What do Pitbull, Dwyane Wade and myself all have in common? I’m sure you think it’s a lot of things, but the answer is we’ve all spent time in Miami in 2016.
This was my first (and hopefully not last) Wodapalooza Fitness Festival in beautiful Downtown Miami. For a frame of reference, the only fitness competitions I’ve attended have been small local comps, Regionals or the CrossFit Games. WZA (as it is known around the world) is very much in between a local comp (which is what it started out as five years ago) and a Games-level competition.
The festival boasts more than 1,300 athletes, ranging in divisions from 10- to 12-year-old boys and girls to adaptive athletes, Masters 40 and older, competitors doing scaled, intermediate or Rx on either a team or as an individual, and the elite (think former and current CrossFit Games athletes) individuals and teams. A vast majority of these athletes from 10 to Masters participated in an online qualifier, which they paid to enter. At that point, they were chosen based on their scores or invited (in the case of a majority of the elite athletes) to come and throw down on one of the biggest stages outside the CrossFit Games.
And throw down, they did.
For three days, rain (it literally poured during a majority of the Friday comps and everyone still competed) or shine, athletes faced as many as eight WODs in their respective categories. It was one damn impressive thing to behold. All the highlights from the competition, including the past three men’s CrossFit Games champs all competing in the same heat of the same division, can be found at thewodapalooza.com.
In addition to the competition, there were food vendors from all over, a kids “BattleFrog” obstacle course, a variety of seminars from CJ Martin of Invictus, Tony Blauer and Jason Khalipa, and vendors, vendors and more vendors. The festival boasted that it was just that, a festival, a celebration of fitness and not only a competition between athletes.
Everywhere you turned people were discussing fitness, demonstrating fitness, displaying fitness and selling items that could potentially improve your fitness. It was a very beautiful and inspiring thing to behold.
Event organizer and founder of WZA Guido Trinidad summarizes this purpose very well: “Yes, there are a lot of athletes who came here to compete, but at the end of the day, what we want people to celebrate is fitness, community and life.”
And celebrate, we did. Until next year, Miami. It’s been fun.
Did you make it to or watch WZA this year? If so, what were your favorite moments? After witnessing this event, do you think you’d be likely to attend in 2017?
Stay on the grind.