This weekend, our very own Co-owner and coach, James Engesser, will travel to Miami, FL for Wodapalooza, one of the world’s “premier functional fitness festivals.”
Wodapalooza (WZA) began in 2012 as a grass-roots, 1 day CrossFit competition with 145 athletes and 500 spectators. Last year, WZA hosted over 1500 athletes and 30k spectators making it one of the largest fitness stages on which to compete!
“This 3-day competition gives athletes from around the world an opportunity to compete on the ‘big stage.’ In order to compete on the floor in Miami, athletes must qualify through a test of fitness, our WZA Online Challenge & Qualifier (WZAOC). With limited spots available, the WZAOC serves as a way of identifying those worthy of competing in Miami, under the lights.” (wodapalooza.com)
Even more exciting and impressive, WZA is now a CrossFit-Sanctioned event, meaning that those competing in the Elite division are competing for their ticket to the CrossFit Games! Earlier this year CrossFit creator, Greg Glassman announced the change in the structure of the CrossFit Games qualifying.
“CrossFit-sanctioned competitions are replacing CrossFit’s Regional events and will become a direct pathway for top men, women and team competitors to receive invitations to compete at the CrossFit Games.” (crossfit.com)
These changes have received mixed reviews from the CrossFit community. For our beloved “Young James” it meant his opportunity to use the CrossFit Open to qualify for Regionals was out. Not one to be deterred by obstacles, James stayed the course with training and registered for the WZA Online Qualifier as an individual for the Intermediate Division.
Over three weekends in October, James completed 10 total workouts for the Online Qualifier. Each workout had to be videoed and scores entered online. After the three weekends, WZA emailed participants requesting, at random, 3 workout videos. This ensures that all participants are honest, complete workouts according to standards, and submit correct times and weights. Participants do not know which videos will be requested, so all must be up to standard.
Finally, those who will receive an invitation to WZA include:
*All 2018 Male and Female CrossFit Games Qualifiers
*2018 WZA Champs
*And only the top 20 in each division of the Online Qualifier
That’s right. Only 20 get a chance to go and compete literally side-by-side with individuals in their division AND CrossFit Games athletes.
For James’ Individual Male, Intermediate Division over 8,000 registered for the Online Qualifier and around 5,000 submitted all scores and videos.
Out of these 5,000, James made it into the top 20.
This is a tremendous opportunity and real testament to James’ commitment to be competitive in CrossFit. We are all so, so proud of him, his efforts, and to call him business partner, friend and coach!
So what did it take to get to here? Commitment.
Over a year ago, James invested in his competitive CrossFit training and hired an Opex Coach. This coach provides personal and specific training for James weekly and they touch base monthly with calls.
In general, James trains 5 days a week with an added 6th day as needed. He gets his personal training in between coaching classes and clients, typically in the afternoons from about 2 – 4 pm. On Saturdays, James stays after coaching the Teen Program to workout, often by himself for up to two hours. Some weeks after leaving “work” and training on Saturdays, he will go to a public pool in the late afternoon /early evening to practice swimming as well.
In addition to training, James makes substantial time for mobility and recovery. He uses ROMWOD weekly, is consistent with supplements such as fish oil, and logs 7 – 9 hours of sleep nearly 7 days a week.
Equally as important as his training is James’ nutrition. Many of us have seen him enjoying a PB&J, but that is only the tip of the iceberg! James is consistent with the RP Diet templates and works to maintain the weight he has and makes every effort to appropriately add weight. As a young, male, and moderate-sized athlete James’ metabolism fires on all cylinders, so he has to consume 4,000 calories a day to stay at his weight. He does this with 90% REAL FOOD.
James could easily get by with eating pizza, ice cream and burgers to maintain and maybe even gain weight, but he also knows that won’t help his overall and long term health or allow him to perform to his potential. So, he makes and portions out all of his food every single week. Thank goodness he got an InstaPot for Christmas!
James also is rarely seen having more than one beer or drink if at all. While he is always up for a game night or to meet friends out at a bar or down the road at Low Tide to socialize, he doesn’t jeopardize his training and goals with excess.
This is what it takes to be highly competitive in CrossFit. And this is James’ journey and personal choice. He enjoys it and it has been a long time goal for him, and it will continue to be for as long as he is enjoying it.
But let’s also remember and acknowledge that his journey isn’t everyone’s and that is ok! Many of us CrossFit for different reasons: it’s our hour of therapy; an hour without kids or a boss; our balance to having 3 or 4 beers with friends, ordering a pizza, or having dessert. It’s a proven method to fight chronic disease, get off unnecessary medications, build muscle, build strength, build confidence, and build self-esteem. All of these reasons are great reasons to come in each day for your hour. James and all of the Angel Oak Team support every individual’s “why,” and everyone’s “why” is good enough!
So James, we all want to wish you the absolute best! We praise your hard work, discipline, and drive, and are so proud of you!! Soak in every moment, focus on yourself (for once), your game plan, your strengths, and above all else HAVE FUN! We are ALL cheering you on each workout, and as far as we’re concerned you’re already a winner!