January 30, 2013
Bullied No More: Rocky Moses
By Robin Runyan

“You can start out anywhere--a completely nerdy, awkward, out-of-shape kid--and you can change yourself through hard work. It just takes time, dedication and discipline."

If you’ve attended a throwdown at an Oregon affiliate lately, you’ve likely watched Rocky Moses compete. He’s the teenage kid with ginger hair.

Moses has been honing his skills for this year’s CrossFit Games season. The 17-year-old is determined to become the youngest male to qualify for the North West Regional.

With strength, speed and skill, Moses may have the talent to make it into the top 48. He holds formidable PRs, including a 400-lb. back squat, 5:38 mile, 3:03 Fran, 3:30 Elizabeth, 178 consecutive double-unders and a 210-lb. snatch.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Moses was a different athlete. Living in the alternate reality of video games, he was small, un-athletic and routinely bullied. Moses became afraid to go to school after a bully broke his nose. He started lifting weight in his freshman year of high school. Later that year, his dad introduced him to CrossFit.

“I just wanted to get in better shape so I could defend myself from the bullies and so that girls would like me,” Moses explains. “I got in much better shape very quickly, which increased my confidence, and made it so that the kids who were picking on me at school were afraid to bully me.”

Moses sought out Eugene CrossFit coach, Darren Kromarek, with questions.

“He was super-inquisitive, especially about nutrition. He wanted to get really ripped,” Kromarek says. “(But) he wasn’t really an athlete. He didn’t have a sports background; he played video games.”

When he started CrossFit, Moses’ back squat was 185 lb., and he couldn’t manage a single double-under, nor run a mile in under seven minutes.

“My super awesome coach, Daren Kromarek, programs all of the workouts that I do,” Moses says. “He knows exactly where my weaknesses lie in CrossFit, and programs all of my workouts to target those weaknesses and improve me as a CrossFit athlete. I work out five days a week, with two rest days, but they aren’t really rest days because I usually do a 30- to 45-minute jog to recover on those days. I hit every workout with maximum intensity and give it everything I have. As far as nutrition, I eat nearly 100 percent paleo.” 

In addition to gains in strength and speed, Kromarek has noticed a difference in Moses’ maturity. He takes responsibility for his own performance and does everything he can to succeed.

“When he has a competition coming up, he gets into competition mode,” Kromarek says. “He wants to have a plan going into the competition. He gets his nutrition dialed in. He’ll break down movements and strategize if any workouts come out early. He looks at his transition times and ways to create efficiencies in the workout.”

At competitions, he approaches workouts with his foot pressed firmly on the gas.

“I approach competitions now by giving my all-out effort on every single WOD and never holding anything back,” Moses says.

His coach thinks Moses is right on track. With time and effort, Moses could make it to the floor of the CrossFit Games, Kromarek says.

“He needs to continue what he’s doing,” he adds. “As strong as he is, he’s only 17 years old. He’s going to develop more and get stronger. He needs to develop strength endurance and power through those workouts. He also needs to get that mental game dialed down. He still has a lot of growing up to do, although he’s come a long way. He needs to believe in his capacity to do whatever he wants in the workout as long as he can visualize it.”

His life has changed outside of CrossFit, as well. Now, instead of getting bullied in the hallways of his high school, Moses is known to knock out a few handstand push-ups.

“You can start out anywhere — a completely nerdy awkward out-of-shape kid, and you can change yourself through hard work,” Moses says. “It just takes time, dedication and discipline.”