"There is no great secret to becoming the Fittest on Earth. Like with everything else it takes a lot of hard work."
The 2nd placed man in the Europe Region after the 2012 Open has learned something important over the last year: training environment matters. Frederik Ægidius is highly confident going into Regionals this year coming off of a stellar performance in the Open competition.
Three top 10 results (12.3, 12.4 and 12.5) secured his spot. No doubt the sweat and hours Ægidius has poured in at the gym have paid off, but he has an additional ace up his sleeve. Ægidius happens to train day in and day out with 2011 CrossFit Games Champion Annie Thorisdottir and occasionally with Rich Froning Jr.
“Annie and I have been training together every day from [the] beginning of October through February this year,” he says.
Thorisdottir, who has implemented a training program designed by Jami Tikkanen of CrossFit Thames, is known to have a training regimen consisting of reasonable volume and stacked with a large chunk of skill work. Ægidius, also coached by Tikkanen, is similarly focused on the skill side of CrossFit and speaks kindly of sharing this training with Thorisdottir. “Having somebody to do all your crazy stuff with, makes it seem more reasonable,” he says.
Ægidius is looking forward to Regionals and will program a lot of higher skilled workouts. The Open was made for the masses. Now the 60 best are moving on and the intensity and the difficulty are increasing. “The Open was not the goal, but a means of getting me where I want to be - among the Fittest on Earth at the Reebok CrossFit Games 2012,” he says.
Ægidius’ desire for higher skilled workouts indicate how he has grown since last year’s Regional competition. After struggling in the first workout due to an existing wrist fracture upsetting his handstand push-ups, Ægidius also struggled significantly on the Amanda workout. “My muscle-ups in the Amanda workout were far from where they needed to be,” he says. “Competing at the highest level and finishing a WOD like Amanda in 13 minutes shows that I have work to do to play with the big boys.”
Aegidius had a hard time adjusting to the bigger stage of the Regional competition. “I was enjoying the show too much. It was my first time at a big competition and I had a hard time staying focused,” he says.
Many of those opponents are back again, and Ægidius thinks this year’s competition is better than ever. “I see seven or eight guys competing for the three spots from Europe. Mikko Aronpää is a Games veteran, Philip Bengtsson had a strong performance in the Open and in competition in general this season (Butcher’s Classic), and Lacee Kovacz out of Hungary is perfectly sized for CrossFit,” he says.
Despite the strong competition, Ægidius is ready for Regionals. “I’m training smarter compared to last year, more structure and more active recovery work on rest days. Mobility work has been a key component, as well,” he says. “My numbers haven't gone up, but my efficiency is a lot higher. Every workout I did last year, I have shaved seconds and minutes off the times this year. I think the main thing is knowing your body, knowing when to push through the pain and when to slow down to avoid stalling.”
Regarding the Regional weekend itself, Ægidius is going to learn from his concentration problems last year. “That is certainly going to change this year. I have a home court advantage, a big support crew - this is going to be the year I hope,” he says.
With such high ambitions, Ægidius is fortunate to be reminded of what it takes everyday by his training partners. “There is no great secret to becoming the Fittest on Earth. Like with everything else it takes a lot of hard work,” he says.
Ægidius’ other training partner in recent times might have a word or two about reaching the top after falling short in previous years. 2011 CrossFit Games male champion, Rich Froning Jr. has been joining in on the workouts with Thorisdottir and Ægidius.
Having Thorisdottir and Froning as training partners has created an amazing training environment for Ægidius. “Training with athletes at that level is hard on the ego, but gives you something more than what you would normally get out of a workout,” he explains. “Pushing through hard days is easier when you have somebody to share them with.”
Based on his rise up the ranks this season so far, the hard work and ego-taming workouts have been extremely beneficial. Ægidius has put some thought in his pathway to success. “Don't mess up, stay in control and know your game plan. If that doesn't work, go to plan B, know your limitations and give it everything.”
With several months of learning from the best, Ægidius certainly looks primed to take the next step up. His final thoughts: “Training with the world’s best gets you grounded again. They showed me that dedication, hard work and a great deal [of] mental preparation goes into becoming who they are and what they are capable of.”