More Than Competition?

2010 Canada Regional champ Dan Rogers thinks that CrossFit is about more than the competition.

I recently came across this article by Emily Beers on the Games site.  As I looked over her interview with Canadian CrossFit Games hopeful Dan Rogers, I was pleased to find that many of his attitudes about CrossFit happen to mirror my own.  Have a look at this personal perspective on what CrossFit is all about:

Letting the Chips Fall: Dan Rogers

For 2010 Canada Regional champ Dan Rogers, CrossFit isn’t about being the fittest man in Canada. It’s not about attempting to win the Canada West Regional competition this May, and it’s not about his quest to return to the Games this July. For the former college basketball player, CrossFit is about the ordinary people who don’t stand a chance of ever getting to the Games.

“Last Wednesday, we did some ring work in class. We were doing skin-the-cats. This one woman I coach – she’s about 45. She looked at me with a look that said, ‘There’s no chance in hell I’m going to invert myself on the rings,’” Rogers says.

“Then minutes later, there’s that same woman doing a skin-the-cat. Her face just lit up. She thought it was impossible just moments before…and now there she is upside-down,” Rogers says, who trains at CrossFit AI in Calgary, Alberta. For the 25-year-old, this is what CrossFit is all about.

“It opens windows for people,” Rogers explains, who got into CrossFit after watching a video of Jason Khalipa doing Fran with a weighted vest. No matter what fitness level you’re at, the feeling of conquering the impossible is the same. The personal satisfaction that Rogers’ 45-year-old client felt when she got inverted on the rings is the same feeling Rogers felt when he became the fittest man in Canada last May.

“Last year, my goal was to make it to Regionals,” Rogers says. “That was honestly my only goal. I never even thought about going to the Games.”

“Then midway through that last workout at Regionals, I remember having this sudden realization, ‘If nobody passes me and I finish this, I can win this thing.’ I’ll never forget that feeling. I suddenly got goose bumps. My skin tightened up around my face. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that I was about to do something I didn’t think I could ever do,” Rogers says.

Rogers admits that he hasn’t always lived by this perspective. “I used to think that you can’t be successful unless you dominate, but that’s not a great approach to have,” he says. “I have spent a lot of time thinking about perspective and about what this means and why I’m doing this.”

Rogers believes that any athlete who is doing this sport for the end result is missing out. “It’s about going to the gym everyday and doing hard things that make you want to quit,” he says.

By conquering hard things that make him want to quit day in day out for the last year and a half, Rogers has seen his life change completely, not just as an athlete, but as a person.

“Two years ago, I had no concept what CrossFit was. Now, it encompasses everything I do. I have a gym in my garage, a rower in my living room. My girlfriend CrossFits. I’ve forged the greatest friendships around. It’s how I make a living. It has changed what I eat,” Rogers says.

Although he focuses on a healthy balance in life, Rogers’ obvious physical talents speak for themselves. His coach and good friend, Funbobby Kwasney of Thunder Bay, Ontario, speaks highly about Rogers’ athleticism.

“Hook him up, throw some raw meat at him, point him in the general direction of where you’re going, and he’ll pull all day with a smile on his face,” Kwasney says of Rogers.

But more importantly, Kwasney has huge respect for Rogers as a person. “Dan is one of the best people I’ve ever met. He’s a great kid and a real stand-up guy,” says Kwasney.

Rogers credits his clients with having helped him develop a healthy perspective on the sport. “I think a lot of athletes take it too seriously, so I try to concentrate on having fun with it…Most of my clients don’t have a chance in hell to get to the Games, but they show up everyday because they enjoy it,” Rogers says. According to Rogers, he tries to mimic his clients and train hard regardless of where he ends up over the course of the Games season.

“Let the chips fall where they may,” Rogers says, “I can’t control much when I compete, except trying really #$%&@!’ hard.”

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: 3 rounds of – 15 kettlebell swings, 10 double crunch, 5 overhead squats (bar)

WOD:  “The Rabbit

5 rounds for time of:

  • Row 300 (girls) 400 (guys)
  • 15 burpees
  • If you think this workout is sexist, too bad 😉

Top Times:

  • Guys:  Adam Giles – 11:24
  • Girls:  Deanna – 12:02

Zone 2 – scale rounds if needed to 3 or 4

Zone 1 – scale as needed

Cash-Out: Goat practice – choose ONE skill to work on for the last 10-15 minutes of class.  Work for skill development, not fatigue


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