An Interview with Jay Chincheck

I'm continually interested in bridging gaps and finding similarities between subjects that may seem oppositional. Equal but opposite, perhaps.

So when I, as a yoga teacher, see my future father-in-law being a straight up CHAMPION at the age of 50—determined, motivated, and kicking butt in CrossFit competitions—I'm intrigued: where does that type of motivation come from to be so freaking tough and inspired?

How does someone summon up such resiliency to push through the hard work and GET. IT. DONE?!

Jay's a man I know that takes great care of his family, tells great jokes, and grills great steaks.

An unquestionable alpha-badass that has been a serious competitor as a wrestler, hockey player, and overall athlete, Jay lives lit up, always trying to better himself and push to the next level.

I admire his gusto and intensity—for someone as whiny and wimpy as I can occasionally be, I respect the hell out of those who embody courage, strength, fearlessness, and belief in themselves. 

Basically, I admire those who embody badassery.

Without further ado, Jay Chincheck—the man, the myth, the legend.

KS: so what's up in your fitness world? what are you working on these days?

JC: First of all, very flattering build up there, and I very humbly thank you!

I spend as much time working out in my CrossFit gym as possible. 

It’s a tricky balance of work and CrossFit, so when I’m not on the road, I get in all the days at the gym that I can… then use my travel as rest days. 

Managing work-life balance is a project unto itself.

KS: what gets you out of bed in the morning? why crossfit? what do you love about it?

JC: First of all, work and passion for work gets me up early. 

Being able to provide for the family I love so much drives me in all that I do. 

The rest is gravy, and part of that gravy is being the best I can be at CrossFit. 

Improving everyday, whether it’s getting stronger, getting better at technique, acquiring skills I couldn’t do before.

KS: i know you've been eating very well and switching up your diet the last couple years—what are the biggest adjustments you've made? what suggestions do you have for others?

JC: At my age, I was having problems with inflammation (soreness) and it was affecting my ability to workout as much as I wanted to. 

The Paleo Diet really assisted in getting the inflammatory foods out of my life, and I responded very well to it. 

A very simple regiment actually: eat everything but dairy and wheat. (Funny when you put it that way, most people only focus on what they can’t eat.) 

It is very beneficial to my gut health and the anti-inflammatory process worked very nicely for me. 

I also subscribe to flexible dieting… all macro based. My coaches helped me set my macro and caloric goals… hit those numbers! 

It’s a bit tough to get to your carb goals when you are grainless, but you learn. 

Paleo is not Atkins— hitting your carb numbers is key to performing. 

My coach said it best: you can live with low carbs, but you can’t perform and do this (CrossFit) without carbs.

KS: what are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in life about being resilient?

JC: Well… it’s everything. 

I’ve never been more humbled than when I started CrossFit. I was back squatting the bar and a female athlete was next to me squatting 305 lbs. 

If you haven’t learned how to get knocked on your ass and get back up and want more, you are really missing out on the most enjoyable part of life… coming back harder than the first time.

KS: who are some of your greatest heroes? who do you look up to?

JC: I've always been a huge fan of Dan Gable and Ali.

Set all politics aside, (tough for so many to do nowadays— so many would rather wallow in anger and hate) these guys showed the world what a person can do if they really want it.

KS: do you have any quotes that you live by or really love?


KS: where were you born and raised?

JC: Wheeling, WV.

KS: when did you move to columbus? what is it you love about this city?

JC: 1988, a year out of college. Everything... it's the perfect city to raise a family. I've seen them all—Columbus is the real deal.

KS: what advice do you have for people looking to get into shape or take better care of themselves?

The quote above: “don’t sin against your talent.” Go get it done. 

Wake up everyday and dislike what you see or dislike how you feel... why? 

The answer is right in front of you; take it and make yourself and your life great.

KS: what types of thoughts do you think to get you through tough challenges? 

JC: That’s a great question… it may seem so simple a thought, but the simple initiatives seem to work the best. 

“Just keep moving.” 

Keep doing it, just keep moving… progress will be made. 

Self-inflicted paralysis, mentally or physically, is the end.

KS: how do you push so hard? what does your mental training look like?

JC: It’s interesting to see that what works best for me is the opposite of what you see in so many sports—guys jumping around, screaming, getting fired up. Why waste that energy? Save it for the event.

I just settle in, control my breathing, say the last words to myself every time “you got this”, wait for the countdown to hit zero, then go like hell.

KS: where do you believe that surge of inspiration comes from?

JC: I'm not sure. Family and seeing people live and work in a blue collar steel city didn’t hurt. 

My grandparents and parents were very hard workers. Nothing to bank on, but I’m sure the genes are there.

KS: what's the greatest advice you've ever received?

JC: Keep moving!

KS: favorite places you've traveled?

JC: I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many awesome places. 

My favorites: Ireland, Jamaica, Aruba, Mexico... not because of the geographic places, although they are wonderful, but because my wife was with me and we had a blast together.

KS: best life advice you could give MILLENNIALS?

JC: Geez Kelli—don’t get me started (lol). 

This generation has so much at its fingertips, and yet seems to focus (casting a very broad net here) on what they don’t have, and how the cards are stacked against them etc. etc.

Focus on the positive.

If you want things to be different, then make a difference, a real difference (bitching and whining and protesting doesn’t count.)

Do something constructive… make the best of what you have.

Do something. Keep moving!

KS: favorite books?

JC: I’m a big reader but mostly periodicals… you can’t carry on an intelligent conversation with someone if you are ignorant to what’s happening around you.

KS: favorite movies?

  • Saving Private Ryan
  • They Were Soldiers
  • Lion

KS: favorite things in life?

JC: Let me list them…

  • My family, my family, my family… and then work and working out (as I plan to stay alive forever for my family.)