What it takes, to compete at the CrossFit Games.

The lead up.

Immediately following the Pacific regionals (May) in 2016 I threw around the idea of making a New Zealand team which would qualify and compete at the CrossFit Games in 2017. Making the Games had always been a dream.

I remember the conversation so clearly.

It was September of 2016, I was competing at the ‘Two 2 Tango’ competition in Auckland. I was waiting in line to start an event when…

I turned to Jo (Joelene Neville) “Do you still want to go to the Games?”

She replied “Yes, but I don’t have a team.”

I said again “Do you still want to go to the CrossFit Games?”

She replied “Yes.”

“Ok, Ill get the team we need.”

It was then that I made the team who would eventually become the 17th fittest team in the world. I knew I needed the right team. A team with individuals who I knew were in the right mental, physical and financial position and who I knew wanted it as much as I did, who I knew would agree.

Each person I asked, I only asked once. Once was all that was needed.

In November of 2016 it began.

Friday -

0500 head to the gym to coach the 0530 class,

0800 Write the teams programming,

1330 travel to Auckland

1630 Train with the team

1930 Travel to and spend the night at a team members house

Saturday -

0700 Travel to the gym

0830 Train with the team

1200 Travel home to Hamilton

Sunday -

0500 Travel to the gym from Hamilton

0830 Train with the team

1200 Travel home to Hamilton

This same pattern continued for the following eight and a half months. Each week without absence.


To follow the rules.

To grow a competitive team.

To get us ready.

To pursue a dream.

There is no question that the sacrifice we made was vast. The level of commitment was unheard of. But, we knew the reward would be so much more than all of that.

Our training was rough. It tested every one of us. We did things we had not trained before. I often put the team in uncomfortable and stressful situations. I frequently changed the training environment. I would repeatedly temper with each team member, with the goal to build them stronger for the future us. There were times when it was fun, but there were more times when it seemed so far away. We argued, and there were tears. But there were also smiles and laughter.

That was the point.

I knew I had the right team. With individuals who I knew wanted it as much as I did.

In May of 2017 we won the Pacific Regionals with a convincing 77 point victory. We received 580 points out of a maximum 600 points available, by placing 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd in the programmed workouts.

The team needed to win. They needed it to brighten the light at the end of the tunnel. And, to help pinpoint the teams goal.

And so, the training continued.

On July 24th we left New Zealand, for the 2017 CrossFit Games.

To be continued...

Michael Gillum