After a 40th place finish at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, Jeremy Kinnick has something to prove this year.
“I felt like last year, I didn’t get to show what kind of athlete I was,” Kinnick says. “I feel like 40th place wasn’t a good representation of how fit I was. What I’m expecting for myself is a top 10 finish this year.”
The Games veteran, who placed third at this year’s Southern California Regional, says his head wasn’t in the competition in 2011 — his wife had just given birth to their youngest son two days prior. “It was super stressful and I just wanted to be there with my wife and son,” Kinnick says. “I had eaten fast food the night before because I was stuck at the hospital. It was not ideal.”
Since then, Kinnick has been training with a vengeance. He partnered up with a full-time coach — Brian Mackenzie of CrossFit Endurance — and has spent the year tackling his weaknesses.
“I was hesitant at first because I had always programmed for myself and did my own thing,” Kinnick says. “But it wasn’t working for me so I went with Brian. He turned me into a completely different athlete.”
Kinnick, who mostly trains solo, follows Mackenzie’s programming religiously via email and it shows.
“It has been a total game changer,” he explains. “Brian’s programming has gotten rid of all of my main weaknesses. There is no movement that gives me the, ‘Oh crap’ feeling where it used to be running, rowing, handstand push-ups, burpees and I was just screwed.”
Kinnick, who placed sixth in this year’s Open, says he didn’t kill himself to get to the top of the Leaderboard.
“All I cared about was qualifying for Regionals and training through it, not setting aside five weeks to smash the workouts,” he says.
At Regionals, Kinnick was anxious to see if his hard work would win him another shot at the Games.
“The competition this year was a lot tougher,” he says.
The Regional kicked off with one of Kinnick’s major weaknesses: Diane’s handstand push-ups. But he PR’d his Diane time with a respectable 3:14, putting him in 12th place.
Over the next two days, Kinnick crept up the Leaderboard and ended up in third place going into the final day with Ryan Fischer of CrossFit Mean Streets close behind. While Fischer finished second place in the final event, Kinnick held tightly to his ticket to redemption — another go at the Games.
Kinnick started CrossFitting in his garage back in 2007, one year before the first Games in Aromas, Calif. The start of his CrossFit journey was a life transformation for Kinnick, who worked a desk job and rarely exercised. “I was drinking a lot of white chocolate mochas, eating nasty food [and] sitting behind a desk,” he says.
At the time, Kinnick (now a lean 185 pounds) weighed 235 pounds with 30 percent body fat. “It was pretty gnarly,” he says. “I played sports growing up and in college, but before CrossFit it had been seven years.”
Everything changed when he and some friends watched the movie “300.”
“We wondered if guys really looked like that,” says Kinnick.
He and his friends searched online and found the genius behind the famously ripped bodies was ultimately CrossFit-type movements. “When we found CrossFit, it was such a challenge for me to change everything.”
But change he did. “My life and body just transformed after that,” Kinnick says.
In 2008, he trekked to Aromas with his brother and some friends on a whim to compete in the Games. “It was tough. Spealler was there, Khalipa’s big debut and all these big names who just crushed everything and I got dominated,” Kinnick says.
Humbled, he decided to get serious about the sport.
He qualified for the 2009 Games and took 29th overall. “I was pretty happy with that, especially starting where I did,” he says. “But my weakness was strength. So I spent a lot of time working on getting stronger in 2010.”
He then realized he spent too much time on it. “My endurance and stamina suffered,” he says. “I did the whole gallon of milk a day, or GOMAD. I blame that for not making it to the Games in 2010. I was too slow, too heavy.”
Kinnick now focuses solely on being a well-rounded CrossFitter. He admits his road to the Games has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. But he remains steadfast.
Since the Southern California Regional, Kinnick says the volume of his training has beefed up and he’s focused on recovery.
“I’m just trying to make sure everything is perfect — my eating, my hydration, my sleep,” he says. “Trying to hit stuff as hard as I can. I’m all or nothing. I don’t go half-ass.”