March 14, 2013
Emphasizing Unity: CrossFit Costa Mesa
By Kenni Palmer and Jennifer Klein

“We are one big team all under the banner of CrossFit Costa Mesa and are all excited to carry the flag.”

All photos by Benedick David Photography

CrossFit Costa Mesa has 195 out of 260 members signed up for the Open this year.

They are the second largest in the region, and ninth worldwide. Such placement didn’t happen by chance. CFCM has been building the excitement for the 2013 season through their all-inclusive competitive training program. By working hard to maintain a sense of community, regardless of athletic ability, CFCM has fostered an inclusive attitude toward those wanting to measure their strengths against other CrossFitters worldwide.

In 2012, Team CrossFit Costa Mesa placed eighth in the Open in SoCal, and 13th at Regionals. Owner, Alec Hanson, and training director, Max Mormont, believe their athletes are more than capable of making it to Regionals again in 2013.

Alongside these competitive goals, they’re also invested in helping the average CrossFitter push it to the limits in the Open, as well.

CFCM’s competitive athlete program is based on community rather than superior performance, and is open to all affiliate members. Athletes are not expected to dominate the region. Instead, Hanson sets the standard that competitors in the program complete 90 percent of the outlined training schedule, and all athletes must compete in at least one event, each season.  

“It is amazing to see the participation at our gym and the willingness to get better,” Mormont says.

Emphasizing unity has brought the box together.

“We are a big community, yet we are a tight group, and we like training and competing together for improvement,” he says. “As a whole, we support our best athletes just as much as our ‘average joes.’ Everybody trains side by side. We have no separation. Our gym will always be an ‘average joes’ gym with the idea of transforming mind, body, spirit and developing some of the best weekend warriors out there.”

The affiliate made the decision to prevent separatism in their gym and focus on a community of people interested in competing.

“Some gyms I’ve seen separate their community,” Hanson says. “They may do it without intention, but they make cliques. The ‘cool kids’ are the ‘elite’ or better athletes, and the normal and average get less attention or praise. It’s sad, actually. Our competitor program is designed for anyone wanting to commit more time and attention to their fitness. Having this program has actually strengthened our community, and it’s been fantastic.”

With such a high number of people competing, CFCM had to find a way to accommodate all participants in the Open Workouts.

“We are doing an event on Friday nights from 4 to 8 p.m., running heats all night,” Mormont says. “We also run the WOD as our class workout all morning Friday and Sunday. We have Level 1 and Judges Course certified athletes judge our competitors and members. It at first seemed like a daunting task, but after Week One ran smoothly, I feel as if it’s going to be a fun and rewarding community event.”

The enthusiasm didn’t appear overnight. CFCM members and staff have been building up the excitement towards the Open for a while.

“We have been very focused on the Open since the beginning of the year,” Mormont says. “In January, our program at the gym went through Open prep. The Open prep was three meso-cycles. The first cycle was three weeks, with one week taper, focused on the 2011 Open Workouts. The second cycle was three weeks, with one week taper, focused on the 2012 Open Workouts. The third cycle was five weeks, with reverse periodization, meaning it was most difficult during weeks one and two, and all downhill from there.”

They recently put this programming to the test.

At the L.A. Battle of the Boxes team competition this year, Hanson and Mormont decided to stagger their top athletes between three separate teams. The teams placed second, third and seventh overall, coming in just behind the number two team in Southern California in 2012, CrossFit CDR Redlands.

At present, CFCM is showing the region that making an inclusive program still churns out talented athletes. The team is ranked seventh in the region after 13.1, with a total of 1032 reps.

“I think we did great. I do feel that we were prepared for that type of workout and are ready for the 2013 Open,” Mormont says of 13.1.

He adds: “We are one big team all under the banner of CrossFit Costa Mesa and are all excited to carry the flag.”