Jed Snelson knows a thing or two about recovery. He grew up racing motocross, with all the hard hits and bumps that go with it. Today he competes in Adaptive CrossFit at the elite level and inbetween, has put his body through a whole lot to become one of the strongest, fittest, and most positive people we know.
Jed says motocross is “definitely underrated as far as the physical demand goes,” and that his fitness combined with “I just know how to suffer” have carried through to his current CrossFit career. But it wasn’t just toughness that Snelson took from motocross, after backing away from racing at the top level he began to work as a strength and conditioning coach for top athletes. This gave him a unique perspective on the value of functional fitness and all around strength.
This perspective would be tested to its limits when Snelson endured a life altering injury which left him in a wheelchair.
”Five years ago I was paralyzed in a racing accident, but knew my personality and competitive nature. I have to be constantly pushing myself or am not happy.” He immediately began searching for a new outlet. “When I got hurt, I knew that if I was going to make it through this and not go into depression that I need to find something to channel myself. My thought process was that I’d get into adaptive downhill mountain biking, but knew I had to get strong and the bikes were expensive. But that was what I was working for. So I started looking for ways to do that.”
That when Jed came across Adaptive Crossfit. “ I found some videos and from there I transitioned into CrossFit to get into shape. I found an organization called Wheel WOD and they were doing the CrossFit Open back in 2015. I thought that I could do that [while he prepared for mountain bike competition] but after competing I was hooked; it was like ‘this is my jam’ and bikes kinda went out the window.”
When we caught up with Jed, he was preparing to compete in the qualifiers for the CrossFit Open. As an adaptive athlete, Snelson completes a modified version of the gruelling Workout Of the Day that unites crossfitters around the world. “I still do barbell lifts, cleans and snatches, muscle ups and pull ups, and we have jump ropes. It looks different, you don’t try to copy the movement, you copy the stimulus. For instance with jump rope, there’s fast pace and intensity but also coordination. We do battle ropes because it’s fast, requires coordination, and replicates the same demands. You never really know what you are going to do; exercises are paired and constantly changed to measure how overall fit you are.”
This demanding and varied test of fitness has made Snelson a more rounded athlete. “Different components of fitness that are thrown together, which makes it more functional. You aren’t trying to focus on endurance or movements for a specific sport, it’s overall fitness. Maybe you aren’t superb at any one of these things but you are good at all of them.”
Snelson took part in an exhibition event at the CrossFit Games last year, and hopes that one day the adaptive and non-adaptive games will be held side by side. “I’ve gone to the Adaptive Games the last three years. Last year at the CrossFit Games they had adaptive athletes doing a demo workout and people loved it. The adaptive athletes attract big crowds at competition actually. I found it interesting that in Rio the Paralympic games had twice the attendance of the Olympics in some events.”
Jed started using CBD after a friend suggested it for the massive load he was now putting on his shoulders. “I was very skeptical, and didn’t want any part of anything to do with cannabis. But I kept hearing more and more from different wheelchair athletes, and was experiencing shoulder issues and inflammation issues. Ironically I never had any knee issues racing, but have had a number of shoulder issues like dislocations and muscle tears, issues from training and just living in a wheelchair.”
“I tried a CBD product from a company that was pretty low grade and didn’t find much effect from it. I reached out to Ryan Hughes because I know he is meticulous about what he puts in his body,” Snelson said. Hughes introduced him to Floyd’s of Leadville and the relationship worked right from the start. “I noticed that I slept better and my shoulder’s nagging pain, which I’ve lived with from even before I was paralyzed, went away. Within two weeks my shoulder wasn’t aching, it took a minute to grasp it had gone away after living with it for so long. Being paralyzed and having low blood circulation and slow digestion, my body has a hard time clearing stuff out. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have been huge for me.”
We’re proud to be supporting Jed in his competition, coaching, and public speaking. If you’d like to follow along you can find him on Instagram.
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