Today is a scheduled rest/recovery day, but don’t worry! We are open and running on our normal schedule. In today’s CrossFit group classes, you’ll have the option of doing either yesterday or tomorrow’s programming, which can be found in the comments section of today and every Rest Day’s post.
January Athlete of the Month: Jared Klett
By Christian Fox
The first month of 2019 brings us an Athlete of the Month who, if you don’t log many morning hours doing Open Gym at 608, you may actually not know. Or you might know him as the tall, dark, handsome, and strong in a Jeff Goldblum kind of way guy, quietly smashing big weights. And to not know him is a shame! Jared Klett has humbly been making progress in his fitness for quite some time with (and without) us, and is the only human we know who can Deadlift over 400 lbs and also create a 10 foot tall octahedron out of LED lights! What the heck is an octahedron? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Fox: Hey, Jared! Congrats on being the latest CFSBK Athlete of the Month. We’ll start at the beginning. When and why did you begin your journey at CrossFit South Brooklyn?
Jared: I took Foundations somewhere around 2011, a short while after moving to Gowanus. After completing that and starting group classes, I quickly discovered the limitations a lifetime of sitting at a computer had created in my body. I took a big step back and began a years-long journey towards correcting those and being able to do simple, fundamental things like drop into a deep squat with confidence.
Fox: What were you doing fitness-wise prior to that?
Jared: In my 20s I was primarily a distance runner. As I got older, those runs became harder and harder to recover from. I started exploring boxing and martial arts combined with HIIT workouts and got a taste of what I’d been missing for years: strength, not just endurance.
Fox: What were your initial impressions of the CFSBK environment?
Jared: It was unlike any gym I’d ever set foot in. No machines! Lots of barbells! It was simultaneously intimidating and intriguing. The intimidation quickly evaporated when talking with the coaches and other members. In those intervening years, I tried a number of other fitness environments (like the aforementioned boxing/HIIT workouts) but have always found myself drawn back to CFSBK.
Fox: What’s your athletic background?
Jared: I was thoroughly unathletic as a child, although I did some sports and activities here and there. I played at having a gym membership when I first moved to NYC but wouldn’t say I was really into anything until I started outdoor running.
Fox: Where did you grow up?
Jared: I was born in Illinois, but my family moved to New Jersey when I was two years old, so I usually just say that’s where I’m from. I loved coming to the city when I was younger, so it’s not a huge surprise I ended up here. While no one else in my family is necessarily athletic either, we did do lots of outdoorsy things when I was growing up like camping, going to the beach, and the like.
Fox: How’d you end up in Brooklyn?
Jared: After graduating from college, I had job offers from companies in Silicon Valley and NYC. I decided on the latter, and moved to Sunset Park, Brooklyn in ‘99. Almost 20 years, and 6 apartments later, it’s pretty clear I love it here.
Fox: How do you spend your days?
Jared: I’m a software engineer by career, and really enjoy building things from the ground up. So I seem to find myself perpetually either working for a small startup company or starting my own. Otherwise, I’m either spending time with family (who also come to CFSBK!) or dabbling with an electronics project.
Fox: Any fun hobbies that don’t involve barbells or CrossFit?
Jared: In the last few years I’ve worked on a variety of light art installations, sometimes with a group of friends, sometimes solo. Most recently I created a system of LED-based tubes out of clear PVC that can be assembled into geometric shapes. I used them to build two 10’ tall octahedra at an art festival in upstate NY last year, which was pretty fun. There are some photos and video on my Instagram: @jaredklett. Otherwise, it’s been a few years but I also played drums in a couple bands.
Fox: Get ready for thousands of follows… This will likely be the beginning of your side hustle as an influencer on social media! If you could place an ad in the NYC subway system, or on a huge billboard in Brooklyn that people would see every day, what would it say?
Jared: That’s a tough one. I’ve tried to live by a credo that goes something like, “We regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we did.” That’s a message I strongly believe in that might be of benefit to others, and they might be receptive to hearing.
Fox: What were your initial goals in the gym, if any, and what are you working on now? What did you struggle with at first or what are you most proud of for improving?
Jared: After a while I felt like I was stagnating with the martial arts/HIIT workouts, so I picked up a copy of Starting Strength and it felt like it addressed what I was missing. The gym I went to at the time had usable but not optimal equipment for the four main lifts, so I tolerated that for a while before I had made enough progress where I felt I had to start training in a proper facility. I rejoined CFSBK as an Open Gym-er in July of 2017 and became laser focused. I had a few setbacks along the way but have made a ton of progress. I recently PR’ed my Deadlift at 415, Squat at 305, Bench at 260, and Overhead Press at 135.
Fox: What advice would you offer for someone just starting out in CrossFit?
Jared: A lesson that was hard for me to learn was to leave my ego at the door when I walk in. There are lots of badass athletes here and it’s easy to get caught up in that energy and start chasing weight or something that may be beyond your reach. I would say patience is key, and to quote Henry Rollins, “Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.”
Fox: What keeps you coming back to CFSBK?
Jared: I’ve now dropped in on a few CrossFit gyms in my travels, and they’re all very nice but there’s something particular about CFSBK. It’s a unique combination of top quality equipment, the energy brought by the members here, and the friendly, deep expertise of the coaching staff.
Fox: What qualities are important to you for a future AOM?
Jared: I’ve been the recipient of some excellent advice and help from my fellow members, so I would say someone who isn’t afraid to approach another member with some friendly words of advice, an offer of a spot, or something as simple as a high five. I tend to get very internally focused in the gym, but lately have been trying to spend some attention on what’s going on around me and return the favor… if they’re not in the middle of a set, of course.
Fox: Thanks, Jared!
News and Notes
- Are you participating in the 2019 Open? Please take a minute to fill out this short survey, so we know if you’re interested in participating in our Intramural Team Competition!
- Want a night off for yourself and your kids? Of course you do! So sign up for our CFSBK Kids’ Night Out this Saturday, February 2nd. Your kid will engage in fun movement activities and games, eat pizza, and watch a movie while you do… well, whatever you want!
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