CrossFit Games veteran Jacob Heppner announced on Instagram that he is retiring from competitive CrossFit. The 30-year-old affirmed that while CrossFit competition is no longer on his radar, he has sights set on various endeavors, including becoming a CrossFit commentator, competing in firearms competitions, and hosting seminars in the “Heppner Barn Gym.”
“CrossFit has been one of the largest blessings in my life — the people I’ve met, the friendship I’ve formed, the fact that fans and competitors are the same people,” Heppner says in the video.” You can check out the full Instagram video below, in which Heppner quips: “For some of you, this is saddening. For some of you, you’re excited because another spot on the leaderboard opened up.”
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Though Heppner is being funny, he’s right in that CrossFit just lost a serious competitor. Heppner has competed in the Open seven times, placing third in 2019, cinched second in Regionals from 2014-2016, and has competed in five CrossFit Games. His best Games finish was sixth in 2019. He placed 12th in the 2020 Games.
He’s also known for having a big personality — remember that time he trolled CrossFit with a fake workout submission in 2019? — and his controversial 18.4 Open workout when he failed to qualify for Regionals due to a form technicality.
Heppner’s retirement is yet another major change in 2021 for the CrossFit community. Though 2021 is only three months old at the time Heppner has retired, much has happened. Here’s a quick rundown:
- CrossFit restructured their entire season and Games qualification process.
- Five-time CrossFit Games champ Mat Fraser also retired from competitive CrossFit.
- The first 10 members of CrossFit’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council were announced.
- CrossFit premiered a new weekly news show, called Games Central on YouTube.
- Four-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr continues to dominate her Bobsledding pursuit.
- NOBULL became the title sponsor for the CrossFit Games (for the next three years).
- WHOOP is now the official wearable of CrossFit.
- Sports anchor Derek Forrest is a new member of the CrossFit media team.
What’s Next for Heppner?
What will Heppner do now that he’s done with competition, and why retire now? He addresses both of these points in a YouTube video, which he released on the same day as his Instagram post. You can watch the full 16-minute video below.
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Heppner’s reason for retiring now was quite simple: He felt that the time he was putting into training for CrossFit, five to six hours a day, was time he could spend improving the sport and community.
“I’ve always spoken about this on podcasts; the conversation that always comes up is giving back to the community that’s given so much to me,” Heppner explains in the YouTube video. “This is the only sport where fans and competitors are the same people. The person working out in the lane next to me is also cheering me on. It’s time to move on and do other things in the sport. I realize that may not resonate with other people, but it’s only meant to resonate with me.”
While he’s done with CrossFit, Heppner has made it clear that he’s not done with competitive sports. He didn’t reveal all of his future sports, but Heppner is competing in firearm competitions. As for the athletic endeavor he can’t discuss, he said, “It will be huge.”
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Heppner will also be hosting seminars and camps in his barn gym, which is one way he plans to give back. There’s also his desire to become a commentator, which he’s serious about.
“Me commentating on the Games will be more exciting than me commentating on myself,” Heppner says. “I’ve always enjoyed talking to other people, interviewing them. I think being able to that in the CrossFit industry would be a huge help to us.”
Of course, Heppner also has his existing businesses to tend to. He has his coaching service, GRIT — which is also releasing a new app very soon, he says — and his nutrition coaching service Functional Eating. It’s safe to say Heppner will have plenty on his plate, even with competitive CrossFit in the rearview.
“I have a lot of excitement for the things going forward,” Heppner says. “A lot of us spend so much time working out in the gym that we don’t actually go out there and try a different sport. I’m really excited to try new things, meet new people, and do new opportunities.”
Featured image: @jheppner66 on Instagram