The 2010 CrossFit Games
The ultimate proving grounds of the world’s fittest athletes.
July 16-18, 2010 • Carson, CA
The Home Depot Center Sports Complex
Select a 2010 CrossFit Games event
United States Qualifiers
Leonid Soubbotine: The Lion Chaser
The Russian-American Affiliate Owner Gets Ready for the Open
Even in a community known for taking fitness to the extreme, Leonid Soubbotine is an extremist. It is common for athletes to lower their carbohydrate intake and eliminate grains. Leonid takes this approach one step further and abstains from all carbohydrates, even fruit and vegetables. Many in the community are experimenting with minimalist shoes, but Leo often doesn't wear shoes at all when he runs.
Despite his unconventional approach, Leo has achieved some impressive results. He has completed Diane in 2:43, a very fast time, especially considering his size (6'3 and 191), which is a disadvantage on handstand push-ups. Leo's also got solid strength numbers (500 lb. deadlift, 270 lb. clean and jerk), metcons (2:43 Fran, 7:30 Helen, and 5:38 Jackie), and gymnastics (100m handstand walk in 2:54).
Both Leo's unusual methods and his exceptional results stem from his general approach to life. A philosopher would call him a strict empiricist; he does not evaluate ideas by the strength of their logic, but rather by the results he gets by trying them in his life. In his own words, he "loves experimenting." Not only does he benefit from what he learns, but he finds joy in the process itself of experimenting with the unknown.
One area in which Leo has experimented the most is nutrition. He spent 1.5 years weighing and measuring according to the Zone diet, but was not satisfied with his results. His next step was cutting out fruits. Soon, Leo was eating just 50 grams of carbs a day. Even at such a low level of carbohydrate intake, he continued to progress in his fitness. At that point, the idea occurred to him to experiment with taking that number down all the way. The results have been great; most of the stats listed above are recent improvements.
Leo takes a similar contrarian approach throughout his life, including his meal frequency and work schedule. He normally only eats one meal a day, finding the lower body heat to be a plus in the humid Florida weather. As a business owner and CrossFit trainer, he only has to teach classes 17 hours a week, some of which he occasionally passes off to an assistant trainer. Despite his minimalist work schedule, Leo seems to be finding some success. His box, CrossFit Evolution is thriving, and the local competitions that Leo runs often sell out within several hours.
Whereas he had previously thought that his competitive CrossFit career had ended, Leo thinks that the new CrossFit Games Open format will fit perfectly into his carefully-crafted lifestyle. It's an opportunity for him to see how he compares with the rest of the world, without changing too much of his normal life.
Leo is planning to compete as an athlete, in addition to opt-ing in for his affiliate to validate workouts. The once a week schedule will allow him to add the Open workouts to his regular training schedule, without the tapering and recovery period inherent in multi-workout and multi-day competitions. Not to mention that he can perform all of the workouts at his home box, avoiding the hassle of travelling and booking hotel rooms involved in regular competitions. Leo's approaching the Open with the goal of having fun, but with his numbers you certainly can't count him out as a contender for Regionals and even the Games.