My son competes in CrossFit but this story isn’t about him, it’s about his best mate Zeke Grove. Zeke’s a champion young man both in life and his sport.
Gold Coaster Zeke is a part owner of the Burleigh gym (or box as they call it in CrossFit) Live Elite, with Royal Bryan and great mate James Toole. These guys have built a huge following to this family-like gym since its inception in 2014. If you want to try CrossFit this is the place to go, with lifestyle, teen and even kids WODs (workout of the day).
CrossFit and similar functional movement fitness is growing right across the world. At the elite level the athletes need endurance, strength, technique, gymnastic ability and a positive belief. The food and supplements are equally important. This pocket rocket young man can deadlift 210kg and back squat 180kg (probably more now), that’s heavy. Zeke takes it all seriously but he’s also had time off to marry childhood sweetheart, Lauren (though of course he did find a gym while honeymooning).
There were over 300,000 competing is this year’s Reebok CrossFit Games Open, CrossFit is probably the fastest growing sport in the world. During the Open there are five events and only the fittest forty qualify for the Regionals. Zeke came in 7th to qualify for his third Regionals. He was rookie of the year in his first and big things were expected of him this year and he didn’t disappoint.
At 7th Zeke got to compete in the top group of ten (there are forty athletes in four heats). He might be a small bloke but he has a huge heart. The Regionals were held at WIN Stadium, Woolongong May 13 to May 15th. I was down there watching my son Joel compete, Zeke, another Gold Coaster Adam Mansey and the team from where Joel lives now (in Newcastle) Raw Commando (his girlfriend Emily is a member).
The atmosphere in the stadium is thunderous; loud music, crashing equipment, screaming fans, booming commentary. It’s crazy, exciting and about the most intense mixture of sport fitness you will ever see. It has everything; action, speed, strength, endurance, acrobatics, tension, sweat, noise, cheers, professional coverage and more. If watching CrossFit’s main event doesn’t inspire your own fitness regime I’m not sure what will.
In this environment Zeke excelled. His wife Lauren was biting her nails and shedding a few tears when he came eighth instead of 5th (yes, there’s that much pressure to make the top five and travel to Carson California for the CrossFit Games, the pinnacle of CrossFit). Zeke started out with a fifth in the first event and then a 2nd and 1st so he was in a good position to make the top five. This got Lauren excited but the worry began when a 19th and 23rd put him to borderline. He had to be in the top 10 or better as the guys close to him were legends of the sport; Rob Forte, Kahn Porter and Mitch Sinnamon (whose been trying to get to the CrossFit Games for over eight years). To even be competing against these guys was a dream come true for Zeke. The last two events Zeke powered through with an 8th and a 3rd. He just missed the podium when he was announced fourth place but that didn’t matter to him, Lauren (or her always supportive family) Zeke was going to Carson.
This is no small feat. From 300,000 competitions, to the top 40 in the Pacific and then to the top 40 in the world (yes TOP 40). It’s probably about time CrossFit got a wider audience, especially someone like Zeke in his own hometown, the Gold Coast. There’s yet to be much local coverage about his achievements but that doesn’t seem to bother CrossFitters, they just get on with what they love.
Zeke trains almost all the time. He lives and breathes CrossFit. He trains other people to do CrossFit and more importantly to change their lives to a fit and healthy outlook. He doesn’t brag about being a Fitspo. He’s down-to-earth, quiet and humble. He doesn’t bring attention to himself, but I think it’s about time that he got the accolades he deserves.
When Joel was struggling with injury and motivation to keep competing at Regionals it was Zeke he turned to for advice. He gives so much to the CrossFit community. He may not be chatty but you can’t stop him talking, and encouraging others about CrossFit.
Family and friends are fundraising to help Zeke Grove fund his trip to America to compete in CrossFit Games and the chance to be crowned the Fittest Man on Earth. There’s one on this weekend. If you’d like to be involved just get in touch with the Live Elite crew and they’ll be more than happy to accept. The whole family of Live Elite are right behind Zeke. Who knows what this determined young man will achieve overseas. Let’s hope he has plenty of support back home and that there’ll be a wonderful welcome home when he returns.
Isn’t it wonderful that Live Elite live by this:
The Law of Humility
The quality of having a modest view of one’s own importance.
This is Zeke and all the great people at Live Elite.