Our Top 7 Highlights from the 2017 CrossFit® Games

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zen planer crossfit games

To say we had a great time in Madison would be an understatement. Everything about the Games this year was phenomenal; the new city, the fans, the athletes, the events and most of all, our customers. It’s hard to recap the week in one post, but here are some of our favorite moments from our time in Madison.

Discovering Madison

We heard Madison was a neat town, but it far exceeded our expectations. Nestled between Lakes Monona and Mendota with a gorgeous, ever-visible capitol building in the backdrop, every minute spent in Madison was a potential a photo opportunity. We were lucky enough to arrive on a Wednesday for Concerts on the Square, in which the Madison Symphony plays on the front lawn of the capitol surrounded by food and beer vendors. From exploring State Street and munching on cheese curds (they’re seriously so good!) to strolling by the lake, we quickly became huge fans of this unique Midwest town.

Meeting Customers

The best part of attending an event like the Games is meeting the customers we serve on a daily basis in person. We serve box owners around the world, and wouldn’t be able to meet many of them if weren’t for events like this. We chatted about how things were going at their business and geeked out over all things CrossFit®. We also received great insight from our customers on how Zen Planner is making a positive impact on their gym. Listen to what Eric Willis, owner of CrossFit Decatur, had to say about us.

Sending People to the Games

Speaking of meeting customers, we really enjoyed meeting Katie and Brock Larson of CrossFit Fargo. They won our #zenmetothegames contest and received two all-access passes to the Games, along with a hotel room. We had a great time cheering on athletes from the stands with them.

crossfit fargo

Cheering for Our Customers

This year, we had a record number of customers, as well as coaches and members, competing in the Games. There were 18 total individuals competing, as well as two teams, including:

  • Individual Women:
    • Cassidy Lance-McWherter, owner of CrossFit Waterside
    • Mekenzie Riley, member of CrossFit Northlake
    • Kirsten Pedri, owner of CrossFit Davis
  • Individual Men:
    • Ben Smith, owner of CrossFit Krypton
    • Jonne Koski, coach at CrossFit Sand Warriors
    • Streat Hoerner, coach at CrossFit Kilo II
    • Cody Anderson, coach at Central Oregon CrossFit
    • Dakota Rager, coach at Cutthroat CrossFit
    • Jason Carroll, coach at Lumberyard CrossFit
    • Jeff Patzer, member of CrossFit Davis
    • Alec Smith, coach at CrossFit Krypton
  • Masters Men:
    • Jeb Simmons, owner of CrossFit Fort Atkinson
    • David Jones, member of CrossFit Krypton
    • Tom Hemenway, member of CrossFit Boynton Beach
  • Masters Women:
    • Mayra Brandt, owner of CrossFit Delray Beach
    • Sarah Franklin, member of CrossFit Boynton Beach
    • Shellie Edington, coach at Fit Club Ohio
  • Teens:
    • Sequoia Barrera, member of CrossFit Yucca Valley
  • Teams:
    • CrossFit ReVamped
    • Lane 5 CrossFit
Dropping in at CrossFit Recursive

We were fortunate to have a customer, CrossFit Recursive, located right in the heart of Madison. We dropped in for a fun ladies-only Wine and WOD event, which we really needed, because let’s be honest, we indulged in one too many cheese curds over the week (when in Rome, am I right?). Recursive owners, Nikole and Dirk, also invited us to a brunch they hosted for our partner, Two-Brain Business. We had a wonderful time mingling with other box owners, as well as our good friend, Chris Cooper.

crossfit recursive

 Soaking in the Good Vibes

It’s one thing to watch the Games on your computer, but sitting in the coliseum watching them in person? It’s hard to find the right words to describe how incredible it truly is. The stadium is electric. The strong feeling of community and support that exists in every box I’ve visited was alive and well. The fans bound together to cheer on each and every athlete as they pushed to finish their final reps before the clock ran out. During some of heavy snatches and cleans, it almost felt as if the loud cheers from the fans gave the athletes superhuman strength, helping them complete lifts they likely would have bailed on if at their box back home. In all honesty, experiencing the Games in person is nothing short of magical.

Being Humbled

Both Emily and I do CrossFit®, and would consider ourselves somewhat decent athletes. If you have been doing CrossFit® for a while and need to be humbled, I highly suggest watching the teens compete. 17-year old girls were hitting snatches close to 200 pounds, and the winner of the 16-17 boy’s division hit 295 pounds. That’s right, a 17-year old was 10 pounds short of the winner of the men’s individual one-rep snatch. Seeing this only made us even more excited to get back to the gym and work on our barbell PRs.

sequoia crossfit games

Zen Planner customer and owner of CrossFit Yucca Valley, Gina Barrera, cheers on her daughter Sequoia as she hits a 165 lb. snatch.

We’d like to give a big shout out to the city of Madison, and its residents for being so welcoming to our group of 80,000+ fitness fanatics. We’d also like to thank everyone who helped make the Games possible; the athletes, organizers, volunteers and fans. What CrossFit® has created and expanded over the past 11 years is nothing short of amazing.

Asking for a friend, is it too early to say that we’re already looking forward to next year’s Games?


Get the most detailed financial performance data in the affiliate gym industry in our 2016 Affiliate Gym Benchmark Report.

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Tiffany Houkom

Tiffany Houkom, Search Engine Marketing Specialist
Zen Planner

Born and raised in Denver, Tiffany is a Colorado girl to her core. From snowboarding and hiking to working out at her neighborhood CrossFit® box, Tiffany has a hard time sitting still. Professionally, Tiffany has over six years of digital marketing experience, and currently serves as Zen Planner’s Search Engine Marketing Specialist.

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