“I don’t think I was as conditioned this year as I was last year, but I had my movement efficiency dialed in and I went in with a better mental game."
Last year, Zach Forrest came close to a repeat appearance at the CrossFit Games. The 27-year-old U.S. Navy veteran had a respectable weekend at the South West Regional that year, placing top 10 in four out of six events. He ended the weekend in fifth place. After qualifying for the Games in 2011, Forrest was a spectator in 2012.
“I was extremely disappointed, especially because I missed it by such a small margin,” Forrest says. “It definitely served as motivation for this year.”
It appears the motivation paid off, as Forrest placed third at this year's South West Regional and qualified for the Games. He closed out the competition by beating Chris Spealler in the final event by 16 seconds.
“Chris is a good friend of mine, so it’s bittersweet to be going back to Carson without him,” Forrest says. “I never thought of the scenario because I always assumed if I made it, Chris would make it. I’ve never beaten him in a live competition before.”
Spealler and Forrest have been acquainted with one another since 2008 when Spealler instructed a Level 1 Seminar at CrossFit Max Effort, the Las Vegas affiliate that Forrest co-owns. The friendship grew from there.
“I got to know him better at the 2009 Regionals and Games when I competed against him for the first time,” Forrest says. “Since working on HQ stuff with him, we’ve bonded and have become really good friends.”
While in competition, Forrest tries not to focus too much on the Leaderboard.
“I try not to think about the Leaderboard or other athletes because I can’t control either of those aspects of the sport,” he says. “The only thing I can control is my own performance … so that’s what I focus on.”
His approach to 2013 hasn't differed much from last year, but there have been a few slight alterations, he says.
“I didn’t do much different other than work on rehabbing my shoulder and focusing on my weak movements,” he says.
His weak movements, he says, are snatches and rowing.
“Snatching is weak for me mostly because my shoulders lack strength in that wide grip position,” he explains. “Rowing sucks because I’m short!”
Forrest is pleased with his performance so far this Games season.
“I don’t think I was as conditioned this year as I was last year, but I had my movement efficiency dialed in and I went in with a better mental game,” he says of the Regional.
His mental game has undergone a slight modification this season, as well.
“I’ve decided I’m willing to be in more pain during a workout in order to succeed,” he says. “There was a point during training where I was just sick of being uncomfortable all the time. I had to snap out of it. Also, I had to start believing that I had the ability to do well … that I had the ability to actually win some events.”
As the Games approach, Forrest is working hard and won't be letting up any time soon.
“I’ll be working to get my engine fully back, along with some extra aerobic endurance training and power endurance work,” he says.
He plans on running and swimming longer distances and performing every-minute-on-the-minute workouts featuring lifts at a higher percentage.
As far as his weaknesses, he says: “They’re pretty high on the priority list as they will fill the gaps in my overall level of fitness, but the primary concern for CrossFit will always be general physical preparedness."