Coach Doubles as Worldwide CrossFit Athlete

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MENTOR, Ohio -- Scott Panchik, 24, is a Mentor school teacher and football coach by day, and a CrossFit athlete by night.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that uses a variety of exercises designed for everyone and anyone. The program is used in police academies, military units, personal training routines, professional sports programs and martial arts workouts.

“CrossFit is basically a universal workout that is scaled to meet the needs of any determined individual,” Panchik said.

Every year there is a worldwide competition called the CrossFit Games, a competition to find the “fittest on Earth.” The CrossFit Games season is a three-stage test of fitness. The games involve Open, Regionals, and the World Championships. Anyone can participate and close to 60,000 athletes around the World compete. Of those 60,000, less than 100 make it to Californian for the World Competition. Panchik not only made it to California, he finished fourth overall.

Panchik first learned about CrossFit from his father, who is now a CrossFit trainer.

“He took me in and actually beat me in my first CrossFit workout so my first step in becoming better at CrossFit was I gotta beat my dad,” he said.

But it wasn’t until Scott’s two younger brothers were in a tragic hiking accident in March of 2009, that the Panchik family became hooked on CrossFit. It allowed them to spend time together as a family, while rehabbing the two boys and helping Scott rehab an injured knee at the same time.

“They both had severe concussions. One had a small fractured skull. He had a laceration in his leg where he lost a lot of muscle,” Panchik said. “They both dealt with a lot of post-traumatic stress and I think it was good for them to be more mentally focused on something. It was an emotional outlet for them.”

Panchik laughed when explaining how his family is different from most when it comes to family functions.

“Most people go to amusement parks and have big parties when they come home for the holidays, but when we come home for the holidays we do workouts,” he said. “It works for us.”

The workouts are bizarre to those who haven’t tried them. For example, Panchik’s favorite drill is called a “burpee.”

“Ok, basically what a burpee is you’re gonna touch your chest and thighs off the ground all the way and then you are shooting your feet up to your toes and jumping straight up,” he said.

That doesn’t sound appetizing to the average person, but basically you go down and do a push up and then jump into the air and clap your hands. Does that sound more approachable? Mentor High School football players don’t have a choice. Panchik is the strength and conditioning coach and has implemented CrossFit into the team workouts.

“I think it has really helped us out with our strength and endurance and will really help us out this season,” Panchik said. “They hate burpies and that is one of my favorite movements because I think it’s great cardio, good for your legs, upper body, and is something anyone can do.”

"I suggest that anyone who has never done CrossFit come in and try it,” Panchik added.