Friends helping weightlifter get to CrossFit games

by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL

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Cory Dague does a “muscle up” as part of his training for the CrossFit Games. 


In May 2010, Cory Dague and some of his weightlifting friends decided to try CrossFit because they were getting tired of their usual weight-lifting routine. 

The plan was to do CrossFit for six weeks. 

Two years later, Dague is a full-time CrossFit coach with his own business, and is in training for the CrossFit games to be held in July. 

The CrossFit games are the annual, international competition for the best CrossFitters in the world. 

Dague, of Concord in nearby Pike County, qualified this year in the group for ages 40 to 44. This is the first year for a 40- to 44-year-old age group.

Qualifying for the games includes a five-week competition. This year there were 138,000 competitors in 17 different countries, Dague said. There were 7,300 in Dague’s age bracket. Only the top 20 go to the games, in Carson, Calif. 

Dague’s friends and clients have been busy raising money to help him and his family get to California. There was a yard sale and barbecue on June 1 at CrossFit Pike, and there will be a golf tournament on July 13 at The Pines in Williamson. 

The yard sale and barbecue raised enough money that Dague was able to buy the plane tickets for himself, his wife, and their two children. “They’ve blown us away,” he said of those raising money for him. “I’m overwhelmed.”

CrossFit was officially founded in 2000 and has become widely popular in the past few years. 

It’s defined as “constantly varied, high intensity functional movements,” Dague said. “The overall goal of the program is to achieve all inclusive fitness.” 

It conditions the body “so you are ready for the known and the unknown,” Dague said, and improves strength, endurance, metabolic conditioning and mental and physical adaptations. 

CrossFit includes elements of weightlifting, gymnastics, and “monstructural modalities” such as swimming, running and biking. 

The object of the CrossFit games is to “find the fittest man and the fittest woman on Earth.”

Qualifying for the games is a major achievement. “When I first started CrossFit, I kind of in the back of my mind dreamed about being able to make it to the games,” Dauge said.

But he was 37 when he started the program, and “I didn’t think there was any way I could.” Two years ago, he finished “somewhere in the top 100” in the region and last year he finished 90th in the region. Before the 40 to 44 age group was added to the “masters” categories, those under 45 had to finish in the top 60 to go to regionals. At regionals, only the top three get to advance. 

“Last year I finished 90th in the region. I just knew I couldn’t finish any better than that, as I got older.” 

When he and his friends first tried CrossFit, “it was awesome. It just knocked us on our cans,” Dague said. “We thought we were in pretty good shape.”

Turns out, they were not. “It was a rude awakening. Very humbling,” Dague said.

Dague has always been into fitness. In fact, he and a friend opened their own gym in Griffin in 2006. 

In May 2010, he and his friends were “just kind of bored with” their workout. “We were tired of doing the same thing over and over,” he said. They were all in their late 30s and “started thinking about quality of life and being fit, as opposed to just strong.”

A friend of his discovered CrossFit on the Internet and “said let’s try this for a few weeks.

“We never stopped.”

The group was doing their CrossFit routines in the back of the gym and “people kept asking us what we were doing.”

So Dague decided to get more serious and got certified as a level one CrossFit instructor. They started a CrossFit “box” inside the gym. “It’s still thriving,” Dague said. 

He later sold his half of the gym and opened CrossFit Pike in Concord — population 372. 

“It seems the way God wanted it to happen,” Dague said.

“It’s crazy. Nobody ever would have believed this would work, but it’s just been awesome. People are getting phenomenal results. It’s just a beautiful thing.” 

CrossFit can work for anybody, according to Dague. “I’ve got people that are overweight that have just started. I’ve got a 60-year-old lady who has lost 11 or 12 percent body fat in four months,” Dague said. “I could tell you story after story after story of people, from all walks of life, who have never had any athletic experience at all, and at 40 or 50 years of age they are out there getting results.” 

Dague’s mom is 70 and does CrossFit. 

CrossFit is all about “work capacity.”

Before he started doing CrossFit, “I didn’t know what work capacity was.”

It’s the body’s ability to “move large loads long distances quickly.”

“Your work capacity is going to tell you your fitness level,” Dague said. With CrossFit, Dague “realized that my work capacity wasn’t what I thought it was.”

To prepare for the competition, Dague is being coached by a CrossFit veteran from Marietta.

“We talk daily” and get together each week. 

The Dagues also follow the Zone Diet, as do many other CrossFitters. “Paleo” diets are also popular. 

CrossFit and the diet changes have been “life-changing for me and my family. We all eat better and live better. Very seldom do we even get sick anymore,” Dague said.

“It’s just been a beautiful thing. It’s been a great avenue for me to be able to help other people’s lives.

“If you are given a gift you should use it to benefit others,” Dague said. “We don’t make much money at what we are doing at all,” he said, but “we are all very happy and are getting to se people’s life change for the better. That is worth more than money for me.”




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