Archive for February, 2012

Well, after a long layoff I have been trying to crank up the content lately.  My favorite segment of this blog is the “Beyond the Athlete” interviews but even more than that, I love when i get some time with our sport’s best athletes to ask them the same dumb questions I ask you all.  I do change them up a bit and make them more CrossFit oriented so we can learn from what makes them so great.  This time, I was able to get in touch with one of CrossFit’s most famous athletes, Chris Spealler.  For those of you who dont know about Chris, he has competed in every one of the CrossFit Games and has never finished out of the top 25 and has 4 top 10 finishes to his name (3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th).  He is most famous for his incredible size/strength ratio (he is 5’4″ and weighs around 150 lbs) and unrelenting endurance.  Google “Spealler butterfly pull ups” and prepare to me awestruck as he reels off 96 in a row.

I even asked Chris to give us an intro and, in his own words: “Outside of CrossFit I am a husband and dad of two amazing kids, Roark (2), and Myla (5 days!)  My wife Sarah is incredibly supportive of all that I do.  I grew up in Pennsylvania playing a bunch of different sports but stuck with wrestling the longest and was fortunate enough to go to a Division 1 school and be ranked in the top 20 in the nation… that was a while ago now 🙂  I also own and train at CrossFit Park City as well as travel with CrossFit HQ teaching at Level 1 Seminars, Coaches Prep Courses, and help with the development of some new material. ”  

Truly one of the greats so hopefully this is both fun and educational for you all to read.  Also, make sure you click “read the rest of this entry” to see the entire interview.  Duh.

1. Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I grew up in Paoli, PA which is about 45 min NW of Philadelphia.  I currently live in Park City, UT and have been here for around 10 years.

2. What is your athletic background?

Primarily wrestling.  I started when I was 6 yrs old and went through till the end of college.  I also played a handful of other sports growing up including soccer, lacrosse, track, and even golf!

3. How did you get started with CrossFit and how long have you been doing it?

A friend of mine in the Marines told me about while I was on a trip with Young Life kids and told me to give it a shot.  I found it online and hit up “Cindy” for the first time in late 2006.  Haven’t stopped since.  

4. What mistakes did you make early on that held you back from improving?

It was different when I stared.  There wasn’t even an affiliate in Utah.  I think the closest one must have been in Colorado.  So I was on my own.  A friend of mine, Eric O’Connor, also a great competitor and previous games athlete, just found our way through it.  If I started right now I would jump into an affiliate and learn as much as I could as fast as I could.  For what we had, I think we did a pretty good job, as crazy as we must have looked in the start.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I love technical movements that are coupled well.  Workouts like “Amanda” are some of my favorites.  I think it allows for some great competition and really test the athleticism behind the work capacity which is a huge part of what I enjoy.  Snatches, muscle ups, and double unders are just a few I can think of now.

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike?

I try not to dislike anything.  I think it puts you at a disadvantage thinking of things that way.  But surprising to some I really dislike l-sits.  And “Karen” is my least favorite workout.  


7. What are your current goals with regards to CrossFit? Any weaknesses you are trying to improve?

Right now I am really focused on winning my Region and qualifying for the games since I have to go through that process now.  I am focusing a tremendous amount of my time on heavy barbell movements and complexes that really take me super far outside of my comfort zone and wheelhouse, as well as the recovery behind these things.  

8. Through your experiences, what has had the most impact on making you a better CrossFitter (endurance, strength, Oly lifting, etc.)? Furthermore, what advice would you give novice CrossFitters looking to improve their WOD times/rounds?

For me personally I think it has been my strength.  I think too many people fall into thinking this is right for them though.  If I could give any advice to every newbie out there it would be to work on your technique and mechanics as much as you can, then consistency, then intensity. To many people want to do things as rx’d and they end up fighting through it and creating bad habits that force plateaus later in their training.  

9. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

Continuing to travel for CrossFit to teach but not quite as often.  I would also love to build my own facility in Park City and step back a bit more from the every day operations of the gym and spend some time just getting back to teaching.  Possibly even coaching a small crew of athletes at that time.  

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused), who would you choose and why?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner?

1.  Jesus,  I’ll overuse it.  Don’t really care if people hear it too much.  For me, that’s a no brainer.  To experience his presence, grace, and what I think is often misunderstood about him would be such an amazing experience that I would never miss it.

2.  King David.   He was a screw up but somehow had it all together at the same time.  Whether you believe the story of his battle against Goliath or not is a cool freakin story and I want to know was going through his head when he went after a 9 foot giant with a rock and sling!

3.  Any veteran who was a prisoner of war.  I think it would be amazing to sit down and hear their story.  What they went through, how the persevered, what motivated them and drove them to keep going, and how it made them who they are today.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Honestly don’t know enough celebrities to know.  I’m out of the loop these days.  I’m stuck watching Bob the Builder and Cat in the Hat, neither of which I have a crush on.  

12.  What is your favorite movie and why?

Depends on the category but Tommy Boy comes to mind.  There’s nothing like a good stupid comedy to get you to relax a bit.  

13.  What is your favorite book(s) and why?

Big fan of the Vince Flynn series.  I’m way into the CIA special op stuff.  Keeps me hooked and I love that stuff!

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