CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Zach Watts
Heading into the 2021 season, 25 year-old Zach Watts wasn’t quite sure he’d make it through the first qualifying stages.
- 2020 was full of life-changing events for Watts. A new job as a medical sales rep, a global pandemic, getting married to his high school sweetheart and going on his honeymoon last fall. Watts said, this meant training was put on the “back burner.”
- “So I went into the Open not really sure how it would go. I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to the Quarterfinals,” he said.
A few months later, the two-time Central Regionals competitor is training to compete at his first CrossFit Games after punching his ticket at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in Knoxville, TN.
Watts’ Semifinals experience: Watts opened the weekend with an event win, hitting a 310 pound snatch, followed by an impressive 4th place finish on Event 2.
- “I really was just going to take it event by event, but after day one, I was sitting in second place overall, and I was like, ‘wow, this may be my opportunity if I can hold it together,” said Watts.
- But he did more than just hold it together. He had a few more top six finishes and found himself fighting for the final ticket to Madison. “Going into the last event, I knew two people closest to me (on the leaderboard). I didn’t know where anyone else was on the floor except them, and I knew if I beat them, I would get my spot. So when I crossed the line, I knew I had done it, but I was in disbelief until they actually called my name,” Watts explained.
- “I have wanted this for a very long time. I’m so ecstatic to finally say I’m an individual Games competitor. It’s still amazing, and I still can’t believe it sometimes.” he said.
10 Questions with Zach Watts
- What does your day look like in terms of balancing work and training?
Watts: “Since qualifying for the Games, I have been training before work at 6 am, and then I work from 8:30 until 4:30 pm, then I’m at the gym by 5 pm and train for two or three more hours.”
- Are you going to take time off from work heading into the Games?
Watts: “Nope. I used all my time off for the week of the Games. Every single hour I could take off I already took. (My company) has no idea what CrossFit even is.”
- What have you been focusing on since the MACC, training-wise?
Watts: “A lot of endurance work. Running is one of my weak moments, which everyone got to see in the fourth event at the MACC (an event with 2.7 km of running, where he placed 26th). So I’m trying to improve that while maintaining my strength so I can still capitalize on strength workouts at the Games. I have been doing a lot of longer duration workouts, and just trying to get better at handling the volume and intensity of competition.”
- What’s your ultimate CrossFit goal?
Watts: “I’d love to be able to finish this season in a position to set myself up to be able to do CrossFit full-time. I’d love to actually be able to recover after training sessions and be a full-time CrossFit athlete and be able to provide for my wife. I keep thinking about the saying, ‘If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,’ and I love CrossFit so I’d love to be able to make a living through it.”
- What’s your go-to breakfast?
Watts: “Normally three sausages and a bunch of eggs, and either toast or a ton of fruit.”
- Do you count your macros?
Watts: “I don’t fully count my macros, but I focus on macro timing. I did RP strength and worked with a nutritionist for a while, and the main focus was on timing. The morning is more protein and a bit of carbs, and then a ton of protein throughout the day, and most of my carbs are after working out.”
- Who is your favorite CrossFit athlete?
Watts: “Definitely Mat Fraser. Watching Mat dominate the field day-in-day out, watching his confidence when he competes, is so inspirational. He attacks workouts like he’s going to destroy everyone, and that’s what I admire most about him.”
- What are your max lifts?
Snatch: 315 pounds
Clean and jerk: 375 pounds
Deadlift: 525 pounds
Squat: 470 pounds
- Who do you talk to most on the phone?
Watts: “My wife. She’s amazing. She’s the first person I want to talk to about anything. She makes me laugh. She’s like my own personal comedian.”
- What’s something the CrossFit community should know about you?
Watts: “I used to have ‘Future CrossFit Games Champion’ on my Instagram in 2015. I probably took it off in 2016 because I realized, ‘wow, this is going to be way more difficult of a task than I thought’ and I thought I should probably be more humble and maybe not get made fun of by my friends.”