April 19, 2012
Fired Up: Nick Urankar
By John Koenig

"In CrossFit, I found what I thought didn't exist. Half marathons sound dumb today."


Nick Urankar hopes to go from a 36th place CrossFit Games finish in 2011 to a podium finish in 2012. To do this, he’s cleaned up his diet and changed his training frequency and style.

Urankar and his wife also opened their own affiliate. He sits comfortably in 3rd place in the Central East Region after the Open this year.

Urankar has been a competitive athlete all his life. After playing football in college, he sought further athletic challenges. He thought he satisfied his urge by running in half marathons, but only upon discovering CrossFit was he certain he’d found his niche.

“In CrossFit, I found what I thought didn’t exist. Half marathons sound dumb today,” he says.

Battling his way to 36th place in the CrossFit Games last year indicates Urankar is on an upward track. This year he plans to dramatically improve at the Games. “I’m aiming for the podium at Regionals and the Games.”

2012 Open

Urankar’s confidence is well founded, considering he is ranked 17th in the world after the Open. “I have to have that mentality to get anywhere. I’ve always been competitive and tried to beat people,” he says. “I learned from my Games experience last year how to become more efficient. I wanted nobody to question rep counts, wanted every rep perfectly done.”

Always Improving

Many find that going up against Central East athletes such as Rich Froning, Dan Bailey, Graham Holmberg, and others makes their own improvements seem somehow diminished. Urankar on the other hand isn’t nervous about the competition – he’s fired up. “It makes me train a little bit harder,” he says. “Having this level of competition makes me have more respect for the Games. I want to compete side-by-side with Rich, Dan and Graham and push myself harder and faster.”

In his training since last year’s Games, he added additional skill work to his workouts. He decided he needed to do more than improve strength and speed. Often he employed muscle-ups, burpees or other taxing movements, late in workouts, in an effort to increase his body’s ability to function efficiently while metabolically taxed.

Urankar’s nutrition has tightened up also. His past employment in an office environment meant he was around a lot of junk food, and today that temptation is gone. Bringing his own food to the gym and stocking a small refrigerator make for no dietary excuses. “I’m basically un-strict paleo, staying away from grains.”

New Beginnings: CrossFit 061

As if training with one eye on the CrossFit Games isn’t enough, Urankar and his wife Chelssie opened a brand-new affiliate, CrossFit 061, on April 2. Located in Granger, Ind., near South Bend, the box is the fulfillment of a longtime dream to open a gym. “I love the environment. CrossFit isn’t just the way I want to train, it’s how I want to help others get fit,” Urankar says. “We’re fully engulfed in the CrossFit lifestyle.”

Urankar works full time, coaching and operating CrossFit 061 day-to-day, while Chelssie continues to work full-time at her profession outside of CrossFit. On top off all this, they have a 2-year old daughter.

Looking Ahead

Training last year, Urankar could only get to the gym once each day, so he’d stay one - two hours at a time. He’d perform a WOD, rest a while, and then complete another one. He was frustrated, knowing his training wasn’t as effective as he’d like it to be.

“This lifestyle is easier on my nutrition, and my training, as I can fit in short WODs throughout the day,” Urankar says. “I’ve always trained alone in the past, so now that I’m competing with others at our gym, I’m going harder.”

He says he doesn’t know how to peak for an event, so he’s training right through the Open, planning to be at the Games for the second year in a row. “I’m always expecting to PR when I do something. I’m in the best shape of my life and hope to get stronger and faster before the Games,” says Urankar.