Athlete of the Month - Kyle Bryant

Congratulations Kyle

Hometown: Grass Valley, CA

Current Location: Exton, PA

Age: 36 Occupation: Spokesperson for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) - Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that affects 1 in 50,000 people - about 5,000 in the US and 15,000 worldwide. Currently there is no treatment or cure. FARA funds and facilitates science to Cure FA.

College: UC Davis. Go Ags!

How long have you been a CrossFitter? I started at CrossFit KOP in 2012. I was using a walker when I came in for my intro. We did the baseline WOD. I had no idea what I was getting myself into so I wore myself out on the row and barely held on for the rest. My heart rate had never been that high. I did the workout at 630pm and I did not get to sleep that night until 2am because my heart was beating out of my chest. I was hooked.

Did you ever play sports? When I was young I played Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, golf, I was a skier, and I was on the football team freshman year of High School. I have FA and it causes progressive damage to many of the systems of the body. The most noticeable symptom is the loss of coordination and balance. I had to give up many of the sports I love so I focused all my energy and attention on cycling.

Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share? Crossfit keeps me in shape for Cycling. I ride a recumbent trike. I have logged hundreds of miles on the Schuylkill River Trail and the Chester Valley Trail. I have ridden across the country twice. Once with my Dad (my Mom drove the support vehicle with lots of V8 juice and tuna sandwiches) - it took us 59 days. My second bike trip across the US was on a 4 man relay team in "the world's toughest bike race" - Race Across America. We rode as Team FARA and finished the 3,000 mile race in 8days 8hours and 14 minutes. Some young filmmakers shot a documentary about our race and it will be released online soon but for now please check out the trailer: theataxianmovie.com. I also rode with a team of 8 to the top of the highest paved road in North America (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-breathe-at-12000-feet_b_7999584.html). And in July 2017 we partnered with the French FA organization AFAF to take 50 teammates on a 450 mile ride in 8 days in France to benefit FA research. I am the director of a bike ride program that welcomed over 2,000 participants and raised over $1million for FA research in 2017. Join us in Montgomery County in October: rideataxia.org/philly. I love cycling. Also, a year ago I started a podcast with a friend of mine called The Two Disabled Dudes Podcast (twodisableddudes.com). We laugh at each other as we share our personal stories and opinions, and our guests have included disabled athletes, professional speakers, nutritionists, psychologists, a gold medal paralympian, and leaders of some amazing Rare Disease organizations, all focused on living life beyond circumstances.

What has been your biggest achievement at CrossFit in the 2017 year? I am getting better at the deadlift. I do it one handed holding on to the rack. I hit a PR of 97lbs because that's the largest kettlebell we have. I am looking forward to adapting a kettlebell with more weight. Or maybe a kettle bell is no longer the solution - whatever it is, we have plenty of heavy things at the box! The thing I love about KOP is always finding an effective adaptation. Triple digits, here I come!

What do you feel that you still need to work on? I want to get a kipping pullup. FA affects my coordination which makes it hard to establish the timing/rhythm but I have done so many things in CrossFit that I didn't think I was going to be able to do. It's on!

What's your favorite WOD? I am fond of the Baseline, Fight Gone Bad, and the CrossFit for Hope WOD from a few years ago.

How about your favorite food/snacks? I love a good burger and fries, and then a veggie/fruit smoothie in the morning to balance things out :-). When I first started CrossFit I went strict Paleo for about 3 months after doing a nutrition intro with Laura Pappas. I felt great. Would love to get back on that wagon.

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done? I used to do hill repeats on my trike with pushups at the top.

What’s your least favorite WOD? Anything with overhead squats. :-)

Favorite lift/movement? Dumbell thruster.

What’s your least favorite lift/movement? Overhead squats. I have a feeling I'm not alone.

What skill are you planning on working on as the new year 2018 rolls in? Kipping Pullup.

What you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF? I think one of my biggest improvements is in the way I approach a workout. I used to come in thinking "there's no way I can do that" but working with coaches to modify or scale I get my butt kicked just like everyone else.

Who is your favorite coach? Not fair! All the coaches contribute to a positive, inclusive culture that is focused on seeing each person push beyond their own perceived limits.


King said...

Congratulation Kyle - you are an awesome athlete and person. Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing your kipping pull-up~!

Mike S said...

Kyle, I enjoyed reading your AOTM profile! You are one of the most inspirational and impressive people I have encountered! Congrats on being selected AOTM and keep doing all that you do!