'Train heavy, fight light': CrossFit competition heats up

“So what's your secret sauce?” 

Medals have been distributed, the podiums have been cleared, and equipment is being hauled away as I hear a spectator pose this question to Lauren Krygowski, a coach and competitive athlete representing CrossFit Explode, the number one team in the Mid-Atlantic.

"Train heavy, fight light," Lauren responds, repeating the mantra screen-printed on t-shirts bearing the CrossFit Explode logo and echoed on the gym's website.

Ancient Romans prepared for battle by training with wooden swords that were twice the weight of the swords with which they fought. This is not an uncommon training technique in preparing for CrossFit competition where the best continue to get better, exponentially raising the bar each passing year.  

It's no longer enough to be the best at the CrossFit component at which you excel—it is, after all, the sport of fitness, of general physical preparedness, of the unknown and the unknowable. Emily Record, co-Owner of Trap Door Athletics and Mid-Atlantic Regionals athlete representing CrossFit Center City, says that she has spent the better part of the last year working to turn her weaknesses into strengths. Record, a former rugby player, is known for her ability to move a ridiculous amount of weight.  Gymnastics-dominant skills like handstand pushups and muscle-ups have been ‘goats’ that Record continues to try and master. Her hard work and marked improvement won her a spot at the CrossFit Mid-Atlantic Regionals for the second year in a row.  

This year's Regionals events proved a steep challenge for each competitor—a challenge that mounted as each WOD (Workout of the Day) was completed. By the last WOD on day three, athletes were spent heaps of sore muscles, easing themselves in and out of ice baths, the unmistakable scent of sweat and Ben-Gay permeating the air.

Proving their athletic prowess as individuals and earning a spot at the 2013 CrossFit Games are:

  • Ben Smith (the 22-year old crowd favorite from Chesapeake, VA)
  • Gary Helmick, (of CrossFit Revamped, and winner of the 2013 Philadelphia Winter Warmer)
  • Jordan Troyan (hailing from Skippack, PA)
  • Christy Phillips (one of only seven women to who have competed in four or more CrossFit Games)
  • Gretchen Kittelberger (a former gymnast and repeat Games athlete representing CrossFit Reston)
  • Michelle Crawford (of Ballantyne YMCA in Charlotte, NC).

Representing the Mid-Atlantic region—and more importantly, metro Philadelphia—is CrossFit Explode, winning the battle for first place against 29 other teams. Also headed to the 2013 CrossFit Games are teams from RAW Training and CrossFit Wilmington.  

Athletes throw down the gauntlet at the 2013 CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA from July 22 - 28.

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