Former Pro Baseball Player Qualifies for the Games

Published on Sun, 2013-07-07 14:00
Candice Case

"On Day 2 of Regionals, we were doing well and realized, ‘This is actually happening. We’ve got a shot at this, and we could make it to the Games.’”

Gary Helmick competed at the 2013 Mid Atlantic Regional for the first time.

Now, he’s going to the Games.

Helmick is not only new to Regional competition; he’s also relatively new to CrossFit. After playing several seasons of minor league baseball with the Baltimore Orioles organization, Helmick was looking for a change in 2011. A family friend had introduced him to CrossFit several months earlier and it was then, at this crossroads in his life, Helmick walked away from baseball with no regrets. 

“I was in Spring Training with the Orioles in 2011,” he recalls. “I was getting married in the fall that year. All of my friends were in moving up in their jobs. I wasn’t progressing as I wanted to in baseball and I wanted to move on.”

Prior to opening his own affiliate, CrossFit ReVamped in Columbia, Md., Helmick spent six months training in his garage and watching videos to learn Olympic lifting movements. He sometimes used the CrossFit main site workouts or looked at other affiliates’ daily programming, but he was primarily developing his own training programs. 

“During this time, I really fell in love with programming,” he says. “I still pull some ideas from the main site, but 80 percent of my workouts for me and Alea (his wife) are ones I’ve created.”

Alea also competed at the Mid Atlantic Regional for the first time this year. Gary’s programming yielded positive results, as both he and Alea entered Regionals in fifth place from the Open. Alea finished in fourth place, just two points behind the third-place finisher, Michelle Crawford.

Gary earned second place on the podium and described the experience as “surreal.”

“We were training like crazy and were ready for Regionals,” he says. “On Day 2 of Regionals, we were doing well and realized, ‘This is actually happening. We’ve got a shot at this, and we could make it to the Games.’”

Gary’s training and experience in professional baseball served him well at the Regional level.

“Baseball is such a mental game. It’s not physically taxing or technical like CrossFit. The mental training from baseball really helped me at Regionals,” he explains. “I was able to control my emotions and deal with the pressure.”

As he prepares for the Games, Gary says he’s grateful for the support of his CrossFit ReVamped community and wants “to be able to give back to them” in the way he knows how — by giving his best.

“At the Games, I want to perform at my highest level and to the best of my abilities. That’s what I did at Regionals and it worked for me."


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