Photo Credit: EM:OM Photography | @emomphoto
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Kyle Kasperbauer still remembers his first workout. It was 2009 and Joe Westerlin, the co-owner of CrossFit Omaha along with Ricky Frausto talked him into coming into a class. Kasperbauer said he’d already been working out consistently for three years after his college football career with some free weights, focusing primarily on strength training and accessory movements.
Then he was introduced to Helen, which is a three rounds for time workout with a 400 meter run, 21 kettlebell swings and 12 pull-ups.
It was eye opening, pride crushing, and almost humiliating. “I loved it,” said Kasperpauer. “I had gotten beat by the majority of the class, which in my eyes at that time should not have happened, but it did because they were more fit than I was. That was a big piece of humble pie, and I embraced that. Anything that exposed my lack of fitness that effectively was the real deal. I jumped all the way in immediately.”
Kasperbauer’s long history with the CrossFit Games also started in 2009 when he came in 37th. The 39-year-old, who has officially announced his retirement from the sport, got on the podium in 2012, and has now taken stock on a career that saw him go to the Games 10 times in total as both an individual, team and masters athlete.
“CrossFit has changed drastically over the years for me as an individual,” he said, looking back on his 14 years in the sport. “It started as a way to compete and fulfill my desire for competition. Competing has been life for me since I was five years old, and CrossFit allowed me to continue competing. So I dug into the process and got to work. However, aside from competing, I do still respect my body and have a desire to maintain health and fitness as I age.”
He said one of the most important things he’s learned over the years is how to prime his body, and recover, which includes everything from warmup and coaching to hydration, nutrition and sleep. But no coffee, as Kasperbauer said he’s never indulged to help his training.
“CrossFit was actually a great resource for physical and mental longevity. Not only a physical workout, but a very effective mental stress reliever. It gave me the drive to get better. It gave me things to think about as I am performing the movement. Technique, technique, technique. Overall, in my opinion, CrossFit hasn’t changed, but it has changed my life.”
Kasperbauer holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s in Athletic Training Sports Medicine. He is the founder and co-owner of CrossFit Kinesis/Kinesis Fitness with Nissa Cohen, and the co-owner of Integrative Psychiatry with Macy Kasperbauer. He was born and raised in Nebraska, where he still lives to this day and runs his businesses.
Kasperbauer’s career has spanned almost everything CrossFit has seen. Rich Froning and Mat Fraser’s dynasty runs, a leadership change, and what many people are hoping is a new route for the sport and company coming out of the pandemic.
But he said at the core, CrossFit, in essence, never really changed at all.
“The methodology hasn’t changed. The movements are still the same. The definition is clear and concise. However, I have changed. My season in life has changed. So CrossFit within my life cycle has changed. People may have changed. Gyms may have evolved. Different people may be working for HQ. But at its core, CrossFit is what each gym and individual make it, and how much they want from it. The more you put into CrossFit, the more you will get back from CrossFit.”
Kasperbauer said after a long and fortuitous career, he is more than ready for retirement, and calling it a career on competing in CrossFit.
“Retirement here we come. After much thought, many prayers and multiple conversations with Macy, it’s time for a change. This would have been my 14th year in the sport. Time for the next chapter in my life. More time to focus on my faith, family, business and life, .in that order.”