For three months, Dan O'Donnell ran, lifted weights and performed gymnastic maneuvers, all for a competition that bills itself as the sport of fitness.
The work paid off. O'Donnell, 57, finished ninth in the world in the men's masters category (ages 55 to 59) at the CrossFit Games, held July 25 in Carson, Calif.
CrossFit is a varied mix of aerobic exercises, gymnastics and Olympic weight training. The CrossFit Games, which started in 2007, have grown rapidly, with overall winners earning $275,000. Competitors are given random workouts, including some surprise elements that are not performed in most CrossFit regimens.
O'Donnell, a physical therapist in Clearwater, is the father of former Largo High School basketball standouts Ben and Mike O'Donnell, who now both work at the University of Central Florida. O'Donnell got into CrossFit about three years ago. He spoke to the Tampa Bay Times this week about what it takes to be a CrossFit athlete.
How much work was involved getting ready for the CrossFit Games?
There was a lot of effort, some really intense workouts. I constantly varied the pace and routine because you have to be ready for anything. But there's a lot more that goes into it. You have to diet and sleep well. Your whole body has to be prepared.
Why did you want to get involved with CrossFit?
It was something different to do. I've been working out with Les Porter (owner of CrossFit Clearwater) most of the time, and he's really good at changing things up and keeping it interesting.
How much longer do you plan to compete in CrossFit?
I love it. I want to keep doing it for as long as possible. The great thing about is it takes away the boredom and the monotony of working out. It's constantly changing.
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer