Last week, we had an exclusive interview with our athlete, Bronisław Olenkowicz, who is taking part at the Crossfit Games in individuals for the third time.
He talks about his preparation, his goals and shares some tips about how to start competing.
Hey, Bron. First of all, how did you get into Crossfit?
I didn’t do any specific sport as a kid, but I helped my parents a lot on the farm. It was a lot of physical work, it was like a strong man training. Because of that, I was performing above average. I was doing bodybuilding, when I saw the CF Games. I was thinking to myself: “Damn, I have to try this”. I did the first workout and I was dying - but I simply loved that.
What do you like the most about Crossfit competitions?
The adrenaline, the spectators, the emotions that the athlete has or creates. You can’t buy it, you have to work for it. This keeps me in the high regime of training.
If you are a CF athlete and you are willing to go to the Games, it’s not only about the training.
What is your number one training rule?
The main rule I have in my head is respecting my body.
I respect every feeling and pain, and I think about why they happen.
If you train smart and don't push to the limits all the time, it's easier for the body to recover and improve.
At the end, you only have one body. Keep in mind that you have some other years ahead, and you want to be physically active, so you need to take care of it as long as possible.
You have your coach far away and have to train all by yourself. How can you push yourself every day?
I don’t think that it would be much better for me to have some guys on the same level, because we would just race everyday. I think it’s much more important to improve the spacing, strategy than to race. If you want to be competitive athlete, you have to show off on the main stage of the competition, not at training. That’s why I like it that I don’t have to compare my scores to others.
What are your home runs?
Everything lifted from ground to overhead, no matter the way. If I’m just standing in one place and lifting - it should be cool. I also feel pretty confident about upside down position and shoulder strength.
What about gymnastics?
I like skill testing and the weirdest stuff in short events. Maybe because I was always playing on the trees as a young kid. When I started Crossfit, it was easy to do all the gymnastic movements, like muscle ups and handstand walking. I feel like an all-around athlete.
The Games is just around the corner. What were you focusing on in the last weeks and months?
We did really big volumes in the last months. After each training session, I felt super tired. All I did on rest days was sleeping and eating. It was really stressful for my body.
In the last weeks, it was more about practicing liftings and doing workouts based on previous Games. I tried to get used to what might happen at the competition.
The last week is only about easy and cool things, just to move my body and recover properly. The most important thing now is to have a healthy body and mind.
Do you have any recovery protocol for the Games?
What I practice on a daily basis are cool downs, cold exposures, food intakes and supplements. I will definitely drop into ice bath. It's crucial not to change anything now.
Goals for the Games?
I just want to show the best performance I can right now. I have no idea how other guys perform. It might look like we are racing with each other on the competition field, but every one of us is doing his own thing, own strategy, and own pacing. We just want to do the best possible score we can and maybe race for the finish.
The only thing you can control is your own performance.
No mistakes, just the best you can get.
What would you recommend to someone who wants to compete?
Master every skill, every movement and find the best technique. You have to be efficient in each movement.
After that, look at the stats you need to have to compete on a level you want. Simply take the top 10 and work for these numbers. You need to be strong enough to compete against them. Building strength takes a lot more time than building your endurance.
You place best if you have the least weak points. You need to be good at everything.
Get experience in competing, because the environment, the judges and tools are different.
Set goals, make a plan and work your ass of, then have some fun at the competition.
And lastly: what do you tell yourself before the big competition?
"Whatever you think, you are right."
If you think it will go wrong, you are right. If you think you will compete well at the Games, you are also right. Your mindset is the main thing. Just think positive and positive things will happen.
Great last word, thanks Bron and good luck at the Games!
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