Urankar's Journey

By Josh Bunch on 01.28.12

Nick Urankar was an unknown heading into the 2011 CrossFit Games season. That was until he took home 42nd place in the Central East Open … with one injured arm. From there, he went to the Regional, where he earned a spot to the Games. Urankar is a familiar name as the 2012 season begins. 

Urankar’s CrossFit career began in 2010, when a friend sent him a link to what looked to be maximum effort activity, performed effortlessly. With one look, Urankar was hooked.

Mere weeks before Sectionals in 2010, held at the Arnold Classic, Urankar entered his first ever CrossFit box, showed the owner a video of CrossFit Games athletes and said, “I need to be able to that … now.”

Needless to say, excitement does not inexperience. Urankar, markedly improved by his current weeks of training, was no match for the fitness others brought to the stage. He returned home educated, not defeated.

For the remainder of the 2010 season Urankar got his feet wet competing wherever he could. He soon began standing on the podium taking 1st at CrossFit Crown Point’s, The Fittest in the Region 2010 and 4th at CrossFit Ann Arbor’s Mid-Winter Challenge. Urankar, was on his way.

Like the rest of the CrossFit community in February 2011, Urankar was glued to his computer, awaiting the Open Workout 11.1 announcement. To blow off steam, Urankar decided to do “Fran” one day prior to the biggest online fitness challenge the world has ever seen.

Upon reaching the last rep, Urankar’s grip gave out. He came crashing to the floor, snapping his clavicle. Later, he named the video “Unfinished Fran.”

“I’m done. I just broke my collar bone”, he said to his wife, who was taping the workout. 

Up to that point, Urankar attributed his rapid CrossFit improvements to a sheer love and addiction for CrossFit, coupled with the desire to tackle even the most outrageous workouts with seemingly little preparation or future goals in mind.

Urankar found himself staring at the ceiling after his fastest unfinished “Fran.” Urankar was left with two choices. Take a year off from competition or find a way to complete the Open. Urankar chose the latter.  

While Urankar’s renegade programming may have left him worse for wear, he was not out of the competition. He clawed his way through 75-pound barbell snatches in the Open just days after his injury.

He continued completing the six workouts and found himself sitting in 42nd place in the Central East. 

Urankar arrived at Regionals healed and earned himself a 3rd place finish behind Dan Bailey and Joe Weigel. Once he got to the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., he finished in 36th place. Admirable, but not where Urankar wanted to finish. 

“At the Games, I was awestruck by everyone,” he says. “I found myself doing things I never did, simply because other athletes did them. That’s not me. That won’t happen again. 2011 was like a vacation with the fittest people on Earth. I had tons of fun, but I want more. This year, I have a plan.”

That plan is randomness with purpose. Urankar says he responds best to random, less calculated programming. He is the founder of the You Challenge, a Facebook page dedicated to random weekly workouts written by the previous week’s challenge winner. “I love to let others program my WODs,” he says. “In fact, if it’s ridiculous, that’s exactly why I want to do it.”

His current programming, in addition to the You Challenge workouts, include strength work and moving something heavy ever day he trains. 

We’ll see if Urankar’s plan pays off in 2012.