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Wodapalooza - Our view of things

Wodapalooza - Unsere Sicht auf die Dinge

Hannes Beyer |

Fitness is on everyone's lips - not only in Germany. Especially in times of a pandemic, it is not only important for your reflection that you keep fit. Rather, it strengthens you from within and provides the well-known side effects such as more agility in everyday life, self-confidence to the moon and lots of tight-fitting shirts and jeans. But not all of us are simply concerned about our health.

Reach for the Stars in Crossfit:

Some of us weekend warriors have taken it upon themselves to reach for the stars (even if they have to practice it with masses of rope climbs first). But once the body is steeled, the mind sharpened, the belt tightened and the sunglasses on, then the synapses of some athletes go into alarm for days. Where can you experience something like this? At Crossfit competitions all over the world. And so it happened that some brave warriors, namely Felix Rehder, Shagel Butt and Joshua Wichtrup, prepared to conquer the beach in the USA and properly dig their heels into the tar. They've slogged through squats and muscle ups for days just to compete with the international field. Why are we underpinning this competition weekend in such a picturesque way? We've been capturing and attending athlete voices, so let's give you a first-hand account from here on out. We'll only reveal this much: It was bitten, cursed and it stormed, as if the sympathetic bull neck trio had made their way to the Himalayas. But let's leave the heroic fuss for now. Film off for the Wodapalooza 2022 in retrospect!

What is the Wodapalooza?

The Wodapalooza is one of the most famous competitions when it comes to crossfit and functional fitness. Here, games athletes with ambitious underdogs do the honors, all built in the blazing Miami sun, literally close to the water. Scenery and feeling are simply unique. Reason enough for athletes and spectators from all over the world to make a pilgrimage to Florida. What began in 2011 with 500 spectators and almost 150 athletes has grown to thousands of competitors and fans ten years later.

Let's let the athletes do the talking!

First Felix Rehder for Team Blueprint Training:

The man is a force. Nothing more needs to be said. This is especially clear from the fact that he originally did not consciously want to start at Wodapalooza. He joined Joshua more or less spontaneously. At the time of the qualification workouts, Flixi had a cold, so he was at least out of action for the qualification. So the plan was for Joshua to form the trio with two other athletes, which would “lift” for a podium place in the USA. However, since one of Joshi's two companions was not vaccinated and his participation in the workouts in person was accordingly prevented, a replacement was sought. Who came was Flixi.

"It was really a great competition. Otherwise I don't think too much of simply driving to a competition and “just” having fun. But the Wodapalooza is and remains another level. At Elite Team (Editor's note: the division in which Joshua Wichtrup and Felix Rehder competed) there were 9 invited super teams, i.e. at least one Crossfit Games athlete in the cast. So even with the best performance, a placement in the top 3 was, realistically speaking, unthinkable one way or another. So we used the competition as a test field, for fun, and I'm absolutely satisfied. I was personally very pleased to meet Will (Will Kane, the third team member). Joshi knew him, I didn't know him at all."

Teamwork makes the dream work:

"Joshi and I are a well-rehearsed team, we've gotten used to each other over the course of the season. It also has to be said, quite simply, that a CrossFit competition at such a level is particularly fun under the blazing sun in winter. Just get out of dreary Germany. So it wasn't just about the competition, even if the competition was really nice. Sometimes the briefing and schedule, i.e. the planning of the workout times, were kept a bit short or strangely coordinated. However, in our heats, i.e. in our units, we usually had the first workouts at noon, so that late-evening schedules didn’t affect our sleep rhythm too much.”

Breathe deeply, despite top performance....

“In addition, we had two workouts a day. This meant that we had enough time in between to deal with the Crossfit Vendor Village, the mentality there in the USA and other athletes. So a not too tight schedule has its advantages, after all, the mood at Wodapalooza was much more like that of a festival than a fitness competition. All of this was insanely good fun. We have already decided that we will try again next year!”

Joshua Wichtrup for Team Blueprint Training:

Joshi stood by Felix's side. But as it should be for a team, both tell you from their point of view in order to be able to offer an even better perspective on the happening Wodapalooza.

“Miami 2022 was almost a redemption. You almost looked forward to something starting again. I was at Hyrox 2021, but that was it. Open online anyway, quarterfinals online, semifinals online, even without a spectator in the box... America was really simply back to the roots."

“Fun, joy, motivation. I ended up wondering how much longer this pandemic state will last. In the course of this, questions also arise that make you question whether such a large amount of sport is still worthwhile and worthwhile. Miami answered that question with a resounding Yes! responded. For me, the experience in the men's trio was also worth a lot and will most likely remain the path for the next few years. This is simply due to my life with Crossfit Flensburg, Wysh Fitness and family. There's just a lot on my list at once. Sometimes I don't just want to sacrifice myself for the sport. After all, there are many things that have to be done outside of sport.”

“We did really well in some workouts, including placing in the top ten. Other events didn't fare nearly as well, but with a field that included Rich Froning and Noah Olsen, that's no shame. The team in the Wodapalooza cast only met on the Wednesday before the actual Wodapalooza. So we weren't as synergistic as you could be with years of CrossFit competitive experience together. So I'm really happy with the result!"

Close to the pulse of the athletes:

“As for the event itself: It is highly professional. It almost comes close to the games. However, the name "Fitness Festival" says a lot about flair and design. The athletes and the environment - everything was more relaxed. Everyone has been wildly positive simply because some life has returned to the fitness world. Although everyone was cautious, the pandemic has taken a back seat (at least emotionally) as part of all the precautions.

In addition, the big city under palm trees, which you could visit there for four days, brought a lot of relaxation with it. In addition, the workouts were better for us as athletes due to the longer duration of the entire competition; at least there was more time to take a deep breath in between!”

Ultimately, the team with Joshua and Flixi qualified 15th in their division with a best finish of 2nd in the Row, Swim, Run event. Awesome performance guys!

Shagel Butt, Masters 40-44

The Pakistani-Hanseatic silverback has demolished once again! Where, how, and why he couldn't give everything in all events, he tells you best himself:

"Wodapalooza-Please completely underestimate. I thought I needed a few days for everything to sink in. In the meantime, two weeks have passed - everything hasn't collapsed yet.
Also, I thought I completely misjudged myself among athletes and actually just sort of slipped into there. Spoilers: also misjudged! The more time that goes into the country there in the competitions, the more you realize: I am one of the athletes who qualified for this. I'm not just here like that."

"I also misjudged myself when I thought I was only just able to do the workouts. All of a sudden I was able to keep up and always ended up in the middle. Again I misjudged. When I see my own development now, especially in terms of mindset, then it stands out , that I could have beaten a lot of people. So in the end it's clear: I'm rightly among the best in the world, at least in my age group. So it was worth kicking your ass off in such a disgusting way. I want to go there again, I want annoy people again!

The future awaits!

It will also be worth busting your ass again. Both my team on site in Miami and the more than 600 people streaming on the Hipster of Doom channel were and are in the mood for Vaddi, even if you don't see many of them. Apparently I'm, maybe, maybe, very quietly, one of the best crossfitters in the world in my age group. Wodapalooza was one way to show that. It half worked 100 percent (editor's note: that's a math joke!), but once you've proven yourself, you know what's in it. I know that next time, maybe on a similar floor, I'll perform very differently!"

Note: Due to a storm warning in Miami, the last event was canceled for many athletes, including Shagel. Sometimes he could have shown everything he was made of there again. However, eighth place speaks more for itself, doesn't it?

Maximilian Kelm was there too!

Not only is Max the face, camera and sunnies behind the wodstore, he also got Shagel, Joshi and Flixi nerve-racking. At the same time, he tried to catch when the three of them had to bite properly on the Wodapalooza floor. How did things look for you, Max?

“For me it was an invitation to become a content creator. So I took care of the daily vlogs on Alex and Shagel's YouTube channel and provided the picture and sound whenever possible. However, for the hipsters alone, together with Alex, not for the Wodapalooza itself. For me it was also the first time in America. The weather, the competition, the people, the atmosphere. All of that really got me.”

Gathering of CrossFit!

“As for the event itself, we were star struck from the moment we registered: Fraser was there, we met the Buttery Bros. We were able to collect masses of impressions without anything actually happening at all. Music was playing everywhere, people were sitting everywhere in the meadows and around the Vendor Village. So Fitness Festival really nails it. A bomb was detonated there for both the media and the world view of CrossFit. The competition was difficult for me to follow. I concentrated a lot on Shagel and noticed that the hard butt had a little pressure on the nozzle in between. It was impressive then to see how quickly he was able to react to the different circumstances in the workouts.”

Business: Not as usual!

“The organization of the Vendor Village from the perspective of the wodstore was also fascinating for me. Junk, RPM, PicSil, Bear Complex, Victory Grips... All these companies that we have in our shop suddenly got faces. The personal contact is worth a lot and has helped me immensely as the operator. We were able to discuss many new products and our concept for them. Of course, this is not least due to the fact that some of our athletes, who were directly in Miami, meant that I had the perfect figureheads for us with me!”

“What I found a shame, however, was that the Masters and the Teens were given less attention than the elite athletes. If a master restarts his jerk three times, groundbreaking emotions and images are created there too, not only in the elite.”

Photos by @sheldonherron

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