Cody Anderson is a 3-time CrossFit Games athlete and our sole athlete at PRx Performance. From finishing 15th in 2017 to 10th in 2018, we wanted to dive into the background of this young up and comer, how he originally started his CrossFit journey, his reflection on the 2018 Games, and where he sees his future in the sport.
Enjoy our Q&A with the 10th Fittest Male on Earth, Cody Anderson:
How did you start CrossFit and what was your original path in life before you stepped into your first CrossFit workout?
I first got into CF shortly after graduating high school. Originally I had wanted to join the military and my mom thought it would be a good way to get me in shape for it. As a former gymnast, the idea of moving efficiently made so much sense to me and I was hooked after day one.
I also only did gymnastics from 8-12 years old. All through high school I was pretty lazy. I ate donuts and played video games, there wasn't a ton of physical activity. I feel like this makes my story kind of unique as nowadays we see a lot of top athletes coming into CF from other professional or high level sports. My journey was one of being slow and steady, just showing up and getting a little better each day.
Which athlete did you look up to the most when you started CrossFit?
I was a big Chris Spealler fan for a lot of reasons. As a smaller athlete myself, I could relate to him a lot and I also appreciated the way he was outspoken about his faith. It was a cool experience getting to meet him and compete against him in my first year at the CrossFit games, especially since it was going to be his last year competing as a non-age group individual.
What was the moment when you realized you could be really competitive in CrossFit?
It honestly took a long time. Even after qualifying for the games in 2014, there was the underlying question wondering if it was a fluke and I just got lucky with the programming that year. The biggest mental shift happened for me at the 2017 games when I realized I was beating bigger athletes not just at gymnastics stuff, but in workouts that involved barbells or other things that weren't naturally in my wheelhouse.
How has your skillset transitioned from your first Games appearance in 2014 to now in 2018?
Gymnastics/bodyweight stuff is still where I do best, and it will probably always be that way just because of the way I'm built and because of my background. I'd say the biggest change since 2014 has been the gap between my strengths as a "gymnast" and weakness as a strength athlete have gotten a lot smaller. I've put a lot of effort into getting stronger, increasing my aerobic capacity, putting on weight, etc. And each year I get a little bit better.
A lot of people look at you as a huge underdog because of your stature of 5'7" and barely clipping 170 lbs. Is it intimidating going up against guys that are 30-40 lbs heavier than you?
I've never really seen myself as an underdog or at a competitive disadvantage overall. The thing about CrossFit is that it's supposed to test everything, so there's some events that a smaller athlete might naturally have an advantage and others where a bigger athlete would. Events 2 and 3 of this year's games is a great example; we had 30 muscle ups for time followed by the CrossFit total. The goal is to become well rounded enough that I could do great in both, but in the meantime I'm not intimidated by a workout like the total because I know there will be other workouts where I have an advantage over the bigger guys.
You finished 15th in the Games in 2017 and 10th in 2018. What can you attribute that jump in the standings to the most?
Lots of things. I made a lot of changes to my life last year. I started working with a coach for the first time and that brought a new level of accountability as well as the benefit of having a program specifically tailored to address my weaknesses. I also quit coaching and started training full time so I was able to spend a lot more time being an athlete. On average I was probably spending 3x the amount of time training as I did the previous year, I think that made the biggest difference.
Do you plan on taking some time off now that the dust has settled in 2018, or are you grabbing the bull by the horns and already gearing up for the 2019 Open?
I took a week off after the games, but we're back to training now. Not going super hard yet though, training takes a big toll on the mind as well as the body so I'm easing my way back in slowly!
How does it feel to be the 10th Fittest Man on Earth?
It feels good to meet your goal after putting so much work in over the year (the goal for this year was top 12), but it honestly doesn't feel much different. At the end of the day I'm still just Cody and my placement at the games doesn't define who I am or make me better than anyone else :)
If you could tell your family, coach, and biggest supporters one thing as a whole, what would it be?
Just thank you! My success is just a byproduct of the grace of God and the support of the people in my life. There's no way I could have done any of this on my own so thank you!
Last but not least, will we see the stache back in action for the 2019 CrossFit Season?
The stache is staying firmly planted on my face, yes!