It is not often that you hear the word "fun" used to describe CrossFit, but for Drew Canavero, injecting a little amusement into his workouts, and the competitions at large, is necessary.
“For me it’s a mechanism to [not only] stay entirely focused, but also have a good time," notes the athlete from Nevada's CrossFit Ocean View, who elicited more than a few chuckles last year when he took to the mat in a bright pink tank top.
"If I'm overexcited or too tense, I don't perform as well,” he says. “So, it's kind of a way to center myself, level the playing field, and have fun with it."
Canavero was introduced to the CrossFit scene in 2007 while enrolled at the University of Nevada-Reno. He was a member of the Wolf Pack’s rugby team, and the owner of CrossFit Reno would visit practice and give instruction to the squad on basic exercises. From there, Canavero began doing morning workouts at a gym and his ascension in the sport grew from there.
The 25-year-old won the Utah Sectional in 2010, which qualified him for the Regional that year. The following year, Canavero again made it to Regionals after a 15th place finish at the Open. He managed to crack the top 10 in 2011 with a 7th place finish, despite fading on the last day of competition.
Still, with back-to-back Regional appearances under his belt, Canavero believes he has learned from his past competitions and developed the right strategy to improve upon his numbers from last year, and to make a major push come May.
“Last year I came really, really close, exceeded expectations ... this year in 2012, I would make a real concerted dedicated push to make it to the Games,” said Canavero, noting that he feels "more prepared this year" than he has in the past.
Since proficiencies are required in 10 general skill sets, CrossFit athletes often choose to identify and hone in on their weaknesses as they prepare for the games. For Canavero, that meant focusing on his aerobic exercises and his overall conditioning, two things that he admits limited him on the third day of last year's Regional.
“My emphasis and focus is shifting more towards movement quality,” Canavero says, but adds that the plan is to “shift gears in March when I’ll start really focusing more on traditional stuff."
The changes that Canavero has made in his preparations for the 2012 season are not limited to just workouts. He has also made changes to his diet, going with an 80 percent Paleo prescription plan and implementing a fasting schedule, which he says has dramatically changed his body composition, making him leaner and lighter.
Improvements, he hopes, will have him peaking at just the right time.
"I know I belong on that stage. It’s one of those things where there’s a lot of steps between here and there," Canavero says of his expectations for the upcoming season. Despite his goal to make it to the 2012 CrossFit Games, he will always have fun, first and foremost. “I’m really making an effort to not burn myself with a lot of unnecessary pressure and expectations.”