Owning the competition

Jody Clements won the Masters 50-plus Texas Fittest competition a couple of weeks ago, but has events coming up in Minnesota and in Longview in the next few weeks. (Photo from THE FITTEST EXPERIENCE-FACEBOOK)

A Kilgore man who’s no stranger to CrossFit competition has won the state’s richest prize, in his division.

Jody Clements, a Kilgore resident and former Kilgore Independent School District superintendent, was victorious recently in the Texas Fittest Experience, held each year in Austin, this time at the Travis County Expo Center.

CrossFit is a conditioning program that involves performing weightlifting tasks and certain calisthenics – such as running, pull-ups, etc. – at a very high pace. It’s still a relatively new sport. And Clements has excelled at it.

“Most of the big competitions like this (start) with an online competition,” Clements explained. “They post workouts, and you have to do all three workouts, video them, and then do three more, same thing. You hang on to your videos. If you qualify – in our division, there was probably 150 to 200 that competed online – if you qualify in the top 15, they ask for your videos.

“I qualified seventh, out of the top 15. They make sure everyone wants to be there. When they finalize it, we have another time period of about six weeks I can prepare.”

Clements said he takes that six-week period and amps up his training.

“About eight weeks ago, I put extra into what I’m doing, and had the workouts that we could expect (at the competition) about two weeks out. One of the workouts we had was a one-mile run with a 20-pound weighted vest. As soon as I finished it – I did the run in about seven minutes – I had about five minutes left to do four one-legged squats and four box jumpovers. Those score as two different events.”

The Fittest Experience is described on the competition’s website as the largest functional fitness competition in the south. By January, roughly 

800 athletes in various categories advance to the May contest to compete for cash and other prizes.

In addition, there’s an estimated 3,000-plus spectators there to cheer them on.

There are literally dozens of categories, primarily based on age. Clements was the best in the Masters 50 and over category. He finished with 536 total points, 106 more than his nearest competitor. Clements was representing CrossFit Kilgore, a crossfit facility located on Harris Street.

Clements had to do it all after suffering an injury the Monday before the trip.

“I was fortunate enough to win five of the seven,” he said. “Had a great run, a great weekend, looking forward to the next one.”

It’s a busy few weeks for Clements. He’s partnering with a gym in the Shreveport-Bossier area to have a CrossFit event in Longview, at a gym on Gilmer Road in June, but before that, he, along with Dale Garza and Donny Audas of CrossFit Kilgore, are making the trip to St. Cloud University in Minnesota to compete in the 2019 Granite Games. “We compete all year long,” Clements said.

And he’s not kidding. Clements was a college track athlete at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. Back in 2015, Clements, now the assistant superintendent at Longview ISD, competed in the Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., which was televised internationally on the ESPN brand of networks. Clements represented CrossFit Kilgore there, as did young Thomas Gallant, then 15 years old, in the 14-15-year-old boys category. Clements finished 18th, Gallant, eighth.

For more on CrossFit Kilgore, check out their website, crossfitkilgore.com, or on their Facebook page.

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