Behind The Games: Team Invictus

by: Dan Uyemura

Listen up all you Fitness Mongrels, I will be taken the next few weeks posting on different games athletes and teams as we lead up to the 2013 CrossFit Games. This is our first post on teams and is a great article from that was wrote before the 2012 games. We’ll have to wait and see how they do this year.

“We place a priority on community. The team is the center of our community here at Invictus,” Martin says.

CrossFit Invictus’ fan base has been a valuable asset to the team. “The Sea of Green” has become widely known as the team’s seventh member. This year, Susan Nahama, the expecting wife of Invictus’ team member Justin Nahama, was a vital component to this fan base.

The Nahamas, who were expecting their second child, were in a precarious situation. Susan had been contracting for a solid two weeks prior to the Regional weekend. Going into labor was imminent. In fact, she had already been to the hospital three times leading up to the event – all false alarms. The Invictus team was faced with the possibility that one of their members might have to leave mid-competition if his wife went into labor.

Without question, losing an integral team member at any point during a grueling competition weekend would have been costly. In this case it likely would have cost them a shot at making their fourth consecutive CrossFit Games appearance.

Needless to say, Susan kept that baby at bay for the entire weekend, which allowed her husband to participate in every event. Team Invictus rolled to their second first-place Regional finish in as many years and are once again Games bound.

Support and Consistency

Despite an impact on the overall outcome of the team standings, the focus on team unification was made very clear by the team’s coach, CJ Martin. “We supported that 100 percent and would have had no issues missing the Games for a personal need of a teammate,” he says.

Martin went on to say the secret to Invictus’ success is the unwavering support everyone places in each other. Instead of entering competitions with a “must win” mindset, team members approach it with one simple goal: to have fun and support each other to the fullest.

After hearing from many Invictus team members, you learn it is philosophy, not rhetoric. Team Invictus didn’t just talk about having each other’s backs – they lived it.

“Our biggest goal was to just make sure we were smiling every day,” team member Shane Farmer says. “Regardless of how that scenario played out, there was nothing that was going to tear us down as a team. If she had her baby that weekend, we all would have understood that these were the cards we were dealt, and it’s alright.”

Preparing For The Games

While the general overall feeling around the Invictus box is relaxed, the team allows no room for excuses in preparation for the Games. In fact, Martin rearranged the schedule of group classes at the box to allow the team members a solid block of time midday to train together. During this time, they do not take private training sessions, do group classes or schedule staff meetings. It’s completely devoted to team training.

Martin, who also coaches other competitive athletes remotely, programs specifically for the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the Invictus team. His coaching staff recognizes the periodic nature of the Games season and tries to peak the team at the Regional and again at the Games.

“The team is a little more broad stroke in the programming, but it’s pretty similar to how we program for individuals,” Martin explains. “We don’t try to peak our athletes during the Open, since it’s such a long period. Instead, we use the Open to ramp up into a peak for Regionals.”

All About The Team

One might think with an athlete roster that contains names like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Jenny Labaw and Josh Bridges, the community around here would be centered on the individuals, not the team. There is nothing further from the truth.

“We place a priority on community. The team is the center of our community here at Invictus,” Martin says. “Everyone understands that we do not strive for personal glory.”

Team Invictus, along with the support of the “Sea of Green,” are looking to show the world why they’re returning to their fourth consecutive CrossFit Games appearance. This time they’re looking to bring the Affiliate Cup back to San Diego.



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