5 Lessons Learned from the 2016 CrossFit Games
1) Murph Times Are Not Always Equal
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the 2016 CrossFit Games is how many athletes finished under 2 hours. The second thing that came to mind was how few runners completed their event within the two hour mark. This led us to wonder if there were any other factors at play than just a lack of preparation or even skill.
We decided to take a closer look at the data and see what else might have been going on. To do so, we used the CrossFit Games API to get all of the results for each athlete’s event. After getting all of these events, we took a quick look at each one individually and looked for patterns in performance. Here are some things that stood out:
In most cases, athletes were finishing their workouts under 1 hour.
However, the average time was actually under 2 hours.
It appears that the athletes were doing something different with their warm ups. They weren’t simply running through a series of movements before they started their main work sets. Instead, they were performing specific exercises to build up strength and then moving into more complex movements. This could include anything from bodyweight squats to kettlebell swings to gymnastic rings to barbell rows.
This type of warm up seems to make more sense from a sports performance standpoint where you are focusing on building strength and specific movement patterns before moving into heavier weights and more complex movements. Most runners, on the other hand, were simply doing dynamic stretching before starting their main work sets.
2) The Fittest on Earth Aren’t Always The Youngest on Earth
It should come as no surprise that Mathew Fraser is one of the fittest people on the planet. His recent performance at the CrossFit Games was nothing short of incredible. Most athletes would be proud to have accomplished even half of what he did in the 2016 competition. At only 23 years of age, Mathew managed to successfully defend his title as Fittest Man on Earth. He left nothing behind and pushed himself far beyond his limits.
And now that he has successfully defended his title, he has solidified himself as one of the greatest athletes to ever compete in the sport.
However, the 2016 CrossFit Games also brought to light another athlete who managed to accomplish a feat which many believed was not possible in this day and age. His name is Rich Froning Jr. and he is the father of the two-time CrossFit Games champion Mathew. It might not seem so unusual that a father could out-perform his offspring, but it’s the age gap that makes this story really stand out.
It turns out that Rich Sr. has been a lifelong athlete and has probably always been in better shape than most people half his age. Thanks to his CrossFit training, he continues to stay in much better physical condition than most anyone you’re going to come across. It’s actually quite amazing to see how well he can perform even when he’s up against some of the younger CrossFit athletes.
At the 2016 CrossFit Games, Rich Sr. was not competing for a spot at the podium. Instead, he was there to coach and support his son. As it turns out, he ended up finishing higher than a few of the athletes who were actually there to compete! Even at the age of 50, he managed to take home a 20th place finish for the weekend.
That might not sound all that impressive until you consider that the average age of the male competitors was 27.4 years old. In other words, Rich Froning Sr. finished in the top 20 out of athletes who were, on average, more than 10 years younger than him!
The point of this isn’t to suggest that you need to have amazing genes for this sort of thing. However, it should at least give you hope that perhaps you’re not as old as you think you are. With the right training and dedication, just about anyone can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
3) Old School Can Beat New School
Perhaps the biggest story to come out of the 2016 CrossFit games was that of 2 time CrossFit Games competitor Noah Ohlsen. Unlike many of the other top CrossFit athletes, Ohlsen does not compete on a regular basis. In fact, he only decided to attend this year’s games because he felt like he was in the best shape of his life and wanted to give competition a try. Ohlsen trains as a firefighter in southern California and has a day job which keeps him extremely busy. Because of all this, he only occasionally attends regional competitions such as the one that awarded him a ticket to the big show this year.
Due to his limited competition attendance, Ohlsen was largely unknown to most of the other top CrossFit athletes. Many of them did not take him seriously and claimed that he didn’t deserve to be there competing with the “big boys.” This turned out to be a huge mistake as Ohlsen managed to shock everyone by not only making it into the top 20, but also finishing in 11th place! He easily beat out fan favorites like Ben Smith and Jason Khalipa.
Noah Ohlsen’s performance really sent a message to the CrossFit community. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what gym you belong to, or how often you compete. If you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything.
If you’re ever feeling discouraged about your age and want to give CrossFit a try, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re “too old.” If someone who is in their 40s and only started competing a couple years ago can beat out some of the top names in the sport, then there’s no reason why you can’t do it!
Give CrossFit a try
Now more than ever, people of all ages are starting to realize that they’re not content with just letting time pass them by. They want to get out there and enjoy all that life has to offer. If you’re over 40, that doesn’t mean that your best days are behind you. If anything, it just means that every year is a brand new opportunity for you to try something new and exciting.
If you’re at all curious about the sport of CrossFit and want to learn more, feel free to give us a call or send us a message and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, we hope to see you in the box!
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