The 2nd Fittest Man On Earth (Samuel Kwant)

Today we’re talking to Samuel Kwant, a multi-time CrossFit Games competitor who finished second at the 2020 CrossFit Games. Originally a high school cross country runner, Sam found CrossFit as a teenager and qualified for his first games at just 20 years old, making him the youngest male competitor in that year’s field. Since then, Sam has risen up the leaderboard on repeat visits, which culminated in his being crowned 2020’s Second Fittest Man on Earth — his first podium appearance. Sam joins us to talk about this year’s games, training his weaknesses, making CrossFit a family affair, and balancing training with the realities of being a new father.

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Samuel Kwant about:

  • Recovering after the 2020 CrossFit Games (1:50)
  • Starting the next season of CrossFit (3:15)
  • If this year was the toughest Games in history (6:40)
  • Swim N’ Stuff (8:15)
  • Atalanta (11:00)
  • Training with family in “The Shop” (14:00)
  • Why he’s not so into Olympic Weightlifting (20:40)
  • Fatherhood while being an elite athlete (24:30)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

David TaoDavid Tao

Dave Castro said it was going to be the toughest CrossFit Games in history. Was it, from your perspective?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Personally, no. I don’t think it was the hardest one. Hopefully, Dave doesn’t hear me saying this, but I think 2016 was a little harder than this year.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today I’m talking to Samuel Kwant, a multi-time CrossFit Games competitor who finished second at the 2020 CrossFit Games. Originally a high school cross-country runner, Sam found CrossFit as a teenager and qualified for his first games at just 20 years old, making him the youngest male competitor in that year’s field.

 

Since then, Sam has risen up the leaderboard on repeat visits, which culminated in his being crowned 2020’s second fittest man on Earth, his first podium appearance. Sam joins us to talk about this year’s Games, training his weaknesses, making CrossFit a family affair, and balancing training with the realities of being a new father.

 

Also, I want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, please be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend podcast in your app of choice. Now let’s get to it.

 

Sam, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I know you’re a busy guy, a full-time athlete, a new father — congratulations — and also now, the second fittest man on Earth. We’re recording this about two weeks after the most grueling test in the history of CrossFit Games as it was billed. How are you feeling a couple weeks later? What’s your recovery process been like?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Thanks for having me on this. Right now, I’m feeling pretty good for the most part. I think my soreness was gone about a week ago. Right now, I’m just hanging out with family and recovering. Just chilling right now.

David TaoDavid Tao

Enjoying what’s probably a very short off season.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, exactly. I know. I keep seeing things on Instagram about the Opens coming like, “Nope. Just scrolling through that. I don’t want to think about that yet.”

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] I’m curious. Every athlete has a different off season after their big event of the year. What is your plan as far as are you taking any time completely away from the gym? How do you anticipate ramping training back up and win?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

After the Games, I took a week fully off. Then this week, I’ve done whatever I wanted to. On Monday, just went for a run and did a couple power cleans. Yesterday, I hit a really easy five-round workout that took like 10 minutes, and I called it good there.

 

Doing whatever I want, just one session, keep it under an hour kind of a thing. I would say next Monday, start hitting it hard again. Not super crazy, like Games training, but it’s still going to be off-season type stuff. Maybe like two metcons a day or something like that.

 

I haven’t talked to my coach specifically about it. I’m not 100 percent sure yet.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, what is your plan for the coming season as far as getting back to the CrossFit Games? Obviously, with COVID, it complicated every single Sanctionals event. Are you someone right now who you’re looking at the Open as a qualification method or are you looking at something different this coming year?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

The last two years, I’ve qualified through the Open. Last year, I almost decided just to skip the Open and go to a couple more Sanctionals just because the Open’s really annoying, to be 100 percent honest. I don’t enjoy the Open. Five weeks of stress.

 

With the whole virus thing going on, probably going to try to qualify through the Open, and probably try to do two big Sanctionals. That’s my tentative plan right now.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, we’ll see how travel restrictions…

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

We’ll see.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, what actually happens. I first came across you a few years ago, as an athlete who was good at the Open-style workout. That’s what I had in my head. Actually, I had in my head a picture of you from the Games a few years ago.

 

Then I see you these days, and it’s like, “OK, this guy’s definitely put on some mass, definitely put on some strength.” Do you think that the Open is your best chance of qualifying this particular year? You say the Open’s annoying. Do you think you’re still that prototypical Open athlete?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

No, not necessarily. The Open has changed the past couple years, I think. Harder skill movements. To qualify for the Games, you definitely have to have a little bit of different tests in the Open, you know what I mean?

 

I think, yes, I can still qualify through the Open. I wouldn’t say I would be crushing the Open if it was, let’s say, five years in the past. If that makes sense what I’m saying.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, no, totally. We’ve seen the tests of fitness evolve. The Open’s a lot heavier than it used to be. I remember the Opens back in 2012, 2013. It was like, if you were good at double unders and some dumbbell stuff and pull-ups, you could put up some monster scores, even if you couldn’t clean 300 pounds on the men’s side, for example.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

100 percent. Yeah. That’s probably how I qualified for regionals when I was 18. Dude, I could snatch 205. How the heck did I manage that? I don’t know. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

You started CrossFit pretty young, but prior to CrossFit, you had a cross country background, so you had that endurance base, right?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah. Lost that a little bit.

 

70 pounds doesn’t help, but you saw on the…

David TaoDavid Tao

Sorry, what? 70 pounds?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, something like that. I was like 135 running in high school, something like that.

David TaoDavid Tao

That is a significant weight difference. How do your running numbers today compare to your running numbers back then?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Shoot. Honestly, I’m not 100 percent sure. I know that my best 5K in high school was like a 18:02. Maybe right now, in the range of 20 minutes, something like that. I’m not 100 percent sure. I noticed I got a lot worse at running, so I’ve been running a lot more in this past season.

 

It didn’t show at the Ranch, because those stinking hills killed me. Other than that, still working on running.

David TaoDavid Tao

Cross country in the CrossFit definition is like you have to cover as much vertical distance as you do horizontal, I think is the rule.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

100 percent, yeah. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk a little bit about this year’s CrossFit Games. I don’t want to talk about Stage 1. I know you did a fantastic job in Stage 1. Let’s talk about the finals at Aromas, because the tests of fitness were unique. It was unlike any Games we’ve seen in the past. There were so many hill runs. The terrain in Aromas, California, was really utilized.

 

Does any workout stick out in your mind as, this is…? First off, I should ask, Dave Castro said it was going to be the toughest CrossFit Games in history. Was it, from your perspective?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Personally, no. I don’t think it was the hardest one. Hopefully, Dave doesn’t hear me saying this.

 

I think 2016 was a little harder than this year. I don’t know why that is, but I wasn’t quite as sore as I was coming off this Games. In my opinion, I don’t think it was the hardest Games, no.

David TaoDavid Tao

2016 was Murph when it was really hot. Was that correct?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 2015 was when Murph f’d people up. Then 2016, they did it in the morning, so it wasn’t quite as hot. It still jacked people up, but not like 2015.

David TaoDavid Tao

I was thinking 2015 where people were literally getting heat exhaustion, and they were just DNF-ing the workout.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Exactly. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

What do you think was the most challenging workout for you, personally, from this year’s Games Finals?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

The most challenging was probably either the trail run or Atalanta. Mentally challenging, those were the hardest. Physically challenging, I would say that swim workout with the Assault Bike. Overall, I would say the swim workout was the hardest, but the most grindy was obviously that last one or that trail run.

David TaoDavid Tao

That swim workout, if it was the hardest mentally, then your mental game was on point, because you came away within a [indecipherable 8:08] win there.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I don’t know if the swim was the hardest mentally, just physically the hardest. The other ones were mentally the hardest.

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re a pretty darn good swimmer. Did you have a strategy going into that swim workout, and did you think of that as the workout that you were going to grab?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

No. Honestly, I hadn’t swam since 2017 back in a competition. I took 30th or something in the Run Swim Run. I was excited to try out something because I hadn’t got a test in a long time. My strategy going into it was attack the Assault Bike, obviously.

 

I had to hold back a tiny bit around Assault Bike, knowing we’re going to go swim, dude. We have to be able to breathe while swimming. The whole workout came down to the Assault Bike on that. You obviously had to be a good enough swimmer, but most of the time, it was just on that Assault Bike.

David TaoDavid Tao

Interesting. I would’ve thought it was more of swimming workout, but I guess that makes sense. I think you did make your move on the Assault Bike [indecipherable 9:05] .

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Honestly, round one, whatever. Round two, I don’t know if Noah was ahead of me or not, but I let Mat Fraser and stuff get ahead of me. I let him get ahead of me on the swim, knowing because I was going to crush the Assault Bike, and they were, I don’t want to say slacking, but it was a little easier for me.

David TaoDavid Tao

That was a tough workout to follow, because it had those predetermined rest intervals. It was a little confusing from the spectator standpoint, and CrossFit did a pretty good job indicating this. It wasn’t necessarily clear who won, because it wasn’t necessarily who crossed the finish line on the last round, because the time was banked.

 

Did you know you’d won the workout when you crossed the finish line?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I was pretty confident I had won the workout because I was quite a bit ahead on round three, and I was close on the other couple of rounds. I was 90 percent sure I had won the workout.

David TaoDavid Tao

I do want to ask about Atalanta in a second, but [indecipherable 9:57] , the terrible, terrible hill run that ended that first day of competition, that surprise twist where you had to double the work you were doing. Take us through your mind when you realized — because you saw the other athletes coming back up the trail — when you realized that’s what you were going to have to do.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I couldn’t see the finish line yet when I saw Mat Fraser coming towards me. I’m like, “Oh, it’s one part of the trail that we’re doubling back.” Then I start going a little further. Then I see the finish line, and I see Adler coming back up. I’m like, “Oh, no.” Right in my head, I knew what was happening.

 

Of course, I still asked him like, “Dude, what’s going on?” He was barely able to get out and was like, “We’re running the reverse.” I was like, “Oh, crap.” When I got down there, I’m like, “All right. Where do you want me to turn around?” At that point, I was like, “Just get through it.”

David TaoDavid Tao

It reminds me of when you’re doing a tough workout, and someone’s cheering you on. Maybe it’s a partner workout, or maybe they just finished before you. Maybe it’s your coach. They ask how many reps you have left, and you don’t respond with words. You just grunt.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, exactly.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s what I’m envisioning in my head.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

A 100 percent.

David TaoDavid Tao

The last workout I want to ask you about is Atalanta, which Dave Castro said was the toughest workout in Games history. I haven’t done all the Games workout, so I am not in a place to say if that’s right or wrong, but it was a tough workout. It was a mile run. Then you had to perform, was it 20 rounds of Mary? Then it was another mile run. It was a jacked-up version of Murph.

 

Going into that workout, you had guaranteed yourself a spot on the podium. Your first Games podium finish, you must have felt elated going into that. Also, with this year’s CrossFit Games finals rules, there was the maximum-effort rule where you still needed to give it your all. What was your strategy heading into Atalanta, a workout in that hour-plus time domain?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I still knew, when I had that second place locked up, I still wanted to give her on it. My coach was like…We had set plans, 5s on the handstand push-ups and couple seconds rest, 10s on the pistols with another couple seconds rest, and then tried to do 5s on the pull-ups. Right away, it wasn’t necessarily blew up, but I got winded and tired.

 

I still think I would have got last place. When I hit 80 pulse, my hands were starting to tear when I still had 220 to go. It got to the point where it’s like, “OK, just finish it.”

David TaoDavid Tao

Were you doing doubles and triples on the pull-ups there at the end?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Shoot. I might have just hit up some singles, dude. I don’t remember.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you’re listening to this, even the top CrossFit Games athletes are human. Even they’ll rip on the pull-up bar. Even they’ll go to singles. It’s OK. This is my favorite question to ask a Games athlete. Then we’ll stop talking about this year’s Games. Your first meal after the CrossFit Games, take us through it.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

It wasn’t quite what I was expecting to have, but we went to an athlete dinner with most of the athletes. They served us some pretty good food, like some steak, some stuff I don’t even know what is called, some cauliflower stuff, some Brussels sprouts. The best part was some steak and some fries.

 

When I got home, I crushed some pizza, for sure, some ice cream. That’s what I was all about.

David TaoDavid Tao

The thing I’ve heard, I’ve been to the CrossFit Games when it was in California, and I’ve also been to the World Weightlifting Championships. It was in California. The most common immediate meal after you’re done competing, that for any athlete I’ve seen, is In-N-Out. I’ve gone to an In-N-Out, and I’ve run into weightlifters from Iran at In-N-Out. You know what I mean?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

That’s awesome. I know I did that in 2016. I went to In-N-Out after because I hadn’t tried it before. I know Mat Fraser went to In-N-Out. He had someone go grab it before the athlete dinner. He’s a smart guy. Should have went with him.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] You make a few podiums, you learn these little tricks about how to optimize that. Take us into as you ramp back up training. What is your training strategy heading into this next year? One thing I find very interesting about you is you train in it’s a family gym that you have set up at your parents’ house, which is pretty cool. You also do coach at a local box.

 

You’re not training with a big group of people. It’s oftentimes a solo endeavor for you.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yes. 90 percent of my training is at my parents. We call it the shop, parents’ shop. I don’t train by myself too much. A lot of the times just with my younger brother and younger sister. That’s pretty fun. They usually train with me in the morning. Then the afternoon, I usually get a session in with my wife or my dad.

 

90 percent of time, it’s at my parents’ shop. The other 10 percent is at a local gym called Mallard CrossFit that I coach once a week at.

David TaoDavid Tao

The shop, is this something that was purpose-built or something that came together over the years and evolved into the home of the second fittest man on Earth?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

[laughs] My dad used to own his own auto body business. When he built the house, he had a big shop because he likes to work on cars, etc., and that happened to turn into the home gym. There still is a little space for him for working, [laughs] but we got 90 percent of the shop for doing whatever we want in there.

 

He even blew a hole out in the ceiling for rings and a rope. My dad’s pretty serious into CrossFit, too. He’s made the Masters Qualifier a couple times, and my brother’s made the team qualifier. It’s a whole family thing going on right now.

David TaoDavid Tao

I can imagine in my head, if you were to do a slide show over the years, the car part of the shop getting smaller and smaller as more equipment moves in there.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, exactly.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, your dad seems like he’s a pretty handy guy. Is any of the equipment custom-built that you all have? I’m a bit of a garage-gym nerd, if you can’t tell.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Obviously, he put a beam in where we’re hanging the rings and the rope from, but the only custom-built thing…He built me that handstand walk ramp and stairs thing. He built me one of those, and even built something so I can have parallettes between it. He has built me a set of parallettes, too.

 

There’s a couple things that he’s built, and he built the jerk blocks. I keep thinking of more things.

David TaoDavid Tao

The things that are deceptively expensive, if you’re putting together a gym, that ramp and stairs combo. If you buy that pre-made, it’s hundreds of dollars. It’s not [indecipherable 16:42] .

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Dude, I think it’s thousands. I don’t even know. [laughs] Jerk blocks, I don’t even want to know how much those are.

David TaoDavid Tao

Really good jerk blocks. Really good jerk blocks are super, super expensive. It’s a surprising thing. It’s not like the squat rack. You can find a used squat rack or a pretty good one. We’ve reviewed them on BarBend. It’s this specialty stuff. The more specialized it is, the more expensive it is.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

More expensive it is, exactly.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s always [indecipherable 17:07] . What’s one thing that the shop doesn’t have that you have your eye on? It’s like, “Oh, we got to get that now”?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Dude, honestly, we have most of the stuff in the shop that we need. The only thing that I have been wanting to get…At the Games, when we do pegboards, it’s the plexiglas stuff. I don’t know exactly what you call it. I want to get a couple strips of those to put on the side of my pegboard. I have so much…

David TaoDavid Tao

It’ll replicate the feeling of…

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Exactly. I have pretty much everything there that I need, honestly.

David TaoDavid Tao

SkiErg?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

There’s a couple SkiErgs, got one biker, a couple of Cell bikes and GHDs. I even got a TrueForm in there.

David TaoDavid Tao

Working out of the shop is the hottest invite in town. You’re going to put Froning’s garage to shame, man.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

It’s huge. You better come check it out sometime.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m curious because, at BarBend, we don’t just cover CrossFit. We cover all the strength sports. We have a lot of listeners who are into Strongman. Do you have any Atlas stones, yoke walks, anything like that, anything [indecipherable 18:11] objects?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

 I got a yoke, got a sled, got D-balls, got sandbags. I don’t have the actual Atlas stones. Not my home gym, Mallard CrossFit that I train out of, they have some Atlas stones if I ever need them. Like I said, I have pretty much everything we would use in a competition. The Games always throws something crazy out there that I wouldn’t have, but…

David TaoDavid Tao

I’ve never talked to anyone who has the pig from a few years ago.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Oh, dude, I’ve been to the drummer from Fall Out Boy. The band Fall Out Boy, the drummer. I’ve been to him. He has a garage gym. He has a set or two of pigs there. I mean, flipping them a little bit for the 2017 games.

David TaoDavid Tao

 [indecipherable 18:57] it’s not something that would occur to me to outfitted my gym if I had infinite money.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I know, right? [laughs] You’ve got everything in there. It’s so cool.

David TaoDavid Tao

That is pretty cool. Do you have a tire? Do you do tire flips at your gym?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

We got a tire. It’s not super crazy heavy but we do have a tire.

David TaoDavid Tao

If there was a strength sport that wasn’t CrossFit that you could focus in on for a few years and be elite at, is there another one that you would pursue? Your chips are pretty much all in on CrossFit this point. You’re pretty good at it. I wouldn’t recommend switching sports mid stride.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

If anything else, like strongman. I would do strongman stuff. I like the powerlifting. I like Oly lifting. I’ve done a Oly lifting meet and I didn’t like it that much. I’ve never done a powerlifting competition. I like all the different aspects of the strongman stuff because they’re all doing all kinds of stuff. That’d be pretty cool. I’m not big enough to do that but it’d be fun though.

David TaoDavid Tao

Hey, they have weight-class strongman. You could [indecipherable 19:56] .

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

Oh, do they actually?

David TaoDavid Tao

In the 105 kilos and under.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

There we go. Perfect.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’ll connect you with…One of our contributors is a guy named Anthony Fuhrman. He’s the two-time World Strongest Man at 105 kilograms.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

Oh, shoot.

David TaoDavid Tao

He’s active duty military. He’s an army recruiter. He works out with Chandler Smith a lot actually…

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Cool. That’s awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

…in Kentucky. If you’re ever interested in that, let me know. I’ll connect you but he’ll run you…He’s used to training with CrossFit athletes because he trains with Chandler.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Oh, that’s awesome. That’s cool. That’s really cool actually.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I will say about Strongman, I think one reason it appeals to CrossFitters is there is that level of athleticism. You actually have to move your body through space.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

Yeah, exactly.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

For the Olympic lifting competition, I’m just curious. Did you just get bored?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, I would say so. It was so much waiting between my lifts. I don’t know. I just didn’t like it that much. I don’t know why. You got to be so technical. Obviously, we do Olympic lifting stuff in CrossFit, but I don’t really enjoy it that much.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, weightlifting, I’m biased. Weightlifting is my first love. It’s the strength sport I found first.

 

I will say that if you’re used to doing things like at capacity, breathing heavy, doing a lift, and then just waiting around for three minutes. Maybe not knowing when your next lift is, it can get a little nerve wracking. You’re not the first CrossFitter to say that.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Exactly. That’s the part I’m not a fan of.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Weightlifting is something, it might not be your favorite aspect of CrossFit, but something you’ve really build your skill set at. What are your consistent max lifts these days in the snatch and the clean and jerk?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Consistently? I would say my max is pretty consistently like 285. That’s the most I’ve ever hit, but I’ve hit that a couple times. I’ve never tried to go over. Clean and jerk, I’ve hit 345 a couple times. I’ve tried for like 355. I haven’t hit that yet. Yeah, 345 and 285.

David TaoDavid Tao

Is there ever an instance at which you think strength is holding you back at a high level in CrossFitting? A particular lift maybe?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

No, not really. In past, like, a max deadlift would definitely hold me back. What I pull is enough. I think I pulled the least out of anyone, but it’s not really worth it for me to…My lifts are going up so I’m not going to like focus on a deadlift kind of thing. I don’t know, to answer your question.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Adding 50 pounds to your deadlift isn’t worth it if you’re losing one percent capacity on something else.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yeah, there you go. Yep.

David TaoDavid Tao

Who is your coach? What’s your relationship like?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yes, I work with CompTrain. His name’s Harry. I don’t think too many people know who he is. I’m sure a lot of people know who like Ben Bergeron is. Harry and Ben are partners in CompTrain. I’m coached by Harry, and it’s been an absolute game changer.

 

This past year and a half working with him, we’re working harder, we’re working smarter. At the games, he came up with a lot of strategies, and I pretty much listened to him 100 percent.

 

At stage one I was like, “Oh.” He told me something, I’m like, “Nah, I don’t want to do that. I’m going to do what I think I want to do.” I think that was my worst finish, so learned to be able to trust him with stuff, and it’s been awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

How were you all originally connected? How did he become your coach?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Good question. I was following CompTrain for a little while, and then send them an email if they had anyone that would be interested in coaching me. He wrote back, and that’s how it went.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

This was after you were already a CrossFit Games athlete, right? You were already at the…

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Yes. This was 2019.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s not every day that a coach, out of the blue, gets emailed by one of the fittest people on Earth that it’s like, “Hey, would you be willing to work with me?”

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

[laughs] I love it.

David TaoDavid Tao

That must have absolutely made his day. Weaknesses is relative. You don’t have many. That’s pretty clear, but what are some things that you’re excited to get back into training at full speed and drill down on for the coming year?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I had a couple weaknesses definitely exposed at the Games this year. There were two workouts that were about an hour long, and both of them, I got last place in. Obviously, a little more capacity in the longer events. I did really well on some. A couple of other ones, I finished fourth in. A little more overall fitness and a little more capacity with the longer workouts.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I have to touch on is you’re a relatively new father. What has it been like to balance the demands of having an infant with a pretty demanding training schedule? It clearly worked out well for you, but any tips on how to juggle those things?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Shoot, yeah. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it if my wife wasn’t so helpful. The parts that my son would affected my training would’ve been my sleep and stuff like that. She pretty much takes over at night because she knows I need to sleep.

 

Also blessed when, like I said, I go train at my parents’ house, and my wife’s still working. I’m taking care of him during the day, and when I’m headed there to go train, I usually have one of my siblings that can take care of him while I’m working out. It wouldn’t have been able to happen without wife and family be able to help me out with that.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ve seen the siblings in families do quite well at the Games before. We have the Smith brothers. We have Ben, and Alec, and Dane has also been pretty competitive in CrossFit. We’ve got the Panchiks, and there are three of them, including a couple multi-time Games athletes.

 

Are we going to be seeing more of your younger siblings working their way up the ranks and making some appearances in competition here?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

My younger brother, he’s 14, and I think he’s going to start. He has been competing already, and he’s going to get pretty good. You’ll see some of him for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Here’s the question, what if he beats you? What if it comes to the point where he starts beating you on workouts? How are you doing to deal with that?

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

I’d be fine with that. That’d give me more of a push. If it’s when I’m 30 or something that it’s happening, I’ll be like, “OK, I quit.” Honestly, I’d be fine with it. I want the training part of this pushing me. I want all the best for him, so I don’t care if he’s beating me. It’d be good.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

He’s certainly blessed at such a young age, be introduced to the sport and training with someone at your level. That’s a pretty big advantage if he’s got love for the game.

He’s got a lot of really good connections.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

Some people better start watching out then in the next couple of years.

 

Especially in the teen division, oh boy.

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] Sam, where is the best place for people to keep up to date with you, your training? Basically, best place to follow on social media, or YouTube, or anything like that.

Samuel KwantSamuel Kwant

 

My Instagram, for the most part. It’s just @samuelkwant straight through.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Did you see a pretty big follower tick up during the Games?