After five Regionals appearances, Chad Cole made his debut at the 2015 CrossFit Games. He and his father started CrossFit almost ten years ago, competing against one another in their garage before finally opening their own gym — CrossFit Apollo — in Las Vegas. You may recognize the last name — Chad’s father, Dennis, has been a Master’s competitor at the Games for several years.
Unfortunately for Chad, he won’t make a consecutive appearance in the Games this year due to a recent shoulder surgery. However, don’t think that means you can count him out. Cole plans to be back in 2017 and better than ever.
FHQ: So, tell me a little about yourself.
Chad Cole: I started CrossFit back in 2008 in my parent’s garage. I was attending college at the time at a local university. It was one of those self taught stories. We would follow main site and watch videos to learn how to do the movements. We moved terribly!
We didn’t really have any idea what we were doing but we had a lot of fun doing it. After a couple years of figuring it out on our own, our friends and family joined in. We opened up CrossFit Apollo in 2011 after the garage became too crowded.
Competing wasn’t the goal from the beginning. At least not at an international level. I just wanted to be better than my dad at first. Once I started beating him consistently, I looked out toward the local CrossFit community. The top dogs in Vegas at the time were Zach Forrest and Jared Glover. I couldn’t hold a torch to them but I used them as motivation. Eventually, I started hitting PRs close to some top competitors and I realized that going to the CrossFit Games was something I could achieve. Even after I realized this it took me three years to get there.
I married my high school crush almost three years ago. Courtney didn’t know who I was in high school. She was a year ahead of me and I wasn’t on her radar. It’s embarrassing to talk about but I remember ranking her the hottest girl in school when talking to my buddies during my junior year. Courtney was one of our first members once we opened up. After she baked me several Paleo treats I got the hint and we’ve been together ever since.
FHQ: Tell us a little about this shoulder injury. Do you think you’ll be back for the Games next year or is this it for you? What are your plans for rehabilitation?
Chad Cole: I have had shoulder issues for over a year now. It has really started acting up after this year of competition. I have a tear in both my rotator cuff and labrum, most of which is caused by a naturally-formed bone spur in my acromium (the bone that sits on top of the shoulder). They fixed both tears and shaved down the bone spur.
The surgeon thinks it will be a six to 12 month recovery. This takes me out of competition this year, but I will be training hard for 2017. Kyle Kasperbauer (third place, 2012 CrossFit Games), had an almost identical surgery a year ago. My recovery process will be very similar to his. He did a great job documenting his recovery on social media. Through his example and the help from my physical therapists, I plan on being better than ever in 2017.
FHQ: What does your typical workout/fitness routine look like?
Chad Cole: After I finish teaching my 5 a.m. class every morning, I have about an hour and a half to workout. Within that hour, I do a lot of CrossFit. Nothing fancy…just CrossFit. I typically start my session with some sort of squat followed by some Olympic lifting, then I finish with a metcon. I take an active rest day on Thursday and a full rest day on Sunday. I find that this routine gives me balance. However, when regionals get closer I add another training session.
FHQ: What is your favorite type of physical activity outside of CrossFit?
Chad Cole: I have been on a ping pong kick lately. It’s addicting! I go over to my buddy’s house and we can spend six hours playing and not realize it. We aren’t very good sober, but after a couple shots of whiskey that all changes.
FHQ: What was the highlight of the 2015 Games for you?
Chad Cole: Before and after every workout I would search for my family in the crowd. Once I found them I would point them out only to hear them cheer as loud as they could. Making them proud was the best part of this year’s CrossFit Games.
FHQ: What is your best memory at the Games in general?
Chad Cole: It was incredible to repeat the sandbag event in the tennis stadium! I remember watching the CrossFit Games back in 2010 on my parent’s computer. I thought that year was the most fun to watch as a spectator. The workouts were just classic CrossFit. To be able to repeat one of my favorite workouts from that year’s Games was awesome. Although, our sandbag event was way harder than the one in 2010. Anyone would agree! That was one of the toughest workouts of (the 2015) Games.
FHQ: What is your least favorite CrossFit movement and why? What’s your favorite?
Chad Cole: I am not a big fan of pistols. Why squat with on leg when I have another one right there ready to go?My favorite is probably strict deficit HSPU. You like what you’re good at right? Comparatively, I do pretty well in any workout with strict HSPU. Add a deficit?! Game over!
FHQ: What kind of music do you listen to when you workout?
Chad Cole: I listen to country music for the most part when doing a metcon. I don’t need music to jack me up when I am working out. My goal is to stay calm and stick to my game plan. Country music tends to relax me the most. Things change when I am doing some heavy lifting. I like something loud and aggressive. Like Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber…
FHQ: What does your typical nutrition look like? What is your favorite cheat meal?
Chad Cole: I don’t have a specific regimen I follow when it comes to nutrition. I will cheat often but very rarely in excess. I try and stay away from cheese and fried foods because my body doesn’t perform well with either.
FHQ: Do you have any gear that you can’t live without?
Chad Cole: Not really. Eventually I would like to get away from gear completely. I would rather train myself for any challenge that may test me outside the gym. If I had to help lift a car off of someone, I probably won’t have time to put on a belt.
FHQ: Are you taking any supplements regularly? What products would you recommend to other athletes?
Chad Cole: I drink a serving of protein every day and cheap fish oil I get from Costco. I don’t want to endorse any specific product at this time.
FHQ: What’s one item on your bucket list that isn’t CrossFit related?
Chad Cole: I want to build a skeeball table for my house. My wife and I love to play skeeball but not that many arcades have it and its way too expensive to purchase. I looked up plans to build it myself and its going to take A LOT of work! Oh well…why not set my goals high? I guess I should buy some tools first…
FHQ: What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Chad Cole: I’m an Eagle Scout. I love Legos. I wish warp speed was real and I can travel to other planets.
FHQ: What tips do you have for someone who may be letting something — their weight, lack of experience, etc. — hold them back from trying CrossFit?
Chad Cole: One of the saddest things I see in many people’s lives is they don’t make their health a priority. They spend most of their time stressing about work and kids that they forget about themselves. No matter where we start, it’s about constantly pursuing excellence. It’s about being better than who you were yesterday. With the help of your coach and the support of the community, there is no better way to get in the best shape of your life than through CrossFit.