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Odds are, you’ve run across a video of Guilherme Malheiros pulling unreal weights on Instagram. The Brazilian Beast, as he’s known by many, is just 20 years old and already at the top of his game in his home country and rapidly gaining recognition globally. We dug into his background (and the story behind his mismatched shoes).

“I started Crossfit when I was 10 years old in 2015. I used to play basketball. So then I started to do Crossfit to improve my basketball game. In the end, I got better in CrossFit than in basketball. So I made this change.” Guilherme climbed to the top of the teenage division and didn’t stop there. “I went from scaled in the beginning of the year to elite in the final of the year, with the big dogs in Brazil. Guys who were 22, 24 years old. And I was 16 years old. And I always fight with them.”

Unfortunately, injuries don’t politely wait for athletes at the finish line. “2018 was a year of lessons. I learned a lot. I had an injury, so it made me grow as a person and an athlete. So today I’m more smart than I was in 2017.” Guilherme injured his lower back and was unable to move in many of the ways he wanted, throwing his training plans for a loop. It would be easy to get discouraged when your plan A goes out the window, but the champ had some great advice for anyone struggling through hard times. “Use this time off your program to learn about yourself and to learn about your body, what your body needs.”

The Brazilian Beast held himself accountable throughout his recovery. “I have to improve, and if I don’t, it is my fault.” His training came full circle when he was once again forced to work on what some call the most dreaded aspect of any sport: conditioning. Through tough days and a lot of running, Malheiros came out the other side and wants you to know that you can, too. “An injury can be good. Just has to be that put your mind that it’s an opportunity to grow.”

Today, Guilherme is applying what he learned from his time recovering to not only be the best athlete he can be, but doing it in style. He sometimes wears two different colors of the same shoe to compete, but not because he feels it gives him a competitive edge. Smiling ear to ear, the 20-year-old crowd favorite says, “People love it.”