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Scott Paltos does the Monster Mash!
In a sport dominated by beasts and fire breathers, Scott Paltos just may be the biggest monster of them all. Standing 5’11” and tipping the scale at 239 pounds, Paltos is not built like the majority of other athletes in this game— and that’s not the only thing making him stand out.
A true multi-sport athlete, Paltos’ athletic background reads a lot like ESPN’s TV lineup:college football, NFL, amateur baseball, Strongman, Powerlifting, and now, CrossFit. But unlike with the other sports, his relationship with CrossFit wasn’t love at first sight.
As a professional athlete and a Strength and Performance coach for the past 11 years, Paltos had always valued specialized training. When he was introduced to CrossFit, there were some key components that “didn’t fit” with his training philosophies. As a sports-specific coach, he demanded a focus on certain modalities. Looking back, Paltos believes that some portions of CrossFit could have been adapted to his coaching regimen, but his main focus was to assure that his athletes did all they could to excel at their sport — and for him, that meant specialized training. “I really did not support some of the fundamentals being preached and modalities that were being used (at the time). What I did see as I watched CrossFit grow was a change in methodology and crossover into a realm of all modalities and functions.It took a little time for me to fully accept it.”
With Scott’seventual acceptance came a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate, and the birth of PUMP CrossFit & Performance, an affiliate owned and operated by Paltos. The biggest factor influencing his acceptance of the sport? “The lifestyle and the community. In football, strongman and every other sport I’ve been involved in, it’s every man for himself—there is definitely competition amongst individuals.” What surprised him most is that the athletes he saw as”competition” quickly became his supporters. Case in point, Rob Orlando, a Crossfit affiliate owner and strongman-turned-CrossFit athlete is one of Paltos’ closest friends and favorite training partner.“When I first got involvedwith CrossFit, (Orlando) was there when I had questions and always was willing to have a voice. He is also a ton of fun to train with, just because I know we will always go heavy.”
“I also found that anywhere I went, the acceptance and support was overwhelming.” said Paltos, “Different boxes may be a little different at first, but at their core they all feel the same.” CrossFit’s unique sense of community is fostered at PUMP. In Paltos’ handwritting, post workout 12.1, the white board read: “Don’t shortchange yourself, you ALL can accomplish so darn much…continue to support each other, the energy was AMAZING…you play a role in the success of this box. KNOW THAT!!!”
Paltos admits that CrossFit has forced him to concentrate on techniques and movements that he had neglected and it allows him to have fun again in training. “Maybe for a few years I got a little stuck in stuff that I was good at only.I got close-minded in my own training.I would adapt for everyone else, BUT myself.Not so much anymore.”And on the subject of sports-specific training, he says “I think it’s great that Reebok is having all of their sponsored athletes get involved in CrossFit, but what I would really like to see is CrossFit athletes putting on a helmet and doing football drills.”
Paltos had to bow out of the 2011 CrossFit Regional Competition due to an Achilles injury that left him unable to jump or run – not that running was ever his strong suit.“I hate running,”Paltos says. “Last year’s Regional WOD #1, we tookoff as a group and I was with the leaders in the last heat after lap one.I felt great, and next thing you know, they TAKE OFF.I said to myself, ’That’s not good!’Well it got worse, as they were so far ahead, someone tried to cross the track, and judges started yelling: ’No! No! There is still someone running!’ I had to chuckle as I was running.”
His goal for this year? “To do the best I can,” which in Paltos-speak includes qualifying a team from Pump Crossfit & Performance, qualifying again as an individual for Regional Competition and “to be healthy for once.” Looks like he is going to have to settle for two out of three.
He prepped for the CrossFit Games Open like he normally would, spending some extra time on weaknesses like Olympic Lifting Technique and some gymnastics movements, “not just monstering the weight up. Athletes over 235 pounds justaren’t built for gymnastics.”
In an effort to avoid another episode akin to last year’s “running fiasco” he also added some extra running into the programming.Unfortunately, while working his weaknesses he got injured again. While attending a gymnastics clinic, Paltos bulged c-2 & c-3.The injury occurred five weeks prior to the CrossFit Games Open.“For those five weeks, I was laid up, doing NOTHING but getting treatment.My doctors and physical therapists have kept me together in one piece.My first day back working out was the Monday before Workout 12.1 was announced.”
“I’m still not back to 100%. As the Open is going on, I am still trying to get back to where I was in mid-January.It’s a grind, but it’s always fun. I want to prove if done right and smart, old dudes can compete. Paltos’ twins, a boy and a girl, will turn 2 on March 22nd, a day after his 35th birthday.“My boy is already cranking out toes-to-bar, so if anything, I need to keep doing this so I can keep up with them.”
The scary part is that, even though Paltos’ injury deprived him of five weeks of training, he, and only he, was able to match 2011’s Fittest Man on Earth, Rich Froning’s 98 reps on Workout 12.2. He finished the Open in 26th, place, and it’s looking forward to ‘making some noise’ in the ‘heaviest’ CrossFit Regional Competition so far in the history of the CrossFit Games.
A version of this article appeared on the games.crossfit.com site on March 18, 2012, with the headline: An All Out Effort: Scott Paltos.