July 20, 2013
First Time's a Charm: Ryan Swobody
By Robin Runyan

“Our community at CrossFit Marysville is responsible for ensuring my confidence and pressuring me to believe in myself ... I can’t thank them enough for that.”


First-time Games qualifier Ryan Swobody credits his training partners for getting him to the next level.

He owns CrossFit Marysville with his best friend and fellow firefighter Noah Pester, who competed in the CrossFit Games in 2011. He also trains with North West Regional competitors Apollo Lewis, Roselle Fryberg and DJ Neyens.

“I’m constantly getting beat in workouts,” he says. “Any one of them could have been on that podium given slightly different circumstances. If it wasn’t for my training partners, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today.”

Swobody finished third in the North West, winning both Events 1 and 5. At the end of Regional weekend, he said this was the first year he allowed himself to think he could make it.

“Our community at CrossFit Marysville is responsible for ensuring my confidence and pressuring me to believe in myself,” he says. “They helped me to believe in myself, which played a huge role in my success. I can’t thank them enough for that.”

Pester introduced him to CrossFit at a time when Swobody needed it. He was a competitive athlete growing up, but after going to school and falling into a work routine, he became lazier.

“I ran on a healthy diet of beer and pizza and typically only worked out when someone forced me to,” he says.

When Swobody started CrossFit with Pester, he was 40 pounds overweight and in the worst shape of his life. After his first workout, he had a serious reality check.

“I started CrossFit with my girlfriend, now my wife, Stephanie,” he says. “I realized that this wasn't the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be a better man for her and for our future. Because of Stephanie and CrossFit, I have attained goals and am living a life I would have shrugged off as fantasy a few short years ago. Every single aspect of my life improved when I met Steph and started CrossFit. Things haven't stopped getting better since.”

This year, his training has focused more on strength. He feels he’s always had a good cardio engine, but needs more overall strength for the shorter, heavier workouts. He’s also adjusted his diet in order to get ready for the Games, which is something he’s not entirely comfortable with.

“I geek out on nutrition and its effects on the body,” he says. “DJ Neyens and I are typically the go-to guys as far as nutrition and healthy lifestyle at our box. I have witnessed clients have the most dramatic results when they finally take their nutrition seriously. I always try to lead by example when it comes to fitness, nutrition, lifestyle. So to eat outside of what I recommend to our clients is difficult for me. I feel like I need to go hide in a closet to eat a burrito! But, I also know that taking in some extra starches and sugars is what my body needs to continue to train at this level. When my competition days are over and I settle back into a normal lifestyle, I know that I will return to the eating habits I believe in. But for now, I will just remain a closet junk food addict to avoid misrepresentation of my true beliefs.”

In preparing for the Games, he’s put his programming in the hands of CJ Martin. This means increased volume and more strength.

“I practice movements, rep schemes and workouts that you would expect to see in the Games. I typically hit some heavier stuff early in the day and follow it up with met-con or endurance-type work later on.”

With the support of CrossFit Marysville, friends, family and faith, Swobody feels prepared going into his first CrossFit Games. Making it to the Games is a lifetime accomplishment for him, and he feels he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“During Regionals, I had peace knowing that I had done everything I could to be prepared for that weekend,” he says. “Once I was there, I prayed a lot and left it in the hands of my savior Jesus Christ. I had confidence knowing that I was taken care of and that His will is what would prevail at the end of the weekend. All I had to do is have faith and give it all I had. I plan to do the exact same thing for the Games.”