"Competition is what keeps me training as hard as I do."
Mike LeBlanc is optimistic about Regionals, but keeps his cards close to his chest. He is excited by the prospect of competition, but doesn't want to hold grand expectations: he sits in 12th position after the Open, but he knows Regionals are another level entirely.
“To be honest, my goal for this year was to simply qualify and make the top 60 to be able to get Regionals. I knew a few of my training partners would qualify if nothing bad happened and I wanted to be on their side in Toronto,” he says. “I’m usually pretty hard on myself, but this time, I did better than I thought I would.”
A friend in the military introduced LeBlanc to CrossFit in the summer of 2008. His experience with sports and fitness had been limited. He worked out in loboyms and played some recreational sports, like hockey. He was ready for something new. He continues to play hockey recreationally, but CrossFit is where he competes. “I needed a change and once I gave it a try, I wanted more and kept going!” he says.
After that first exposure, LeBlanc went all in. Currently in his fourth year of CrossFit, he is now a part-time trainer at CrossFit Dieppe. He has his CrossFit Level One certificate, and has attended seminars for Olympic lifting and gymnastics. He competes whenever he can. Two years ago, he was at the Canada East Sectionals in Fredericton, and last year he was a part of the CrossFit Dieppe team that placed 8th at Regionals. “Competition is what keeps me training as hard as I do,” he says.
These two experiences have taught LeBlanc a great deal. In 2010, he was doing well at Sectionals, until the last workout appeared with one of his weaknesses. “I have learned that any given workout can affect you and it’s never done until that last workout is complete,” he recalls.
In an attempt to avoid a repeat experience, LeBlanc now works on his weakness as much as he can. LeBlanc still finds the bodyweight movements challenging. “I’ve always had that extra bit of weight compared to some training partners, as a bigger guy at 5’9”.”
He likes met-cons with heavier lifts, as well as Hero WODs and chippers. “I love going hard at a specific movement and knowing once you finish all those reps, you're done with it and on to the next.”
LeBlanc’s approach to the Open this year was focused on his mental game. He didn’t add much to his training – only a few double workouts, and a few tweaks to the diet. He has really focused on his ability to perform at the right moment. “I don’t like doing workouts twice because when in competition, you only get one chance and you should be able to give it your all in that one moment.”
The workouts in the Open were well suited to LeBlanc’s skillset and general outlook. He loved Open Workout 12.1. “It was a big surprise, but a great idea. Everyone could participate and it was a ‘don’t stop moving' mindset.”
The 12.2 snatch workout fit well with LeBlanc’s strengths and he came 17th with 81 reps. Workout 12.3 wasn’t a great workout for LeBlanc, but he recovered with 261 reps in 12.4, placing 22nd in the Region.
LeBlanc was just as surprised with 12.5 as he was with 12.1, and liked the idea just as much. He managed a 31-rep improvement, with 136 reps, and placed 9th in the Region.
“Two simple movements we should all know how to do, and a chance to show the world your improvements from a year before,” he says.
Heading into Regionals, LeBlanc is trying to be consistent. He is working on his strength training, and paying attention to his weaknesses. He has few expectations, but knows it will be tough. “I know everyone will be going there ready to work hard and improve. Those two tickets to California are going to be tough to fight for,” he says.
He wants to be a presence in all of the workouts. “The Open was as I thought it would be … unexpected! Let’s hope Regionals will be the same and we will have fun and play hard.”
With a humble attitude, Mike LeBlanc could be a big threat, especially on heavier events at Regionals.