“My goal has been to podium at the 2014 Mid Atlantic Regional ever since my last squat clean at the 2013 Regional.”
At the 2013 Mid Atlantic Regional, Kyle Ruth could almost taste victory with just one point separating third and fourth place.
Ultimately, Ruth missed a trip to the Games after finishing fourth with 62 points just behind third-placed Jordan Troyan who finished with 61 points.
“At first, I was pretty devastated, but as I reflected back on the year I realized a couple of things,” Ruth said. “First, I performed way past my own expectations on every event with specific goals in mind.”
“Second, leading into the 2013 regionals, I had no expectations for my placing,” he continued. “I knew from testing some of the events beforehand that I would have placed well in other regions, but I really didn’t expect to be one point away from qualifying. In the end it all boils down to this: I was happy with my own performance and I don’t think there was anything else I could have done differently to change the outcome.”
Since that moment, Ruth decided to “control the controllables” and change what he could to prepare for 2014.
“My goal has been to podium at the 2014 Mid Atlantic Regional ever since my last squat clean at the 2013 Regional,” he said.
Shortly after returning home, Ruth hired Max El-Hag of Training Think Tank as a coach. His work with El-Hag has helped Ruth improve upon specific weaknesses and identify why they were weaknesses.
“The three major priorities with Kyle were upper-body pressing, which encompassed mobility, strength, muscular endurance and gymnastics, heavy weight training repeatability, and longer-duration energy system development, given that his athletic background in swimming was a very, high-powered sprint,” El-Hag said.
Ruth also realized training went beyond the gym and included sleep and diet, as well. He dedicated eight to nine hours of sleep every night. In terms of diet, Ruth added more carbohydrates and strayed a bit from the stricter paleo diet he followed in his previous years with CrossFit.
His efforts to prepare for the 2014 season paid off with a 37th-place finish in the Open, allowing him another shot at his goal to make the podium at regionals and to the main event in California.
Climbing the Leaderboard isn’t new to Ruth, as he finished the 2013 Open in 42nd place.
“Do I believe I can move from 37th to third? Absolutely,” he said. “Thankfully, the scores reset from the Open to regionals so I can start fresh. I was hoping to finish a little better this year, but a camera malfunction cost me a couple of spots on the Leaderboard.”
During his first attempt at 14.4, Ruth set up two cameras. The main camera cut out at 10 minutes and it didn’t show the final muscle-ups and final row. The second camera had a bad angle and cut off the wall-ball shot target.
Ruth repeated 14.4 after a long day of travel and it didn’t go nearly as well as the first attempt. After a few days of rest, Ruth gave the workout a third attempt and was able to better his score from the re-do, but unable to achieve the same score as when the camera malfunctioned.
With the Open now behind him and redemption in sight, his motto has been “eat, sleep, train, repeat.”
“In all seriousness, I’ve gone through some three-day regional simulation training blocks in an effort to prepare for the volume that we’re going to see,” Ruth said. “Outside of that, I just have fun and train.”
After the release of the regional events, El-Hag is optimistic about Ruth’s performance.
“I think Kyle will do better on this subset of workouts now than he would have done last year, which is all I could aim to help with as a coach,” El-Hag said. “How well that is relative to other athletes, I can’t predict. He generally performs well under pressure, but we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out. I’m hoping it gives him an opportunity to stand on the podium and fulfill his dream of competing at the Games.”