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In the spirit of the renowned historical series Profiles in Courage, Quest Nutrition presents “Profiles in Greatness,” a series highlighting individuals whose dedication to fitness influences their quests to be their best. The mission is to discover and share stories that defy statistics of rampant unhealthiness, celebrate physical achievements, and motivate others to live our motto: “Pursue Greatness.” Prepare to be inspired.
RESIDENCE: Gilroy, California
OCCUPATION: Pismo Beach Firefighter, Owner of Coast Range CrossFit
GREATNESS: Fights Fire with Fire
When the heat is on, the tough get going. Case in point: Heat-blasting firefighter and CrossFit warrior Wes Piatt is a natural-born athlete who got going early with traditional sports. He recalls, “I’ve always been active, I grew up playing football and baseball, surfing, snowboarding, and rock climbing, but never was into the gym scene.”
Piatt eventually marched his way into the gym in military boots when duty called in 2006. “I joined the military with hopes of giving back a sliver to the country that gives us so much, and I began doing the ‘normal gym thing.’” While serving two overseas tours, Piatt crossed paths with CrossFit, and lit his passion for functional training in 2009. “The crew that my crew relieved [from deployment duty] had posted papers explaining CrossFit workouts at the gym on base. My friend Rambo and I tried the ‘Filthy Fifty’ workout. I’ve never looked back.”
Looking forward, the former member of the U.S. Air Force was driven by a burning desire for two new passions— fighting fires and battling in CrossFit competitions. “When I began my transition from military life to firefighting, I took CrossFit with me. At any moment, I could be in a situation where my fitness could save my fellow brothers and sisters, a civilian, or myself. It not only prepared me physically, but I am more mentally tough than I have ever been. I can hold my composure in the worst situations and continue to work when others would fail or quit.”
While heroism is often ascribed to his past and present occupations, Piatt remains grounded— family fans his flames of motivation into an inferno as he blazes his trail toward greatness.
Meet Wes Piatt.
“I want to be a positive role model for my three nieces and three nephews. I want them to see someone who serves others, is never satisfied and is always striving to be better. I have the ability to not only impact them, but they will impact the next generation. It’s greatness!”
Your fitness/sports motivation?
“I am extremely competitive. To find my limits and to see if I can continue to push that wall further and further back.”
Your weekly training routine?
“I do CrossFit training six days per week: push jerks, deadlifts, box jumps, sprints. I also do one workout dressed in full firefighter’s gear: dragging a dummy up a flight of stairs; carrying a fellow firefighter through a building; or slamming a sledge hammer on a tire for 30 minutes to simulate cutting a hole in a roof.”
Your mental picture while you train?
“At CrossFit Games, I have to compete with some of the fittest men on earth, like Bill Grundler and Adam Peterson. With that in mind, I stay pretty motivated to keep pushing. When I am doing firefighter workouts, I focus on whatever situation I am simulating. I make my training as real as possible, so my mind knows what to do in those situations.”
Your greatest fitness/sports accomplishment?
“I missed the CrossFit Regionals last year by two spots, and told myself I would come back this year and make a statement. I did just that, and now I am going into my first World Championship CrossFit Games seeded in 3rd place!”
A life, fitness/sports or health challenge you’ve overcome?
“Growing up, it would have been nice to have a dad there to push me or watch me during sports, but not having my father made me grow up fast into who I am today. I take my role as ‘man of the house’ very seriously. It’s my duty to be a role model for my sister, nieces and nephews. I never take my time with my family for granted. When I have kids of my own, I will continue to strive to be better for them.”
Your reward for achieving fitness/sports goals?
“Every day I am faced with a choice during a workout: Put the weight down, or do another rep? Every time I choose to do another rep, I become stronger. How do I celebrate? One word: froyo [frozen yogurt]!”
The best single exercise or exercise equipment?
“You can do an infinite number of workouts with just a rower. You can do short, high-intensity workouts, or low-intensity, long-duration workouts. You can do strength tests with ‘wattage’ pulls. I would have said a barbell, but I would need bumper plates too. So the rower wins….unfortunately, haha.”
Your “sacred trinity” of favorite foods?
“I made a big change in my eating this year. I hadn’t been getting enough carbohydrates. I used to think: ‘the more meat, the better.’ When I started measuring my food and adding more carbs, I felt and performed better. Some of my favorite foods: beef jerky, dried fruit and, of course, froyo!”
Your advice to others to pursue greatness?
“Think of someone who looks up to you. Do you want them to see a motivated, positive person who works hard for what they feel is important? Do it for them, show them how powerful it is to strive for greatness every day.”
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