CrossFit South Rockland

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Athlete in top form for CrossFit competition

Athlete in top form for CrossFit competition
The Sault Star

Ted Fryia may be in the best shape of his life.

And the Sault man, who has been a dominant wrestler and valuable wrestling coach for years, will need to be in top form in a few weeks when he competes on the international stage at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, in Los Angeles, Ca.

The 55-year-old will participate in the CrossFit Master's Division, where athletes from 55 to 60 will try to best each other at the three-day event beginning July 29.

CrossFit is a fitness competition that combines speed, strength and endurance events with the goal of developing overall fitness. Athletes compete in a number of events, including jumping rope, climbing rope, running, rowing, carrying odd objects and moving large loads quickly over short distances. They also use powerlifting techniques and perform gymnastic exercises.

Fryia qualified for the games by placing third overall — out of more than 400 competitors – during a six-week process that ended in April.

"I was pretty happy because I didn't go into the competition in any kind of shape that I considered good shape. It began exactly at the end of the wrestling season and I wasn't in the gym very much by myself. So I was very happy with where I placed, considering."

Each week during qualifying, competitors completed a standard workout with standard measurements. Fryia was required to take part in a number of events during qualifications and his results were submitted to the CrossFit organization headquarters in Los Angeles.

Fryia is a member of Catalyst Fitness, a local club with two gym locations in the Sault, in the Industrial Park and at 498 Queens St. E. Catalyst offers very broad and very diverse training, Fryia says.

"It basically gets at all the energy systems, hence the word crossfit. … It's considered the true fitness test."

Fryia had no reservations about participating in the CrossFit Games this year for the first time. He made up his mind about signing up after watching the event in 2010.

"After seeing them, I knew I could compete."

He will not know exactly which events he must participate in at the games until the day of the competition. He may not even know until an hour before the event is staged, he says.

Last year some contestants didn't find out what their final event would be until about 10 minutes before the starting gun sounded. That's why training must be very broad, he said.

"You have to be prepared for anything. That's the only way. … Whereas a weightlifter would train for weight lifting, a runner would train for running and a gymnast will train for gymnastics, we have to train for all of those things, and more."

Although, by his own standards he wasn't in very good shape when he qualified a few months ago, Fryia – a teacher at Superior Heights — has turned things around and stepped up training in preparation for the California event.

With school now out, he has more time to work up a sweat.

"It's perfect timing. I'm now doing two-a-days, where I'm hitting the gym twice a day," he said.

"I've been working on a lot of technical things, as well as just overall conditioning."

He trains six days a week, doing power lifting, running, jumping, as well as basic gymnastic activities, such as pull ups and rings.

No floor exercises or tumbling are required during competition, he says. However, he might be asked to walk on his hands, which is something he is slyly looking forward to.

"Those sorts of things are kind of my forte."

At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, Fryia says he is not large compared to other competitors in his division, which puts him at a slight disadvantage in some events where heavy lifting is required.

"Hopefully I can make it up in other areas."

He says wrestlers tend to do well in crossfit competition, which can be gruelling and painful at times.

"A lot of it is kind of mind over matter. When you're pushing yourself, you have to push through some envelopes."

Fryia has been active most of his life. He was an outstanding wrestler in high school and university, but a few years ago he "was very much out of shape," he says.

After an echo-cardiogram suggested his heart wasn't in top condition, Fryia decided to do something about it.

"That kind of inspired me to get off my butt and get back into shape. Now I'm probably in the best shape I've been in since I was in university."

Fryia says the person who wins the championship in the open division at the annual CrossFit Games is billed as the fittest person on the planet.

He will make the trek to Los Angeles with his coach, Chris Cooper, who is also the owner of Catalyst Fitness.

The Crossfit Games will be streamed online from July 29-31. For more information about the event or to watch the games, log onto

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