April 17, 2013
Anything But Typical: Jonathan Adams
By Jeremy Ridgeo

"I was a scrawny 140-pound kid who just did not want to be scrawny anymore."

Photos by: Jorge Huerta

Jonathan Adams, like many, is addicted to CrossFit.

He claims he was not “gifted with great athletic ability, but instead a superior work ethic,” which has contributed to his success in CrossFit. His strong work ethic is paying off as he recently finished the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open in 12th place and will be heading to the South East Regional in May.

In high school, Adams started visiting the weight room during his senior year, but admits he is not sure how he would have defined “working out” at that time. 

“I was a scrawny, 140-pound kid who just did not want to be skinny anymore,” he says.

Initially, Adams ballooned to a “muscular” 235 pounds and thought he was fit. However, he tried one CrossFit workout and could not manage to finish the first 400-meter run without stopping to walk or struggling with lower back pain.

“I realized I had no concept of the definition of fitness and started dabbling in CrossFit before transitioning full time,” he says. 

“Now at 31, I am in far better shape than at any other point in my life, and since I still act like a teenager most of the time, I guess I average out to a 22-year-old,” he laughs.

Now 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Adams says his addiction to CrossFit keeps him in the gym five to six days a week. In fact, he recently reviewed his March workout log book and found that he only took five active rest days.

“To be fair, I define active rest as a moderately paced 5K run, swimming laps in the pool, or a brisk 20-minute run — basically anything to feed my CrossFit addiction,” he says.

While he does not recommend everyone skip rest days, he doesn’t feel it is an important element in his own training.

Adams still follows what he calls a “meathead” schedule in a local globo gym because he enjoys competing in powerlifting competitions in addition to his busy CrossFit competition schedule. On top of the met-cons and Olympic lifting, Adams squats every Monday and Thursday, presses on Tuesday and pulls on Wednesday. 

“My overhead mobility is a bit of an issue, so I know it will be difficult to go beyond Regionals as an individual, but nothing will stop me from working as hard as or harder than the people I am competing against.”

It is this desire to compete that keeps Adams in the gym long hours. 

“Dominick Maurici and I are constantly texting, sharing the (workouts) we found or plan to do, and it becomes a competition to see who can out program the other,” he says. 

Apparently, the friendly competition is paying off, as Maurici finished the Open in second place with Adams not far behind.

Although Adams competed last year at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games on the Hustle Hard team, he will be competing at the South East Regional as an individual. Just because he is not competing on the team does not mean he does not rely on a team of individuals he calls his “best friends” to help him prepare. Many of these athletes make up a list of who’s who in the South East Region, including Masters athlete Ron Ortiz, two-time Games competitor Chase Daniels, and the members of team Hustle Hard.

“Quite simply, these people provide me with the push I need,” Adams says in appreciation of his teammates and friends. “The push comes from the humbling experience of losing a WOD because there is someone there that is capable of beating you, but the feeling when you win is great for your confidence.” 

Adams, now an experienced CrossFitter, firmly believes the mental aspect of competing is critical. This is evident by his willingness to compete frequently in any level of powerlifting or CrossFit competition. 

“How you approach the different competitions is important and great for dealing with adversity.”

At a powerlifting meet, Adams frequently feels out of place as he says, he does not necessarily look like a typical powerlifter, so the motivation is to prove that he is extremely strong. On the other hand, at a CrossFit competition, he is frequently one of the larger competitors and revels in the chance to show off skills others may assume he’s not good at.

“My motivation is to prove people wrong regardless of what type of competition it is,” says Adams, who believes CrossFitters and powerlifters do not need to subscribe to any certain type of build. 

With a background in powerlifting, it should come as no surprise that Adams enjoys Strongman elements in his workouts and has recently been incorporating stones in every workout he can. His favorite benchmark workout, however, is not one that typically favors a larger competitor: Fran. 

“The first time I tried Fran, I was breathing heavy for three hours, and my lungs felt like they were filled with water,” he says.   

Strength workouts favor him, thanks to a 635-lb. deadlift and a powerlifting total of 1,460 lb., which qualifies him for a professional card with the Southern Powerlifting Federation. 

“Strength is nice because when the ladies ask what I do, I can always pull out the professional powerlifting card,” he jokes. 

Adams thrives on the satisfaction of knowing he is stronger now than he was before and, as he says, “that is how you judge a good session.” 

For now, the scrawny 140-pound Adams, who was a self-described nerd in high school and hung out with bigger kids in order to avoid being picked on, is a figment of his imagination. The current version of Adams, thanks to his work ethic and dedication to his friends and fitness, now finds himself once again among the “big kids” of the South East Region.