April 4, 2013
Backseat Competitor, Baywatch Body: Dave Lipson
By Jaimie Bougie

“I want to have a great Games season — whether that means doing great in the Open, or great at Regionals or advancing to the Games."

Photos courtesy of Pops Martin

David Lipson is one of the most envied guys in the CrossFit community — he is married to Games competitor Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. Lipson, who deadlifts three times his bodyweight (more than 600 lb.) and rows a 2k in 6:31, is currently in his sixth year of competing and sitting 15th overall in SoCal. As he’s on track to qualify for the SoCal Regional, he is setting some rather interesting goals. While happy to take a backseat to Leblanc-Bazinet, Lipson still wants a “Baywatch bod” at Regionals.

Lipson started his journey into the competitive world of CrossFit in 2008, after retiring from professional baseball. Although he was happy about his decision to retire, he still felt the drive to compete.

“I felt like I was missing something,” he says. “It was like a Derek Zoolander moment, where I looked into the puddle on the ground and asked myself, ‘Who am I?’”

After only two workouts, Lipson decided to swing by Dave Castro’s family ranch in Aromas, Calif., for the 2008 CrossFit Games, just to check it out.

“I walked up to the dusty ranch and it was like the Woodstock of fitness,” he says. “They asked me if I was a spectator or a competitor. I kind of looked down and said softly, ‘competitor,’ and then I went in and did what was my third CrossFit workout ever.”

He finished 14th overall.

Lipson has competed every year since. Not only has he made a name for himself as a regular competitor, he is also well known in the community through his work with CrossFit Headquarters on the Level 1 Staff.

“By being involved in the community, I’ve grown a lot not only as a coach, but also as an athlete,” Lipson says. “I’m also now on the HQ staff, and I’m highly involved in the community. It has led me to a thousand new relationships, including my marriage.”

While Lipson continues to coach at CrossFit Invictus in San Diego, Calif., his wife is currently back home in Quebec, Canada, going to school and training full time.

“We had a good stretch of time where we were both living and training together in Southern California. I’ve spent some time recently in Canada and we are blessed to both have jobs on the HQ staff to where we can work weekends together doing the Level 1 Seminars. It can be challenging, but we’ll constantly have Skype calls together, and I’ll have her watch me while I’m training and she’ll scream at me and cheer me on. She’ll yell at me to ‘Stop resting!’ and ‘Go faster!’” Lipson says.

While Leblanc-Bazinet encourages her husband to compete as hard as he can, Lipson decided early on that his competition goals would take a backseat to her aspirations of reaching the podium at this year’s Games.

“My wife is a professional athlete and I fully support her pursuit of the podium,” he says. “So I’m going to do whatever I need to do to support her … For me, competing is something I do for my own personal enjoyment and yeah, I want to do well, but my main role is supporting her career.”

Before this year’s Regional dates were announced, Lipson and his wife decided that if the SoCal Regional was the same weekend as the Canada East Regional (as they were in 2012), he would skip competing so he could be by her side to support her during competition.

Fortunately this year, the regions will host their respective Regionals on separate weekends.

“I want to have a great Games season — whether that means doing great in the Open, or great at Regionals or advancing to the Games,” he says. “I want to feel like I performed to the best of my ability. I want to feel confident and happy with my effort, that I gave it everything and performed as best as I could.”

Outside of having a great season, Lipson’s goal for 2013 is to become a fitter athlete, including his milestones of running a six-minute mile, snatching 300 lb. and clean and jerking 335 lb.

“This year, my goal is to be the best looking competitor at the 2013 SoCal Regionals,” Lipson laughs.

In order to become the fittest he can be, Lipson decided to adopt a nutritional approach to achieving his goals. He has committed to cutting out all bread and sugar in hopes of having more fuel during his workouts.

“In previous years, I have always looked at my performance in workouts — such as my fastest Fran time or heaviest snatch weight — and I was very focused on the absolute number from that workout. Setting this goal is keeping me accountable with my diet and helping me with my workouts.”

Although an unconventional approach, Lipson uses his humor and appearance to continue to be motivated.

“Whenever I have the temptation to go eat pizza or have a milkshake, I say to myself, ‘Nope!’ You’re trying to be the best looking guy at Regionals! You can’t eat that pizza!’ The SoCal Region is known for some good-looking people, I mean, this is Hollywood. I want that Baywatch body and to be thought of as the Mitch Buchanan of CrossFit!"