Jason Carroll: “The Big Version of Tom Hanks”?

Picture of Jason Carroll.

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody. And welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with two-time CrossFit Games competitor Jason Carroll. The Two-Brain Radio archives are full of great shows you might have missed. We have amazing stories from the community, sales and marketing tips and the best of the business world, all delivered in three shows every week. To stay in the loop, subscribe to Two-Brain Radio, wherever you get your podcasts. Jason Carroll made his CrossFit Games debut in 2017 and finished in 28th place overall as a rookie. He returned two years later and took 39th. We talk about how basketball led him to the weight room, which in turn led him to CrossFit, how he turned disappointment in 2016 to triumph the following year. And just how many times he’s actually been mistaken for Tom Hanks. Thanks for listening everyone. Jason, thanks so much for doing this, man. How are you doing today?

Jason (01:00):

I’m doing good. Got a little strength training earlier, feeling pretty good.

Sean (01:04):

Speaking of training, what has it been like for you trying to keep some sort of regularity in your training during this whole coronavirus thing?

Jason (01:14):

Oh, I mean, just like anybody else, I’ve been doing a lot of like at home stuff. When the whole business shutdown did happen, my affiliate was really, really generous and let me like take as much as equipment as I needed after all the members got their equipment to take home. So I was still able to put together some good stuff as far as keeping the intensity, keeping my hands on a barbell and all that kind of stuff. But just as far as like the motivation of getting through some of those, strength training pieces, it was just tough. Like anybody else, I’m man, like I’m at home and confined spaces. Like you don’t really, it’s one of those things. You appreciate something when it’s gone, because the convenience of being at an affiliate, at a CrossFit box, it’s just nice taking weights off the rack all that kind of stuff.

Jason (02:00):

And I’m working around like my truck in the driveway got to move that and then all that. But, you know, and then I’m sure you’ve seen it on social media. It’s like, Hey, if I’m not doing that I’m riding my bike like crazy. So just having a little bit more time on my hands and trying to use it wisely as far as the fitness aspect.

Sean (02:15):

So what was your athletic background growing up?

Jason (02:19):

I call it your main, like average sport that you kind of grew up doing. I played basketball, so I know I’m five foot nothing, but you know, I could scrap and play defense, but I played basketball all the way up until high school. I played for my varsity team junior, senior year. And then throughout that, I actually took on snowboarding coming out of high school because once you were able to manipulate a personal training and a school schedule, I was able to hit the local mountain that was only about 45, 50 minutes away, multiple times a week to get good on the snowboard and have fun with that.

Sean (02:59):

Why do you think that basketball was the sport that you kind of decided to focus your attention?

Jason (03:04):

I think it had a lot to do with my dad and that’s what he played growing up. But I did have the privilege of trying different sports as I was growing up. I think, I think the ones that—it was between soccer, baseball and basketball. Never really got into football. I want to say it was like a 50, 50 reason why never did football. And my mom was kind of scared. Everyone was like, Oh, did she think you were going to get hurt? And then she goes, no, she was fearful for the other kids. Just like other things, I’m one of four. So definitely being older, I can understand like budgeting and all that kind of stuff. Like a big sport that I definitely wanted to try was hockey. But when you’re young playing hockey, you gotta get all the equipment and then, you know, just like shoes you’re growing out within a month. So a pair of basketball shoes every month was the end all be all a kind of thing for t but I enjoy basketball. It was a good time.

Sean (04:06):

You said you were introduced to the weight room thanks to basketball. So how did that kind of plant the seed of fitness within you?

Jason (04:14):

I remember that’s when I started getting really big into it was with a friend that was on my travel basketball team, that his dad had a weight set in his living room, basically like an extra room to where he’d put us through circuits. Like if you can imagine the whole, the weightlifting equipment with all the cables and all that kind of stuff. Like that’s what I started on back in middle school and then just enjoyed it. And I don’t think it wasn’t until freshmen, freshmen, maybe sophomore year, you know, you getting through puberty and your body’s starting to grow. And now you’re starting to see like, strength is moving quick because that’s when your body’s like heavily adaptive to everything basically. But I remember having a few people come through the weight room while we were training in basketball, teaching us lifts from the floor and a little bit of bench press and all that kind of stuff. And immediately fell in love wwith it, to the point to where I wanted to educate myself on it.

Sean (05:16):

So you go to Cal State Fullerton and you get a degree in strength and conditioning, biomechanics and bioenergetics. So first off I know what the first one is, strength and conditioning, but what are the other two?

Jason (05:28):

Biomechanics is just movement. It’s basically just learning how like displacement and levers of your joints, and how that works. Bioenergetics. It’s just a very, very fancy word for learning the exercise physiology. So in easier terms is what is your body doing during different exercise bouts, like just for us, like, you know, what’s your body doing during what kind of at a cellular level, what is your body doing during a 5k as opposed to at a one rep max power, that kind of stuff.

Sean (06:00):

Gotcha. Why did Dr. Lee Brown and Dr. Andy Galpin have such a tremendous impact on you?

Jason (06:11):

Getting into Cal state Fullerton is the big reason why I went there. I live 20 minutes away. So I’m from the city of Yorba Linda, you know, everyone knows that Cal state Fullerton is a huge school to go to for a business major. Like you get people traveling across the world to go to this college for that major. And then at the time when I was going to school, kinesiology was basically the up and coming major to go Cal State Fullerton for. And then just throughout the, like the prerequisite classes, I was learning that Dr. Andy Galpin and Dr. Lee Brown are very, very high on the totem pole, not even just for the college, but just for overall strength and conditioning and education throughout the world. And it was just unreal. So I was like, when I realized, like, I know the school is in my backyard, but I was just very, very lucky, blessed to have them there.

Jason (07:03):

Like I tried to take as many classes as possible with them, depending on, you know, when you’re trying to pick your electives and all that kind of stuff. So just knowing that I had like the best of the best in my backyard and had the chance to take classes from one of the best minds in the world for strength conditioning. And just try to take advantage of that. That’s why they had a huge impact.

Sean (07:24):

You said it was a series of fortunate and unfortunate events that led you to the fitness as a sport. So how did you find CrossFit?

Jason (07:32):

So, the unfortunate part, well, I guess we’ll just kind of go through all of it. During college, I was, I moved up the totem pole pretty quick at a business called Velocity Sports Performance, which is now owned by Stack Performance, I believe.

Jason (07:53):

Very similar to CrossFit boxes. I think maybe even a little bit bigger, it’s very, very big sport performance facility. You had football turf in the middle of the whole thing, a full on weight room. Some places even had batting cages and all this kind of stuff. So I was doing that through my college years, which was awesome because when I got through all the payments like working while going through college left me no debt, which is awesome. So two weeks out of being out of college, have my degree. And now that I have this degree and this piece of paper, I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things. So I started working at this place called personal care physicians, which is working in a hospital for a concierge practice. Now, the hospital I was working with is named Hoag hospital and it’s in Newport Beach.

Jason (08:45):

So it was really, really cool. It was more on the boring side because what I was doing was more so on the corrective exercise. I was the guy you would see after you were done with physical therapy. Because most of the time what happens with physical therapy is so you’re going in there for your knee and all they’re targeting is your knee. Now you’re losing overall fitness. So therefore that’s where I kind of come in is like, Hey, making sure we’re still doing the strength training for that right knee possibly, but also getting you back into shape and then going into full details of macro counts and all that kind of stuff. Like it was almost a dream job because all the equipment that I got to mess around within the lab at Cal state Fullerton, I got to work with, you know, doing VO two max testing, body composition and all that kind of stuff.

Jason (09:32):

But long story short, the reason why it was a series of unfortunate events, the owner of CrossFit Lumberyard, Reed Worthington. I met him a while back before he left to go play football for Germany. And then when he came back, I just saw through Facebook cause Instagram at the time was a new thing. Like I saw through Facebook that he was doing competitive CrossFit. And I believe he went to Regionals individual 2013 and then individual 2014. And then I saw something at like a little more past Regionals that he opened up an affiliate. Ooh man. So at the cross hairs of me leaving velocity and going to Hoag hospital, I went down to the affiliate and was wanting to just say hi, cause I hadn’t seen him since he went to Germany. And it was one of those things where he was like, Hey, if you’ve got your workout clothes, you throw those on and try this out.

Jason (10:27):

And of course just like anybody else, even me going through a kinesiology degree, I was like, I was brought up to say that CrossFit is air squats, push-ups, and shitty pull-ups right. You know what I mean? I had no idea. Right. And he goes, put the clothes on. We got a one rep max power clean. I’m like, we get to power clean today? So one of max power clean and the seven rounder of 10 jumping barbell squats and 20 double-unders. And I looked like a freaking hero in there because in basketball, in high school, we did double-unders. So with those really crazy beaded ropes, once you hand me a speed rope, I was ready to go. So I crushed the workout, but of course, like anybody else was on the floor, dying. Felt alive after that. So it was really, really cool.

Jason (11:10):

And then Reed would tell me, he goes, Hey, you can be good at this. I go, what do you mean? He goes, just come back the rest of the week, there’s competing in this kind of stuff, and we’ll get you through there. So yeah, just started, I would, you know, leave personal care physicians on a daily basis and go back and start training in the classes. The unfortunate event was that I got laid off from personal care physicians because they expanded too quickly and ran out of money, which sucked. Because again, that was like, think of like a training job with full time pay, full time benefits. I was ready for that career to be at least five to 10 years, you know, but you know, I got laid off, got to claim unemployment for a little bit. But during that time I was able to train. I was able to be at the gym for a longer period of time. And then from there, it’s just like, Hey, they knew I had coaching experience of actually running a gym, running a facility through velocity and being on the other side of corrective exercise. And that’s when I started coaching CrossFit.

Sean (12:14):

So the affiliate owner tells you that he thinks you could be competitive, but when did you realize that yeah, I could actually be pretty good at this.

Jason (12:22):

Man. That’s actually a really good question. Cause there was like an up and down kind of thing. Cause you’re just like, I’m just showing up and doing what he’s telling me to do and kind of taking everything with a grain of salt and relearning movement patterns and all that kind of stuff. And I’m just basically putting my faith into him, by him telling me that, Hey, just keep doing it. Like your capacity’s getting better, your times on the rowing, the running this, this and that. Some of the girl benchmarks like you’re matching up pretty well. And then he says, the open’s around the corner. You’re obviously going to do the open. I think you’re going to be able to make that top 48 spot to get into the So Cal Regionals and get your feet wet.

Jason (13:00):

Well, that was the year that Castro and everybody else like, Nope. No more 48 it’s top 20. I was like, there’s no way like that is a huge difference. Just looking at the numbers and all that stuff. But uh, yeah, I have like, I didn’t know until going into the open of how comparable I was going to be in and all it took was that first workout. It was 15.1 to where I think, I believe it was the five, 10, 15 of the deadlift. 5, 10, 15 of the five power snatch, 10 deadlift and 15 toes to bar, nine minute AMRAP. And then you went into that six minutes for the one rep max clean and jerk. I think I ended up going fourth or fifth in the world for that first part. So it didn’t look like it right away because obviously my clean and jerk, you know, it’s still not that good, but the clean and jerk brought that score down. But I was sitting in a good contention spot right off the bat, doing that workout.

Sean (14:04):

You end up going to Regionalss for the first time in 2015, you finished 31st. So what did that experience teach you about what it takes to be successful in the sport?

Jason (14:13):

That there’s a lot more fit people out there when I was going through this. So I was like, geez, these people are just, it’s real. It’s like, man, like just doing this—comparing something very, very simple like Randy, cause Randy, you know, that’s just straight capacity. Like yeah, you have to learn how to power snatch. It’s a 75 pound barbell. That’s straight capacity test. There’s no huge skill you need to accomplish. And just again, I’ll never, I won’t—just vivid memories of just watching Dan Bailey hit like a 2:02 time, which is unreal, like 2:02. And I believe I even PR’d it like 2:54. And that’s huge with like Regionals cause you gotta run through. Right. But I’m thinking of like the difference between a sprint workout to be that far away from someone that fit. It’s like, there’s a lot of groundwork. Like you gotta put in the work if you ever want to see the light on something like that. But yeah, it was just a wake up call and a lot of fun all at the same time, you know?

Sean (15:16):

Yeah. In 2016 you go back to the now California Regionals you’re on the outside looking in as far as the top five is concerned, heading into the final event. So what’s going through your mind as you head into event seven that year.

Jason (15:29):

It was tough to swallow because it’s, I felt the vibe after, I don’t want to say I messed up event 6 that 225 pound overhead squat was very, very heavy for me. Like I actually did very, very well. And since me being a quicker body on the body weight movements, I passed up a lot of people on the burpee box jump overs and was able to hold on for at least that five rep of the overhead squat. So going into that, I didn’t have, like I didn’t have a lot of confidence cause I remember just getting, having that vibe of knowing that the points weren’t there, like magic had to happen for me to go to the Games and it didn’t like deter me too much because I didn’t go into 2016 Regionals with expectations of being even remotely close.

Jason (16:19):

Like I just knew. I was like, Oh, maybe instead of 31st, I’ll get maybe hopefully top 20, because I was actually put on a competitive program that year tailored more to me through HyperFit, Doug Chapman, if you know that name. Going into that and it wasn’t until Doug actually called me right before that event, before I had a warm-up, he goes, Hey, you just like, almost like teared up when I remember that conversation, like just take everything out of your heart and put it on the floor. And I just went numb as soon as that ten second hit. And I was just, yep. Thrusters rope climbs. Here we go.

Sean (16:58):

You wind up winning that event. Possibly giving yourself a chance to qualify. So what was it like after winning the event? And then you have to wait on the floor while they tabulate everything and then make the official announcement about who’s going to the Games.

Jason (17:17):

Oh man. It’s it was scary. It’s nerve wracking. Cause you’re like one, you don’t know if you made it or, you know, I feel like everybody in the crowd thought I made it with getting that first place. The second thing was, since it’s a production, you know, the streams happening and you have like Kiki, like, Hey, you got to stand up. So obviously you want to think on the better scenario, like, Hey, they’re standing you up. You might be there. You might be going. So it was just very, very nerve wracking.

Sean (17:45):

You only missed by six points. How did you handle that?

Jason (17:54):

I mean, again, going into that weekend, not having the expectation to be that close, I left it with a big positive attitude. Knowing that like, if I’m six points away from being with the big dogs, I just got to put in the work to cover that six point gap. Since I knew how training went that year and I knew what intensities I had to hit everything at, when to rest, when to back off, it was a big learning year to know like, all right, now I have a more concrete feel of what I need to do this year to get there. But then just like anybody else, just someone striving for greatness. And you’re six points out. You’re one place away. Like you’re going to fight for any, everything that you could do that year to make it happen again.

Jason (18:44):

Well, clearly you learned lesson because in 2017 you go back, you take third, you leave no doubt. What was it like for you to finally hear your name called as one of the men going to the CrossFit Games?

Jason (18:52):

You know, like really man, it has its different emotions than just being at the Games. Might sound weird, but that moment even being sixth, but winning that event in 2016, definitely one of the highlights of my career, like the feeling of, I know I have a picture of me holding up that number one, like my face was so surprised looking down the line, I’m like, I’m going like, this is me. No one else is behind me. But as far as like the way, I’m not saying that—it was definitely a great feeling hearing my name called going to the CrossFit Games, but being in that position since I put in really good work during the weekend, but the events before it, you just kinda knew like, all right, I just got to close this up.

Jason (19:47):

Like I know where I need to be in this last two events. And these two events are pretty good for me. Just do what you gotta do, do what you did at your affiliate. And you got kind of locked in, you know? So yeah, it was a feeling. It was great, but it was just like, I know I’m going because of what I did in the beginning.

Sean (20:07):

I heard you say that you showed up to the Games in 2017, thinking that all the competitors were going to be friends with each other and everything was going to be great in the warm-up area. What was the reality of that situation?

Jason (20:17):

People out for blood. There’s definitely a different vibe. I always do say it’s like for CrossFit Games, people are still all from like different walks of life. Like you know, me, I was one of them. I still had a full time job going into CrossFit Games, but really was determined to train and give it my all and give it my best at the Games. But if you’re getting people that have the opportunity to make this their lifestyle as far as like full time training and not having to be on their feet with a job. It’s a different ball game. You can just tell, like, just talking to people, you know, I hate to say it, but it’s like when you get the top 20 athletes and then you get the, the back end of the 20 athletes, like obviously the back end of the 20 athletes are a little more friendly because we we’re not probably at home, like, yeah, we’re seriously training.

Jason (21:16):

We’re sacrificing a lot to do this, but you can just tell we’re a little bit more easygoing. But as far as just like the way I think about it is CrossFit is not like a sport, like basketball or football, or like you might have that day where on basketball, like you gotta be very, very focused for your game. And then also showing up like you could, like, this is a farfetched comparison and RIP, but if I ever sat there and came up and was playing against Kobe Bryant, nine times out of 10, I’m going to lose. But there might be that one time out of 10 that I might be able to drain a three in front of his face. You know, maybe it might happen just throwing it up over my head or whatever. But CrossFit, since everything’s basically a science based capacity, like how much work you put in, basically doing your homework before you show up for the test.

Jason (22:10):

Like, that’s why I’m so easygoing when it comes to competition. Like I did everything that I could before I got here. Now it’s time to party. Now it’s time to display it. But you know, on the off, like when I’m not on the competition floor, I wouldn’t mind just shooting the shit and having a good conversation with everybody. You know.

Sean (22:28):

You take 27th overall that year. That’s the same question I asked you about the Regionals. What do you learn then at that level that you didn’t know going into that Games experience?

Sean (22:41):

The thing I learned is what are you doing away from the competition floor? And that’s huge. Like a lot of people don’t realize. And again, I was a deer in the headlights when it happened. Like since CrossFit Games is more of a production, you’re cattle call, you know, you gotta be here at this corral, you’re going to wait 20 minutes, then you’re going to warm up and then you’ve got to get corralled again.

Jason (23:07):

You’re waiting another 20 minutes. And it was just so exhausting and having just feeling your body up and then having your body go back down, and then you hit that adrenaline spike going out to get to do the competition. And now it’s like, Oh man, what do I do between this time and that time. You think you have four to five hours until that next competition, but you got to know the layout of the venue, where your hotel is, how much time. And it’s just like the time and stress of like, Oh, I gotta be here. I gotta be there. Make sure you’re not that guy being late. What kind of food am I going to get? Like, am I running out of food, all that kind of stuff. Like everything away from—the competition part’s the easy part. That’s what we do in the gym.

Jason (23:45):

That’s what we get to. All those movements are on lock. That’s why we’re gains competitors, but how are you going to handle the stress? And then the formalities of what you need to do away from the competition floor. Like I, you know, I finished 27, 28, like I’m a rookie seed. Like, it’s more impressive to know what the Frasers, the Fikowskis, the Vellners, like they have to deal with the whole like media. Like they have to take time out of their day and hit interviews and all that kind of stuff. Like you never see Fikowski without a shake in his hand during an interview. Cause that guy, he’s knows the game. He knows he needs to be recovering every minute of the day before that next event.

Sean (24:25):

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Jason (25:18):

I knew just coming out the gate, I was like, all right, this puts me into a good position. I was fearful throughout the weekend, just because everything was very shoulder heavy with the ring muscle-ups, the bench press. I know we had some snatches with the C70 bar, which makes a big difference. But just going into the Regionals in general, I was a little fearful. I knew I had, as far as I knew, I had the capacity as far as breathing and the lungs and all that. And that showed on the triple threes, row, double under run pool, nothing too shoulder intensive. And the reason why I keep bringing up shoulders because about a month out of the Regionals, I wasn’t injured, but I could start feeling like, you know, nerve scar tissue happening in the right shoulder.

Jason (26:14):

And I’ll be completely honest. Like once I was done with the 2017 Games, I think I was in the gym three days after just so excited. I was like, I did the Games, I finished 27, 28th or and I was like, all right, let’s put it in the work. Now we’re going to try to make the Games and hit a top 20. And I think, you know, I just did the whole rookie move. I’m high on adrenaline coming off the Games. So where I just got into gym way too quick and then was training hard, training hard, training hard. And when it came time, that’s when my body started breaking down a little bit before the 18 Regional.

Sean (26:52):

You wind up finishing seventh, you miss out on going back to the Games, what lesson did you learn from that? I think you probably just answered it and it has to do with recovery.

Jason (27:07):

Yeah. Recovery is very, very important. Even if you think you’re Superman, like it’s part of the science. And I was just so overtaken about the joy of being a Games competitor that I just wanted it so bad again, that it actually hurt me. Um, later down the line preparing for the 18 Regionals and like another note was like, it’s still finishing seventh and close. Like I was like, man, if I would’ve finished 10th, I’d have been like, you know what, I’m good, but being that close and being somewhat hurt. My sole motivation was like, I didn’t want it to be a fluke. I wanted to be a Games competitor one at least one more time to prove it to myself that I know what I’m doing. And all the work that I put in is, you know, not just I was lucky because of the programming, so to speak.

Sean (28:02):

What did you think of your competitive future after all the changes were made to the season structure in 2018? And you’re basically now going into an unknown situation?

Jason (28:15):

I want to say the order of news was saying, Hey, you gotta make the Games through a Sanctional and I was scared then, because financially those things are expensive. Like I, you know, people’s definition of sponsors are different, like, and I’m at the point to where, I’ll tell people like some of these companies. Yeah. They’re my sponsor, but like I feel like a true sponsorship is somewhat of a paid sponsorship or somebody that’s actually covering fees. Like, Hey, I’m going to the competition, you know, a flight, a room or something like that. So that was something I’m worried about because that’s not how I’m sponsored, like product sponsor’s cool. Like, you know, I’m getting product for as far as supplementation, food and gear to make sure I’m staying up with it and not having to worry about that.

Jason (29:06):

But it’s just thinking about the logistics of knowing if you’re going to want to win a Sanctional, it has to be a perfect environment. You gotta be there a week before the actual competition, because you have to acclimate yourself to the weather, time, like all those little things do affect capacities when it comes to fitness. So sanctional part scared me. I was like, especially that there was no sanctional released in California. Like that was a bummer. You know what I mean? It’s like, I remember Tommy Marquez putting out that post like the mecca of CrossFit, So Cal’s not going to have a Sanctional. The closest one, I think was the Granite Games. And when that news came out and like the Granite Games is in like two weeks, something like that. But I was pretty happy when obviously the open, the open was released saying that this will get, get you a ticket to the Games making the top 20.

Jason (30:02):

Of course there is a side of me saying like, you know, there’s always going to be those athletes. Like you make it through an open. It’s not a sanctional competition environment, blah, blah, blah. But I could rest easy on that because I have made the Games through a competition setting in Regionals and was very, very close to other times. So, you know, I could, again, rest my head easy on that. But as far as the open, I knew I had a great shot because just like any other Games competitor, your coach doesn’t really have you peak for the open, but the fact that I was like, Ooh, now I can have a periodization program for the open and I can have my body peaking for the open. Something that I’ve always been very, very strong at. Cause I know each year I’ve been progressing in placement.

Jason (30:48):

I think the first year was like 240 something. And then I moved up to like 60 and then I went to 50 and then I know I finished like 32nd or something around there. And then I was like, I’m 32nd on the last year. I’m able to cover that ground and make it into those places. So the open was my ticket and convenient ticket because you can do it with your gym. Yeah.

Sean (31:13):

You take 12th in 2019 in the open. Why was that such a good five weeks for you?

Jason (31:21):

I mean, the programming was spot on. I’m not saying everything was a strength, but it’s just, I feel like the preparation with my coaches over at Brute Strength was huge. Like we know I am not a 1RM barbell guy. So, I think what I finished second to last place in the 2017 snatch, and I think even the 2015 Regionals, I was like second to last place in the snatch, of course. But if that was a clean and jerk, same placing probably would have happened, but I’m more on like the absolute strength kind of guy. I got a decent back squat and a decent deadlift that match up with elite CrossFit Games athletes. But anyway, just the preparation, like just doing gymnastic movements and very high heart rate movements mixed in with a moderate heavy to heavy barbell.

Jason (32:16):

I think prepared me well, leading up to the open, cause I know like my big standout on that one that kind of turned some heads was, Hey, we know Jason Carroll isn’t a 1RM barbell guy, but he just smoked that 19.2 under the cap. Like, and a lot of time left toes to bar is a very, very strong movement, double-under, that kind of thing. But as far as like the cleans, I turned some heads on that getting through that through 315 pound barbell in a timely manner. Like what happened, especially through the trash talk group, like Travis is talking shit big time. You get stuck, can you deadlift 315? So, but I mean, I’m actually trying to remember what was 19.1.

Sean (33:09):

Wasn’t it wall balls and rowing?

Jason (33:13):

Oh yeah, that was basically given to me. I was like, I know rowing, I’m very, very strong with, again, going back to biomechanics levers meeting capacity. And then I also have a strong deadlift. So having that posterior chain with the pull definitely helps on keeping that output consistently on the row. So that one was just, again, straight low consequence, classic CrossFit grunt work, and then that stuff I can dig deep and stay with it. So that was good. I know the 19.2 was awesome.

Jason (33:52):

Gosh, I think I remember 19.3 was the tricep killer with like the burpees over the bar and the bar muscle ups. And I think the interval one, like you finish one, you get a certain amount of rest. That one was like a middle of the road workout for me as far as like I’m going to do really good, but I’m definitely not going to be the best at it. Cause I know there was like cycling power snatches in there.

Sean (34:17):

You mentioned the trash talk Thursday group. How did you get involved in that?

Jason (34:20):

Oh man. Wow. How long ago was that? That was 2018.

Jason (34:35):

I think honestly it was pretty simple. I think me having a strong open presence, cause that’s what it’s based off of. I got, you know, a text from, or a message from Fikowski saying, Hey, like, would you want to do this with all of us? And at that time, I’m like I’m starstruck, freaking Brent Fikowski just texted me. But the cool thing about Fikowski, we actually know each other back from 2015. So I think that’s what kind of made it easier for him to like, Hey, I know Carroll, he’s a cool dude. He’s easygoing. And he’s strong in the open. So he’s going to give everybody a run for the money and make it a good show. And I’m always down for some punishment videos and stuff like that. But a little bit on like me knowing Fikowski, he actually in 2015 showed up to a CrossFit event—or I don’t want to call it a CrossFit event becuse it wasn’t.

Jason (35:25):

It was a functional fitness event in So Cal and long story short like this Canadian just walked in and I’m like dude he plays like volleyball and swims. And all of a sudden he’s walking home with $15,000 in his pocket cleaning our clocks, amazing. Him and Mitch Barnard were actually there. And that was a cool little history. But I think that was it just me and him, you know, having good conversation at that time. And then me building up my fitness level to do well in the open

Sean (36:00):

I’m amazed at how much havoc mentally the cuts that were at the Games in 2019 wreaked on people. But the more athletes I’ve talked to have a background in team sports, the more it seems that those athletes were better prepared to deal with the mental stress of the cuts. Why do you think that is the case?

Jason (36:25):

Shit. Does that mean they’re just used to being cut? I’m not sure. I feel like these top level athletes, might’ve been the people that are super fearful of it because they’ve been, you know, top level all their lives and they’re not the people getting cut, you know, that’s I thought that might’ve been the back end. That’s actually a really hard question to answer. I didn’t realize that. Or maybe they just know again, all the work that they’ve done leading up to the 2019Games are like, I’m not going to get cut. I came prepared. So having that confidence of being prepared through their programming and coaches, I think that might be the ticket of why they weren’t worried too much. You know, me personally, you’re not worried until you have to worry. That’s what the feeling is. You know, it’s like you get that first. Like everyone was worried about what the first workout is going to be. But after it was released, everyone’s like, all right, just all right now it’s the Games. Let’s take the punch, let’s roll with the punches and see what we’ve got left. But I think that’s what it is, is all the top athletes knowing that they’re prepared. Like they don’t have to worry about anybody because they know what they’ve been doing as opposed to what they’ve been doing.

Sean (37:40):

Yeah. I’ve had some athletes tell me that having played team sports, they understand that you can put in whatever preparation you can, but then sometimes it’s just not your day. And so that it’s easier to deal with that unknown. You go from 12th in the world of the open in 2019, and then you have your first year where you don’t improve. This last year where you dropped down to 62nd. And then you have to now earn a spot through the sanctioned event. So why do you think the open didn’t go as well for you this year as it did last?

Jason (38:11):

Oh, easy. Actually did the whole, once I was done with the CrossFit Games, I took like a whole month off. I just knew mentally. I was like, Oh, and me since the Open’s a big event for me. Cause I’m strong at it. I was like, I wasn’t ready for the mental stress of those five weeks, like worrying about it. Cause, and you hit that first go around on a Friday. Now you’re stressing about like, what am I going to do better on that Sunday Monday redo. And then once that’s over, you’re having that stress of like losing sleep three days. Cause you’re like, what’s freaking Dave Castro going to throw at us now. So I was just like, Nope, I’m going to be healthy. As far as I wouldn’t want to call it healthy right off the bat when I got done with the Games, like I was back from the Games, I think I had four or five days and then me and the wife were in Hawaii with her family. And it was a true vacation. Didn’t go to an affiliate. Didn’t even run, I was out on the beach with some Mai Tai ins my hands. And you know, I think the most we did, it was maybe walk around a volcano once or twice, but probably had a drink in my hand, eating a bunch of Kalua pork and rice. And then coming back, I was just like, yeah, I’ll maybe give it another week or two and hang out, let my body heal. And then I’ll start training. Like going through that open, I felt like I was getting fitter through the open cause I was like backtraining, you know, excited.

Jason (39:36):

I really got scared. Cause I got to have the chance of a lifetime to do an announcement with you guys. So yeah. So that’s why it’s like that first workout. I was like, Oh man, this is a straight grinder capacity. I’m like, I ain’t ready for this. I’m going to do what I want to do. And I know your audience on social media and stuff like that are expecting like, Oh, Jason was, you know, strong in the open, he’ll do it again. But since I’m not that athlete getting paid to do CrossFit competitively as a sport and I’m just doing it for the love and the feeling and I love this methodology, but you know, sanity and health has to ask to be put in front as well. So yeah, I was just the turnaround I was, you know.

Sean (40:19):

Before things changed with the coronavirus and all the cancellations and the season being basically scrapped. What was your competition plan for this year?

Jason (40:32):

I think it was, as far as the Games, I’ll be completely honest with you. It might’ve been just nonexistent. My plan, was to compete at the West coast Regionals, which was really, really cool or West coast invitational, which is really, really cool because of my past experiences or notables to actually qualify for it. I got the invite and I just told myself like with the time that I have and with my obligations and everything like that, I’m going to train my ass off to best display my fitness at that place. And if I don’t make the Games, great, I’m totally OK with that because the thing I was excited to was to end my competitive career on the floor at Del Mar fairgrounds because had a lot of good times over there. A lot of great times.

Jason (41:27):

Cause I remember just hearing like an interview from Chyna Cho back in the day where she was saying like, yeah, since again, the whole thing at the CrossFit Games is a production, Regionals is just, you can literally hit one of the events and you can go hang out in the stands with your family and have a good time. And so a lot of good times hanging out in Del Mar and stuff like that. So I was really excited to actually like that would have been like my, so to speak retirement. Right? Yeah.

Sean (41:56):

Are you officially now done with competition?

Jason (42:01):

No. Since with everything going on, I know the Sanctionals are obviously put on hold until probably next year. I think, I believe through an email that I did receive from the West coast invitational, that I will be receiving a refund for the registration fee, but on top of that, my spot will still be there if I need to rejoin and repay, which is totally fine.

Jason (42:26):

And I’m actually pretty excited about that. But the fact is like now I can actually train for the Open and then having the West coast invitational, basically my in back yard, 45 minutes away like that. That one’s definitely more cost effective to get to, which is more fun. So, members at the affiliate I’m coaching at right now always ask like, Hey, they’re like, just like the same thing. Like, are you preparing for the Games like right now? I don’t want to call my season’s starting officially until the actual Games are done with this year, but I always tell him like, Hey, like since we do this for the love and do it, and because we like this methodology, we like feeling the good pain of what fitness is and really pushing the capacities. Like I, when I step into a box or step into a gym or even step into my garage, I am always striving for Games level movement.

Jason (43:23):

There’s no CrossFitter that doesn’t put a hundred percent into a workout or a strength training piece. So as far as like my capacity, just, still being there or maybe even improving, cause the big question is like how much volume do I want to take on? Cause that’s the big kicker is like, there is everyone says intensity over volume intensity or over volume, but I will always argue the fact that yes, intensity over volume, but there is a set amount of volume that you need to be able to handle if you ever want to aspire to be a CrossFit Games athlete. So that’s the mentally hard part. Cause it’s a lot.

Sean (44:01):

You mentioned at the beginning of this, that you have been on your bike a lot, people who follow you on social media have seen that. How did you get into that?

Jason (44:08):

Well the 2017 cyclocross event has a big impact on that. Yeah. Yeah. So long story short, I used to ride mountain bikes around just a trail back when I was, before high school to it’s gotta be like 13, 14 years old getting into freshman year, used to ride a lot with actually the buddy I was kind of talking about who had the weight room in his living room to, you know, spike an interest of strength and conditioning. But used to ride the bike a lot. And then through high school, since basketball took over, high school basketball, it takes up a lot of time. I didn’t really ride through high school and didn’t really pick up a bike for a very, very long time. And then fast forward to the 2017 Games and he released a cyclocross event.

Jason (44:59):

I’m like, Hey, I love bikes. Like I used to ride it all the time. And even before the mountain bike and used to ride some BMX with some of my friends earlier in the day. So I remember just going down to the local bike shop, trying to find just a very, very cheap, hard tail because they had us on Trek hard tails for the, so just something very, very comparable. And I think I went out on like two or three rides. Oh man, I thoroughly enjoy this. Like where my bike can take me? It’s very heavily rewarding, not like a CrossFit AMRAP to where you started an yMRAP, tou’re two minutes in you’re like, it’s only gonna get worse from here, but mountain biking, like you’re going up these hills and you’re feel like someone’s putting a brick on your heart, but great thing about uphill is there’s always a downhill, right?

Jason (45:44):

So that kind of reawakened that passion of getting into bikes. And then from there I had a cool little hookup, to get a decent bicycle, was riding that around a local trail. And then it just kind of progressed from there, just chasing all these trails and wanting to see where the bike could take me and not even realizing like where I’m in Orange, California, like 20 minutes, every direction, there’s a different trail. You have like Laguna beach, you got another place called Santiago Oaks. There’s a bunch of cool hidden trails over in LA. And then you got San Bernardino mountains that are big bear and all that kind of stuff that actually have bike parks to ride. So it’s just been, yeah.

Sean (46:27):

As a competitor, who’s used to applying and expressing your fitness in a competitive sense in CrossFit what’s it like then to now kind of get outside of that realm and be able to apply your fitness on a bike?

Jason (46:40):

It’s good and bad. Like when you’re riding with people that want to do more downhills and like they’re not very fast climbers, it’s like almost like, Aw man, like I’m in shape. Like I only know one speed to get up the Hill and you get there and then I’m ready to go in like a minute or two and all these other guys like, Hey, we made up the uphill. We need like a 10 minute break before we go down like guys, if we go faster, we get more trails in. We love that brutality, but yeah. So it’s really nice to be able to have something that’s actually a little more mindless because mountain biking, like I know that I am developing some kind of aerobic capacity through it.

Jason (47:28):

That’ll translate breathing for somewhere else, but I don’t think about it, which is awesome. That would be like one of the number one advice that I would give somebody that is maybe trying to be a CrossFit Games athlete like find an activity that you are getting fitter from, but you’re not necessarily thinking about it. Like I use an app called Strava and it tells you your moving time. I’m like, man, like yesterday I hit a 14 mile bike, told me my body was moving for an hour and 20 minutes. That’s just an hour and 20 minutes of breathing above resting state. Like some kind of fitness is going to translate. Yeah. Biking’s not obviously gonna translate into muscle-ups. Like I wish, but as far as like the breathing aspect, like you’re going to be able to adapt a lot better and recover in between pieces having that aerobic capacity. So it’s just that part is kind of nice knowing that when I’m out on the bike, it’s going to help me as far as the competitive aspect when I come back into the gym.

Sean (48:29):

Final question. How many times have you actually been mistaken for Tom Hanks?

Jason (48:38):

Never. It’s always like, people take a look, like you look like Tom Hanks. So never mistaken because I know it’s like, he’s a little older and I think I might look like when the hair’s all curly and whatnot, I look like the big version of Tom Hanks. So when he’s a little younger. But man, when that kind of took off or like just people started noticing that like I was actually kinda like split between two different ways. I was like, yeah. Cause every, you know, all the dudes want to look like the pretty guys. Like a Brad Pitt or something like that. It’s like, yeah, I’m like look at me. I look good. I’m like Tom Hanks? That’s the Castaway guy. Like, I don’t know if I want to own up to that. But people were just dying. Like, dude, Tom Hanks looks great. You try and get a movie with that guy. Like I won’t lie. Sometimes when I get this little Mohawk going, I’m like, all right, I’ll walk up to my barber. I’m like, Hey, can you get me something like a little less Tom Hanksy he started laughing like no way, because if I get the haircut, like correct and I put pictures together, scares the shit out of me.

Sean (49:50):

Listen, everybody loves Tom Hanks. Right. So it’s absolutely.

Jason (49:53):

And I still have hope to this day, he’s going to contact me one day, just one day he’ll respond to those posts and you know, maybe do a stunt double for him or something.

Sean (50:06):

We’ll see if we can hook that up. Jason, listen, man, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate you doing this and you know, best of luck moving forward and best of luck next season when we finally get that kicked off.

Jason (50:18):

Yeah, absolutely. I’ll be gunning for it. So everybody watch out. I’ll get fit again.

Sean (50:23):

Thanks to Jason Carroll for talking with me today. If you want to, you can follow him on Instagram. He is at @jasoncarroll89. You want to take the guesswork out of entrepreneurship? We have a ton of free resources to help you do just that. For free access to guides on marketing, retention, buying, selling and more, visit TwoBrain business.com/free-tool. I’m Sean Woodland. And thank you so much for taking the time to listen.


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