Zack McMillan is taking his show on the road.
The 26-year-old Brandonite is one of two Manitobans to qualify for the CrossFit Games Regional competition in Vancouver next month.
McMillan, a former Acadia University hockey player, began training in CrossFit, a fitness program launched in 2000, while working as a personal trainer in Winnipeg after graduating and opened his own gym in Brandon late last year.
McMillan entered the Open portion of the Games, with several thousand competitors worldwide, for the first time this year and placed 21st among nearly 1,300 ranked athletes in the Canada West region, to earn his spot in the June 7-9 Vancouver regionals.
"Going into the Open, I really had no idea where I was going to finish," said McMillan, who completed one workout a week at his gym, CrossFit Rocked, and submitted his results during the first stage of the competition.
"I kind of had an initial goal of really trying to crack the top 48 (the qualifying standard for Regionals), so I think when I was getting near the end and I was realizing that I was kind of close to that top-20 range, I was definitely very excited to be at that level."
McMillan said the top two or three finishers from regionals will move on to the pinnacle of the competition, the Reebok CrossFit Games, from July 22-28 in Los Angeles. He’s not putting any pressure on himself to advance that far, though.
"To be honest, (the goal is) just going to probably try to get through the weekend, have some fun and just try to stay healthy," he said.
"It’s a pretty gruelling three days. You have three workouts each day so they’re very intense and it’s a very long weekend. I guess with any kind of sport anything can happen, but CrossFit you have to go in with a little more realistic expectations because I’m going up against guys who are bigger, they’re stronger, they have a few years of experience on me.
"My hopes aren’t too high. You never want to say never but, realistically, I guess I want to go there and finish in the middle of the pack."
While McMillan isn’t expecting his competition to go any further than Vancouver — at least for this year — getting as far as he has has already created quite a buzz in the gym.
"I have just an amazing group here," he said.
"They’ve been super, super happy for me. They’re getting pretty into it."