Jared Stevens wasn’t even willing to try CrossFit a couple of years ago. As a professional European football player, Stevens didn’t think “the new thing in fitness” could actually make him fitter.
Soon, a friend would change his opinion.
While he was in Europe playing football, Stevens tracked his friend, Jeremy Mhire’s progress through the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games season. Mhire’s performance at the North Central Regional that year caught his attention.
“I was so impressed with how jacked he had gotten,” Stevens admits. “I started implementing CrossFit-style workouts into what I was already doing for football. When I got back to the States, I asked Jeremy if I could help out around the gym for a membership, and he hooked me up.”
Mhire remembers it a little differently.
“As I remember it, Jared initially poo-pooed the idea of CrossFit until I spanked him in a WOD,” Mhire says.
Then, YouTube finished the job.
“He watched a bunch of YouTube videos of dudes half his size overhead squatting weight that he couldn't,” Mhire says.
After that, Stevens was ready to commit to CrossFit.
Over the last two years, Mhire and Stevens have been very busy. Stevens returned to the U.S. and opened an affiliate, CrossFit 417. Both men have also made appearances at the North Central Regional.
At this point, it’d hardly be the North Central Regional without Mhire. He has competed in every North Central Regional, taking 12th place last year.
While Stevens is new to the scene, he caught the attention of the crowds at his first Regional. Less than one year into consistent CrossFit training, he took sixth at the 2012 North Central Regional.
This year, they’re not training for Regionals — they’re training for the Games.
To increase their chances of making the cut, they’ve decided to become the Rich and Dan of the North Central. Rather than jumping on the new, hot programmer of the year, they’re teaming up as training partners and pushing each other.
Several times a week, they drive across town to train together. Luckily, their gyms are just 10 minutes apart.
They’ve got a dynamic that works.
“Every time we train together, it ends up being extremely nuclear,” Stevens jokes.
The results of the training duo are respectable.
Since the 2012 Regional, Stevens has stripped more than two minutes off his Diane time (5:37 to 3:06). His back squat and deadlift are currently at 500 lb., and his snatch is 265 lb. (20 lb. heavier than what he pulled in the Snatch Ladder at last year’s Regional).
Mhire has gotten PRs on Grace: 1:22, Fran: 2:13 and Jackie: 5:41. His deadlift has grown to 545 lb., and his snatch is 250 lb. (25 pounds heavier than 2012).
The two are very supportive of one another.
“In any sport, you've got to be able to make big plays when it matters most,” Mhire says. “Jared makes big plays happen.”
“Jeremy is a very good athlete,” Stevens says. “I am not just talking about CrossFit. He is a very good basketball and football player. I always say if he had bigger legs, he would go to the Games every year. I have never met someone who is so willing to suffer during every WOD. Jeremy is a professional at getting in the suck of a WOD and staying there.”
While Mhire and Stevens are optimistic about qualifying for the 2013 North Central Regional, they know it’s not going to be easy.
Mhire says, “Every year, the process of determining the Fittest on Earth has been refined. Every year, the road gets tougher and more competitive, as it should.”