"I have gone into every Regional competition with the expectation to win; that hasn't changed. My life has changed in many other ways, but CrossFit has remained a constant."
Bryan Diaz has lived up to his reputation as the dark horse. After starting slow in the first two workouts of the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, Diaz killed Workout 12.3 and moved up to 10th place on the South Central Leaderboard.
For the past couple of years, Diaz went to Regionals expecting to qualify for the Games. He entered the 2012 competition season with the same mindset, and while he has faced some obstacles, they don’t seem to be slowing him down.
“I have gone into each Regional competition with the expectation to win; that hasn’t changed,” he says.” My life has changed in many other ways, but CrossFit has remained a constant.”
Diaz has improved his standings yearly. He went from 12th at the 2010 South Central Regional to 7th in 2011 by addressing the flaws in his game discovered through competition. The experience hasn’t always been pleasant. “[The 2011 South Central] Regionals was one of the roughest tests I’ve experienced in CrossFit,” he recalls. “From over 100 degrees ground temperature to blazing bars, there were plenty of obstacles to overcome.
“But everyone there was in that same position. And to be honest, I was comforted in that and noticed plenty of camaraderie and sportsmanship among our group. Unfortunately, those three days determined it wasn’t my time. With my hands shredded and blistered, I realized that I had no regrets, just another lesson learned from that experience.”
Diaz has not allowed last year’s lessons to go unheeded. Specifically, he noticed high rep workouts and long time domains were a weakness. By day, a financial analyst and by night, a coach at Bayou City CrossFit, Diaz crunched the numbers and altered his programming to address those faults.
He also enlisted one of his CrossFit mentors, Brian Mackenzie, for programming assistance. “Having a coach specifically to make sure all domains are being worked on has been the best benefit,” he says.
After coming so close to qualification for the Games, Diaz hopes to make it through on the third attempt. “Mentality is everything now. Endurance is my focus … the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process,” he says.
Diaz is used to taking on opponents. He played football at Trinity University and at 5’9” and 192 pounds, he learned to be explosive as a defensive lineman, encountering opponents that weighed over 100 pounds more than he did. That competitive mentality will come in handy when he goes up against some of the fittest men in the South Central Region in April.
“I’ve competed in sports my entire life, so competition within this community was a perfect fit,” he says. “It’s the sense of direction and training that are equally as important. That, and the struggle to achieve, helps to define me.”
Finding focus, endurance and belief is more than an individual discovery for Bryan. His community at Bayou City CrossFit is never far from his mind. “It’s more about showing the masses that their capacity to achieve is often greater than what they perceive it to be. It’s exciting to see physical changes for our members, but it’s even more uplifting to see when their mentality transitions to one of a believer in themselves.”
Diaz proves it takes more than just the individual to succeed; it’s the community, the mental strength and the adaptability that make an elite athlete.
Fight Gone Bad: 409
400m Run: 0:57
Max Clean and Jerk: 301 pounds
Max Snatch: 235 pounds
Max Back Squat: 435 pounds
Max Front Squat: 345 pounds
Max Deadlift: 515 pounds
Max Overhead Squat: 300 pounds