April 2, 2013
Building Confidence: Kirk Gibson
By April Wheeler

"When I started CrossFit, I weighed 235 pounds. I remember doing the warm-up for the workout, and it rocked my world."

Kirk Gibson of CrossFit Clash has already made a name for himself in his region and is hoping to make his second trip to the South East Regional this year. Gibson has accomplished all of this at the young age of 20.

At 5-foot-9, this 170-pound athlete is strong in both bodyweight movements, and heavy Olympic lifting.

“My strengths are skill movements like muscle-ups, pull-ups, toes-to-bar and moving heavier weights in workouts,” Gibson says. “My weaknesses consist of rowing, long met-cons and definitely rope climbs. I have to admit, I do not do rope climbs like I should. I honestly just forget to work on them.”

Gibson began his CrossFit journey with no expectations other than to lose some weight.

“When I started CrossFit, I weighed 235 pounds. I remember doing the warm-up for the workout, and it rocked my world. I could not believe that there was a workout afterwards,” Gibson recalls.

“My most memorable moment (of CrossFit) was when I won a challenge at CrossFit Pulse. I lost more weight than anyone, and I also dropped the most time on our benchmark workout. This was the thing that really turned my life around,” he adds. “I lost 30 pounds in the challenge and went on to lose about 70 pounds over the next few months.”

He never thought competition was in the cards.

“I never thought I would be competing in CrossFit. Sometimes I get wrapped up in being so competitive that I forget where I came from and what CrossFit is all about — making others more fit,” Gibson says.

Gibson has now been CrossFitting for three years. He has a double bodyweight clean, a 255-lb. snatch and a 2:24 Fran. As a competitor at the 2012 South East Regional, where he finished in 20th place, Gibson was the youngest athlete there.

“It was weird competing against some guys that had 10 years on me. I would catch myself saying, ‘Yes, sir’ to some of my fellow competitors,” he says. “Physically, I feel being younger helps me with my recovery time, but mentally it hurt me because sometimes I felt like I was not as good as them.”

Gibson’s realization that he worked hard for his spot at Regionals has helped him mentally during the 2013 season.

“Sometimes I feel intimidated because some of the other competitors are guys that I always looked up to when I first started to compete in CrossFit. I just need to realize that I earned the position that I am in, and that depending on the workout, I can compete with just about anyone,” Gibson says.

Competing in local competitions and reaching out to other athletes has also helped build Gibson’s confidence going into this year’s Open.

“Brandon Phillips has done a lot for me. We have gotten together and trained a good bit over the past year. He has helped me out with everything from efficiency to mobility. He is so well rounded. That is what makes him awesome,” Gibson says. “Working out with him is always a humbling experience. Once in a blue moon I can get him at something.”

Gibson notes that failure has also attributed to his current success.

“I feel that I have done well in many local competitions. In the bigger ones I have always had one workout that kept me from doing really well and possibly keeping me off of the podium,” he says. “At WODapalooza this year, I had a real humbling experience. I was coming off an injury I suffered playing basketball with my friends. I bruised my sternum and had to take a few weeks off. I went to WODapalooza, and I got my butt kicked by some really good competitors. I used it as a wake-up call and made sure that I would get ready for the Open and Regionals.”

Gibson scored 120 reps on Open Workout 13.4, a sixth place score in his region. He currently sits in 32nd place overall in the South East.

“I was very happy to have seen this workout,” he says. “The movements were great for me and so was the time domain. It was the most confident I have felt about an Open workout so far.”

Performing each of the Open workouts only once, Gibson knew he needed to make 13.4 count.

“I just went into it planning on not stopping. I went to singles on clean and jerks, but I did the toes-to-bar unbroken or in two sets,” he says. “I did not repeat this workout. I have not repeated any. If I am not good enough the first time, then I will not be good enough the first time at Regionals either.”

Gibson has spent the past year preparing himself by focusing on his weaknesses and building his confidence all in the hopes of making a return trip to the Regional.

“I have no coach, but I have surrounded myself with great people to train with. My girlfriend also does a good job of letting me know if I am being a pansy or not so she makes sure that I am not just picking workouts that I like. I have focused on longer met-cons and I have also found great training partners in Wade Whitton, Zach D’Hollosy and Cristy Morrill. I have also tried to work on my mental game to make me more confident,” he says.

“I felt pretty accomplished that I managed to be the youngest competitor (at last year’s Regional). I am also proud that I am still competing in this region with all the talent we have from top to bottom. It is nice to see that I am still progressing. I have spent this past year understanding that I do belong with these guys.”