Friendly Wheels, Issue 50
Featuring Kyle Maynard, Atlanta, Ga.
Kyle Maynard is not the type to let excuses stand in the way of his goals. Kyle’s first year of wrestling got off to a rough start, in which he lost every single one of the 35 matches he participated in. In his senior year, he went on to win 36 varsity matches, defeating several state place finishers and champions. He ended up ranking in the top 12 in the nation and was later inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Sounds like a sports success story you’ve heard many times, right? What makes Kyle’s story truly amazing is that he was born with a condition called congenital amputation, meaning he was born with arms that end at the elbows and legs ending near his knees. The athletes he was ranked against were not other disabled athletes, but able-bodied competitors that he defeated without assistance or special considerations.
When asked what was going through his head his first year of wrestling, Kyle said “The only thing going through my head was how horrible I was doing! I didn’t take time to think about what I was learning or how I was growing. It was just tough. We all have those moments, but sometimes we lose sight of how going through tough times can make us better.”
Encouraged by his parent’s insistence that he lead an independent and normal life, Kyle has always lived with a policy of “no excuses” in all he takes on. He continues to set and meet new fitness goals for himself, and after starting his weightlifting career with five pound weights, he went on to lift a personal best of 420 pounds and was crowned GNC’s World’s Strongest Teen in 2009.
Kyle’s mantra of “no excuses” has developed into a new project — in 2008, he built and opened his first fitness center, No Excuses CrossFit Gym. As a certified fitness instructor, Kyle works with a variety of people at CrossFit, including wounded soldiers who are adapting their fitness methods to meet their new needs.
“The most rewarding part of working at the gym is seeing people continually do things they never thought they could do before — whether it’s a pull-up or a new personal record, sometimes their faces give away their astonishment,” Kyle said.
Kyle’s fitness advice is to accept that you may have to start small. “A big mistake I see people make in my gym all the time is expecting too much too soon, which leads to frustration when they don’t reach their goals as quickly as expected. And don’t think twice about what other people are thinking. It’s ok if you don’t know what to do — that’s why we have lawyers, accountants and firefighters! It’s no different in the gym.”
Kyle would like to challenge you to give up one big excuse that may be holding you back in life. Whether it be “I’m too tired,” “I’m too old” or “I don’t have enough time,” think about how different your life would be without that one excuse.
“No matter how rough your start is, you never know what your life may look like 5 or 10 years from now if you give up that one excuse today,” Kyle said. “Know your limits, but never stop trying to break them.”