Article from CrossFit Games on July 9, 2016 by Andrea Maria Cecil


At 11 years old, Dylan Kade weighed 120 lb. The sixth-grader’s foods of choice: Twinkies and ice cream.

“He used to eat a lot of junk food,” said his mom, Mary Kay Kade.

It was then he decided to improve his diet. He substituted his sugary treats with a plan familiar to CrossFit athletes: meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar.

“He just all of a sudden wanted to become healthier,” his mother said on Tuesday.

Minutes earlier, Kade had finished his first event of his first CrossFit Games, competing in the Teenage Boys 14-15 Division.

The 15-year-old’s CrossFit journey began in 2014, when he watched a YouTube video of Rich Froning Jr. completing the final event of the 2012 Games—Fran—to win his second consecutive Games. Up until that point, Kade had been doing “bodybuilder stuff” to supplement the sports in which he was participating: baseball, football and wrestling. But the teenager was getting burned out on his bodybuilder routine so he tried Fran with strict pull-ups and “half-rep thrusters.” It took him 13 minutes to complete the workout of 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. Froning’s Fran time: 2:13.

“He started lifting weights in the basement,” Mary Kay said.

Kade asked for a weightlifting set for Christmas, his mother said, then he asked for heavier weights. Much of his spare time was spent on YouTube, watching instructional CrossFit videos to learn the methodology’s movements.

He finished the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Open in first place overall in his division.

“I wanna win,” said a winded, sweat-soaked Kade as he walked off the soccer-stadium floor at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. He had just completed the day’s first event—California Club—which included 205-lb. deadlifts, GHD sit-ups, double-unders and rope climbs.

He added of the event: “It was a lot harder than I thought (it would be).”

As for his fellow athletes, Kade knows the three-day competition will not be a walk in the park.

“Some are as good as me, some are better. I just gotta push mentally further than them.”

But Kade is more than a competitor—he’s also on a mission to get his parents doing CrossFit where he trains: CrossFit Maven in Rochester, Michigan.

“They think it’s crazy,” he said.

Mary Kay confirmed as much.

“He’s on us all the time,” she said, smiling.

CrossFit Maven owner Brad Berlin is discreetly helping.

“We’ll keep workin’. I don’t twist too many arms,” he said.

The best way to get others involved in CrossFit continues to be through inspiration, Berlin noted, and Kade is doing just that.

“If you spend any time with him, you realize pretty quickly how much he cares about other people.”

-Andrea Maria Cecil

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