Confidence Meets Preparation
Justin is the Underdog Champion
ATHLETE INTERVIEW: JUSTIN MEDEIROS
It’s a question Justin Medeiros has been asked countless times, a question that’s remained steadfastly in his orbit for the past two years. Admittedly, it was one of the first ones we asked him ourselves.
"How do you plan to defend your title?”
The 24-year-old is among only three men to have been crowned Fittest on Earth more than once. This week will mark his attempt for a third trophy.
“There’s always so much unknown going into each CrossFit Games season, but I’m excited to see the tests we have. Hopefully, my fitness will be represented on the leaderboard…I’m just going to have to trust in [myself] and lean on the team I have around me.”
The road to the CrossFit Games hasn’t always been smooth for Justin. In 2016, Medeiros was just shy of a ticket to Madison in the Boys 16–17 Division Qualifier. Between 2017 and 2019, despite taking home two Top 20 finishes at various Regional events and a 4th place finish at the Granite Games, he narrowly missed the opportunity again.
It wasn’t until 2020—after qualifying via the Filthy 150 Sanctional—that he found himself very much on the map. His debut appearance at the Games earned him 3rd place and, deservedly, the Rookie of the Year Award. Seemingly overnight, Medeiros became CrossFit’s favorite underdog. This is an identity he still regards as his own, despite back-to-back wins in 2021 and 2022.
“If I’ve learned anything from last year, it’s that it’s not over until it’s over. No matter what the [competition] is shaping up to look like, you’ve got to keep vying for points so hopefully when you get to the end of the weekend, you’re in a position you want to be in.”
Medeiros’s 2023 season showed a promising start after Quarterfinals, where he finished not only 1st in his region, but worldwide. In May, he took home a 5th place finish at the North America West Semifinals in Pasadena, California—though his biggest win was a record-breaking time of 08:55.89 in Test 6.
Since then, training has ramped up exponentially. The two-time champ has been training in Washington State, working with coach Adam Neiffer (of CrossFit Fort Vancouver) and alongside fellow-CrossFitter-turned-girlfriend Ellie Turner.
“We get to go outside and do a lot more things that we didn’t get to do leading into Semifinals: paddle boarding and swimming, bike rides and longer runs—and all those odd-object or outside-of-the-box events that you might see at the CrossFit Games.”
Outside of the gym, Medeiros is less forthcoming with information. “I don’t want to have to give away all my secrets,” he jokes, regarding nutrition and recovery.
“I really believe whoever is the most proficient in those two aspects definitely has a leg up on the rest of the competition. It’s something that I work on everyday. I am always trying to find new [ways] to help better my training, so when I get on the competition floor I’m fully capable and ready to perform whatever event is thrown at me.”
Something he will share, however, is advice. While working on one’s weaknesses is paramount to becoming a well-rounded CrossFitter, there’s something else he wants those just starting their journeys to know.
“One thing that is overlooked is having fun with your training. At least what I found is that when I’m having fun, I’m training harder. You’re going to get the most out of your training when you’re really pushing yourself everyday. For me, that comes easiest when I’m having fun and enjoying what I’m doing.”
And another thing, too: Medeiros reveals that while not much goes through his mind mid-workout—other than focusing on the task at hand, of course—he can count on two sayings to keep him grounded.
“I have two quotes on the wall of my gym. One says ‘My best is enough.’ and the other says ‘Confidence comes through preparation.’ I know if I am giving my all in training and leaving [it out] on the competition floor, I’m going to be happy with the results. Reminding myself those two quotes helps me stay focused and give everything I have to each event.”
Sounds like someone’s going three for three.