"Why would you go individual to 'try,' if you know you have a strong team that can do real well?" Armand asks.
It is not unusual to find two outstanding CrossFitters at the same box. It’s a little less common to find two in the top 30 in their region. Meet Armand and Sarah McCormick of CrossFit Kilo. Married for three years with a 6-month-old son, these two athletes are focused and know what they want – to compete as a team for the 2012 North Central Regional.
“Sarah wanted to go team the whole time, but I was going back and forth,” Armand says. “But we have a really legit team with several qualifiers, so I thought, ‘Why not?’”
Legit is right. Team CrossFit Kilo placed 10th in the region and also includes 46th place, Jessica Wass. “We have some pretty tough athletes at Kilo, for being a small community,” he says. “I think the town of Cedar Falls is around 30,000.”
Armand and Sarah are not strangers to competition. Armand finished 3rd in the 2011 North Central Regional and 23rd in the 2011 Games. Sarah is a former Division I track athlete for the University of Northern Iowa. In this year’s Open, Armand finished 29th and Sarah 22nd in North Central.
With the opportunity to compete individually, why did these two top 30 athletes decide to go team?
“Some people out there talk shit about individual athletes going team. In all reality, team competition is going to continue to get more competitive because of the amount of excellent athletes that are competing on teams,” Armand explains.
“Most athletes know if they have enough talent to do well at the big show. In our opinion, why would you go individual to ‘try,’ if you know you have a strong team that can do real well? It can’t be a pride thing. For me it has to be about the athletes that are competing and even more so about the members at my gym who are supporting us and CrossFit in general.”
The McCormicks already make a good team, running several successful businesses together. “I run my sports program, XL Sports Acceleration,” he says. “Then we also run the affiliate, CrossFit Kilo. We have a partnership with another box, CrossFit 2.2, in Cedar Rapids. It started in January. CrossFit 2.2 is based on the same principals, philosophies and programming that we do here at Kilo. Cedar Rapids is a much bigger town, so it will probably be a lot bigger than Kilo in membership.”
Programming and preparing the athletes on Team CrossFit Kilo falls mostly on Armand, who is dialed in on the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates. They are working on specific improvements for each member, although the females are focused on honing their gymnastics movements and the men are tightening up their lifts.
Armand says the team is loud, highly competitive and has zero tolerance for excuses. “We might not look like the friendliest of teams, but that is because to me competition is not play time,” he says. “Competing is business and friendly play time is for later. Our strengths start with determination and mental preparation. I prefer the attitude, ‘Nothing is ever good enough.’”
During the Open, the McCormicks enjoyed training and resisted friendly competition between husband and wife on workouts like 12.1. “We both just wanted to puke because of those burpees,” Sarah jokes. “I don’t know that we really felt a lot of competition between each other on that one. He beats me on most every WOD. I don’t get to hold anything over his head.”
Sarah scored 90 reps in 12.2, 8 more reps than Armand. “I can’t say on most occasions, I beat Armand on snatches,” she admits.
Having experienced Regionals and the 2011 CrossFit Games as an individual, Armand is looking forward to competing in the team events. “It will be different, easier. It is a chance to take a lot of people from within the gym and get them involved,” he says. “I think it will be exciting!”
They both admit some days, training is hard, but you still need to flip the switch and try that much harder. But that seems to drive them both. Not following any specific nutritional plan, Sarah says they both “eat what makes them feel good and is readily available.”
Both McCormicks focus on coaching the mind, as well as the body. “We don’t preach a whole lot about nutrition. We preach a lot more about mental toughness,” Armand says.
Mental toughness isn't lacking in the Silver Star recipient's box. Known for his bravery under fire, Armand traces his mental strength to his mother. “My mom gave me a lot of tough love as a kid,” he says, with pride.
He uses the same tone whenever he refers to his wife. “I can honestly say that Sarah has worked harder to improve her overall fitness than anyone I have ever met or trained. She may have once been a college level “miler,” but I can promise you that when we started training she could not come close to doing a 20kg back squat.”
With their successful teamwork in and out of the box, the McCormicks and CrossFit Kilo will be a dynamic team to watch compete at the 2011 North Central Regional.