August 2016 Spotlight Athletes: Kyle Smallwood & Pete Kroshefskie
What made you decide to start CrossFit?
KS: I was getting bored of the normal gym routine and was looking for something different. I remember watching the CrossFit Games on ESPN in 2013 and thinking it looked like a lot of fun. I joined a gym in January 2014 and was hooked after that first workout.
PK: Essentially I was in the worst shape of my life and was extremely frustrated with myself for letting it get so out of control. I basically went from being a very successful High School and Collegiate Wrester, to ultimately not working out at all over a 13-year period. I think there might have been a 6-month stint where I went to a Globo Gym regularly, but absolutely hated it and slowly stopped going. I put a lot of the blame on my previous employment, due to the lack of work life balance it provided, and then in the summer of 2014 I was able to make a career change that afforded me the flexibility that I was really looking for. Once I got settled into my new job, I realized that I couldn’t use my employment as an excuse anymore and decided I had to start working out again, but I knew it had to be something different, something that would keep me challenged and motivate. I had heard about CrossFit, but really had no idea what it was or how it worked! I just remember some of my old coworkers saying that it’s insanely hard, but go figure, of course none of them had actually ever even attempted to try CrossFit before. I knew I had to make a drastic change in my life, so I figured why not try this CrossFit thing that everyone told me was virtually impossible. So I went on line and searched for the nearest Box to my house and it came down to CrossFit 904 and Strongpoint. I saw that Ryan offered a free consultation, so I reached out to him first and scheduled my consultation. I won’t lie, I was extremely nervous walking up to the gym for my consultation, seeing people doing Bar Muscle-Ups, weights slamming and the music blasting. I came extremely close to buying into the notion that this might not be something that I’m going to be able to do and almost got back in my car to drive away, but deep down inside I knew this was exactly what I was looking for and what I needed in my life to get back into shape.
What results have you seen or goals have you achieved?
KS: All of my gymnastics and general cardio has gotten a lot better. I came in with a relatively good strength background but was lacking on gymnastics. Now I’m able to consistently do muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, and pullups. Also, losing weight was a big plus I think I’ve lost a little over 30lbs since I started at Strongpoint.
PK: Walking into the gym for my first WOD, I really didn’t have any goals in mind other than getting into better shape and committing to making a minimum of three classes a week. Over time I was able to eventually ramp up the number of workouts a week, along with occasionally incorporating in some of the accessory work. I’ve gone from not being able to do more than 3 or 4 Pull-Ups without a band during my initial consultation to now being able to string numerous butterfly pull-ups together at a time. Over my first 3 months I completed exactly 1 Metcon Rx (Jackie in 14:49) and now the only workouts that I’m not able to complete fully Rx are those with Ring Muscle Ups. I’ve also lost approximately 27 pounds, gained significant strength, increased my conditioning and improved my overall health and fitness significantly!
What do you like best about the gym?
KS: The people make it awesome you just go hangout with other’s who like to lift and torture themselves. Also, beating Pete at WODs is fun.
PK: Hands down the people!!! Strongpoint has a great member base and excellent coaches that are extremely knowledgeable and tremendously supportive! Being a former athlete, I also really enjoy the friendly competitive atmosphere. I also really appreciate that Ryan is continuously looking for ways to improve our experience and continuously seems to be investing back into the gym with new equipment etc.
What is your favorite exercise or WOD?
KS: Cleans are my favorite exercise. Grace would probably be my all-time favorite WOD. Outside of that I like any WOD that involves heavy weight.
PK: Any Metcon with Pull-Ups, Handstand Push-Ups or Rope Climbs. I won’t name names, but I typically can outperform the “Other Spotlight Athlete” in the majority of these workouts.
What is your least favorite exercise or WOD?
KS: I hate overhead squats so any WOD with overhead squats I automatically prepare myself for a world of suck. Burpees would have to be a close second.
PK: Any WOD that has Thrusters, Clusters or Wall Balls, so basically any movement that includes a squat followed by pushing weight over my head!
What motivates you to show up day after day?
KS: I love the gym and just love working out. If I miss a day I feel lazy and like I didn’t accomplish anything. Also, I know Pete would give me crap if I didn’t show up.
PK: Honestly I just really enjoy working out again. It’s no longer an unpleasant chore that I have to do on a regular basis to stay healthy! I’ve also developed a great friendship with the “Other Spotlight Athlete” who I typically workout with. It’s great being able to workout with someone that’s willing to point out my areas for improvement, while also pushing me past my limits on a daily basis, but this also cultivates a feeling of accountability to one another to show up day after day.
What negative thoughts hold you back from being your best?
KS: I’m bad about getting in my on head. If I’m not performing as well as I think I could I get frustrated and that hinders my performance.
PK: The fear of getting injured. I’ve had numerous surgeries during my wrestling career, so I have a pretty good understanding about what the recovery process may require and I know it’s not going to be any easier now that I’m much older. But I also realize that the fear of getting hurt could lead to improper technique and positioning and possibly cause the injury that I’ve been fearing. I also recognize that the more I work on my technique and form, the more I’ll become comfortable with the movements and the fear of getting hurt will ultimately subside.
What has been your most memorable moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
KS: Probably this year during 16.3 the power snatch/bar muscle-up workout. I was worried because I didn’t really have bar muscle-ups down, but I ended up getting into the 6th round. I realized then that I was capable of doing more than I what previously thought. Also, cleaning 300lbs last year was pretty exciting.
PK: Not having Bar Muscle-Ups after months of attempts and spending the Friday evening before 16.3 trying to figure out how to do them. Ryan recommended that I make a slight adjustment to my approach and on my first attempt I was finally able to propelled myself up and on top of the bar… go figure! The next day during 16.3 I completed 4 rounds totaling 12 Muscle-Ups, but most importantly I had an Rx next to my name! Thank you RM!
What has been your least favorite moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
KS: When Pete beat me in the Sunshine State Cup…stupid handstand push-ups. Also, doing 16.5 I’m still haunted by the fact that I had to redo that workout.
PK: The evening of my very first Metcon (5 Rounds – 10 Deadlift, 10 Burpees)! I didn’t do the 275 Rx weight, but I definitely didn’t scale down to what I probably should have either. As soon as I made it home, it hit me really hard, I immediately had to lie down on my living room floor as the room began to spin and then came the wonderful introduction to Pukie The Clown. During all of my years working out for wrestling, I never got sick from any kind of exercise or workout and thankfully I haven’t since that evening! That first workout was extremely humbling, but it also opened my eyes to the fact that I was much more out of shape than I realized and I absolutely needed to make a long term commitment to CrossFit if I really wanted to get back in shape.
What’s one thing that no one at the gym knows about you?
KS: I was part of a State Championship weightlifting team in high school.
PK: The summer after my senior year of high school I qualified for a U.S.A. Wrestling Team that traveled all over Turkey for two weeks competing against their countries top Wrestlers. During that trip my only loss was in OT to the reigning World Champion.
What is your favorite quote from Strongpoint CrossFit?
KS: “Get Angry!!!” – Ryan every time we have to do heavy deadlifts
PK: “You know where you can find sympathy? Between shit and syphilis in the dictionary!” -Ryan
What do you want to accomplish with your training in the next year?
KS: I just want to steadily improve across all areas such as gymnastics, strength, and endurance.
PK: I really want to complete a full Ring Muscle-Up Metcon Rx! I also really want to stand on the podium at the Team Festivus Games competition this fall alongside the “Other Spotlight Athlete” and preferably we’ll be standing next to, but above Andres and Kosta. I’m also secretively working on my handstand walking with the hopes that Dave Castro programs them into the Open next year, knowing that’s probably the only possible way that I’ll ever have a chance at actually beating Ryan in a Metcon.
What advice would you give to someone who just started out?
KS: Just stick it out. Those first few weeks or months can be tough trying to learn all the movements and terminology and constantly being sore. Over time though you’ll see improvements and you’ll start to become addicted.
PK: Set a couple small but attainable goals when you first start out and use Wodify to track your progress and keep notes on your previous workouts. If you stay dedicated and show up to the classes, you’ll start checking those goals off your list and eventually you’ll be setting goals that you never thought would even be achievable when you first set foot in the gym for that first workout or consultation.
Also, if you have little or no previous experience with Olympic Lifting, I would highly recommend participating in the Olympic Weightlifting class on Thursday nights! I had no idea what the differences were between a Clean, Snatch, Power Clean, Hang Snatch etc. but the Thursday night Weight Lifting class definitely help me gain a better understand of how to perform each and every one of these movements.
What advice would give to someone who was on the fence about starting?
KS: Just do it! You won’t find a more supportive and awesome community than the people who do CrossFit. And if you’re serious about getting in shape or looking to change things up CrossFit is the perfect opportunity.
PK: I would tell them that CrossFit has definitely improved my life in a very positive and healthy way! Give it a chance and try it out for at least a couple weeks and don’t listen to the naysayers! Yes, it can be hard, but only as hard as you make it and anyone can absolutely do it! If you don’t think you’re 100% ready to participate in a full-blown CrossFit class, then start out with the Fundamentals class or the Boot Camp class. Also, keep in mind that you basically have a personal trainer available to you in every class and they’re there to provide advice and guidance through your new found fitness journey!
Coach’s Comments: Kyle and Pete have become the hottest “bromance” in the gym. They started up with Strongpoint right around the same time and have both become mainstays in our 6:30 pm class nearly every weekday. They both participated in our most recent TakeDown Challenge where each finished in the top four. They have each participated in multiple Festivus Games, the CrossFit Open, and most recently the Sunshine State Cup where their back and forth rivalry was pretty entertaining. Here’s two guys that are separated by about 12-13 years in age that met up at the gym, pushed each other every day for a couple of years, and have inspired each other to do things that exceeded either of the expectations when they started. They have developed a great friendship in the process. Kyle and Pete both came in with good athletic backgrounds, but we have watched them steadily and consistently creep up the leaderboard as their strength and skills have developed. They both have great attitudes, are very coachable, and will undoubtedly continue to develop as they work together (and against each other) in the coming months. We look forward to seeing them compete as a team at Rep Your Box later this month and Festivus in the fall!