I heard about Macy Mitchell when I was watching the CrossFit Open update show. His story is somewhat different, as he smashed all the open WODs and placed 27th worldwide among 200,000+ competitors, but opted not to compete in the Regionals as he wanted to focus on his family and business. That itself is an inspiring feat that only a few athletes can do. After all, when you aim to compete in top level events such as the CrossFit Games, a lot of aspects of your life will have to take a back seat.
Macy has had a lot of accomplishments. He’s a former NAIA All-American track athlete. Former CrossFit Games athlete. Box owner and successful businessman. But if you ask him, he’s most important accomplishment would be his family and faith. Read on and be inspired with his story.
How long have you been involved in the sport of CrossFit? What was your first impression of the sport?
I’ve been doing CrossFit for 6 years. I’ve been a coach since the beginning as well. I came from a history of running track in college so when I found CrossFit, I couldn’t believe that I found something as or more effective for staying in great shape than collegiate sports.
What was your first WOD like? How did it feel after?
My first Benchmark WOD was Fight gone Bad… I was in the middle of training and competing in triathlons at that time and was invited to try FGB. Sounded pretty simple. Never have I been more humbled! Crossfit hooked me from then on out.
What’s your favorite CrossFit movement?
Probably muscle ups or box jumps. I’m a body weight guy so these movements typically are strengths.
What is most favorite benchmark/hero WOD?
I really enjoy “The Seven” hero WOD or “Linda” as a benchmark. Both are grinders that leave me in the fetal position afterwards, but proud I came to the gym that day.
How has CrossFit changed your lifestyle?
Well its definitely given me the confidence to do anything that is physically demanding at a moment’s notice. After I had kids, training time definitely decreased but the short metcons and intensity allow me to stay in shape for my life’s demands. Next, more than any other workout regimen, it has me watching the kinds of food I put into my body, as well as being conscious of preparing food ahead of time. Regardless of caring what my body looks like, whatever you eat 24 hrs prior to a workout, you definitely can feel if it wasn’t “clean” eating.
How do you prepare for a WOD? Physically and mentally?
Depending if its general training or competition, I’m a pretty basic guy. The mental is already taken care of. With my past of competing at a national level for so many years in college, I can handle the nerves and understand that you have to have a gameplan, be confident in yourself, and that your best is all you can do. Leave it on the floor and have no regrets. As far as physically, I’m somewhat old school. A nice little jog, some basic stretching, warmup with technique will suffice, then it’s go-time. Competition or practice, it’s usually the same.
Which aspect do you feel you need to improve on the most (e.g. metcon, mobility, strength, etc)?
Strength for sure. I’m built for bodyweight movements. If I take a week or two off of strength training, I can lose gains pretty quickly. I consistently do short, heavy interval training to stay up with the ever changing heavier weights in Crossfit. So far i’ve been alright, but now I’m getting old.
Tell us more about your local box. What’s the community like?
Well my wife and I co-own CrossFit Republic in Republic, MO. It’s really unlike any box I’ve been a part of before. It’s completely family oriented, almost to a fault. Nine out of ten people are literally from the couch to CrossFit as well, they’re focused on nothing more than daily health. Most of these people have families, in which we get to know and see their kids on a daily basis, know everyone’s names, and focus on being fit for everyday life. We have a very tight knit group and I couldn’t be happier. We do have a small group in the gym that enjoy competing, but don’t take it too serious. It’s refreshing. Although I have a past in competing, the family oriented or non competitive feel is where I have more in common due to my current life priorities. I absolutely love the warmth of our community of people n Republic and wouldn’t want anything else.
What’s the thing you love the most about coaching?
Helping people realize their best lives. I think coaching is more rewarding for me than it is for the athlete. Each person is so different, all with different goals, and I get to help them achieve something that they were capable of from the beginning. When they finally realize that, the look on their face, or the confidence in their walk, is priceless! People’s potential is so often greater than what they know, and guiding them in their journey never gets old.
You placed 27th worldwide after the CrossFit Open, yet you decided not to compete in Regionals (with a good chance of of making it to the games) to focus on your family and business. How hard/easy was that decision?
Honestly, it wasn’t hard for me at all to make that decision. I made up my mind a long time ago that when I have kids, they would be my new hobby. I have a family business as well, that I have to focus on to pay the bills, and there was no way I could spend time training physically and mentally for the CF Games or Regionals unless I put my family and work on the back burner. Since I had already been to the big dance in Track and also CrossFit, it was easy to say that my family comes first. But honestly, even if hadn’t competed on a big stage before, competing doesn’t pay the bills and these times are precious to me that I can’t justify it. Although some may disagree, its not about me anymore, and that’s alright with me.
Tell us the importance of faith when competing in CrossFit (or any other sport for that matter).
My faith is everything. Life without God would be incomplete and daunting to me. He has helped me through so much, as a competitor and a father/husband. He has allowed me to be humbled so I could learn from my mistakes and rise again to be more successful than before. My faith gives me freedom to find my identity in Him, and not in other things. I feel blessed no matter the outcome in my competitions.
What are your personal goals as a CrossFitter? Would we be seeing you in the Games next year?
As of right now, next year is up in the air. I have a third baby due in March at the start of the Open! I’m really excited to add to our family. But in the near future my wife and I will have to play zone defense instead of man to man, so I’m not sure how this will play into my day to day training. But like I stated before, I already feel overwhelmed with the amount of blessings in my life, and would be alright not competing at the price of jeopardizing what I have going on in my life right now.
What’s your message for your fellow CrossFitters who are just starting out? Those who also have families but want to compete as well.
I would first say that everyone and every family is different. So please don’t take my values or opinion harshly. Some people could pull off competing at a high level and still give their family and employer the time needed. My message to everyone would be to BALANCE your life. Don’t let your life tip one way in anything you do. You can compete, but don’t let your mind and training wander off and take any time from the precious people already in your life. A podium finish is not nearly as important as the quiet victories of being a great dad or mom. BALANCE!