Joe Corvo: From the NHL to the CrossFit Games

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Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I speak with former NHL defenseman and current CrossFit masters competitor Joe Corvo. My friends, I do not own a gym but I can tell you this. If I had one, I’d be on Chris Cooper’s website a lot. Chris cranks out helpful content daily and he’s created a huge pile of free guides that solve common problems for gym owners. To get 15 free resources, including a guide on member retention, visit TwoBrainbusiness.com/free-tools. Joe Corvo spent 11 seasons in the National Hockey League. During his career he played for the Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. When he retired, he turned his focus to CrossFit and made the Games in 2018 in the 40-to-44-year-old division where he took seventh overall. We talk about his years in the NHL and his fondest memories from his career, what drove him to become a CrossFit competitor and how an unfortunate incident during his rookie year proved to be a turning point in his life. Thanks for listening everybody. Joe, thanks so much for joining me today. How you doing man?

Joe (01:24):

I’m doing great, Sean. Nice to be with you. Thanks for having me on. man.

Sean (01:27):

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Let’s start with your hockey career. What was it about hockey that made you fall in love with it?

Joe (01:36):

I mean I started skating when I was five, so my dad had me on the ice. My dad was my first coach, taught me everything I knew. And I think just the fact that—thank God I started playing on defense. I think I just loved to play defense cause you’re so involved with the game, you’re getting the puck all the time, you see the whole ice in front of you and you’re so involved. And then just being at the rink and the friendships you make and scoring goals, assists, that’s all fun, you know, and it all comes together at some point to where it’s just like, it’s all you want to do or think about. It was all I wanted to do or think about for a long time.

Sean (02:21):

You grew up during the eighties and nineties when American hockey was starting to kind of really reach the next level as far as having a presence in the pros. Who are some of the guys that you looked up to when you were younger?

Joe (02:34):

Chelios, I grew up watching the Black Hawks when it was Ronek, you know, Troy Murray, Doug Wilson without the helmet on. And I just distinctly remember going to a game at the old Chicago stadium. They come out flying in their whites, their Black Hawk whites, right? The organ’s playing, they go through warm-up everything. I remember how crisp and clean everything was, like the passing, the shooting, everything. And then sure enough like they got a power play. They just tic-tac-toed it up the ice and then like one pass backdoor goal and like it was so clean. I’m like, that’s how I want to play hockey. Just like that, just clean, just fast. And that whole team, I mean I had the cards and everything and I was fortunate enough to where my dad had some connections. So, you know, you end up in the dressing room after a game. It was the opposing team. So I’ve got some Edmondson Oilers sticks from when they played here and stuff like that, which are pretty cool.

Sean (03:44):

I’ve always thought that hockey players were some of the nicest athletes I’ve ever met. What was your experience like meeting some of those guys at that age?

Joe (03:52):

Yeah, same thing. It’s hard to explain. They’re just like, everybody’s a nice guy. Especially guys who aren’t necessarily—might not have everything together, might have some problems, but like when they’re faced with a situation with kids or something like that, they’re the nicest guys ever, you know? So I think it’s across the board. I mean, for me, playing, obviously there was guys I can’t stand or didn’t like, but that their relationship with their fans and whatever, I’ve never heard anything bad from anybody.

Sean (04:35):

At what point in your career did you really legitimately think that you had a chance to make it to the NHL?

Joe (04:42):

You know what, not until I got there, it took that long. I’ve never been someone full of confidence. That was probably why my career ended when it did at 36 or 37. I had just—it took everything in me to just to get up the confidence to play in a game. It was like, it was always a struggle my whole career. I was always, I dunno, just didn’t know what was gonna happen, worried about things and not super confident in my ability when other people around me are telling me like, what are you talking about? I’m like, that’s just how my head is, you know? So I didn’t really think I could make it until like I was in the minors and I was doing really well. But still, I came up in the age where these guys are all, it was like a height game.

Joe (05:38):

It was like we gotta have guys six foot or above, if they’re 6’3, 6’4, the taller, the better, clutch and grab because the game was clutch and grab. Guys with long sticks, they get ahold of you, they’re not letting go, they pin you in the corner and they’re not letting you go. Just the way the game was. So I really didn’t feel like where would I fit in as a six foot, barely six foot defenseman, you know? So I really didn’t believe it until the game started changing a little bit. And then I had my window where I was doing well in the minors and they called me up and I played one game and then I was like, I can do this. You know, like I’ve always adapted to the levels that I’ve gone to. And I got there and I was like, you know what, I can do this.

Joe (06:21):

I can do this for 10 Games. I could tread water until I started to feel more comfortable and then I could start putting points on the board and contributing that way. But that’s kind of the process that happened for me. I really didn’t grow up thinking like I can play there for sure. It just took a long time.

Sean (06:40):

Where do you think that lack of confidence came from?

Joe (06:42):

I don’t know. It’s kind of always, I’ve always had it since I was young. I mean I’ve always been a really good athlete, and good at everything that I’ve played or been involved with. But it was never easy for me mentally, it has always been really tough.

Sean (07:07):

You played your first NHL game with the LA Kings. Did you have a, or what was I should say your sort of welcome to the NHL moment?

Joe (07:17):

Probably midway through the game, we were playing the Pittsburgh Penguins and I jumped on the ice and big number 66 is out there and at the end of the shift he’s playing the left wing. I’m playing the right D, end of the shift, the puck comes across the ice to him at the red line. He chips, he just dumps it in and I give him kind of a little shot, little cross-check, low, like across the arm or the hip or something. And as soon as I skated away, another guy, a bigger guy, one of their tough guys, I can’t remember who it was, came up to me. He goes, don’t ever do that again. I’m like, all right, that’s cool. That was like, all right, I’m going to avoid any type of a conflict with any type of those six-foot-four maniacs. I’m not going anywhere near those guys cause I didn’t want to fight at all. So yeah.

Sean (08:13):

You went on to play for four other teams during your 11 seasons in the NHL, Senators, Bruins, Capitals and Hurricanes. Just looking back over the entirety of your career, what are some of the favorite memories that stick out over that time for you?

Joe (08:27):

Well those are easy ones. Obviously that 2017 when we went to the finals with Ottawa, that was probably the most fun year that I’ve ever had professionally, just that group and how tight everyone is when you go on a run like that, everybody has to be tight and has to want to play for each other, sacrifice everything for each other. And obviously that creates like very strong bonds within the group. So that was definitely my favorite hockey year. The time I spent in Carolina were probably, also fun years. Not because we were winning all the time, but just cause that’s kinda when I hooked up with my best hockey buddy, Eric Cole. And when I got traded there, it was my first game and Peter LaVilla, he’s going around the room, asking what motivates each guy and calling them by their nicknames.

Joe (09:35):

And he got to me, he’s like, Joe, what’s your nickname? What do you want us to call you? And I’m like, this is my first game, with a whole group of new guys in the locker room. I’m like, ah, Joe. And from across the room, Eric Cole goes, let’s call him Lucky. So, cause I was number 77, I picked 77 because seven was taken when I got there, which is what I wore in Ottawa. So, Colesy started calling me Lucky and that stuck, now I got Lucky tattooed on my stomach and I got the number on my chest, but I really enjoyed the time that I spent with Colesy because we spent a lot of time, we were roommates, which we didn’t need to be cause you play a certain amount of games, you can get your own room.

Joe (10:24):

But we were like, screw it, we’re going to stick together. So we stuck together. We were always on the road together and going to movies and hanging out and just doing everything together. So I really appreciate that time with him. I still keep in contact with him and I promised him that I’d make it back to North Carolina once the kids go to college, move back there and hang out. So see what happens.

Sean (10:50):

So you had an incident that involved the physical altercation with a woman in a bar in Boston during your rookie year, I think it was 2002. I don’t want to rehash the specifics of that, but why was that incident a turning point in your life?

Joe (11:01):

I had been in the minors for, you know, roughly like four years maybe. And my whole story getting to where I had gotten to at that point was pretty ridiculous.

Joe (11:22):

I don’t know if you know anything about it, but I played like three quarters of a season in Springfield my first year out of college. Going back to my last year in college, we set the NCAA record for most consecutive losses at Western Michigan. So they had a meeting with me at the end of the year and they’re like, Hey, you’ve outgrown this place, you gotta get outta here. So I got out of there and I was thrown right into real life, I guess real life. But the minors, in Springfield, Mass, and three quarters—sorry to backtrack, went to my first camp with LA and they stuck me at forward. They wanted to turn me into a forward. So that was frustrating. I get to Springfield, I get sent down, they have me playing forward. Luckily in Wooster, midway through a game, a guy gets hurt on D, they’re like, Joe, can you play D?

Joe (12:14):

I go back to D, light it up, finish the game with like a goal and two assists. They’re like, Oh, you know how to play D? I’m like, yeah, hello. Played it my whole life. So, from then on I was D the rest of that year in Springfield, three quarters of the way through, I knew that a bunch of guys signed for a bunch of money that I knew I was way better and LA came in low under them and I was kind of pissed. So I held out, I left Springfield and I held out for an entire calendar year all the way around and realized that not having anything to do and hanging chandeliers and moving furniture was not what I really wanted to do my whole life. So I just had to smarten up, took their original deal that pulled out, didn’t do anything and just got the ball rolling that way.

Joe (13:06):

So after a couple of years playing in the minors, I think, you know, you just kind of get bored and stagnant and you start doing things that don’t really promote healthy environments like, you know, drinking the night before games or going out too late and drinking or just in general, drinking too much and putting yourself in situations where, you know, things could go wrong. And that’s kind of the road I was going down until something went really wrong. And I put myself and I did things that I look back and I just like shake my head at that person that I was. But it was certainly the wake-up call, the life wake-up call that I needed moving forward. I mean there’s really no worse feeling than laying in a jail cell thinking that you threw away your whole career, sleeping on a concrete slab in the drunk tank.

Joe (14:14):

So looking back at that, you know, do I wish it never happened? Of course I wish it never happened, but from that point on now I have this thing in my brain where it’s like, I think a situation through before I even get involved with it. Like, what’s going to happen. Maybe to a fault, maybe like 10 steps, like this could possibly happen. Don’t even do that. So it’s really changed my thinking and I think definitely for the better. And I’ve stayed out of any trouble since. So it was definitely a life-changing event.

Sean (14:54):

How did you not allow that one incident to define who you are?

Joe (15:01):

Well, it was tough because I knew for a long time, especially with the internet coming on, you know, it was like that was going to be if people search me on Google or whatever that was going to come up, you know, and I worried about that and I worried about my reputation and all that stuff. And then I just finally just decided, and I knew I was going to take slack at arenas at some point, you know, I knew there was going to be signs or whatever and it would be tough, but as they say, time heals all wounds. So it was just a matter of staying kind of dedicated to the sport and focus on the sport and my teammates leaning on my teammates for support until it kind of blew over at some point, you know, and I could just move on and kinda show people with my off-ice stuff, for the teams that I played for and on-ice performance and being a good teammate, who I really was. Because I really do believe that people make mistakes all the time, all the time. And I really think that not in all cases, some people are just bad people, but in a lot of cases people need second chances, you know. And I was given that second chance and thank goodness that I was.

Sean (16:30):

You have two sons who I think are in their teen years right now starting, you know, starting to become men. What advice have you given them to make sure that they don’t make that same mistake?

Joe (16:43):

It’s difficult. It’s funny cause you think like, you think that kids would get the obvious things, these are obvious things that I shouldn’t have to tell you about. But I have a full bar in the basement that I keep everything locked up cause they have friends who come over. And I tell my sons, I’m like, I know that you guys aren’t going to go down there and you know, start ripping beers or whatever, but I’m worried about your friends, you know, like, cause you don’t always have your eyes on your friends in the house. And I don’t need a friend coming over and having a couple of shots and then, you know, leaving the house and getting hit by a car or something. So that’s what I’m concerned about. So it’s kind of a step-by-step, a case-by-case basis, you know, try and when you find out that they have a new girlfriend, try and lay out, give them as much knowledge as possible. And then as a new situation, you know, approaches or comes up, it’s like, all right, this is what could happen, this is what you gotta be careful for, you know, so case by case basis with them.

Sean (17:57):

If you’re enjoying my conversation with Joe Corvo, then you should know Two-Brain Radio is full of amazing interviews. We’ve posted more than 300 episodes and we air three shows a week. On Wednesday, I interview top athletes, great coaches and colorful characters to get the best stories from the fitness world. On Thursdays, Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper is on the air with actionable advice as well as business experts who can solve your problems. On Mondays we talk about marketing and share client success stories to inspire you to grow your business. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio and we’d love your feedback at podcast@twobrainbusiness.com. Now, back to Joe Corvo. What did fitness look like for you during your hockey career?

Joe (18:45):

I was always fit. I did not start lifting weights until I was in college and that’s kind of when I really started to enjoy it. It was like we had this guy at Western Michigan, his name was Bronco Bob. And he’s always full of energy in the big workout room at like six in the morning and a lot of guys hated it. And I was like, well, there’s nothing wrong with this. This is fun, you know, so I liked it then. And fitness for a hockey player from when I was playing was all right, you lifted in the summer, they give you a book, you know, like, it was I dunno, however many weeks a off-season is, and you just followed it week by week. And I would add in my own stuff cause I like to do more of the more of the strength stuff and some of the stuff that they were giving me was like, I didn’t know why I was doing it but anyway, so you just follow the book and I would mix in my own stuff while I was playing and then once the season started, a lot of guys would just stop working out, if they even worked out before. Probably not.

Joe (19:54):

But I would try and keep a certain level of strength just by doing, you know, reps, high-rep stuff, you know, like after a game, get in the weight room, do some squatting, whatever, just to keep the strength up over the season. Cause I hated putting in all the work in the summer and then just saying, all right, I’m just going to skate now, you know, and lose all the muscle that I put on. So I tried to retain that stuff. And then I would say my last two seasons playing in the NHL, I had found CrossFit one of the summers before. And, so I go in, I was just sick of being in the gym for three hours doing bench press and doing, you know, lunges and squats just for three hours.

Joe (20:44):

And you get out of there and you’re like, I mean, I’m kind of tired, but I wasn’t challenged at all, you know, so I needed that challenge. So I found CrossFit in North Carolina, CrossFit Sua Sponte, and the guy there, former Army Ranger, John Dell, he could tell right away that I was an athlete and he was like, all right, you played for the Canes, right? And I’m like, yeah, all right. So right away, you know, I’m like, he’s got—but right away I wanted to do all the movements. I wanted to snatch, I wanted to clean and all that stuff when you don’t really know how to do that yet, you know. So one day I’m in there, I think I got like probably like 185 on the bar and I go for a clean and it slips out of my hand and my wrist goes up the wrong way.

Joe (21:34):

And I was like, it made me think, like if I get hurt doing this CrossFit, they’re going to take my contract away playing hockey. So I left and I went back to, you know, Planet Fitness basically, go and doing my own thing. And John called me on the phone, he’s like, Hey man, where’d you go? And I’m like, well, you know, John, I can’t get hurt doing CrossFit cause I gotta play hockey. He’s like, no man, come back in, come back in, we’ll start slow, slower than we were going and we’ll get you going. So if he didn’t call me back and get me back in there, I probably would’ve never gone back. But ever since I went back, I loved it. And you know, he knew how much of a competitor I was. So if he had a guy come in that was thinking about opening up like a local gym or something around him, he’s like, smoke this fool in the conditioning, and I’d just smoke them. He’d be like atta boy.

Joe (22:36):

He’s a good dude. We still keep in contact. With you.

Sean (22:39):

You’re probably like the first CrossFit enforcer. What was it about CrossFit that hooked you and you’re like, I got to keep doing this?

Joe (22:48):

Competition. Competition, like not only with other people, but myself, you know, like how much bigger and stronger can I get? How much better I can get at a movement. I’m the type of person that always, I told my wife, this, she’s like, cause a couple months ago I was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this. But I can’t stop. And we got to thinking and I was like, it’s cause I have to be, even though, so I’m done with hockey. I was really good at hockey. Now what do I have to be good at?

Joe (23:24):

I have to be good at something and not only good but like top 50 in the world. Like I want to be top at something. So that’s why I’m still going. Like I just have to have that in my everyday life. I have to know that I’m really good at something and I’m still competitive in something. I’ve thought about doing like, my wife was like, well you should do triathlons. I’m like, that’s a great idea, but like I’m terrified of water. So I’d have to get over that. But that would be something that I maybe might get into at some point because you know, at some point the joints are just going to be like, nope, no more, you know, so I dunno. We’ll see where that takes me. I just got to get over my fear of water, nearly died in Madison.

Sean (24:16):

Yeah. When did you figure out that, Hey, you know what, I’m actually pretty good at this CrossFit stuff.

Joe (24:24):

As soon as maybe a couple months went by at the gym in North Carolina that I said to myself, my goal is to make it to the Games. I want to make it to the Games. That’s it. So from that point on, it was like, it switched. Hockey became second. Unfortunately, the thing that was making me all the money, it was like, ah, you know what? I don’t even really care about this as much as I want to do something in CrossFit, something new. I guess I got burned out in hockey. So, yeah, it was a couple months in, that was my goal. Make it to the Games, make to the Games. And when I went back to Chicago, when we moved back to Chicago, I went into the gym and it was before they had age divisions and I was like to my coach, my new coach at my new gym, I’m like, I want to go to Regionals. And then we did the Open and I was like, you know, you finish like top, I don’t know, 500 or whatever and it’s like, Oh, don’t really have a shot. Too old. So it would have been nice if they had that 35 to 39 when I got back to Chicago, but I had to wait a little while. But that was always the goal.

Sean (25:39):

Yeah. I wanted to ask you about that actually. When you started there, that 35 to 39 year old age group, that there was nothing there. So once you hit that age, it was like, well, now I just gotta wait. So how did you kind of continue to stay focused, even though that you knew that there really wasn’t a direct avenue for you at that point to the Games?

Joe (25:56):

I think they, they had 40, so I knew I just had to get better at what I was doing and obviously that takes time, get better at gymnastics and strength stuff and just went to work. Just, you know, put your head down, go to work. We had a group at the gym who meets at like Saturday morning, super early, pretty competitive people. So that helped and did a couple of locals here and there, so that was good. So just kind of stayed busy. Just improve, improve, get better, stronger and hopefully be ready when I turn 40. You know.

Sean (26:36):

What was it like for you to qualify to the Games as a master in 2018?

Joe (26:42):

It was crazy. Cause as a 40-year-old, my first crack at it, I didn’t make it. I think finished 21st in the qualifier and 20 guys go, I finished 21st. Yeah, 21st or 22nd. I forgot what it was, but I was right there. So that kind of, I was kind of angry about that, but that made it sweeter the next year when I made it. But funny story is one of the qualifiers, like I did, I think there’s four or five qualifiers and I did four and I was like, I couldn’t be any happier with them, but there was one workout and it was like four rounds, five, four power cleans or five power cleans at 245 or it could be just a clean and then 25 chest-to–bar pull-ups.

Joe (27:39):

And I think it was four rounds. And my first score I ended up getting like nine something. And my coach was like, Hey, you know, Shawn Ramirez, you want to hear what he got on this? I’m like, sure. He’s like, he got like seven and a half, 7:45 on this workout. So I think this is where you need to be to make it to the Games. I’m like seven? How do you cut that much time off? He’s like, well, when you come down from doing your five chest-to-bar, you can’t walk five feet away from the bar. I’m going to draw a square underneath the bar. You’re going to stand in the square the whole time and when I tell you to jump, you jump. So that’s what we did. And sure enough, I get to the last round of cleans and we’re like right around seven minutes and 30 seconds.

Joe (28:30):

I’m not lying to you, Sean, the last clean, I couldn’t clean it. My body was just like done. So I struggled with this one clean until I couldn’t, I never cleaned it. To this day I never cleaned it and I was right where we needed to be. All I had to do was one more clean. My fingers are bleeding and I just could not get this thing. And I just collapsed and like basically started crying and I said that was my Games right there. Cause it was like Monday, late, you know, before you turn in the scores. So I thought that was it. I came home, everybody’s wanting to have a party. So I’m like, sure, let’s have a party, hang out. And everybody’s excited and I’m like, don’t get excited. You know, my name will be at the top when I put it in, but it’s going to fall.

Joe (29:18):

I know it will. And it started to fall a little bit, but it got to 11 or something like that and it just stuck and scores are coming in. It’s coming in and coming in and all of a sudden it’s well past the deadline and I’m right there I think at 11 and I was just like looked at my wife and I just broke down crying cause you know, it was a four-year goal and that you make and it meant something to me. It was great. That whole waiting period is the whole thing, watching your name on the ticker kind of sucks. Cause I’ve never like been like Shawn or Robbie Petrovich or those guys who are, they’re like shoe-ins, they’re like lights out. You know that in a qualifier, those guys are going to be at the top of the list no matter what. And that know, I’ve never got that feeling where I was like, yeah, I’ll be fine. I’ll be, you know, top five, top eight. It’s just, I gotta work for everything I get.

Sean (30:24):

Well, one of those guys was getting a little extra help. So yeah,

Joe (30:27):

A couple of them, crazy. I think our master’s group is like, yeah, top guys get in trouble every year. Sidebar, that confuses me why we’re all trying to be so healthy and fit. Then you’re throwing this stuff in your body. I just, yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me.

Sean (30:49):

How have you avoided that temptation?

Joe (30:52):

It’s never been a temptation to me. I mean why? I think when I was younger, my cousin, I think he experimented with it and I think his lung collapsed like out of nowhere so he got into some serious trouble. So I was like, well I’m never doing that. You know, I don’t want to go to the hospital just cause I want big muscles. This doesn’t make any sense to me. It just doesn’t make any sense that someone would want to be super healthy and fit, yet you’re putting these chemicals in your body that could hurt your organs, it doesn’t make any sense to me.

Sean (31:35):

When you showed up to Madison that year, what were your expectations as far as the competition was concerned?

Joe (31:42):

I was just hoping to finish, not hoping, my goal was to finish like in the top 10, cause I knew I wasn’t going to win it, and I knew I probably wouldn’t medal. Just with the guys who were there, cause those guys were insane when it comes to their engines. And I just, my engine’s good, but I have a certain style of workout that I prefer and I’m comfortable with. And these guys are like sprinters the whole time. So I knew I wasn’t going to get super high in the leaderboard, but you know, I just wanted to hang with them and be in the top 10 and just show everybody like, yep, he belongs there, no doubt about that. So I did that.

Sean (32:27):

Yeah. Yeah. You had six top 10 finishes in 11 events. Best performance was in the rope and yoke, you took second. What stands out to you when you look back about how you performed in that competition?

Joe (32:40):

That’s my style of workout, that rope and yoke. Cause I love running. I love rope climbing and I don’t mind walking with heavy things on my body. So, and it’s not like you can really sprint in that. It’s like, how much can you just keep consistently pushing, you know, cause that’s all you need. You don’t need to push red line till you die on that one. So yeah, that’s right up my alley. But that was a fun one just chasing Shawn, coming around the last corner who my coach was like, Oh, take him on the turn.

Joe (33:19):

I don’t think I can, you know, I’m happy with second here. And Neal was just kinda hanging out watching us battle cause he didn’t really need to finish too high. So yeah, that was a fun one, that one obviously was very gratifying to just finish that high and just hang with those guys, with those three guys. It was awesome.

Sean (33:40):

You had some big games on very big stages in the NHL. How did that compare to being at the Games in 2018?

Joe (33:49):

You know, what’s funny about CrossFit is in that situation, when it’s almost three, two, one go, I cannot control my body. I’m like, my hands are sweating, you know, it’s like my heart’s racing. And hockey, three, two, one go, they drop the puck, you play a shift, you get into the game, you get comfortable.

Joe (34:18):

Heart rate goes down, you get into the zone and you’ve got, you know, 60 minutes to play and be in that zone where in a CrossFit workout it’s, you know, a workout can be done in three minutes and you could not be settled in by then. And by the time it’s over and you’re like, what just happened? What did I do wrong? Or, you know. So that’s the difference. It’s like it’s tougher to settle down, especially for me. Maybe it’s because in hockey I knew I was pretty good at it or really good at it so I could calm down easily and I had time to calm down. CrossFit’s like there’s so much unknown in a workout. You’re like, don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know when you’re going to hit a wall or what’s gonna—you just don’t know what’s going to happen. I think it’s just kind of that fear of the unknown. Yeah.

Sean (35:11):

What does your good friend Eric Cole think about what you’re doing?

Joe (35:15):

You should call him and ask him. He’s a funny guy. He is a funny guy, but he says my abs have abs.

Joe (35:28):

There’s thing when people ask about me, they’re like, is Joe strong? He’s like his abs have abs. He thinks I’m a little crazy, you know, he understands that we have nothing to do. Colesy, I mean he coaches, you know, but during the day he got nothing to do. So he understands that I need something to do, mentally for sure. Cause who knows what else I’d be doing. I’m not going to sit at a desk. That’s not exciting enough.

Sean (36:03):

As you have gotten older, how has your training changed?

Joe (36:08):

I think my coach has subtly taken out some like a lot of the percentage heavier lifting days and kind of, we’re kind of just lifting up to like 75% a lot, sometimes 80. But I might be going a little bit higher behind his back just cause I need like I just need to test out, you know, that max once in a while. But yeah, the percentages have gone down and more focused on resting and my body’s telling me that too, like before, you know, maybe three years ago, I really wouldn’t take a day off, but now I’ll get to Thursday and be like, yeah, I need a rest and I won’t do anything and I’ll be all right with not doing anything. Whereas before I’d be like a mental mess. But that’s how it’s changed. And we’re going ,volume day and not much volume we’re going like on and off volume, not much volume, just to not kill me.

Sean (37:19):

You are obviously at the higher end of the master athlete scale. But I get, I mean I’m 46, I get asked by other masters like what is the key to training effectively as a master?

Joe (37:29):

Yeah. What is the key. I think the key is not to—well, one to listen to your body and not destroy yourself every day. Like you don’t need to destroy yourself every day. You don’t need to work out, have like, you don’t need to have two, three, four sessions a day, you know. I’m an hour, two hours, sometimes three, each day I’m in the gym, but they’re not like these sessions where I’m limping, not limping, but I’m not like dead every day. I think if you can find a way to get in the gym and do your work and leave feeling good and not like something aching, then I think you’re doing your job.

Sean (38:18):

Who is a current NHL player that you would love to see in a CrossFit gym?

Joe (38:24):

Oh man. Current?

Sean (38:25):

Or past. We’ll open it up.

Joe (38:30):

Oh man. I’d love to see what like Zdeno Chara could do, you know, just like the six foot 10 guy cleaning or snatching, just to see what that’s gotta be majestic or something like that. He’s always been into fitness. So that’d be nice to see him in there. And he’s got a great work ethic. So that’d be a good fit for him. That’s probably it.

Sean (39:00):

What are your competitive goals right now?

Joe (39:05):

I was thinking about that. I think I had a meeting with my coach a couple months ago and I said, all right, this is what I wanna do. I want to do the Open this year, do the qualifiers, see where I end up, bide my time a little bit more and see if I can do some damage at 45 to 49. So that’s kind of the plan now. That’s another, I’ll be 43 this year and 44 the next year. So I think I’ll be 45 that following year. I’ll be still 44 going into the qualifier and then I’ll be 45 for the Games. So I’ll be like that young guy going into the new division. So it didn’t work out for me when I was 40, but hopefully this time, you know, and I’ll be trained and I’m getting better, always getting better. So see what happens then and if not, you know what, maybe I’ll win it when I’m like 90. Everybody’s gone and it will just be me at the Games, like 85.

Sean (40:18):

There you go, first, second and third.

Joe (40:18):

But I’m going to win that darn thing someday. We’ll see.

Sean (40:25):

This’ll be the last question. I’ll let you go. But what has been more rewarding to you from a personal standpoint? Your hockey career or your CrossFit career?

Joe (40:36):

Oh, that’s, that’s a, that’s a good question. I think hockey has been really rewarding because it’s given me everything that I have to provide for my family and my kids. And, you know, they’re set for college and we live in a beautiful home and a beautiful town. And so really hockey’s afforded me everything else that I want to do in life.

Joe (41:11):

So, you know, I obviously have to give that to hockey. Just CrossFit is different. What CrossFit’s given me is another life after hockey and an outlet to keep me sane and keep me busy and just given me an outlet to do what I want to do and another opportunity to travel and to meet new people at competitions or gyms around Chicago. So it’s just given me new opportunities that in a different way that I’m very thankful for. And it’s obviously keep keeping me very healthy and having a lot of fun. Like today I went to a different gym and I worked out with one of my buddies and we had a great session. And just stuff like that that you really enjoy about CrossFit, that you know, you don’t normally do. Stuff like that. Unless you’re in deep into the CrossFit scene, you know, so hockey’s given me everything that I have and the ability to not have to work and do my CrossFit and just do my thing and do what I want to do, you know, as, as an older guy. Yeah.

Sean (42:31):

Well, listen, Joe, I appreciate your time, man, and best of luck moving forward and I really hope to see you back in Madison sometime soon.

Joe (42:36):

I’ll be trying Sean, thanks for having me on, man.

Sean (42:40):

I want to thank Joe Corvo once again for taking the time to speak with me. If you want to follow him on Instagram, you can find him at @jcorvo77. Please remember to subscribe and leave us a review. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll be back with more great stories from the fitness community every week. Be sure to check our archives for interviews with your favorite athletes, coaches, and personalities. Thank you so much for listening to Two-Brain Radio and we’ll see you next time.

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On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.

Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday, and Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday.

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On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories. Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. 

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