April 3, 2013
Training on the Swing Shift: Nick Fory
By Brittney Saline

“I have a weird life. My body never knows when it’s a normal time to sleep.”

Photos by: Holly Fory

Nick Fory spends half his nights awake and half his days asleep.

Still, the 26-year-old manages to post competitive scores each week of the Open. A few days after he posted a staggering 18-rep improvement on 13.3, he entered week four in 12th place in the Central East. And now that 13.4 has gone down, he’ll keep his score of 107 reps, and wait for the final week and his Regional rematch.

Fory and his wife, Holly, opened Mad City CrossFit in Madison, Ind., in 2010. Opening a box was their dream, but growth was slow, Fory took an operations and maintenance job at a local chemical plant.

“I have a weird life,” he says. “My body never knows when it’s a normal time to sleep.”

He typically works three 12-hour shifts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by three days off and then three more days on, this time from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. If he’s called in for overtime, that means a 60-hour week with just one day off — and a day off for Fory looks like four hours of training and coaching.

Even with a merciless schedule, Fory remains optimistic.

“I try to stay positive,” he says. “If I say that this work schedule is affecting my training, then I have it in my head that it is. If I tell myself that it’s not, it’s less likely that it will.”

The schedule isn’t ideal for an aspiring Games competitor, though. On workdays, Fory lifts light and practices skill work or mobility for two hours before or after his shift. On his days off, he packs all of his strength training and conditioning into one large three- or four-hour session.

“It’s basically like a three-day competition … this is my time to train, this is my time to get better,” he says.

Fory hired a coach this year in hopes of breaking through the Regional curse that has held him back three seasons running. After struggling with the Snatch Ladder at the 2012 Regional and missing the Games by six spots, he asked Doug Chapman of HyperFit USA/CrossFit Ann Arbor to take over his programming.

And after a strategy called “prison rules” — two touch-and-go clean and jerks every 15 seconds for four minutes — 13.4 seemed somewhat familiar.

“That was kind of my strategy, but instead of two, do three,” he says.

He did the sets of three and six unbroken, and then deferred to sets of three for the remaining rounds.

“There’s a really small margin of error,” he says. “You have to stay moving, but if you hold onto the bar for too long, your grip is gonna get shot.”

Because he has little time or energy to train on workdays, Fory often has to make up for missed programming on his days off. This might mean completing two met-cons ranging from five to 45 minutes each, in addition to Olympic lifting, every-minute-on-the-minute strength training and a smorgasbord of auxiliary work.

Though he believes he could have done better, he’s not re-doing any workouts in the Open, conserving his precious reserve of time and energy.

“I don’t want to sacrifice other aspects of my training for one workout,” he says. “I feel like as long as I’m in the top 48, I’m sitting pretty good.”

No one would blame Fory if he said inconsistent shut-eye and imbalanced training days put him at a disadvantage. But he makes no excuses.

“Everyone’s got something in their lives that’s holding them back,” he says. “Mine happens to be my work schedule, but if I use that as an excuse, I’m not gonna get better.”