The 2014 Fittest Games

Fittest Games Experience


At the beginning of a project I seldom think about the ending—even though endings are natural occurrences in most things. I have been a part of the Fittest Games since 2012, serving as a creative and media director for this local competition that is held in Austin, Texas for the last eight-ish years. Throughout the years  I have grown and learned alongside this event, but as 2014 comes to a close, so does my time with the Fittest Games.


The 2013 Fittest Games


I can’t help but look back at what a spectacular ride it is has been. I showed up a few years ago with a lot of ideas, ambition and determination but little experience. Jeremy Thiel and Nicole Hughes took a leap of faith and handed me the keys to a precious platform. Back then, social media wasn’t that huge of a thing but we all saw its value and soon, so would everyone else. As true with many, I have so many emotions tied to this event that I don’t even know where to begin. Special isn’t a strong enough to describe this local gathering of incredible people.


The 2014 Fittest Games Brian Sullivan


It’s not about the elite athletes. They are—no doubt—a signature part of the event but the real story is found within the heart of the community. The first-time competitors, everyday CrossFitter and those who just want to have fun are the people who continually captivated me throughout the year. These people may be labeled as average but watching them compete makes it clear that they are anything but. Watching the joy on peoples’ faces after PR’ing, learning a new skill or simply surviving a workout is the most filling feeling. I have had the pleasure of telling their story and celebrating with them. In a sense, I have shared in their trumps as a proud super fan. Many hours of sweat, stress and strategy went into the making of the Fittest Games and it certainly wasn’t possible all on my own.


Media Room at the 2014 Fittest Games


I have had the pleasure of working with incredibly talented photographers, videographers and all-around creative folks. Outside of the media realm—I also collaborated with phenomenal event coordinators and logistics magicians. Ingrid Kantola, Laurie Pospisil-Gotcher and Michael Winchester are three outstanding individuals that have helped orchestrate a beautiful event that plays out like a sweet symphony—building to a crescendo on the final day.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to communicate and idea and have others buy in and help bring it to life. Brian Sullivan, Michael Bing, Dean Zu, Hance Taplin, Keir Simon, Elliot and Lindsey Schrock, Caleb Kerr, the assassin that is Walter Stokes, Bentura Flores, Heather Olsen, Chad Hamilton, Scott Wallace, Matt Block, Brian Flannery, Tim Bougie, my partner in crime Nicole Hughes and countless others have all contributed a wonderful creative verse in this great story. I am both proud and honored to have had the opportunity to interact with them. I am a better artist and individual because of them.


2013 Fittest Games Media


Above is the 2013 Media Team and below is two brilliant videographers I am honored to have worked with them.


Elliot and Lindsay Schrock


There are many who work behind the scenes and volunteer there time to make (and continue to make)  this dream possible. The care and craftsmanship they bring to the table adds a flare to events like this that help bring the social experience to life. You may not have noticed them, but then again you weren’t supposed to. Your job was to enjoy the event, celebrate with your friends and then sit back to re-live the story we captured for you.


Caleb Kerr Fittest Games


I’ve learned so many valuable lessons and it would take more than just one blog to fully appreciate the past three years. I hope your experiences and memories from the Fittest Games are as fulfilling and heart-warming as mine.

From The Yard to Limitless and finishing with the Kingdom, my journey with the Fittest Games is one that I will treasure forever.


The 2014 Fittest Games


I did not create the Fittest Games, I do not own it, it was never something that was mine but I love this event like it was my own and poured everything I had into it. I look forward to seeing it continue. Thank you to everyone who is involved with this event in any capacity. The 2015 season will no doubt be special.



Nicole Hughes and Johnathan Haynes Godai Elements

A Helping Hughes

It is very easy to cruise through life as a quiet passenger. I look back on missed opportunities to share my thoughts and have decided to avoid letting that become a habit. I can very easily get lost in my own thoughts and convince myself not to share, but not this time.


I am grateful. Four years ago, I decided to forgo the corporate world and take my talents to the entrepreneurial slash start-up arena. It has been the most complex challenge of my life (so far). Shortly after resigning from my corporate job, I moved to Austin, Texas. My intent was to work at CrossFit Central and impact that community. The vocalization of that intent eventually led me to Jeremy Thiel and Nicole Hughes. Nicole would eventually become my supervisor/team leader/mastermind partner in crime. Over the course of three years she would shape and spur my maturation as an individual creative. The validity of that statement is more potent that I could ever articulate. Nicole Hughes severely impacted my growth as a professional.


Who is that? Nicole Hughes is a bit unsung in the public eye. Until recently (she has since moved on to a new opportunity) Nicole was a driving creative force behind the online presence of CrossFit Central. Shortly after I moved to Austin, Nicole and I were paired and tasked with the responsibility of branding and storytelling for various wellness projects and events. However, our initial interactions as a team weren’t alway synergistic.


Youth doesn’t always provide wisdom … let’s be real, it rarely does. I was a passionate individual. I believed (still do) I had a responsibility to utilize my abilities to tell the the best story and deliver a delightful experience to listeners. I believed in this so strongly that I often became set on a certain method or tactic and closed to the idea of any alternative way. This made me difficult to interact with—despite my pure intention.


Our interactions started off as rocky, due to my lack of wisdom. Then I remember a meeting at JuiceLand after disagreement. It was one of those moments when you realize you’ve been a bit of a jackass and it’s time to immediately grow up. After that meeting everything changed, a noisy friction was transformed into a harmony.  For the next two-ish or more years we would collaborate on various projects and accomplish some really cool things. We collaborated on the media for projects such as Garage Gym Blueprint,  Godai Elements competition, The Fittest Games, RedBlack Gym, The Triune and CrossFit Central. I am so grateful for Nicole Hughes involvement in my professional career.


She took the time (a considerable amount) to understand and learn about me. She broke down my former way of thinking and showed me a new way to operate by her being a living example of a true leader.  She played a major role in shaping the skill sets that I have now. I look back on the last four years and feel privileged to say I got to work with such dynamic individual. I know that she would prefer to go unsung and fly under the radar but unfortunately she was unsuccessful in completely neutralizing my defiant side.  So I would like to defiantly and publicly celebrate Mrs. Nicole Hughes . Because. I am grateful.  For the arguments, long conversations, jokes, laughs and adventures. I am so very grateful.


On site at Godai Elements at the Texas Ski Ranch

Nicole Hughes and Johnathan Haynes Godai Elements


Working at the Fittest Games in Austin, Texas

Nicole Hughes and Johnathan Haynes at the Fittest Games


Thank You Nicole Hughes

Think about the people in your life that have helped shape who you are. Don’t be afraid to let them know.