Karl made the Kennedy podium at Rainhill this year. Powered by his Junk Headband and Yorkshire Puddings, he plans on more of the same in 2018!


How old are you, Karl?

I’m 42.

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and where do you train?

I’ve been training CrossFit for nearly 4 years now. I train at CrossFit Utopia in Leeds.

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What are the other commitments in your life?

No more than the next person, really. It’s the standard struggle of getting your training done around a full time job!

What keeps you coming back for more?

“You haven’t come this far to only come this far”!

I’m fitter and stronger now that I’ve ever been and want to keep progressing.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Getting 2nd in Kennedy at the Winter Rainhill Trials this year: I’d competed in the same comp a year before and deservedly did badly (patchy training, crap diet) coming in the bottom third of Rastrick. I decided to use my disappointment as my motivation to do better the following year: I trained well & consistently, started PTing and sorted my diet out. My goal was to just make it into Kennedy so getting 2nd was brilliant.

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How was the Open for you this year?

I didn’t do it! ​Well, not officially anyway. The workouts are programmed into the class WODs so I did them all but I have no idea where I placed. I had The Rainhill Trials around the same time so being ready for that was my focus. The workouts were good, though. Always fun to do a workout that properly kicks you up the ass.

What are your strengths?

Anything on the rig: toes to bar, pullups – the more, the merrier! I love quick, gassy workouts too – they’re mentally tough and it’s important to test yourself mentally as well as physically.

What are your weaknesses?

Top of the list of things being worked on at the moment are strict HSPU, strict press and back squat. There’s always something to get better at – which is why I love it.

What are your current goals?

When it comes to training I don’t set any goals (e.g. Xkg this, sub Y mins that), to be honest .​ That wasn’t always the case – I used to write shopping lists of things I wanted to achieve (and then get frustrated and demotivated when I wasn’t getting where I thought I should be) – nowadays my main goal is to train hard, consistently and enjoy it – if you put the effort in progress will come. Oh.. and to keep competing. Magic happens when you compete.

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Who does your programming?

I do what my coaches write on the whiteboard! I also PT with Sammy Wright every week (I can do more unbroken T2B than him now which he loves being reminded of).

Saturdays are usually a 2 hour mixed bag of CF treats in Open Gym with a few friends.

Can we find you on social media? Who do you follow on social media that you’d recommend to others?

I’m on Instagram – but I don’t post much on there as I don’t think people would find it that interesting! I generally just follow people I know or have met & admire rather than the big names – but I do follow Tim Paulson and Spencer Hendel because they have cool dogs!

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What supplements do you swear by?

I had golfers elbow for a year then started taking GLC2000 – that with physio worked wonders. Other than that I don’t take anything apart from a daily protein shake​. I try to get everything I need from the meals I eat – having your diet in check should be the main priority for everyone. Supplements are supplemental, not a substitute – the clue is in the name!

What’s always in your kitbag?

Junk headbands and kinesio tape – I always get calluses on my right thumb from barbell work so always tape it up​. The headbands are just to look like a cliché when training.

What advice would you give to a Master just starting out in CrossFit?

Be patient and trust the process. Progress takes time and effort so don’t be tempted to run before you can walk. And don’t compare yourself to others – the person next to you may be banging out loads of butterfly pullups but its only because they’ve been doing this longer than you – the only thing between where you are now and where you want to be is practise. Also – focus on your achievements rather than your perceived shortcomings.

What’s the key to effective recovery for you?

Not being tempted to train on a rest day. Sundays are my rest day so I make sure I stay away from the gym. A roast dinner is vital. I guess the key to effective recovery is Yorkshire pudding.

Favourite quote?

“Fast and shit is still shit”.

Don’t skip reps, don’t cheat reps: integrity is everything. To all those cheats out there: we all know you do it. We. All. Know.

What would you advise CrossFitters to stop doing? What should they start (if they aren’t already!)?

Unless you’ve podiumed at the CF Games (and probably not even then) don’t take things or yourself too seriously. Stay humble, keep your ego in check, be a good sport and be friendly & supportive to others. And don’t coach people if you’re not a coach – that’s what the coaches are there for!

What​ does next year look like for you, training-wise?

More of same, really. But probably fewer comps (I did 6 this year – it felt like too many). I’d like to end 2018 how I’m ending 2017 – proud of the work I’ve put in, the progress I’ve made and the fun I’ve had!


Thanks for a great interview, Karl!


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Check out the other athletes in the Meet the Masters  and Meet the Teens series

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2 Comments

  1. Nicola

    Brilliant read ! Thanks for sharing , some top tips on there for everyone and as a master myself I will be putting some of these in place ..

    • tomdolly@blueyonder.co.uk

      Glad you enjoyed it, Nicola. All Karl’s work, I just press the “publish” button 😀

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