Jared Davis has come a long way. A former college baseball player, Jared found CrossFit in January 2009. That year he took 9th at the South East Regional, after the final event's overhead squats knocked him down five spots.
The following year got off to a better start. He won the Florida Sectional, and then notched the highest score among an elite group of CrossFit athletes at the IMG Combine 360 – an overall physical and mental athletic assessment – tying the highest score ever at the event. The 2010 South East Regional, however, was a different story. He took 36th, missing the Games again, this time by a wider margin.
Undeterred, Jared returned to CrossFit competition in 2011 with a 15th place finish in the South East Region during the Open. Seemingly out of nowhere, Jared won the 2011 South East Regional and earned his first trip to the Games.
At the 2011 Games, Jared finally lived up to his potential and proved he belonged with the world's best. He finished 22nd out of the fittest 49 men in the world.
This was your first Games competing as an individual. Did the experience surprise you? What lessons have you drawn from it?
I knew that the Games would be amazing and the grand stage would come with an array of emotions. I was surprised that even on game day, all of the athletes were very open and helpful to a rookie like me. I made it a point to just keep an eye on the vets – Speal, Chan, Burke, Morrison. If they were eating, I was eating. If they were napping, I was napping. If they were warming up, I was warming up. I took away a ton from the trip out to Cali, including a 20-lb. PR on my snatch.
I realized that I can run with the big dogs and, with some improvements, I can be a legit contender. This never hit me until after the Games as I was reflecting on the different events and how I finished.
There were many times during the competition where I was leading my heat and pushing the pace with the best in the world, but in the last few seconds of an event, I failed. Muscle fatigue crept up and bit me at just the time when I needed to close strong. All the times that I failed are situations that I can work on to improve. I can get stronger, increase my technical capacity, have a better strategy going into workouts, increase my muscle endurance, pacing and staying within myself, etc.
I am very thankful to have competed in the 2011 Games. Not only did the experience give me something I will never forget, but also a fire as big as a mountain that I can use as motivation for next year.
You were somewhat of a surprise winner at the South East Regional. Did you make any changes in your preparation that helped your performance from previous years?
I know I may have surprised some people by winning the South East Regional, because I have always been somebody who just showed up, went hard, had fun, and went home. I also know that there are some people in Florida that have seen me compete and that watch me work out every day that knew what I was capable of.
This year, I learned that I have to make training a priority if I want to compete on the highest level. Previously, I would go hang with friends every weekend and not have a care in the world because I could just get by with what I was doing. Well, not anymore. The popularity of CrossFit is growing, as is the level of competition. I decided to make an honest effort, increase my level of training, cut back on the booze, and make better choices with what I ate. This was the major change that I made this year and I was pleased with the result.
Is it true you train with Chase Daniels? What does your training with him look like?
Chase and I met at the Florida Sectional in 2010. We met after the competition was over as we were waiting to get interviewed by media. I finished 1st and Chase finished 2nd. We didn't really stay in touch until I met a friend of his in the fall of 2010. I made a couple trips down to Miami to train with him and Guido Trinidad of Peak 360. Chase also came up to Jacksonville a few weeks before the Games and we trained for three days. After the Regional, we stayed in touch and became good friends.
We send each other our workouts and times to compare, or just to shoot the shit. Chase is a funny cat and a great training partner. We have very similar strengths and weaknesses, so we push each other pretty good. Now that things have settled down, we plan on making more trips to train together. The end goal would be 1st and 2nd at the Games. Only time will tell.
You got the highest score of all CrossFitters at the IMG Combine, and tied for the highest score ever. Did this success have any effect on you?
First off, all of the staff at IMG were very welcoming, all had great attitudes, and I am very thankful for that. I had the opportunity to meet all of them, as well as some of the CrossFit HQ staff and other CrossFit athletes. I mean, these were all athletes that I looked up to and now, I'm at a sports utopia throwing down with them. What happened at IMG was something I had never experienced before. What I took away from IMG was a great sense of camaraderie in the CrossFit community, new friends, and motivation to be a better CrossFitter. I would love to give it another shot. I know I could improve on the score.
You have a reputation of being a guy who likes to have fun. How does this tie in with your training? Do you think it hurts or helps you?
I am a guy who likes to have fun! My parents blessed me with opportunities to experience the world as I grew up, and I love them for that. When faced with a decision, I always lean towards the uncharted path with unknown outcomes. Regardless, if it leads me to a pleasant or unpleasant place, I will learn something from it.
I try not to worry about things I can't control. As far as training goes, I think it’s beneficial, and it’s been a touch detrimental. As I mentioned before, in my past I didn't take training too seriously. With that said, in life or during a workout, things aren't always going to go as planned. I think in life, how you react and learn from situations is just as important as the actual events themselves. Having that state of mind helps me when I step into the big arena and allows me to perform, have a good time, and completely enjoy the moment.