Fitness Competitor Vs. Crossfit Coach

Now, I’m no stranger to Crossfit, and besides incorporating several crossfit-like styles of training into my own workouts, I was also filmed for crossfit video for Sweat Equity magazine when it was just first gaining recognition.

Fast forward almost ten years to the present day, and I yet again find myself facing a similar challenge. This time the challenge was laid down by Koios – A nootropic supplement brain boosters & natural energy drink for cognitive function.

Rob Riches & Sam Whitworth Crossfit Coach
Rob Riches & Sam Whitworth Crossfit Coach, Sam
Rob Riches & Sam Whitworth Crossfit Coach, Koios drink

The challenge was set for a Friday morning at Crossfit Santa Monica, a great space tucked behind a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop on the main road as you drive through Santa Monica high street. I was told to meet Sam – one of their younger coaches who was pumped to be able to put me through a couple of routines that I was told would push me to my absolute limits.

I was feeling ready, although I did have a cold for almost two weeks just prior to this, so I knew my strength and ability to recover quickly would be an issue. Excuses aside, this was something I simply had to fully commit to and give it my all.

Upon arriving, Sam was waiting for me in the center of the box (the name a crossfit center is called), and looked to have just finished stretching and warming up ahead of this challenge.

I gifted him with a six pack of Pear-Guava flavored Koios “brain support” and we walked around the box has he told me about the couplets he had set up for me. I soon found out Sam was only 20. To put that in perspective, I was lifting my first set of dumbbells in the gym before Sam was born. This was going to be a head-to-head challenge for the ages.

Who Won This Challenge?

As you’ll see in the video above; Sam had set up two couplets, both of which were performed head-to-head. I knew going into this that Sam was a very proficient coach who knew precisely how to perform such movements with all-out effort and for time (the basis of crossfit is to combine powerlifting and gymnastic-type movements with a high metabolic output).

To really highlight the key differences between him and myself, I would perform all movements with the same relatively strict and controlled approach that I use in the gym. (I’m well aware that this is not the approach for Crossfit, but wanted to show the difference in training styles).

The first couplet was Deadlifts (225lbs) and Handstand Pushups, performing 21 reps first for deadlifts, then immediately to the wall for handstand pushups, and back to deadlifts then handstand pushups for a further 15 then 9 reps. 45 reps total for both movements.

I felt good going into the first of the deadlifts, and was actually ahead of Sam as we moved to the wall for the handstand push ups. Sam had already shown me the kippling-style he would be using, whereby he rests his backside against the wall and thrusts his legs up the wall as he pushes down on the floor with his hands to lift his body up.

Yours truly was committed to a fully-straight body as I put all the effort through my shoulders (similar to a standing overhead shoulder press – pressing my bodyweight ~ 176lbs for reps, after having just exploded through a set of 21 deadlifts).

It was to be expected the Sam would finish ahead of me on these, and whilst I did my best to hold my own, I ultimately finished the final set of 9 handstand push ups behind Sam, with my shoulders on fire!

Rob Riches & Sam Whitworth Crossfit Coach Video
Rob Riches & Sam Whitworth Crossfit Coach talk

The next couplet was only going to push me harder – especially as I was still trying to recover from 5-minutes of all-out effort. This one consisted of time on an assault bike (affectionally called the Devil’s Tricycle), immediately into pull ups.

The rep range was once again broken down to 21-15-9 (calories spent for on the bike), and once again I would perform the pull ups the same way I would perform them within my gym workouts, and Sam would perform them with the “most-efficient” kippling style.

My recent cold, which had held me away from the gym for several days and anything but an optimal workout for the times I was in there, was definitely a big factor for me on the bike (although to be fair – this also isn’t something I would typically do during my training), and as a consequence, my output on this was much lower than Sams.

I did seem to make up for it with the pull ups, achieving a faster pace for reps than Sam did, although in the end – he had pulled clear away from me on the bike and had only needed to finish his final few reps as I moved into my final set of 9 pull ups.

At the end of the day, this was a great comparison to show how crossfit and fitness (weight lifting) differ, and the benefits both seem to offer. Whilst I’ll be the first to admit that my purpose in the gym is for muscular enhancement, balance, and conditioning, Sam’s approach was all about performance and increasing his metabolic function.

I’m looking forward to improving my cardiovascular performance to soon attempt this again with Sam, and even challenge Sam to one of my workouts inside my “gym”.