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Wodapalooza vs. The Games: An Athlete Comparison

Wodapalooza vs. The Games: An Athlete Comparison

With Wodapalooza 2018 kicking off later this week, we took some time to reflect on CrossFit competitions as a whole.

Over the last decade, as CrossFit has gained popularity, we’ve seen major competitions come and go (i.e. ECC and the OC Throwdown). There are two flagship events, however, that continue to set the tone for competition in our sport and that competitors, fans, sponsors and media flock to in masses each year: The CrossFit Games and Wodapalooza.

The CrossFit Games is the pinnacle of our sport. It is the most well-known event in CrossFit. The best of the best give it everything they have in a week of events, chasing the title of “Fittest on Earth”.  Wodapalooza (WZA), on the other hand, is a festival-style event touted as a celebration of all that is Fitness. It brings together Elite, Scaled, Masters, Youth, and Adaptive athletes in the same arena. For both events, competition is stiff and events are grueling. Atmosphere, location, and environment truly set them apart.

We asked three of our #Blonyxcrew members, Trevor JamesGeorge Sanchez and Carly Fuhrer, their take on how The Games and Wodapalooza compare. All three are previous Games and Wodapalooza competitors and are gearing up to head back to Miami this weekend.




Trevor James: The Crossfit Games calls itself that because it creates an environment to test the very best; that is its sole purpose. That is where The Games deviates from Wodapalooza.

Wodapalooza advertises itself as a festival more than a test of fitness, with many more divisions and an equal playing field that respects and celebrates all divisions.

This allows many more ability levels and walks of life to enjoy what it feels like to be on a bigger stage and reap the benefits and joys of competition.



George Sanchez: My favorite part about Wodapalooza is the intimate environment. You are literally RIGHT THERE with the athletes and spectators all the time. You have the opportunity to meet new people and mingle a little more as the environment has a more laid back festival feel.

My favorite part of the Games is the challenge. You’re in the same boat as the other competitors. Who prepared and who didn't? Who is going to give in and who is going to stick through? Who wants it and who doesn’t? It's a test unlike any other. I love it. I obsess about it every single day.


Carly Fuhrer: I love being at the games because it’s such a privilege to make it. The crowd is insane and competing with the top athletes around the world is just something you can’t compare. I’ve met some of the coolest people because of it.

At Wodapalooza I get to see all those people again, along with so many others I know from this sport who live all around the world. I get to enjoy a well-run competition in the sunshine and do what I love with people I love.

Weather-wise, who can complain about the sunshine in January? We get to compete outside, which is so refreshing. There is just something about being outside and working out.

In Carson, that’s what I loved most, being outside and under the stadium lights, an experience you’ll never forget, Love it. In Wisconsin, while I loved the location so much more, I missed the feeling of being outside for everything, so that’s for sure something I love about Miami, fitness with friends, in the sun, by the water.





Trevor James: This past year at the Games I competed with CrossFit Milford, a six-person team comprising of three men and three women, which we have recently found out to be the final year for six-person team competition after the announcement to change to a four person team (two men and two women). Six people on the competition floor really feels like a team. Communication, coordination, and camaraderie were evident from the teams who were successful.

Competing at Wodapalooza is much different. Three person teams with same-sex individuals. As well as no requirement to be from the same gym allows “Super Teams” to be easily formed and be fairly successful. Three Person teams need much less communication and more of an understanding between the teammates to as what each person is capable of and honestly, of what each person is willing to do.

Both have their benefits.


Why CrossFitters benefit from HMB


 George Sanchez: Last year at Wodapalooza I went team and this year at the Games I competed as an individual.

The Games was definitely a more difficult test for me personally; looking at the individual events, however I believe that no matter which you chose you are required to truly push your limits if you want to find yourself at the top of the podium at the end of the weekend.

The competitor’s at both events are world class. Period. We get to see representation from all over the world at both events. The difference in the two is only the rigorous ringer Games athletes go through to get to the Games and walk among the fittest on earth. That’s an honor unlike any other in CrossFit. 


Carly Fuhrer: As far as competition level, The Games obviously has 40 of the fittest men and women on earth competing, we work our ass off to get there.

Wodapalooza invites tons of athletes; Games vets, rookies, past stars, team athletes, and those who have built a good name for themselves, in addition to those that qualify, one of which who could be the next up and coming star. The talent at Wodapalooza doesn’t disappoint, the variety is huge and the competition is tough. Many athletes choose to build teams, which is an absolute blast! It's quite refreshing to be with like-minded individuals and have a good damn time competing together.




Trevor James: Winter in Miami or Summer In Madison? You can’t beat either! They both have their fair share of weather and some unpredictability.

Making it a fairly low-stress endeavor and the ease of just enjoying the workouts, I think Wodapalooza takes the cake. Much less pressure and just enough accessibility in the venue allow for some different workouts you won’t get at a local throw down.


George Sanchez: Comparing the CrossFit Games and Wodapalooza for me is like comparing a Saturday night out with friends and the late night Sunday blues you get when you know you have to get back to the grind on Monday.

Don’t get me wrong, I love competition and I love the opportunity to showcase fitness along with pushing myself into places I rarely go to, but these two are just different.

At the games, it’s all business and you have to find opportunities along the way to pause, take a look around, and appreciate the hard work you put in to take on this pinnacle stage of misery. At Wodapalooza, you have to flip the switch from fun, festive, and all around loving environment to “It’s time to go to battle and focus on the next event.” It’s literally the polar opposite of each other in that aspect.

Light’s on ALWAYS at the Games thinking, overthinking, cooling down, warming up, strategizing… Lights on and off at Wodapalooza because it’s hard not to enjoy the festival. They’re both fun in every way, but they’re just different types of fun.

(George Sanchez during the 1RM Snatch event at the 2017 CrossFit Games)
Carly Fuhrer: Comparing the two is tough, as in my mind they are completely different.


The CrossFit Games you dream about going to, it’s a goal so many have but only few will attain. The focus is different, the mindset is different and while people are still friendly, everyone is there to do the absolute best they can do which could mean the chance of winning the title of fittest on earth.


I’m certainly not saying at Wodapalooza people aren’t there to win and be the absolute best they can be, but at WZA you're laughing, joking, spending time catching up with people, meeting others and enjoying the beach weather in January.


After competing at Wodapalooza last January I was beyond happy with my decision to go and compete. It was probably the most fun I have had competing. The atmosphere is something else, maybe due to the fact I had known more people after competing at the CrossFit Games that previous summer, but getting to see old friends and make new ones makes being at a competition that much more fun.


Trevor and Carly are competing in the Elite Team division and George is competing in the Elite Make Individual division this weekend at Wodapalooza. Follow their journey to the top of the podium by checking out the Wodapalooza leaderboard!


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