Adam Lesniak 24 July 2013
Pursue You Evolution is the tag line of Again Faster. I caught up Rob Forte, Again Faster Development Athlete, and the number one CrossFit athlete in Australia, and he shared his evolution in Competition, Business and Life.
ADAM LESNIAK: Well, we just finished Fran and I got a 30 second PB. What do you think about that coach?
ROB FORTE: I think that is very good. When was last time you did it?
AL: Four or Five months ago?
RF: In another three to five months you’ll take off another 30 seconds. I’ll take that every time.
AL: I knew it. I knew that was coming. I knew you were going to find a way to tell to go faster next time.
AL: So you’re going to the Games for the 3rd time and your a big reason why CrossFit is so successful in Australia, how does that feel to you?
RF: With stuff like that, I don’t really think about it too much, outside of my own gym. You know, how I’m affecting the whole scheme of things in Australia. I know I inspire a lot of people and have become familiar with that over the past 12 to 18 months, whereas, beforehand that wasn’t even in my head at all. So just having people email and Facebook me, telling me how I inspire them to keep going, asking me for advice, and that’s great. That’s another motivation for me. But other than that, I don’t really think about it. I don’t think I’m changing the world, too much, or anything.
AL: You said Regionals was run really well and you finished first there. What’s a competition day like at the Games?
RF: It seems a bit harder than Regionals. There’s another event in the day and is seems to drag on a bit. I’ll manage that a bit better this time around, and my rest, and recovery, too. I’ll just try to get away and maybe have a nap, too.
AL: Take us through a typical day. You wake up in the morning and then what happens?
RF: Yeah, it’s a pretty early start. We go to the briefing where they go through the standards. The teams and women do their heats, then we’re up. Another briefing and then the same thing over. This repeats three times throughout the day. You do do a lot of waiting around. Regionals was run really well so I hope it works like that.
AL: So it’s a fourteen hour day for fourty minutes work.
RF: Yeah, it does drag on.
AL: Give us a quick view of the scene. What’s it like when you are there? The footage makes it look like rockstar stuff - the arena and the village.
RF: The best atmosphere is in the tennis centre. It’s packed. Just hearing the crowd definitely gets you going. It’s not like anything you’ve experienced in the past.
AL: There’s a lot of big names over there. Who do you hang out with, behind the scenes?
RF: This year I’m going to hang out with Tommy Hakenbruck - train at his gym. This year he had two teams qualify for the games so he know’s what he’s doing. I’m sure he’ll have good people around him, too.
AL: What about inviting some of top athletes to come over and train your box, here? What about Stacy Tovar? I think a few of your members would be happy with that.
RF: That would be a good idea. I know a couple of the American guys have come to Australia, but not really. I haven’t set anything up.
AL: Donny Shankle has been to your box twice.
RF: Yep, he’s been here twice and given us a lot of useful information so it was good to have him down.
AL: A lot of sports require specific attributes for someone to become elite. The top basketballers are usually tall, for example. Your a guy who just works hard to be successful at whatever you do. Tell me about that commitment to excellence.
RF: I sort of did it with out realizing it, but now I know I have that in myself. If I set a target, I can be persistent and keep going to get to where I want to get to. Me realising that has now transfers from CrossFit to my every day life. Now, if I want to do something better in my daily life, I’m confident I can get there.
AL: So you’ve developed a process and you can duplicate that if you need to.
RF: Yeah, definitely. I think you can take a lot of what you learn in CrossFit and apply that to anything you do.
AL: A lot of people who strive for the pinnacle of success in their field have to sacrifice many other things in their lives. What about you?
RF: Yeah, I guess I have but without me worrying about it too much. This is what I live for. Running the business, the training - I don’t have time for too much else. So it is sacrificing, but this is what I enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem like I’m missing out on anything, really.
AL: You were 23 when you opened your first box. I don’t know a lot of other 23 year olds opening a niche market businesses [back then], taking on that risk and responsibility. How did you know you were going to be successful?
RF: I didn’t really know. I knew that it was something I really like to do. I think, if your really passionate about something and do everything you can to make it better, it’s going to work out in the end. Those people who are passionate are going to learn more, get better at what they do and stand out from the rest. I think that’s what I’m starting to do, what I have been doing and I’m going to continue to do that.
AL: Everyone knows you can throw down, but you are one hell of a coach, too. What do you get out of coaching your members?
RF: I really enjoy it. I feel I’ve got a lot to offer from my experience competing. I know what it’s like to struggle mentally, nutritionally and when it seems like you are not progressing. I feel like I can express that and pass on what I have learned to my members, and get them to strive to that next level. I feel I can offer a lot more than just a training program. I love helping people and seeing their progress and I know, in time, I’ll enjoy that part of it a lot more, when the competition side of it [CrossFit] starts to drop off.
AL: If you go to any local competition around Melbourne, you’ll have up to 30 members competing. How do you and your coaches get so many people to be competent CrossFitters so quickly and have that competitive spirit?
RF: I don’t think everyone is that competent, in competing. It’s just another challenge for them. It’s really exciting and we really push it because if we don’t push them, they’ll never do it because there is that little bit of fear there. That’s another thing that’s holding people back. If you can push them to get over that, they love the day, usually, and they want to do it again. That’s another motivating factor to keep them training.
AL: I guess, CrossFit is a sport for some and, it would be like training all week and not playing the game on the weekend.
RF: Yeah, definitely. It’s a way to really test your fitness. It’s a good way to learn what you need to go back and work on.
AL: Anyone who has met you knows you are a the kind of guy who just takes is one day at a time, but what would you like to see happen in these areas of your life? First, personally?
RF: I’ve seen a lot of changes. I wasn’t really that comfortable speaking in front of groups and taking classes, not that long ago. Over the past three years, that has gotten so much better!
AL: Certainly from the media aspect, you’ve accepted that professional athlete role that comes with your success.
RF: Again, that’s experience now that I’m doing it pretty regularly. Getting more comfortable with it and developing in all different areas of my life. Yeah, interacting with the media, getting in front of groups and interacting with people, that’s where I can see the biggest change happening.
AL: I went to a wedding recently where you were the best man. Your speech was a highlight of the night. You had the guests in tears. Where did that come from.
RF: I did a bit of research and found a good game to play with the Bride and Groom. It came off pretty well, and again, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t have been able to do that two or three years ago.
AL: Where would you like to go professionally, as a business man.
RF: I’d like to keep growing the box. This is what I love doing. Possibly coaching higher level athletes, when my time is up. Try to push the new up and comers through when I’m not competing as much.
AL: Well, your programming is certainly gaining quite a bit of traction, here in Australia.
RF: Yeah. There’s a lot of people looking at what we are doing, now. Which is good. I feel I’ve got a lot to offer other people - seeing athletes train and compete. It’s a great complement but I’m not really at that stage yet - helping other guys out. That will come later.
AL: And as an athlete, your obviously still in the fold. Number one in Australia. Going back to the games for the third time. How are you holding up on that end?
RF: Yep. I feel like I’m getting better and better every year. I’m really enjoying my training and as long as I continue to do that, I’ve got plenty of time left.
AL: I went to your in house comp day, a few weeks ago, and one thing that stuck out to me was the endearing speech you gave, thanking your members for helping to get you to where you are today.
RF: Yeah, definitely. Having those people around me makes it enjoyable. They don’t need to be the best athletes in the world to push me. It’s just having them there. And when you have good people around you, it’s helped my training so much. That’s why I really had to thank them. Because they deserved it.
AL: Good sentiment, mate. Good luck at the games.
RF: Thank you very much.