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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation June 24, 2016

8/5/2014 4:38:00 PM
Sisters games test fittest athletes
Jason Rybka works to get a barbell locked out overhead. photo by Lynn Woodward
+ click to enlarge
Jason Rybka works to get a barbell locked out overhead. photo by Lynn Woodward

Ethan Hosang goes for a personal record. photo by Lynn Woodward
+ click to enlarge
Ethan Hosang goes for a personal record. photo by Lynn Woodward

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

McKibben Womack and Jennifer Banning can claim to be the "fittest in Sisters" after topping the leader board in the Sisters Summer Games last Saturday.

The games, staged by Ryan Hudson of Level 5 Training in Sisters, resemble the "CrossFit Games," which are a nationally televised event that tests elite athletes' level of fitness through a series of varied and grueling challenges. In Saturday's games at Reed Stadium, athletes rowed, ran, jumped and lifted progressively heavier weights in a program that ran from 7 a.m. to mid-afternoon.

Womack earned the title of fittest man, while Jennifer Banning took the honors for the women.

While finishing on top is obviously a gratifying achievement, the culture of this style of training and competing has much more to do with exceeding personal goals and setting new personal records than it does with competing with other athletes. In fact, the athletes make a point of vociferously encouraging each other to make their best effort.

Anne Geser, who at 61 was the oldest of the athletes in the games, said, "I just do it all at my own level and I just beat myself. I'm here to complete this; I'm not here to beat anybody."

Ethan Hosang was, at 12, the youngest competitor. In the clean-and-jerk ladder, where competitors must lift a series of progressively heavier barbells overhead, Hosang maxed out with a personal record of 30 kilos (66.14 pounds). He weighs 67 pounds.

"I started CrossFit when I was 10 and started working out when I was 9," he told The Nugget. "I love it. It keeps me in shape for sports - football and track."

Asked to describe the feeling of lifting his own body weight overhead, he said, "It's kinda scary at first, but if you don't think about it, before you know it it's over your head."

CrossFit-style programs are built around creating fitness "through constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity." Workouts-of-the-day vary widely, based on the goal of being ready for anything. Participants learn gymnastic movements and develop Olympic weightlifting skills.

Geser says, "It's very enabling. I've got things to do around the house - like lifting a hay bale - and I can do it."

This mode of achieving fitness has taken the country by storm - it is probably the fastest-growing trend in the fitness industry. The camaraderie and buoyant spirit of the culture is a significant factor in its


It's a big part of the appeal for Womack.

"I like the intensity of it and I like how you can see results a lot quicker," he said. "The thing I like most about it is the camaraderie."

The training is designed to be "scalable" so that anyone can participate, reap the benefits and get stronger, faster and fitter.

"CrossFit, with the right coach, is for anybody," Womack said.

Editor's note:

CrossFit is a trademark of CrossFit Inc., which licenses independent affiliate gyms around the world to use the CrossFit name. Level 5 Training is not a licensed affiliate of CrossFit and CrossFit does not license their gym and did not license the Sisters Games.

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