If you’re a fan of CrossFit, then chances are you’ve heard of Noah Ohlsen. He’s a Reebok CrossFit Games regular, and below we’ve included a few of Ohlsen’s 2017 CrossFit accomplishments thus far.
- Finished fourth at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games.
- Finished first in the CrossFit Team Series, and walked away with $10,000 USD.
- Earned a spot on team USA’s CrossFit Invitational team.
In addition to his above accomplishments, after this year’s Games Ohlsen earned himself the accolade of the second highest finisher among American males. With his continued growth in CrossFit, we wanted to learn a little more about Ohlsen’s career, his thoughts on this past year’s Games, and what his in-season/off-season training looks like.
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The recent stir within the @crossfit community has me processing a lot of thought and emotion. Mostly frustration and disappointment. First, at myself. While it'd be easy to assume I'd be thrilled to move up from the 5th fittest to the 4th, it's not that simple. Prior, the podium was well out of reach. Now, it's as if it were only 4 points beyond my grasp. One more lunge, one more overhead squat, one more pound on the snatch and I could have achieved a major lifetime goal. Alas, all I can do about that is look forward and allow it fire me up to leave no doubt next season. Then there's the frustration on behalf of the @crossfitgames athletes and fans. As if we didn't already get enough of the 💉 emojis and "no way these dudes are natural," comments. Now, I'd imagine that within our community and beyond it'll be even harder for people to believe that we train and compete with all natural integrity. That's not fair to those who do. Not really sure how to close this out.. hopefully it is a good thing that the testing protocol works and that scares more athletes away from PEDs. Congrats to @pvellner, I'm so sorry you didn't get the true experience of the podium again this season. Perhaps we can share it together in the next!
On Career and This Year’s Games
BarBend: When, and at what time in your life did you officially start CrossFit, and what was the initial pull that got you hooked?
Ohlsen: I was always pretty into health and fitness, and in my early college years it was all about aesthetics. So when I saw a poster advertising a CrossFit gym with a jacked dude on the front, I was interested. Turned out that dude was Guido Trinidad who went on to serve as my mentor into the sport and is now one of my best friends. After trying my first class in September 2010, my sophomore year of college at UM, I was hooked and have only done CrossFit ever since.
BarBend: Awesome. How have you changed as a whole since beginning? Mentally, physically, what’s been the greatest change you see when you reflect on your first few months in CrossFit?
Ohlsen: Man, I’ve changed so so much in so many ways! From physical to emotional to mental, everything seems like it went on the up and up since I got into CrossFit. The physical obviously, because it’s such a well rounded program everything started getting and feeling better. My cardio, my strength, my gymnastics, and body control.
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"Big things start small. The biggest oak starts from an acorn. You have to be willing to let that acorn grow into a little sapling and finally into a small tree and maybe one day it'll be big on its own." // This struck a cord with me while listening to a motivational speech (link in bio) sent to the @peak360fitness coaches by @guidotrinidad. I'm still watering my tree. I hope you are too. From my 1st @crossfit competition in 2010 at 19 years old to my 1st @crossfitgames in 2014 at 23.
Mentally, if you feel better on the outside, then I think it’s easy to feel better on the inside. My attitude has been very grateful, positive, and happy go lucky for as long as I can remember. Socially it’s awesome too because you get to have a blast every day working out in a class of like minded individuals.
BarBend: Stemming from those changes. What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
Ohlsen: Easily put,
“Nothing replaces hard work.”
I think that’s pretty easily applicable to all walks of life, but certainly in CrossFit. I had the desire to compete and be great, but had never lifted a barbell before I started, so it took a lot of dedication and hard work to get to where I am today, and there’s still plenty more work to be put in!
BarBend: There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to CrossFit, what’s something that you constantly have to clear up? This could be how people perceive the sport (everyone gets injured, etc), or some of the more controversial topics. How do you ignore critics & correct other’s perceptions?
Ohlsen: Yeah, I would say the injury thing from an outsider’s perspective is the one thing I try to clear up the most. I feel strongly that if you find the right gym that’s big on coaching and technical aspects of it all, then you’ll be making a very positive life change taking the leap into CrossFit.
I also had to convince my parents for a while that taking a class at a CrossFit gym can be for EVERYONE, no matter the age or fitness level, as they’d only ever seen me compete at a high intensity level and were intimidated to try it themselves. Three years later, they’re both the fittest they’ve been in a long time and my dad now owns CrossFit Wynwood.
BarBend: At the CrossFit Games, what are two thoughts that go through your head? These could be reminders, or mantras you keep in mind to keep pushing.
Ohlsen: I just try to get into the zone and coach myself through workouts, so there’s not one single mantra I say, just an overarching desire to be great and to make proud all of those that support me.
BarBend: You shared a great IG post about your thoughts on the Garard news, but being so close to the podium, what were your initial thoughts on the matter? Were you surprised, or more mad about the news?
Ohlsen: To keep it simple, it sucks. It just sucks to be in the gym every day grinding (and I’m not saying he wasn’t), but that someone out there I’m competing directly against in the biggest competition of my life, where my pride lies and how I make my living to support my family, had an unfair advantage. I hope it’s never the case again, it’s just so hard to tell.
BarBend: In-season, how many hours would you say you put in the gym on an average week? How many on the off-season?
Ohlsen: There isn’t really an “off-season”, but after the games I’ll take about 2 weeks fully off, and then a few more after that just to have fun and do whatever workouts I want. When I’m back in the groove I would say I train 5-6 hours a day in either 2 or 3 sessions, 5 days a week.
BarBend: Do you have any plans for the future in regards to CrossFit? For example, are you going to compete as long as you can? Or do you have an end goal in mind?
Ohlsen: I would love to continue competing as long as I can stay at a high level and stay healthy. I feel confident with my coach now, Max El-Hag of Training Think Tank that we have a plan that’ll allow my to do so. Obviously, the end goal is always striving to be the fittest on earth. I would also like to be able to use my platform and give back in a positive way. Not 100% sure what that looks like yet, but I’m excited for it!
BarBend: What’s your favorite exercise/workout, and why?
Ohlsen: I love the snatch because it’s such a fast, powerful, pretty, and technical lift. There’s not a whole lot of room for error and everything has to be timed just right to hit a big lift.
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☹️ The face you make as soon as you stick your final lift and realize you should've gone heavier. My two regrets from this years @crossfitgames were not taking a bigger jump than 263 to 273 on the snatch and putting the kettle bells down on the lunges in the final workout with 20 seconds left because I was unaware of the clock. Live and learn! I'll talk rope climbs soon. 📷 @crossfit
BarBend: Do you have any advice for someone who may be nervous of joining a box, or competing in CrossFit?
Ohlsen: Like I said above, find a good gym and take the leap! Somewhere that has a fundamentals process that you have to learn from before taking classes. I almost 100% promise that you’ll be a better person (mentally, physically, emotionally and socially) for it. Good luck!
Feature image from @noahohlsen Instagram page.