Success at local competitions led to Kris Kling earning an invitation to a National Pro Grid League (NPGL) tryout, where Kling displayed his athleticism and strength for eight teams in the newly established fitness league. Kling, who, along with his brother Kurt, owns CrossFit RedZone at 3 Simm Lane, was drafted by the NPGL’s Boston Iron this summer, and — following a ten-day training camp — participated in his first team competition, against the Miami Surge, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass, on August 24.
“It was something else. I was very nervous at first,” Kling said of the clash with Miami. “It was my first ever professional event.”
The 24-year-old expects to have at least three more. The Boston Iron has four competitions this fall, in the first year of the NPGL, which was originally called the National Pro Fitness League before changing names prior to the start of the campaign. His team will visit the San Francisco Fire on September 7 with hopes of avenging a season-opening defeat.
Co-ed teams compete in strategic racing on a floor set up like a grid for a variety of challenges. Each competition is broken into 11 races, one different than the other, and each running approximately five to seven minutes.
In the first competition of the season, Kling explains, one of the races included lifting 15 barbells, each increasing in weight, and another was gymnastics-themed, and required participants to, among other things, complete handstand pushups while up against a wall. Teams compete against the clock and try to do as many lifts or exercises as possible in the allotted time.
Kling says knowing this was his professional debut got the adrenaline going. He had a group of about 50 CrossFit RedZone gym members who bused up to Massachusetts to see him battle, adding to the rush of excitement.
“Once the whistle blew and we started, it was just another day of working out — you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Kling said.
He competed in eight of those 11 events, along with teammates.
They have to work strategically together to try to win each race, and will continue to fine-tune their games through the conclusion of the season, in October.
Next year, the league will expand, Kling said, and hopes are for it to soon grow to 16 teams. Others in the league now are based in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
Kling was drafted in the third round by Boston, much to his delight, and was picked 21st among 100 men selected by the league teams.
He continues to run CrossFit RedZone and travels to Boston for competitions — something he couldn’t have seen coming only five years ago. While studying exercise science and kinesiology at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Va., Kling was introduced to crossfitness by Kurt.
A former high school athlete who wrestled, played football, and participated in track and field, Kling drew the attention of the NPGL through his success at local fitness competitions, and the rest is history. Or, rather, just getting started.