BURLINGTON — Samuel Kwant continues to rise in the world of CrossFit.
He’s gone from the youngest competitor to ever qualify for the fitness regimen’s pinnacle event — the CrossFit Games — to being one of the best.
Kwant, a resident of Burlington, recently finished second at this year’s CrossFit Games in Aromas, California. He finished behind now five-time defending champion Mat Fraser.
“Obviously, it went pretty well,” Kwant said. “I went down there and did what I needed to do. I feel really good about how it went. Second place is a big deal and I am really pleased with it.”
It was the best CrossFit Games finish for the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Kwant, who qualified for his first CrossFit Games in 2016 — the youngest male individual to do so at the age of 20 — and placed 16th overall.
This year, however, was unlike any thus far.
“This season was definitely kind of weird with a lot of competitions getting canceled because of the virus,” Kwant said. “Things just kind of got shut down. I was training mostly in my parents’ shop in Conway, so that worked out pretty well.”
He also trains and works at Mallard CrossFit in Burlington.
This year’s culminating event was moved to CrossFit Ranch, where CrossFit originated. Kwant had competed there before, so the site was familiar to him.
Since he first visited CrossFit Ranch, Kwant has grown both mentally and physically.
“Every year I have learned something different,” he said. “Whether it is something that I consciously remember or not, I have learned the importance of taking care of my body.”
Sponsorships have allowed CrossFit to become a full-time job for Kwant.
Five days a week, he trains from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. In between, he eats, stretches and uses a myriad of body recovery tools.
In regards to workouts, there are few capable of matching those of the CrossFit Games.
This year’s competition included 12 events over three days. The final event alone consisted of running a mile, doing 100 handstand push-ups, 200 single-leg squats and 300 pull-ups, then running another mile — all while wearing a 20-pound weight vest.
Part of CrossFit competitions is that those taking part rarely know exactly what they will be asked to do until practically the last minute.
“They don’t really announce much at all,” Kwant said. “They may let us know about one or two of the 12 (events) before we get there. Then sometimes we get 24 hours notice and sometimes we get an hour, or a half-hour notice. It’s crazy.”
So, what’s next for Kwant?
“Right now, I am just re-evaluting with my coach what the next step is in trying to take first,” he said. “I’ll take a little time off and then it’s right back into the gym.
“My goal is to win it. I’ve been improving by leaps and bounds the last couple years. There’s no reason that won’t continue.”