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  7. Algonquin’s Mr. Anderson Heads...

Algonquin Middle School teacher Chris Anderson leads by example.

chris andersonWhether it is in the classroom or in the gym, Anderson continues to show his students that if you have a dream, you can achieve it by putting in the work. Next week, one of his own dreams comes true as the Averill Park social studies teacher heads to Madison, Wisconsin to compete in the 2019 CrossFit Games from Aug. 1-4.

Anderson first began doing CrossFit nearly eight years ago when he took a free trial class at Albany CrossFit.

“I began doing CrossFit because I was getting bored with the gym. My workout routine was repetitive, and I was looking for something new,” he said. “I went to a free trial class and signed up the same day. Initially, it was just a place to work out, but over time CrossFit became more important.”

So important that Anderson became part owner of a CrossFit gym called FITERNITY, located in Cohoes, where he has been training for the past five years.

“I started doing some local competitions and I loved the experience,” he said. “It reminded me of my days as a competitive high school athlete and I began to put more time into it. In both 2016 and 2017, I was a member of our gym’s regional team that competed at the Times Union Center. Although we didn’t qualify for the CrossFit Games those years, our team last year did which is an amazing accomplishment. Ultimately, I love to compete because it pushes me to do things I otherwise wouldn’t. You learn so much about yourself when you compete.”

Anderson is involved in a number of programs at Averill Park CSD and during the 2018-19 school year, he received his National Certification – the first teacher in the District to do so.

The long-time teacher noted that cramming so much into his day is all about time management. Even after 19 years at AP, he is still one of the first people to arrive at school each morning.

“My mornings give me a chance to fine tune my plan for the day, grade, or create the next project or assignment,” he said. “Once school is done, I usually head to FITERNITY to train. Typically, that’s about 90-120 minutes each day. Some days I also coach at the gym. When I get home I usually eat, recover, spend time with my family and dog, and then do any other school tasks that need to be done. It can be a lot to balance, but if you love it all, you make it work.”

Qualifying for the CrossFit Games is a multi-step process that takes months to complete.

All competitors in a specific age group participate in a series of workouts over the course of five weeks called the CrossFit Open. Out of the 26,000 people in the 40-44 age group, Anderson finished 11th in the world.

Next up was the Age Group Online Qualifier, which takes the top 200 athletes and gives them five workouts to complete during one weekend. Competitors submit their scores along with videos to be validated by judges from CrossFit Headquarters. The Top 10 athletes earn an invitation to the CrossFit Games.

Anderson finished eighth in the world, earning a chance to compete in Wisconsin where the winner will be crowned the “Fittest on Earth.”

“Once I began competing it was my dream to qualify for the CrossFit Games and this year, I’ve done that,” he said. “To be one of the 10 fittest 40-44 year-olds in the world is an amazing accomplishment. My plan is to go to Madison, put forth my best effort in every event, represent my gym, family, friends, and community, and see where it leaves me. This may be the only time I experience this so I’m going to soak it all in.”

Anderson won’t know exactly what events will be held in Wisconsin as they are announced right before the Games begin.

“Part of the CrossFit methodology is that you are prepared for the ‘unknown and unknowable.’ Training is structured such that you are not exceptional at anything, but you are good at lots of things,” he said. “My training includes everything from heavy squat cleans to handstand ramps, power snatches to pegboard ascents. Ultimately, it’s about being ready for anything.”