April 17, 2012
In All the Way: Maguid Nicholas
By Siobhain Crowley

"I took a lot of time to study the materials on the main site, and I was genuinely convinced by the reasoning."

Photo by: Chrissie Wu

Landscape photo by: Marie Lyssa Dormeus

At 5’11” and 188 pounds, with a clean-cut visage, no raging tattoos, and no intimidating competitive history, Maguid Nicholas is rather unassuming. His fast and furious athletic development and 11th place standing on the Canada East Leaderboard tell a different story; 'Mags' is someone to watch

“My first exposure to CrossFit was Greg Amundson and Annie Sakamoto doing Fran,” Nicholas says. “At the time, I was six-months-deep into a typical gym routine, at a traditional commercial gym, and I remember thinking, 'This is ridiculous,' as I watched the two bounce back and forth between barbell and pull-up stations.” 

A week later, he decided to give the main site workout a try. It just happened to be Murph. It took him more than an hour to complete the whole thing, and he was incapacitated for three days following. “That was pretty much it,” he says. “I wanted more.”

During University, Nicholas was a solo CrossFitter, completing the posted workouts at his local gym. “I took a lot of time to study the materials on the main site, and I was genuinely convinced by the reasoning,” he says. “I am not a specialized athlete, and the generalist approach to fitness made sense to me. Also, it hurt like nothing I had ever done before. There was a conflicting humiliation at the smack down, and pride that I was able to survive the workout. This mixture is what keeps me coming back. It’s both humbling and validating to get through a tough workout.”

As smooth as his CrossFit career may seem, he has worked hard to become the athlete sitting in 11th place today. “When I started CrossFit, I could do 4 consecutive pull-ups, squat 135, and had a 26-minute 5K,” he says of his athletic capabilities. “Obviously, things have changed since then. The observable progress is a testament to how effective this training can be if applied correctly and consistently. One of the things I enjoy most about coaching is seeing the variety of people, body types, mentalities and ages that can develop into proficient weightlifters, amateur gymnasts, and become really, really good at burpees, with nothing more than consistency.”

Nicholas’s progress did come with a price. In the 2011 Open, Nicholas was in the top five approaching the final workout. The Friday before scores were due, he threw out his back and was unable to compete for the rest of the Open.

He recognized he needed to spend a lot more time on mobility and to recover properly in order to stay injury-free, and this has become a top training priority for him. He also altered his programming to include more Olympic lifting and really zeroed-in on technique. “Olympic weightlifting is by far the most advanced thing we do in CrossFit, and so a lot of time and practice is required to become proficient there,” he says. “That has been a huge focus for me over the last year. Coincidentally, the Olympic lifts require a lot of the skills that I lacked, so my progress has forced me to work on my weaknesses over the past year.”

That emphasis seems to have paid off for Nicholas. One of his best events in the 2012 Open was 12.2, where he achieved 20 snatches at 165 pounds.

His hard work is evident in his exceptional performance throughout the Open. “It goes without saying that I'm ecstatic to have finished the Open injury free and good to go for Regionals. I just want to be there.”

Nicholas’s scores improved as the Open wore on, with a 9th place finish in 12.4 (266 reps), and a 13th place finish in 12.5 (133 reps).

It seems a lifetime since he first saw that old school CrossFit video. His stats are now something most would brag to have, but he remains humble with his 385-pound squat, 455-pound deadlift and 230-pound snatch. “I don’t know how much these will matter on Game Day.”