March 13, 2013
The Self-Made Athlete: Sebastian Stange
By Carolina Lorca

"The first workout was fun ... I love lifting and I've tried to improve."

Photos by: Logan O'Neill

Sebastian Stange is happy.

He knows he still has a lot work to do, but with this being his second time participating in the Open, he is aware his 164 reps have left behind several competitors who beat him during Regionals last year.

Stange started CrossFit like many athletes. He spent much time in the gym doing all sorts of things until he decided to look for something new. One day, a friend came to him saying there was a movie called "Never Back Down," and it had scenes where actors were practicing a sport like CrossFit. That was the point of no return for Stange. He began his research on in order to understand, learn and perform the different exercises and skills.

Back when Stange started, the only box in Chile was CrossFit Santiago, and it was a long way from home. But, as a student of physical education, he had at hand the tools to learn on his own.

A few years later, Bulldog CrossFit Elite Fitness opened. Stange met coach Eduardo Aranguiz and his training to be a competitor began. He already had the gymnastics movements down, so his focus would become Olympic lifting.

Stange is now a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate holder and leads two groups of people for training at the local park. In 2012, Stange met Marco Casali, owner of CrossFit Atakama, the affiliate where he now trains.

Before he completed Open Workout 13.1, Stange did not have much faith in his abilities.

"I knew I could lift the weights, but I've been feeling symptoms of overtraining and did not train last week,” he says.

"The first (workout) was fun … I love lifting and I've tried to improve,” he says. “I have come to understand that one of the more important things in CrossFit is strength. If you do not have the strength to do a WOD, you will fail. I have dedicated myself to being able to pull the weights needed to continue improving.”

Currently, Stange trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with Yetshari Bustamante (weightlifting coach at Atakama). Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays, he joins friends to focus on training weaker skills, such as metabolic conditioning.

Food is very important to him. He says he was one of the smallest competitors at last year´s Latin America Regional. Despite having managed to handle the weights, he felt it was still an impediment for his success. He has complemented his training with supplements, research and advice from many nutritionists.

Stange has a favorable opinion of the Chilean-level of CrossFitters compared to the overall Latin American CrossFitters, but is well aware they fall short in comparison to U.S. athletes. Nonetheless, he knows there are other Latin competitors that have been training in a more structured and professional way, and have invested in nutrition and advanced coaching.

“Obviously we are far from competitors like Orlando Trejo because of his past as an Olympic weightlifter,” Stange says.

"The CrossFit Games are getting heavier. They are looking for the Fittest on Earth and that's it. If we want to reach the height of the United States competitors at some point, we need to do the things they are saying, and train to be ready for whatever comes. We must put ourselves in the worst case scenarios.”

Stange currently stands in 10th place in Latin America after 13.1.