“It may sound cliché, but we are opposites when it comes to our strengths, and training together has allowed us to turn our weaknesses into strengths together.”
Paul Gregrow and Taylor Yaffee are training with a common goal: reach the podium at the 2013 Southern California Regional.
Both competed on the CrossFit South County team at the 2011 Regional, and both decided to go individual in 2012, placing eighth and 10th respectively, in SoCal.
The decision to go individual again this year hasn’t stopped them from working out together.
“It may sound cliché, but we are opposites when it comes to our strengths, and training together has allowed us to turn our weaknesses into strengths together,” Yaffee says.
Despite their 10-year age difference, Gregrow and Yaffee became training partners when Yaffee joined CrossFit South County in 2011, then co-owned by Gregrow. While Gregrow balances a full-time schedule as gym owner, father and husband, Yaffee stays busy with a full schedule of college classes and an internship assisting the NFL Combine prep camp.
Nutrition wise, Gregrow prefers to refuel post-workout with a zoned, paleo meal and Yaffee, a Progenex sponsored athlete, prefers ice cream.
However, this duo proves opposites attract.
Gregrow brings years of strength experience, while Yaffee challenges him with his work capacity.
“Yaffee goes hard and has a motor like the best of the best,” Gregrow says.
In the offseason, they train together as often as their busy lives allow. Leading up to the Games season, though, they train together daily.
“As the time goes on, the differences and opposites between us become less and less,” Gregrow says. “When I finish a met-con and I’m only a few seconds behind Yaffee, then I know I’m going to be in a good spot for the Open and Regionals.”
“(He) was light years ahead of me in all lifts when I first started training with him,” Yaffee says of Gregrow. “He has really helped push me to get stronger and stronger. I’m not as far behind him anymore.”
During the Snatch Ladder at last year’s Regionals, Gregrow took seventh place with a 235-lb. snatch, while Yaffee tied for 28th place with a 195-lb. snatch. Going into the 2013 season, Yaffee has a 235-lb. snatch, while Gregrow snatches 260 lb.
In addition to keeping his strength numbers up, Gregrow incorporates gymnastics into his training, which helped him shave almost 90 seconds off of his 30 muscle-ups for time workout, now at 3:41.
Yaffee has full confidence his hard work will pay off. In the offseason, Yaffee has added 30 lb. to his front squat, making it 345 lb., 20 lb. to his clean and jerk, now 295 lb., and has shaved almost a full minute off of his Fran time, now 2:33.
“Placing eighth last year in such a stacked region really sparked a fire and made me think, ‘Hey, if I can do eighth, why can’t I get top five, or even go to the Games?’” Gregrow says.
Last year, Gregrow opened his own affiliate, Ruination CrossFit. While looking for the perfect location, Gregrow and Yaffee trained exclusively in parks or at the beach.
“It was very classical CrossFit … lots of running, kettlebell swings and light barbell movements,” Yaffee says.
Now that Gregrow and Yaffee are settled into Ruination CrossFit, located in Aliso Viejo, Calif., they are ready to compete.
“I tend to do well at competitions,” Gregrow says. “I just go out, get my mindset in place, do well and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I’ve learned to just do my own thing and it will all play out on game day. Nobody trains to lose or take second place.”
“CrossFit is the only sport that doesn’t rely on natural talent for success,” Yaffee says. “With CrossFit, hard work pays off. If you have the mentality to work hard, you can overcome weaknesses and succeed.”