Jeff Tincher at the 2009 CrossFit Games

2011 CrossFit Games

CrossFit Games Legend Jeff Tincher

Insight from one of the Games' early elite athletes

At 39 years of age, Jeff Tincher took 5th place at the 2008 CrossFit Games. Perhaps his best performance was a chest-to-bar Fran time in just 3:33, which was 18 seconds faster than 2007 champ James Fitzgerald, and 22 seconds ahead of 2008 champ Jason Khalipa.

Are you training for a return to the Games as an individual competitor? 

No. I can not do that many events in a weekend. I came to that realization during the Regionals last year and that was cemented sitting in the stands watching Sunday afternoon's triplet of events at the Home Depot Center last year. I am going to compete with the Affiliate Team.

Having been around CF and the Games specifically for a while, now, how have they changed? Has this evolution surprised you? 

They have evolved and they are much more complex. They need to be though for the winner to earn the the title as "Fittest on Earth". This evolution has not surprised me a bit. Even in 2008, I knew it was only a matter of time before we outgrew the Ranch and that the competition was going to become more intense. There are many awesome athletes out there who have been coached by elite coaches most of their lives, and they are finding CrossFit. CrossFit is the fuel that is feeding their competitive fire. It was cool to experience the Ranch. I feel fortunate to have thrown down there with the likes of OPT, Khalipa, Jeremy Thiel, Josh and everyone else that was there in the beginning. My only regret is that I wussed out and did not make the trip in 2007.

How has your approach to training changed over the years? How do you deal with the mental challenges of training and competition? 

I did change my approach after the 2009 Games. With so many events being thrown at us in a weekend, I increased my volume and started doing multiple workouts per day. This left me tired and my intensity and passion for training suffered. Then I adopted a hybrid system using WestSide Methods and CrossFit Methods last year. That worked for a while, but the volume was still too much for me and most of my clients. I noticed a lot of tendinitis in shoulders and knees that wasn't there when I was programming regular CrossFit workouts. At first, it was awesome. Everyone was setting pr's every time they picked up a barbell, but that faded after time and then the injuries started showing up. I still do lots of sled drags, good mornings, and reverse hypers to warm up before a wod though. Now, I am right back where I started, one wod a day going after with as much intensity as possible. Just like Coach Glassman says, that is where all the favorable adaptations come from.

How would you like to see the Games evolve in the future?

I expect them to get even bigger and acquire even more exposure. I believe that will be a good thing. I think we should all embrace it. For those that argue about keeping CrossFit underground and not losing it's roots, I believe they need to understand that the Games are a big tool to spreading the CrossFit methodology to the masses. Why would you want to suppress that??  Just take a trip to a nursing home or assisted living home and stop and think what could have been for those living there if they had found Functional Fitness, GPP, and Nutritional Education 30 or 40 years ago. What if your parents or Grandparents had CrossFit when they were younger? How would their quality of life be different today? Everyone (young and old) needs to be exposed to CrossFit.

Let the Games grow and trust in the HQ staff.

How is the CF Fairfax Affiliate team preparing for 2011? Do you have team competition-specific training sessions?

With the 'Open Format', I have not started doing team Wod's or practices. I am being patient and waiting to see where we stand after the Open Competition. In the open, the Affiliate team is qualifying based on combined individual efforts, so I am holding off on team events until things shake out a bit. BUT, after that, we will be practicing. I competed with the Affiliate team last year, and I did not realize how much strategy was involved. I took a strong group of athletes with me last year, and we got our butts handed to us because our strategy sucked in 2 of the events.

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about you? 

I have competed in a couple of local competitions and have had a blast. I get asked many times at the competitions about the future of the sport, and I always have the same response. trust in the HQ Staff. There might be some growing pains and some things might not be right once in a while, but they(HQ) will learn, adapt, and develop a World Class Competition everyone will want to be part of. They are too motivated and detail-oriented not to succeed.

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20 comments on this entry

1. Harold Doran wrote...

JT is the bona fide beast of the east and a true pioneer in this sport. Like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, we should all listen.

Many of the WODs he has programmed in east coast competition events have become classics on the main site,. In fact, he and I were at Superfit a few weeks back and his WOD from VA Beach sectionals in 2009 (3 rounds for time 10 DLs and 50 DUs) was the main site WOD on the day we were competing.

Also, if you have hit 21-15-9 squat snatch and C-2-B pull ups, thank Mr. Tincher.

10 years from now, the Games will look different. But, when we ask who built this sport, his name will rise to the top of that conversation.

2. Daniel Ballou wrote...

JeffT you are an inspiration to all. I can't wait to come back this summer to be at CFFairfax. I'm excited to see how our affiliate team can do this year.

Best of luck,


3. Jennie Gemignani wrote...

When I started at CrossFit Reston, I had no idea that Jeff was one of the best. All I knew was that the WOD's he created were motivating and tough as heck. I'm loving this body I'm working my keister off (literally) to create, and Jeff (and partner, Maggie), are a huge part of this life-changing opportunity. Thanks, Jeff!

4. Jud Dean wrote...

got a chance to compete with Jeff at the hopper challenge he is a great dude and an awesome athlete. best of luck to you and your squad in your prep for the games.

5. The Pie wrote...

Love the observation on how different methods being added to programming can effect a gym as whole. I found the exact same thing last year when I increase the volume in our programming. It takes a great coach to admit that they were wrong and go back to what was working great.

6. Bobbi wrote...

So great to hear from Jeff T.!! Jeff is so humble, a great athlete, and a great coach. All the best to Jeff, Maggie, and the rest of their athletes at CF Fairfax!!

7. Ben Smith wrote...

Jeff, You have always been an huge inspiration to me ever since I saw you compete in those first 2008 CF Games. Good luck with your training and with your affiliate this year! I hope I'll see you around soon!

8. Mark Lee wrote...

Well Put! I don't think that we have seen anything yet-The Games are still at the point that basketball was when they were running around in little shorts and there was no three point line. The sport will evolve, not everyone will like it but thats fine for the real fans. JeffT is a great example and I second what The Pie said.

9. Josh Wagner wrote...

Tincher...Well said.. I look forward to seeing you,Maggie and Fairfax at the 2011 games this summer. Keep up the hard work and thanks for everything you guys do for the community.

10. Dale Saran wrote...

When I first started lurking in the comments and working out in late 2005, Jeff Tincher was quietly one of "the guys" putting up times. Back when a 3 minute Fran was held by a select few, Jeff was one who had that. I've had the pleasure of competing with him and chatting with him over the years - one of the bulwarks of this movement. Glad to see him featured. Best to you, JT. Hope to catch up with ya at this year's Games. Win one of for us "old guys". ;-)

11. Mike Jansen wrote...

I am so impressed with the professionalism of people like JT. As a 40+ crossfitter, it is great to hear how real he is about his challenges with volume. I was impressed at the Level I cert with the HQ folks and am so glad that these athletes are happy to share their triumphs and challenges. Not even in the same league, but when I've tried to increase volume/weight etc. there have been many challenges. Really enjoyed your perspective in all areas.

12. JeffT wrote...

Thanks for the kind words everyone. BTW - is it bad that I remember the little shorts, no 3 point line, and that Chuck Taylors were for playing basketball in ?? :)

13. freddy camacho wrote...

You are a CrossFit badass. I look forward to watching your affiliate team at the games this year. Good luck!

14. Tim Bishop wrote...


You and Maggie are huge role models to me and I loved training with you guys. I can't wait to see what CFFX does this year.

BTW I have our piece of the log from Regionals. I'll get it to you at one of the local events.

15. Tom Brose wrote...

Without a doubt my favorite competitor to watch 9amongst the guys at least). I've always been a big fan of his programming, and they way he has run events. I think HQ could make no better move than to ask Jeff to consult on games programming.

16. Steve Rakow wrote...

Jeff is both humble and inspiring. A great athlete, coach, and friend. I always look forward to working the L1s with Jeff.

Best of luck to the CF Fairfax Affiliate team.

17. Brian PCF wrote...

I'll say it to, Jeff T. = good people.

18. Joe Alexander wrote...

Jeff, great to read your interview. You have taught me a lot over the years on the circuit. I hope to make it to Herndon again for a seminar. I won't ever forget chasing you in all those rugged wod's at the old CTC. Tell Mags I said howdy.

19. Jerry Hill wrote...

I've seen Jeff compete numerous times, such an inspiration!
Awesome interview, thanks for all you do Jeff!

20. J Hoggan wrote...

Jeff, it's been awesome competing with you over the past few months (and years). Thanks for the motivation and dedication you bring to every event. We'll see you again soon!


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