Whether he’s working one-on-one with an athlete or leading a class, it’s hard to miss CrossFit Unbroken’s head trainer and general manager Kyle Krogmann.
First of all, he’s intense. Secondly, he’s loud. And third, it’s hard to dodge the faith he has in all the CrossFit Unbroken athletes, regardless of their level.
“When I work with someone, I don’t really look at where they are now,” he said. “In my mind, I’m thinking what they can be four years down the road, and how that evolution can happen for them.”
Kyle’s road to becoming a CrossFit trainer started on his family farm in Iowa.
“We were farm kids – we had to get up and do chores, and I did a lot of outdoor chores,” he says. “But I also played sports; I was one of only six four-sport athletes at my high school.”
Though he was physically active and a natural athlete, he didn’t start lifting and seriously training until he turned 20, when he worked with power lifter Jeremy Frey. At the time Frey was sponsored by EliteFTS, and he had world records in the squat. Kyle learned how to approach training from Coach Frey, and still uses his methods to help others get strong in the right way.
“It really changed my mind about it – I had been such a good athlete without it and when I started lifting, my athleticism just exploded,” he said. “I could have probably been a D1 athlete had I started training in high school.” This is why Kyle loves training athletes of all ages now as he understands the importance of strength training, and he loves making people feel like they can accomplish more than they expected.
Kyle helped his younger brother, Ryan Krogmann, a three-sport high school athlete, become a better athlete with methods of training that he had learned through his own experiences. Ryan went on to run Division 1 Track & Field and Cross Country at The University of Northern Iowa.
“I think that’s where it started for me,” he said. “I loved the fact that I was able to help him.”
That’s something he carries with him today as a trainer, says his wife, Katie.
“Kyle really and truly gives 100% of his effort when he trains someone, and he gets just as much joy and excitement out of it as they do,” she said. “He has incredible patience and he wants people to exceed their personal expectations.”
After graduating from Cornell College with a degree in kinesiology – a pre-med degree – Kyle initially thought he’d become a physical therapist. But he ended up moving to Milwaukee where he took a job with Wisconsin Lutheran College as a football coach and a strength and conditioning coach.
“It was an internship with Wisconsin Lutheran College that got me started with coaching and training others,” he said. “I never completed my initial goal of becoming a physical therapist because I ended up loving being in the field of strength & conditioning. I got my master’s in Organizational Leadership which helped me understand how to coach others in a better way, and allowed me to understand leadership principles.”
He also served on the coaching staffs for the Cedarburg and Grafton High School football teams and worked as a trainer at Elite before helping to establish CrossFit Unbroken.
“I love the box,” he said. “I care a lot about people being healthy in general, and I love the culture and community we have here.”
He enjoys the fact that CrossFit Unbroken has higher-level athletes who do compete in CrossFit competitions as well as people who are new to fitness.
“I think we are a little different than the typical CrossFit gym,” he said. “People do come to CrossFit because they’re seeing them on TV and that’s great. But I like the fact that I can put into practice what I have learned for people from age 12 to 65, and from beginners to elite athletes.”
One of his favorite examples of this is Bobby J, a 64-year-old athlete who hadn’t trained for 30 years.
“When I first started working with Bobby J, he couldn’t do a push up or a squat,” he said. “Bobby J was starting at square one, and that was okay.”
In a year and a half, Bobby J had worked up to 20 pushups and a 30 squat rep. He can run, jump and is squatting to full depth.
“If someone who hasn’t done anything for 30 years can come in and do that, anyone can come in and train and get better,” he said. “I don’t care at all where people are starting from, it’s where they can go that is far more important to me.”
“I think CrossFit Unbroken is the perfect fit for Kyle – it’s allowing him to live out his dream,” said Katie, also a top high-school athlete who now focuses on running. “We both grew up as athletes and this type of gym just wasn’t around for us. If we had it, the sky really could have been the limit for us as athletes.”
Katie has run 17 marathons and when she started dating Kyle, she told him he would be chasing her his whole life. It remains a true fact: While Kyle has started running with her, it’s not his strongest sport.
“It’s one of the few things I am better at than he is,” she said.
But knowing Kyle, he’ll just keep working at it. And though he may not ever catch up to her, he will certainly narrow her lead.