February Athlete of the Month: Kyle Borg

Many of you have caught a glimpse of Kyle Borg, one of the fastest guys in our gym, as he races past you in a WOD with “mandex-covered” legs that are taking the shortest, quickest steps you’ve ever seen. You’ve seen his name on the Leader Board in two different workouts this month alone. You’ve seen him in the Muscle Up Club. You’ve seen his witty comebacks in the Incendia Facebook Group. If you’re lucky, you’ve been given running tips from this Certified Running Coach.

When the coaches sat down to nominate the February Athlete of the Month, Kyle’s name was mentioned by three coaches as the one person out of 134 members that was really excelling at the gym this month. Kyle is a local small business owner (Arrowhead Insurance) with a busy family, but finds time to give 110% at the gym every time he walks through the door. He runs marathons for fun and planned the very successful Incendia “Game Day 5K” at the last minute. Kyle is the kind of guy that rows a 5K for FUN after running a 5K for TIME. Kyle. Doesn’t. Stop.

If any of you are familiar with Kyle’s back story, Kyle’s CrossFit success will completely amaze you. He is an amazing member and we are lucky to have him at Incendia. Watch out because he is planning an Endurance Club for us as I type. May we all take short, fast running steps and run like Kyle!

Congrats Kyle!

When Did you start CrossFit?

I started CrossFit in August 2012. Prior to that I was running 50-60 miles a week, following a traditional running plan, and doing some basic body weight resistance training at Globogym 2-3 days a week.

Why Did you start CrossFit?

I was looking to get stronger and improve as a runner and overall athlete, after 8 marathons I was looking for a new challenge as I had plateaued in my training. I never expected to fall more in love with CrossFit than running.

What kept you coming back/motivated?

The thrill of improving daily, competing, working towards a common goal with friends, and the challenge of constantly varied movements. No matter how fit you think you are, CrossFit will exploit your weaknesses. It’s amazing how much I have been humbled, especially since joining Incendia. I used to think I was at the pinnacle of fitness. Now I know I have so far to go. Being around this caliber of athlete daily will really motivate anybody to improve. I ran the Tucson Marathon in December 2012, that was my first marathon since being involved in CrossFit. Had I not encountered some GI issues and spent too much time in the john I would have PRed in that race. I finished just a few minutes off, but my last 3 miles were the fastest, that’s pretty much unheard of and I’ve never experienced that in past races. Generally the wheels fall off after mile 23 and you run on fumes. People came up to me after the finish and said “I’ve never seen anybody finish a marathon like that!” That really motivated me to want to get back and keep getting stronger.

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

Besides the obvious improved fitness, strength, and mobility, I have made amazing friendships. I never expected that. I was always the type of guy who went to the gym with my iPod and a job to do, and a “Don’t talk to me!” look on my face. I cringed when somebody at Globogym would come up and try to spark a conversation with me. Now, I end up hanging out for an hour or so after class with friends, just chatting, having a great time, and when the Paleo challenge isn’t going on maybe having a beer or a NorCal. I mean where else can you find that?

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

Wow, too many to mention. The first thing that comes to mind is the ring muscle-up, that was a big milestone. I’m not that coordinated so it took me 6 months, I had the strength I just couldn’t put it all together.

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

Running strong is the biggest accomplishment. To be over 200 lbs and still be faster than a lot of guys 40-50 lbs lighter than me feels great. I still have a lot of work to do on snatch and hand stand push-ups and I still can’t do pistols Rx. I need to work on flexibility, but it’s coming.

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit?

When I started CrossFit I was a hardcore (some might say militant) vegan, the kind of vegan who doesn’t even eat nuts or oil. After a few months I realized I wasn’t seeing the kind of strength gains I should have been because my diet was deficient in a lot of vital nutrients and protein. You simply can’t eat adequate amounts of protein on a strict vegan diet. I tried! Almost overnight I went from vegan to Paleo. It wasn’t easy, my body had gotten used to running on carbs. I went through a rough two week “Paleo flu.” But I shredded like never before and my maxes improved in all areas immediately. I still love eating salads, sweet potatoes, and green beans, but now I usually eat that with half a rotisserie chicken.

What do you tell your friends about CrossFit?

I have recruited about 10 people to join CrossFit gyms near them in the short time I have been involved, and every single person is thankful that they listened. I’m try to get all the runners I train to get involved in CrossFit as well. I had two people who influenced me to join, one was a buddy Bill Hill in Denver who I watched transform via Facebook from “Insanity” fit to absolute beast in just about a year. Another friend who works out here locally kept telling me, “I know you’ll love it, you just have to try it.” It took me a year or so to finally commit, but I’m so thankful I did.

Additional comments/anything you’d like to add:

Beyond the physical fitness and friendships I’ve developed over the last six months, CrossFit has helped my marriage and family. My wife Rachel and I decided to do this together and it has been great. Our kids sometimes complain that CrossFit is all we talk about, but it is important for us to show our daughters that proper nutrition and exercise are vital to a healthy existence. We lead by example because we were both fat kids and still carry those scars to this day. We don’t want our girls to suffer like we did. I’m hoping that they will be exposed to CrossFit enough in their youth that they’ll just follow suit naturally as they grow older. I may not be able to run forever, but I will always be able to scale a WOD to my abilities.