“He’s serious about training. But Zach is silly and kind of a nerd.”
Zach Forrest has multiple titles: affiliate owner, head coach, Games athlete and King Geek.
Spiderman figurines and a large Iron Man bobblehead line Forrest’s desk. Textbooks on training fill the bookshelf.
But there are other revealing details: T-shirts from CrossFit affiliates clutter his office while a Navy SEAL hat and other military memorabilia hang on the walls.
“When you walk into this place, you realize this guy, he’s legit,” said Natalie Brainerd, CrossFit Max Effort trainer and office manager.
Brainerd said the items in Forrest’s office reflect the multiple sides to his personality.
“He’s serious about training,” she said. “But Zach is silly and kind of a nerd.”
When he’s not breaking out into random dances and shuffles during workouts, Forrest is focused and always looking to improve.
“You have to train the weaknesses and have a goal to attack them,” he said.
Forrest has overcome many perceived weaknesses, but a damaged rotator cuff recently left him sidelined. In November, he underwent shoulder surgery to repair the damage that was caused by years of throwing a baseball incorrectly.
In recovery, he’s limited to such movements as lunges, squats and box jumps. But he’s finding new ways to “attack.”
His three-month goal is to squat 405 lb. for a set of three reps, run a sub-5:30 mile, row 2 km in 6:50 and complete a 60-in. box jump.
He’s also competing in the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, although he has no expectations to qualify for regionals.
“It’s a rebuilding year,” he said. “I’m going to prep for 2015. I’m not trying to rush anything.”
“It made us better”
Forrest was first introduced to CrossFit eight years ago during training with the Navy SEALs.
“It didn’t bore me,” he said, “and it worked. There was no other way to gain the fitness I wanted to gain. I wanted to be capable of any physical task.”
Although he didn’t know what he was doing was called CrossFit, it made sense to him.
“It helped develop operational readiness,” he said. “It made the job easier and got us better. … It helped me be stronger.”
Forrest left the Navy in 2008 after serving six years.
He started taking classes with CrossFit Las Vegas, offering to substitute coach when other instructors couldn’t make it to class.
“I discovered I really enjoyed teaching,” he said.
In July 2011, Forrest opened his own CrossFit gym—CrossFit Max Effort—along with his wife, Lindsay. Their membership has steadily grown over the past three years with more than 330 members.
“He is a big picture guy, and I am a details person,” Lindsay said. “I help organize him and he helps me see the larger issues. He is never satisfied and always striving for better.”
Everybody is welcome at Max Effort, as long as they are willing to work hard.
“There’s no perfect program, but as long as you’re committed 100 percent to what you’re doing, you’ll have success,” Zach said. “The environment is almost more important than training. Environment is what breeds great athletes.”
He carries this mentality, and his personality, into his workouts.
“He’s the one driving this engine,” Brainerd said. “I’ve seen athletes who are quiet and want to get better who seek out Zach’s time. I see this fire lit in them.”
“He’s so humble,” she continued. “He doesn’t realize how awesome he is and how much people here look up to him.”
Others echo that sentiment.
“He is probably one of the most humble people I know,” Lindsay said. “Maybe to a fault. He beat himself up pretty bad last year when he took third at Regionals, knocking (Chris Spealler) out of the Games. It wasn't about, ‘Yay! I won! Look at me!’ It was, ‘Chris doesn't get to go, and it won't be the same without him there.’”
Lindsay said this is what members take to heart, and what they try to cultivate inside the box.
“This isn’t come to social hour, although we do have fun,” Zach said. “As long as you’re giving me your max effort, I’m happy.”