The National Pro Grid League

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This blog was mostly adapted from Tabata Times writer BRIDGET QUINN

Have you ever heard of GRID?? What are you waiting for?

The NPGL – National Pro Grid League – is a new pro sport showcasing functional fitness on an epic scale. Right now you can watch the best athletes in the world go head-to-head in strategic battles of physical prowess.

If any of you have been in the gym training with me at some point or been close to the competitors group in the last 10 days then you would have heard me or them talking about it!!! Vinnie Illiano (CFP member and soon to be father) is a Co-owner of the BEST GRID team in the NPGL, the New York Rhinos!!

GRID is made up of eight teams representing some of the biggest areas in the states: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix, Miami and Washington D.C. Next season, even more teams are expected to join the league. (Even if you don’t live in one of these cities, you can check out the action streaming live on the NPGL.)

Interested? Here are 10 good reasons why GRID matches are must-see for anyone who loves sport, action, and super fit people doing stuff that’s really hard:

1. It’s frickin’ fast-paced and fun to watch.

For the first time, functional fitness athletes are being paid to dedicate themselves to becoming the best that they can be.
In GRID matches, two teams go head-to-head over eleven races. Each race progresses across four quadrants of a basketball-court sized arena called the grid. For up to eight minutes per race, you’re watching some of the fittest folks on the planet go all-out in head-to-head team competition as they race from challenge to challenge toward the finish line.

Ever have someone try to explain Tour de France strategy to you? Ever try to explain NASCAR to someone who’s never seen car racing? Right. It’s complicated; there’s a lot of nuance. But you get GRID straight off when you see it in action. And from the start you’ll get sucked into the excitement.

2. Functional fitness goes pro.

It’s awesome to see athletes rewarded for hard work and excellence, showing off what they can do in the limelight. For the first time, functional fitness athletes are being paid to dedicate themselves to becoming the best that they can be. Watch out. That alone is going to change the face of the sport and what can be achieved. It’s also going to bring out many more athletes vying for pro positions. All kinds of unknown talent is out there, and they will come forward. That will be cool.

3. Masters Athletes are a vital part of teams.

Say it was always your dream to become a professional athlete. Well guess what? In GRID, it’s never too late. Each team has a roster of twenty athletes, ten of whom start each match. Of those ten, two must be over age forty.

It’s not like watching the NBA and knowing it could never be you. Maybe someday, it really could be you. Nothing is more inspiring than witnessing what athletes of all ages can achieve.

4. It’s co-ed. No, really co-ed.

This isn’t the case of a token chick thrown in to keep things interesting. GRID teams’ rosters are split equally: ten men, ten women. Women are as critical to team success as anyone.

In the inaugural GRID match at Madison Square Garden, Annie Thorisdottir was the anchor of the New York Rhinos. The speed and power of her cleans in the final match secured the Rhinos victory against L.A. Reign. When it was over, the entire Garden got to its feet and applauded.

Finally, how often do you see married couples compete as pros together? Again: damned inspiring.

5. You already know (and admire) these guys.

Annie Thorisdottir. Noah Ohlsen. Annie Sakamoto. Tommy Hackenbruck. Lindsey Valenzuela. Enough said. And soon enough, you’ll be cheering for athletes you don’t know yet – because their abilities, and their personal stories, are awesome. Watch out for Irving Hernandez aka “the fastest man alive!!” A specialist in bodyweight movements and double unders but can move some serious weight as well.

6. Strategy is paramount.

GRID really is a team sport. And as with any team, coaching ultimately determines outcomes. Coaches decide who starts, who’s out there and for how long. In GRID, substitutions are unlimited and allowed at any time in a match. So there’s no pacing. Athletes go at max speed and strength until they are replaced on the fly. The action never stops.

Athletes go at max speed and strength until they are replaced on the fly. The action never stops. Coaches can also up th
e ante for any match. If a coach throws a white flag, it adds a bonus point to that race for whichever team wins. This can only happen once per team, per match, so coaches need to know where their team can dominate. Misjudging can be fatal, because every point matters and not just in a single match.

Every team has recorded times and loads for all identical eleven races. Rankings in NPGL are determined not just by who wins a given match, but by points achieved. That means every team needs to go as fast and hard as possible in every event, no matter how far ahead or behind they are on the grid. That means every match is exciting, every time.

7. Programming is known ahead of time.

Teams know every single movement, through every match right up to the final. That means athletes prepare by working on specific movements, lifts, transitions and substitutions. The well-oiled machine of teamwork is honed with the same precision as every lift or gymnastic feat.

8. You’ve been there (sort of).

Watching GRID action is awe-inspiring when you know how hard it is to execute a handstand push-up or climb a rope. It might look like kid stuff to casual observers – and GRID athletes can make some things look easy – but there’s nothing like the awe of really understanding: damn, that’s hard!

9. Paid, professional refs are calling the matches.

This is pro sport, utilizing paid, professional officials. Becoming a GRID referee is a competitive process, and not everyone makes it. Refs are often functional fitness athletes in their own right. The screening process is extensive and the training process rigorous. Like most pro sports, GRID refs are subject to challenges from coaches and can utilize instant replay in determining the accuracy of calls.

10. Teams are faster together.

Most functional fitness athletes work out in their own gyms, surrounded by friends but not by other pros who can push them to their highest potential. GRID athletes live and work together in training camps where the best of the best are driving hard in a way they’ve never known outside of competition.

Physically and mentally, it’s tough to make it through GRID training. But it’s a great bonding experience, kind of like boot camp. The bonds forged there are iron-clad. The format of GRID matches means that every teammate brings something crucial. Everyone matters. Specialists and generalists, women and men, youngsters and masters athletes — each and every one carries the team at any given time.



A lot of the CFP athletes members and staff are already engaged in watching this sport on a regular basis i.e. every Rhinos match and you can watch highlights of the events / matches on you tube or

It a high-paced energetic sport and I would definitely keep an eye on it because it is seriously the NEW sport of fitness

Coach Rusty 

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