When asked if there are any elements that make him stand out from the CrossFit crowd, Ken Greaves responds succinctly with “nope.” As an episodic Zone dieter and an athlete that has never strictly followed CrossFit training it might be easy to take Greaves at his word. At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, he might not look like a threat, but you’d be wrong to underestimate him.
His day job?
“I work for Academi on a contract with the U.S. Navy. I am the Naval Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations Mentor for Navy Recruiting District Dallas, Texas,” he says. “We prepare young men and women for careers as SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen, Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, Divers, and Air Rescue Swimmers. I am also still in the Navy Reserve.”
This 56-year-old Masters competitor is in his 27th year of service for the U.S. Navy and has been CrossFitting for the past six to seven years. He started competing in the Open last year, but could only complete one workout due to scheduling conflicts.
For an athlete whose one hope going into the competition is the same as many of the athletes’ nightmares –“hoping for a beach run and swim again” – he has definitely separated himself from the crowd as one to watch – not only for his physical toughness, but a mental fortitude that seems to accompany many of our military athletes. His CrossFit stats seem irrelevant to him. “I don't really care what I've done in the past – only about what I'm going to do.”
Greaves’ athleticism has guided him through life as in the past 37 years he has moved from college athletics, to triathlons, adventure racing, and now CrossFit. Why CrossFit?
“To test myself,” he says. “It's good for you to occasionally get a good kick in the nuts,” he says.
Preparing for Carson, Calif., Greaves has, for the most part, stuck to a routine of “weightlifting, running, calisthenics, a little swimming.”
But sometimes even the most seasoned veteran has to allow for change. While Greaves’ strengths are numerous, he is not without his weaknesses: cheeseburgers, chocolate chip cookies, Dr. Pepper, and Olympic weightlifting, he says.
“I have almost no background in Olympic lifts (pretty obvious if you look at my snatch workout performance), so I went to an old friend, Chris Mailand at Velocity Sports Performance in Coppell where I live, who is a great Oly coach,” he explains. “Brandon and Bevin Head, the owners at Grapevine CrossFit, have also helped me a lot.”
Outside of working this weakness, Greaves says his training has really stayed the same.
“I used to train pretty much seven days a week, now I try to take one day off per week. I do a better job now of prehab/rehab. In other words, foam rolling, icing, etc.,” he says. “I have a great chiropractor, Crystal Hankins at Reagan Chirosports in Dallas. Also, instead of just jumping right into a workout like I used to, I always do a pretty thorough warm-up before hitting it now.”
While getting away from some of the mistakes of youth, Greaves hasn’t lost his youthful attitude going into the Games and going up against some of the fittest men in the world. “I’m really impressed with my fellow ‘mature’ athletes,” he says. “I’m a big believer that aging is attitude.”
While age isn’t a factor for Greaves, there is no question of the mastery Greaves will bring to the CrossFit Games in July. He is coming to compete and you can be sure he is going to be a tenacious competitor.
Note: Greaves has informed us that due to his military service requirements, he may not be able to participate in the CrossFit Games.