Celebrity trainer Chris Powell, author of Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days has been a Crossfitter for quite a while—but he never considered himself at the same level of conditioning as the athletes that compete in The Games. But when Tommy Hackenbruck, captain of the team that won two years in a row, asked him to join his team for the East Coast Championships, an elite CrossFit competition, he couldn’t say no. So, a few weeks ago, Powell competed with the greatest athletes in the CrossFit world. “Although the ECC is an ‘invite only’ event for just the best Crossfit Athletes, they were going to make an exception for Tommy and his team,” explains Powell. “It was a bucket-list opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.” Click through to read about how Powell trained, his experience during the competition, and his absolute favorite WODs.
I had five weeks to try to get myself into somewhat decent shape so that I didn’t totally embarrass myself out there in front of these world class athletes. My first mission was to build a motor for myself. I love lifting heavy, but at the cost of my aerobic capacity, which I hadn’t paid much attention to for quite a while.
Needless to say, training for the East Coast Championships was an incredible experience. I’ll be honest, I can’t say the training part was exactly ‘fun’ (because it was comprised of a lot of sled pushes and airdyne sprints, which everyone in the sports and performance world knows and dreads). However, in the end, competing side-by-side with Games athletes at such an epic venue was extremely rewarding, and well worth the long and painful training sessions.
The competition itself was awesome…and painful. My first realization was at how smooth and efficient the other athletes are in their movements. I was thrilled to see that I could lift just as much weight as they could, but I was blown away at how they can move the weight so much quicker to cycle through the reps. It was eye-opening, and a huge spotlight on areas of my training that I need to focus on. Fortunately, I had a great group of teammates that were cheering me on throughout the events and coaching me along the way.
I must say, however, that the best part about the whole experience was the respect, support, and camaraderie from the other athletes and fans. As we would exit the competition floor, the fans would give high fives and pats on the back, and it continued all the way back to the athlete room with the other competitors hugging, high fiving, and joking about the brutal event that just went down. It was amazing.
Powell’s Top Five Favorite WODs
1. Cindy: My main ‘go to’ when I want an awesome total-bodyweight workout and good lung burner.
2. Annie: My fav for just getting back into the swing of things. Not terrible, but will def get your heartrate up fast!
3. Nate: I love the small rep prescription for this one. Its movements can be high on the difficulty scale, but because you only have to do 2,4, and 8, it makes you feel like you’re making good progress round after round.
4. Murph: My favorite grinder and benchmark overall work capacity. Every once in a while I’ll do it with a vest. (Check it out here.)
5. Linda: Love/Hate this one. It’s a heck of a mind game for me as I get down to the 6’s…and a real killer on the grip with the cleans.
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