INTERVIEW WITH DANNY SOUL
I met Danny 3 years ago when I first held a seminar in Miami in his CrossFit SOUL club. Then I was incredibly impressed by the format and design of the club, the extravagant appearance of the coaches (I have never seen so many people with tattoos), and a very soulful atmosphere. The club holds such a name as SOUL not accidentally.
A year later, I had another opportunity to conduct a seminar and a podcast in this club again and also to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Cuban style with Denny's family.
Today we have an interview with a man who managed to become a successful CrossFit and Weightlifting coach, the organizer of large scale sports tournaments and a true heavy music lover.
-How did it happen that the metal band guitarist, that grew up in Miami, got into the sport and managed to become successful in it?
*To be honest, I was the vocalist/ frontman in a hardcore/metal band. When I was younger, I didn't want to deal with fitness, if honestly. I liked sports but hated jocks. I didn’t like what I was exposed to in fitness. As a result, all I wanted to do was to play hardcore music. When I got acquainted with CrossFit and Weightlifting, I realized that not all fitness enthusiasts were “jocks”. CrossFit used to be very “punk rock” in its early days and that was something that called my attention. Same story with Weightlifting. I had to put much effort to learn more about Weightlifting as there were no YouTube videos, there weren’t many written publications either…It was a very similar experience to that when I was 14 years old going to record stores looking and learning about new bands.
-From all the CF clubs I have seen around the world yours is the most original in interior design. Where did all these strange illustrations on the walls come from?
*Our “brand” and art Soul stands for people and their interests. Our gym looks more like a record store or punk rock venue than a typical CF gym. Honestly that is all I know. It was important for us to build our gym in the way we'd feel comfortable there.
-Your CrossFit team has a rich and successful experience in different competitions. What inspires you in the competitive CrossFit?
*I can tell you one thing…. It’s not money hahahaha. Setting realistic goals and achieving them is the reason why I do what I do. Whether it helps someone to lose 50lbs, coach our Team for the CF Games or coach someone for a World Team, it’s the same feeling of accomplishment. That is exactly what inspires me. Working hard to reach goals and continue setting even bigger ones is like no other feeling.
- After you moved to a new gym you significantly increased weightlifting zone. What was the reason for that?
*Honestly we had no choice. Our club has 50+ lifters and we needed more space. Weightlifting is a very big part of what we do. We are not just a CrossFit Gym, a Bootcamp gym, Powerlifting gym or a Weightlifting Gym. Our gym is called Team Soul and we do everything here.
- You have been carrying out the MIA Classic Weightlifting tournament for many years. How has the level of athletes changed in recent years?
*We have been running the MIA Classic for 8 years. To tell the truth, it is one of the biggest meetings in the US that is not an AO Series or National Event. Having something conducted by us that is close for our lifters makes it very special for them. A big thing is that it helps them to prepare for bigger meetings. It is not easy for many lifters in the US to go from small/local meetings to National ones. MIA Classic gives lifters a good middle point. Another thing is always giving our lifters something to focus on all year. We have people that have no desire to or can't qualify for the biggest meetings. So MIA Classic gives them and other local people something to train for. It gives them a professional experience that they may never have.
-If I came to you to train CF how would you build my training process? I just want to know If there is a chance for me to become a good CF athlete?
*Well, you move well. You have great body awareness and you are obviously very strong. The first thing we would focus on is your aerobic base. That would be our priority in your training process. By the way, all good CrossFitters need to be doing CROSSFIT. As good as your are in Weightlifting, doing Snatch/CJ under fatigue is a different animal. Regardless, the most important piece to your development would be aerobic training. Now regarding your second question…. Would you be a good CF athlete? Hard to say. You have a BIG advantage over many people starting but I cannot predict. Many coaches might tell you that you can achieve anything… Realistically that’s not true. There are MANY factors to consider such as age, training age, genetics, etc.
-When your kids grow up will they be musicians, crossfitters or weightlifters?
*I don’t care hahaha. Right now he is doing CrossFit and Jiu Jitsu. And you know what…. I don’t want my kid training 9 hours a day, doing two sessions to train for CrossFit. If you don’t have big sponsors and a serious support structure, there isn’t a future in it. 99% of CrossFit competitors don’t have the support they need to make it a viable sport. I want my kid to love what he does. It’s as simple as that. I would love him to play in a band but I don’t really care.