ALPHARETTA, Ga. — For 22-year-old Travis Mayer, competing in the 2013 CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., was more than just about proving who was the most well-rounded athlete; it was about a comeback.
The Alpharetta athlete placed second in the South East Regional Games in May, qualifying him for the Games in July. Only the top three competitors from each region get a shot at the national competition in California.
“You could say it’s a smaller version of the Olympics for us,” Mayer said.
As a growing trend in suburban, fitness-minded communities, crossfit is a “constantly varied” workout program that encourages everyday functional fitness, Mayer said. Workouts tend to last for shorter periods, but in exchange, the “functional movements”— gymnastics, Olympic weight-lifting, biking, swimming, running— are performed at a high intensity.
“It’s one of the most intense sports I’ve ever done,” said Mayer, who raced motocross for eight years before switching to crossfit.
This year, Mayer placed 18th overall, earning him a coveted ranking amoung the top 20 fittest crossfit athletes in the world.
“The week was an incredible experience,” Mayer said. “From being around all these great athletes to each workout— I felt really good about my performance.” Last year, he fractured his back and was unable to compete in the regionals.
“It was tough because you train all year for pretty much one competition,” Mayer said. “You train day-in and day-out and you get to a point and then you get hurt; it’s tough mentally.”
With up to three workouts a day for five days each week, Mayer’s discipline and attitude have defined the young athlete’s quick turn-around.
“It’s taken a lot of rest, physical therapy and building up strength,” Mayer said. “In the long run [the injury] has made me into a better athlete.”
Aside from his athletic accomplishment, Mayer has come back in another way.
After last month’s Games, the Woodstock native will launch his new business, Crossfit Passion, 197 Roswell Street.
The gym will serve as a workout facility for fellow cross-fit fanatics, teenage athletes and younger children whose parents want to introduce fitness at an early stage.
“Everybody is usually very intimidated with crossfit,” Mayer said. “They see people throwing weights around and doing all these crazy things.”
Aside from providing equipment and training for adults, CrossFit Passion will also include youth programs with softer, instructional approaches to fitness.
Co-owner and certified CrossFit Kids instructor Marjorie Greene will lead the youth classes which are designed to teach kids the basic movements while keeping the concept of “working out” enjoyable.
“We’re trying to get teens in here, middle school and high school, and take them to the next level.” Greene said. “We create an environment where they love it, they’ll beg to come.”
Greene, who attended the California Games in support, said that Mayer has a passion for people and training them to function at their best in life.
“He is an amazing guy to be around,” Greene said about her business and workout partner. “He has made an incredible comeback this year.”
Mayer, who is looking forward to training harder this year for the 2014 Games said it is important for athletes to not to “let the little things” get to them.
“You just have to keep going and push through it,” Mayer said. “You’ll get to that next level as long as you want it.”