"I'm sticking (to) team 100 percent this year."
Even though Russell Pettypiece could qualify for Regionals as an individual competitor, his heart is with his team — We Are Fitness (WAF), based in Point Edward, Ontario.
“I'm sticking (to) team 100 percent this year,” he says. “This is my first competition back from injury, and there are a lot of very skilled guys to go up against. We have a killer team this year, and I think we have a great shot at surprising people at Regionals.”
The 30-year-old recently sustained a slipped disk in his lower back, a torn tendon in his wrist and a strained shoulder.
"I was fairly healthy injury wise until I had hurt my wrist doing lifts. I continued to train for a bit, but at not as intense of a level and I think trying to over compensate for my one injury set myself up poorly and that's when my back and shoulder gave. I had one thing leading to another, and I just wasn’t myself,” he says.
Now, he’s back to feeling healthy again.
“I had a few short-term goals of getting my strength and stamina back,” he says. “I've been on a program created by Graham O'Hagan (co-owner and head trainer of CrossFit WAF) since the new year, and I've already surpassed most of my strength goals — the rest isn't far behind.”
Pettypiece is currently sitting in the last Regional-qualifying position as an individual, while Team WAF is in fourth place in Canada East.
“We feel great about fourth right now,” he says. “We are doing the (workouts) each week, but we are trying not to let it get in the way of our programming.”
In addition to helping him come back from injury, Pettypiece says O’Hagan’s programming is responsible for much of the team’s success.
“His programming worked for Rebecca (Clingersmith) last year when she finished third at Regionals and Kristine (Andali) has been killing this year,” he says. “We trust in ‘The O'Hagan Way.’”
Pettypiece got involved in CrossFit by chance in 2006 when his friend, Justin, spurred him to try a workout after reading about it in a Men’s Health magazine.
“We haven’t looked back since,” he says, adding that he has met most of his best friends through the sport.
He has been coaching at WAF since it opened in 2011.
Four workouts into the Open, Pettypiece has an interesting take on how the competition has been for him so far.
“Haha, let’s see: 13.1, I hate burpees and I hadn’t snatched in a year; 13.2, I literally thought my heart was going to explode; 13.3, I didn’t mind — I kind of like muscle-ups and wall balls; 13.4, toes-to-bars weren’t designed for a 6-foot-2, 215-pound man. Kidding, they were all fun.”
Going forward, his main goals are to finish in the top 45 in Canada East as an individual and help his team qualify for the Games. With one more workout to go and Regionals on the horizon, he has a few things keeping him going.
“The girls at WAF are just beasts, and I want them to get a chance to make the Games, even though it’ll be them that end up taking me there, if it happens,” he says. “Most important to me, though, is to live a long and healthy life with my fiancé, Jayme.”