The annual CrossFit Open kicked off on February 25. The Open is the first stage of the CrossFit Games season. This five-week, five-workout competition is held in CrossFit and garage gyms around the world. The workouts test an athlete’s fitness with a wide range of functional movements. The fittest athletes advance to regional competitions and then to the Games. At the Games, men, women, teenagers and masters vie for the coveted title of Fittest on Earth.
In the San Francisco part of Earth, at 960 Howard Street, one such hopeful is Chris LaLanne. Co-owner and CrossFit coach of LaLanne Fitness, Chris has the DNA to pull this off. byteclay.com spoke with Chris LaLanne in 2009 when he attempted to break granduncle Jack LaLanne’s world record 1,000 pull-ups and 1,000 pushups in 1 hour and 22 minutes. He came up short but was philosophically positive. “Jack was 45 years old when he handled this in 1959. I’m 33. I guess I’ve got time to train for a few more years!” byteclay.com spoke again with Chris LaLanne on February 28.
Mark Davis: Have you been to the Games before?
Chris LaLanne: I never have. But this is my first year competing in the masters division. When you turn forty, which I just did in October, you are in the masters category where every five years you are in a new age group competing only against those in that age group. I believe as you get older, the more years you have accumulated with CrossFit, the better your chances are of being competitive. I’ve been taking it seriously this year because being forty I have statistically a better chance to make it to the regional.
MD: Can you describe LaLanne Fitness’ hosting of the CrossFit Open?
CL: Our gym is doing it on Friday nights. Every Friday night, you come into our gym and do the workout with your classmates. This may be a competition, but I think of it as more of a celebration of where you are today with your own fitness level and using that as a baseline to set goals. Each workout will say, hey you are good at this, but not so good at that. It’s going to identify or expose you in a different way every week.
MD: How are the workouts scored?
CL: Each athlete has a judge during the workout. They’re counting the reps, validating the range of motion and approving the performance. If you don’t complete a repetition to the standards prescribed, they will not count that repetition. That makes this fair and an even playing field wherever you go because the judge holds you accountable and makes sure that it’s an accurate performance. All of my coaches and members may be judging someone but then I have to confirm and validate that performance as the head judge.
MD: How do you validate the performance?
CL: Some of them video the workouts, so I can ask to see the video if it’s a performance that I know is going to be competitive. But a lot of these folks are not trying to go all the way to the CrossFit games, they are less serious per se. But the ones that are taking their score and their performance seriously have an experienced judge and I am also observing and confirming that performance. I am one of those athletes that will be judged heavily and I also have to video my performance. Because if I advance to the next stage, CrossFit will review these videos.
Next up, Chris talks about the benefits of CrossFit. Stay tuned…