Introducing CrossFit Sixth City’s Sweatiest Angel for the month of January 2018 – Kyla Casey!
The Sweatiest Angel award is given each month to the Sixth City athlete who displays significant work ethic, a willingness to support others, and a true sense of team camaraderie inside the gym. Read about previous CrossFit Sixth City Sweatiest Angels HERE.
Kyla has been absolutely crushing it these past couple months! She has shown some impressive results from the 6 Week Nutrition Challenge and has learned how to increase her fuel tank inside the gym as well. Currently she is averaging 5 CrossFit and 2 Endurance classes each week, on top of completing her last year of Med School at Case Western Reserve University. Constantly one of the most engaging and supportive athletes in the gym, she has also come into her own as an athlete. In the last two months Kyla has PR’d her main lifts like back squat and deadlift several times as well as improved significantly in her conditioning and gymnastic movements. As someone who loves to travel and explore the world, she is a great example of an athlete who truly utilizes her fitness to enjoy life more fully.
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
Kyla: I started after I graduated from college (DUKE! Ask me how I feel about UNC) in the Summer of 2013. My sister inspired me to start and I started going to Diablo CrossFit in Northern California. I previously was a competitive Irish Dancer and mostly ran to stay in “shape” and never had to have arm strength, really. I was hooked on the varied, high intensity workouts with a community. So almost 5 years now!
What do you do when you are not at CSC (hobbies, occupation, etc)?
Kyla: I live to be in the outdoors – I grew up in a family that was always camping and hiking. I got into backpacking during high school and continued throughout college. I still love dancing (salsa, mostly), but for the most part now I hike when I get some time off! I’m a fourth year medical student (MD) going into Emergency Medicine, doing the Navy Scholarship program and headed to San Diego in May.
What is your favorite WOD/movement?
Kyla: Any WOD that requires you to settle into an uncomfortable but not all out pace and grind – I love. I like being in a little bit of pain, but not a world of hurt, I’m working on that mental game, I’m not there yet. I really enjoy wall balls and power cleans, if a WOD has those in them, I’m happy. Oh and box jumps. The first WOD I remember doing (it wasn’t my first class, but it’s the first solid memory that will be with me forever) was a past open workout – the deadlifts and box jumps workout. I remember thinking how hilariously hard it was to jump onto that silly box after heavy deadlifts and I’ve loved that workout ever since.
What is your LEAST favorite WOD/movement?
Kyla: It’s a tough decision between snatches/OHS and hand-stand pushups. Mostly because I’m not good at either of them. Last time I tried to hold onto overhead squats my arm went numb and I got rather irritated that I dropped it with one rep left (no I’m not bitter why do you ask).
When did you come to find CrossFit and realize it was for you?
Kyla: After college I needed a structured exercise program that was going to keep me motivated, interested and active. I wanted to feel strong and capable – and CrossFit provided just that. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, as cliche as that sounds, that mentality really works. It has become my go-to community, where I’ve met some of my closest friends.
What were your expectations when you started CrossFit?
Kyla: I wanted (surprise) to “be toned” – I also expected to be more like my sister (who is an all-around badass). I expected to lose some weight, but I had no idea how much strength I could gain. What I didn’t realize is that I wanted to be physically and mentally challenged and inspired.
What are your goals for CrossFit?
Kyla: This year I’m focusing on longevity, improved technique and stability, and getting better at body-weight movements and gymnastics. I’m looking at you, bar muscle-ups and handstand pushups (or just floor pushups, honestly. I’m bad at those too. I should also probably focus on strict pull-ups, too. Crap).
What has your experience been with CrossFit?
Kyla: I am the strongest I have ever been and it has given me confidence and an ability to remain calm in every other aspect of my life (this is especially useful when adapting to the chaos that emergency departments can sometimes be). I appreciate how much better I feel in all aspects of my life when I am consistently exercising and eating well. The gym is my way of decompressing at the end of the day. If I don’t take care of myself properly, how can I do my best to take care of others for the rest of my life?
One thing you’ve done at CSC you never thought you would do?
Kyla: I never thought I would find the kind of friends that I found at CSC – the kind of friends that cheer you on in your terrible rendition of Livin’ on a Prayer at karaoke in a dive bar that from the outside looks like a sketchy brick box with no windows. It was a blast. Another: This doesn’t surprise me now, but it would have a couple of years ago – “for fun” go row as hard as I can on a Sunday for gits and shiggles, or structure my entire week and weekend around when I’m going to go to the gym. I also really never thought that I would be able to squat and deadlift as much as I can now, and I feel like I’m just getting started.
What advice would you give someone just starting CrossFit?
Kyla: Find your why. As easy as it is to want to lift the heavy things NOW, go back to fundamentals. Focus on fundamentals and make sure that your technique is as solid as it can be, then add weights. And then, when you plateau or if something hurts, don’t be an idiot and push through it, go back to fundamentals again. Stay humble and maintain integrity. As hard as it is to want to keep up with others, I have to remind myself to look at my own progress and realize that the only person I should be competing against is myself. (thanks, Katrin Davidsdottir for those words).