With a 286.6-lb. snatch and 352.7-lb. clean and jerk, he became the Junior and Adult National Champion in 2011.
Most 20-somethings are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Marcelo Bruno, 21, is an exception.
Bruno knows exactly what he wants: a spot on the podium at the 2014 Latin America Regional.
With a 1:42 Grace, 1:40 Isabel, 3:22 Amanda, 572-lb. back squat, 308-lb. snatch and 363-lb. clean and jerk, Bruno believes this is his year to shine.
Last year, his season was cut short by a time-zone miscalculation. He thought he was in the clear for the 5 p.m. PT due date for 13.1, and tried to submit his score too late. Despite that setback, he is confident the same strengths that made him achieve 171 reps in 13.1 (which would of placed him second in the region) will carry over for 2014.
While this will be his first official CrossFit Games season, Bruno is no stranger to competition. The Concepción, Chile, native has been involved in everything from gymnastics to swimming, capoeira, judo, taekwondo and weightlifting. Olympic weightlifting has been his main focus since 2008, when he was 14 years old.
His brother’s friend, Jorge Igor, was the Pan American Champion at the time in the 170-lb. division, and took Bruno under his wing. He and another big name from the federation, Jaime Iturra, got him to train with Daniel Camousseight at the Regional Training Center where Chilean weightlifters train with hopes to make the national selection.
During his high school years, Bruno was training about four hours a day, sometimes cutting the school day short, or even skipping school altogether.
“I always had trouble with this, but the passion for my sport was too big,” he said.
“My first training years were dedicated exclusively to technique work, to build a solid base, but at 18 years old, I was snatching 264.5 lb., (and) had a 330.6-lb. clean and jerk.”
Then, with a 286.6-lb. snatch and 352.7-lb. clean and jerk, he became both the Junior and Adult National Champion in 2011. Bruno moved to Santiago, Chile, that same year, a few months after graduating from high school and qualifying for the Chilean National Weightlifting team.
Bruno discovered CrossFit when teammates started incorporating CrossFit workouts into his training sessions.
“They told me it was something called CrossFit—with lots of different high-intensity exercise and weightlifting movements,” Bruno said. “I was instantly intrigued and wanted to learn more.”
Four months later, Bruno tried his first CrossFit workout: heavy, hang Grace.
“CrossFit was what I had been looking for all of my life,” he said. “While I was on the weightlifting team, I would go on weekends to train gymnastics with my brother and his friends. They were always impressed with my skills despite my bigger build and higher weight. CrossFit just put together everything I liked.”
Less than a year after he started incorporating CrossFit into his training, he started working as the weightlifting coach at Brigada CrossFit. In December of 2012, Bruno opened the doors to his own facility.
“Having my own gym and coaching others to greatness also inspires me to work as hard as I work them,” Bruno said. “These experiences help me focus on the road ahead.”
Over time, he noticed the generalist training was paying off.
“Many of my PRs have increased thanks to CrossFit,” he said. “I have managed a 330-lb. push press, 341-lb. power clean—all lifts that I wasn’t able to do when I was strictly a weightlifter.”
Lately, his main focus is not lifting heavier, but instead improving his cardiovascular capacity.
“My main weakness right now could be my endurance,” he said. “Gymnastics has never been an issue since I had a foundation in it back when I was young. In fact, gymnastics could be considered a strength. I can do 24 unbroken muscle-ups, and 32 unbroken handstand push-ups.”
Bruno aims for two to three workouts per day, alternating weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning.
When possible, he takes running lessons with track coach Jorge Grosser, a well-known Chilean athlete from the 1950s, and works on his mobility with physical therapist and Alliance CrossFit co-owner Nicolas Spencer.
"I try to nourish my learning from all of the coaches that I can, because there is always someone who knows more than you and they can advise you on how to get better,” Bruno said.
Despite all his physical training, Bruno says his greatest strength is his mind.
"I’m very hungry to accomplish things, and my mental strength is what allows me to do what I set out to do,” he said. “There is a phrase that says, ‘The sky is the limit.’ I think there are no limits in CrossFit. I could get as far as my head resolves.”
For now, his mind is set on challenging Orlando Trejo, Joel Bran and Giancarlo Vera to the title of fittest man in Latin America.
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