April 30, 2013
The Valley Boy: Chad Melton
By Benji Rosen

 “CrossFit is the first thing I have ever done where I haven’t won yet. I haven’t won anything. I hate losing. That’s why I keep competing. Until I win, I’m going to keep competing.”

Photos by: Rafhael Nepomuceno

Imagine you’re a member of Valley CrossFit, resting after you’ve finished a workout, and Kristan Clever and Rebecca Voigt come up to you: ‘What are you doing? Get up. We’re doing another workout.’

For Chad Melton, who is competing at Regionals for the second year after finishing sixth in Southern California in the Open, this was reality when he joined Valley CrossFit. The 23-year-old was taken under the wings of the Valley girls because they witnessed his die-hard perseverance. Since partnering with them, Melton has been striving for a spot on the podium at the SoCal Regional.

“I was scared to say no,” Melton says of working with Clever and Voigt. “They saw the effort I was putting in. I was coming into the gym three times a day, (and they told me), ‘You’re down to work hard. We’ll take a chance on you.’”

Today, Clever is Melton’s coach. He hopes the mentorship from Clever and Voigt, along with his growth over the past year, will lead him to the Games.

“Right now, I’m in the shadow of the Valley girls,” he says. “I’m not noticed like Ryan Fischer and Kenny Leverich. I’m hoping to show up this year (to Regionals), and do something. I want to go to the Games. I want to get my name out there. I’m serious.”

Although Melton is looking to distinguish himself, he appreciates how much he has learned. He says the most beneficial lesson he has learned from Clever is mental toughness.

“Clever is super smart,” he says. “She is so mentally tough. When we’re doing workouts, she never breaks down. That’s what she always preaches to me: ‘Don’t worry about it. Just do it …’”

Melton plans to bring his mental toughness to the Del Mar Fairgrounds in May to make a name for himself in SoCal, and to better his 19th-place finish at the 2012 SoCal Regional.

Last year, at his first-ever Regional event, Melton was surprised at how much heavier the weights were compared to the Open.

“Especially last year, the Open was light,” he says. “Then I got to Regionals.”

The larger loads at last year’s Regional were a struggle for Melton.

“The hang cleans at 225 lb. for 30 reps completely threw me off,” he says.

He barely missed the cut for the last workout. Afterward, he knew he had to devote this year to becoming stronger and better at Olympic lifting, so he altered his programming.

He experimented with Outlaw programming for a while, and now follows a mix of Clever and Voigt’s programming. The focus is on high-rep, heavy weight training. For instance, when doing Grace, Melton clean and jerks 225 lb. rather than 135 lb.

Melton says his strength has gone “through the roof.”

“My snatch went from 205 lb. last year to 280 lb., currently. My clean and jerk went from 285 lb. to 350 lb. this year.”

After dedicating time to lifting, Melton is preparing for Regionals by sharpening all his skills.

“I’m good at everything; I’m not the best at anything. I didn’t win any of the workouts in the Open. I wouldn’t say I have a gaping weakness. I hold it down at everything. I just need to be a bit better at everything,” he says. “Now, I’m focusing on CrossFit as a whole, rather than just focusing on one thing.”

Part of that approach is a focus on multiple met-cons in a day. He is hopeful these efforts will pay off.

“It’s in my nature to work hard for something I’m striving for,” Melton says. “CrossFit is the first thing I have ever done where I haven’t won yet. I haven’t won anything. I hate losing. That’s why I keep competing. Until I win, I’m going to keep competing.”