Let us introduce you to Coach Ryan if you haven’t met him yet! If you know Coach Ryan, then you know he’s got quite the charm along with being one hell of an athlete and coach! Not only that, but the entire Barr family are quite the fitness enthusiasts and athletes! Read all about him in our interview below!
1. What is your experience/ background in fitness and exercise?
I have always been a little diversified in my hobbies and sports: water skiing, snow skiing, rock climbing, mountain climbing, white-water kayaking, road and mountain biking, SCUBA diving, skydiving, flying, etc. I swam in grade school, ran cross country, and wrestled in high school. In college, I was the University’s Intramural Athlete of the Year for two years in a row (I think I did 2/3 of the intramural sports offered). After college, I started cycling, and in 1993 I put the swimming, biking, and running together to do my first triathlon. I was hooked and did triathlons for the next 22 years completing over 100 triathlons and 13 Ironman triathlons (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run).
2. How and when did you discover CrossFit?
In 2015 I was competing in my 13th Ironman, Ironman Coeur d’Alene, and it was 105 degrees on race day and 130 degrees on the asphalt. In mile 6 of the marathon portion, I started getting sick. At that very moment, I decided I was done with the Ironman and I wanted to do something different. My training partner for those 22 years was Tim “The Puma” McAllister and he had recently started working out at CrossFit St. Charles with his son Brian “The Pussycat” McAllister. Tim told me to come in, meet Kim, and give it a go. A few weeks after the race, I walked into the gym and never looked back.
3. What are you most passionate about when it comes to CrossFit?
The challenge, welcomed uncomfortableness and continued learning aspects of the sport. You can always challenge yourself and others no matter if you are there for your first day, or if you are a Games Athlete. I have a strange love of being uncomfortable when training and working out. It doesn’t matter if it is a sub 3 minute Fran or a 12-hour Ironman there is some fun in finding “The dark place” and pushing through the workout. The last one is learning. Every day you are improving on the skills and techniques of the sport.
4. Why did you become a CF coach?
If you have known me for some time or spoken with anyone who does, you may find out when I try something I go all in, ask my wife, Val, or The Puma and they may call it a curse. I put the time in to learn and excel to the level of being able to assist others. When I got into skydiving, I became an instructor, when I got into SCUBA diving, I became a Divemaster to teach. So naturally, I did the same with CrossFit. I enjoy helping others be better; it is truly a self-serving aspect of me being a coach.
5. What’s a big lesson you’ve learned from being a coach?
That every athlete in the gym has a different goal and reason for being there. Not every athlete wants to “kill it” every day and eventually be able to Rx every workout. Our object as a coach is to be observant enough to know and understand each athlete and what their reasons/goals are. With that understanding, we as coaches can assist them, in our best way possible, in reaching those goals. It could be as simple as relieving some stress and take a break from the realities of life outside the gym walls.
6. What do you think is the most important part of being a coach?
See the answer to question 5. In all seriousness, I do believe it is just being there for our members and giving them as much value for their hard-earned dollar as possible. We as coaches, need to run a safe, on-time, and organized class. We need to let each member know they truly are awesome and are improving, as we see them every day they come into this wonderful box we call CrossFit St. Charles.
7. What’s your favorite part about being a coach?
I feel you will see a similar answer with many of our coaches, and that is we enjoy watching our members excel, improve, and better themselves. I truly enjoy spending time one on one with a member to work on a skill. Sometimes it’s a simple que and they are doing double-unders after 5 minutes with them, and other times it is a year or more to see them go from being extremely afraid of going upside down for a headstand to being able to do handstand push-ups and handstand holds away from a wall. Either way, once you see an athlete’s smile on their face because they did something today that they couldn’t do yesterday, you will understand the great part about being a coach.
8. What do you hope to do for others as a coach?
To give each athlete a reason to come back tomorrow!!! I smile every time I look back and think about the coaches who taught me. I would love to be able to provide the same memories for our athletes when they look back at their time at CFSTC.
If you’re ever looking for someone interesting and inspiring to talk to at our gym, then look no further and make sure to get to know more about Coach Ryan if you can! Make sure to come by next Monday to learn about another coach!
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