What you can learn from the Fittest Man in Germany
Remember that one post I made about what we can learn from the Fittest Woman in Germany 2018? I did something similar in 2017 with Kevin Winkens who was Fittest Man in Germany back then (it was Joshua Wichtrup in 2018, but Kevin finished with a strong 4th place overall qualifying for his second consecutive Regionals).
I know Kevin personally from several competitions and Drop ins in his old box CrossFit Lost Legion in Moenchen-Gladbach (which has been renamed to CrossFit Vitus recently). He is the most likable and modest high-level competitor you can ever imagine. A quiet, hard worker with big dreams.
#1: Face your Goats and become friends with them
With a background in endurance sport and little to no lifting experiences, Kevin was never the CrossFitter who would look forward to the 1 RM test in a competition. In fact I remember seeing him on a regional comp in Belgium around 2014 where his Snatch ladder ended at like 75 kg or so. Nowadays, Kevin has a 111 kg Snatch and an impressive 145 kg Clean and Jerk with which he can keep up at any level. He spends 3 sessions a week purely on Olympic Weightlifting. Apparently, is pays off - think about it next time you are about to commit cherry picking.
#2: Invest in your warm up
Despite of training twice a day, Kevin takes up to 45 min to warm up for his sessions. He adapts the preparation to movements and kind of stimulus, e.g. barbell complexes at the empty bar and paused lifts before the Olys, machine EMOM’s and things that get his heart rate up before metcons. Of course, mobility is a must have before any training.
#3: The 90/10 rule is still valid
Ok, I actually know it a bit more generous as a 80/20 rule (means 80% reasonable food choices, 20% whatever), but as a Regional athlete, you might need to be a little bit more strict with your diet. However, we can learn two things from Kevins nutrition: It is important to fuel with a lot of good stuff. But it is also legit to treat yourself regularly. You won’t get out of shape from one “cheat”, but for sure it helps you to stay sane.
#4: It is about staying relaxed
What do you do if something is really not in your wheelhouse? Ok, first of all, invest some work (see #1). But second: Stay calm. Accept where you are, understand you current level as a base to work with. Comparison is the first step to become unhappy. That other athletes can lift more than you or have a faster Fran time is out of your control anyway.
#5: Believe in yourself
When Kevin started with CrossFit being one of the skinny, weak guys in the box, people made fun of him when he talked about making it to the Regionals one day. But even when spending a fair bit of months and years on an average level, Kevin never lost the faith in himself and with that mindset, he made his way up to the top, slowly but surely. The critics from back then do not say a word anymore when Kevin announces to become the first German ever to qualify for the CrossFit Games. All the best for that, Kevin!