After placing 11th at last year’s Central East Regional, Elijah “EZ” Muhammad now finds himself in the South East ready for a shot at making it to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
In the offseason, Muhammad has been punishing his weaknesses and pushing his strengths, all while acting as a father, husband and coach. Muhammad is prepared to take on the Open and show his new region what he is made of.
As head coach at the soon to open HiTemp Athletics in Tuscumbia, Ala., 6-foot, 197-pound Muhammad spends a lot of his time in the gym either coaching or working on his own skills. Right now, he trains at CrossFit Shoals.
“Juggling the two is very easy because I have a wife that believes in me and encourages me to push hard,” he says. “Also, with being a coach, you have a flexible schedule, so my daughter and wife come hang out with me when they are free. We make it happen.”
Aside from the support of his family, Muhammad says coaching others has also played a big role in getting him where he is today.
“Coaching plays a huge part in my training because it always holds me accountable,” he says. “Growing up, I always said to myself, ‘If I am going to tell someone else to do something, I better be doing it myself.’”
For those who might not be familiar with Muhammad, this 24-year-old previously trained with two-time CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning, Jr., before making his move to the South East.
“Training with Rich affected me a ton in every way possible,” Muhammad says. “Rich, Thomas Cox, Donavan Degrie, Darren Hunsucker, Derek Robinson — all of those guys have helped me get to where I am. Of course, Rich was the brain behind the way I trained, but all of them helped me. I feel working out with anyone makes you push a bit harder, even if you are intrinsically motivated.”
Muhammad has been preparing for the Open by following programming from various gyms, including his own.
“I do my own programming and follow my gym, HiTemp Athletics, which I program for,” he says. “I also follow Rich Froning’s gym, CrossFit Mayhem, and some main site.”
He has also focused on his weaknesses to prepare him for success during the 2013 season, one of which he says is strict muscle-ups.
“I constantly put them in long WODs and assistance work with strength.”
In his free time, Muhammad plays on his church league basketball team.
“I’m literally unstoppable on the court,” he says with a laugh.
He also enjoys going to the park with his daughter and spending time outdoors with his family.
“I love CrossFit because it doesn't lie. It's direct, and it is the only sport that you can't be a specialist in,” Muhammad says.
Muhammad is eager to see how he compares to the competition in his new region.
“I take nothing for granted,” he says. “I’ll just have to see when the time comes.”
He adds: “Moving regions means nothing to me. I think I just have a God-given ability with athletics, but with that, I have never been a specialist, and I have always had to put forth (the effort) and work hard for my position.”