People ask me all the time what made me fall in love with CrossFit. I can tell you that it is what I learned from this man, John Mariotti. John had a very small gym in Fernley, NV where he taught “cross-training”, Jiu-Jitsu and TaeKwon-Do (he’s a 6th degree black belt). He wanted to become a CrossFit affiliate and coach, but his place in Fernley was just too small for that. When I first joined his gym my kids and I were all taking martial arts from John and he was trying to convince me to try his cross-training class. I was hesitant to say the least. I did not want to try another new fad that didn’t work. But he was passionate and that passion eventually overcame my resistance and I decided to give this whole cross-training thing a try. My life would never be the same after that day.
To tell the truth, I don’t think John knew at the time how CrossFit would change my life and the lives of so many others. He just knew that it was an incredible training program. In 2012 he competed in his first CrossFit Games and I helped video his workouts for him. He scored very well for his first attempt. He was told by many CrossFitters that he had a chance and he should work to try to make it to the Games. That was the beginning of John’s Journey to Extraordinary.
And now John Mariotti just completed his second competition at The CrossFit Games 2017 in the Masters Division age 60+. He finished both the Open and the Masters Qualifiers 2nd place in the World. As most of you know, this is quite a feat. So I want to address the question on everyone’s mind… What does it take to be a champion? Well, as his business partner I can give you a very interesting glimpse!
In martial arts class John’s motto was, “Teaching Focus and Inspiring Transformation”. He believed in the innate ability of each person to dig deep within and find their own heart of a warrior. At the beginning of each class he would require us to recite the tenets of TaeKwon-Do. The tenets are these: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit. It is these traits, along with a clear vision of a goal and a planned, regimented and followed path toward that goal that have guided him to this point in his life.
So let’s begin with a quick explanation about what this competition is and how it works. Every year in late February we begin The CrossFit Open – a worldwide competition to decipher the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth. How do you decipher that? Well, according to CrossFit, the Fittest on Earth should be able to tackle any physical feat well. So, for example, a weight lifter might not be a fast runner and a fast runner might not be a great weight lifter… but the Fittest could do it all extremely well. If fact, this person should be able to tackle almost anything you throw at them extremely well. They may not be the very best at any one thing, but they are very good at all of it.
In order to find the person who is the best at everything, The CrossFit Open begins with a series of 5 workouts over 5 weeks. Included in these workouts is a combination of cardiovascular endurance, strength, and skill – a broad range of functional movements, which move large loads, long distances, quickly (https://games.crossfit.com/about-the-games). Each workout has a score and contestants are ranked from best to worst according to their scores. The person who has the
overall best scores has the highest rank at the end of the Open. Just to give you an idea of what a contest of this stature looks like – there were over 400,000 individuals who registered to compete in the CrossFit Open in 2017. Of those, 3,500 were 60 years old and up and just over 2,000 of those were men. After all of the qualifiers were over, the top 20 Masters in each age category continue on to The CrossFit Games to compete for the title of the Fittest on Earth in their age group.