“CrossFit is more of a way of thinking about working out than what you do. Intensity is the only way to actually get results within the fitness world. The definition of CrossFit is varied functional movement at a high intensity. So it’s about doing real movements, as many of them as we possibly can at a high intensity.”
This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Co-owner and Coach at Tidal CrossFit, Jeff Larsh. Well-known in the CrossFit competition circuit, Larsh recently won the 2012 Element Overdose competition in Toronto and is on his way to the Canada East CrossFit Games Regionals May 11-13 in Mississauga.
The top 3 finishers at the 2012 Element Overdose competition (from L-R: Jay Rhodes, Jeff Larsh, and Matt Lefave)
Larsh was introduced to CrossFit through hockey. A former Junior A player he started a hockey training program called Pure Power Hockey. Through researching new methods of training for his athletes he found CrossFit and it was an instant fit. Larsh recalls, “A light bulb went off like ‘Why have I not been training this way before?’ We were training very similarly, but the big thing that [Pure Power Hockey] took over from CrossFit was the aspect of competition. It’s amazing what kind of intensity you can get by using competition, especially with a group of 15-20 hockey guys.”
Larsh is currently training for the Canada East CrossFit Games Regionals. He describes this as the be all and end all of CrossFit competitions. The goal is to find the fittest man and woman in the world. A three-stage journey, the Games kicks off each year with the CrossFit Open.
1. The CrossFit Open
An online competition that anyone in the world can enter. This year’s Open competition featured 5 workouts released over 5 weeks. Competitors completed workouts at affiliate CrossFit locations or submitted videos. Scores are compared against other competitors in the same region and the top 60 from each qualify for Regionals.
There are 17 regions in total worldwide. Canada is split into two regions: East and West. A few years ago you could be fairly new to CrossFit and make it to regionals, but these days you have to have been training seriously for a long time in order to get there. Larsh considers getting to the Games is a dream. It’s extremely hard. Only two men and two women from each region in Canada qualify, but Larsh is pumped, “It’s crazy. It’s going to be really fun but very challenging!”
3. The Reebok CrossFit Games
The final stop on the journey to find the fittest man and woman in the world. This July the CrossFit Games will be held in Carson, California with athletes from all over the world competing for the ultimate prize and bragging rights.
This will be Larsh’s second time competing at this level and training for this year’s Games started about a week after last year’s regionals ended.
Larsh and partner Maguid Nicholas (co-owner of Tidal CrossFit) took a step back to seriously evaluate their weakness and gaps in training. “We decided that we needed to get stronger and better at the Olympic lifts, so we pretty much spent 6 months just really focusing on that. We got pretty proficient at them and since then it’s been about keeping our strength up while maintaining the conditioning. I found last year that my strength dipped before regionals because I was doing so many conditioning workouts.” The key is to push your body to it’s limit without overtraining. Larsh and Nicholas train 3 days on and 1 day off often with double workouts each day.
Has this piqued your interest? Thinking of giving CrossFit a try but not sure where to start? Tidal CrossFit offers a month-long foundations bootcamp for new members. This 3-day a week program focuses on teaching the basic mechanics of each movement, especially for Olympic Lifts.
The movements are taught in progressions so that members can feel confident in their knowledge once they join the regular classes.
Emphasis is also placed on learning the philosophies behind CrossFit including discussions about nutrition. Larsh feels very strongly about the coaching program at Tidal CrossFit, “We designed this program as a gateway to build your tool belt for CrossFit so that once you are in the regular classes you are comfortable and adept.” By the end of BootCamp you will have seen all the basic movements at least once. Coaches are of course always present during regular classes as well to provide additional feedback and tips.
Tidal CrossFit is busy preparing for the opening of their new (and much larger) location at Coxwell and Danforth. Plans are in place to open up in the summer but for now you can visit them at their current location on Lucy Avenue.
53 Lucy Avenue, Toronto, ON (Danforth and Pharmacy)
For more information on The CrossFit Games and the Canada East Regionals visit: http://games.crossfit.com