You'll see this athlete in the lifting area, then the CrossFit area, then the lifting area again and then probably on a bike.
Perhaps you work out with him on Sundays at Open Gym.
You'll see him judging at one of our competitions and changing plates at our recent Fall Lifting Meet.
He does it all, always with an enthusiasm
that is so darn contagious!
MEET KERRY FRIEDEL
I grew up overweight and was never athletically inclined. I briefly tried football in high school but couldn't make it work. Then, when I moved on to college, I didn't even have P.E. classes for basic exercise, and I made no effort to exercise on my own. By my second semester of college in April 2005, I weighed nearly 250 pounds.
Seeing that number on the scale was enough to push me to start thinking about fitness. I cut everything I was eating by about a third and started running - at first for only 6 minutes at a time. Gradually, I worked up to running 25 minutes straight, 5 times per week. By December, I weighed 187 pounds.
I decided I loved running and I ran for years to try to stay in shape. But I didn't weight train - it was all running and dieting. It was great that I lost weight, but I also lost a lot of muscle in the process. Eventually this became apparent on the scale when I reached a low of about 170 pounds (I am 6'3").
When I turned 30, I signed up at Gold's Gym and worked with a personal trainer who specialized in power lifting, doing this 2-3 times per week. It was expensive but I needed the one-on-one attention. I wasn't comfortable with barbell work at all, and it immediately became evident that my biggest weakness by far was squatting. Even air squats were a major challenge, and it took several weeks before I could squat an empty bar. My other lifts were weak, but closer to "normal" - and though I had never deadlifted before, the movement seemed to be naturally suited to me. I started eating to bulk up, backed off cardio and lifted hard for a year and a half. I gained 30 pounds in body weight and maxed at a 250 bench, 270 squat (low bar) and 425 deadlift in October 2017. For the first time in my life I felt strong.
At this point, my squats had plateaued and I wanted to bring some cardio back into my workouts. My brother-in-law had been urging me to try CrossFit for about two years. I was reluctant - I had heard about some of the exercises and thought they were far beyond what I would ever be able to realistically do. And some of the moves sounded downright crazy. But I finally decided to give it a go anyway. After doing an on-ramp program with Josh Kinder, I signed up at UnCharted.
To be totally honest, I figured I would try it for a month or two and probably go back to what I was doing before. But after feeling the intensity of my first few WODs and experiencing the community, I realized this was exactly what I needed. The workouts were revealing weaknesses I didn't know I had, and the people pushed me far harder than I was willing to push myself on my own. My mindset changed, and I started practicing exercises I couldn't yet do, like double-unders and kipping pull-ups. Once I realized I was making progress, I was sold.
For me, CrossFit has been about finding balance after years of being too focused on cardio or lifting alone. It's challenged me to come out of my shell and push my boundaries. It's meant that I'm part of a community that pushes and supports each other.
But the best part by far is when 5:30 weightlifting people yell across the room to troll the CrossFit class and tell them “you're not going fast enough.” Trolling is the best.
Thank you for choosing me as the Athlete Spotlight for November!