2015 CrossFit Games - Johnathan Haynes

2015 Games Reflections

The CrossFit Games have come and gone. For me, this is the fifth time to reflect on what I witnessed, what to take away and what to do next.

The Games push everyone involved, everyone. The athletes are being tested and pushed to exceed their limits. The crowd is a witness to their journey. There is something about watching this test that forces a response from its viewers. It can cause you to be amazed, angry, elated, disappointed, inspired, concerned, fired up but it’s hard to passively watch. The CrossFit Games force you to feel something. It’s hard to hold it in. I can’t think of another sport or environment that compels such reactions out of the large majority of its viewers. It’s part of the event. A geyser of emotions spew from everyone involved, almost uncontrollably during the week-long event. It shows up in social media, blogs and real life conversations.

I love the Games. It’s a spectacle for all the right reasons. Everywhere you look things are happening that are uncommon. This mega event is driven by volunteers, the best volunteers, who give of their time to add an x-factor absent from many other gatherings. The athletes are amazing because they are ordinary people who have put in an incredible amount of work to do extraordinary things. They are shining examples of the upper end of human potential and they aren’t from Krypton (except for Ben Smith 🙂 ), they come from the CrossFit affiliate community—they’re one of us.

Because they are of us, we want to protect them, see them do well and be victorious. But that’s not always what happens. It’s a test, not a showcase.

After taking a few days to think about it, this may be one of my favorite years so far. No we didn’t have the same amazing crescendo of years past, but the ending was great. Some athletes had a weakness exposed and others adapted and overcame anyway.

Watching some of athletes fail to get up the wall pegboard excited me. It took me back to 2010, when I first watched the Games. A rope derailed a rookie from a championship. To me, a newbie, it was anti-climactic and I was bummed for the athlete. But that moment was the inciting incident that began the four-year electrifying reign of Rich Froning. For those for years we saw Rich dominate the field by whatever means necessary—complete with a huge comeback in 2014. This year we didn’t  have that, but I’m no longer a newbie and can appreciate this moment thoroughly

Two new and deserving champions were crowned in Katrin Davidsdottir and Ben Smith and were left with the perfect cliffhanger. After having a weakness exposed, ow will the athletes respond? Who will rise and be ready next year. I can’t wait.

… we’re only going to get better.
South Regional Social Media Team - CrossFit Games

It takes a Team

This year I returned to the South Regional to lead the social media team and help tell the story of athletes from the South Central, Latin America and South West Regions.

It’s always a challenge, but I love the challenge of figuring out how to deliver something that captures what is taking place.

It’s never just me. It always takes a team.

The volunteers that are assigned to CrossFit Games social media don’t quite know what they are getting into when they show up at regionals, but each group I’ve had finds a way to step up to the plate to help deliver a good story.

Besides the stress of having an affiliate team in the competition, the regional was a blast. I enjoyed the ups, downs, obstacles and high points of the weekend. Working with volunteers and teaching them what I do helps me to spread good media vibes and sharpen or reshape how I do things. Learning on the fly is amazing. I am able to learn concepts that would usually take me months during the course of a three-day regional. I love that.

Learning by doing is art. 

Special thanks to the team that worked with me—Trish, Ben, Adam, Dannan—and the other medias (photo and video guys) that help to deliver such a beautiful show.
One round down. Two to go

Enjoy the Adventure


Open Perspective

The Open is a good test of fitness. As leaders, we encouraged everyone to participate in this five week competition for a variety of reasons. These five weeks are an excellent opportunity to see where you are at, how far you’ve come and may give insights on what you need to work towards. It’s also a chance to gather together.

This is a great time of year, as long as you don’t lose perspective

Read the full blog here.

My Favorite CrossFit Games photo - never posted

Favorite Photo – I Never Posted

This is my favorite of the photos I never posted. I remember it clearly: I was eating when asked to take a photo for media … I totally botched it (haha) and we ended up using a video instead. Throughout the years, I’ve covered the folks in this picture numerous times. But this time, I remember looking through my iPhone screen and realizing who was looking back at me …. Nearly a decade of Championships and excellence at one table. I had a serious “woah” moment. I’ll never forget that. Cheers to an unforgettable 2014. Thanks for following along. I so looking forward to the upcoming CrossFit Games Season.

See you next year.

Enjoy the Adventure

Johnathan Haynes - Manhattan Beach



The above sums up the marquee lesson I take away from the CrossFit Games. I’ve worked or been a part of this event for four year now, but this year is by far my favorite. It was the most challenging, thought-provoking, patience-testing project I have ever been a part of. It was also full of the most fun and rewarding things I have done or been a part of in a long time.


There are many things I want to talk through and share about my experience, but I wanted to lead-off with this simple message of control. It’s tempting to draw a large circle around the things you care about and try to make sure everything happens the way YOU feel it should. This is exhausting work. Instead, draw the smallest circle possible and make sure that space is grand. Pour everything you have into it and let the rest worry for itself. Make your small circle the best you know how. Then you are in control. You have learned to become a servant to your surroundings and a master of yourself.  If you can put that into repeated practice, people will grow your circle for you. Then, you’ll truly have to fight to keep it “small.”


The joyous  feeling of accomplishment stems from the journey and the battles overcome. Johnathan Haynes

We all train for the CrossFit Games 2

We all train for the Games

It’s CrossFit Games week and this is my fourth year making the trip to the proving grounds for the Fittest on Earth. Each year my understanding of this community and its sport grows—fueling my love, passion and excitement for the gathering that takes place in a few days.


Since Froning and Briggs were crowned and the tennis stadium emptied last year, the clock immediately reset and the countdown began for 2014. I imagine many Games athlete left StubHub Center with internal promises and pacts to themselves about how they would prepare for the coming year. But so did many of the spectators. A unique aspect of this sport is the crowd. The CrossFit Games allows for immediate participation and advancement if your training, effort and execution is sufficient.


Competition means many things to many different people. Not everyone in the CrossFit community has hopes of competing at the Games, but we all train. Each person has their own goals and aspirations that reach beyond the gym, but we all train. We show up to the garage, backyard or affiliate to prepare our bodies and minds to go out and conquer whatever is front of us.  Many workouts beat us and we are better for it. We practice failure and recovery in training to be better equipped for life. Consistent training  can confirm the idea that we have the ability to continually improve and turn a goal into an accomplishment. A great opportunity for that is the test of fitness, Open to anyone as personal measurement of progress or a worldwide competition. The choice is always yours.


From this worldwide competition of athletes, about  550  have earned the right to take the field in Carson, California. They were tested against a community of hard workers. One that carries countless stories of struggle and triumph from all walks of life. Each year the test gets tougher. I think a tougher test is almost required because we’re getting better. As a community, we sharpen ourselves against each other and collectively test and advance our limits. We progresses together through the Open and Regionals and produces some of the Fittest on Earth for the final test. These athletes represent their dreams, family, local community and much more. They are representation of our collective commitment to wellness.


This week athletes from all over the world are filling Carson, California. Some will prove themselves on the competition floor. Other athletes will hold cameras, run media, coordinate event logistics,  volunteer and work as judges—while the large majority of athletes celebrates and cheers from the stands. There are many roles in this community and none insignificant.  Year after year, regardless of  role or responsibility, we all train for the Games.


See you there.


We all train for the CrossFit Games

2013 CrossFit Games

Reflections: What do You See?

The story of the 2013 CrossFit Games is a week old and I am still trying to unpack what I saw. This was my third year in attendance and every time I feel like the week flies by… All of a sudden I am on my feet and it’s time for the finals. In that moment, I look around and view a sea of CrossFitters cheering on the fittest, in anticipation of crowning the best in the world. It is my favorite moment of the whole weekend, but it has nothing to do with the whats happening on the floor. The competitors are why we come to Carson, but the crowd tells the real story.

[Lets back up]

The first year I attended the Games I had no clue what to expect. The following year I qualified with a team for Regionals, gaining a new level of understanding. This year, I had the opportunity to travel to four different Regionals and see different CrossFit communities take on the competition. Every Regional was different but a familiar passion and fire always surfaced. The Europe Regional was an out of this world experience. Watching an International CrossFit competition go down on a Regional level is quite a show. If you have the ability go to Europe, go see that Regional. South Central is my home Region and full of friends, the connection to the story lines gives that weekend a feel similar to homecoming. The North Central was a showdown, point blank. And then there was the Mid Atlantic, the final trip on my tour. The signature moment of that Regional was during the final heat of team Event 6. The pairs were nearing the final portion of the event which capped with fat bar shoulder-to-overhead and a lunge walk to the finish. As the leading teams worked to complete their final S20’s the power went out.

In an instant, PA’s, clocks, music and broadcasts vanished…

As soon as that happened I remember a collective pause              and then the CrossFit community reacted — The Crowd erupted (I mean it felt like the roof blew off with the amount energy that was expressed in an instant), the judges kept their teams informed on the time, and the MC’s cued the crowd by standing in front of the leading team. It was powerful, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The more CrossFit I see the more I realize that the composition of the community is rare.


People come from all over the world to watch the CrossFit Games, more and more are beginning to tune-in from around the world. What blows me away is that these people aren’t randoms, they are CrossFit people. The sport continues to grow every year and with that comes bigger crowds. In other sports and communities, growth normally results in a dilution of “the fanatics,” introducing t-shirt fans and people who are “just there”. It is a true phenomenon that the crowd, despite the size, remains highly (if not purely) concentrated with CrossFitters. For three days the StubHub Center hosted a potent concentration of the beautiful, strong, fit and healthy individuals. The crowd is a true showcase of what CrossFit can produce. A growing collection of people committed to wellness.

What do you see?



u·ni·ty  /ˈyo͞onətē – Harmony or agreement between people or groups.

Worlds Away, Amongst Friends

A Regional competition on a National level

A short time ago I received a phone call — inside of which I was asked if I would like to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark and tell the story of the CrossFit Games Europe Regionals. I had never been outside off the Americas, and it happened to recently added to my vision board at the beginning of the year, so it was time to make it real. Thursday morning when I arrived in Paris, my second stop along the way (who cares about Detroit) and it was there that I realized that this was not America. It was a cool new feeling to have to learn how to navigate simple obstacles when you don’t speak the native language. (Hand signals are clutch). Luckily airports are full of multilingual folks and I was able to smile my way into being chauffeured to my next gate. The Europe Regionals were so much more than I ever could have imagined. CrossFit is such a powerful and unifying activity. I’ve seen this at home among people of different walks of life. However when you elevate it to a global level, there is an unbelievable sense of heightened of connectivity. In other words when you bring together people of different nationality and challenge them to represent themselves, their box and their country in an international competition, you are setting the stage for something EPIC. This may be true for other sports. This may just be how everything in Europe is, but I had never seen it in person before and I’d like to believe that CrossFit brings out a competitive fire that cannot be matched by many other sports.

It will take me a long time to understand the magnitude of everything we accomplished this weekend and the magic that I was able to witness. I remember at one point standing on the competition floor and just taking in the atmosphere. I would tarnish the memory if I tried to describe it. There are moments in your life when you are able to look back and say, “That was truly something special.,” but there are only a few times where you can stand in the midst of something and recognize its value in the moment that it occurs. That is what happened to me over the last 4-5 days.

CrossFit creates an opportunity for people to reconnect with themselves. These Regional competitions bring together competitors, volunteers, spectators and staff that share a common bond. The Europe Regional was a fantastic snapshot of concentrated wellness. I am honored to have been a part of it.

The Worst 4 Minutes

The Worst 4 Minutes

The Worst 4 Minutes – My 13.5 Experience

The Open has been 5 weeks of lessons, stress, excitement, growth, ups, downs and frustration. The first two workouts got the best of me, but I began to come into my own after having a huge break through on 13.3. After putting up a solid showing on 13.4, I was excited to close out the Open strong. And then the workout was announced…..

I cannot lie I was in shock for about a day and then I started to get excited about the challenge. I knew I could make it out of the first round. Last year, no way, but this year I had the skills and if I executed everything perfectly, I would make it. Leading up to the workout, I would bounce from being excited about the challenge to weary of the pain.

I showed up yesterday (Friday) ready to go. My plan was to go for it full tilt and leave it on the mat.

[The Workout Begins] I flew out of the gates (as planned) executing the first two rounds almost perfectly. ALMOST! On my second round of C2B Pull Ups,  I got lost and came of the bar with only 13 reps completed(Critical Mistake 1). That cost me valuable time. In the midst of that confusion, I made critical mistake 2. I miss heard the time keeper while executing my final round of thrusters (my fault not his) causing me to break my last round at the 3 minute mark when I could have pushed through and completed the set unbroken. As soon as I let go of the barbell an unexplainable pain engulfed my entire body. I have NEVER felt anything like that before. I worked tried to pull it together, but it was too late. I finished with 77 reps. I was disappointed to say the absolute least.

[Re-Do] I have had no desire to re-do a workout until 13.5. It has been eating at me ever since I completed the workout. But I will hold true to one and done and accept my score. If I were to do this workout again, it would not be for the right reasons or intentions. This is will be a tremendous lesson for me to digest over the next year. That is probably a good thing.

Overall I am so proud of myself and how I performed in the 2013 Open. I am so ready to get back to work.

The picture above is of Chelsea Ross from RedBlack Gym. She showed up and smashed 13.5. 138 Reps – It was awesome to watch!

Photo Credit: Nicole Hughes