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Nate Long never thought he’d be active in CrossFit, let alone own his own gym or compete in a worldwide competition.

But, four years ago, the now 28-year-old picked up a barbell and started on his CrossFit journey — a path that has led him to faith and a better version of himself.

“I’m now the best version of myself, when I used to be the worst version,” Long said. “I have a good life, I’m happy.”

Before CrossFit, Long said he smoked cigarettes, drank and was overweight. Now, he runs Furyan CrossFit in Latrobe and recently placed 82nd out of almost 195,560 competitors in a worldwide CrossFit competition. He also placed 43rd in the country and first in Pennsylvania.

“I didn’t just win Pennsylvania, I crushed it,” he said, laughing.

Founded in 2007, CrossFit Games brings together members of the CrossFit community. Competing through CrossFit Open and sanctionals, competitors have one goal in mind: to qualify for finals and make it to one of the top spots.

To qualify, competitors must rank in the top 20 worldwide during CrossFit Open or finish first in sanctionals.

So far, Long has not qualified for CrossFit Games, but two upcoming sanctional events could give him the opportunity.

“It’s humbling,” Long said. “It’s pretty amazing to actually have it happen. The past couple of years I’ve been brushing the top.”

CrossFit Open

For the past five weeks, Long has submitted workouts to judges, who tally up the scores to determine whether a competitor qualifies for the CrossFit Games.

Released every Thursday at 8 p.m., competitors have until Monday at 8 a.m. to send in a video of them doing the workouts, something that can be done during a CrossFit class. But as a business owner, Long has to make sure he has a clock and weights in the shot to qualify.

With the help of his wife Jordyn, who is a certified judge, Long submitted five videos to the CrossFit Games judges. The lower the score, the higher rank competitors receive.

But with a business to run, Long said his days are different than those who make it to the top.

Waking up at 5 a.m. every day, Long starts teaching at his gym at 5:45 a.m., and has classes scheduled throughout the day, giving him only about two hours to train each day.

“I don’t sleep or recover as much as those guys,” he said, referring to the competitors who rank high in the final round of the competition.

Now, Long is training for his sanctionals that are scheduled prior to the Aug. 1-4 finals.

“I’m not going to say I’m a shoo-in and I’m not going to say I’m not going to make it,” Long said.

This year, the CrossFit Games will be held at the Aliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. A detailed schedule has not yet been released, but vendors and sponsors will attend the event, as well as a 20,000-square-foot beer garden, space for RV’s and tents and a spectator workout space.

Two types of tickets are available, festival only and a festival and coliseum package. Festival only tickets are $99 plus a $10 facility fee, and will provide access to each day of the games. The festival and coliseum package costs between $225 and $500 plus a $10 facility fee per ticket. The package tickets give access to individual, team, masters and teenage competitions.

More information can be found on the CrossFit Games website.

“Time, dedication and consistency is what’s most important,” Long said. “Not everyday in the gym or practice is good.”

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Nate Long competes in a CrossFit competition on March 16, 2018. Long recently placed first in the state during the CrossFit Open competition.

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Nate Long competes at the Wodapalooza Fitness Festival on March 20, 2018. Long recently placed first in the state during the CrossFit Open competition.

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Nate Long compete at the Georgia World Congress Center Authority CrossFit competition on June 4, 2017. Long recently placed first in the state during the CrossFit Open competition.

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