dedication to the sport, you can get there too. I can assure you that neither of them thought they’d ever be capable of doing what they are today. They had a lofty vision for themselves that they made a reality through their relentless efforts. All CrossFitters should aspire to achieve that superior level of fitness.

CrossFit will make you stronger. I’ve heard that since CrossFit is predominantly conditioning that it will make you “small” or simply “shredded” and not strong. I can assure you that this isn’t true. Since starting CrossFit, each and every one of my compound lifts have gone up and they continue to do so. While you may never squat 1000 pounds of bench 600+, you will be able to squat, bench, deadlift more than adequate amounts – and hardly even feel tired from it. You will be a “jack-of-all-trades.”

CrossFit will make you a harder worker. Not only will you be pushing hard in the gym, but CrossFit will make you work harder at everything you do. The results you get from all the hard work you put in at the gym will show you how much you can achieve if you really work at it. From my personal experience, I noticed an improvement in my grades at school as well an improved desire to do my best at work.

CrossFit will bring you a true sense of community. The CrossFit community is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. While humans are inherently competitive, CrossFitters rally around each other and root for one another regardless of the circumstances. The CrossFit Games are a prime example. No matter what place an athlete finishes in, as soon as the athlete is done, he will push the next guy to keep moving and finish the workout (assuming the athlete isn’t laying on the ground from pure exhaustion). Aside from the Games, the atmosphere of a Box (a CrossFit gym) is truly amazing. Everyone is extremely friendly and are willing to help one another at any time. They will also hold you accountable to make sure you are performing to the best of your abilities.

CrossFit will teach you patienceJumping right into CrossFit and expecting to perform like a Games athlete is an unreasonable expectation. It takes years of strength training and conditioning to get to that elite level of fitness. Those who stick with CrossFit and remain dedicated will reap the benefits in the long term. Nothing in CrossFit can be achieved overnight and the best are aware of this. It takes consistency, dedication, and genuine hard work to get to that elite level. So be patient.

Lastly, for those who are wondering how CrossFit will make you look…

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Yes, you will look good.

Ready to try CrossFit? Take it easy and don’t rush into it. There is countless advice on the web to get beginners going. But most importantly, find your local Box and get in there. You won’t regret it.

Any questions/comments? Use the comment box below or email me at nsamra23@yahoo.com.

Heroes: From ’94 to ’14

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If I was asked what a hero was back in 1994, my reply would’ve been something along the lines of Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, and Adam Graves. Granted, I couldn’t speak as a two month old, but I just knew. Blue was in my blood. It’s something I was born with and has always been a part of me. My childhood  heroes were the ones wearing the blue sweaters on Broadway, donning the Pinstripes in the Bronx, and the Gang Green members in the Meadowlands. It would’ve taken a lot to convince me that Alex Rodriguez was anything short of immortal back in the day. Now, well…

If I was asked today what I thought a hero is, I would have a completely different answer. The men and women fighting for our country is an obvious yet accurate answer. Murph-with-team-memberHowever, the CrossFit community further glorifies the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and honors them in the form of “Hero WODs.” While CrossFit hasn’t always been a part of my life like sports has, I have become extremely passionate about the sport and advocate it to the fullest. The mantra “you get out what you put in” especially rings true in CrossFit and through it I have been able to better myself in all aspects of life.

As for the name “The Canyon of Heroes,” I figured it was fitting as it embodies both sports and CrossFit, the primary focuses of this blog. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with you about two of my biggest passions. I would like to thank any readers in advance for their time and support.