Congratulations to our Athlete of the Month Ryan Samson

Lower Gwynedd PA

Current Location: Montgomeryville PA

Age: 27


Photographer: mostly focused in collegiate athletics. Camp Coordinator in the summers.


University of Pittsburgh

How long have you been a CrossFitter?

At KOP since early spring of 2012 (when I realized my post-college-body was writing pizza checks it couldn’t cash), but I have been a casual Crossfitter with Panther Crossfit since 2010. Reasons i started then? A lack of exercise with too much pizza and beer. Trends are fun.

Did you ever play sports?

I’ve always played soccer but I found my inner Teenage-Mutant-Turtle with Shotokan Karate at 9. I competed for 6 years and won a few national events until I got burned out. It was a lot of commitment for a 15 year old kid, especially me. I turned my sights to paintball (it’s a sport?) with a bunch of my high school friends and carried that into college, captaining Pitt Paintball to the National Collegiate Paintball League Championships in 2010 and 2011. 

Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share?

 Anything involving water, really. I wake-board at my friends lake house in the summers; I can stand and fall REALLY efficiently. I’ve been a certified rescue scuba diver since 2007 but tend to just do barrel rolls and mess with fish when i go unda-da-sea. (Probably why i was stung by fire coral, a jellyfish, and bitten by a fish in 48 hours.) I’m a huge sports fan and will watch just about anything that’s on. I enjoy karaoke a bit too much, sorry not sorry? Petting as many dogs, especially pitbulls, as physically possible rounds out my fairly simple life outside of the box and sports venues.

What is your biggest achievement at CrossFit?

I can string muscle-ups and snatch my body weight, that’s something pre-crossfit twenty year-old Ryan could never have imagined doing. As a whole my body control with heavier weights has significantly increased. 

What do you feel that you still need to work on?

Calming down my movements/kips to be more efficient are at the top of my list. Knowing you can do something is one thing, making it look good is an entirely different monster. Double-unders need work too. That said, I am glad I can bring joy to the people watching me flail about like a fish out of water.

Goals for the rest of this year?

RXing more mens weights in wods, especially wall-balls. How is 20 so much heavier than 14-16? Again with the efficiency thing, lets add rope climbs, GHD sit-ups, and butterfly pull-ups to that as well. The most attainable goal i have weight lifting wise would be breaking 185 for over-head-squats.

What's your favorite WOD?

Nancy!! Short running and OHS are my friends. I would like Cindy more if she didn’t rip my hands every time I do her. Angie is a nice little burner, too.

How about your favorite food/snacks?

PIZZA. I got into crossfit because I ate too much pizza, I never said I stopped loving it. Hoagies are a close second. Why wouldn’t you love something with bread that you can also throw your other favorite cheeses and meats onto? I’ve been known to crush a sleeve of Oreo’s in one sitting. Does beer count? If so, add IPA’s to that list.

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done?

Taking my advanced scuba diving course in 38 degree water was an experience I will never forget. Doing that type of work 75 feet under water in those conditions humbles you pretty fast. Running the 38 floors of the Cathedral of Learning (Pitt) for ‘fun’ was a bad decision too.

What’s your least favorite WOD?

Karen, wall-ball hell. One of the few workouts i’ve ever DNF’d (did not finish)

Favorite lift/movement?

Over-head-squat. There’s nothing more badass to me than locking heavy weight over head with my next thoughts being “know what? I’m going to squat this now.” Movement wise, anything with gymnastics that involves a pull-up bar. Pull-ups, TTB, Bar MU, love it all. I’m a proud crossfit monkey.

What’s your least favorite lift/movement?

Wall-balls obviously. As I said my double-unders are comically bad but getting better. At this point any lift that i can’t use my hips like the strict press drive me nuts.

What "skill" have you worked on in 2015 the most ?

I started 2015 working on ring-muscle-ups instead of bar muscles-ups, but this year has surprisingly turned into working on mobility. After the mobility challenge I realized how much better I felt rolling out/torturing myself. I know my back and shoulders have thanked me for it. Thats probably why you see me hanging around for an hour or so post 4:30/5:30 class creeping on the walls. #ghostSamson

Whats your favorite piece of workout "gear”?

This is a tough question for a gear whore. Bandana is a close second as i’ve never done a workout at KOP without one... but my favorite has to go to my neon socks and nano’s. Bright or bust. Honorable mention: shirtless-ness. Because science, aerodynamics, and such.

What would you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF?

I’ve always played sports but weights intimidated me growing up. "I can't lift that!" The Panther Crossfit crew (Ryan, Manderino, Zach, and the bunch) ushered me into a new part of my life. I’ve come a long way since being unable to squat-clean a PVC pipe at Pitt; in that time meeting countless people I gladly call friends. This has thankfully carried over to KOP and the amazing community we have here. Crossfit has made me generally physically prepared in my life, ESPECIALLY in my job. Photographing sports like golf or track & field can turn into 200m sprint intervals with short photo taking breaks in between. Capturing athletes at their best (while not getting in their way and protecting my gear) requires a surprising level of fitness.

Overall, “can’t" is rarely a word I use to describe myself and my physical abilities unless its shortly followed by “yet.” 

Who is your favorite coach?

Variance is a huge part of the Crossfit program, I believe this carries over to coaching as well. Each KOP coach brings a different point of view which has made me a much better athlete and individual. All that said, here are some coach superlatives that I associate with my KOP experience. 

Aimee: intimidating athlete yet incredibly approachable

Jason: Creator of hilarious but awful warmups

Keithie: Lover of ALL THE THINGS

Giules: Most creative combinations of vulgar words to motivate 

Tim: need for speed

Steph: Lifts ALL the heavy things

Miranda: best positive critiques 

Rachel: better “guns" than most people i know (I think its all the chipotle) 

Jenna: Surprisingly accurate impersonator of Eminem

PR's to mention? Goals Reached? Nutrition highlights?..

I’m not sure what i’m most proud of here other than overall physical gains. Goals reached is the muscle up and actually being able to string them! Nutrition highlights, i can eat lots of pizza and be happy? Yeah, probably need to work on the nutrition side of it a bit more haha.


Its been a fun journey over the past 5 years, 3 at KOP. Everyone at Crossfit King of Prussia has made fitness not only important but also enjoyable. There are few places on earth i’m happier than when i’m panting on the floor covered in sweat surrounded by the people i call friends. I want to thank the coaches and athletes that have influenced me over the years. Each and every one of you, whether you still train with me or not, have inspired me in and out of the gym. It’s an honor to be considered the Crossfit King of Prussia AOTM, thanks for everything 


general manager said...

Wow,.what a wonderful post about "crossfit",..Thanks

Shawna said...

WAY TO GO RYAN!!! Congratulations!

Luke Luckini said...

Congrats, Ryan!

Henry said...

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