"I'm confident that I'll I'll do well at regionals so that's really not a concern for me. I want to do better at the Games level," Rob Forte said.
Three-time CrossFit Games competitor and reigning Australia Regional champion, Rob Forte is the only non-American man in the top 10 worldwide overall after Week 4 of the 2014 Open.
Heading into 14.5, Forte sits comfortably at the top of the Australia Leaderboard and is on track for another regional appearance in May. But the 27-year-old has his eyes on a bigger prize in 2014.
“Since the last CrossFit Games I’ve been preparing for the Games again,” he said.
“I’m confident that I’ll do well at regionals so that’s really not a concern for me. I want to do better at the Games level,” he added.
While many athletes prepare differently for each level of the season, Forte has his eyes set firmly on the final stage.
“I haven’t prepared for the Open and I haven’t changed my preparation for the regionals,” Forte said. “I’ve prepared for the Games.”
In previous years, however, Forte has struggled on the big stage and is yet to reach his full potential at the Games, finishing outside the top 30 on all three occasions.
Should everything go according to plan, the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games would be his fourth appearance in a row at Carson, Calif. He said he’s learned from past experiences.
“My first year, it was only my second regionals, I hadn’t been doing CrossFit that long so my strength numbers weren’t that good and I placed 30th,” he said. “Second year, mentally I just wasn’t there and I placed 35th … Then last year, I was good mentally, but had a few bad workouts in areas that I have weaknesses.”
“There were three specific workouts—the ZigZag Sprint, the 2-k row and the Clean and Jerk Ladder—which are my weaknesses and I got left behind on those events,” Forte said.
While Forte ended up finishing 33rd overall at last year’s Games, he did score two top-10 finishes, including sixth place on the Burden Run.
“I can do the work, but it needs to be done quicker and I need my body to hold up,” he said.
So far, Forte’s preparation has consisted of a single two- to three-hour training session per day, but he plans on stepping it up once the Open is finished.
“I’ll increase the volume over the next few months and do extra sessions leading up to the Games,” he said.
Compared to the Games, Forte finds the volume of regionals relatively easy.
“The regional isn’t too hard in terms of volume,” he said. “It’s two workouts a day over three days, which is not much compared to the Games.”
At this stage, Forte’s training regimen has served him well, with a third-place finish worldwide on Open Workout 14.4 with a score of 263.
“Initially, going into it, I wasn’t sure how the muscle-ups would feel. Watching Scott Panchik and Josh Bridges in the announcement, they made the muscle-ups look hard,” Forte said.
“I felt pretty fresh by the time I got to them, not gassed at all and got off the first round with plenty of time left,” he said. “I only found the workout got hard when I got into the second round.”
Forte was one of only four men in the world to complete a rep in the second round of toes-to-bars, getting through three reps before the 14-minute time limit.
He said he believes his conditioning played a huge part.
“My muscle-ups aren’t necessarily great, but my conditioning is,” he said.
“I wasn’t working at 100 percent, but at 85 percent, and I rowed quicker on the second row because I had something in the tank,” Forte added.
It was a workout he thoroughly enjoyed.
“We haven’t seen something like that before with a few different movements,” he said. “It was pure CrossFit.”
In addition to his training, Forte has also taken on the responsibility of programming for a few athletes this year.
Some of the bigger names he’s now looking after include 11th-place finisher at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Amy Dracup, and masters competitor Matt Swift who sits in ninth place worldwide in the Masters 45-49 Division heading into 14.5.
“I don’t get that personal with the other athletes I program for, but I give these two feedback daily,” Forte said.
“We post scores daily and it gives us athletes a higher level to compare ourselves to. It reminds us all what we should be doing and gives us someone to be held accountable to,” he said.
Every year, Forte said he finds his style of training changes.
“We’re probably doing more work every year,” he said. “The volume increases as I feel I can handle it without leading to injury.”
“It’s hard to figure out the best way to train, and it’s always changing and evolving because the sport is so new,” he added.
With one workout remaining in the 2014 Open, there is plenty of speculation about what CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro will announce at 5 p.m. PT, Thursday, March 27.
“The obvious thing is thrusters and burpees,” Forte said. “It’s so obvious that Dave won’t do it … We might see handstand push-ups as a new movement as they’re not hard to judge.”