The CrossFit Open is great because it’s the time when we get to see athletes on the fringe start to make a name for themselves. New names seems to be hitting the top of the leaderboard more often, but as the Open progresses we start to see the familiar faces rise to the top.
While 17.3 did just that, one name, Darwin Perez, has steadily risen into the top 10. Perez sits in 7th worldwide and 2nd in the Central East behind none other than Rich Froning.
We caught up with Perez to find out his background prior to CrossFit, how he’s made the jump in 2017 and how be balances his training with his family.
The Barbell Spin: Before you found CrossFit you were a high school state wrestling champion and then went on to play collegiate soccer and then professionally in the MASL. Tell us about those experiences and how/why you transitioned to CrossFit?
Darwin Perez: Soccer was all we played as a kid growing up in Zacualpan, Nayarit, Mexico. It’s my passion! When we moved to Kentucky, soccer wasn’t as big so I got into other sports. I started wrestling my 8th grade year in middle school, weight class 76lbs. I was tiny but furious! Lol. The rush of adrenaline you get through your body before a wrestling match it’s unbelievable. It’s just you and your opponent. You win and lose all by yourself. That is probably why I love CrossFit so much. I get the same feelings before every WOD! I still played competitive soccer but not as much. I’m all in with CrossFit at the moment.
The Barbell Spin: When you started CrossFit did you know you wanted to compete at the elite level?
Darwin Perez: Not really! I was just looking for something different in training. I was a trainer doing bodybuilding at a regular gym. The chest and triceps on Monday, back and biceps on Tuesday crap got super old really quick! I realized really quick though that I wanted to compete with the best in CrossFit. I’m a competitor! Anything I do, I like to do it to best of my abilities and be the best at it. That’s just me.
The Barbell Spin: You’ve competed in the Open since 2013 and made it to the Central Regional in 2015. What do you credit your improvements to throughout the years?
Darwin Perez: consistency with my training, nutrition, and most important sleep!
The Barbell Spin: What were your goals heading into the 2017 season? Have they changed since you find yourself ranked 7th worldwide?
Darwin Perez: Top 5 in our region, make it to the CrossFit Games, get a major sponsor. They haven’t changed!
The Barbell Spin: You are on Team Maximus’ roster, a team that went to the Games in 2015 and is currently also 7th worldwide. Will you go individual or are you planning to go team this year?
Darwin Perez: Yes. I will be going team this year. We have a very good team this year. We look forward to making some noise at The CrossFit Games! This is going to be a great experience for me as an athlete. It will help tremendously when I compete as an individual next year.
The Barbell Spin: How do you balance training with being a father and a husband?
Darwin Perez: It’s very hard and this wouldn’t be possible without the support of my beautiful wife Chelsea. She does so much for me so I can train.
The Barbell Spin: What do you enjoy to do outside of the gym?
Darwin Perez: I love spending time with family. Also, going fishing with my son Lio. He’s 8 years old. My other two boys will be joining us pretty soon. Raul is 1 and Zade is 2.
The Barbell Spin: What are you hoping to see tonight for 17.4?
Darwin Perez: Thruster! My favorite movement in CrossFit. I wouldn’t mind seeing handstand push-up though, they have been a weakness of mine and look forward to redeeming myself. Lol! I have been working on them a lot this past year so I’m ready.