For the Affiliate with Competitive Athletes

competitive athletes

The sport of CrossFit seems to grow with every passing year.

The competition has become more and more difficult. The pool of athletes trying to make it to the Games expands every year. It’s a feat in and of itself to simply make a dent on the leaderboard.

While being an Affiliate owner means you’re probably not too concerned about the competition, some of your athletes very well might be. But it seems the only way to get to the Games nowadays is by becoming a full-time CrossFitter. As in, drop the job and start training eight hours a day.

Is that true?

Rj Smith of CrossFit Omnia recently reached out to me. The email he sent was interesting: His gym had sent a team the past two years to the CrossFit Games, a team that consisted of athletes who all have full-time jobs. He explained they come in and do class, as well as a bit of accessory work, but that’s it.

“Most people at the Games find it impossible to do what we’ve done because most people at the Games own a gym, are a Coach or do CrossFit for a living,” he explained to me. He shared he wasn’t trying to toot his own horn, but simply wanted to show you don’t need a super team to go to the Games.

Fascinated, I interviewed him for the latest episode of Box Talk. We chatted about how the team initially started and their shock when they moved on from Regionals for the first time. Smith also shared the mentality he tries to instill in these athletes, a mentality of life balance as well as no special treatment at his Box.

Interestingly, he said this is one of the big faults he sees in owners when they ask questions in Affiliate owner groups. He was adamant against sculpting one’s gym to an elite athlete, and he will tell his team when they are overstepping boundaries. Plus, not only do they do regular class workouts, Smith will also host an internal competition each year, which randomly pairs athletes in the gym together. This builds camaraderie among his members and has benefited the community tremendously.

If you have an elite athlete or team at your gym, I encourage you to listen to Smith’s take on how to handle the situation. Hear how he has found balance in competition, business and life – and where he is still struggling – in order to see you are not alone in this challenge.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at