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 even more highly-anticipated and will provide some of the most intense competition in all of athletics. Men’s Fitness caught up with four of this year’s athletes to get insight into their training as they prepare for this year’s event.
This week, we speak to Scott Paltos. His resume includes time as an NFL athlete and a national baseball champion. Currently he is a coach and owner at PUMP CrossFit and Performance in New Jersey. This father of two is not your ordinary CrossFit athlete—at 240 lbs., he is one of the bigger guys you will see in the games, but a viable threat to depending champion Rich Froning’s title.
SCOTT, HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT CROSSFIT AND WHEN EXACTLY DID YOU START?
Scott Paltos: My background is in the strength and conditioning industry and I worked as a strength coach for a long time. It was always a dream of mine to have my own facility, and that came to fruition with PUMP CrossFit & Performance. As PUMP grew, I was pushed to try my hand at competing. At first I was worried because my sole purpose was to continue to grow my business. But that lasted all of a couple weeks as I quickly made sure my programming, nutrition, and anything else relevant was at 100%! In my first year of competition I have been lucky enough to qualify for the Northeast Regionals.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MORE ABOUT CROSSFIT TRAINING VS. "TRADITIONAL TRAINING?"
Believe it or not I don’t find the two to be dissimilar. If training is done right, no matter what entity you are going to tax energy systems effectively. This does mean with randomness, but with a formula that will elicit the response necessary. I will say that sometimes (not all the time) people and coaches get so wrapped up in the WOD that there is a loss of focus of the reasoning behind it. This is where a qualified coach comes into play, to ensure proper form and prevent injury.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES GOING INTO THIS YEAR? WHAT SETS YOU APART AND GIVES YOU AN EDGE OVER THE COMPETITION?
I am by far the biggest competitor, but also one of the oldest—honestly neither of those means anything. I can honestly say that the Games do not run my life. Of course my personal athletic goals are in place, but my priorities lie with PUMP, my athletes/clients and my family. I can always say I’d like to spend more time on training, have better nutritional habits, less injuries, etc. but no matter what I will go as hard as I can and accept the outcome.
IN YOUR OPINION, CAN CROSSFIT BE APPLIED TO OTHER ATHLETES LIKE FOOTBALL OR BASKETBALL PLAYERS?
I don’t care what anyone in the CrossFit community says—those high level athletes need some specialized training. They cannot survive strictly CrossFit-esque. Of course there will be some overlap, but I don’t foresee myself prescribing “Murph” for my HS linemen nor do I see myself having a college basketball player doing 100 rep OH Press anything. If done right, use CrossFit but don’t abuse it.
CROSSFIT SOMETIMES GETS KNOCKED FOR PEOPLE GETTING INJURIES, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INJURED WHILE DOING CROSSFIT?
Yes I have been injured but I don’t blame CrossFit—I blame the coach who programs it, or the coach whom allows it to happen. CrossFit is not the agent for disaster—it’s the coach who says the snatch looked good but in reality it was a glorified press out. (Yes, pun intended).
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WANTING TO BEGIN CROSSFIT? WHAT ABOUT FOR THOSE CURRENT CROSSFITTERS WANTING TO ENTER THE GAMES?
FIND THE RIGHT BOX! Do your research, don’t just go somewhere because it says “CrossFit.” That should be with any facility, but especially when finding a box. As for competing, that’s a tough one. Most importantly I would say find a good coach. Get really good at everything and keep your head on straight. As you progress, make sure you are enjoying it and if you still want to compete at the highest level, plan on making it another full time job.
AFTER YOU ARE DONE COMPETING IN THE GAMES, WILL YOU CONTINUE TO TRAIN "CROSSFIT STYLE?"
Nope—I am going to eat a lot over the course of a day or two and go to the beach (bloated). I will be back at it quickly prepping for fall competitions. PUMP is hosting the PUMP Games in Sept., one of the biggest competitions on the East Coast out of the CF Games season. Heavy training will be a priority simply because it makes me feel better—brings my mind back to sanity.
ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WANT TO SHARE?
I want everyone to understand that CrossFit can be an awesome environment, as long as it is taught right, coached consistently, programmed correctly and operated smoothly. With some or any of those missing, the experience can certainly be lacking.