Accidentally in first place, your leader with one week to go...Aaron Gardner
Heading into the final week of the Cascade Classic qualifier, Aaron Gardner, who was 21st at the event in Seattle last year, is leading the men’s side. He has just 20 points; his closest competitor, Jordan Roland, has 27 points.
Gardner, 29, from CrossFit Skybox in American Canyon, California said he’s sort of in first place by accident.
“In all honesty, with my wife being 40 weeks pregnant, taking care of a two-and-a-half year-old, and being a full-time student right now, we were unsure of how I was going to perform (because of) the day-to-day chaos and anticipation of our new daughter,” Gardner said.
“I’ve literally been going to the gym after the workouts are released, warm-up real quick and just hit them to the best of my ability with zero regrets.”
This laid back attitude has been something he has adopted in recent months, which he explained allows him to keep perspective on what’s most important to him.
“I’ve really been focusing on life outside of fitness and understanding that being a great athlete is cool, but being a great husband and father is the best,” he said. “I’m just having fun right now and making each shot count.”
His experience during the CrossFit Games Open earlier this year spurred on this new attitude, he explained. During event 3, his phone turned off mid-way, so he didn't have the video proof of his performance. He admitted it was an irresponsible rookie mistake that cost him a potential trip to Regionals. When he was told he had 48 hours to redo his workout, he tried but had just had PRP on an injured shoulder and he wasn't even able to snatch 185 lb. (his max snatch is 282 lb.). Regardless, 2017 was not to be for Gardner.
After that, he shifted his focus to being more about having fun and enjoying the process.
"And it's paying off," he said.
It has paid off so far during the Cascade qualifier, where he is all but dominating the competition. So far, Gardner said favourite event of the qualifier has been Event 3, an 8-minute AMRAP of 100 double-unders, 50 seated shoulder press and 25 toes-to-bar
“I had my wife sitting there watching me, so when it got spicy it was easy to just focus on her and keep moving,” he said.
One day away from the final week’s workout announcements, Gardner is hoping for a snatch paired with some kind of gymnastics movement, like a ring or bar muscle-up.
As for why he’s choosing to compete in the “off-season,” he said his coach Alex Cardenas, also Margaux Alvarez’ coach and husband, made the call for him.
He added: “I feel like the Cascade Classic is a good way to give yourself a mid-off-season test to see where you are what you might be lacking going into the upcoming season."
Speaking of the upcoming season, Gardner’s goals for 2018 are clear:
“Move in silence. Make you shots count. Move forward, regardless of the outcome.”
He’s one week and two workouts away from being stoked about the qualifier outcome!