The first time I ever laid eyes on Aja Barto, he was doing box jumps on what appeared to be a stack as high as my head. I had strolled into Crossfit West Houston to work out while in town on business. It soon became my box away from home and I’ve been fortunate enough train under and get to know him a little. He played college baseball at Tulane as well as for the Texas Rangers organization. He never seems to forget a name, is intelligent and well known for being a good sport – Staying out in the 108 degree heat after finishing brutal WOD’s to cheer on his competitors AND oh yeah, by the way, he’s one hell of an athlete!
Aja recently took first place at the Crossfit South Central Regionals and is games bound. I caught up with him to see what he’s doing to prepare for the competition to be the fittest man on the planet -
Q. Mentally how are you preparing for the games?
Aja – “I’m really just staying within myself and keeping the same mindset that I’ve always had. Its easy to get outside of yourself and get overwhelmed with the “names” of the guys that will be at the games, but you’ve just got to understand that there’s a reason your going to the games to compete with them, that you are one of the elite and you deserve to be there. I also think with this comes acknolwedgement that this is the ultimate test of fitness so you must psychologically accept that there will be volume and odd tests of capacity. I think this carries over to the training aspect in which you just put yourself in dark places to mentally get comfortable in these uncomfortable settings because at the games these situations are almost inevitable.”
Q. Have you changed your training? If so how?
Aja- “Not really, I took some time down after regionals to let my body rest a bit before I hit it hard again. But I’m still really doing the same routine as I was pre-regionals. Although I must say I have been incorporating a lot of odd movements and skilled exercises that have the potential to come about in Carson.”
Q. Any special nutrition regiment?
Aja -”No sir. Just eat as clean and as many clean calories as possible. Lots of flesh and fat will do a body good.”
Q. What advice would you give someone who has ambitions to compete in The Games?
Aja – “Train hard, smart and relentlessly. Believe in yourself and believe in your training and don’t ever stop pushing yourself. Strength and speed are synonymous and take into account that we don’t get better through training but rather through resting. When it’s time, Mata el cuerpo (punish the body) and it will reward you in the end.”
Q. Whats one thing everyone should know about you?
Aja -”I’m a big ass Asian just looking to inflict as much pain on my body as possible through slam balls and ring rows.”
Best of luck in California Aja. We look for big things from you!