You all know him as one of the stellar coaches here at CrossFit Roots, but when the gym is silent – usually during Open Shop – Connor McDonald has been training for the third stage of the 2021 CrossFit Games season, the West Coast Classic Semifinal. 

Connor started CrossFit in 2014 at Ludington CrossFit in Michigan. Soon after starting, Connor knew he wanted to take the competitor route. After being competitive most of his life because of sports, it came naturally. It was less than a month after starting CrossFit when he decided to register for his first CrossFit competition. 

“I played baseball in college, and after that, I was missing that competitive outlet,” Connor says. 

Image credit: @connor_mcdonald8 via Instagram

Excelling as a CrossFit athlete, Connor has made it close to the CrossFit Games several times. However, the closest he has ever been to grasping a ticket to Madison was last year when he and his team came in sixth at the Wadapalooza Sanctional competition, which would be comparable to this year’s Semifinals stage. 

Now competing as an individual, the pressure is on. 

Balancing Work and Training

Since 2018, Connor has been a full-time coach at Roots. He said that being a coach at a CrossFit gym has helped him fit training into his work schedule. 

“I work at a gym, so I’m here. I don’t have to go out of my way to train,” he said. 

About six months before the Open begins until the end of the Games season, Connor increases his training volume to two sessions a day. He blocks out his breaks to allow for training and to give himself time to eat in between coaching group class and personal training clients.

Image credit: @connor_mcdonald8 via Instagram

Fueling for Competition

Connor’s nutrition stays consistent throughout the year. He follows CrossFit’s prescribed diet of meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. However, as the volume of his training increases, so does the amount of food he eats.

“I eat more during this time of year, but for the most part my diet stays fairly consistent,” he said. 

Looking Ahead to the West Coast Classic

The West Coast Classic began releasing individual event workouts just a few weeks ago. Therefore, since receiving word he was advancing to the next stage of the CrossFit Games season out of the Quarterfinals, Connor has been preparing for the unknown. Before the workouts were released, he has been incorporating movements that are not frequent in standard CrossFit workouts but have popped up in the Games several times, such as pegboards, legless rope climbs, and sandbag cleans. 

What Connor says he’ll excel at the most is low-skill, grinder workouts such as rowing, burpee box jumps, and running. 

“Someone asked me earlier, ‘what are you good at?’ and I said, ‘nothing, really,’” Connor said. “But I’m not terrible at anything. I’d like to see a longer, endurance type of workout.”

Image credit: @connor_mcdonald8 via Instagram

Well, Connor is in luck. Several of the West Coast Classic individual events include a ruck run, burpee box jump-overs, biking, and more. If all else fails, Connor is just excited to be back on the stage in a live competition. He says he thrives off of the energy of the crowd and therefore performs better in that setting. 

“Competing, in-person, on the big stage … That environment is so much fun,” Connor says. “I haven’t had that in such a long time because of COVID, so I’m eager to get back out there.”

The West Coast Classic Semifinal is just a few days away. Watch Connor compete on the live stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend through the livestreams on the CrossFit Games site!