Rockin' The Open

February 14, 2015

James Toland

"CrossFit is the only thing that keeps me sane while I'm touring."

Photos courtesy of Josh Marunde

Competing in the Open takes even the most seasoned CrossFit athletes out of their comfort zones. Drummer Joshua “Chachi” Marunde, of the band Pop Evil, spent the Open not only outside of his comfort zone, but also traveling from gig to gig across the United States and Europe.

His friends had encouraged him to sign up, just a couple months after he started doing CrossFit. As a heavy-metal drummer he was used to getting sweaty and out of breath, but the 27-year-old hadn’t touched a barbell since his weight-room days while playing high school football—until CrossFit.

“The CrossFit Open at the time, seemed like a fun and competitive way to see if I could hang athletically with any of my CrossFit friends. I had no intentions of breaking any records or making any kind of waves in the community going into it,” Marunde said.

He watched the live announcement of Open Workout 14.1 and spent a few minutes getting warmed up. Marunde didn’t have much of a game plan so when he heard the judge call out, “3-2-1 … go!” he just went. Ten minutes later, he collapsed to the floor, exhausted, unaware that he had just earned an incredible score.

“They came over and said, ‘Holy shit, you just beat Hendren! You just beat Hendren!” Marunde recalled. “I thought, “Who the hell is Hendren?’ But everyone was excited so it seemed like a good thing.”

Marunde had finished nearly 9 rounds of 30 double-unders and 15 75-lb. power snatches in 10 minutes. His 398 reps put him in 10th place in the competitive Central East region—40 reps and 27 spots ahead of two-time CrossFit Games qualifier Marcus Hendren.

Unfortunately for Marunde, he had no time to bask in his achievement as he headed to the East Coast of the United States to continue the tour with his band.

“On the bus, I was checking the scores all the time. I knew I did a good job and I wanted to see how well I might be able to do in this thing,” Marunde said. “I knew it would be hard to keep up with it all because I was on the bus and playing shows every night in a different city.”

Still pumped about his first result, he streamed the announcement of Open Workout 14.2 from his phone not long before a show in Hoboken, New Jersey.

As soon as he heard the movements, his heart dropped.

“Just as I was getting confident, (overhead squats) showed up,” he said.

He could barely snatch 135 lb. at that time, he explained, and overhead squats were still challenging for him.

Considering all of that, he did well. He made it into the fifth 3-minute round—the 18s—and got 18 95-lb. overhead squats and 18 chest-to-bar pull-ups before the time cap.

With 244 reps, he earned 71st place in the region. The next day, he got on a plane for a three-week tour of Europe with his band.

While most athletes have to deal with issues like getting enough sleep, balancing rest and recovery with training during the week and working, Marunde was hit with a whole host of issues as he went from country to country playing shows and trying to train for the Open.

“Europe was like a bomb being dropped on me, personally and athletically,” he said. “My diet was ruined and out of my control. The time change was hard on my body. Training and drop-ins between video submissions were basically non-existent. I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up. But I didn't.”

As he posted scores that made his name fall further down the overall leaderboard, the pressure of maintaining his regional-qualifying spot faded. He kept on going though, now simply because he enjoyed it.

“I was a part of something really big. It was like finding my soulmate for me,” Marunde explained. “CrossFit is the only thing that keeps me sane while I’m touring.”

With a 102nd-place overall finish in the Central East, Marunde returned from his tour determined to give the Open a real shot in 2015.

“Everything about 2015 will be better. My diet is good, my training and programming have been great. I’ll be at home for almost all of the Open so I really want to see how much better I can do this time,” Marunde said.

While he suspects he’s not ready to qualify for regionals this year, he does have a couple goals in mind.  

“I’d like to try for top 50 (in the Central East), maybe better, who knows,” Marunde said. “Also, I’m shooting for top three in the state of Michigan. That would be cool.”