March 2, 2012
Competing is the Catalyst to Friendship
By Josh Bunch

"Sometimes after CrossFitting for so long, you forget the little things. Competition brings that newness back all over again."

Photos courtesy of Friendship CrossFit

On June 1, 2011, Jeff Binek opened Friendship CrossFit in Columbus, Ohio. Eight months later, Binek is competing in the CrossFit Games Open with the community he’s created at his affiliate.

Don’t let Friendship’s relative newness fool you. Binek himself has been CrossFitting for more than three years. And he’s been competing for nearly the same amount of time. Something he says is crucial not only for physical improvement, but communal, as well.


Binek is the first to admit that living the CrossFit lifestyle is paramount if you want others to listen to you speak about it. To really sell it, you must truly believe it, live it, love it, and give it your all.

He trains four to five times a week on a schedule that allows him to do what he believes is most important. Recover. “The military has left me with a few knee issues,” he explains. “Not only am I that guy warming up and mobilizing 30 minutes prior to each WOD, but I firmly believe it’s how hard you WOD, not how much you WOD.”

Over the years, Binek has primarily programmed for himself, and realized quickly that it was becoming stale. “You are either to hard on yourself, or too soft,” he says. “When I finally gave up my personal programming December 1, I felt refreshed.”

Binek now follows the programming of Coach Rudy Nielsen of Outlaw CrossFit, which has matched Binek with the missing pieces he needed so desperately.

“Rudy got me to turn my mind off and go,” he says. “Something that I would never do before. I used to get to my bar and begin to dissect the WOD and figure out how to pace it. Now I am confident in knowing what the redline feels like, and that I can survive it.”

Nielsen’s programming of multiple squat days, lots of technique work, and quality volume has elevated Binek’s lifts overall, without hindering his met-con ability, he says.

Self-improvement is rarely enough, however. Binek is learning that sharing in that competitive nature is equally as important as performing it.


Soon after opening its doors, Binek urged Friendship CrossFit athletes to compete in a local competition. The few CrossFit rookies who took him up on this intimidating task served as a catalyst to the budding community competing worldwide today.

“Ten Friendship athletes attended a local competition, ‘Back at the Ranch,’ and that really got the blood flowing,” he says. “They were contagious when they returned to our box. All of the sudden they were mobilizing, talking nutrition, and becoming more consistent. They were hooked.

“Sometimes after CrossFitting for so long you forget the little things. Competition brings that newness back all over again,” Binek explains.

For almost three months, Friendship CrossFit members, under the watchful eye of Binek, has been preparing for just such a community-building event.

“We usually start the first half of the class with a big lift – snatch, deadlift, squat – then we work our intervals, conditioning, and general capacity.”

Six weeks prior to this year’s CrossFit Open kicked off, Binek began doing “Reminder WODs,” for preparation.

Binek is competing individually during the 2012 Games season. “Our affiliate team will be members only,” he says. “We feel this brings the community together more than anything else."