"I am most looking forward to going to seeing some of the athletes from our gym who have never done anything like this before exceed."
Although Jason Bird may be best known for coaching former Games competitor Jason Cain, the 43-year-old has experienced his own share of success as an athlete.
The coach-athlete duo both competed at the CrossFit Games — Bird in 2009 and Cain in 2011 — and now share the connection of top finishes in the Open.
While Bird narrowly missed qualifying for the Games in his Masters Division, he will be competing at the Canada East Regional with his team at CrossFit Connection in Burlington, Ontario.
“I think I find coaching to be more stressful than competing, as you feel like you are out there with them, but you have no outlet for all that stress and anxiety,” Bird says.
Bird has been at this for a while. Since he first found CrossFit online just more than six years ago, he has competed as both an individual and as part of the CrossFit Connection team at various events.
His first competition was the 2009 Regional Qualifier in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which he won, qualifying for the last CrossFit Games in Aromas, Calif. Last year, he qualified for the Canada East Regional as an individual at age of 42, but opted to compete with his team, which finished sixth.
This year, Bird placed 26th worldwide in the Open (Masters 40-44). What’s more, he completed the Open workouts while moving his gym into a new facility.
“I was happy with how it went considering I spent the whole time, and then some, building our new gym and trying to still help out at the old location,” he says.
“I was putting in about 70 hours a week and just doing the bare minimum training.”
Bird says he’s looking forward to going to Regionals with his CrossFit Connection team as an alternate to give “some others who have never been to Regionals a chance to experience it.”
“I am most looking forward to seeing some of the athletes from our gym who have never done anything like this before exceed,” he says. “There will no doubt be lots of failures, but from those failures are what future successes are built upon.”
Like Bird, Cain is also headed to Regionals with his affiliate team, CrossFit 306 based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Although Cain has moved to the Canada West Region and is no longer a member at CrossFit Connection, he still keeps what he learned from Bird close to heart.
“(Bird) has been by far my most influential person in CrossFit. The program that I use today at my gym at 306 is largely based on what I learned from him,” Cain says. “He has an incredible work ethic, not only in his (workouts), but in his life. You can stop in anytime at Connection and you can find him working at improving the place … it’s inspiring.”
As he prepares for Regionals and gets settled in his new gym, Bird continues to enjoy the benefits of coaching and competing. His favorite part?
“Just hanging out with the awesome friends within this great community.”