Everyday Athlete: Tony Koens

Tony Koens is, to our knowledge, the only Granite Games competitor to have competed every single year of the competition’s existence—even before we were known as the Granite Games. The busy Athlete, affiliate owner, coach and family man could tell you about the days of closing off the street outside our original venue, the Fast Factory, and closing off a chunk of 5th St with caution tape and orange traffic cones. The owner of Timberwolf CrossFit has a lot on his plate with his various roles, but we caught up with him to chat about watching the Granite Games grow, how he juggles everything and where he’s heading as a competitor.

Tony, you’ve been here through it all. Every year of the Granite Games, even before it was the Granite Games.  What has it meant to you to see it grow so much? It means a lot, especially in the state of MN. It’s cool to see that John [Swanson], who is affiliated with the Granite Games, and the whole team have taken a small local competition he initially had in his box and grown into something that brings in Athletes from all over the world. The thing I like about Granite Games is that Athletes at all levels get this treatment and they get this experience that you would otherwise only find at Regionals and the [CrossFit] Games; that’s why I participate and encourage members of my gym to participate. I just want to thank John and everyone at the Granite Games for putting on this event because it’s something that we look forward to every year. And I definitely want to thank all the volunteers most of all.

Well we love having you for sure, from the days of green turf and caution tape all the way to today! Now you’ve done individual and team competition in your career, do you prefer one over the other? Or is it just how you feel at the time? Right, it’s just down to how I feel.  It’s the time of year and who is available.  This time of year, I am often busy with work, so I’m just doing it for fun.  I’m not on a super competitive team, we’re here in the AsRx division.  We weren’t here to do work, just to have fun.  I just got done competing in the CrossFit Games a month ago and am currently working on building a new gym, and I knew that was on the schedule.  But I enjoy both [individual and team competition] for sure.

Speaking of other commitments, you’re a family man, CrossFit affiliate owner and a Games competitor. What’s it like trying to balance your life, your two gyms, going to the Games, being here, being competitive—how do you manage your time? It’s hard.  My wife really helps.  The members and coaches at the gym have helped take a lot of the work off my plate.  Over the summer, I haven’t really coached many classes, I was training for the Games throughout the summer and then right into a build-out. So, I haven’t been coaching a lot but it’s nice to have those people to step up and provide a good product with coaching. Then I just plan my time out with training and family time. We have certain days where we know that this day is family day, where I can train until this time and then I hang out with my family. Every Saturday, I’m able to train until 3 o’clock and then I hang out with my family. That’s just how we’ve set it out.

Do you have any big plans after this or are you just going to focus on your box again? Right now, we just opened up a new space.  We just moved one of our spaces so we’re still getting that set up, which means I have some construction work to do with that. As far as competition, I’ll be a Masters Athlete next year, so, I’d like to qualify as a Masters Athlete for the CrossFit Games. But, if we still have a team and they convince me to go to team, then I might do that. It really just depends on what the team wants to do—and they’re all busy too. We’ve been [to the Games] three times and we aren’t a hundred percent at this point. So in short, I plan to work my butt off and make it to the Games as a Masters individual or on the team next year.

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