LAKEWOOD RANCH — Josh Davis didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
One morning, while on his way to work with his uncle, Davis noticed a few people running around outside with 45-pound plates.
Davis, who was working two jobs and getting bored with his current workout routine, decided on a whim that he wanted to try the CrossFit regimen he witnessed.
Later that evening, Davis’ uncle dropped him off at CrossFit Lakewood Ranch on their way home from work.
“I was kind of nervous and hoping he would forget,” Davis says. “I walked in and said, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I want to try it.’”
Davis tried the Grace workout — a standard benchmark workout of 30 clean and jerks.
Davis completed the workout with ease. That was two-and-a-half years ago.
“I fell in love,” Davis says. “It’s the Olympic lifts. It’s right up my alley. I did weightlifting in high school, so (I guess) it was meant to be.”
Six months into his new routine, Davis suffered a back injury. He spent the next eight months rehabilitating, but rather than leaving CrossFit, Davis stuck to his routine. He used a broomstick and an empty barbell until he was fully recovered.
“Doing anything is better than doing nothing, in my mind,” Davis says.
Finally, after spending every day at the gym, Davis, who graduated from Lakewood Ranch High in 2005, decided to quit his two jobs and focus solely on CrossFit training. He spent about five months shadowing coaches and becoming certified in CrossFit and USA Weightlifting.
Now, after spending the last year coaching athletes and non-athletes and helping them achieve their fitness goals, Davis is focusing on his next challenge — the CrossFit Games.
Earlier this year, Davis competed in CrossFit Open, a five-week online CrossFit competition during which participants competed in a series of videotaped workouts for time and repetition. Davis finished 46th out of more than 6,000 participants across the Southeast to earn a berth in the 2014 CrossFit South East Regional Competition May 9 to May 11, in Jacksonville.
CrossFit Lakewood Ranch competes in the CrossFit Open every year. The gym had nearly 50 people participate in this year’s competition, but Davis was the only one from both the gym and the area to advance to the regional competition, which will feature the top 48 competitors from Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
“I was actually pretty shocked,” says Davis, who will be making his first appearance at the regional competition. “I really didn’t think I was going to make it. You just don’t think it’s a possibility. Honestly, I still don’t believe it. It’s still pretty surreal.”
During the competition, which is not categorized by age or weight class, Davis will complete a series of three to four workouts a day, including handstand walks, squats, burpees, pull-ups, a rope climb and more.
Of those 48 competitors, the top three will advance to the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games July 25 through July 27, in California.
“Some workouts I’ll know about in advance, but you really have to prepare for the unknown,” Davis says. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to compete against top-level athletes. Every person competing had good achievements at their local competitions and will be in a league of their own.
“I’ve never been before, so it’s going to be a good experience,” Davis says. “I just want to have fun and soak it all in. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll go back again, so I just want to have fun with it.”
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com.