Ryan Barlow | January 10, 2019 | no comments |


Meet Coach Ryan (Again!)

I am writing this post in spite of the fact that many of you know me reasonably well already. And yet there is always something more to learn. I believe that as humans, we are more similar than we are different. Hopefully, through this short bio, you can find some common ground or a shared experience that will let us connect on an even more personal level.

It all started in the late summer of 1991. I was born Ryan Andrew Barlow at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT. I was the third child of my parents, Richard and Lynn, and the last one that they planned (a fact I like to remind my younger brother of when he gets on my nerves). I don’t remember much about my time in Connecticut, because before I could do much of anything useful my family relocated to a significantly warmer climate: Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young child, I was never into sports. Despite my parents’ best efforts, I showed a complete lack of interest in most physical pursuits. I instead took to reading, playing with Legos, and solving puzzles. The first “sport” I played competitively was chess. By sixth grade I was highly ranked within my age group, competing at USA Nationals that year in Atlanta, GA. When middle school ended and I moved on to a large public high school I became acutely aware of how uncool my hobbies were (though I still regret giving up playing chess competitively). This was the first time I really worked hard to sow new relationships and step out of my comfort zone.

My freshman year I joined the wrestling team and I am pretty sure that my mother has since destroyed every scrap of evidence. I was a woefully poor wrestler, completely unfit for the sport due to my very above-average height and, at that time, below average weight. However wrestling did teach me a few things; I learned how to better control my body, I became significantly more conditioned, and began to understand the advantages of physical strength. During my sophomore year I started hanging out with some boys that were on the Junior Varsity basketball team. The season was already underway, but they invited me to play at the park after school and on the weekends. Soon after, they told me that I should join their travelling club team. This was the first time I really loved playing a sport. I enjoyed every second of playing, learning how to shoot, dribble, and pass. It took a while for me to feel comfortable on the court, but I never gave up. By my senior year, I was playing varsity basketball on one of the best teams the state.

Fast forward through college, where I spent the majority of my time studying or partying and abusing my body in a multitude of new and entertaining ways. I found myself working a lucrative, though mostly sedentary, desk job down in Tucson. My body was changing in a not so positive way. I was slower on and off the court; I was ready for a new routine. Enter Wildcat CrossFit. I had done only one CrossFit workout prior to walking through the doors of Wildcat at a small community center in Vernal, Utah. It had left an imprint on me though. It was devastatingly difficult, yet even more fun. After the workout, the best athletes in the class did not just pick up and leave, instead they stayed and cheered on the other athletes, congratulating them and giving them high-fives and fist bumps when they finished their last rep. It was a unique experience. It reminded me of the emotions felt at the end of a tough basketball practice, the team exhausted yet proud of what they had just accomplished. I LIVE for that feeling.

I have now spent over three years as part of the CrossFit community chasing that same feeling after every workout. My life has become fuller and more rewarding with each passing day. In March of 2016 I took a leap of faith and completed the CrossFit Level One Certificate class, fully believing that I may never actually coach CrossFit. At the time my only intention was to make myself a more knowledgable athlete and better mover. It may have been the very best decision I have ever made. As I look back almost three years later, over 600 hours of coaching, countless workouts, dozens of friends, a few bumps and bruises, and an entirely new career, I am very proud of that decision. My life is better now than it has ever been.

My new mission is to serve others and inspire them to live their best life. Fitness has a huge impact on all areas of life. Every time you walk into the gym, high-five your friend or your coach, move your body with conscious intent and intensity, and end up lying in a sweaty heap on the floor, you are improving your health and in turn your life. I may not be the most knowledgable coach in the world (yet), but I do care deeply for the wellbeing of each and every one of my athletes. I will go to almost any length to see them succeed simply because I get no greater pleasure in life than watching others overcome obstacles, learn about themselves, and grow as human beings.

Part of executing that mission is to create and bring to you all of the knowledge and experience I currently possess in the form of special series classes here at Wildcat CrossFit. The first series, beginning next month, will cover the technical elements of both the snatch and clean and jerk. Participants will learn the finer points of the olympics lifts in a fun, friendly, and enlightening environment. Each class will cover a different portion of the lift culminating with classes where lifters will be challenged to perform the full movement with excellent technique at the highest load possible. Register now – classes start Tuesday, February 5th.

-Ryan Barlow, CF-L2

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