April 10, 2013
James Newbury: One to Watch
By Andrew Lee

"Last year at Regionals was the best weekend of my life, it was amazing. It was great to be competing next to all the top athletes.”

Photos courtesy of Andrew Lee

"I won't stop until I make it to the Games. Every year, I will work harder and harder until I get there," Australian James Newbury says.

Since placing 47th in Australia in the 2012 Open and ninth at the corresponding Regional, 22 year-old Newbury has set his sights on achieving his dream to compete in the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif.

Owner and head trainer of the recently established CrossFit Mode in Adelaide, Australia, Newbury is enjoying the challenges of opening a new box and balancing his training.

"Sure, it’s long hours, 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., but it gives me a chance to take training sessions throughout the day and get my own sessions in,” he says.

Undertaking his own programming, Newbury looks to follow a three days on, one day off prescription.

"I aim for two sessions each day, three if I can fit it in,” he says. “I generally do Olympic lifting or strength work in the morning, followed by a short met-con. In the afternoon, I like to hit a skill, gymnastics or lightweight lifting, followed by the programmed WOD.”

The Open has provided Newbury an opportunity to hit different types of workouts and benchmark his performances to ensure all bases are covered.

"For me, the Open highlights all weaknesses. When a workout flaws you, you look to target it to bring it up to a higher level," Newbury says.

“I try and rotate through, focus on getting a diverse range of every movement — overhead squats, handstand push-ups. I like to target all those types of movements."

Going into the final workout of the CrossFit Games Open with a Fran time of 2:18, Newbury felt 13.5 could play to his strengths and assist to consolidate his place at the Regional in May.

Newbury shared his strategy for hitting the thruster/chest-to-bar couplet.

"I wanted to do the first two sets unbroken, and then move onto eights and sevens,” he says. “My old coach, Mick Shaw from CrossFit FX told me, ‘Slow is efficient and efficient is fast, so if you go slow, you go fast.’”

Newbury did not disappoint, earning a four-minute time bonus for completing 90 reps in the first four minutes, and then completed 14 thrusters in his sixth set, to post a score of 164.

"I just did it and I was surprised. It makes you feel so weak, I couldn't breathe. It still hurt, it killed me," he says.

Newbury finished 13.5 with the sixth best score in Australia, leaving him in 10th place overall, earning him a ticket to the WIN Entertainment Centre for the Australia Regional in May.

With the Open over, Newbury intends to switch his focus toward being in peak condition for Regionals.

"I will be upping the volume big time,” he says. “Three sessions a day, mixing it up, a lot more varied — swimming, more water stuff and focusing on a broader range of areas up until Regionals. Then I will continue from there if all goes well.”

No stranger to competing at a high level, having previously competed in soccer and rugby, Newbury has transitioned into the sport of CrossFit with passion and conviction.

After improving on last year’s Open placing, Newbury is progressing toward his ultimate goal of qualifying for the CrossFit Games. One aspect he attributes to his increased performance is a holistic focus on nutrition.

"If I hadn't changed how I was eating, I wouldn't have placed half as well,” he says. “I focus on unprocessed whole foods, raw and organic, super foods, gluten free and plenty of smoothies.”

Having established his home near the beach, Newbury is also afforded with quality recovery at his doorstep.

“Getting in the water is a big priority, the salt water helps my recovery,” he says.

While still relatively new to the sport, there is no doubting Newbury’s love and passion for CrossFit.

"Last year at Regionals was the best weekend of my life, it was amazing,” he says. “It was great to be competing next to all the top athletes.”

So among the names of Mackay, Forte and Hogan, keep an eye on Newbury in 2013.