An Olympian Challenged CrossFit Champion Justin Medeiros to an Open Workout
Since retiring as a professional runner, former Olympic athlete Nick Symmonds has undergone a body transformation, pivoting to weight training and packing on more than 20 pounds of lean muscle while participating in a series of strength and fitness challenges on his YouTube channel. In his latest video, he reveals his ambition for 2022: to rank in the top 10,000 globally in the CrossFit Open.
“As a guy who spent 20 years learning how to run around in circles, I can tell you definitively that those skills do not translate at all into the CrossFit gym,” he says. “One of the things I love most about CrossFit is it tests you in so many ways.”
With just one round out of three remaining, Symmonds meets up with Justin Medeiros, winner of the 2021 CrossFit Games and the sport’s current reigning “Fittest Man on Earth,” before he performs the Open workout, consisting of 21 butterfly pullups, 42 double unders, 21 thrusters at 95 pounds, 18 chest to bars, 36 double unders, 18 thrusters at 115 pounds, 15 bar muscleups, 30 double unders, and 15 thrusters at 135 pounds
“There’s no big separator,” says Medeiros. “All this, for a lot of the elite athletes, everyone can do these movements super easy, so it’s just like how fast can you do them. And that’s when it starts really hurting… If you get to the end and that 135-pound bar feels light, you did something wrong, you went too slow in everything else… You just want to feel like you’re in attack mode for that whole workout.”
Medeiros ends up completing the workout in 4 minutes 29 seconds, the second fastest time in the world, smashing his own target which was to finish in under 5 minutes. Then it’s Symmonds’ turn.
“Butterfly pullups are really hard to do,” Symmonds says of the controversial move. “After three years of daily CrossFit classes, I still can’t do even one… It will become immediately apparent that I am not likely to beat Justin’s time today… But that’s OK because his performance has inspired me to dig deep, to leave it all in the gym, and ultimately achieve my goal of top 10,000 in the world.”
Symmonds is unable to complete the workout in 12 minutes, meaning that it will be his total reps of 170 counted as his score, not his time—and he succeeds in ranking in the top 10,000, placing 9,139th globally.
“I left everything I had in that gym, and I’m proud to say it was good enough,” he says.
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