If we’re totally honest, we could be here for hours filling you in on all of the amazing things we love about Khan. Most notably, he is a 7 x CrossFit Games athlete, a business owner and mental health advocate.
We were lucky enough to be able to dig deep with Khan, and get to know him a little better!
Can you tell us how you first discovered CrossFit back in 2012?
I stumbled upon CrossFit in a globo gym a few years prior and had always had an interest in it, particularly the competitive outlet it provided. I grew up playing rugby, competing in surf lifesaving and then found myself working as a journalist fresh out of uni. I saw a CrossFit gym had opened up near my house and I proudly walked in and said I wanted to sign up to make the CrossFit Games hahaha. In a weird serendipitous flash, the place I was writing for closed down, I started coaching at the gym I was training at and did a few local competitions and did well. Six months later, I went on to qualify for Regionals (now Semi Finals) where I finished 10th and the following year (2014), I qualified for the CrossFit Games.
Was there a certain moment that made you realise you had what it took to compete on the world stage? Or was it a natural progression for you over time?
I was extremely lucky that the first gym I went to was owned by Cassie Hannan, who’s partner is Chad Mackay. At the time Chad was the number one athlete in Australia and I was lucky to train with him early on. I remember him telling me to get my snatch, clean and jerk up and I could make regionals.
At the 2013 regionals I met a young (much skinnier) Brent Fikowski, who introduced me to his coach Drew Griffith. Drew told me he saw some potential and so, I started working with him. From there, I just continued to improve consistently. I also trained with Matt Healey several times a week over that year and I watched myself go from getting beaten every workout to being able to compete with Matt. I consider the people I was surrounded by early in my career to be a huge part of why I had such great success so quickly.
Looking back on your CrossFit career, what lift, WOD or result are you the most proud of?
2016 Regionals. Final event. I was in 6th, 3 points out of qualifying for my third CrossFit Games and only a win could guarantee I made the games.
And so I won.
Watch Khan in action here!
Outside of CrossFit, what have you got coming up that you’re most excited about?
This year has been one of the most mentally challenging years for me professionally as it’s the first time in 11 years I haven’t been able to compete due to an injury. Rehab has been a journey but along the way a few other cool opportunities have popped up. I kind of can’t really share what they are just yet (wink wink, nudge nudge) but I’m excited to see where they take me over the next few months…
You’ve been really open about your own mental health story, and your blog on the Morning Chalk Up is a really moving must read. Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling to take the first step to seeking help?
Beginning to open up about mental health is a challenging experience that’s only made worse by the increasingly divisive chatter around it online.
First thing I would do is write down what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. Go into as much detail as possible with the intent to show no one. This is just for you.
A huge milestone in opening up is often not knowing where to start and what to even say and in that process we start to organise our thoughts and feelings, and also get them out.
From there look to a close friend or family. It sounds cliché but tell them you want to speak to them about something you’re going through, so they can prepare themselves.
IF you don’t have someone you feel comfortable doing that with, see a therapist (you should do this regardless) but be prepared to shop around and have to retell your story until you find the right person - getting a recommendation based on someone else’s positive experience with someone is always helpful though.
At the end of the day everyone’s mental health journey is different but we are all on one, whether we know it or not. The moment you accept and own that is the moment you can start moving forward and making meaningful change.
You’ve travelled a lot in your career, what’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do/see/experience away from home?
Living in Iceland for sure. It was incredibly challenging at times but that period of my life gave me the most growth I’ve ever experienced as both an athlete and human being.
And last but not least, what’s your favourite BYS blend?@iamkhanporter