Around the Whiteboard: Kim Barb

We’re back with another edition of Around the Whiteboard! This time we sat down with the one and only Coach Kim Barb kim_barb_wallball

Certifications: Level 1 Trainer
Favorite WOD: Jackie
Favorite Lift: Clean
Deadlift: 215
Back Squat: 185
Snatch: 105
Clean and Jerk: 125
Favorite Food: Alaskan King Crab legs with garlic butter!
Favorite Movie: Castaway
Favorite Athlete: Ronda Rousey
Dream Job: Archaeology in Rome or Jerusalem
Dream Vacation Destination: Rome

How did you find CrossFit and what drew you to getting started?
I was climbing one night with my friends at Adrenaline when Kyle Maynard pulled up and got out of his truck to train at Creighton’s MMA next door. I think I was just observing him maneuvering around his truck and getting his stuff together when someone said, “That’s Kyle, he’s amazing.” I asked what his story was and they told me and said he owned the CrossFit gym around the corner. I went home and looked up CrossFit and videos on youtube and thought it looked fun, so I scheduled an appointment at No Excuses. The rest is history!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?
“Since January 2012.”

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness?
“I loved climbing, but had plateaued and wasn’t experiencing the thrill of improving anymore. I discovered CrossFit at this time and, with so many new things to learn, it put excitement into my life in the arena of fitness that hadn’t been there in years. People often reference the “community” aspect CrossFit as a major contributor to their love of the sport and I am no different. I loved the atmosphere of the gym in every way and I loved how it was pushing me to set goals I could envision myself achieving. My new enthusiasm for my fitness and health transferred over into the other areas of my life and just created an overall positive effect on everything.”

You have a background in martial arts and rock climbing. How did you get started in those sports?
“My mom put me in martial arts when I was 7 because I got kicked out of ballet and the Brownies for apparently being too aggressive to play nice with other girls. She never said so, but I’m sure she thought I needed some discipline and proper social skills, since I was trying to beat everyone up. The martial arts instilled an appreciation of values in me that are hard to teach a free spirited kid and they were my sport until I was 22 years old. Some friends took me climbing in my mid 20’s and I loved it. When I found that there was an indoor climbing gym just a few miles from my house, I joined it and spent the next 6 years bouldering.”

How do you feel that your background in martial arts and rock climbing has helped your CrossFit?
“The martial arts and rock climbing both require that the athlete develops and fine tunes the skill of balance, which I think helped me when I was starting CrossFit. When you’re new, it’s daunting enough to realize there’s so many movements to learn and practice. If you have already developed a certain level of balance and body awareness, you are able to focus on other aspects of the movements.”

Have you always known that you wanted to be involved in training and coaching others?
“I’ve always wanted to help others, whatever capacity that looks like. After benefiting for so long from martial arts, I wanted to give back, so I became an instructor and did that for 4 years. After 3 years of benefiting so much from CrossFit, the same thing happened. I wanted to give back and help others get better and achieve their goals.”

What do you love most about coaching others?
“Because I’ve experienced this in my own life, I know that the achievements that happen during workouts carry over into the other aspects of people’s lives. Qualities and virtues build a little at a time inside of us with each small achievement. It may be confidence from a 5lb PR on a lift or from a 3 second improvement on a benchmark WOD. I don’t think we can measure the psychological and emotional impact it has on us when we experience achievements, no matter their size. So to me, it’s not just a work out. It’s not just an hour of walking people through the motions and encouraging them to keep going or to try again. I really believe that CrossFit is helping them on many different levels and I love the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Tell us about a CrossFit moment or achievement of which you are particularly proud.
“I spent 2 years doing strict handstand pushups because the idea of an upside down kipping movement was just not clicking for me. During a GOAT day, I chose the handstand push up to focus on and spent 20 minutes shamelessly flailing around and crashing against the wall, trying to learn how to kip. Then, suddenly, it clicked, and I’ll never forget the excitement I felt.”

What is your funniest CrossFit moment?
“Every time someone trips over the uneven mats in the gym, it’s hilarious. Yes, I am included in that and I trip pretty often.”

What is one goal you have yet to achieve in CrossFit but are working hard towards?
“One single solitary muscle up. The ever-evasive muscle up.”

What are your hobbies and interests outside of CrossFit?
I’m a history nerd and particularly love learning about ancient Rome and Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. I’m also a Goonie, so I’m one of those annoying people who take a metal detector and spend the early morning hours combing the beach whenever I go on vacation. The ocean is a treasure chest! I like to travel and haven’t done it nearly as often lately as I used to. Maybe another trip somewhere awesome is in my near future.”

What is your advice for new members?
“I would say it’s important to remember that you’re in a room of people who come from all walks of life and every person in the room has their own goals. Some have goals to lift the most weight they can, and others have goals just to lose weight. Some want to run the fastest, and others want to get to the point where they CAN run. And there are so many variables in between. One of the wisest things I’ve heard lately came from Lisbeth Darsh, who used to be the head writer for CrossFit HQ. She wrote an article admonishing CrossFitters to scale where needed and to do it unapologetically. It’s part of working smart and it’s the appropriate thing to do if our goal is to maintain and grow our fitness levels for the long run. If you can blast through each workout at Rx, that’s amazing and you belong to probably the top 20% of CrossFit athletes. The other 80% of us are wise to scale workouts according to our abilities and our goals for our personal fitness. We should challenge ourselves and also conscientiously protect ourselves from injury in the decisions we make about weights and movements before the WODs even begin. Live to see another workout!”

What do you love most about No Excuses CrossFit?
“No Excuses is my home away from home. My best friends are at NEA and you’re like family to me. I’m invested in this community of great people and look forward to every opportunity I have to be an encouragement.”