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Forging Elite Athletes

Regional athletes are becoming stronger and more powerful each year. What does that mean for the average grinder?


CrossFit and the CrossFit Games have forged some elite athletes, and chances are you’re not one of them. But I’m here to tell you two things: Neither am I, and that’s OK.

I was looking over the article from the CrossFit Games site by Mike Macpherson and Megan Mitchell this weekend titled “The Evolution of the Regional Athlete.” In this piece, I found myself in awe of the growth and development of athletes and their physical abilities and numbers at the Regional level. The fittest really are getting fitter. By all means, I’d advise that you take some time and read through this data to see just how many things have developed in Regional athletes. The bar has been raised, and CrossFit athletes have risen to meet it, time and again.

What we can learn from this article is the average height and weight of both the male and female athletes has remained almost exactly the same since 2011. However, the age of the athletes has gone down in both genders, and the strength numbers are up in every single area. What we see is that CrossFit is producing younger and stronger athletes than ever before. Because of this trend data, it seems like there have been tremendous strides in the areas of fitness made since the advent of the CrossFit Games Open.

At least at the elite level.

But what if you’re not a Regional or Games athlete? Or what if you’ve been a Regional athlete in the past but no longer are in that pool of competitor? Does that mean OUR fitness is not getting better?

No, it doesn’t mean that at all.

While there are not as many fancy graphs and charts showing numbers for the average CrossFit athlete, you can pick through the Games’ site and see how everyone did. There were various statistical breakdowns pertaining to how the Open shook out in terms over increases of participants, reps increased, and demographics by age and other factors.

On an individual level, you are the person in charge of your development and monitoring of your own fitness journey. Find an app that works for you and keep track of your WODs and PRs as you go. While you might not have a stage like the Regionals to showcase your increased strength, stamina and gymnastics skill, there are a host of local competitions that will allow you to better gauge your evolving skill in a competitive setting.

The benefit of all this charting and data is that while most people will get to Regionals by buying a ticket, CrossFit is providing a better show once you get there. Even the hotly debated topic of lowering the number of athletes who qualify for Regionals is producing a more competitive environment stacked with even more extremely fit individual and team competitors.

Because of this, the Regional experience is forging an even greater level of elite athlete than years past. To me, that’s not a bad thing at all.

What do you think about the CrossFit Games shining such a bright light on the elite athletes of the Regional and Games levels? Does it help to spread the word or make the everyday grinder’s journey seem less important?

Stay on the Grind.