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This past Sunday I competed in the Tactfit Games, a fitness competition at Offutt Air Force Base that encompasses any number of extreme physical events.
A few days before, my friends (and co-owners of CrossFit Fit Farm in Omaha) Dustin Adams and Simon Peter, asked if could fill in for one of their injured athletes, Jon Osborne. Although Jon had a knee injury, he ended up being a great coach to me during the event.
I was honored, especially considering I'm not part of their gym. And since it has always been a goal of mine to compete in this style of competition, I couldn't turn down the opportunity.
In the Tactfit Games, teams consisting of two male and two female athletes, compete against each other in a series of extreme fitness challenges. Several local gyms rallied together their top athletes.
I figured that since most of my personal workouts are similar to the programming of this type of event, the competition wouldn't be too brutal. Turns out I was wrong – every challenge that day humbled me to the extreme.
The athletes competing were not only in shape, they possessed skills specific for this type of competition, which has a similar format to the Reebok CrossFit games.
One example is kipping pull-ups. Those beat the living day out of me.
This technique (imagine a regular pull-up with wiggling in the form of momentum from your hips helping to thrust the body upward) allows athletes to be more efficient and use less energy than a regular pull-up. Needless to say, I have yet to master the technique. So I had to complete my pull-ups the “strict” (or regular) way. It was a struggle for me to complete the required amount promptly.
There was also swimming involved and a ground-to-overhead press max workout that I wasn't ready for.
My teammates were competing for the first time as well, but they kicked butt. I was impressed at how well they did individually. They encouraged me to keep my head up, overcome my weaknesses and use this experience to take my fitness to a higher level.
Sunday taught me that the best athletes competing in this sport are strong AND well-balanced. It's a sport in its own right, and there's truly nothing like it. If you have any interest in someday competing, here is some basic advice:
1. Train with athletes who know the sport and have competed. The healthy competition will drive you to improve.
2. Always expect the unexpected. The workouts are so varied that no one has a clear advantage.
3. Don't go in with an ego. If you think you're a macho man, you may leave feeling more like a Teletubby.
4. Train your tail off, literally. Because these athletes bring it!
My new goal is to train even harder and work on my "extreme fitness" skills with the team from Fit Farm. We will ALL be ready for the next competition!