As you may or may not know because we’re not big on titles here, but Karl is our Director of Youth Services at CrossFit Dynamo. Among his many certifications, he holds the only CF Kids Teaching Certificate and I, personally, have been amazed at how industrious he’s been in finding ways to reach the youth of Forsyth County. He has brought us the chance to help the foster child community by having CFD be the first box out of the San Diego area to host a LinderKids program, he’s also a Director with Garage Games for the youth events around the country, including Garage Games ONE here in Georgia. Here’s what drives Karl to do be the awesome Community member he
CFD: What sparked your interest in focusing on today’s youth?
KF: I have always had a heart for kids. After I started doing CrossFit three and a half years ago, I saw tremendous changes in my body and mind. I knew that I wanted to help bring the CrossFit experience to others so I went out and got my Level 1. Not long after, CFD started having CrossFit Kids classes with Coach Lori Hubbard. My youngest daughter joined the class and I stuck around to help out or just watch. Seeing the excitement of the kids doing CrossFit movements and how well Coach Lori interacted with the kids stirred up my passion for both CrossFit and children. After getting my CrossFit Kids certification (the best certification class I have ever taken), John put me in charge of the kid’s class at CFD. At the time we only met on Saturdays and had sporadic attendance. Over time we figured out that weekday classes work better and we were able to start a teen program as well. Soon after getting my CFK certification, I was doing my second Garage Games One competition as an athlete and a judge when they asked me to be the head judge for the youth division at GG One. That event went extremely well and the following year I was put in charge of the entire youth division for The Garage Games. Kim (my wife) and I were out in California for my Navy Reserve duty earlier this year and we were dropping in boxes with youth programs to work out and to talk with coaches about hosting the Garage Games Junior Champions Tour. It was at one of these boxes where we met Ashley Linder, the founder of LinderKids. LinderKids is a non-profit organization that promotes hope and fitness through CrossFit to foster children. I immediately knew that meeting Ashley was providential and that we needed to implement her program in our community. You, being the super supportive guy that you are, let us become the first LinderKids box outside of San Diego. I am having the best time of my life coaching and working with youth.
CFD: I love getting feedback about someone’s child and how they can’t wait for the next class. What would you say is the key to getting through to the kids so that so look forward to coming back time and time again?
KF: The secret is in the sauce. J Seriously, you have to make CrossFit fun for the child. If it is not fun they will not want to come back and maybe they will not develop fitness as a lifelong habit which would be tragic. If I am doing my job well, the kids have so much fun they don’t even realize that they are exercising. And hopefully we are starting a lifelong habit of fitness. With the teens it is a little bit different. In addition to the fun aspect, you have to get them to see for themselves that they are getting stronger, more confident and fit. CrossFit is the perfect method for accomplishing these things because it is constantly varied and measurable.
CFD: As a kid’s coach, what’s the highlight of your day?
KF: Coaching my Kids and Teen classes is the highlight of my day. If I could figure out how to make a living at it, I would do it full time.
CFD: OK, so let’s get the basics out of the way. Favorite movement and why?
KF: I love the bear complex because it is a series of Olympic weightlifting movements which I enjoy. I remember my first time doing it was at my first Garage Games One competition. It was a cold day in February and we did them outside then had to go run for 2.9 miles.
KF: Single unders are my least favorite movement because I am usually having to do 3 times the Rx. When Rx is 100 double unders, I am not happy about 300 single unders. I have strong motivation to get my double unders!
CFD: Favorite WoD and why?
KF: The Chief is definitely one of my all-time favorites. Not only because it involves power cleans but it is a WoD that honors chief petty officers of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
CFD: Worst WoD?
KF: Any WoD that contains two or more of my goats (double unders, HSPU, C2B and muscle-ups) but that will change when I gain these movements.
CFD: More Favorite: Lifting PR or Benchmark WoD PR?
KF: Lifting PRs.
CFD: What’s your next short-term goal?
KF: This year I want to get my double under and HSPU. I am pretty close, especially with the HSPU.
CFD: Long term?
KF: The Holy Grail of CrossFit – the muscle up.
CFD: What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen here in the 3 years?
KF: My health is excellent. Before CrossFit I was getting large and heavy and my glucose numbers were rising. I dropped 25 pounds and 4 inches off my waist in my first year and my glucose level has been back in the normal range since 6 months after starting CrossFit. I was also experiencing stiffness and joint soreness, occasional knee pain and chronic tennis elbow before CrossFit. CrossFit not only limbered me up but the strengthening of muscles in the core, legs and arms has eliminated the back, knee and elbow problems. Now if I can just stay away from that chain saw…
CFD: Karl, you’re one of our longest standing members. I believe you took our first WoD on June 18th, 2012. Can you tell us the story of what got you interested in CrossFit and why did you pick Dynamo?
KF: It was a God thing. I was looking for better fitness and wasn’t finding enough time or interest to run or bike on a regular basis. A friend of mine that installs security systems had the job to install a fire alarm for a new business called CrossFit Dynamo. His schedule was over booked and he could not do the job in the timeframe required so he asked me if I wanted to do it. I came in with a higher bid and the business owner (you) was not happy. I explained why my bid was higher and I got the job. I had no idea what CrossFit was but I was intrigued by the ropes hanging from the ceiling. One day, while I was installing the alarm system, John did a test WoD with a few friends. It looked fun and I wanted to try it (secretly I wanted to climb the ropes). John invited me to join the “first month free” trial that he was conducting to introduce CFD to the public. I was hooked the first day. Doing new and varied movements at high intensity was exciting to me as were the immediate changes I began to feel in my body. As more people came to the box, a community began to form. Since I thrive well with accountability and encouragement, CrossFit Dynamo became the perfect home for me. In my first year, I was often last to finish a WoD and yet there were always people standing around me yelling and cheering me on. I am not sure there is any other sport or life situation where the people who come in first, cheer and encourage those who are coming in last. Over three years many of the faces at CFD have changed but the CFD heart and soul continues to grow stronger.
CFD: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment since joining CFD?
KF: Becoming a kids coach is by far my biggest accomplishment. Three years ago I never would have imagined where this CrossFit journey has taken me.
CFD: Where’s the best place in the world for you? Where do you want to explore next?
KF: I love the water and the mountains. The Navy has given me opportunities to be at sea and I think when I retire I might spend some time on a boat exploring new shores. But being in the mountains enjoying the natural beauty gives time to reflect on life and God. We are fortunate to live in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains and in close proximity to many hiking trails. I would like to hike the entire Appalachian Trail someday.
CFD: Quick, what’s your most memorable moment at CFD?
KF: My first Memorial Day Murph WoD is my most memorable moment at CFD. I had been CrossFitting for 11 months and this was by far the most difficult challenge I had encountered thus far. I finished all my indoor movements and went out for the final 1 mile run. Everything in my body was on fire and I just wanted to fall on the ground. My good friends, Matthew Bowles and Brent Johnson, had finished the WoD well ahead of me. They came outside to cheer me on and they ended up running the whole mile with me encouraging me all the way to the finish.
CFD: Funniest moment you can remember?
KF: There have been a lot of humorous times at CFD but the most recent one was during an evening WoD, where several us where on the back apron waiting for the start to begin our sled pulls. Unknown to us, Beth Minor was in the bathroom and Drew “3-2-1” Wansley wanted to get her out so he yelled “3-2-1 GO!!!” at the top of his lungs. The four of us on the back apron took off with our sleds thinking that the WoD had started and one guy made it all the way down to the far curb before everyone realized it was a false start.
CFD: Thanks for your time! Anything you want to add?
KF: I have been truly blessed all my life. Becoming part of the CrossFit Dynamo community has been life changing. I am thankful for you, who gave up a lucrative IT career to follow your dream, and all the coaches who have invested their time and energy to help make us better athletes. All the people who have passed through the doors of CFD over the last 3½ years have touched my life and I am thankful for them. My Dynamo Kids and Dynamo Teens are huge blessings to me. But most importantly, I thank God, for my health, my friends and my Dynamo family. My verse that gets me through many tough WoDs is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”