March 5, 2013
Sibling Rivalry: The Cristini Brothers
By Kate Rose

Little brother is on the rise. But big brother got a head start.


Little brother is on the rise. But big brother got a head start.

After missing the 2012 Canada East Regional, Steve Cristini's goal is to finish in the top 25 in 2013. In local competitions, he's aiming for top-10 finishes.

“Programming for myself involves a lot more volume and more cardio this year — a lot of the stuff I hate,” Steve says. “Like 100 burpees over the box for time. My strength was good last year during the Open, but I didn’t prepare properly for the Open events.”

Steve's older brother, Chris, is a long-time threat in the region. Finishing seventh at Regionals last year, Chris is now aiming for the CrossFit Games.

“For two years, I absolutely sucked at the WODs that involved handstand push-ups … I mean really sucked,” Chris admits. “I also didn’t do well in the movements that involved the (one-rep max). So, guess what I’ve been doing?”

Each Cristini brother owns a CrossFit afiliate, is a student, coaches and competes. While they often collaborate on business matters, they compete on the training floor.

Steve can often beat his older brother on the Olympic lifts, but Chris is usually top in the powerlifts.

“On most gruelling WODs, Chris will beat me, but on some skill-oriented things, I can take him,” Steve says.

When Steve watched the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, he was struck by the size of the athletes.

“I realized how huge most of these guys were. Long gone are the days when the big guys struggle with bodyweight and gymnastics movements,” he says. “CrossFit has gotten heavier and heavier, and now it seems like a little extra muscle can make a big difference in some lifting events like 30 hang cleans at 225 lb.”

Chris agrees, and has been focusing on strength.

“I’ve always been known for being consistently good with my gas, so I took a step back with focusing on my conditioning and tried to improve my strength and consistency with my lifts,” he explains.

Chris’s plan is to peak for Regionals, but it’s been a mental battle.

“In December, I did a local competition at Tidal CrossFit and I gassed during the met-cons. In fact, while I was doing the (workouts), Steve would look at me and shake his head, giving me the, ‘you suck’ look,” he says. “But I have to trust in my programming.”

Since, he’s ramped up the workouts.

The two brothers don’t train together often.

“We have specific goals that are different from each other and with both of us running two different gyms while in University, and trying to organize my wedding early next year, finding enough time for training is not as easy as one would think,” Chris says.

Even with full schedules, they still find time for sibling rivalry.

“I would like to say there is no sibling rivalry, as long as I’m always winning,” Chris jokes. “I hate losing, especially to my little brother, but we positively push each other. His Olympic lifting is much better than mine and this naturally pushes me to do better.”

Steve says he gets a lot from training together on the rare occasion when it's possible.

“I think I benefit more from training together than he does because I have someone to try and pace against,” Steve says. “The best is when Chris tells me his time, and I do everything I can to beat it by just a second. It has happened, but then he tries to destroy my time.”

That rivalry, always present despite busy schedules, provides both with an extra push.