12 Labours CrossFit and Their Rise Up the Leaderboard

Trigger Warning PSA: This article about 12 Labours talks about hard work, consistency and commitment to core values.  If you are averse to any of these things or they cause you undue emotional stress, may I suggest this funny video.



It’s true, the crew from 12 Labours Crossfit (Columbia, MD) are some sick athletes, but what allows their crew to rise above other athletically gifted teams on the leaderboard?

We sat down with Luke Espe, athlete and co-owner of 12 Labours to understand how they earned 3 CrossFit Games top ten finishes in the last 3 years.

Is there a over-arching philosophy that governs the 12 Labours team?

The biggest thing we’ve learned is that teamwork is by far the most important part of the Games. Regionals has gotten to be that way as well.  Now we are really tested thoroughly to see who has the best “team” and by team they mean a complete group of 6 people.  Making sure that team is constantly working with one another and building the relationship and trust that is required to perform at that level.

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When do you have to start  planning for the next season?  If you have a cycle or “season” what does that look like?

People that make the games are already at a disadvantage for the following year considering your off season is much shorter than those that only went to regionals. So we just pick up where we left off, which has been 4 years of working out together. It’s a huge commitment from about 20+ people that all want a shot at the team each year. We have a super competitive group, so the environment is great, and we play it as the best 6 will be on that first team. This past year we tried to get a 2nd team together to make it to regionals but just fell a few spots short of accomplishing  that task.

If I had to put a timeline on the season however it would be standard workout schedule from August until end the of December, and then we really start to ramp up once the new year starts.  We have Friday Night Lights every week which is a blast.  It is basically a big group of rad people throwing down, starting the weekend off right. Then we’ll get into doubles on Saturday and Sundays from January right through the rest of the season.

We try to mimic the idea of working out all through the weekend like a regionals weekend would be.

“We have Friday Night Lights every week…it is basically a big group of rad people throwing down”

Does everybody commit to the goal of the team from the early planning cycle, regardless of how they do in the Open Individually?  Has it been hard to balance any individual vs. team goals?

We have people commit to the team from before the time the open starts that way there are no surprises. We do have people that have individual goals and that is totally fine, but if you want to have a shot at the team that has to 100% be your commitment for that year. It is just such an emotional experience, who makes the team, who doesn’t.  All the training hours and being a part of a team, it all adds up so we try to take that pressure of the team vs individual questions out of the equation right from the beginning.

The Definition of Consistency: a steadfast adherence to the same principles or course

Is there anything, not directly CrossFit related, you all do to help build your team cohesiveness?  Are you all very social together as well or is it more business?

Haha I wish there was something not directly related that we all did that helped build teamwork.  To say it is all business would be a disservice to the relationship we all have, which I think is something special and a huge part of why we have been successful. We are all extremely focused on the goal at hand, and that is winning The CrossFit Games, and with that comes a lot of hours, a lot of emotional situations that flare up.  I’ve seen other teams not be able to handle the amount of time spent with each other year after year.

We are absolutely social together, there is not much we do without each other, but at the same time when it comes time to work we are all focused on that. It operates more like a family with how we can all have our good days and bad days, but we all have an understanding of each other and the goal at hand, winning The CrossFit Games.

What can you tell me about the competition you organize The Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge?

It will be held mid April in the Baltimore/Columbia, Maryland area. More details to be released soon, so check out maachallenge.com for additional information.

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Check out the 12 Labours team on Instagram:

Luke Espe:   www.instagram.com/luke_espe/

Teresa Luz:  www.instagram.com/teresa_crossfit/

Madi Mansburger:  www.instagram.com/madi.mans/

Josh Arcona:  www.instagram.com/jarcona2708/

Christen Wagner:  www.instagram.com/christen_wags/

Kevin Grear:  www.instagram.com/hashtag_kevin/


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Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

Owner/Content Manager at Break Parallel
Avid CrossFitter
Less Avid Triathlete
Former Avid Rugby Player
Purveyor of Whiskey and Inventor (these go together)
Paul Peterson
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