CrossFit Games

Elijah “EZ” Muhammad is Back on the Competition Floor

September 9, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Alex Trobough
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Every year, new athletes and fresh faces enter the CrossFit scene. What we don’t see as often? Former favorites coming back to the competition floor. 

At the Madrid Championship this weekend, long-time athlete, affiliate owner and two-time Games qualifier Elijah “EZ” Muhammad is competing as an elite individual at his first CrossFit licensed event since 2017. Team Wodapalooza appearances and smaller local competitions aside, he’s got a spring in his step after a long break and is ready to get back into the sweaty swing of things. 

So what’s he been up to over the last five years?

Credit: Alex Trobough

“Coaching and being a dad, man,” Muhammad said. “Taking care of all the kids around me. I started my non-profit a few years ago and that takes up a lot of time but I just thought… I should get back out there.”

Muhammad started Project Onyx back in 2020, a charitable organization that empowers underserved and underprivileged youth to live healthier lives through practical resources, personalized mentorship and workout access. For more on Project Onyx, check out the article we wrote in 2021 here.

Of all competitions, why did Muhammad decide to make the trek to Spain from his homestate of Iowa?

“There’s no qualifier, you can just sign-up and come — every other event you got to qualify. I got to work at doing better online and in online events and qualifiers, so I’ve shied away from them for a while. But then, they contacted me and said ‘you can just sign-up and come…done deal I’ll be there,” he said.

After two back-to-back events on day one of competition, Muhammad was feeling the quad pump from the toe-to-bar and dumbbell overhead squat piece (‘Round 2’). 

“That hurt, that hurt really bad. I haven’t moved at that intensity in a while,” Muhammad admits. “But that’s why we do it, just to feel that and to get back into training and know what you need to work on.” 

After feeling the burn, he was really looking forward to the clean ladder and heavy rope double-under event (‘Need for Speed’) to follow. Turns out, it was for good reason; he went on to get first place in that event with a time of 2:02, propelling him to a 10th place leaderboard standing at the end of day one. 

Need for Speed

For time:

  • 25 heavy double-unders
  • 4-3-2-1 clean

Elite Male barbell weights (kg): 105-115-125-135

Elite Female barbell weights (kg): 70-75-85-90

As for the remaining five or so (amount still to be announced) events this weekend?

“The rest of them, they’re good events, just up in the air. Who can take them? Who can push hard enough?,” Muhammad said. “I’m never really nervous, just more overthinking things. Just trying to process so many different outcomes, I’m airways ready to go and have fun.” 

And if you didn’t make it out to Europe to see the Games veteran live, have no fear — he intends on returning to the world’s biggest functional fitness stage, assuming dad-life allows.

Credit: Alex Trobough

“Hopefully I’ll make a run at the master’s division or a couple more events,” he said. “But, we’ll see, due to what the kids got going on.” 

Calm, cool, collected and ready to collect feedback, the man so appropriately named is taking it EZ this weekend as he dips his toe back into competing again.

“(I’m here to) just to see where I’m at, overall test my fitness, push in areas that I don’t really want to push in, pace movements that I know I need to learn better control at. It’s a really good learning experience against some high caliber athletes,” he said. “Just a really good learning phase for me.”

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