"To be 100 percent honest, I wanted a girlfriend. I never talked to girls, period. I had no confidence and never had a date or a girlfriend."
Early last year, 23-year-old Andrew Rape, owner and head coach of CrossFit Trussville, was among the thousands of CrossFitters worldwide competing in the Open.
When he found himself in the top 100 in the South East, he realized Regionals could actually become a reality for him. Rape’s 34th place finish in his region in the Open guaranteed his trip to Regionals where he came onto the scene relatively unknown. He gave an impressive performance at Regionals finishing in 13th place.
This year, he wants to improve.
Before CrossFit, Rape never considered himself an athlete.
“I played team sports in middle school and high school, but it was because I enjoyed participating and competing, not because I was good or got to play,” he says. “I actually never got in. I couldn't pin my opponent, I couldn't hit the ball and I couldn't stand up to the defensive linemen who were coming at me. So I quit every sport I ever began except football.”
During Rape’s sophomore year in high school, he decided to begin working out and taking his fitness more seriously.
“To be 100 percent honest, I wanted a girlfriend,” he says. “I never talked to girls, period. I had no confidence and never had a date or a girlfriend.”
After ditching his diet of pop tarts and Mountain Dew, losing 30 pounds and getting much stronger, Rape realized he had the potential to actually play sports and enjoy them rather than just watch his friends on the field. He also finally got the courage to engage in conversation with the opposite sex.
Then Rape found CrossFit.
“A friend actually tried to ‘one up’ me as he continually told me that what I was doing (High Intensity Interval Training) wasn't nearly as difficult as this thing he found on the Internet called CrossFit,” Rape recalls. “I wasn't impressed when I looked at the website and saw that I would be in the gym for way less time than what I was currently spending. After about two weeks of putting it off and neglecting my friend's challenge, I reluctantly agreed to try my first CrossFit workout to disprove his continual challenging.”
His first workout was Fran and he finished in 18:42. That wasn’t convincing enough, though. His second workout was Murph.
“After about three hours of the world’s worst squats, push-ups and pull-ups, I was hooked,” he says. “And ever since then, CrossFit has given me the mental and physical edge to play, and do well, in sports.“
In the past year, Rape has been proving himself over and over again at local CrossFit competitions consistently finishing in the top three. His Fran time now is 2:15.
Rape says mental toughness is a very important part of his training, and having someone to push him harder helps him dig in and give just a little more.
“I always try to push myself to my limits, but I push myself so much harder when I am working side-by-side with someone. I know that the person next to me is giving it his all, so I have to do the same,” he explains. “I may want to stop for a second, but I see he isn’t stopping, so I know I can’t. I know I just need to go as hard as I can and try and one up him. Of course he is doing the same thing.”
In preparing for this year’s Regionals, Rape has focused on lifting heavy.
“I have gone heavier — so much heavier. I have really focused on developing my strength and getting stronger.”
With the Open just around the corner, his workouts are aimed toward bodyweight movements, hybrids and programming more workouts that require you to push through.
”I am doing more hybrids that require me to go as hard as I can, rest for just enough time that it really doesn’t help, and then go hard again. For example, doing Fran immediately followed by Grace with a five-minute cap,” he says. “I know that I have to be fast for the Open and strong for Regionals, so there has to be a balance in my training.”
His goals for 2013 are honest and humble.
“I am a realist. I mean, my goal is absolutely to make it to the Games. I know that this is a highly competitive sport, but my goal is to go as high as I can and have fun with it,” Rape says. “More importantly though, I want to encourage my other athletes to go (to Regionals). That is actually more fulfilling to me. To see my athletes push themselves to do their very best.”