How did you react when you found out you had won your age group (and overall)? I was very surprised and excited. I am honored and humbled to win overall for the female division.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? This was my first year.
What inspired you to sign up this year? I had just finished with the CrossFit Regionals three weeks [before the event] and was still in competition mode. I wanted to test my limits and abilities with something new.
Do you plan to compete again? Definitely!
Favorite challenge? The vertical jump and softball toss. My dad grew up playing baseball and taught me how to play the sport at a very young age. At 2 years old, I was already in the backyard with my whiffle bat hitting homers.
Least favorite? The grip test and the mile run. I have never loved to run—especially if there is no ball to chase after. But I plan to get better at the mile and improve my time next year.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? I would create a new test for grip strength. I don’t think [the dynamometer] was a true test of grip. I think holding onto Kettlebells or dumbbells for time would be a more accurate assessment.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous, but I think a little nervousness is healthy before any competition. It gets your blood flowing and your adrenaline pumping.
What goals did you set? To be the overall female winner. I had looked at and compared myself to last year’s results and felt like I had a very good chance of winning if I performed well on game day.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I trained with my teammates at CrossFit Central. We had just placed 19th at Regionals and had been training specifically for that competition a month before the AFM FITTEST. I was training with my team six days a week—four of those days being two-a-days with an Olympic lifting session in the morning followed by team training in the afternoon.
Any keys to your success? I definitely credit my athletic background. I grew up playing basketball, softball, and soccer, and went on to play collegiate soccer in Nebraska. CrossFit has trained my endurance, stamina, and overall mental toughness.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I have been playing sports since I was 6 years old. Soccer, basketball, and softball.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I try to focus on eating whole foods and think in terms of food as my fuel for performance. I don’t follow a “diet” or anything. Some of my favorite meals are pizza and cookies, but I definitely balance those out with the foods that will give me the biggest bang for my buck.
What was event day like? Thankfully, it wasn’t too hot at the start. It was a little overcast and that helped a ton. In the 20-29 females group, the energy was awesome. There were a lot of high-fives and “good jobs” going around.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? I learned that I need to run more.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “I won’t give up.” Those words really encompass my whole philosophy in training and in life. When the going gets tough, it can be easy to throw in the towel and quit. But for those that continue grinding, more will come their way. It’s a daily reminder to keep hustling no matter what.
Goals for next year’s event? To win it all and defend my title!
NEXT: Chelsea Hardee, Age Group Champion (Women 30-39)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I was honored and thankful. There was a plethora of extremely fit and athletic women in my age group.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? This was my first year.
What inspired you to sign up this year? I wanted to compete on behalf of The Flatwater Foundation (where I am the director of development). I was motivated to do well in order to raise awareness for The Flatwater Foundation and the work we are doing in Austin.
Do you plan to compete again? Yes, I absolutely plan to participate next year. I had a blast!
Favorite challenge? Mystery test 2 where we had to jump over and under the obstacle. It was short and sweet.
Least favorite? Hands down the softball toss. I grew up playing soccer and running track, so throwing things is definitely not my forte.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? I would love for there to be a test involving a soccer ball. Soccer is the No.1 played sport in the world, after all!
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? I tried to stay focused on each test at hand rather than focusing on what was to come. In doing so, I think [my focus] helped me achieve maximum effort in each event.
What goals did you set? I set out to throw the medicine ball over 25 feet, which I accomplished. I also wanted to do more than 15 pull-ups, which I accomplished.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. There really was no strict training regimen I was on. I simply focused on maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. A typical week for me looks like this:
Monday — 4 mile run on the Greenbelt with my dogs.
Tuesday — ONNIT Academy Express class in the afternoon, co-ed rec soccer in the evening.
Wednesday — Ride my bike to work (total of 10 miles), long walk with my dogs in the evening.
Thursday — Spin class at RIDE in the morning, ONNIT Academy Express class in the afternoon.
Friday — Thorough track warm-up and sprints in the morning, ONNIT Academy Express class in the afternoon.
Saturday — 4–5 mile run on the Greenbelt with my dogs in the morning, co-ed flag football game in the afternoon.
Sunday — Hour-long bike ride on the Greenbelt followed by gardening and yard work.
Any keys to your success? Being active every single day. I am a better wife, friend, and co-worker when I have spent time moving my body. I don’t consider what I do training. I consider it living.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? For as long as I can remember. My childhood memories are full of long days spent climbing trees, swimming, playing tag, and rollerblading (yes, rollerblading!). Growing up, I played competitive soccer and ran track. I pole vaulted for UCLA and went on to compete professionally until 2011, when I retired from athletics. During my professional pole-vaulting career, I won a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships and have the 3rd highest jump ever recorded by an American woman.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I am an everything-in-moderation type of gal. I have no “cheat days.” Each day I simply try to eat a lot of organic fruits, vegetables, and meats and stay away from processed food. I keep it simple and listen to what my body is telling me it needs—even if that means running down to Amy’s for an ice cream treat.
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? Easiest question yet! My husband, two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the Decathlon, Trey Hardee. Trey’s unwavering dedication to his craft impresses me daily. He has been through many ups and downs in his sport (and in life) and still continues to remain focused on the task at hand: To be the best.
What was event day like? The day was the epitome of everything great about Austin. There was a bunch of fit people running around, making new friends and catching up with old ones; relaxing on a hot day, post-workout, with a cold beer in hand.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? I learned that I still like to compete. I have taken years off from competing, and this event fueled the fire that is, apparently, still inside of me.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” —Steve Prefontaine
Goals for next year’s event? Win it all!
NEXT: Mizpah Michna, Age Group Champion (Women 40-49)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I was happy. Not only for me but also for my coach. This year was a challenge.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? Three.
What inspired you to sign up this year? I won my age group last year, so I wanted to come out, perform well, and for once run the mile without any nagging pain.
Favorite challenge? I have a love-hate relationship with the mile run. I’m not good at it, but it seems to generate memorable moments for me. This year my son (who has autism) was able to see me run and, at the last 100 yards, he was there jumping up and down, cheering me on. [The mile] is special to me because my son never really shows interest in the things I do. When I saw him there cheering loudly, it made me smile. I will always remember that moment.
Least favorite? Mystery test 1 (Battle Ropes). I think I had more than I scored. Those clickers don’t count right. I think they get stuck. Also, it’s devious to put that challenge right before the precision throw and pull-ups. It wears out the shoulders and arms. But I’m sure the person from ONNIT who came up with that test is grinning right now. I guess I would be grinning too if I was the one who came up with it.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? Bear crawls for time or a strong man carry.
What goals did you set? To relax, perform well, and beat the numbers I had last year.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I did a lot of training on my own in my garage and at the track so I could do the work at my own pace. I would meet with my coach, Dunte Hector, once or twice a week to train on specific areas. Sometimes I thought he was trying to make my lungs explode, but he also made sure I rested and iced after a hard training day.
Rest and recovery was vital for me. I don’t know about others in their 40s, but I’ve come to realize my body doesn’t recover as quickly anymore, so I have to take care of it.
I also walk my dog because it calms me; it’s meditative.
Any keys to your success? Coach Dunte Hector. I have to give him props. I really didn’t think I was ready to compete at the start of the year, but Coach Dunte was methodical with my training plan. He prescribed strength and speed training that allowed me to compete without hurting myself.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I didn’t “formally” compete as a kid, but my competitiveness came from my dad. He ran the 100-meter and 10K for the Philippines in the Asian games. He was always into watching sports. I played community and church league sports in high school and intramural sports in college. After college, I got into Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe racing in Northern California. I also competed in kickboxing and won a few fights.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I make a lot of my food, but I’m not a cook. I try to eat whole, natural foods, vegetables, fruits, and good sources of protein. But I love the local restaurants in Austin, so I occasionally enjoy indulging. My kryptonite is sweets.
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? Cung Le, my former kickboxing coach and MMA fighter. The intensity of his training as a fighter is insane. He has a lot of influence on the effort I put into training and competition. He is also a very humble man.
What was event day like? Nerves, excitement, and hot! It was hot because they had us “old ladies” at the end. It was great having my husband and friends there as a support group. They made sure I had water to drink, some food to snack on, and an umbrella for shade.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? I need to celebrate the things that I did well and have a plan for the things that I didn’t do well so I don’t go crazy thinking about what could have been.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? It changes. This year it’s, “Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.”
Goals for next year’s event? Rest and recover, be in good health, and train smart.
NEXT: Kathleen Parker, Age Group Champion (Women 50-59)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I yelled “Woo hoo!! I’m a four-peater!!!” and then kissed my husband—my biggest supporter.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? Four.
What inspired you to sign up this year? I had to come back for a fourth year. [The event] is scary, fun, and exhilarating. Plus I just love the adrenaline rush.
Do you plan to compete again next year? I for sure plan on coming back for year five!
Favorite challenge? The burpees! I love burpees. (I know, weird.) I think I may be the only one on the planet to say that.
Least favorite? The softball throw. One year, I moved up from last place to second-to-last place. The next year, I moved up to third-to-last place. This year I went back down to last place.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? Who can stay in Savasana the longest? That could be the 13th event. But I would most likely lose that one.
What goals did you set? I was a three-time winner going into this year, so of course my goal was to win again. A friend told me I needed to just compete for the fun of it, not just to win. I took her advice, and actually had the most fun out of any year competing.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I teach 10 classes a week with iGnite Your Life. I also attend my co-worker Molly Daniel’s classes when I’m not teaching. She is an awesome trainer and always challenges me.
My husband, Brad, and I train once a week with Chad Mahagan over at Westlake Training Professionals and with Mo Harris at Mo’s Elite Fitness. Both of those guys are awesome trainers and keep us strong and fast all year.
I also wake surf and water ski year round. I spend about four days on the lake per week from May to October. My husband and I have four grown daughters (three of them triplets) and we all love to get out on the lake and tandem surf together. I also have an amazing group of friends that have the same love of the water as I do. We go out every Wednesday and ski and surf on Lake Austin for hours.
Any keys to your success? Be happy and challenge your body everyday.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I’ve been active my whole life. I’m the youngest of six kids (four of them brothers). My dad was adventurous and put a lot of fun opportunities in front of us. He taught us not to be fearful. If he challenged us to do something, we couldn’t resist trying.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. My only motto with food is “everything in moderation.” There is nothing I cut out of my diet. I love dairy, sugar, and gluten. Eating and exercise is simple. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn. Period.
What was event day like? I got major butterflies walking up to check-in. My friends and family came out, including my dad who just turned 92. He wanted to ride his bike through the competition, but we had to tell him no. Overall, the event was so well organized. The sponsors were nice and fun and explained everything thoroughly. It was the best year yet.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? This year I beat all of my times from all three of the previous years. I was so happy about that! It just shows me there are no excuses for slowing down with age. It’s a choice everyday, and if I choose to be stronger and faster, I can be.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? I have several, but two of my favorites are: “Don’t be afraid to be amazing,” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Goals for next year’s event? To win again, of course! But to have fun will be my main goal.
NEXT: Taylor Johnson, Overall Individual Winner & Age Group Champion (Men 20-29)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group (and overall)? I was really excited. My hands started shaking when I received the email saying the results were announced. I was so nervous opening up that email. I felt like I had a decent shot at winning my age group. I was thrilled with the results, to say the least.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? Two.
What inspired you to compete this year? I got second in my age group last year and felt like I could perform a lot better. I love competing and wanted to win it.
Do you plan to compete again next year? I plan on competing every year. Even when I’m in the 60+ age division.
Favorite challenge? Either the vertical jump or the mystery test 2 where we had to go over and under the PVC pipe.
Least favorite? Definitely the mile. A close second was burpees.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? Throwing a baseball for distance. I think this takes overall body coordination; your lower half has to stay in sync with your upper half to throw for maximum distance.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? I was nervous that entire morning and had pre-game jitters. I wanted to make sure I gave it my all for every event and not try to pace myself.
What goals did you set? To win my age group. Winning the overall was a pleasant surprise.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I workout by myself seven days a week. I try to incorporate functional lifts into my workouts; that way I’m not just putting on size, but am staying athletic and explosive as well. Occasionally I’ll run the Town Lake trail on the weekend with my family.
Any keys to your success? Make working out or training a habit. That way you can’t go a day without getting better.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I’ve been a competitive athlete since the day I could walk. I love to compete. I’ve played baseball, basketball, and football throughout my life. But my main passion was baseball. I was drafted and played professional baseball in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I don’t follow a set diet plan. I just try to make healthier choices. I don’t drink alcohol or soda and try to avoid fast food and processed food as much as possible. I try to have clean eating habits.
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? I was a big Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, and Barry Sanders fan growing up.
What was event day like? Great energy and great fans. Everyone was excited and wanted to be there, which was really cool.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? I definitely learned that I’m not maxed out yet. I’m still in my prime and can keep improving on my speed, strength, endurance, and explosion.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” — Steve Prefontaine
Goals for next year’s event? To defend the title.
NEXT: David Braswell, Age Group Champion (Men 30-39)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? The same way [I react] when I have lost. I’m just grateful for the ability to do what I love and enjoy the moment.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? All four years, whether injured or healthy.
What inspired you to compete this year? The incentive to improve from past performances.
Do you plan to compete again next year? Yes.
Favorite challenge? Pull-ups.
Least favorite? Mystery tests.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? I would bring the broad jump back! It’s an old school goodie that is simple to judge and execute.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? Warm-up, hydrate, and stay focused.
What goals did you set? To beat my pull-up performance from last year, and I did that. [With 35 pull-ups.]
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I primarily train for sprints. If I’m not training with a few friends, I’m solo most of the time. I sprint 3 times a week, run a longer distance once a week, do pull-ups and push-ups 3–4 times a week, and do strength work 2 times a week.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I was a black belt in martial arts at age 11. I ran cross-country in high school and college and competed in the 800-meter, 400-meter, and triple jump. I still compete in the 200-meter and 400-meter.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. It’s a simple one you’ve all heard before. I keep things in moderation, and I don’t practice low calorie diets. I listen to my body. I eat to fuel my daily activities. Very rarely do I drink alcohol, sodas, or eat pork or fried foods. I eat a lot of chicken, fish, pancakes, and BBQ—but not all together!
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? I admire the athleticism and hard work of many athletes, but as a child I wanted to be like Bruce Lee.
What was event day like? It was an adult field day with Austin’s fitness community.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? Only what I know already. I don’t like to talk when I’m doing something strenuous or competitive.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “You have to be patient, persistent, and positive. No matter what.”
Goals for next year’s event? Run a faster mile, improve on pull-ups, stay healthy, and take back the top overall spot.
NEXT: David King, Age Group Champion (Men 40-49)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I let out a deep sigh and smiled. [The results are] razor close and you just never know.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? Three.
What inspired you to compete this year? Last year I severely pulled my hamstring 12 days before the competition and wasn’t able to compete. I had trained for nine months, was hyper-focused, and in one of my last workouts my ego got the better of me and I got hurt. The disappointment was emotionally overwhelming.
This year I really wanted to enjoy training, stay injury free, and just make it to the competition.
Do you plan to compete again next year? Yes.
Favorite challenge? The 5–10–5 agility shuttle.
Least favorite? Pull-ups. (Fortunately I’ll have another opportunity next year.)
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? A Flexibility Sit and Reach test. It would force the entire field to spend a great deal of time on mobility and range of motion in their training, which would decrease injuries and improve performances.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? For the first hour [of events], I was thinking, “Wow, I haven’t felt this explosive and pain free in 10 or 12 years.” Then, after the first mystery test—the 45-second sprint of Battle Ropes—I realized that while I was pain free, my conditioning was not at an elite level. After the pull-ups, I had thoughts of getting in my car and leaving. Of course you don’t, but your mind is torturing you while the angel on your shoulder is saying, “Keep moving forward, anything can happen, set an example for your kids.” The angel always wins.
What goals did you set?
No injuries. Check.
Jump 36 inches in vertical. Did 37.5. Check.
Run under 5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Ran 4.92. Check.
Run a 4.1 second time in the 5-10-5 agility shuttle. Did 4.16. Check.
Win my age group. Check.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. 110 days before the event, I decided to do the following body weight routine each day to create consistency in my training:
100 Pull-ups (mostly supported)
100 Double Unders
For the last month of training, I took a 5 a.m. class at Orange Theory a few times a week to get my lungs in shape and jogged outside 2–3 times a week to acclimate my body to the heat.
Any keys to your success? The 100 body weight squats a day. My legs felt stronger than they had in years.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? Ever since I was 6 years old and playing flag football at the YMCA in Houston. I played football, track, baseball, basketball, and tennis. I liked football the most, but was the best at track. I also did the Decathlon in college.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. It’s all about macros. High protein, controlled carbs, low sugar, and nightly fasting. If you want to feel young, eat less sugar. Your body fat will drop, joints will move more freely without inflammation, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll wake up feeling like a billion dollars. I still indulge in carbs and sugar from time to time.
The morning of the AFM FITTEST, I ate six egg whites and two sweet potatoes with cinnamon. It felt like rocket fuel. After the event, I ate three pancakes, a brownie, four Pop-Tarts, and four slices of pizza. Not rocket fuel. But I enjoyed it and moved on.
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? I follow The Rock on social media. He’s a fantastic role model for being in dynamite shape and leaving a legacy in people’s lives.
What was event day like? It was a beautiful day. You could not have asked for better weather. I physically felt like I was 23 years old, vibrating with anticipation and excitement. The adrenaline of competition is something everybody should experience at least once.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? That age is not an excuse for not having pain-free physical fitness. Age requires a different type of training. More technique, more mobility, more warm up and cool down time. But we are capable of so much if we are willing to put in the effort.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “It’s not how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Pointing fingers is for cowards and that ain’t you.” – Rocky Balboa
Goals for next year’s event? Win the men’s overall at age 42. With the level of competition it will take a few favorable bounces, but it’s totally possible.
NEXT: Scott York, Age Group Champion (Men 50-59)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I felt nervous, excited, and relieved. When I saw my name as the 50-59 men’s winner, I yelled out to my wife, “I did it!” but quickly changed it to “We did it!” My wife, Kristin, was so instrumental in this accomplishment.
There were some very tough competitors in my division, so it was a true honor to win the title.
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? This was my first year.
What inspired you to compete this year? My background is in bodybuilding, but I’ve always enjoyed moving—jumping, sprinting, throwing. This was my opportunity to test my athleticism. I also wanted to set an example for my family, friends, and clients. I work in the fitness industry, so it’s important to live that lifestyle and set a good example.
Do you plan to compete again next year? Yes.
Favorite challenge? The 1-mile run—because it’s what I need to improve upon the most. Running that mile after having completed all of the other 11 tests was tough.
As I ran toward the finish line in the 1-mile run, I thought of the history of Camp Mabry. My grandfather was an assistant adjutant general there in 1911. I drew on that inspiration and his memory to power through to the finish line.
Least favorite? Mystery test 2: Lateral jumps over a hurdle with a scramble underneath. It felt too much like burpees, which was one of the previous stations.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? A strong man exercise like an Atlas stone lift in which you lift and place the stone onto a high box for time. Or maybe a log press, deadlift, or tractor tire flips.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? Because of the excitement and anticipation, I didn’t sleep well the night before. Once I had coffee and watched a few inspirational YouTube videos though, I was ready. I felt like my training had been solid enough to make a good showing. I was excited to meet some new friends and hoped it wouldn’t rain.
What goals did you set? To win my division. I work out in my garage gym and have a whiteboard I use for goal setting. I wrote down “Austin Fittest” and the number of days remaining. The first thing I did each and every morning was update that number. It was a simple act that enabled me to stay focused on that goal.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I did strength training 4–5 days a week, worked on sprints, and ran 2 miles twice a week. I focused on getting my 1-mile time down with each run. My goal was to run a sub 7-minute mile, but I didn’t achieve that. (I’ll improve upon that next year.)
If you plan on competing to win, you have to take training seriously—especially if you’re an older competitor. You can’t expect to just show up on event day and win.
Any keys to your success? Focus and energy. I tried to get quiet each day for 5–10 minutes and spend time visualizing myself in different scenarios on the day of the AFM FITTEST. I saw myself winning; doing pull-ups; sprinting; and jumping. I paid attention to the little details and visualized those.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I played football in high school and began bodybuilding in 1985 when I was 21 years old. I haven’t stopped since. I’ve been doing it for 30 years.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I eat for energy. Taking care of four young kids, my job, training, and being 51 years old, maximizing energy is important.
I have found that I digest meals more efficiently when I separate my proteins and carbs. No bloat, heartburn, or indigestion. Since digestion requires lots of energy, I maintain more energy by following this simple rule.
Are there any professional athletes you role model after? When I was younger, I remember saving my money for weeks and buying the #42 Washington Redskins Charley Taylor’s jersey. I slept in that for many days in a row.
Now, I draw inspiration from guys like wrestler George Hackenschmidt. At the age of 56, Hackenschmidt could jump over a 4-foot, 6-inch high board 10 times. Even through his mid-80s, he would jump 50 times over a chair once a week, bench press 150 pounds, and run 7 miles in 45 minutes.
What was event day like? Fun and very well organized.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? That age is just a number. Wake up with passion and go get what you want.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
Goals for next year’s event? Win my division, and place in the top 20 overall among all age groups.
NEXT: Kent Smith, Age Group Champion (Men 60+)
How did you react when you found out you had won your age group? I was pleased!
Years you have competed in the AFM FITTEST? Three.
What inspired you to compete this year? Because I like the AFM FITTEST. It measures all elements of athleticism: speed, explosiveness, agility, strength, power, balance, and endurance.
Do you plan to do it again next year? Yes.
Favorite challenge? The 40-yard dash. I love the anticipation and the feeling of exploding off the line. It’s fun to run fast. (Well, sort of fast.)
Least favorite? I don't have one. Through training, I got to where I liked (or at least became comfortable with) all of the events.
If you could add your own challenge, what would that look like? A softball or baseball throw for distance. That would be fun. Or maximum sit-ups or push-ups in a minute.
On event day, what thoughts were running through your head? To be quick and light and trust in my training. Before each event, I had some specific warm-ups to do. I focused on each event in turn and left all the past tests behind.
What goals did you set? To do better than last year, but I wouldn't call that a goal. That should just be the result of doing what I planned and prepared to do in each event.
Describe your training regimen leading up to the event. I trained with Greg Cook at Rail and Austin Speed Shop. We built a base of quickness, explosiveness and balance, and then added on specific skills for the AFM FITTEST tests. I lifted weights with Joey Trombetta at Heat Bootcamp and learned a lot about effort, success, and failure. I went to boot camp classes at Heat. I ran with the sprinters group organized by David Braswell (you could not find a more positive and encouraging group of men and women). I consulted with David King. Sometimes I did yoga on Sundays. I learned so much from those I trained and worked out with.
Any keys to your success? Consistency is key. Small, incremental improvements add up to big, positive changes over time.
How long have you been a competitive athlete? I played baseball and soccer in high school and some intramural sports in college, but I wasn't a standout by any means. I was the guy reading books and studying. But I always wanted to be more athletic. If I can get fit, then anyone can. You just have to want to do it and then start working.
Tell us about your nutrition regimen. I eat a very healthy—some would say, strict—diet. A lot of protein, rice, vegetables, and fruit. I don't eat much bread or pasta. I rarely eat sugar. I don't drink liquor. My friend Joey Trombetta says that his diet is "Always great, and sometimes perfect." I try to live up to that. The biggest realization I’ve made in my fitness journey is that I am in charge of how healthy I am. It’s great to have that control, but it also means I have no one to blame but myself if I fall short of my goals. I like that.
What was event day like? Competition day is exciting. You see a lot of people you know, and you meet new people. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of positive energy. Athletes in Austin are amazingly welcoming and positive. I am thankful to live in this city!
Did you learn anything about yourself from the competition? I learned a lot about positive thinking. Looking back at the event, I made progress in limiting my negative thoughts, but I still have a long way to go in making sure that my failures are purely physical and not caused by poor thinking. I want to be able to go into any situation and think, “I can do that.”
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration? “People ask me all the time; they say, ‘What is the secret to success?’ The first rule is: Trust yourself. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourself who do you want to be. Not what, but who. I'm talking about figuring out for yourself what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger
Before competition, I watched a clip on YouTube called "Elite Gymnastics: Why Do We Fall.” It brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to go out and live up to my potential.
Goals for next year’s event? I want to run faster, turn quicker, and jump higher. I plan to work on speed, quickness, agility, explosiveness, and flexibility for next year's competition.
NEXT: Outright Body Shop, Overall Team Winner & Open Division Team Champion
How did your team react when you all found out you had won the Open Team division (and overall)? Honestly, we expected to win and would have been disappointed with anything less. We don’t think this expectation reflects cockiness, arrogance, or an under-appreciation or lack of respect for the high level of fitness and athleticism of the other teams. Rather, our expectation is rooted in the confidence we have in each other’s abilities.
Years your team has competed in the AFM FITTEST? Four. Dane’s Body Shop won the first two team competitions (Dane was on both squads; Tim was on the 2013 squad), and Outright Body Shop has won the last two overall team championships.
What inspired you all to compete this year? We weren’t at full strength last year (with one of us, Tim, out with an injury), and wanted to see what we could accomplish when everyone was healthy. Unfortunately, Terrance ruptured his Achilles tendon in February; he is our fastest team member, so we were momentarily concerned about who would pick up for him. But he knocked out pull-ups like he owned the event.
Does your team plan to compete again next year? Yes. And every year until some team knocks us off. Challenge issued!
Team’s favorite challenge? Either the mile or the interval run. Tim false-started on the interval run in the individual portion, and was determined to crush it for the team. David ran nearly 30 seconds faster for the team mile than he did for the individual mile.
Least favorite? Mystery tests. There’s too much room for error in regards to judging, timing, and equipment.
If your team could add a challenge, what would that look like? A 4×400 relay instead of the mile. This would involve all team members and would get spectators much more excited.
On event day, what goals did your team set? We didn’t really talk about concrete goals aside from giving max effort and leaving nothing in the tank.
Describe your team’s training regimen leading up to the event. In contrast to last year, we pretty much trained independently. However—via text and Facebook—we kept up with each other by posting videos of training sessions and discussing strategy. We challenged each other in fun and competitive ways to optimize our performance.
Any keys to your group’s success? Our winning attitude and competitive fire that help us peak during game time.
How long have you all been competitive athletes?
David: Black belt at age 11, ran cross country and competed in the 800-meter, 400-meter, and triple jump in high school, ran in college, and continues to compete in track and field. He was an AFM FITTEST age group champion in 2015 and the AFM FITTEST overall champion in 2014.
Terrance: Played organized sports (football, basketball, baseball, and track) all his life since the age of 6. He excelled at football and played the sport at every level—high school, college, and professional football.
Dane: Started his competitive sport path during his sophomore year of high school. After a successful college football career, he joined the NFL ranks (Minnesota, Seattle) and went on to play five seasons mixed with NFL/Europe/AFL before he devoted his attention to Dane’s Body Shop. He was an AFM FITTEST age group champion in 2012 and 2014.
Tim: Played high school football and basketball, college football (quarterback), and competitive flag football in Austin for almost 20 years. He was an AFM FITTEST age group champion in 2012 and 2013.
Tell us about your team’s nutrition regimen. We all very seldom consume alcohol, sodas, or fried foods. Moderation is a general rule of thumb for us. Tim and Terrance may have the strictest diets out of us all.
What was event day like? It was a competitive and fun adult field day.
Did your team learn anything about one another from the competition? We’re interchangeable. Any one of us could have completed a different event.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration that your team follows? No pressure, no diamonds!
Goals for next year’s event? Improve in every event. By a lot.
NEXT: 7 Fit Studio, Gym Division Team Champion
How did your team react when you all found out you had won the Gym Team division? We were excited! After months of hard training, we celebrated with peanut butter, candy, and chocolate. We enjoyed the win.
Years your team has competed in the AFM FITTEST? This was our second year.
What inspired you all to compete this year? Our clients and members pushed us and inspired us to compete. Winning is our show of appreciation to them (our members). It shows them we train as hard as we coach.
Team’s favorite challenge? We welcomed them all.
Least favorite? None.
If your team could add a challenge, what would that look like? Weightlifting.
On event day, what goals did your team set? To win.
Describe your team’s training regimen leading up to the event. We incorporated Cryotherapy, before or after each training session, to help speed up our recovery time so we could train longer and quicker throughout the week. Monday through Thursday our group of trainers worked on explosiveness, endurance, strength, and balance.
Any keys to your group’s success? We incorporated cross-training into our training.
How long have you all been competitive athletes? Combined, we have more than 20 years of playing at collegiate, semi-pro, or professional levels in a range of sports—soccer, football, MMA, baseball, and rock climbing.
Tell us about your team’s nutrition regimen. Our entire team agreed on a high protein diet throughout the day, heavy load carbs in the morning, no sugar, green tea three times a day (Guayaki Yerba Mate), and gluten-free prep meals by Meal Pros.
What was event day like? The energy was awesome—high and energetic despite the blistering heat. The mutual support among the teams competing, cheering on competitors even if their teammate had dropped out, was bonding. The support of our gym members that came out to support and cheer us on from station to station was enormous.
Did your team learn anything about one another from the competition? In addition to our own unique training styles, we learned how our puzzle pieces fit together to reflect our facility’s common goal: community wellness. Our growth as a team and company derives from learning from one another.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration that your team follows? It works if you work it, so work it because we’re worth it.
Goals for next year’s event? Winning. You must be willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.
NEXT: National Instruments: 3 Dudes, Corporate Division Team Champion
How did your team react when you all found out you had won the Corporate Team division? We were extremely excited considering the circumstances. (We had to replace one person the day of the contest and another the week before.)
Years your team has competed in the AFM FITTEST? Most of us have competed for 3 years. This year and last year caused a lot of people not to compete due to rainout change and people having to travel for work at the last minute.
What inspired you all to compete this year? We had our sights set on two things. First: To be the best team in the corporate division. Second: To try to beat the guys from Dane’s Body Shop and Outright Body Shop. We don’t know them very well, but we have a lot of respect for them and their talent.
Does your team plan to compete again next year? Hell yeah! We already have commitments from everyone for next year and, most importantly, our distance runner will be back.
Team’s favorite challenge? Depends on who you ask. Jared loved the second mystery event and Kenny was a freak on pull-ups. Kevin likes anything that requires power.
Least favorite? I think we all agree on burpees. We literally had to pull out our phones and show Jared the “How To” video on the AFM website before he did them.
If your team could add a challenge, what would that look like? A bench press.
On event day, what goals did your team set? We knew we couldn’t win every test, so it was important for us to stay in the top seven spots.
Describe your team’s training regimen leading up to the event. We all trained on our own, working out downstairs at our corporate National Instruments gym. On the weekends, we trained at Active Sports Club and Gold’s Gym.
Any keys to your group’s success? Honestly, we were very lucky to find each other.
How long have you all been competitive athletes? All of us have been playing sports since we were kids. Jared in baseball, Kenny in track, and Kevin in football and track.
Tell us about your team’s nutrition regimen. We all try to eat lean, but you have to remember that we work in an office. So there’s a high probability of there being donuts, cookies, birthday cake, breakfast tacos, or some type of happy hour going on. Or, if it’s the end of the quarter, you eat the first thing you see.
What was event day like? It’s an adult field day designed for all types of athletes and fitness genres. Whether you are an ex-athlete or someone just entering the fitness community, this is the place for you. If you come to watch, you’re going to wish you had competed.
What is the hardest thing about forming a corporate team? Getting people to commit. Anything could change at any time. Most of the people recruited genuinely want to participate, but that can change at any minute due to business travel or project deadlines.
Favorite words of motivation or inspiration that your team follows? Just go out and give it all you have for 12 events and look forward to Deep Eddy’s Vodka when it’s over.
Goals for next year’s event? To win the overall team division and compete individually as well.