July 2023


Body weight: 165.4

Mood: Good

Upcoming Competitions: N/A


Although I won’t be competing anytime soon, I figure I will write a little bit about the kinds of competitions I would be competing in in this part of the world. As you might expect, the summer months are the months for CrossFit competitions on the “Old Continent” and in some parts (like Eastern Europe, where I am closest too) these are pretty much the only months when competition is taking place.

European Masters Throwdown

The European Masters Throwdown (EMT) is an annual CrossFit competition involving…you guessed it…Master’s-aged CrossFit athletes. Taking place since at least 2016, the recently expanded field now includes athletes from age 30 to over 60.

In any given year, there are at least 2 or 3 CrossFit Games athletes competing (Poland’s Artur Komorowski and Slovakia’s František Heriban are regular competitors) as well as a host of semi-final athletes (Croatia’s Augustin Viličnik, who won the 30+ Men’s competition, finished 27th in this year’s Europe Semifinal competition). In all respects, the competition truly lives up to its name!

It is obvious that participation is important to event organizer, Hungary’s Gergely Mezes. A large number of athletes qualify from each age group (I tackled the 23.2 qualifying WOD for “fun” one day and my 6:57 result would have ranked decently well for my age group), but the competition day environment appears to be quite different.

Taking a peek at Event 2 here, that ladder gets a bit heavy. Not, like, ridiculously heavy, but you gotta know your way around a barbell to have any kind of chance here.

And the top 6 men…in the 40+ age group…hit every barbell.

Well done, men!

Budapest happens to be my all-time favorite city and although it can be a bit hectic in the summer, I look forward to competing at EMT next June. The best news of all? They really simplify the age-group cut-offs.

How nice it will be to be competing against the…old-er guys without quite being 40 yet!

Metcon FortFight Competition

Truth be told, this throwdown won’t be taking place until September, although the qualifiers are well underway.

For the last couple of years, this was more or less the competition in Serbia (the upcoming Battle for Belgrade is looking to usurp this title), initially being held outside of the city of Novi Sad before moving to Belgrade last year.

Although it is more of a regional competition, mainly drawing athletes from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Hungary, and Slovenia, it has started to attract athletes from further out; Turkish, Swiss, and German athletes can be found on the leaderboard.

Competition isn’t nearly as high at FortFight as it is in other places and the breakdown of competitors is similar to what many have, unfortunately, grown accustomed to in the region.

In contrast to EMT where Rx athletes outnumber Scaled athletes by orders of magnitude, the reverse is true at FortFight (there are roughly 5 Scaled and “Advanced” (i.e….Scaled) athletes registered for the qualifiers as there are Rx (or “elite”) athletes.

This is unfortunate.

No, not because the level of the competitors is lower in these regions, but because many of these athletes consciously opt to compete in lower categories because they want to “win” (or, in contrast, don’t want to “lose too bad”). I have worked out with and around many of these competitors; I can assure you; they are capable of going Rx.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a real push for athletes to compete in categories more appropriate to their abilities. I understand that organizers can’t really vet all competitors, but when 2 of the top 4 finishers from one of last year’s scaled categories have re-entered this year’s competition in the same category…well…I think you know what the result will be.

Of course…all of this complaining could just be sour grapes; I qualified, but did not compete in FortFight last year!

After my disastrous 3 best single overhead squat attempts (yeah…one of those types of qualifying WODs, again), I didn’t really think I deserved to compete.

As it is, I’m looking forward to reviewing the scores from the qualifiers this year that include, of all things, a bunch of shuttle runs and a max cluster.

No idea where they might have gotten an idea for these events!

CrossFit “Coaching”

Wow…what an…experience.

For roughly 3 weeks in June, I was under the “close” tutelage of a CrossFit “coach”.

(I’ll stop with the air quotes now; I’m sure you all get what I’m getting at!)

I had alluded to my desire for a coach in last month’s update and finally decided to take the plunge after going through my mobility screen.

The main individual I worked with is a decently accomplished CrossFit athlete, although not a CrossFit Games-level individual. However, I was more closely attracted to the wealth of content this person and their organization had put out regarding all things CrossFit.

Need to get better at a particular skill? They have an article on it.

Need to build your stamina on one of the erg machines? They have a video on it.

Need to know what to ask for when hiring a CrossFit coach? They have discussed it and can provide some tips.

Without going into an excessive amount of detail, I ended up terminating the relationship at the end of the third week of training. The “personalized” (sorry!) program seemed a bit generic and the highly anticipated feedback I was expecting on my lifts (especially my Olympic lifts) never came.


It felt pretty crappy to get burned so bad (I coughed up close to $450 when everything was said and done), but at least I did get a few weeks of decent workouts (more or less in line with what I had been doing in HWPO) and I found out early how poor the coaching would be (and not after spending thousands).

As bad as this coaching was, I feel confident that it has opened the door to something better. While I was debating which direction to go in with my programming, I had toyed with putting everything else aside and going all in on weightlifting. I even found an online coach who was both a very accomplished lifter and long-time coach.

Better yet, he charges about ¼ of what the CrossFit coach discussed about charges for programming and coaching.

I reached out to this coach and we immediately set up what would end up being a very pleasant and informative conversation. I was so impressed with our conversation that I decided to immediately being training with this coach (I am leaving on vacation for 5 days and figured I would wait until I returned home to start the training).

…and so far, he has definitely lived up to his coaching, analysis, and feedback offerings. This is the feedback he left/created for a single accessory lift (I need a lot of work on very basic things, obviously!)

This is roughly 3 times as much written feedback as I received during my entire training period with the previous coach (no exaggeration, I counted the words!). I also never received any type of visual accompaniment. I really can’t wait for a full video review!

I have a feeling you’re going to be reading a lot about this coach and my weightlifting experience over the coming months. 3 days in and I’m more excited about training than I’ve been since my first days of training HWPO!


I would be remiss to bypass this portion of my experience with CrossFit coaching over the last few weeks. As much as the “personalized” coaching was a huge miss, my mobility has definitely benefitted from the experience.

As I mentioned, the individual who I worked with has put together a lot of materials on a variety of CrossFit-related topics. Many of these resources are publicly available while others are pretty well hidden or are made available to certain (i.e. paying) parties.

Once I began my training, I was given access to the numerous mobility routines this individual had put together as well suggested routines and movements to follow based on my aforementioned mobility screening. I generally did these during a much shorter afternoon session 3-4 days each week.

My knees don’t feel perfect, but feel a bit better since I started following these. However, my nagging right shoulder soreness has dissipated, possibly 80%.

I can assure you that that ain’t bad!

I will definitely be continuing to work these mobility routines into my regular training regimen (as I have quickly become a “true believer” in mobility work!)

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Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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