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CrossFit Games 2012: Dan Bailey Interview

One of the top four competitors for "the fittest man on earth" Dan Bailey talks to us about his training regimen and his favorite thing about CrossFit.

July 13, 2012 the Reebok CrossFit Games will head back to Southern California for three days of intense competition to crown “the fittest man on earth.” After national television exposure last year, this year’s games are highly anticipated and will provide some of the most intense competition in all of athletics. Men’s Fitness has caught up with four of this year’s athletes to watch and got insight into their training as they prepare for this year’s event. Next up, Dan Bailey.

Dan Bailey has been fortunate enough to train with some of CrossFit's elite. As a former track and field athlete at Ohio University, Bailey is thought to be a major threat to Froning's crown this year

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT CROSSFIT AND WHEN EXACTLY DID YOU START?

I started CrossFit in February of 2010. I was training at the University of Akron and met a guy who was really into CrossFit. After hearing about my background, he was adamant that I try CrossFit. "Fran" was the first workout I ever tried and it buried me! I was instantly hooked because it offered a new challenge that I had not previously experienced.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT CROSSFIT VS. "TRADITIONAL TRAINING?" IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT CROSSFIT?

My favorite thing about CrossFit is the community. If you walk into a typical gym you see most people in solution with their headphones on while watching tv. Compare that to a CrossFit gym and you will see people that welcome you, talk about the workout, motivate, and coach one another. Although CrossFit is very intense and challenging the fact that you go through that experience with a group of people who are all sharing in the experience makes getting in shape more fun and enjoyable.

HOW DO YOU PROGRAM YOUR TRAINING? WHAT DOES A SAMPLE WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

My training is programmed by both myself and 2011 Champion Rich Froning Jr. We combine as many movements in as many different combinations and time domains as possible. We also focus on different time domains in order to train each energy system. You may find it interesting that our programming is mostly day to day, with no year long training plan. A sample week looks like this:

AM: running, rowing or biking in the morning followed by barbell work in the mid morning
Mid morning: Barbell work/technique (snatch, clean and jerk, deadliest, muscle ups, kettle bells, etc..)
Noon: Strength session (M-F will typically follow this pattern: squat, press, deadliest, press, squat)
PM: interval work - 3 min on, 1 min off of varying movements.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES GOING INTO THE GAMES THIS YEAR? WHAT SETS YOU APART AND GIVES YOU AN EDGE IN THE COMPETITION?

Every year the Games brings on a new challenge for the competitors and this year will be no different. I've worked harder than ever this past year on improving every aspect of athletic ability and have trained with some of the best in the game including Mikko Salo and Graham Holmberg. For the boast 5-6 months I have ahd the best training partner anyone could ask for in Rich Froning Jr. 

IN YOUR OPINION, CAN CROSSFIT TRAINING BE APPLIED TO OTHER ATHLETES LIKE FOOTBALL PLAYERS OR BASKETBALL PLAYERS?

DB: Yes, currently I am a GA at Tennessee Tech University in Cookesville, TN. CrossFit methods are used in some shape or form with every team that comes to the facility. I've only been around for 5 months but have seen significant gains in strength, power and speed for the athletes which translates to them having better potential on the court or field.

CROSSFIT SOMETIMES GETS KNOCKED FOR PEOPLE GETTING INJURIES, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INJURED WHILE DOING CROSSFIT?

Well I have strained my right quad, torn my left hamstring, and had stress fractures in my feet - those were from track and field. Anyone can be hurt doing anything - walking down the stairs, getting out of the shower, and yes lifting weights. It is important to point out that each workout and movement is scalable to the current ability level of the athlete. With CrossFit you can have the worlds fittest compete right alongside their own grandparents!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WANTING TO BEGIN CROSSFIT? WHAT ABOUT FOR THOSE THAT CURRENTLY ATTEND CROSSFIT "CLASSES" BUT WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE THE GAMES?

Find a local gym and ask if you can watch a class, thats the best way to see what its all about. Not every gym will be the same but the fundamentals should all be similar.

If you are interested in the games, strap in for some serious work and dedication! Some numbers to go after males would be the following:

Fran: 2:30 or under
Fight Gone Bad: score of 450 or higher
Back Squat: 400 lbs.
Deadlift: more than 500 lbs.
Strict Press: more than 180 lbs.
Power clean: more than 300 lbs.
Snatch: more than 225 lbs.

AFTER YOU ARE DONE COMPETING IN THE GAMES, WILL YOU CONTINUE TO TRAIN "CROSSFIT STYLE?"

There is no way I could go back to my old routine. I may try to do a marathon or triathlon at some point but after all the gains I've seen in every aspect of my fitness, I will always be doing CrossFit.

ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WANT THE READERS TO KNOW?

Once you have joined CrossFit don't forget to enjoy all that fitness! Get outside and learn a new sport or skill you had previously not been able to do!

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