Scott Panchik: “Retired” but still on the hunt for the CrossFit Games

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Ten months ago, nine-time CrossFit Games athlete Scott Panchik publicly announced his retirement, saying it was time to spend more time with his family and less time exercising.

At the time, he had no intention of competing this season, and was not even planning on participating in the Open or the Quarterfinals, calling it a “slippery slope” as he could accidentally qualify for the Semifinals and be back where he was. trying to get out

Fast-forward to January, and Panchik suddenly appeared on the Wodapalooza roster, leaving the community wondering how committed he really was to his supposed retirement.

But Panchik was adamant, this did not mean that he was back. Wodapalooza was simply an opportunity to bond with his brothers, Saxon and Spencer, he told us in Miami, FL. Wodapalooza was simply “an opportunity to play a play-off match”.

“Professional athletes, if they could play one or two games and not feel like they had to beat their bodies all season, I think they would,” Panchik explained of how he approached Wodapalooza.

Three months later, though, we can tell it’s a hoax, as Panchik is on the Semifinals roster and about to throw his name in the hat at this weekend’s Syndicate Crown in Knoxville, TN.

Panchik explains “retirement”

Much of what got Panchik to this day, in a place where the CrossFit Games are back on the table, is due to the experience he had last summer.

“At the CrossFit Games (2021), I said it was going to be my last race. And when I made that decision, I was going through a knee injury and I knew I was about to buckle up and have a very tough weekend,” he began.

“And what was very amazing throughout that weekend was the amount of joy I found in competing, and being in the moment and taking it event by event. There was something special about it. He released something inside of me, where I was having more fun than ever,” she continued.

“Something special happened that weekend that brought me back to why I got into the sport in the first place… I was more present in the moments knowing it was potentially my last time at the Games. Or that it was going to be my last time at the Games.”

“At the CrossFit Games (2021), I said it was going to be my last race. And when I made that decision, I was going through a knee injury and I knew I was about to buckle up and have a very tough weekend.”

Still, after that experience, Panchik ended his competitive career and headed home for meniscus surgery on his knee.

But soon, he found himself looking for something to work on to motivate himself to recover from his injury.

“When I had surgery, it’s very easy to lie on the couch and not exercise and your routine starts to change a little bit,” he said.

Soon, he was pleased when it came to nutrition, sleep, and training.

“But when you have something to (work on), you start prioritizing things a little more,” he said.

So Panchik, who had three reconstructive knee surgeries in the past as a college football player, started training a little harder again and felt pretty good.

Enter Wodapalooza: Just a week before the competition in Miami, Panchik reached out to organizers to see if he still had a spot, mainly because he wanted to “create some memories with my brothers,” he said. “That was probably the first competition where maybe I wasn’t in the best competition shape.”

But it didn’t matter as, once again, he found himself having more fun than ever.

“It was really a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the moments of being on the court, and at this point in my life I don’t take any competition for granted, or any moment like that, because it very well could be my last,” he said.

A turning point for the Panchik brothers

Panchik is the first to admit the rivalry and competitiveness between himself and his twin brothers, who are nine years his junior. As a result, in Panchik’s early days of CrossFit, his siblings were just children.

Until they weren’t.

“There was a lot of this dynamic when they went from boys to men. I still remember when Saxon first beat me in training and I said, ‘There’s no way you’ve done all your reps.’ I think I had a hard time accepting that he crushed training. And he said, ‘I beat you,’” Panchik said, laughing.

He added: “At a certain point, it can be a little unhealthy to have three elite men who can throw themselves at each other and who are constantly trying to one-up each other. So we parted ways at once, where they went and opened their gym and life was bustling with activity on both sides.”

However, Wodapalooza in January brought the brothers back together, not just physically but emotionally.

“It just brought back all these good feelings and memories of when they were little kids,” Panchik said.

“He made it exciting and fun, but it didn’t feel like we were competing. She felt like we were enjoying each other more, and there wasn’t anyone trying to prove alpha status over each other, but more like, ‘Hey, how can we get better in the gym together?'”

The decision to compete in the Open

When the 2022 Open rolled around, Panchik found himself in a strange place, where he told all his clients all the reasons why they should participate in the Open, but he wasn’t planning on doing it himself.

“I was like, ‘I still feel pretty good. And I feel healthy, and I feel like I have a good relationship with the amount of exercise I’m getting, so let’s see how the quarterfinals go.”

Three weeks later, Panchik was sitting 50th overall on the world leaderboard, and a few weeks after that, he finished fifth in the North American quarterfinals, with his brothers Saxon and Spencer close behind in sixth and eleventh place overall respectively.

“I was very surprised that I was still with a lot of the (top) athletes,” he said of the Open. “I was like, ‘I still feel pretty good. And I feel healthy, and I feel like I have a good relationship with the amount of exercise I’m getting, so let’s see how the quarterfinals go.”

So here she is today, just days away from participating in the Syndicate Crown Semifinals with a legitimate chance to qualify for the Games for the tenth time.

A day in the life of Panchik in 2022

Unlike in the past, when Panchik would wake up and go to the gym, this year mornings have been spent eating breakfast with his family, usually three and a half egg whites with spinach, oatmeal, fruit and lemon salt water, and then work. in his business, both in his CrossFit Mentality affiliate in Mentor, OH, and in a new gym management app he has been developing.

Then he heads to the gym and takes two scoops of UCAN’s energy powder in a shake, a low-sugar carbohydrate powder that provides energy without spiking blood sugar levels, before training for two, maximum three hours. “I will be using UCAN for the rest of my life, it is a game changer for me. It’s something every athlete should know.” Panchik says.

Halfway through his workout, he takes UCAN Energy Gel, which he says allows him to perform high-intensity, high-volume sessions. “That is my time for me. That helps me relax and also gives me energy to teach and run my affiliate,” Panchik explained about how he has approached training this year.

“This is how I handle that pent-up energy. Sometimes I feel like a dog that needs to go out for that walk. And that walk is something that makes me breathe hard and make me uncomfortable. And that allows me to have peace of mind and be more productive and gives me energy to train and eat healthy.”

After training, Panchik drinks UCAN’s Energy + Protein in a shake and then goes home for lunch, which is usually rice or potatoes with vegetables and a protein source like beef or chicken. He then returns to the gym to train his night classes and take care of any other gym property duties.

After training, Panchik goes home in the evening, usually eating red meat or starchy fish and salad for dinner (except once a week when he has pizza) and relaxing in the evening with his family, often ending with a bowl of oatmeal. with almond butter, honey and fruit for a bedtime snack.

Freedom in letting go

After a decade in the sport, Panchik must be considered a top contender to qualify for this summer’s Games, but he insists “it’s not even on my mind, honestly”.

And the fact that he’s not fully committed to the CrossFit Games, he said, is why he’s still competing this season, as it has given him freedom and peace.

Before this year, Panchik always fell into the “need to be better, need to be better” mentality and “it was exhausting,” he said. “And I don’t even think if he had won the Game it wouldn’t have been enough. He was trying to deliver on something that I don’t think is going to happen even if he wins the Games.”

“And every year I came home from the CrossFit Games, I was like, ‘Okay, what do I do for the CrossFit Games next year?’ I immediately thought of the Games.”

Letting go of this mindset in recent months made him realize that it was never really about the CrossFit Games.

“The trip itself is what has always enamored me, not so much the result. I really enjoy the trip. The find out. All the moments and little things that happen along the way are very special to me,” she said. “And when I look back and tell stories, the ones I tell the most aren’t necessarily the ones of me on the competition floor doing something cool.”

He added: “And it’s been refreshing that that’s not my (number one) concern. It’s really much lower down the list of things that are going on in my life. It’s still on the list. It is much lower than it has been in the past and it is liberating. It has taken a lot of stress out of my life and given me a lot of peace.”

That said, if history predicts the future, then there’s a good chance we’ll see Panchik on the court this summer in Madison.

However, regardless of what happens this weekend, Scott Panchik isn’t going anywhere.

“I like to compete. I want to be able to compete. I’m going to keep doing this, and you may have to take it off me. I’m going to continue. I may not be able to do as much as before, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do anything”.

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