Top of the CrossFit elite

By one measure, Costa Mesa police Sgt. Bryan Wadkins is the world's 10th fittest man in his age group.

Compared with 5,000 athletes between the ages of 40 and 44, he ranks No. 10 when judged by metrics established by the CrossFit program, an elite training regimen favored by law enforcement and civilian fitness buffs.

"We always tease him that he has abs on abs," said Wadkins' wife, Nyra.

On Tuesday, the 40-year-old sergeant will compete with 19 men in his age cohort's "Masters" category, demonstrating endurance, power, accuracy and flexibility in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games at Carson's StubHub Center.

Wadkins is one of three athletes representing Orange County in the games.

"Honestly, I'm humbled that I have the chance to compete at this high level," he said.

While other athletes may be resting up for the event, Wadkins is busier than ever.

The Police Department's special events specialist oversees traffic control at the Orange County Fair and works long days from opening until closing. And then there's coaching at the gym he has owned for the past three years and making time for his family.

"Right now we're just trying to make sure he stays in one piece," said Wadkins' training partner, Derek Kennedy, who is 20 years younger.

When the pair met two years ago, Kennedy was 18 but Wadkins showed him up in the gym.

"He whooped me," Kennedy said. "I couldn't keep up with him."

Kennedy pushes Wadkins in strength training, while Wadkins drives his partner in conditioning, Kennedy said.

Wadkins' capabilities continue to surprise his training partner.

"There are some things Bryan does that he shouldn't be able to do," Kennedy said.

"It was really neat, as his wife, to see what mental strength he has," Nyra said. "I never knew he had it in him to be so strong and mentally focused and just [able to] push through. He doesn't give up on anything. He doesn't quit when he's tired. He can always do a little bit more."

Before starting CrossFit five years ago, Wadkins was 20 pounds heavier. A runner, he occasionally went to the gym, but he didn't connect with the atmosphere there. When Nyra introduced her husband to CrossFit, the competitive vibe spoke to Wadkins.

"Within a week he was just smoking everybody," Nyra said. "I don't know where the physical ability came from for a guy who was sitting on the couch."

Now, when training while wearing a 20-pound vest, Wadkins says he can't believe he once carried around that much extra weight.

By 2010, Wadkins, Nyra and two other co-owners had opened CrossFit RXD in Anaheim. The "Rx" in the name is a nod to CrossFit terminology for performing a "prescribed" workout, meaning it's tailored to the individual to optimize fitness.

The lime green and black gym has an open feel — no mirrors or frills.

"It's not about showing up with your earbuds in or looking in the mirror," Wadkins said. "That stuff kind of takes away from it."

Wadkins made the regionals for the past three years, but this is his first time in the Games.

"It'll be fun to cheer for him and watch him," Nyra said. "It's like the Olympics of our sport, and not many people make the Olympics."

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