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12 Labours takes on The GRID

The growing sport of functional fitness continues to make waves throughout the fitness community. 2014 saw the rise of a new sport in this realm called The National Pro GRID league, NPGL or "The GRID" for short. This consists of teams of athletes going head-to-head in matches.

The GRID differs from other functional fitness competitions because although the team is one entity, different players are responsible for different things- just like a basketball team works together while athletes hold specific positions. This sport is also a great opportunity for many high-level athletes to specialize in whichever area of fitness they excel- which is very different from the concept of the CrossFit Games.

12 Labours had five athletes take the stage on the GRID Pro Days that were held the last couple months. Three of these athletes were called back for the NPGL Combine, which is this weekend. We caught up with athletes Luke Espe, Christa Giordano, and Christen Wagner, to see how they feel about this weekend:

What got you interested in The GRID?

Luke: Being a part of a team! I have been involved in team sports my entire life, and wouldn't have it any other way. The possibility of doing this in a new sport on a bigger stage has me really excited!

Christen: Luke kept bringing up the GRID and the opportunities within the sport, which intrigued me enough to do more research. When I found out about the DC/Baltimore Pro Day, my husband was my voice of reason and encouraged me to just take a leap and see where it lands me.

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What's your favorite part of the sport thus far?

Christa: I love the idea of the competing on a team and having an opportunity of specializing. I'd love to do gymnastics work and not have to squat. Plus the new movements and challenges are exciting (deficit free-standing handstand pushups).

Christen: The GRID appealed me because it’s new and challenging. I absolutely love the team aspect, the strategy involved and the raw power and speed needed to excel in the sport.

There's three of you going to the combine from the same gym, has this helped your training... or at least help ease the nerves going into the weekend?

Luke: It has definitely helped out for training. We constantly push each other to be better, support each other on bad days, and make it fun to train as a team every day. To me that is the most important part, is having fun with it, instead of dreading a workout session.

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Are you aiming for a certain GRID team or position?

Christen: Going for the home teams, either the Brawlers or the Anthem! I am trying to get picked up as more of a generalist. Teams are always in need of utility athletes that can be used in a wide variety of ways, while still being able to specialize in anything in which they excel. I’m strong in the gymnastics movements and good at moving moderate weight fast, so I think I’ll find my niche while running through the matches this weekend.

Luke: I would love to be a part of the Baltimore Anthem. This community is my life, I love helping it grow. It would be great to support the Baltimore fitness community on this level.

Top 3 essentials in your gym bag:

Christa: 1.) jaw grips 2.) tape 3.) shoes

Christen: 1) My belt!, 2) snacks 3) deodorant

Luke: 1.) Goat Tape 2.) Nike Metcons 3.) lululemon Core Shorts. If I have those things I'm good to go on just about anything.

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Which 12 Labours shirt can we spot you in this weekend?

Luke: Blue 12 Labours shirt all day everyday...possible flannel over top.

Christen: My grey 12 Labours Tank!

Make sure to check out Luke, Christen, and Christa this weekend at Prince Georges Sports and Learning Complex this weekend. The Combine runs on Saturday and Sunday. The schedule will be released soon.

For more information, tickets, and directions to the venue, check out the GRID Combine information page here.