KUSA – Kris Peters has a lot going on. He teaches dozens of people at a time as a group fitness trainer. He personally trains top climbing athletes. He’s getting married. And, oh yeah, he’s training an entire Olympic team too.
“Never thought (I’d be doing) that,” Peters said before he started packing up some of the gear he’ll need for the next two months.
Peters received a call from the Olympic team in India, asking him to train their athletes in climbing and mountaineering. The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo will be the first time those sports are included in the Olympics.
“Climbing is becoming a popular sport for people to get into,” said Peters. “Now that it’s in the Olympics it’s definitely going to get more traction.”
While climbing is new to the Olympics, it’s not new to Peters. For years, he’s trained top outdoor athletes—many of them based in Colorado.
“You have some of the greatest athletes in the climbing and mountaineering genre living in Boulder,” he said.
Peters’ brand of training involves analyzing athletes’ techniques to improve them while building strength.
“I basically translate everything I learned in college for football, basketball and I use that into the art of climbing and mountaineering,” he said. “It’s a very different sport when it comes to training. Some of the climbers I’ve worked with are some of the most dedicated and focused people I’ve ever seen.”
Peters’ reputation as a top-notch coach got him on the radar of India’s Olympic team.
“They actually contacted me about a year and a half ago… but things were not working out,” he said. “All of a sudden, two months ago they called me up and said ‘Hey you want to do this?’”
Before he could take the big opportunity, Peters had to talk it over with his fiancee. It was especially important because his departure date for India is just less than a week after his wedding!
“I’ll be leaving my new wife six days after our wedding,” Peters said noting a plan to make it up to his bride. “I’ll get her a lot of really good presents in India!”
Peters leaves for India on June 29. But before he leaves, he’s got to say a lot of goodbyes. As a trainer at Orange Theory Fitness in Wash Park, Peters has developed quite the following among everyday athletes who take his classes.
“He just makes you want to try harder,” said Amanda Bailey right after one of Peters’ last classes.
“He takes you of your comfort zone, he makes you push yourself. Times when you don’t think you can, you do!”
The people who take Peters’ classes say he’s much more than a trainer and they’re going to miss him.
“It was very, very hard to realize he’s going to India,” said Destynee Morgan. “I cried, like real tears.”
Peters will visit Denver every couple of months while he works as the lead trainer for India’s climbing and mountaineering team. He’s already met some of his athletes via social media and is looking forward to working with the team of 13 climbers and six to eight mountaineers. Peters says their first big challenge will be competing in the Asian Games in August.
“Basically, everybody’s going to be trying to learn from me. But I hope I learn from them,” he said. “It’s been a really cool opportunity.”