Josh Wagner might be pouring more of his heart and soul into his three jobs – high school teacher, CrossFit trainer, dad – as he is into his training these days, but he is still the fierce competitor who reached the CrossFit Games in 2008 and 2009 as an individual.
He’s still the elite athlete who took 8th at 2011 Mid Atlantic Regional and 2nd in Again Faster’s “Beat The Team” online competition last year.
Wagner just has a different perspective on this sport, and his role in it. At 30, he’s a CrossFit veteran. Greg Glassman spoke at his Level 1 Seminar – that’s how far he goes back, with what you might call old-school standards and ideals. He wants to impart them to the next generation, even if it means easing away from the spotlight himself.
Back to the Games
“It’s a hard mentality and I go through spurts where I’m like, ‘Yeah, I want to go back to the Games,’” Wagner says.
Wagner owns and runs CrossFit Apex in Telford, Pa., with his wife Tanya, who won the Games in 2009.
Tanya gave birth to the couple’s first child, A.J., in 2011, and in the past year, CrossFit Apex has steadily grown to the point where there’s a waiting list for membership. Meanwhile, he holds on to his full-time job as a health and physical education teacher at Souderton High School.
He tries to maintain a three on, one off training schedule. But sometimes, he has to work out in his home garage gym at 10 or 11 p.m. due to his packed schedule and other responsibilities.
Good and Bad Weeks
“I always want to go back to the Games, hands down,” he says. “But then I have to realistically look at things and be like, ‘Am I able to do this,’ because of where I’m at right now. I don’t think I can, but sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit with certain things that I can do. I feel like I can compete and do really well, I just don’t know. I have really good weeks, and I have really bad weeks. This a professional sport now.”
But like a true competitor, the desire to compete is hard to overcome. “I’m not going to lie. It gets really tough to balance that with having a full-time job and CrossFit blowing up and doing really well,” he admits. “I feel like I have been put on this Earth to be a teacher. I really do, and whether it’s teaching at school or whether it’s teaching CrossFit, I feel like that’s a huge thing I can help people with.”
Wagner feels that way because he’s seen the evidence, both at Apex and in his classroom, where he makes use of CrossFit movements every day. His high school students have gotten attached to CrossFit training. Wagner has even set up a website just for his students with nutrition information, general class information and a Leaderboard. “They live for that stuff,” he says.
Wagner also tries to teach his pupils life standards, in addition to movement standards.
“It’s the coolest thing ever, because CrossFit does more than just make you fit,” he says. “It teaches you about integrity.”
Wagner, who is currently sitting in 6th place after three weeks of the Open, will always put teaching first and competition second. No matter what he achieves as an individual athlete, he’s certain the 2012 Games season will make for a really great lesson plan.
“It’s been a huge addition, being good at what I can teach, because then people will look up to you even more,” he says. “So I’ll never be disappointed with what I’ve done and my accomplishments and what I have. I have a son, and I’m so excited about having a kid now, that I can actually teach to my own blood about passion and working hard toward something and things you can achieve.
“So I’m going to go out and give it 100 percent, everything I’ve got.”