Looking to represent Southern California at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, the 3rd ranked man in the world – and 1st in SoCal – at the end of the Open, Kenneth Leverich, talks snake oil, compression tights and the inspiration he derives from the CrossFit community.
How and when did your CrossFit career begin?
Well it started two years ago when Justin Flynn gave me the opportunity to represent his gym, Orange Coast CrossFit, as a sponsored athlete. I am really thankful for all he has done for me. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for that guy.
It wasn’t until a year ago that I started getting really serious about CrossFit. After not succeeding at the 2011 SoCal Regional and watching the Games for the first time, I got a new insight and drive to be a better CrossFitter. Since then, I have been learning and pushing my abilities to achieve my one goal. I want to represent SoCal at the 2012 CrossFit Games.
What sports did you compete in before CrossFit?
I played football in high school and I also competed in junior Olympic Weightlifting competitions. I played rugby starting my senior year, where my team won 1st in Southern California and 3rd in the nation for the under-19 division. I played “seven man” (open side flanker) as one of the forwards.
Where does your drive to compete come from?
All of my friends who have supported me through the past two years. They have lifted me up countless times throughout the season and always believed in me. I can’t be more blessed. Also, I want to do it for Justin Flynn and the OCCF Team.
Outside of CrossFit, what can we find you doing?
Besides working towards becoming a firefighter, I love to spear fish and surf. I just finished rebuilding a 15-foot Boston whaler that I completely restored just so I could do those things more.
I played rugby for a while for the local Newport Beach club and I love the sport. I’m hoping to start playing again after the Games. Other than that, I’m involved with my church as a youth leader and I’m so thankful for all the things God has blessed me with.
Also, I’ll be done with school after this semester so I’m stoked on that. I’ll have my Fire Science Degree.
Do you enjoy long walks on the beach?
More like long WODs on the beach ... and candlelit Frans.
What's your signature style? What will we always find you wearing?
So you'll always see me wearing tights and smelling like snake oil.
I have my "snake oil." It’s not really snake oil, but that what we call it. It’s oil from Thailand and its called Gold Cross Yellow Oil. It’s like Icy-Hot, but way gnarlier. I’ve been told people can always tell when I’m around because it’s so strong. It will clear your sinuses up right away. I’ve been using it for my LCL (lateral collateral ligament) that I tore before I started CrossFitting and I’ve been using it ever since. I also always wear the compression pants for the same reason. It gives my knee a little more stability.
Do you have any nicknames?
I call the muscle on my lower back my “shark fin.” When I bend over to grab the bar, it flexes and it looks like a huge hump on my back. It’s just from my Oly- ifting. It’s funny because people think I’m rounding my back but it’s just that muscle.
What's your favorite workout?
Godzilla. It’s three rounds for time of: one overhead squat at 300 pounds, 2 rope climbs, 3 snatches at 200 punds, 4 ring muscle-up handstand push-ups. I have the video on YouTube if you want to see it. Just type in “Kenny Leverich Godzilla.”
What does your diet look like?
For the past three months it has consisted of a lot of chicken, fish, vegetables and supplemental shakes. Before the Orange Coast CrossFit Throwdown, I realized that I had the strength and skills needed to make it to the Games, but I lacked the recovery needed to perform multiple WODs in a day. So I changed my diet to focus on that aspect of recovery.
Do you ever have any "cheat" meals? If so, what's your favorite thing to splurge on?
I’ve been really disciplined lately and have been fighting back my urges to overdose on sweets. I’ve traded them all for sweet potatoes, but I’ll sneak in a KitKat once in a while. Maybe a Susie Cake's red velvet cupcake if I’m good.
Where do you see your life 10 years from now?
In 10 years I see myself as a family man working for the fire department and probably continuing my youth leadership roles for church. I definitely see myself being an active member and athlete in the CrossFit community. I don't ever see myself not CrossFitting, that’s for sure.
What do you hope to accomplish in CrossFit in the next 10 years?
Besides being a seasoned Games athlete, I want to be a trainer for CrossFit's youth. I want to use CrossFit to inspire, empower and motivate them to be the best people they can be. I know through CrossFit we can show them that they can do anything with a little bit of hard work and determination. Also, I really want to help CrossFit develop some amazing athletes.
What advice do you have to the CrossFitters out there who want to compete someday?
My advice to all my CrossFit family out there who has yet to compete and that would like to someday would be to just do it. I learned so much from my first competition and it gave me a new perspective on why I performed the way I did. It showed me truly what my strengths and weaknesses were. When you understand what your training for it’s easier to have more confidence in yourself and on every WOD.
I’d say to give your all and then some every time you step into the box. As long as you do that then you’re ready. Most importantly, just believe in yourself and know that you aren't alone in this sport. You have friends all around you.