In the intimidating field of Northern California, not everyone knows Zack Height. They don’t know him yet, but they should. Height, from CrossFit 209 Sport, competed in the 2011 CrossFit Regional, and he will be back again this year, stronger, bigger, and even more determined.
The competition was tough for Height last year and the memory of the 315-pound deadlift/box jump workout isn’t a fond one for him. That was the heaviest weight he could have imagined picking up in a workout, and he readily admits watching the video is painful. If one of his clients was picking up the weight like he did in that workout, he’d probably “scream at him to put the bar down.”
It’s exactly this type of intense, heavy workout that motivated Height to train harder and smarter than ever for this year’s season.
He finished the competition last year with the clear realization he could really do this thing, this competitive CrossFit. He isn’t as big as many of the NorCal men, but he is just as committed to CrossFit and determined to compete well.
Last year he saw he was well rounded enough as an athlete to hang out with the top guys on the competitive field. “These guys on the Internet seemed so far out of reach, so much stronger than me,” he says. “They are stronger than me, but I’m well-rounded enough to hang out.”
Coming into this year’s Regional, he is driven by the realization that he is in the mix, he will go out there and give each workout his all, and he aims to be right on par with the elite.
Height knows he isn’t the strongest, so he was determined to make every aspect of his training smarter. He knew he had to make some significant strength gains for this year, and even though he stubbornly started out with the goal to become stronger and gain no weight, he quickly realized that he was just going to have to eat a lot. Height rarely cheats, so he has significantly upped his intake of those meats, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, and even though he resisted the notion of gaining weight at first, Height has no doubt it has paid off.
Knowing strength training would also be key to being prepared for this year’s competition, much of Height’s training this year has been with competitor Gabe Subry, also of CrossFit 209 Sport. Specific strength training has been a priority with some Wendler-style squat work, bench pressing, and some Blair Morrison style “every minute on the minute” heavy lifting work. All of this has resulted in significant gains in both his one-rep strength and his lifting endurance. He has also spent time on running, with plenty of interval training from CrossFit Endurance, and gymnastic work of all kinds.
There is no mistaking that Height is used to hard work. He started CrossFitting in 2009, right after completing a cross-country bike ride. Over 56 days, Height rode from San Francisco to North Carolina, and there was a big celebration with family planned for his arrival at the Atlantic coast. As if riding across country wasn’t hard enough, he arrived one day early. There were no rest days for him on that trek.
Past experiences like that have taught Height the importance of working hard to achieve the goal and to simply do the best that he can. And this is how Height will come into the Regionals this year – stronger, trained, and quietly determined to do his absolute best. He knows that the old adage of “doing the best you can” is the perfect prescription for CrossFit.