Zach Forrest joins his affiliate team at the 2014 South West Regional.
CrossFit Max Effort’s members have been competing in the Open and at regionals for several years.
But this year they are gaining an edge with the addition of multiple-time Games athlete Zach Forrest.
Forrest is nearly recovered from shoulder surgery after an injury late last year, but he decided to take this year off from competing as an individual and go team.
“The training for team has been a little more relaxing for me,” Forrest said. “It’s not as much volume and the workouts are a lot quicker. They’re not as heavy, typically. A lot more strategy is involved so we can play to each other’s strengths and it makes it more fun and less stressful.”
With the exception of Forrest, the team’s members have been competing together for years—including his wife, CrossFit Max Effort co-owner and coach Lindsay Andrew.
The team has always taken training very seriously, but the addition of Forrest has taken their mindset to a higher level going into regionals.
“I think now that Zach’s on the team this year, it has gotten a lot more serious,” Andrew said. “People are more like, ‘OK, it’s go time, it’s time to get more serious.’ Everyone is putting in the time and putting in their dues. It may be a little too late, but we’ll see what happens.”
As with every year, the team’s goal is to perform the best it can and just have fun. Forrest said he thinks the team can go far this year.
“I think it’s realistic that we can go to the Games, if the moons align, if we do smart practice and smart training between now and then,” Forrest said. “But my goal is for them to just realize that if they were to commit to it 100 percent in the offseason, the potential is there for them to be a legitimate Games team. But obviously I want them to have fun. It’s not going to go anywhere if they don’t enjoy what they are doing.”
Andrew added: “Zach has a very high standard for things, and he expects a lot out of his athletes, because he knows they can put forth that effort if they try. We have some amazing athletes who have the potential, if they want to, to take it all the way.”
This year the team has been working weaknesses, mainly strength for the women and gymnastic all around. Andrew said the team was excited to see the events when they were released.
“I think we are in a really good place,” she said. “We are the last weekend to go so we have time to test things out. We feel pretty confident. It’s not heavy and it’s not stuff that we can’t do.”
Nicole Austin, CrossFit Max Effort team member and coach, agreed.
“I love the workouts. I think having all six people have to do everything will show weak links, and it’s going to help us because everyone on our team can do all the movements,” Austin said. “There’s not an event where someone can’t handle the weight or do the movement. I’m really excited.”
The team has always enjoyed competing at the regional level, but they know having Forrest on the team is a special treat that may not happen again.
“I don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to have Zach on the team again,” Andrew said. “I think he wants to go back to individual and back to the Games so we definitely can’t squander this opportunity.”
While Forrest is focused on his team now, returning to individual competition is still in the forefront of his mind.
“I’m very focused on doing the team variations and I want to help them out as much as possible,” he said, “but I still need to also focus on my training for next year, especially on repairing my shoulder and making sure I don’t mess it up and also getting my strength back. I still have my own specific goals I am trying to hit."