This story was written by Lex Enrico Santi, who is a clinical therapist and freelance writer in Ithaca, NY. He is also the yoga instructor at CrossFit Pallas and knows Tim Paulson. To submit community announcements, email

ITHACA, N.Y. — Local Ithacan, Tim Paulson, the fittest man in New York state has a yeoman’s work ethic and the sort that you read about in the stories of biographies of athletes.

Rising daily at 4:30 a.m., Tim heads to the gym to coach a 6 a.m. class with a group of eager athletes that hang on his every word. His coaching is intense and direct. The gym that he has built around enhancing the overall fitness of our community boasts a number of highly competitive athletes that are drawn to his training and the community spirit he has fostered.

With the first part of his day done, the rest of his day is measured by spending time with the love of his life, eating copious amounts of food and playing with his dog Echo and, of course, fitness. Lots of fitness. These days however there’s a new prize on his horizon, to move past being considered the fittest man in New York and earn another ticket to the CrossFit Games.

He began his 2018 journey back to the CrossFit Games on Feb.22  with the worldwide competition called the Crossfit Open. A five-week challenge where athletes around the world do the same workout. Scores are then submitted online, the entire CrossFit community, young and old, beginners and veterans, get into the activity.

Last year he placed 19th at the CrossFit Games, and third in the Northeast region

When asked about what is different about his mentality this year, he said, “Honestly the biggest difference is a confidence that I didn’t have last year. Not a ‘rest on your laurels’ type attitude, but just a firm belief in myself that ‘Yes. You did this last year. You have worked even harder this year. And you’re damn right you can do it again.'”

Tim didn’t always have that steely confidence, Tim Paulson faced the frustration of
having set up his bar incorrectly during the East Regional in 2012. The error impacted his entire placement and his meteoric rise in CrossFit was somewhat thwarted. That was six years ago and he took the lesson to heart.

“Afterwards I was rocked. It was my first time on the Regional stage, and I wasn’t even
allowed to complete the entire weekend. I went back to my hotel and just stared at the
wall,” he said.

Tim’s father is a towering figure, with a square jaw and steely eyes.

“Tim was always an early riser,” his Gerry said, “And he always loved sports…”

When the conversation steered to how Tim has kept up his motivation he said, “Tim has grown into a humble and gracious winner over time, but he has never been a very good loser and that has also been the fuel that drives his work ethic.”

Tim returned to Ithaca, a new business owner of CrossFit Pallas in 2012 and went to work.

During the years that followed Tim put the event behind him, capturing consecutive
regional invitations and performing strongly. He captured the support of a community
which has always admired his work ethic and commitment and love of the sport.

His wife Caitlin Paulson does know him best, “He rarely gets frustrated, even when he has off days (though those are now few and far between). And the most significant thing I’ve noticed is that, when he has a long day at the gym ahead of him, he’ll never say, ‘I have to’ do this or that. Instead he always says, ‘I get to.’ I’m not even sure he notices it. It’s just part of his outlook toward running his business, and attaining his goal of competing at the Games.”

When asked about this, Tim replied, “Yeah, my wife’s awesome. But she’s right — I try to
never forget the fact that what I do for a living is the best job in the world. Coaching
people to new levels of physical and mental health, and pushing my own boundaries in
the same respect every day, is something not many people have the opportunity to do. It’s also just an attitude thing – saying ‘I have to do this or that’ implies that you have no say in the matter. And it’s a lose-lose viewpoint in my mind. ‘I get to do x or y’ sets you up for success in that it affirms that I’m not only making the choice to do this activity, but I have control over the outcome.”

Follow Tim’s journey at the CrossFit Games leaderboard or follow his Instagram

Featured photo provided.