"I want to be better more than I want to sleep."
Chad Augustin is no stranger to the CrossFit Games.
He has competed in the last three Games as a cornerstone member of the Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers. Together, the Honey Badgers amassed a third-place Games finish in 2011, 16th place in 2012 and 31st in 2013.
This season, Augustin said goodbye to his team.
In 2013, CrossFit announced the new Masters 40-44 Division. He spoke with his teammates about competing in that division in 2013, but there was one catch: Augustin missed the age cutoff date by a matter of days.
Now that he’s 40, he’s ready to compete solo.
“I love the camaraderie of a team, but at some point I’ve gotta do this on my own,” Augustin said. “I’m genuinely excited to see how I stack up against the best worldwide competitors in my age group. I want to meet new people, and compete and just have fun.”
Saying goodbye to his long-time team wasn’t easy. It was an emotional goodbye conversation, but Augustin still sees and trains with his former teammates on a regular basis.
“They are definitely like a family,” he said.
In Pursuit of Progress
Augustin has spent his entire CrossFit career doing his own programming. With a new Games season on the horizon, he decided to ask for a little help. Charlie Zamora of WarriorZ CrossFit brought together the best possible coaches to help Augustin improve on his weaknesses.
Because of his background as a wrestler, powerlifter and bodybuilder, he has always had a powerful strength base. Olympic lifting, gymnastics and flexibility have been his major weaknesses, though. In the short time he has worked with Zamora, Augustin has already made major progress.
“He’s truly one of my best friends,” Augustin said of Zamora. “I call him my coach. He helps me with everything. It’s the first time I’ve ever really had a coach. I get an email schedule with what to do every week.”
In return, Augustin gives back to WarriorZ CrossFit as the “Team Dad” for their brand new team, Caffeine and Kilos. Though he doesn’t plan on competing with Caffeine and Kilos, he wants to bring his experience as a team athlete into an advisor role. He said he realizes a team succeeds because of excellent communication, which “you can’t build overnight.”
He also said a team succeeds when its enjoying each other’s company.
“What I love about (Caffeine and Kilos) is that they genuinely want to have fun … I keep trying to remind them that this is supposed to be fun,” he said.
Caffeine and Kilos is currently ranked No. 1 in the Northern California Region.
A Hometown Hero
Augustin is well known in the Sacramento, Calif., area—partly due to CrossFit, but also because of his life-saving skills as Captain of the Sacramento City Fire Department. He’s also an award-winning flight paramedic in Modesto.
While Fire Station 20 has a great workout facility, it’s the busiest station in the county, and workout time is sparse while Augustin’s on duty.
“It’s a luxury to get 25 minutes in to work out,” he said. “I usually only have time for a warm-up and a five-minute workout.”
Those firehouse workouts are just bonuses. All of his workouts at WarriorZ CrossFit have to be scheduled in between his shifts. He is determined not to let his work demands get in the way of his training. In fact, he sees it as a challenge that requires some strategy. By giving his workouts the same importance as his work duties, his training is more likely to get done.
As a busy 40-year-old athlete, Augustin said he has to be especially strategic about his recovery. Past injuries, like a ruptured bicep tendon in 2010, still have an effect on his range of motion. To improve his mobility, he’s been taking yoga classes from his wife and fellow CrossFit athlete Sandra Augustin. This helps him develop the flexibility needed for Olympic lifts and high-skill gymnastics movements.
Part of a successful recovery plan, he said, is having fun with his training and not getting stressed out about competition.
“So often you feel broken down after those five weeks (of the Open),” he said. “That’s why I only do the workout once and see it as just another workout. I did 14.3, went to my (flight paramedic) job and we flew for like 12 hours after that.”
Augustin’s hard work combined with a sensible recovery and training plan has helped him land first place in his division for the Open. Even though he’s all about having fun competing, he won’t be satisfied until he’s made it on the top of the podium.
“I want to be better more than I want to sleep.”