In Athletes, CrossFit Games

November 28, 2011

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The legendary CrossFitter embarks on training for his sixth Games by turning his training and nutrition upside down. Russell Greene reports.

Throughout his athletic career, Chris Spealler has been known for pushing his smaller frame to compete with larger athletes. It began long before he found CrossFit. After wrestling for four years in high school, he earned a scholarship to wrestle at Lock Haven University. There, he was known for out-powering 197-lb. Division 1 wrestlers on the Airdyne.

Spealler is such a skilled athlete it’s strange to call anything a struggle for him. His five-time CrossFit Games career, however, has been defined by the same struggle he encountered as a wrestler: capitalizing on his speed and stamina while forcing his body to exert ever-larger amounts of force seemingly through strength of will alone.

Each year he has excelled at events testing skill, speed and endurance. On the other hand, events with heavy weight have always held him back in the rankings. Spealler has reached new limits by lifting heavier loads each year, yet he has never seemed to get quite strong enough to win.

This year, however, “Speal” is trying something different. Fed up with simply getting stronger while staying relatively the same size, he’s embarked on a radical weight-gain plan.

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30 Comments on “Chris Spealler: The Fire Inside”


wrote …

To quote Chris - "Fitness is a journey". Thanks for a glimpse at your journey.


wrote …

thanks chris for being such an inspiration for us "little guys."

can't wait to see how well you do next year!


wrote …

looking forward to see new "Chris Spealler" :)


Jake Di Vita wrote …

Ya...That's pretty badass.


wrote …

As a bigger guy, I fear this little man. He's a motivator if I've ever seen one.


wrote …

Speal is flat out amazing. Obviously one of the best crossfit athletes in this sport but also one of the all-around best people in it as well. I look up to the guy and it was a true honor to have been able to compete next to him. It's guys like him that athletes do anything they can to get to the games to compete next to.


wrote …

Can't wait to see how he performs at the games in 2012. Meeting him in Houston at the UFC expo was great.


wrote …



wrote …

Anyone have more information on his training? I know earlier this year he was working with Chris Mason, one of the Westside trainers, and Chris M. says Spealler had quite a bit of success. Is he continuing with Westside style training? I'd love to have more details.


wrote …

AWESOME article! Spealler rules. You're a big inspiration to us ex-wrestlers, Chris!


wrote …

Great article, Speal is a PHENOMENAL athlete. Amazing guy. And I must say i quite liked the mustache on the guy keeping a watchful eye over Speal on the page four picture, too. Mad power, bro!


wrote …

Chris is one of the most amazing athletes and people I have ever met. He is talented, humble, passionate, and truly loves the CrossFit community. I think part of what makes Speal such a intimidating competitor is not only his physical capacity, but more so his mental toughness. He can push through agony that causes most other people to slow down or quit. You may beat Chris is a workout, but he is going to make you bleed and suffer for that victory.

As usual, I'm rooting for you, Chris!


wrote …

Man, who wouldn't be inspired by Chris' passionate pursuit of his absolute best performance? Talk about getting out of one's comfort zone, wow.

I continue to learn from your example and I wish you continued success Chris!


wrote …

I'm right there with everyone else. Can't WAIT to see what a bigger stronger Speal can do.


Adam Brown wrote …

Chris, I reiterate what most people above have said - you are an inspiration. Although tall (6ft) I am pretty light (77kg) and I am trying desperately to put on weight and increase my strength gains. Reading this article drives me on to keep working towards that goal.

I opened my own Box in Sydney a few months ago and I constantly use you as benchmark for athleticism, mental toughness and drive. I wish you all the best in your Games campaign in 2012. I hope to see you on the winners dais, and if not, I am sure you will have thrown 100% into each WOD and still provided inspiration for all.


wrote …

go go go chris!!!


wrote …

Speal was one of the originals that I watched videos of when I started CrossFit. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well!


wrote …

Definitely an inspiration. Your a great role model Chris! God bless!


wrote …

Go Chris!


Philip Mancini wrote …

There are always a few performances that you remember as "stand outs" from the inception of the CrossFit Games until now. For me, it was watching Chris blast through the clean and jerk/ rope climb WOD. Being one of the smaller athletes, he made the weights look EASY!!

In my mind, he will always be one of the best CrossFit athletes ever!!


wrote …

When they say 106 consecutive pull ups do they mean dead hang or kipping?


wrote …

Can you further explain what you are eating, and how it is divided up throughout the day. Thanks.


replied to comment from Guillaume Blais

Not only were the 106 pullups dead hang, he was actually wearing a 10kg weighted vest!

Of course they were kipping


replied to comment from Guillaume Blais

What do you think ?


Andy, awesome quote and I concur!


Good luck Chris. I've been hoping for a win from you since I started CF. 2012 is the year!


wrote …

I was lucky enough to have gotten in to Crossfit fairly early and met Chris when we were both in the same group getting Crossfit Level I certified in May 2007. Although I am sure he doesn't remember me, he impacted my life forever! His humbleness and drive was like no other I had ever seen at the time. The CF staff on site at the time included the likes of Coach G, Brendan Gilliam, Pat Sherwood, Tony Budding, Nicole Carroll, et. al. (did I say I was lucky to have gotten in to CF early? haha), all of which noticed him during the WOD. I was lucky, again, to get a few rounds of this on video and am still inspired by it to this day. Chris was already a beast then but has continued to improve by leaps and bounds and I am sure could run circles around 2007 Chris haha! Keep up the AWESOME work man, you are an inspiration to so many! God bless.


Gerald Hill wrote …

When Spealler wins the games the CrossFit Community is going to celebrate like CRAZY!!
No one has more fans.

Great article Russ.
Inspiring as always Chris!


Cole Rashmi wrote …

As I have said many times, Crossfit Sri Ram Ashram loves Chris Spealler!


Matthew Lucas wrote …

Just stumbled onto this article again. This man continues to embody this community. Nice work in Colorado, sir!

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