The country of Ecuador can be considered for CrossFit in Central and South America what the state of California meant for the rise and growth of CrossFit in the United States.
Ecuador is the only country in the region with more than 11 affiliates and rising. Nine of those are in the city of Guayaquil alone. It was an evident trend that developed in Ecuador and has been a major factor that has elevated CrossFit growth in the region. The Ecuador CrossFit movement originated at CrossFit Guayaquil. The man in charge: Carlos Andrade.
Andrade’s grandfather owned a globo gym by the name of Corpus about 20 years ago, later the gym was run by his parents. When talking to any of the Andrades, it is evident that the gym was a landmark for them and the epicenter of the family´s life and development. Most of the Andrade family members are or have been athletes of many disciplines and of important ranking in the country and in past Pan-American Games.
As a true test of fitness, the founding grandfather still swims everyday and can perform pull-ups with ease. The old globo gym facility became a CrossFit affiliate back in 2008 after Andrade coerced and convinced his family of the CrossFit methodology, and the rest is history.
Although the CrossFit Guayaquil team is selected on the basis of the individuals’ performance, they pride themselves in the fact that family members have composed CrossFit Guayaquil team in its majority, even though they currently have between 500 to 600 members going through their facility per month to choose from.
Even more interesting is the fact that they have a tradition where the highest ranked athletes in the Open go team, instead of individual. We can assume that this tradition began with the fact that Carlos Andrade was the first Regional winner in 2009 Latin America Regional and the pillar of the team in 2011. They opted out of the 2010 team competition due to a lot of growth and restructuring, but competed with an extremely strong team in the 2011 Regional and missed the ticket to the Games by only one point. “The girls struggled with the muscle-ups, and we made a small mistake when changing bumper plates from male to female in the deadlift/box-jump workout that caused us time and reps,” Andrade says.
They finished 3rd place in the box jump/deadlift workout, took 2nd place in the run/hspu/row workout and came in 1st place in the other four workouts.
Carlos Andrade, 37, (32nd in the Open), his wife Carola, 34, (18th in the Open), 43-year-old retired professional swimmer Aunt Zaira (14th in the Open) and Zaira´s son Jose “Pepe” Over (4th in the Open), make up the family members who are on the 2012 team roster. They are accompanied by Priscila Careres, a Karate black belt and GianCarlo Vera.
The team trains together at least every Friday, but this is not something new in the season. Fridays at CrossFit Guayaquil are always a team workout day. The team also has recently been practicing regularly with an Olympic Lifting coach, and they guarantee that for the year 2013 they will have practiced regularly with a gymnastics coach as well.
Andrade believes the only weaknesses the team might have is the fact that the older athletes in the roster are well … older. With that come injuries stemming from their athletic past. “We will have to work around those injuries, but it happens to all of us,” he says. “No workout will be simple, and doing these met-cons quick, especially in a Regional competitive setting and programming will be reserved only for the young ones, but there are several workouts that hopefully may play to my advantages like Workouts 1 and 4.”
Andrade admits he has been competing for many years and will most definitely be seen in the CrossFit Masters categories when he’s older.
The CrossFit Guayaquil 2012 Regional Team is coming full force this year to try and earn that trip to the Games they barely won last year. They are prepared to leave it all, but most important they will be certain not to lose the real perspective: joy.
Even the majority of volunteers in Cali, Colombia will be those who did not qualify and/or compete in the Open traveling from CrossFit Guayaquil. “We define ourselves as a pack of hounds. We suffer together, we travel together,” he says. “For us, CrossFit is serious business, and the podium will be a consequence of our effort; a responsibility. But we are also going as a festive group, we are going to have fun, and we are ready to enjoy. Attitude is the most important requirement to have a good time. The rest is circumstantial.”