Balancing books and weights

Peter Chhum

The weekend of Jan. 10 through 13 featured some of the best athletes in the world at the Great Lakes Crossfit Invitational. As the top 60 male and female qualifiers gathered in Noblesville, Ind., for the three-day competition, one of the competitors was Grand Valley State University sophomore Peter Galloup.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on improving muscular strength, flexibility, cardio and respiratory endurance.

“It’s the sport of fitness,” Galloup said. “It incorporates all aspects and doesn’t specialize in one area. To be successful, you have to be well rounded.”

To qualify for the invitational, Galloup had to place in the top 60 out of 500 hopeful athletes competing in various CrossFit exercises. After leaving his first major CrossFit contest, Galloup felt satisfied with his showing.

“I placed about middle of the pack, made a few mistakes, but that’s just part of the learning curve,” he said. “This was the first huge competition I had been to, and some of the top guys in the world were there. Overall I’m pretty happy with my performance. I’m also really sore.”

At 19-years-old, Galloup was the youngest participant. He competed against athletes who ranged in age from late 20s to mid-30s. Galloup entered the competition ranked 16th overall.

“Walking into the competition, you’re seeing these giant guys and gals, but I was happy to have the experience,” he said. “I knew going into it some of these guys were much older, but to get better you have to practice at your sport.”

Galloup said his competitive nature is what motivated him to stick with CrossFit.

“I kind of did it in the offseason just to stay in shape for other sports,” he said. “But once I graduated, without any more competition, it kind of took over my life a little bit.”

While CrossFit emphasizes a balanced workout for the body, Galloup, a clinical exercise science major, has also integrated the element of balance into his daily life.

“It’s tough sometimes, but you just really have to make your priorities known,” he said. “I have class eight till four, go to work for two or three hours and work out for a few hours after that. Then I come home and do it all over again.”

Galloup trains and coaches at the CrossFit Lake Effect Gym in Holland.

“I’ve seen people get burned out on it,” he said. “The balance in life is what it’s all about after all.”