Kayla is a sweet-as-can-be Des Moines University student with a hidden mean streak. It only comes out to play at CrossFit. When her double-unders aren’t seamlessly strung together, and when her trainers suggest she reduce her weights or pace herself. To adapt, we’ve learned to turn up the music to drown out her jump-roping profanities, and push her to her limits each and every day. And she sweetly carries on kicking ass and taking names.
Kayla was fortunate enough to begin her active lifestyle at an early age. And it stuck. Since junior high, she’s participated in activities including track and field, cross-country, and even Rugby during her undergraduate studies at UNI. Half-marathons and even a full marathon were checked off her bucket list, and she even tested her abilities in Judo and rock climbing. During her athletically experimental years, she discovered yoga and a fortunate man name Tim Ullmann stumbled into her life and held on tight. Together, now engaged, they continue to live a life of adventure and activity through kayaking, biking, and now carefully eyeing one another during CrossFit workouts to see who is ahead. If you can look past the sweat and chalk and occasional skin tear, it’s quite romantic. Her globo-gym monotony has come to an end and we plan to keep her
The simple pursuit of a better self is Kayla’s mission. Here’s what she had to say…
Why CrossFit? I came to CrossFit because I was bored with working out at a gym, and I knew I wasn’t improving on my own. After doing research online and watching highlights from the Games last year I was hooked and hadn’t even started yet! I knew CrossFit was going to make me the best I could be. I am very competitive, so I was excited to push my limits and see what I could do. I also love the fact that once a year ANYONE can compete to see where they rank in the world (CrossFit Open). That is pretty awesome.
What has been your favorite part of the experience? My first favorite part is that I feel like I am improving after every workout. In every work out, there is a skill that I am not good at or haven’t mastered yet. When I finish that workout I feel amazing, and I am better at that movement because I had to do it 20, 50, or 75 times. So I always leave the gym feeling like a better athlete. I have two favorite parts, because doing CrossFit would not be fun if it weren’t for the people around you. All the trainers and the other athletes at the gym make going worth it. There are always people pushing you forward. They there to give you a high-five when you finally get double-unders, or help put away your weights when you are still recovering from the WOD. It truly is a community.
What has been your least favorite part? My least favorite part is overhead squat. My shoulders have yet to cooperate with that movement.
What is your goal? I have a lot of goals in CrossFit (mostly in mastering various skills), but my major goal is that next year I will be able to compete in the Open and perform all the workouts RX. I also want to get a muscle up before my wedding! (March 22)
What benchmark workout do you plan on beating Tim at? Either Mary or Cindy once I can do pull-ups, because they are both 20 min AMRAPs. I think I better endurance than him from my running background.
What body part has seen the most improvement? My arms/ upper body strength have seen the most improvement. I am already able to do push ups RX and just recently accomplished rings dips RX as well (although not very pretty ones). I quickly went from the green band down to the black band on pull-ups, and now I am just working on getting strict pull-ups before I start kipping with them.
Kayla clearly has dedicating to hard work and betterment, and for that reason she has stolen the spotlight as our Monthly Feature Member. Her friendly and encouraging demeanor and her never-ending tenacity pack a punch in the gym, and set an amazing example for all our athletes regardless of their personal goals. Everyday, Kayla allows us to help her achieve greatness by stepping outside of her comfort zone and into some undeniable intensity and skill development. You will see big things from Ms. Kayla Olson and we have no doubt that her strong-willed badassness will continue to inspire us all. Thank you, Kayla.