Isaiah Weber — “Don't Just Play One Sport”

June 16, 2023

Kelley Laxton

Most would find it near impossible to be a varsity-level athlete on two sports teams and almost win the CrossFit Games in one year. But there’s a method to the madness. 

In the fall, Isaiah Weber wakes up before the sun to make football training at 5 a.m. At 8, he is attending classes at Gretna High School, then he returns to football practice promptly as the bell rings at 3:45 p.m. Once Weber wraps up practice around 6:30, his night isn’t over. He quickly sneaks in a meal and heads to CrossFit Kinesis, where he trains for the CrossFit Games from 7 to 9 p.m.

He repeats this routine every day, replacing football with baseball come spring. 

Weber has been playing baseball and football for most of his life. When he reached high school, he joined the varsity baseball and football teams, hoping one would lead to a college scholarship.

But he was also chasing another athletic goal: win the CrossFit Games. 

All in one year, Weber became the 2021 second-Fittest on Earth in the Boys 14-15 division and a Class A Football State Champion.


Isaiah Weber

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Weber


How a Dislike for Tennis Led to CrossFit

Weber’s mother insisted her family play tennis growing up. She would take Weber and his siblings to private tennis lessons with James Ingram in Lincoln, Nebraska. But right away, Ingram knew Weber disliked tennis — he was just there to make his mom happy. 

“I’d just go out there and try to hit the ball as hard as I can,” Weber said. “So he (Ingram) just called them ‘training days.’ Basically, every time I had a session with him, it was a ‘training day.’”

To Weber’s delight, Ingram was also training CrossFit to become a Navy SEAL. Ingram introduced Weber and his brother to CrossFit and invited them to try some of his workouts. 

Now that hooked Weber. 

In 2016, Weber began teaching himself CrossFit in his basement. As part of his research, he watched the CrossFit Games documentaries, and now the 10-year-old wanted to win the CrossFit Games one day. Four years later, Weber joined CrossFit Kinesis under the guidance of eight-time CrossFit Games athlete Kyle Kasperbauer to make that dream come true. 


Isaiah Weber and Kyle

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Kinesis on Instagram 


“I really just wanted to prove my fitness,” Weber said. “Whatever that meant, like fitting in a training schedule around the other sports. Plus it was going to help me get better at my other sports.”

When he had reached the age of 14, the minimum age to participate, Weber signed up for the 2020 CrossFit Open. He took 1,028th in the Boys 14-15 division. 

But in 2021, Weber took his training to the next level, adding in as many training sessions as he could around his baseball and football schedules. Weber jumped up to second worldwide in the Boys 14-15 division in the Open, first at the Age-Group Quarterfinal, and finished his season as the second-Fittest on Earth. 

A Method to the Madness

Most would find it near impossible to be a varsity-level athlete on two sports teams and almost win the CrossFit Games, all in one year. 

But there’s a method to Weber's madness. 

“CrossFit is helping with my other sports and other sports are helping (me) not get burnt out (with CrossFit),” he said.

Weber explained that playing baseball and football with his friends at school is “almost therapeutic,” when he is feeling the pressure of the CrossFit Games season. 


Isaiah Weber

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Weber


But CrossFit is also helping him excel on the field. For football, CrossFit helps the most with conditioning, he said. Since football is a four-quarter sport, Weber must give a max effort in every play for four 15-minute chunks. As the game progresses, it gets harder to keep the engine running at full speed. 

The pure explosiveness he practices in Olympic lifts translates to his explosiveness on the field, and he has learned mental toughness through workouts such as Fran, where you have to be “a little bit off the rocker to push a fast time.”

“Last year, that was my first year as starting running back and linebacker. I was playing my best in the fourth quarter. I was still fresh when other people weren’t, and I know that’s 100% from CrossFit,” he said. 

In baseball, Weber saw a larger impact on mobility. 

As a catcher, he has to be able to squat down for two-and-a-half hours and pop up quickly to catch a ball as if he was doing a burpee. At bat, Weber has to move in different directions and slide into bases swiftly. 


Isaiah Weber

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Weber


“Don't Just Play One Sport”

In just a few weeks, Weber will be headed to Madison, Wisconsin, to battle for the title of Fittest on Earth in the Boys 16-17 division for the final time. 

But this won’t be the end of CrossFit. Although Weber said he will change his focus to collegiate sports if he receives a scholarship, he knows competitive CrossFit will always be there when he is ready to return. He plans to continue training CrossFit as much as he can to supplement his sports training and when he graduates, he will jump back into CrossFit Games training. 

Over the last four years, Weber has learned a valuable lesson: “Don't just play one sport.”

“Do other things, whether that's fishing or golfing. I golf with my family on Sundays and it’s something I look forward to every week,” Weber said, “Just pursue the things that make you happy in sports.”


Isaiah Weber

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Kinesis on Instagram

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