Khan Porter knows life’s a long and complicated journey, and that it’s impossible to always be at your best.
He also knows that’s ok.
Now a 7x CrossFit Games athlete, Khan has competed at the highest levels of the sport, both individually and as part of a team. Through it all, there have been challenges … large, small, and enormous. And for Khan, the mental have routinely overshadowed the physical, granting him a unique perspective and a rare ability to inspire even the most disheartened among us.
Khan didn’t discover sports until high school but the attraction was immediate. It was fun, he was good at it, and it delivered acceptance from his peers, something he had admittedly yearned for since early in primary school. Understandably, he dove in with zealous energy, becoming a state rugby player and later competing in the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships.
While his dalliances with the aforementioned were all well and good, it was the gym that spoke most to Khan’s heart. In 2012, he started CrossFit, and the love affair burned bright from the start. He seemed innately built for the sport and, after scarcely a year of training, he made his first regional appearance in 2013, placing 10th. Only a year later, he qualified for the 2014 CrossFit Games. It was all a wildly rapid ascent few could pull off … but not all was well.
CrossFit success was, to be more than a bit cliché, a double-edged sword for Khan. It created a remarkable sense of achievement, but grave anxiety was never far behind. This problem ballooned in 2015, leading to mental health treatment, a bipolar misdiagnosis, and various medications.
Khan’s mental health, and the lethargy and weight gain from his bipolar medications, frequently made preparation for competition torturous. Sleepless nights, panic attacks, mood swings — it was all in play, sapping him of the joy CrossFit otherwise granted him.
But then, a lightbulb in the dark. Khan realized something. Per Boxlife Magazine:
“Then it struck me. For me, competing is one way of telling that anxious voice in my head that it doesn’t have complete control over me or my life just yet and, win or lose, that’s a massive victory to me every year I take the regionals floor. By facing my own demons, maybe one day I’ll better be able to help others face theirs.”
Since then, Khan has taken that perspective with him everywhere, both in competition and throughout life more broadly. And in 2017, he received correct diagnoses for ADHD, depression, and severe anxiety disorder. That clarity has catapulted him personally and professionally.
In recent years, Khan has focused on controlling the things he can control, turning losses and defeat into positive learning experiences.
Case in point: Competing at the 2022 CrossFit Games with the highly-regarded, Iceland-based CrossFit Reykjavik team, Khan once again had to balance the weight of expectation with the harsh reality of competition. Although Team Reykjavik were favorites coming into the Games, a devastating start threatened to derail any semblance of a satisfying outcome.
Instead of spiraling, Khan shifted his mind away from the outcome, focusing instead on the things he could manage: his effort, recovery, and leadership. Team Reykjavik would ultimately battle admirably throughout the rest of 2022’s Games, rising to finish fourth overall.
A couple of months prior to ever receiving a mental health disorder diagnosis, Khan got a left-ankle tattoo depicting two arrowheads. One arrowhead contained the Polynesian symbol for “storm,” while the other was simply a void. As he was in the midst of the worst of his mental health war, each arrowhead reflected a different state of his being: endless, overwhelming waves of thought and feeling (the storm), and sheer emptiness (the void).
Yet, there was also another, deeper meaning, as Khan wrote in Morning Chalk Up:
“The arrowheads, however, were meant to serve as a reminder that even when those feelings took hold of me, I could always keep moving forward.”
And moving forward … Living Forward … is exactly what Khan has done. He competes, he battles, and he even hosts his own health and wellness podcast, “Weirdly Normal.” And just as he once planned, now that he’s faced his own demons, he’s ready to help others face theirs — as of 2022, he’s completing studies in Psychology and Philosophy at The University of Sydney, with the goal of becoming a counselor.
Without reservation, we can confidently state Khan Porter is out there giving everything he’s got — and there’s nothing that matches the spirit of the Blenders Entourage more than that. //