December Athlete of the Month – Don Kralovetz

It’s already January! Where did the time go? We’re a little behind on this one, aren’t we? Sorry, Don! You deserve the recognition for all the you have accomplished and for the wonderful person you are.

We’ll never forget the first time Don came into the gym. Here was this big, BIG guy that looked like he could snap a person in two just by using his pinkies. He had his teenage daughter with him and you could tell he was very protective over her. His size can be very intimidating, but Don is also the nicest person we have ever met. It’s not uncommon for Don to hold the babies or help with any detail at the gym. Lisa once bought a shed for the backyard in August. It was close to 120 degrees that day and both Don and his wife, Cindy, came right over and helped her unload it.  Don also brings in all kinds of cool, crazy equipment for us to train with.

As a former Strong Man, we knew he would crush the weights, but we wondering how his gymnastics skills would pan out. There is nothing cooler than seeing a man of Don’s size knocking out pull ups, walking on his hands, or doing handstand push ups. It’s also really fun to watch him take on girls, such as “Grace.” No one makes that barbell look lighter! CrossFit truly is for everyone and athletes from all different backgrounds can jump into this sport and really excel. Don has shown us that having that base of power really translates very well into CrossFit.

Even though Don can squat 500 pounds and we all wish we had that kind of strength, I think that if you poll the gym, the consensus will be that what we most admire about Don is his commitment to his family. We have heard more than one person say that Don is their role model on how he interacts with his daughters. We get to watch Don and Jenny WOD together every day. Sometimes the entire family comes in together. It’s the coolest thing to watch two parents and their teenage girls find something they all enjoy doing together. Don and his family are a huge blessing to this box and we are so happy he is one of the founding fathers of the Incendia Fam!

Congratulations, Don!

When did you start CrossFit: 

Late November 2012, we found Incendia and Jenny and I joined after our first WOD.  My older daughter (Heather) and my wife (Cindy) started on the punch cards soon after. This is when I officially started “CrossFit”, but while training strongman in previous years, we would do CrossFit type workouts that are very similar to our current day WODS.

Why did you start CrossFit: 

The curiosity and challenge of this type of working out perked my interest. Starting back in the late 80s, I thankfully had the opportunity to train and compete in Olympic lifting, Powerlifting and Strongman and felt I was ready to move on and try a new form or life style of fitness. Even though I had the urge to start CrossFit, I didn’t take the leap until a change in Jenny’s sport related life opened the CrossFit door. For years both my daughters competed in school and club volleyball and then Jenny decided to stop playing competitive volleyball. I took this opportunity to have us both try crossfit to help her fill the void and to satisfy my curiosity and we have never looked back.

What kept you coming back/motivated: 

Lisa, Brian, all our awesome coaches and the fellow members of Incendia is what keeps me coming back. The grueling and rewarding WODS and the positive changes to my body and attitude are just the icing on the paleo cake. The people of our box are the best anywhere. I would have moved on by now if it wasn’t for the camaraderie and teamwork atmosphere that we are all so lucky to share. The love and inspiration my family gives me keeps me really motivated. We are a CrossFitting family and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I also love lifting heavy stuff. The WODS that involve a bar and plates get me extra excited.

What is the best thing you have gotten out of doing CrossFit? 

Improvements physically and mentally first comes to mind, but the appreciation that I have the ability to do CrossFit is the best thing. I thank God that he has given me the tools and means to do what we do. There are others that do not have the physical ability to experience CrossFit like we do and I feel guilty when I take this gift for granted. If I ever start to dog it during a WOD or am tempted to skip a WOD, I remember that there are others that would gladly trade places with me. For this reason, I do my best to get after it and have no regrets.

What is the one thing you have done here that you never thought you could do?

I don’t think I have reached that one thing yet. I never did handstand walks, kipping pull ups or a rope climb before crossfit, so I am very happy with that.  There are so many things that I am working towards, but little obstacles like a shoulder surgery and past knee injuries have slowed my progression to reaching that one thing.

What is one goal you have reached? And one goal you still hope to reach? 

Competing in CrossFit competitions is one goal I have reached. One goal I am still working towards is to compete in a competition that includes muscle ups and double unders and not only perform those skills, but to excel at them.

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit? 

It has changed for the better. I participated in the first paleo challenge we had and I took it very seriously. I was happy with the results but after it was over I went back to my old habits and took a step backwards. I’m a firm believer that no matter how hard you workout, if your food intake is not dialed in you will not get the results you want. I am a paleo lifer now (not just during a challenge) and expect to live a long and healthy life as a result.

Additional comments/anything you’d like to add? 

I want to thank you and everyone who even considered me for this honor. When I first heard that I won, I thought about all of the other people that are so deserving to be the athlete of the month. I look up to so many other members and am in awe of what they are accomplishing. We have some very gifted people at our box and I am so lucky to workout with you all. I want to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without Him I would not be able to do what I do and I thank Him every day for the opportunity and strength I have. I often recall Philippians 4:13 during our more strenuous WODS.

Showing 2 comments
  • Brent

    I’ve known Don for over 20 yrs. I was so glad to see him become involved in Crossfit. And, the fact that he got is daughter jenny involved and remains committed to working out with her is a testament to his deep commitment to family. Don is a great friend, father and husband. Glad he finally realized there’s more to proper fitness than a 700 lb bench and an 800 lb squat.

  • Nico

    Go Big Don. Good to see you are doing good