Shannon Oelke: Featured Athlete of December

Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

These are the attributes that we look for in our athletes. Each month we like to Feature an athlete who exemplifies these core values.

Shannon is super consistent, up for anything and very coachable. She supports others and is fun to have in class. When we asked the coaches who should be featured athlete this month, both Jay and Brianna nominated her. She’s strong. Chill. And just plain cool. We are glad to have you in the #fitfam Shannon!

Shannon’s Interview:

When did you start working out at The Hill? Two years come next April.

What is your favorite color? Fall Leaves.

What would your spirit animal be? And if you could have one superpower, what would it be? My spirit animal might be a Wolf. My superpower would be to control the elements; earth, air, fire, water, sounds like it would come in handy.

Row, Bike or Run? & Why? Bike! I never planned on liking the Assault Bike so much, it’s a bad romance. Rowing is cool, Running and I aren’t friends, yet?

What is your favorite CrossFit Movement? Any Squat movements, and fun warm ups.

Favorite Cheat Meal? My favorite cheat meal is pizza – pepperoni & olives. Or swap that with a good margarita.

What were some of the emotional or physical challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? Before I started at The Hill I was super lazy. It was not great! I was previously active, used to skate/play roller derby, and in my post derby days I basically gave up on myself. I gained lots of weight and wasn’t very happy, generally speaking.

Describe some of the frustrations you had as you tried to solve those challenges on your own? The frustration I felt was in the process of figuring out what would work for me, to change my fitness and become healthier. You want to find what’s worth your time, and that can be a daunting process, with more failures than successes. 

What does life looks like now? Since joining I have found what works for me! It’s pretty exciting. They have offered practical solutions for long term changes, it’s less complicated than I thought it would be. It’s a magical thing. My life looks like more vegetables in the fridge, water bottles everywhere I go, and lots of protein, when I’m doing it right.

How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to? It’s different in so many ways because it feels very personal. It’s more comprehensive, promoting self-care, inside and outside of the gym. It’s a part of my life that I don’t see changing anytime soon.

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult? Lots and lots of things. A few highlights are the coaches, hello!, the programming and inclusivity. Not to mention how the gym gives back to different communities and causes, it’s very inspiring. When a workout looks difficult I try to make a plan for my weakness in the movements, so I can keep working even if I’m struggling. You know, keep moving even though your brain is like wtf?!

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule? Luckily I have two choices, before or after work. If I oversleep for 6am class I can still catch an evening class. Just another great thing about The Hill, lots of class times to get the work in, and find less excuses to skip.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? I would say yes, try it out! It’s not boring, you’ll learn so many things and meet so many people. Small changes can lead to big things.

What are some of your goals in or out of the gym? Personal Records or achievements that your proud of? I’m always working on my patience in learning movements, and in seeing physical changes over time. I’m proud to have earned the 150 Class badge recently, The Hill makes it easy though ;). I guess climbing rope would be pretty cool, one of these days!

What would your dream workout be? I once thought Deadlifts and the Assault Bike would be lots of fun, then it happened and it was so harsh! I would do it again though. Let’s do some squat cleans, front squats, tire flips, or farmers carries.

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam? I’m lucky to be part of this #fitfam, it’s an experience like none other.


WOD 4.11

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WOD 4.10

When you get into a good rhythm at the gym, it can be challenging to keep momentum during periods when you cannot be in the gym.  With the holiday season quickly approaching (I saw Christmas lights at Target already….) here are 10 workouts you can crush at home, your parents, in-laws…wherever the wind takes you!

  1. 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)

20 double unders/40 singles

100m run


  1.  10 rounds

5 burpees

10 push-ups

15 squats

  1.  2 rounds

50 squats

50 situps

40 double unders/80 singles

40 lunges

30 push-ups

30 double unders/singles


  1.  10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1




  1.  12 minute amrap

200m run

15 squats

15 push-ups


  1.  7 min burpees


  1.   4 rounds

20 squats

15 push-ups

1 v-ups


  1.  4 rounds

1 min each

Shuttle run



1 min rest at the end of each round



  1.  14m AMRAP

22 lunges

10 push-ups

15 sit-ups


  1.  20 push-ups

40 burpees

20 squats

30 burpees

20 lunges (Left+Right=1 lunge)

20 burpees

20 broad jumps

10 burpees


Looking forward to cooler weather and sweatpants,


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Do You Need to do “Extra Work”?

When we first start training and working out consistently, we see – what I like to call – early #gainz. You’re hitting PR’s all the time, the number on the scale is plummeting, and you’re seeing muscles “pop” that you’ve never seen before. And… then… the plateau. You don’t PR every time you lift. Weight loss has stalled – if not reversed. And you’re no longer seeing new muscle definition.

WHAT DO YOU DO?!?! “Well I guess I need to do some ‘extra work'” is usually the answer.

So you start to do crunches in the corner after class. Run a mile before a WOD. Do some extra intervals on the Assault Bike. Start a squat cycle. Double up and do 2-a-days. Do “competitor” style training (I mean, if Rich is doing it). It only makes sense – do more of what worked in the first place.

But that’s the easy stuff. It’s easy to do more. It’s easy to add on 20 minutes to your WOD. It’s easy to throw on a vest to do box jumps. But, more doesn’t (necessarily) make you fitter. It’s the hard stuff that makes you fitter. What’s the hard stuff? Sleeping more, drinking less, eating well, and avoiding stress. THESE are the hard things that are GUARANTEED to improve your fitness, help you lose weight, and see muscle definition (trust me – your “core” is strong enough. Knock it off the extra crunches and eat some vegetables).

Most people don’t go the route of doing the hard stuff because it requires a pretty honest look in the mirror. So, do a little personal inventory before you go adding to your programming. I’ve created one for you. If you can answer “yes” to each FOR A PERIOD OF 12 WEEKS, then I think extra workouts may benefit you.

1. I get 7, uninterrupted hours of sleep a night.
2. I eat 6 (ladies) to 9 (fellas) servings of vegetables a day.
3. I eat an appropriate amount of lean protein daily.
4. I drink 3 or less (ladies) or 5 or less (fellas) alcoholic beverages a week. Remember: for 12 weeks 🙂
5. I do not make mention of – or complain about – my workload, schedule, or stress levels to anyone but my spouse or significant other.

If you’re a four-to-five out of five, you may benefit from “extra work” or “competitors programming” – otherwise you’re probably digging yourself into a hole for which you don’t have a shovel to get out.


Coach’s Corner – Do I need to do “Extra Work” from TheHillKC on Vimeo.

Scale Like a BOSS

Are you scaling your workouts appropriately? If your intent is to make them EASIER, then the answer is a definitive NO. In our programming, the Lifestyle track is programmed in a way that the participant matches the intensity of the seasoned veteran by adjusting movement patterns to elicit the same response. Here are some examples of how to go about this.


Coach’s Corner: How to Scale Appropriately from TheHillKC on Vimeo.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

What if you’ve done 10,000 pull ups and only 100 of them were mechanically sound. How many pull-ups have you done? Well, 10,100. But only 100 of them are going to help you progress. Don’t think that all effort is equal. If you want that next “thing” – muscle, pull-up, bar muscle-up, handstand push up – start practicing perfectly even it it means you’re not at the top of the leaderboard.

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Discomfort vs. Safety

We’re big on safety – Mechanics, Consistency, then – and ONLY then – Intensity. But, what if you’re good on the mechanics and consistency piece but haven’t yet figured out the intensity piece. Spoiler alert – you won’t continually see progress if you do the same routine at the same weight with the same intensity. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.



How to get your first muscle up, pull up, or… really anything

The way you do things is the way you’ll do things. Simple, right? But maybe… just maybe… those crappy pull-ups you’ve been doing for years is the reason you’re not getting a muscle up. Get brilliant at the basics and the world is your oyster.

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