x

Get Stronger in 3 minutes (or less)

World records, results, training, nutrition, breaking news, and more. Join the BarBend Newsletter for everything you need to get stronger. Join the BarBend Newsletter for workouts, diets, breaking news and more.
BarBend Newsletter

Zack George: The UK’s Fittest Man (Podcast)

Today we’re talking to Zack George, who finished the 2020 CrossFit Open in first among males in the United Kingdom. Zack’s journey is an inspirational one: From overweight kid to the UK’s fittest man, we talk about the challenges and humbling moments along his path. Zack also joins us to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the CrossFit season, as well as his response to CrossFit HQ’s organizational shakeup and outgoing CEO Greg Glassman’s controversial comments.

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Zack George about:

  • Why Zack coaches himself (1:50)
  • Training considerations as one of the largest male elite CrossFitters (3:50)
  • How athletes approach training for the CrossFit Open vs. the CrossFit Games and other types of competition (8:00)
  • Zack’s approach to training, nutrition, and bodyweight around competitions (10:10)
  • Zack’s journey as an overweight child, and how that impacted his fitness journey (12:30)
  • The major life change that allowed Zack to train for the highest levels of performance (19:30)
  • How COVID-19 and the resulting season changes have impacted Zack, and how he’s keeping a positive outlook (22:00)
  • Zack’s response to Greg Glassman’s controversial comments and the resulting sale to Eric Roza (26:30)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

It was good to see other athletes — along with myself — speak out for the community who might not have the voice or the platform to be able to say what they wanted to say, and demand that change. I think that’s the only way I would have got back into CrossFit is if Glassman sold the company.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to Zack George, who finished the 2020 CrossFit Open in first among males in the United Kingdom. Zack’s journey is an inspirational one. From overweight kid to the UK’s Fittest Man. We talk about the challenges and humbling moments along his path.

 

Zack also joins us to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the CrossFit Games season, as well as his response to CrossFit HQ’s organizational shake-up and outgoing CEO Greg Glassman’s controversial comments.

 

Also, I want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice.

 

I’d also recommend subscribing to the BarBend Newsletter to stay up to date on all things strength. Go to barbend.com/newsletter to start becoming the smartest person in your gym today. Now, let’s get to it.

 

Zack George, thanks so much for joining us. One thing I absolutely have to start off with, because I talk to a lot of athletes — one of the cool things about my job — but very few of them coach themselves. You coached yourself. Why is that?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

I don’t know. I think because I’m a big athlete. I’ve always known that I need to do a lot of fitness and gymnastics work. I really enjoy programming. When I first started CrossFit in 2015, I think it was, I had a good friend, who’s now my business partner, a guy called Hami.

 

He was probably my first coach figure because he taught me everything and how to perform all the exercises. Once I mastered them, I started the program for myself. It seemed to pay off pretty well. It’s something that I love doing and it’s gone well.

David TaoDavid Tao

I have to ask, programming for yourself, obviously, it has gone well. It’s worked.

 

You’re the fittest man in the UK, one of the fittest athletes on the planet. What are some of the specific challenges about programming for yourself, as far as, making sure you’re attacking your weaknesses, trying to be objective about your own performance? What challenges you there?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

The biggest area people go wrong when they program for themselves, is they just tend to program their strengths, or the aspects of fitness that they like to perform, which obviously, that means all your weaknesses get left out.

 

I’ve always made sure I was attacking my weaknesses and addresses them as needed, while still trying to increase my strengths to get even stronger at them. Being a bigger athlete, I’m always one of these athletes that never struggles with strength element. I never have to go on any strength cycle to go and get that.

 

I’m 100 kilos, so it’s always easier for me to tuck weight around. Whereas trying to get to grips with the gymnastics, and trying to move my body as efficiently as possible in the fitness aspects, that’s stuff that I’ve had to work on to try and compete at the top level.

David TaoDavid Tao

You definitely are one of the largest elite level CrossFit athletes being 100 kilos. For us who are a little kilo challenged in the US, 220 pounds…

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Oh yeah, the pounds.

David TaoDavid Tao

Definitely, strength is your strength. If you don’t mind me asking, what are some of your baseline numbers for snatch, clean and jerk, back squat, deadlift, things like that?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

I’ve not tested my max in a while. The last time I did it was probably half a year ago now, I think it was. Clean and jerk was 162, and snatch 127 and a half. Obviously, I’d aim to have higher maxes now, but they’re the last ones I tested.

 

Back squats, again, it’s not something I tend to focus on. The last time I tested it, I could always get around 220, and that’s not doing any back squat strength program. The deadlifts, I’ve got a little ongoing back issue. I don’t tend to max out my deadlifts. I’ve not done that in years.

 

Those are the numbers that I’ve got, when I don’t focus too much on lifting. It’s a good aspect. I think it’s very fortunate to have, one of the longest and hardest things to develop as an athlete is strength. I feel quite fortunate that I could have those numbers and not have to focus on them too much. Then, just push on to the gymnastics and fitness.

 

I’m very lucky to have people around me in the gym that keep me accountable if I’m not doing any exercise I should be doing. People might comment as far as, “I’m not seeing you do rope climbs into one, start putting them in.”

 

It’s not like I just solely list on myself. I’ve got people around me who help me with different areas. I’ve now got a swimming coach and a [inaudible 5:36] coach. I’ve coached in different areas that I’m not too familiar with.

 

The pure CrossFit side, I’ve always just coached myself. I’m very fortunate to have very good people around me. I have a [inaudible 5:49] Ben. He will always be with me at competitions. He acts as my coach role during competitions. He’ll make sure that I don’t have to worry about certain things.

 

He’ll make sure my warm-up time’s all sorted for me. We’ll go through workout strategies together. I’ve definitely got a lot of people I can bounce ideas off of. It’s not solely down to me, but I would say I’m just my own coach which is pretty unique, I think, at the top level of the sport.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’ve talked to a few different CrossFitters about size differences at the elite level, especially among the males. I’ve talked to Brent Fikowski about this. He’s on the larger side, or on the larger, heavier side for an elite crosser. He’s pretty tall as well.

 

There are a lot of misconceptions around CrossFit at the elite level being a sport where you have to be 5’9” and 190 pounds or 185 pounds. What are some of the misconceptions that you think people have about larger athletes in this sport?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Definitely when you get to the Games level, it definitely has less of an effect being that height or that weight because a lot of the workouts at the Games do develop and suit a large athlete, some of them.

 

Things like the Open. The Open’s very specific to a certain type of athlete. That’s where you’ll find your biggest challenge if you’re a bigger athlete in height and weight is the Open because that is very fitness-orientated.

 

As you get through the season, you go toward the Games, it becomes less of an issue if you are heavier or slightly taller. You’re biggest issues will be to perform well in the Open. Someone like Fikowski is a perfect example because he still places very well in the Open, but nowhere near as good as he would do in a competition.

 

That’s because the Open is prone a certain way, and it definitely does suit a certain type of athlete. Not that a bigger athlete can’t do well in the Open, but it does favor the smaller athletes.

David TaoDavid Tao

You certainly did well in the Open. 2020 was a breakout year for you in the Open. Not like you hadn’t been on the scene, not like you hadn’t been competitive, but 2020, you are the fittest man in the UK, finished top among males in the Open out of the UK, finished 26th worldwide.

 

Was there anything about your approach to training heading into or just how you approached the 2020 Open that was different in previous years to make such progress in that competition?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

I think the year before, in 2019, I was very close. There was one workout that messed me up. That was, I think it was 19.3. The one with the strict hands-ups press-ups.

David TaoDavid Tao

The bane of many taller, heavier athlete. [laughs]

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Literally. My results for the other four awards that year were first, second, first, fifth, and then 168th. That one workout cost me getting to the Games 2019. From then, I worked a lot on strict hands-up press-ups. I also went on a diet before the Open 2020. I found that made a big difference.

 

Like I said, now I’m 100 kilos. I’ll train at 100 kilos throughout the year. Then, if I’ve got anything like the Games or the Open or a major competition, I’ll always aim to get down to 96 kilograms. That difference in four kilos makes a huge difference.

 

[inaudible 9:16] I don’t really have to worry about losing too much strength. I think that was one of the key reasons that helped me win the Open. I’ve been working with M2 Performance Nutrition. He keeps me on track. That’s our aim for every competition now is to always compete at 96 kilos. It makes such a big difference being four kilos lighter.

David TaoDavid Tao

Interesting. What are some of the nutritional strategies you’re using to cut weight but still maintain optimal performance and as much strength as possible?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Once I was working with M2, I was quite an unusual athlete because of my size, and I train for three to four hours a day. I don’t actually eat that much food. I’m on around 3,570 calories at the minute which is not a lot for someone my size and the time which I train. I love a cheap meal. That’s my downfall.

 

Come Saturday, Sunday, I’m bathing in chocolate and sweets. [laughs] For the Open, all we did was basically cut out cheat meals. For the two months before the Open, I ate exactly the same every day and didn’t have a cheat meal. That dropped three to four kilos off.

 

I don’t really have to change too much. It’s just when I’ve not got anything specific to train towards. Like at the minute, I’m clearly not going to the Games, so I like to have a cheat meal at the weekends. Whereas, if I was going to the games in September, I wouldn’t be having any cheat meals. That make a difference.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I have to ask is, you drop some body weight for a competition, you have that competition, you’ve denied yourself the cheat meal for a few weeks or months leading up to that. What’s that first cheat meal after the Open or after a competition? That’s going to be an epic one.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yeah, it’s huge. It lasts about three or four days and it’s a rampages…

 

 …a rampage of donuts, pizza, chocolate, and sweets.

 

When I did the Dubai competition, we had [inaudible 11:21] whole day after — me and my girlfriend — for about five days after. Before going to that competition, I wasn’t in peak condition. I was about 98, 99 kilos. I was just going for pure enjoyment because I’d already won the Open. I came back at 104.5. That’s because I went mad in four days and ate everything.

 

My go-to is literally donuts, pizzas, chocolate, sweets. I’m a sort of person where I’m all or nothing. If I’ve not had anything for a while, and then I’m allowed to have something, I’d go mad for a good couple of days. That matches the character that I am. I’ll definitely make the most of having a lot of cheat food.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I do want to talk about — because this is something you’ve been very open about in profiles and interviews that you’ve done recently — is the fact that you were not always this paragon of fitness.

 

You obviously weren’t always the UK’s Fittest Man. Well before your career in fitness, you were an adolescent who…You admittedly have said that you struggled with your weight. I can very much relate. I’m over 100 pounds lighter than I was at a certain point in high school. [laughs]

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Oh, wow. That’s huge.

David TaoDavid Tao

It is. It has impacted my approach to fitness. Something I think that I credit for my interest in fitness is the fact that I’m in the fitness industry, although I write about fitness, so it’s a little weird. I have an easier job than you do, I think, in many ways.

 

Tell us a little bit about that journey and how you think that impacts your approach to wellness today.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

If anyone knew me as a kid and then didn’t meet me until now, they wouldn’t believe what I do now. As a kid, I was quite lazy. I didn’t want to do any exercise. I loved having McDonald’s, KFC, chocolates, sweets, literally every day. That lasted for quite a while.

 

I think it was at the age of around 12, 13 where my dad was like, “We need to rein this because if you carry on how you’re going, when you get to your teens and early 20s, you’re going to be not happy in yourself.” He famously offered me a PlayStation 2 in return to losing some weight.

 

I really wanted a PlayStation 2 at the time. I remember, I was begging him, “Can you get me on please, please?” He was like, “I’ll make you a deal. If you lose some weight, then I’ll buy you a PlayStation 2.” I was like, “Ah, amazing.” I don’t really know how to do that, but I figured out if I stopped having as much junk food, I’m probably going to lose some weight.

 

Instead of having four or five McDonald’s a week, I’d have maybe two. Instead of having a bag of [inaudible 14:10] every day after school, I’d just have it maybe twice a week. The weight dropped off. Not massively, but I did lose some weight.

 

My dad was like, “OK. Cool. You stuck to your end of the deal, I’ll stick to mine.” Then he got me a PlayStation 2. That carried on. He would reward me with different things, like a new game or something like that.

 

We went to an Anthony Robertson seminar. I can’t remember how old I was. I must been around 14, 15. It was a great motivational weekend. It was a lot about health, nutrition mindset.

 

I think after going to that seminar, it was the first time where I wanted to lose weight for myself, and not need an external reward from anyone. That was a big shift because that was the first time I wanted to do it for myself.

 

After that, all of us as a family started getting into health a lot more. I started to get a lot more active, I started to go do body weight workouts at home, started playing a lot more sport. It became a lifestyle after that, all the way into my late teenage years. That’s when I was about 17, 18, I really bought into my fitness and became a PT I never looked back.

 

It all stemmed down from my dad offering me a PlayStation 2. I’m very glad he did.

David TaoDavid Tao

In your early experiences in CrossFit, I’ve read that you discovered CrossFit in around 2013. You really began it in 2015 because there weren’t a lot of CrossFit boxes or facilities in your area. I want to talk about CrossFit in the UK.

 

Obviously, it’s something that is popular. Obviously, it’s something that where the UK has sent a lot of fantastic athletes to the Games, perhaps most famously 2013 Games champion Samantha Briggs — one of the best CrossFitters of all time. If there were a Hall of Fame, she’d be first ballot.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Definitely.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think 2015 CrossFit in the United States, there was a CrossFit box on every corner. They were popping up everywhere. It was just massive here. It seems like it was a little bit slower growth around where you were when it came to the popularity and accessibility of CrossFit. Was that challenging when you were first getting into the sport?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yeah, it definitely was. I remember, I first watched it in 2013. I watched the CrossFit Games’ highlights. I was like, this is mental. I had no idea what was going on, what people were doing. I think it was the Games where they did the swim and the bar monster workout. I was like, this is just mental. What these guys can do is insane.

 

I remember being addicted to watching highlights and it was from the days when you had Spealler, Kalipa, Froning, Graham Holmberg. I got addicted to watching all their YouTube videos. There wasn’t many boxes around at that time. I remember I traveled to unit 22 in a place called Northampton, which is about 45 minutes away.

 

That was a big effort for me to make that commitment. I could only go once or twice a week. It took so long to get there and so long to get back. It was pretty much half the day gone. I couldn’t afford to take that much time off work to be able to get there. I was going once or twice a week.

 

As you know, if you want to progress in CrossFit, you can’t just do it once or twice a week. I did that for about a year, year and a half, entered a few competitions, got annihilated.

 

I was like, I think I need to up my game here because I’m not progressing enough, and the standard is just crazy when you go to these competitions because, obviously, I wasn’t really involved in a box, per se, as in going to a box every day, you don’t really get to know what the standard is. You’re only dipping in and out of a box once or twice a week.

 

I opened a commercial gym in 2015. That was a mixture of fitness classes. We had some bodybuilder type machinery and then made a really small ring in the corner. I used to practice what I could on my own.

 

Again, trying to learn all the gymnastic movements on your own is never going to end well. I just chicken wing or wing muscle-ups and chicken wing around a bar and thinking I’m doing it really well. Then, watch it back and I look horrendous.

 

That’s when Hami came to my gym. When I first met Hami he said, “You’ve got good potential, but you have no idea what you’re doing.” He taught me and took me under his wing and taught me everything for about a year or so.

 

I really wanted to make a dent in the UK CrossFit scene and get to the CrossFit Games. I ended up opening a CrossFit box. That was probably the biggest athlete shift I had of my career, was opening my own box. That enabled me to be around people who want to do CrossFit every day. I had people to challenge me and do workouts against.

 

It made such a big difference being in that environment every single day. That was probably the biggest change in my career I had, was opening that box. Having Hami there to predominantly coach all the classes while I could focus on training and recovery in between sessions. That made such a big difference.

 

I remember when I was working in the commercial gym, I’d be working 12-hour days and trying to train for 2 or 3 hours. You don’t realize it in the time, but obviously your body can’t cope with that. My performance was never increasing as it should have been because I was working too much.

 

Being able to go in the morning, train, come back in the afternoon, do whatever I need to do, maybe have a nap, get all the right nutritional food in and then go back in the evening and train again. That made a massive difference to my athlete career.

David TaoDavid Tao

Fast forward to the 2020 Open, which took place in late 2019. It gets a little confusing…

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yeah, it gets very confusing, doesn’t it?

David TaoDavid Tao

That was the year where we had two CrossFit Opens and now the CrossFit Open is a year ahead. It is like when they release a new car its always the next years model the year they release it. Its confusing.

 

You qualify for the CrossFit games as the fittest out of the U.K. I won’t even ask you how that felt, because the answer is clearly, it felt great, it was dreams come true. Then things get a little bit derailed. The COVID-19 pandemic strikes. The CrossFit Game takes a different form.

 

It’s no longer in Madison Wisconsin. The field is narrowed very significantly. Most impactfully to you, national champions out of the Open don’t automatically qualify for the games anymore. You were right on the cusp of being still in that top 20 worldwide but not quite there.

 

When you found out about that what was your communication like with CrossFit HQ? Was it made pretty clear you weren’t going to the Games, or was there still a you may or may not period?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

I still could potentially go now. It depends on if people can fly or if you can get into the United States. I think once people have declined their spot if they’re going team, or what not. I think we are about two or three spots out. It is not a definite no, but I know everyone’s accepted their invitation at the minute. It just depends on if they can travel there or not.

 

Once we first went into lockdown and this all happened with COVID-19, I said to myself the game is probably going to have a change somewhere along the lines, because we went to lockdown in March. I was already mentally preparing for it not to go as how it should have been.

 

Then we got told there’s going to be no spectators. I was like, that’s still a big difference for me, because a big part of me going to the Games is being able to live it with my family and my friends who have been there every day training with me. It wouldn’t be the same if I went out there without them.

 

It was a bit of a bummer because I’ve not got the people I want there, but I am still going to be able to compete. Then they took the national champ spots away. I remember I was on a date with my girlfriend. My phone was going mental. At the start of the night we said we’re not going to go on our phones, us just chat and whatnot.

 

I was like, “Babe, my phone is going mental. I think I need to check it.” I found out by Instagram, people just messaging me that they cut the national champ spots. I think a lot of the people who are close to me were more annoyed for me than actually I was, because mentally I already prepared myself for a change.

 

I should always think of the bigger picture. There’s a lot of people who were, during COVID, losing their lives, losing their jobs. There’s a lot bigger picture going on.

 

Even though it’s been a seven-year goal of mine to get to the Games, there’s people who are in a lot worse situation than I am. If you look at it in that sense, it’s definitely not the end of the world, not being able to compete at the Games.

 

Obviously, I’d actually love to and it’s been my dream for so long. I’m still healthy. My family is safe and healthy. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a major deal. A lot of the people who are close to me were very annoyed.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s an incredibly mature outlook to take on this. One thing that I’ve really admired about the CrossFit community is, the fact that there have been a lot of changes. There have been a lot of things going on. We’ll get to some other issues that have been occurring in the CrossFit space.

 

A lot of the reaction, especially to changes that have occurred around the COVID-19 pandemic, have been pretty understanding. I don’t want to say that’s a blanket case, right? You don’t see a lot of athletes taking to Instagram, and complaining of the games have been changed, because of this massive global pandemic.

 

Everyone is doing their best to roll with the punches. Everyone understands that it’s not any one person’s fault, in the CrossFit community, that the games are going to look different this year. It’s still unclear if they’re even going to happen in 2020. Let’s be honest, you know what I mean?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yeah. COVID-19 has spiked a lot in America, isn’t it? In certain areas.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

It has. We’re recording this podcast on July 23rd. We won’t actually release it for a little bit, for maybe a couple weeks after we record it. California, where the CrossFit Games was moved to the ranch in Aromas, has gone back into lockdown, so to speak. They moved back a couple phases or a phase.

 

Everyone had thought that by mid-August, and then it was by mid-September. Maybe things will be open enough for people to be able to travel in, no spectators, but for a competition to actually be approved.

 

Unclear if that’s going to happen because of cases in the state. The actual county where the ranch is also has to give approval. It’s unclear if or when that would come through. Still, a lot up in the air, frankly.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yes. Every athlete at the minute, even if they’ve got their spot, they’re still going to have the mentality that it might not be going ahead. There’s so many different variables that could happen between now and September.

 

The whole world could have another spike, and then we’re back to square one. It’s a very uncertain time. You’ve got to roll with it week in, week out, because it’s always changing, isn’t it?

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I also want to chat about is, it hasn’t been just the COVID-19 pandemic that’s upended, or at least, caused a lot of change in the CrossFit community this summer. It’s been the fact that the unthinkable, in many ways, has happened and that the company is being sold, or has been sold, or is in the process, a little unclear. It’s supposed to happen this month.

 

After a lot of quotes, recordings, allegations surfaced that basically called out a very toxic workplace culture, allegedly. Also, some comments that Greg Glassman — the founder of CrossFit — made, that people said were incredibly insensitive.

 

It’s been something where diversity in CrossFit was called into question. I don’t want to wax poetic too much, but, it’s clear that the CrossFit community has demanded change. The sale of CrossFit to Eric Roza is a prime example of that. What do you think? Are you optimistic about the future of CrossFit and CrossFit HQ, given all that has happened over the last two months?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

When all that kicked off, I was very vocal over my social media. Straightaway, I said my piece and said, “I’m not going to back CrossFit. I wouldn’t go to the CrossFit Games. I wouldn’t be an affiliate any longer,” because, he can’t get away and say the things he said. What he did say doesn’t reflect the CrossFit community whatsoever.

 

That was one of the most annoying factors is, anyone outside the CrossFit circle, could have read the magazine and said, and saw what the CEO of CrossFit said, and automatically assumed, that was the view and the voices of the CrossFit community, which it wasn’t at all. It’s the total opposite.

 

I’ve never come across any discomfort or racial abuse for the whole time I’ve been doing CrossFit. I’ve competed around the world in different competitions. I’ve been to several different boxes, and that’s never been the case.

 

It was good to see other athletes, along with myself, really speak out for the community. We might not have the voice to be able to, or the platform to be able to say what they wanted to say, and demand that change.

 

That’s the only way I would have got back into CrossFit, is if Glassman sold the company. Him stepping down as CEO wasn’t good enough, because he still would have got all the profits from CrossFit. To see him sell it is a really good step in the right direction. Going forward, we need to give Eric a chance to see where he takes CrossFit.

 

That’s already been a massive change that they’ve done. They still got other changes to be made. They still got to prove that they are going to take CrossFit in the right direction. Only time will tell. We do need to give them the chance, to see how it’s going to play out over the next year or so. It’s definitely exciting and definitely extremely positive for CrossFit.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you think people were looking to you, maybe more than other athletes while all this was going on, because you’re a Black athlete or an athlete of color?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Yeah, I definitely think so. It was a combination of that within the UK Open, along with high-level athlete. Then also, I’m a CrossFit boxer owner as well. I’ve got lots of different angles where I’m involved within CrossFit.

 

When I made the post, I got a lot of messages from the CrossFit community saying, thank you that I actually spoke out, and I wasn’t scared to say my piece. That was really rewarding for me, to see how many people were appreciative of what I said.

 

I was really glad that I could speak for the CrossFit community, and speak on their behalf, and use my platform for a positive change. I love to see how people were appreciative of that. It made it very worthwhile.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you could say one thing to folks who might not be super familiar with the CrossFit community. They might have heard of it. They might have been observing what was going on. They might not have that insider’s perspective that you have, or that a lot of people listening to this podcast might have, as members of the fitness community.

 

If you could say one thing to those outside observers about the CrossFit community, what might that be?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Every box I’ve been to, you always get the same family feel from a CrossFit box. A CrossFit community, it doesn’t matter what age, gender, where you’re from, what color you are. As soon as you walk through that door, you’re going to be made to feel a part of the family straightaway.

 

That’s been the case in every box I’ve walked into. That’s one of the biggest reasons CrossFit has grown so much, and so many people continue to do CrossFit, is because of the community and how inclusive it is.

 

You’ve got people who you’d never thought they’d be able to do a burpee. Let alone after coming to a half year, they’re doing complicated gymnastic movements or complicated barbell movements. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner to a top elite athlete. Everyone is in that box for the same reasons, and everyone pushes each other.

 

It is a massive family. It’s definitely the aspect of CrossFit that kept me going from the start, was that community aspect and, like I said, being a family. Not walking into a gym with your headphones in, and not speaking to anyone.

 

As soon as everyone walks into that door, it’s like everyone’s social aspect of their life. It’s made such a big difference to my life. I know so many other people it’s made a big difference, too.

David TaoDavid Tao

Zack, I very much appreciate that perspective. It’s obvious that CrossFit has had a huge impact on your life. Not only the community having an impact on you, but you on the community opening your own CrossFit affiliate and building a community of your own there.

 

That certainly comes through in how you describe it. Where is the best place for people to keep up-to-date with your training, and with your progress as an athlete?

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Definitely. My Instagram is Zack George. I mainly use that to post loads of workouts for people to motivate, and to inspire people. If you ever want a good workout idea, head over to my page and then you’ll see several workouts of me dying on my page.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] If you try Zack’s workouts and they’re miserable, don’t blame Zack. You chose to do that. I just want to clarify.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Every single one will be guaranteed humbled.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Zack, thanks so much for joining us today. Really appreciate your time.

Ryan DorrisRyan Dorris

Also mate, thank you. Cheers.

Leave a Comment