Beating Challenges Smashing PRs

Husband and wife, Toby and Kylie, are respected members of the St. Louis Fire Department. Toby, a firefighter for 12 years, and Kylie, a paramedic for five years, have trained together for the last year at Project Deliverance.
As first responders, it’s imperative they be in great physical health to perform their jobs. When Kylie needed some extra assistance training for a SWAT team position, she turned to Matt Owen to get her ready for the test. After seeing her success, Toby joined The Project as well.
The last year hasn’t been without it’s challenges for this couple. Their worlds changed forever when Kylie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). But, it’s been their family here at the gym, that has played a supporting role in her fight against the disease.

Kylie, 1 ½ years at Project Deliverance
345# Deadlift

275# Back Squat

155# Bench press


Toby, 1 year at Project Deliverance

545# Back squat

515# Deadlift

335# Bench press


What’s Your Athletic Background?

Kylie: I started playing soccer at a young age and loved street hockey. I was the girl with the big shoulders that would knock everyone over. I guess I was always a bit competitive. I continued playing soccer through high school and ran track.

Toby: I played baseball and other sports when I was a kid. In high school, I lifted weights and threw shot put.

 

Why Did You Choose Project Deliverance?

Kylie: I had the opportunity to test with my department for a SWAT team paramedic position. The tests included running, push-ups, sit-ups and a pull-up wearing a 40# vest from a dead hang position. At the time, I couldn’t even do a dead hang—which is when I found Project Deliverance. I trained here for six months and was the only female to pass the test.

Toby: I saw what Kylie had accomplished at the gym and wanted to get stronger, so I decided to begin training with Matt (Owner and Trainer at Project Deliverance) myself.


What Is Your Favorite Part of Training?

Kylie: It feels awesome when you smash a PR. Overall, being here and training makes you feel energetic and positive. I always leave here in a better mood than what I came in. Matt has created a phenomenal environment. He’s become a great friend and an important part of our lives.

Toby: My favorite part of training is destroying all of the goals I had set for myself. I originally came here and wanted to get to 440# on deadlift and back squat. I’ve so far exceeded that number and it blows my mind that I’m not even close to done yet.


What Are Your Future Training Goals?

Kylie: About a year ago, I was shocked to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I have some permanent damage from my hips to my toes causing a pins and needles sensation all the time, along with MS fatigue which causes exhaustion.

I have a great support system here at the gym. There are days when it’s difficult to feel like being active, but I push myself to come into the gym. I feel so blessed and so lucky that I am physically able to not only walk, but lift weights and beat my PRs. Today, I hit a 345# deadlift PR which is 50# more than before I was diagnosed. There are definitely more PRs in my future.

Toby: Originally I thought I would train here until I regained the strength and endurance I wanted. Then I would just train myself. But, I found that it’s a family here. You get support from everyone in the gym, not only Matt. I know that without the right programming and this level of coaching, I wouldn’t have made the progress I have this fast, if at all.

Matt Owen, Owner and Trainer at Project Deliverance

How Do You Train To Their Strengths?

Kylie and Toby are both fantastically strong individuals and they love to lift weights. Simply giving them an opportunity to get under the bar and cut loose is the best way I can train to their strengths.

How Do You Train To Their Weaknesses?

Concept 2 Rower, Concept 2 SkiERG, and The Assault Bike. Ha!

What Are Their Future Training Plans?

My plan is to keep them as healthy and as viable in the field as long as possible as Kylie manages her condition and continues to beat the odds. They both need to be strong and capable but also injury free and structurally sound. We will work hard to get them as strong as possible but also to maintain a healthy and injury free body.


Join Project Deliverance for our 10-Year Anniversary Open House on June 24 to meet Kylie and Toby.

Kylie pulls 345# for a New PR.

 

Toby destroys the Heavy Prowler.


Energy

By: Matt Owen

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym with various athletes, clients, and trainers in many different spaces. Project Deliverance was sparked into existence on May 21st, 2007. We were raw, uneducated, and just a bunch of kids that knew that we had to work as hard every single day, and under the assumption that improvement solely happened in the gym while not taking into account the need for proper recovery. For many of the guys that summer, it was like pouring gas onto a hot fire. They burned brightly, had tremendous passion for what we were doing, but priorities changed for many of them and it didn’t last. For a few of us, the gym became a part of us… a way of life. It shaped the course of our education and we learned and continue to learn all we can about the craft. But we all had one thing in common: every single guy showed up every single day and poured energy into the space. It’s what made that first summer so damn legendary, makes Project Deliverance what it is today, and that’s the secret behind cultivating a sacred gym space that attracts the best athletes and clients out there.

Your training partners provide support and push you on a day to day basis. Choose them wisely.

Your training partners provide support and push you on a day to day basis. Choose them wisely.

High energy people have a way of uplifting and inspiring extraordinary efforts in the gym in the same fashion that low energy individuals have a way of sucking the life force out of a gym or even out of your day to day life. Low energy individuals show up to the gym on a day to day basis, go through the motions, mosey through the workout, clock out, and go home. They’re in the gym for all the wrong reasons. My primary goal when I take on a client is to make sure they are seeking out training for all the right reasons. They’re looking to improve themselves not just physically but mentally. Project Deliverance and even Gym Jones was founded on the principle of surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who actively put energy back into the space and enhance the environment. In the same manner, if you project this sort of energy out to the world as a trainer, you will attract athletes and clients who vibrate on the same plane as you. The most important part of the gym is the network that you develop. Keep your circle tight because when times get tough, that’s your support system and is a constant source of motivation to keep pressing forward day after day.

In June of 2009, I was fortunate enough to train privately with Rob MacDonald and Mark Twight at Gym Jones. This photo was taken during the final workout before I shipped back home. I worked up to a New PR of 245# on Power Clean at a bodyweight of 163#. MFT posted this photo on the website and spoke of places of power that exist throughout the world. For him, he spoke of certain mountains in which he seemed to climb above his limits. Gym Jones has been and continues to be that place for me. That's a testament to the immense amount of energy that is present in that place and the high standards that are maintained in that environment.

In June of 2009, I was fortunate enough to train privately with Rob MacDonald and Mark Twight at Gym Jones. This photo was taken during the final workout before I shipped back home. I worked up to a New PR of 245# on Power Clean at a bodyweight of 163#. MFT posted this photo on the website and spoke of places of power that exist throughout the world. For him, he spoke of certain mountains in which he seemed to climb above his limits. Gym Jones has been and continues to be that place for me. That’s a testament to the immense amount of energy that is present in that place and the high standards that are maintained in that environment.