Living the Rock ’N’ Roll Grind

Writer Jamie Toland (far right) with Josh Marunde and the folks at Fit Bodies CrossFit If I told you about an international rock star who loves to do CrossFit, you’d probably think...

Writer Jamie Toland (far right) with Josh Marunde and the folks at Fit Bodies CrossFit

If I told you about an international rock star who loves to do CrossFit, you’d probably think about some guy walking into an affiliate, scaling every weight and movement, and fumbling through a WOD. While that might be true in a lot of cases, you’d be completely wrong if that rock star was Josh Marunde, aka “Chachi Riot,” from the band Pop Evil.

This highly entertaining and talented drummer (Google his videos if you get a chance) is just a secret identity for one incredible CrossFit athlete. Even more impressive is that he’s done all this while touring full time, and in only one year of training.

Chachi has been rocking around the world for years but has just hit his first anniversary in terms of CrossFit training. He’s not in it to just have some fun and have something to do on the long days of touring the globe. He’s serious about being the best and competing in possibly the most difficult Regional for men’s competitors, the Central East.

When his address is not a tour bus, Chachi anchors his life in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he trains at CrossFit 269. Last Friday, I was able to train and hang out with Chachi at Fit Bodies CrossFit before watching him rock the stage for more than an hour in Bloomington, Illinois. A natural athlete, Chachi is very determined to learn and improve in all areas of CrossFit, and he follows a programming schedule that is sent to him from his coach even as he travels on tour.

The problem for Chachi is that as he moves from city to city, he has to reach out to affiliate owners and rely on the kindness of people he’s never met to be able to maintain his workout schedule. Luckily for him, he’s had very little trouble being received wherever he has gone. This was even the case last year during the Open when Chachi would drop in to complete the Open workouts while touring Europe.

But despite these less-than-ideal training conditions, he still has a goal of being in the top 50 or better in next year’s Open for the Central East.

“If I can’t make the top 50 or even some day as a Regional athlete, I’d love to see our affiliate send a team to Regionals or maybe the Games some day,” he explained.

Regardless of whatever level of competitive success Chachi attains, he said that having proper instruction has made a huge difference for him and his training.

“Having coaches has taught me an infinite amount of new information about CrossFit,” he added. “I figured out you can’t just get better by only doing CrossFit. Every athlete has weaknesses, even Rich Froning. You just have to bring those weakness up to speed while you continue to work on your overall fitness.”

While there are so many people who would never suspect a successful rock ’n’ roller could also be any kind of serious athlete, Chachi has never been one to follow the crowd. He credits some of that with finding CrossFit.

“Obviously, being in better shape helps me play [drums] every night on tour with more energy,” he said. “But CrossFit helps in all aspects of my life. I love that I could still be doing this training for 20 years and still be getting better and still trying to master stuff.”

He uses the technology he has to improve and to get feedback from his coaches while on the road. “Slo-mo video on the iPhone helps me look at my lifts and break down my faults,” he said. “It’s easy for me to upload those and send them to my coach so that we can talk about stuff I need to work on.”

Fans can look to catch Chachi and the rest of Pop Evil on tour this winter and next year, and they’ll see one hell of a show. But everyone else in the CrossFit community should keep an eye out for him next March when the Open gears up in 2015. Making it to the next level in the Central East might end up being his favorite venue to perform.

Who do you know who is not only a kick-ass CrossFit athlete but excels in another field, as well? Share your stories in the comments section on our Facebook page.

Stay on the Grind.

Jamie Toland CFL-1 Trainer
Twitter @JTolgrinder