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      News — Crossfit Games

      My 2017 Crossfit Games Experience - Written by Mekenzie Riley

      My 2017 Crossfit Games Experience - Written by Mekenzie Riley

      My 2017 Crossfit Games Experience
      Written by: Mekenzie Riley – 23rd @ The 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games
      Follow Mekenzie on Instagram: @itskenzieriley
      Photo Credit:  @misfitmedianman (Ted Bonenfant)

      Making it to the CrossFit Games was my one sole goal for the 2017 season. There was no real thought, expectation, or question beyond that ONE focus for the last 12 months of my life. It's amazing to self-actualize a once in a lifetime dream like that; it's IMPOSSIBLE to be anything but elated and overwhelmed with joy upon realizing "I actually fu*king did it!"

      My Mindset Going In

      My rookie debut was a mix of about every emotion you can think of, however, I recall mainly positive feelings to describe my experience. As much as I believe I belong amongst the fittest on Earth, I also knew I had a lot to learn and didn't expect to steal the show in my first run at it. I entered the weekend with a few intrinsic goals and an open mind as a blank mental note pad.

      Just like with any other competition; I expected to have highs & lows, I expected to have my strengths shine through & my weaknesses exposed, and never once did I throw out the possibility of being faced with that real-time-on-the-floor-decision of losing my shit or keeping my cool, adapting, and overcoming.  In hindsight, over the 4-day contest, I am pleased to report out that despite being greatly challenged, I remained mostly consistent in my performance and mindset.  This consistency proved to be reflected on the event leaderboard.  So no, I didn’t lost my shi*t, lol.

      2017 Crossfit Games Best Advice

      I was once told this season by one of the wise coaches on the Misfit Staff to control the 2 things I could: my attitude and my effort. I tried to keep this close in mind and heart through the weekend and I think it paid off. However, I have come to realize that by nature I tend to remain grateful and hopeful in attitude and try and be conservative and smart in my effort. None of that is bad, it's just very cavalier. With no experience at this level of competition, it's hard be more aggressive than that. I think building on my confidence to take more chances and approach events with an "I can't fail!" attitude could boost me up to a new level.

      Lessons Learned Going into the 2018 Season

      What I learned most from this experience that I'm taking forward into the 2018 Crossfit season has more to do with mentality than any physical skill or capacity. There is a certain confidence it takes to GET to the Games; all CrossFit Games athlete have that. But it takes another level of that confidence to HANG at the Games, better yet WIN the Games. I think experience breeds that confidence, but it also comes from understanding yourself as an athlete, believing in yourself under all circumstances, and trusting your ability/plan to execute. 

      Continuing to learn from myself every day in training, continuing to become more comfortable with my skill sets despite being a strength or a weakness, and understanding my capacities and making them work for ME...this is where I am.

      Closing out the 2017 Crossfit Games Season

      It's hard to not just feel completely grateful and honored to just earn a numbered jersey with my name on it, to get to stand alongside the fittest women on Earth as we walk down the competition floor, or to know some of the Fittest people on Earth who are also some of kindest and funniest as well, AND I get to call them my friends!

      This to me is enough...or WAS enough. Those might be my favorite elements of the Games experience, but I'm in it for more now. Now, I know what I'm capable of and am demanding more of myself. I know what it's like to make it, to be out there, and to do what I love in front of the whole community of people who support it. I'm doing all I can to get back out there and prove to myself that Kenzie Riley wasn't a fluke, but rather has what it takes to one up herself in 2018!!!


      My Crossfit Games 2017 Experience - Written by Tommy Vinas

      My Crossfit Games 2017 Experience - Written by Tommy Vinas

      My Crossfit Games 2017 Experience
      Written By: Tommy Vinas, American Gainz Athlete

      Leading up to the Games
      Well, the intense and amazing feeling of “I made the Games” was short lived after the South Regional. As the Games approached, the nervousness kicked in to the point where just thinking about it made me sick to my stomach.  

      I was early to recognize that this year would be a “learning year” if I did indeed make it beyond the Regional. After all, this was the goal at the start of the 2017 season.  Although my goal was reached, I had just made it to the Games, so in no way was just showing up going to be good enough.  It was then when the doubts set in and I started challenging my training with defeating questions like, “did I do enough? Am I really a Games level athlete? Am I ready?”.  So yes, making the Games is incredible and now I know being incredibly nervous is a part of it.   

      Day 1
      The first day was one of my rougher days of competition strictly due to event selection. Being a 200lb guy has its advantages, but aerobic based events at the Games level is not one of them.  I honestly finished Day 1 being disappointed.  After beating myself up for a bit I decided to pull my head out of my ass and attack Day 2! 

      Day 2
      Looking forward to some heavier barbell work was a refreshing change of gears from Day 1.  I learned on this day that confidence goes a long way in terms of performance.  I couldn’t think of a better way to walk away from Day 2 than with a new 1RM Snatch PR (302lbs).

      Day 3
      I went into Day 3 with the mindset of “have fun, but execute”.  This was the part of the competition where I truly started to see myself perform.

      Day 4
      Now that the butterflies were gone and the nerves settled, Day 4’s events were truly just me and my lane.


      Highlight – 1RM Snatch Event
      By far, the most exciting moment in my athletic career was hitting that 302 lb. snatch PR in that arena where the energy from the stands was so visceral and so alive, it was feeding my lifts. 

      Lowlight - Amanda.45
      On paper, this is an event where I can crush souls.  During execution however, I let nerves get the best of me and was thrown off at the pace set by other athletes.  This was rookie mistake. I need to run my own race and stay head strong.


      After competing alongside so many Athletes this year, my one take away was how utterly hard these athletes work to be at this level of competition.  It made me think that anything is possible. I simply need to work harder than everyone else - which of course, is easier said than done!


      Training Adjustments for 2018

      • Spend more time on recovery.  I’m sure there are plenty of Athletes with full-time jobs (hats off to them as this year was not easy!), but looking forward, I’m focusing more on recovering and cutting back hours of work where possible. 
      • Increase Aerobic Capacity – Longer Everything (running, swimming, biking, etc.)
      • I’m remodeling the Pain Cave because I’ve decided to stay there awhile. One of the biggest faults this year was getting too comfortable with my training crew.  On the floor, it became apparent to me that I mentally shit the bed when noticing that to the left, and to the right of me, were athletes that were as good if not better than me. This was a simple unexpected mental preparation gap, consider it filled.   

      Final Thoughts
      Overall, through this humbling experience, I’ve learned that the athletes with the strongest mental games are also the athletes winning events. This single lesson acquired from this year’s Games alone will no doubt make me a much better athlete when training for the 2018 season.  Can't wait to do it again!!!

      Madison: A No-Podium Victory!!! - Written by Janet Black

      Madison: A No-Podium Victory!!! - Written by Janet Black



      Madison: A No-Podium Victory!!!
      Written by: Janet Black

      Closing out the 2017 Crossfit Season in Madison marked a memorable milestone for me as an athlete. This was the 5th year I’ve competed at the Reebok Crossfit Games and I’ll admit, the commitment required to make it to this level of the competition has become more mentally challenging for me than ever before.   

      Entering the 2017 Crossfit Games Season I was constantly challenging my drive with self-defeating questions; Back to Carson again Janet?  Am I ready to commit to the preparation required for another season?  If I can’t podium, what is the point? 

      As a full-time teacher, mom, and wife, the time required to commit to my fitness goals doesn’t come without sacrifice, it’s mostly the time that I can carve out of being efficient with other non-discretionary activities.  But really, “what’s the point?”, the point was to compete among the fittest athletes in the world.  The point was to test my abilities through the sport of fitness.  I had to remind myself that I’ve done it before, I’ve podiumed twice already!!!

       Around the same stretch of time that I was battling negative thoughts around my drive, the announcement was made that Madison was the new venue to take on the Games.  Immediately I texted my sister because she lives in Illinois, and Wisconsin is so close.  She confirmed that she lives only two hours from Madison and it was at this point when the willingness to commit became much easier.  At last, a perfect opportunity for my sister to come watch me compete in person, now all I have to do, is make it to the final event, lol. 

      As I continued to settle in the direction of commitment to the 2017 season I was reminded of how much fun CrossFit is, how much I love the community that comes with it, and how much CrossFit allows me to challenge my limits and is ultimately the reason why I started this journey in the first place.  My summer of training began and I truly enjoyed every bit of it.  I felt ready both physically & mentally!

      The 2017 Games came and went, I finished 6th (tied for 5th in terms of points).  Of course I would have loved to finish on the podium but I walked away this year with so much more.  Let me first tell you that I am not a strong swimmer, I have a fear of heights so ropes don’t excite me, and in 2014 my max handstand walk was a sloppy ten feet.  If you are aware of this year’s workouts, it’s almost as if the workout selection objective was to expose my weaknesses :) . 

      When the open water event was announced, I found my way to a small lake near my house.  I could barely make 100m and it was frightening!   So when I got out of the water in Madison after swimming 500m mostly freestyle I truly felt victorious as if a great battle had been won.  Although I finished that workout 9th, I was so pumped!  As a competitive athlete, it is not often that I feel proud of my own performance but that was certainly a moment I will remember for a lifetime. 

      On to the obstacle course, which I’ll add was basically made entirely out of high objects & ropes,  During our practice run, I could not even get passed the second obstacle; the incline log, jump to rope swing and land on another log, easier said than done.  On game day, however, I practiced it in the warm up area and then nailed it on my first attempt during the competition!  I then got through the monkey bars and now it was time for the WALL! 

      Based on my limited grip ability and fear of heights, I knew I only had one chance to get over this wall.  With some positive self-talk, I cautiously approached the wall.  Once at the top, I felt like I was up there for five minutes.  I remember telling myself “you have to fight”, and it was these self-motivating words that pushed me to release my hand from the rope to the top of the wall and ultimately get over. I did it I GOT OVER THE WALL!!  Most people would not be happy with a 16th place finish but for me it went way better than expected.

      I finished nine out of the ten workouts in the top ten.  I faced my fears and truly felt like I rose above.  I finished eighth on a workout with thirty muscle-ups and seventy-five feet handstand walk – another win! 

      Finishing 6th this year was extremely rewarding despite not finishing on the podium.  This admission, along with a shift in my mindset coming into this year’s Crossfit Season has made me a much stronger athlete.  I enjoyed the journey and didn’t leave any smiles on the table. Madison took me out of my comfort zone, tested my limits and allowed me to grow.  Excited to be back in Texas to attack my summer training and looking forward to what the future brings.