In Coaching, Special Populations

February 02, 2010

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In December 2009, Chris Spealler traveled from Utah to India to visit Sri Ram Ashram. Rashmi Cole talks about the trip and explains how Speal traded CrossFit coaching for cricket instruction and inspired many young athletes along the way.

After spending one year training with Jim Baker at Crossfit Santa Cruz Central, I returned to India full of Crossfit gusto only to face the realities of training alone with less than optimal equipment. In what I now call “a moment of selfish inspiration,” I offered the oldest boys a bribe: CrossFit with me and skip morning group exercise. They took the bait and we have never looked back.

While I am happy with completion of workouts, young men eventually want to see where they stand against others, and I could see the demeanor of the boys changing upon discovering CrossFit monsters lifting impossibly huge weights. On average, the boys are 5’7” and weigh 130 lb. When they saw what a 180-lb. person can lift they immediately hatched plans to bulk up. It was sad to watch them suddenly wish they were something other than what they are, so I began a quest for positive smaller male role models and quickly happened upon Chris Spealler.

Last summer I met Chris at the CrossFit Games, when he sent a note of encouragement to the children. A few months later, he e-mailed with a proposal to visit. In spite of the great distances between Utah and India, a date was soon set and I could finally tell the kids that Coach Spealler was on his way.



10 Comments on “Exporting CrossFit: Chris Spealler in India”


wrote …

What a great article. It sounds like the kids there have a great thing going on.

Pound for pound Speal is the one of the strongest, most well-rounded athletes I have ever met. I would take his work capacity over a monster dead lift any day of the week. It would be the easiest decision I ever made.


Bob Guere wrote …

Chris is a true professional, and example for all of us, and a pretty good CrossFitter too. Congrats Chris for putting your heart where your body is.


wrote …

Thank you Rashimi, for the very inspiring story of chris helping these kids.


wrote …

Thanks Rashmi and Chris !! Great effort, Good cause, Good intentions will surely have and I am sure is having a Great output !

Wish there are more CFs in India though....


wrote …

Rashmi, what an awesome article. So cool to see it from your eyes and it was an honor to be there and train the kids. Thank you so much for the opportunity and please tell everyone I said hello. Love the posts on the main site for the older boys. I'm sure it's motivating for them to be a part of the community in that way. Keep in touch and whip those kids into shape!


wrote …

Rashmi, what you're doing at the Ashram is spectacular. I love that there are kids CrossFitting in India! Makes my day!

Speal, you never cease to amaze me. I'm privileged to know you. Humility and horsepower, Brother.




Dane Thomas wrote …

I'm very impressed with the wonderfully positive thoughtfulness from all concerned. Thank you for sharing this!

Another support for your efforts to give your kids appropriate focus for lifting targets can be found here:

Be sure that they understand that the standards are for adults, not kids. More info on the different definitions (Novice, Intermediate, etc.) can be found here:


wrote …

Wow, great article Rashmi! Being able to coach abroad like that sounds fantastic! How long were you there Chris?


Cole Rashmi wrote …

Once again, many, many thanks to Spealler and the HQ. Throughout the day I hear the kids say, Spealler Bhai did this, "Coach said that". What an amazing example and bench mark for them. I agree, pound for pound, Spealler is the best. Not to mention an incredibly good sport and lots of fun. He was there 110% for the kids.
Chris, all the best in this most special month for you and Sarah. The kids all remember you and wish you well.


wrote …

Wow, Rashmi your article actually brought a lump to my throat it was so inspiring. What a great woman you are to give these kids so much, in particular seeking out an appropriate role model for the boys. One of the aspects of Crossfit that has impressed me most is the mental and emotional development it encourages: to learn to leave your ego at the door and use the community as inspiration to push yourself to YOUR OWN potential. Of course competition is part of that, but healthy competition where you are impressed by the people that beat you not annoyed by them. Keep up the good work.

I'd really like to hear about the experience from Chris' persepctive, hint hint.

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