Jake Douglas never thought when he was doing CrossFit in his garage in Tamworth 15 years ago that he would own his own gym with hundreds of members and go overseas to compete at the CrossFit Games. Fast forward to now, and that’s exactly what the father of two has done.
Jake was introduced to CrossFit while he was at school. One wouldn’t say Jake was a goodie two shoes, so in a bid to keep him out of trouble a teacher introduced him to CrossFit during free periods. Jake did the workouts for years and didn’t think much of them until he stumbled across the CrossFit Games in 2010/11.
“I watched it and then watched it again and then I started to learn the actual movements like the snatch and the muscle up. So everything was self-taught.”
In 2013, Jake balanced CrossFit, playing rugby and working as a plumber. In 2014, he decided he wanted to pursue CrossFit more seriously and to do that he had to train at a CrossFit affiliate. The problem was that being a relatively new sport in Australia meant there weren’t many around.
“I needed one, so I went and did my Level 1 and my garage was my affiliate for a year.”
The garage was just the start.
“I had a couple of guys who knew me from football and some of my dad’s friends who had sons and they asked if they could come and train in my shed. I trained people for free for a year, by then I had maybe 15 or 20 people coming around to my garage.
“I was a plumber by trade, so we would train in the mornings or afternoons until we got a council complaint. They told us I couldn’t keep training there due to parking and noise complaints so I went and rented the shed next door to where I was plumbing.
“Then more people wanted to come so I thought maybe I should charge. I did that for a year and then I blinked and we had 40 or 50 members. Then my lease was up at that place and I found a bigger shed and it just went bonkers.
“It was a complete accident how Snake Athletic was born. It still surprises me now, the size of it, the number of members, and the fact that we have full-time staff is amazing.”
The CrossFit Open is the first step to making it to the CrossFit Games. From there the athletes get selected for the quarterfinals then the semi-finals and finally the Games. Jake did the Open in 2015 and 2016 and only just missed out on advancing to the quarterfinals the following year. He finally made the semi-finals in 2018, but then he was struck down with an injury.
“At the end of 2019, I had a couple of injuries, I hurt my elbow and tore my ACL so I missed two seasons. Then I came back and made the semi-finals in 2022 and I came fifth so I missed out by going to the Games by two spots! I was gutted.”
This year, Jake finally made it to the Games after finishing third in the semi-finals.
“It was unreal. I still get emotional thinking about it because it took so long. It’s not just me, it is my family’s sacrifices as well. However much work people think goes into making the Games, it is so much more.”
Jake spent a month back at home in Tamworth after the semi-finals and then went overseas to the United States for two months. He had the opportunity to train and learn from the best of the best in the lead-up to the Games at the start of August.
The Games consisted of three days of competition for the elite athletes that were narrowed down on the second day of competition. Jake completed six workouts and was knocked out on day two.
“I had some unfortunate things happen throughout the event and I didn’t react well to the heat (that measured at 53 degrees on the field for one event), rookie mistakes like not icing between events and outside stresses that I think after now experiencing the Games they are what I need to fix to actually perform.
“It’s one thing to get to the Games and be fit when you get there, but it’s another thing to actually perform there and I think that was my biggest learning curve.”
Jake finished the Games in 38th place – he is the 38th FITTEST male in the WORLD. Not bad.
“I don’t believe that my placing at the Games reflects where my fitness was leading there. But it also makes me excited, I know where my fitness level got to and I know if I change a couple of things I can get there.”
Now it’s onto the 2024 CrossFit Games season and Jake is determined to do better.
“As long as everyone in my circle is good and tight, we go again.”