February 17, 2012
The Wildcard: Charlie Dunifer
By Josh Bunch


"I was sick of people making excuses for me. For things I knew I could do if I just wanted it bad enough." ~Charlie Dunifer

Charlie Dunifer is one of many CrossFit Games athletes returning to the playing field after some regrettable time away. However, Dunifer revealed that this year is his last.

In 2010, athletes who missed the Regionals for one reason or another were given a last chance opportunity to make it to the Games – a wildcard, reserved for soldiers and very special cases. Dunifer fell into that category.

Dunifer was granted a position in the 2009 CrossFit Games by way of the wildcard entry. He landed in 52nd place out of more than 70 athletes. This less than stellar performance left him with a strong desire to keep competing. But other life circumstances would put that desire on hold.

Soon after Dunifer left California in 2009, he met Lisa Shiu, who he began training and dating. He quickly sank all of his time and energy into training Shiu. He cared more about her CrossFit performances than his own.

“There are no excuses, I just didn’t want to try anymore,” he says. “It’s my own lack of heart. My heart was wrapped up in training Lisa and building our box, All Heart CrossFit, not in competing.”

This attitude continued well into 2011. Dunifer finished getting his ass handed to him in yet another local competition, only to overhear friends begin to make excuses for his performance.

“I was sick of people making excuses for me. For things I knew I could do if I just wanted it bad enough. What everyone can do if they truly want to”, Dunifer says.

Dunifer decided to give it one more try. With the help of Shiu, he is motivated and back on track. “I trust Lisa with everything,” he says. “She knows all my weakness, so she does all my programming.”

Shiu designed a program that hammers his weaknesses – mostly strength.

“I’m not strong at all, I just have good fight”, Dunifer says. “Lisa’s goal is to make me as strong as I have ever been. I don’t really run because I’m good at it, and the only time I do gymnastic WODs is when I need a mental boost. Otherwise its heavy weight all the time.”

Currently, Dunifer is training two on, one off, attempting to take advantage of the extra intensity he can bring to floor with the added recovery. Something he admits is a must for someone his age.

“I have to be constantly reminded to train like I’m 33, not 23, and not a regular 33, I’m an old 33”, Dunifer says. “This is my last year. I don’t physically think I could do it again.”

In 2012, Dunifer is tired of having excuses made for him. He’s giving it one last shot and is ready for the fight.