"Nothing replaces hard work. You must be hungry for it if you truly want to get better."
Noah Ohlsen is graduating from the University of Miami-Florida this year. He aspires to represent the South East at the CrossFit Games in the near future.
“I’m in the fraternity Beta Theta Pi, which may sound contradictory to the lifestyle of a CrossFitter, but (it) has worked itself out well. It was tough at first, and many of the brothers didn’t quite understand what being a competitive CrossFit athlete entailed, but they’ve learned and have become extremely supportive of me,” Ohlsen, 21, says. “After what I considered to be a disappointing 24th place finish at the 2012 South East Regional, I decided I was going to further engulf myself in CrossFit and get as comfortable as possible in the competition setting this year by, well, competing.”
Ohlsen has competed in 11 local competitions since last July and made the podium more than once. This is a stark contrast to Ohlsen’s performance when he started CrossFit two years ago.
At 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Ohlsen snatches 225 lb., overhead squats 305 lb., and says he can taste a 300-lb. clean and jerk any day now.
“When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t even get a 130-lb. snatch over my head,” he recounts. “I’d always been into health and fitness, but going to the gym was really more superficial — lifting weights to look good, but not actually getting stronger.
“I stumbled into my box, Peak 360 CrossFit, back in September 2010 after seeing a flyer at a local restaurant about an in-house competition there for the fifth anniversary of September 11th,” he remembers. “It was a Fight Gone Bad-style workout … and to say the least, it kicked my butt. The owner, Guido Trinidad, saw potential in me and invited me to come back, and I haven’t gone anywhere since.”
Always up for a challenge, he liked the idea of improving his skill and strength to one day compete. After six months, Ohlsen developed into a leader. He completed the Level 1 Seminar, spent six months shadowing Trinidad, and today, runs classes in addition to going to school and training.
“I have definitely found a career I want to pursue. I begin my one-year master’s program in kinesiology and strength and conditioning at UM in the fall, and I’ve also become pretty set on interning with, and becoming a part of, the CrossFit HQ (Seminar) Staff … it sounds like a dream job to a young kid fresh out of college that’s passionate about spreading the CrossFit lifestyle and traveling around the world to do so,” Ohlsen says.
Now, with the Open approaching, Ohlsen is honing his focus.
“I’ve seen myself grow as an athlete and realized that I can go somewhere, but I have to take myself there. It’s hard to put a number to it, but top-10 at Regionals is the goal for 2013 … we’ll see,” Ohlsen says.
“I still want to get all my strength numbers up to be a more well-rounded competitor. My gymnastics and motor have always been pretty solid, and I was a water polo player for six years, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that Mr. Castro keeps some sort of water element in the Games for a while.”
Ohlsen has been working with Coach Doug Katona, alongside Trinidad, since last June in hopes of moving one step closer to the Games.
“A serious flame was lit after watching the Games and cheering Guido on from the stands last year,” he says. “I knew I wanted to find a coach, or get on program or set something in stone that was going to help me get there as a competitor. As the weeks have gone by, (our) have actually gotten closer and closer … it’s become a great push for both of us every day.”
Ohlsen says his age can be both a benefit and a drawback. “I think there have been both positives and negatives to being a young gun. Most significantly, since I’m at a very young training age, I need to put in more time to become flawlessly efficient with my movement and increase my absolute strength.”
“On the plus side, though, that means that I still have a lot of room to grow. As a few people have told me lately, I haven’t yet gotten my man muscles, so I’m pretty excited for those bad boys to come in.”
Ohlsen is confident his hard work will pay off.
“Nothing replaces hard work. You must be hungry for it if you truly want to get better … One of the things that I think has developed me the most, has been competing against guys that are far better than I am,” Ohlsen says. “Whether that was in weekend throwdowns … or my first Rx competition, I had to put my ego aside and not be afraid to come in last place, knowing it was going to make me better for next time.”
“Go do CrossFit and have fun with it,” he adds. “Share it.”