CrossFit Deep Athlete Feature: Ryan Lear

This week’s CrossFit Deep Athlete Feature has not been CrossFitting long, but his results and progress as an athlete are phenomenal. 

Ryan Lear first started CrossFitting a year and half ago at CrossFit Central in Austin, TX, but just celebrated his year anniversary at CrossFit Deep this May. Prior to starting his CrossFit training Ryan did not have a consistent fitness regimen.

“Before I started CrossFit, I was mostly doing NO exercise. I played sports in high school, and was a backpacking guide for a while, so I have some fitness experience in my past. However, after I graduated college (and stopped guiding), I stopped exercising at all for a couple of years. JUST before joining CrossFit, I was doing some yoga as well as some running. Really, I started doing CrossFit as a supplement to my training for distance running.”

Thankfully (with a lot of coercing from his wife and coach, Mackenzie) Ryan gave CrossFit a shot in hopes to see improvements in his strength and endurance performance. 

“Let me be clear about this: for a very long time, I was very vocal about how I would NEVER do CrossFit. I had a close friend who was an early adopter and an evangelist for CrossFit back in 2007. So, from 2007 until 2015, I took an vocal "I'll never do this" stance. I used to think that CrossFit is for big bulky slow dudes, and that a) I wouldn't be good at it, and 2) it wouldn't help my distance running. I was half right, because I am NOT very good at it, but CrossFit is such a huge help with my training for distance running.”

In the past year and a half Ryan has noticed how CrossFit has changed him in three big ways. First, being a strong foundation of fitness. 

“First of all, CrossFit has helped develop and improve my overall fitness. Specifically, CrossFit has been great in regards to making me a better and faster distance runner. CrossFit has been great for building power and strength in my legs, which obviously has a direct benefit to my speed and hill strength with running. It has also helped develop my core strength and my overall fitness, which does a lot to help my endurance, especially helping at the end of long runs when form starts to deteriorate.” 

Second, Ryan has noticed a mental edge he has gained from CrossFitting.

“Secondly, I'd say that doing CrossFit has also helped mentally prepare me for distance running as well. To make it through the long metcons, you really gotta focus, push your body harder and further than you thought you could, and also push all the negative thoughts out - which is not dissimilar to what you gotta do mentally to BQ in a marathon. To BQ, you just gotta focus and push for a whole hell of a lot longer.”

Ryan qualified for Boston 2017 when he ran his first full marathon this February in Austin, TX. He qualified with a time of 3:00, which is roughly 6:50 minute miles

Ryan qualified for Boston 2017 when he ran his first full marathon this February in Austin, TX. He qualified with a time of 3:00, which is roughly 6:50 minute miles

Last, but not least, Ryan has seen a significant physical transformation by supplementing CrossFit into his training. 

“Lastly, I would also say that CrossFit has done a lot to help me feel confident about my body. I lost almost 75 pounds a couple of years ago, and have started to gain back some (good) weight through fitness. While I'm still a skinny dude, doing CrossFit makes me feel more confident in my body as an athlete and as a person.”

When asked what his favorite CrossFit move was, we weren't surprised by his answer… 

“My favorite CrossFit lift? Yikes. My flexibility and mobility are VERY BAD, so any lift is rough. I'd say that squat is my favorite. I've seen some pretty drastic improvement in that in regards to my form, mobility and flexibility recently, so I'm excited to continue to improve there. My favorite CrossFit movement is running :)”

These next few months before Ryan starts going into full-time marathon training he plans to stick to his 3x a week CrossFit classes and go after his short-term and long-term CrossFit goals. 

“Two big fitness goals: short-term I want to get my double-unders (there's no reason I shouldn't already have these). Long-term goal would be to get my overhead squat. I'll need to improve nearly everything about my body to do that, haha. I have stiff legs, and big mobility issues in my shoulders, so this one will take a while.”

Ryan’s main goal is to PR in Boston 2017, which we know he will accomplish. 

“I will run 2:45 or faster in the Boston Marathon on April 17th, 2017. CrossFit's going to help get me there.”

Outside of the gym, running, and working in Operations at University Laundry (who’s headquarters are 200 meters away from Deep), Ryan enjoys a lot of things. 

“I love the Texas Rangers with my whole heart - I listen to/watch/attend as many games as I can. I also love getting to explore and fall in love with Dallas with my wife and our dog, Wash.”

Next time you see Ryan in the gym congratulate him on qualifying for Boston… just don’t challenge him to a race, because you will most likely lose.