The Miserable Beginnings

By Travis Bagent

In Athletes, CrossFit Games, Videos

June 30, 2009

Video Article

Travis Bagent is one of the greatest armwrestlers in the world. He and John Brzenk will be at the CrossFit Games armwrestling any and all takers. These four videos document Travis’s first attempt at a CrossFit workout.

Sevan Matossian wrote this about these videos:
A series of videos that shows a 6' foot 3", 275lb man (pro athlete) try a simple workout and struggle on all fronts. He wants to complete the workout, he wants to do CrossFit, but maybe the sensations that come with intensity are just too much for him?

Millions of Americans are 250+ lbs. I suspect they are afraid to try CrossFit. Travis will inspire them. After watching his valiant and painful attempt to complete a workout, they will feel safe trying themselves.

Travis, who has been on National and International TV more than 500 times (ESPN, Discovery, Nat Geo, EuroSport and more), puts it all on the line. A character that is known for his cockiness shows his humble side. This video will inspire those who are hesitant.

Part 1: 3min 13sec (this part was also shown on the main site)
Part 2: 3min 17sec
Part 3: 4min 29sec
Part 4: 5min 10sec

Free Download

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:


38 Comments on “The Miserable Beginnings”


wrote …

Great Job man! Second WOD ever and that one looks like a monster! Keep it up, we all scale at the beginning (and in my case, sometimes still scale after 1 1/2 years!)


Ned Ferguson wrote …

That was hilarious. I'm 6'4", currently 215 and my WODs look a lot like Travis', though I will gut it out. It takes time to get that endurance (especially without puking). Keep it up.

I loved having all four parts of the video at once.


wrote …

Looks like all of us when we start. Keep at it Travis, my wife and I just reminisced about our first WODS.


wrote …

Haha that is too funny. I honestly think it takes a certain mentality to stick with CrossFit for a long time. I did traditional bodybuilding, calisthenics, and running 5-6 days a week for about 5 years before I started doing CrossFit. Now about a year later, I swear by it and could NEVER go back to traditional weight lifting. You definitely have to mentally prepare yourself for a ride on the pain train with CrossFit.. No doubt there, and also scale workouts as needed and try your best not to compare yourself to the people on the website.


wrote …

i want to see sevan do it!


Tom Seryak wrote …

Nice series, Travis you are freaking hilarious and I love the video game music in the background ha ha!


wrote …

i feel like that EVERY time i do a WOD


wrote …

Props to Travis for showing us something he's not good at. It takes a big man to do that.

Funny, I saw the WOD and thought, "jeez that would be pretty easy" (although the log is probably a lot harder than the 120# it weighs). But now that I remember back just nine months ago - I had to bail on Cindy after just three rounds. I doubt I could have done any reps with the log back then.

Of course if I had Sevan riding me the whole time I might have gutted it out...


wrote …

Hey Laney/Rammam,

s*it that's a lot of mfing cursing in 5 lines of fing text. Good to fit in some blasphemy too. Way to go


wrote …

You are hilarious. I can't wait to meet you at the games. Stick with it man! My first Fran took me about 18 minutes a year ago. I'm down to 4 minutes flat now.


wrote …

Great stuff Travis. That was a beast. Most would ever have even tried. The way to get in shape is to scale your way into CF fitness.

To paraphrase Ron Barassi... the only disgrace in losing is if you only 50% tried, or 75% tried or 99% tried.



Travis, that is one awesome job bro. Keep doing the 'WOD' and you'll come out at the other end of the tunnel a different man mentally. That discomfort you know all about in your professional life, that tenacity is what you have to bring to your CrossFit WOD's.

Keep up the great work.


wrote …

We've all been exposed to the masters of this sport and been inspired and awestruck by their capacity. This is a very important video in that it not only shows the challenges we all faced in the beginning and as we progress, but does so with an accomplished athlete.

Travis's willingness to share his limitations is incredibly brave and says a lot about the man.

One of the great things about the Crossfit community is all the colorful characters and personalities. Travis is a fantastic addition.


Rob Barrese wrote …

I was hoping to see Sevan do it as well!
A couple things to keep in mind... The bigger you are the harder high intensity is. I'm not making excuses for Travis but at 270# a 120# OH anyway, 10 burpee's and KBS is a fairly difficult intro! Bigger guys have all that body mass to push that blood through, their heart has to work much harder. (I'm a little guy, no worries for me). Also, he wasn't even using his hips and as a result he had to shoulder press that log. I didn't see the KBS but I'd assume the same would have been true there as well. He will fair much better after some coaching in the O's. I'd also want to know what the warm-up included if anything.
Overall good job, stay with it and as Tim said (#12) scale + effort = improvement over time


wrote …

Great Job Travis. I remember when I started at 290 lbs last June and everything sucked. My first michael time was 35 minutes or so. Now I'm down to 240 and doing a 17 minute Michael. You'll get there just keep working at it. Big guys can crossfit just as well as anyone.


wrote …

I'm a whole lot smaller than you... but it's the size of the fight in the guy, not the size of the guy (I'm an ex-wrestler).. I think about the stuff I want and whatever it is that makes you hungry when you're tired in a workout. These workuots (WODs)will mentally break you down as much or more than physically, especially when it's AMRAP (as many reps as possible) because it's over at the end of the clock (usually like 20 minutes) so it's up to you to really push yourself HARD for the entire 20.. (You really will get out what you put in so keep pushing and get more) Also, once you workout and get a base, being really warmed up will help you not hit a wall in the begining of the workout... that's a false fatigue.. you have a LOT more left in the tank... this stuff will help you in your refiring up in tournaments as well. Obviously what you do is an ALL OUT firing when you arm wrestle, so long WODs will be harder on a guy like you whose built for one shot intensity, but being fitter (working out in CrossFit) can only improve you... I hope you stick with it.. love your swagger and confidence and the fact that you're being open minded and humble to open up and try this stuff out, in the public eye and show everyone your weaknesses and strenghts. I'm sure if you stick with it, you'll be blown away in under 6 months how far you've come... you'll look back at these workouts and laugh at how much faster and fitter you'll be.. SERIOUSLY... THAT's why you should do these workouts.. Good Luck.


wrote …

i havent watched park four yet, but in my opinion, especially since the title of the article is focusing on someone first starting out in CrossFit, virtuosity isn't emphasized at all in these videos. the second guy to do this WOD never opens up his hips (watch his burpees as an example. and when the first guy tries the cleans his back is rounded! not a great way to start a CrossFit career. Believe me, i am not trying to hate here, and i have been a fan of CrossFit for 7 years, jusst a shame to to see new people or even experienced people try and rip through WOD's without a full understanding of how to perform the movements with virtuosity and proper ROM.


wrote …

Travis, that is hilarious. But, that is how all of us were when we first start. I'm still like that even now. you said you did "Fran" in 15 minutes or so....That is what mine was when I was finally able to do unassisted pullups. In fact, my time was 15:46 on 12/3/08. Two months later, 2/13/09, I totally improved my time. My new time is now 7:55. That is awesome improvement in just 2 months. So I am proof that this works and with determination and consistancy so much can be accomplished. It feels AWESOME!!!

Travis, keep crossfitting!!!


wrote …


Easy bud. You gotta crawl before you can walk.

Virtuosity may not be present on day one, but a big heart and some fraternity will hopefully lead to day two, and three, and hopefully down the road you end up with beautiful movement at a breakneck pace.

As a community, I think it is great to see the majority of the posts getting it and offering support and encouragement. You guys rock.

It's easy to pick things apart, but much more challenging to build something from scratch.


wrote …

Travis, the common theme of this being hilarious is because we ALL started out this way and remember that feeling of holy hell what did I get myself into? Don't get discouraged just grind it out to the end, who cares what the time is just finish. Good job and I hope you continue adding crossfit to your routine.


wrote …


I absolutely agree with you 100%, and my comment was actually more directed toward the other guy who did the workout with his shirt off, who already IS an experienced crossfitter! the guy being initiated actually opened his hips on the burpees better than the experienced athlete. but in defense of my initial post, there is a place for being harsh and blunt, like when someone is attempting to clean a 120lb. log with a rounded back. you aren't doing it to be mean, you are doing it at a service to the athlete/client to keep them from injuring themself! and my intent wasnt criticize the athlete per se, but prove a point that a lot of new crossfitters seem to fall into if they arent introduced to crossfit properly. like you said, you have to learn how to crawl before you can walk, so in my opinion you should learn how to deadlift or clean with a straight back before moving on to heavier weight, regardless of your stature. my post was intended as constructive criticism and i didnt want it to be interpreted as an attack. trust me, i love this community.


wrote …

I have to say that this video series reinforces the camraderie that the crossfit community forges by showcasing that indelible feeling of the physical and mental pain of the various crossfit wod's. Watching someone struggle through their first or second wod or 1000th wod brings those feelings to the forefront. I found myself cheering Travis on, but at the same time understanding that feeling of wanting to quit so bad that you are swearing up a storm and thinking to yourself that you are ten seconds away from switching to Taebo, Yoga, or Pilates. In the end though, it takes a a special person to fight through the anguish and come back for a second, third, and nth helping of the insane intensity that crossfit wods demand. Great job Travis and Sevan! Get some and go again!


wrote …

WOD on cementery ? Amazing :)


wrote …

Great job big man. As long as you improve each time you attempt (and hopefully complete) a WOD then you are on the right track. Everyone started like you. It takes a lot of will and a couple loose screws to stay with Crossfit but it will be the best decision you have ever made. There is no sense of accomplishment like it! I cant wait to see the sequel to this 4 months from now when you do it under ten minutes! Good Luck!!


wrote …

Fan-frigging-tastic. Ya got balls Travis. I am again reminded of the "men will die for points" concept. After the other two guys gave it a shot, Travis gave it another try and gave an excellent effort. This was so frigging inspirational I am giong to work out right now!


wrote …

Great stuff Travis, gut wrenching to watch you grind through that WOD - Kia Kaha!!!


wrote …

Too funny,keep at it will get better..then it will get much much worse!


wrote …

Travis, I appreciate your willingness to put it on the line in the public eye...and get your butt WODs still and I believe always will kick my butt. I was taught to check my ego at the door and do my checked it and did a hard first workout for your size and strength. I agree with so many of the comments...first with a little coaching your overheads will be powered by your hips not your shoulders and arms...a few months even weeks of accessing the intensity will make the burpees better...and that alone would be enough to get that 3rd round...I am inspired and reminded that no matter what you do or who you are CrossFit kicks ass.


wrote …

Generally speaking...
Even with scaling (weights, reps, rounds, etc.), it's absolutely amazing how many people don't do CrossFit - or even stop CrossFit - because they think that they have to get into better shape before they continue. If that's not backwards then I don't know what is.

To Travis...
Great job. A lot of people don't even attempt CrossFit. Hope you stick with it!


wrote …

Cool video - I think a lot more of us identify with this than with firebreathers. Travis seems like a cool dude and one that will definitely crush some WODs in the near future. We need more videos of "normal" people on the site. Keep up the good work Sevan - next time post the footage of you doing the WOD.


wrote …

Cemetery? Does the "WOD" take precedence over respect for the dead?


wrote …


From one Mountaineer to another, (Fairmont home town); there is only one way to get fitter to be able to do CrossFit: you have to do CrossFit. You are at the pinnacle of your profession/avocation. Imagine how much further you could go after adding modified and scaled CrossFit? You have what it takes. Don't doubt your ability to adapt, overcome and thrive in this community. Keep up the good work WVa!


Chef Michael


Dale Saran wrote …

Love the Big Man's sense of humor.

Travis - Great job. I nearly bought my chiropractor an new BMW when I started CF. A big slice of humble pie, but in months you will see that things previously thought impossible are mere checkpoints on your path to amazing physical capacity.

My hat is off to you for having the sack to put it on the line in front of the world. Can't wait to take a shot at arm-wrestling you at the Games. But remember, should you tear my arm off, I'm CF's lawyer. Just sayin'.

Dale Saran


wrote …

Travis, you are a stud! I'm a novice crossfitter and I've been following the mainsite for about 6 months. I can't even imagine putting myself out there like you did. Thanks for sharing. By the way, you're obviously very strong and a very good athlete. It would be fun to see you do this workout again after a couple of months of crossfit. I'll bet you'd rip through 3 rounds.

One last thing, I'm with you - burpies suck!


wrote …

Been there. You are fighting your body telling you that you are killing yourself. Heart, heat, breath, all valid concerns. But what is so cool is that there is empowerment just past the point of rationale. Keep going Travis, past sanity to intensity.


James Crichton wrote …

Cool video, but that music is killing me. It's been similar stuff by the same guy on a few now and I hate to slag stuff off, but I just hate it! Those mashups on the old-school CF videos were infinitely preferable.


wrote …

Bagent is very funny and expressive, and it's HARD to put it on the line. But he hardly deserves kudos for not finishing.

It was a good effort--But he didn't complete the workout.

I train with a fella who's pretty out-of-shape, and doesn't try to pretend he's an elite athlete. But you know what? He completes EVERY workout put before him, EVERY time. His workouts are scaled to his ability (or just beyond), but he has yet to fail in his efforts to complete the job.

In a head-to-head workout of any kind--I'd smoke him. But he works harder than anyone else in my training center (friend's garage).

So sure--it's great that Travis tried and was humbled, and it must be hard for someone with his size and strength and personality to eat that humble pie.

But he could have soldiered on through the rest of the session, and completed the workout.


wrote …

How did CrossFitters do against him at the 2009 Games? There's not many videos of their performance.

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)