“I am gaining great experience in competitions and becoming more and more confident with every session. I want to succeed in CrossFit ...”
Tying for 117th place in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open does not typically attract attention nor label someone a “dark horse” for future competitions. It is not of note unless you consider the fact that Jeff Evans, of CrossFit Green Box, had only been CrossFitting for two weeks prior to the start of last year’s Open.
At the time, Evans, now 24, was experimenting with CrossFit in order to prepare for a physique competition. He quickly changed gears, as his 117th-place finish became a great source of motivation.
Since last year, Evans’ focus has become CrossFit, which for him consists of two sessions a day, five to six days a week. This is nothing new to 6-foot, 205-pound Evans who played football at the University of Southern Illinois, and credits preseason football camps for his mental toughness and willingness to push through the pain in order to achieve success.
It was the strength and conditioning coaches and graduate assistants at SIU who provided Evans with the template he needed to tailor his strength training. He combined that with the knowledge he gained from his degree in Exercise Science, as well as studying the programming of top CrossFit athletes to create a training regimen he hopes will get him to the 2013 South East Regional.
“The Open was my first competition. From that, and having some success, I knew I needed to go out and get some experience,” Evans says, who has since enjoyed a third-place finish at the Pantheon Games in Miami, and a second-place finish in the Ozark Mountain ShredFest in Springfield, Mo.
During last year’s Open, Evans’ conditioning proved to be a hindrance with a 591st-place finish in Workout 12.1 (seven minutes of burpees), and a 258th-place finish in Workout 12.4 (12 minutes of 150 wall balls, 90 double-unders and 30 muscle-ups). A seventh-place finish on Workout 12.2 (the snatch ladder) countered those performances, demonstrating his Olympic lifting prowess and physical strength. Evans does not anticipate experiencing these same problems this year.
“My cardio is getting better every day. It just takes time,” he says.
His strength numbers are impressive, with a 275-lb. snatch, a 375-lb. bench press, a 390-lb. clean and a 365-lb. jerk.
“I work hard to keep up my strength numbers, so it does not become a problem during competitions,” he says.
But what Evans is most pleased with is his rapidly improving mental game.
“I am gaining great experience in competitions and becoming more and more confident with every session,” he says. “I want to succeed in CrossFit, and I believe that if you want something bad enough then you are willing to go through anything to get it.”
Evans' training plan appears to be paying off. He is currently sitting in 22nd place in the South East after logging 179 reps on Open Workout 13.1.