Getting to Know – Vital Six Physical Therapy – Jason Gearhart



Caring | Honest | Driven

“These are the values we uphold as a team, and Jason is no exception to that. One conversation with him and you will see his deep desire to teach people that pain doesn’t have to be a normal part of their lives. His passion and drive to help humans of all capabilities is inspiring, and we are so fortunate to have him on our team at TheHill. ” – Coach Brianna

 

What’s your name? Any fun nicknames?
Jason Gearhart – J Baby, because I have/had a baby face.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an NBA Player, needless to say, my career was short lived.

Where did you grow up?
St. Charles, MO

What was your favorite subject/activity in school?
Math

Weird part time job you had in the past?
I worked as a “referee” for a large slot car race track. It was an experience.

Favorite movie? Favorite line from that movie?
Wedding Crashers – “Maaaaa! The Meatloaf!”

Got any hidden talents?
At one point I got really good at blowing bubbles off my tongue.

What do you like about KC?
The people and the BBQ.

What is the name of your business?
The Vital Six

What is your profession? “What do you do?”
Physical Therapist – Help people get out of pain and back to the activities they love.

How did you get connected to The Hill?
Matt was kind enough to respond to my email and the rest was history :).

What motivates you in your craft?
The moment a patient realizes they are capable of so much more than their medical diagnosis. Also helping people achieve their goals free of medication or surgery.

What is one thing you wished everyone knew about your profession?
Rehabilitation doesn’t have to being boring. Also, there are no quick fixes when it comes to getting out of pain, it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and determination by both parties involved.

Anything you’d like to share with TheHill?
Thank you for the chance to be a part of something special.

Christopher Shaw: Featured Athlete of October



Coachable | Hardworking | Positive
These are the attributes we look for in the Athletes of The Hill.

 

“Chris Shaw – Otherwise known as Dr. Shaw, Chris is the face of what it means to take control and get what you want out of life.  With his hectic work schedule he always makes it in for open gym or a class if he has the time. Chris also is a great mentor and friend to his 3 kids who frequently accompany him to the gym.”

-Josh

 

What is your favorite color?
Black

Pick a silly question or answer them all: What would your spirit animal be? If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Sea Turtle, hands down and my super power would be to be able to lift more than Hoeppner 🙂

Row, Bike or Run? & Why?
“For me running was always a punishment growing up Playing soccer through college but of those 3 options which the one that I’m not terrible at…

I like rowing, Although it definitely is not a strength of mine…

Bike=Torture device conceived by masochist’s… But I made a promise to try to improve on the bike in 2019! Go ahead and keep programming @jrandall_movement”

 

 

What is your favorite CrossFit Movement?
Deadlift and cleans!

Favorite Restaurant in KC? Or favorite Cheat Meal?
KC Restaurant…La Bodega Cheat meal: Tacos and Tequila!

When did you start working out at The Hill?
2011…when we were still working out in the park…before The Hill 1.0 was open…it was the first thing since college that got me truly motivated to be fit again…I love this place!
What were some of the emotional or physical challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? I had very recently become a single father of 2 little boys under the age of 5…I was pretty sad at the time…I lost 17 pounds and got down to the same weight I was in high school…I was not really taking care of myself, and I told myself it was because I was too busy with my job and being a dad.

What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve those challenges before you started at The Hill?
I felt like every day was just something to endure rather than savor, I knew I needed something to help me cope, and didn’t want to fall into the things that people often do when they are down…then I was introduced to The Hill.

How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill? What does life looks like now?
One of my best friends from med school had been trying for over a year to get me to come try CrossFit…she finally succeeded and I was hooked after the first class. I geeked out watching CF videos joined up and it changed my entire outlook. I remember after about a month feeling like I was myself again. My energy and patience and outlook all improved and I looked forward to life again.

How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to?
Hands down it’s the community…best coaches, athletes…if I have had a hard day, I know that if I just show up I will feel better (that or a particular coach who shall not be named will email me about my absences).

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult?
King Kong.

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule?
It is the thing that I do just for me…I’m a big believer in exercise as medicine…and when I am good about not making excuses, even if I can only get in 20 minutes it makes me better at all other aspects of my life. That’s another thing that hooked me on CF, where else can you do a workout for 4 minutes and be wrecked for two days (ahem…thanks Fran).

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit?
Absolutely do it…

What are some of your goals in or out of the gym?
Personal Records or achievements that your proud of? In 2019 I want to be able to clean 250, so that I can do King Kong, which has been a goal since the first time I saw a video of it in 2013…

What would your dream workout be?
Deadlift and Push Ups (I really like short heavy couplets with a bar and gymnastic movement).

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam?
Thank you all for being such a great team and for making The Hill what it is!

 

 

 

Angie Curry : Featured Athlete of September.



Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

“If you needed any proof that Angie is as hard working as they come, just take a look at how fantastic of a mother she is to her 4 daughters, 3 of which are triplets. I have enjoyed getting to know Angie so much, and seeing her develop as an athlete. She doesn’t hesitate to ask questions if she doesn’t understand, she’s unafraid of slowing down to learn something, or to speed up once she’s got it. If she made the excuse that she didn’t have time to make fitness a priority in her life, no one would blame her. But she shows up, she works hard every single time, and she doesn’t let the busyness of being a wife and mom keep her from crushing her goals. Thanks for letting us be a part of your life, Angie!” – Coach Brianna

What is your favorite color? Blue

What would your superpower be? To be able to fly

What is your spirit animal? A dog

Row? Bike? Run? Ski? Why? If it is going to happen as part of a Crossfit workout, I would choose running over biking, skiing, or rowing because it doesn’t seem to wear out your muscular endurance as much as the other options.

What is your favorite CrossFit Workout or movement? Clean with Split Jerk

Favorite cheat meal in KC?  Salty Iguana; Blue Shell Chicken Tacos with a big thing of cheese dip and chips as an appetizer. Too bad they only have Pepsi. I prefer Coke.

When did you start working out at The Hill? November 2015

What were some of the emotional or physical challenges that you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? I had been working out in more of a country club type atmosphere for the last 15 years. So, I had gotten used to a very repetitive type weekly calendar that didn’t have much variation at all. The group classes included things like spin, sculp fusion, body pump, step aerobics, etc. In most of the classes, the workouts would be identical for long periods of time. It was comfortable and easy to settle into the weekly repetitive rhythm of it all. I loved seeing my “workout girlfriends” and the camaraderie that we shared. But, the truth was that I didn’t feel like my body had appropriately responded to my 15 years of consistent attendance at the club’s daily exercises classes. And, it seemed like something about the way I was exercising was causing my knees and feet to hurt all the time. I was beginning to think that I was going to be a candidate for knee replacement surgery at some point in my future if something didn’t change.

How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill? What does life look like now? Being at The Hill has really changed my exercise life. And, my body and general level of fitness. For the better. Although the classes are still in a group format, they are small enough to where the highly skilled coaches can get around to each athlete in the class, repetitively throughout each class, to make sure your form is correct. Within the first few months, I had learned to push my knees out anytime I was in a squatting position. I think that one change is probably what caused my knees to permanently stop hurting. It also has allowed me to be able to break parallel easily in that squat position, something I had never been able to do previously. In general, I don’t have daily pain that isn’t a simple result of the muscular discomfort from a hard workout the day before. And, after 3 ½ years of Crossfit, the way my body looks is starting to make a lot more sense to me. The coaches at the Hill call us “athletes”. I am starting to feel like that label fits me a bit better.

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult? The incredible coaches, my friends and the community feeling, the awesome facility, the consistently varying workouts, the daily challenge that each workout represents and the feeling of accomplishment from finishing them, and the positive way my body continues to respond to Crossfit in general.

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule? Luckily, I work from home. So, instead of doing a lunch hour dedicated to eating, I do Crossfit instead and squeeze a pre-planned meal into the last part of my lunch break.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting CrossFit? You CAN do it! You are not too old. You are not too unfit. You do not need to lose weight before you get started. And, you don’t need to go do another exercise program for a year before coming to Crossfit. Just come now. The coaches will work with you to give you a modified version of every exercise we do that will work for you. Crossfit is for everyone, and that includes YOU.

What are some of your personal goals in or out of the gym? Personal records or achievements that you are proud of? When I came to Crossfit, I wanted to get better form on all my exercise movements. Learning how to do Double Unders and being able to climb the rope consistently have been two of my favorite Crossfit accomplishments. I am also encouraged by the consistent progression in the quality of my Olympic lifting form. I am getting better at pushing through those times when you feel yourself wanting to quit or slow down during some of the more challenging workouts that we do each week. And, I hope that I am improving in my ability to take what the coaches are telling me and actually apply that to what I am doing that day.

Anything else you would like to share with our fitfam? Thank you for helping me find my new fitness family.

Getting To Know – Sacred Roots Holistic Healing – Ryan Brown


“I knew within 10 minutes of meeting Ryan with Sacred Roots Holistic Healing, “that he was one of us”. It was immediately apparent to me that Ryan embodies our core values of being caring, honest and driven. Not only that but he is an experienced and professional massage therapist. I would feel confident sending any of our athletes or anyone I care about to be treated by Ryan. ” – Matt Scanlon

 

What’s your name? Ryan Brown 

What did you want to be when you grew up? For as long as I can remember 1. Rockstar 2. NFL Nosetackle 3. Mob Boss

Where did you grow up? Mesa, AZ. 

What was your favorite subject/activity in school? Football, Wrestling, Philosophy, Psychology/Sociology

Weird job you had in the past? Owned a Janitorial company for many years

Favorite movie? Favorite line from that movie? Lords Of Dogtown Jay Adams-“we surf and we skate everyday…we do whatever we want”

Got any hidden talents? Over analyzing questions about my hidden talents.

What do you like about KC? Everyone here is extremely nice!

What is the name of your business? Sacred Roots Holistic Healing LLC

What is your profession? “What do you do?” Licensed Massage Therapist

How did you get connected with The Hill? Elyse McLeod

What motivates you in your craft?  When a client tells me Massage has improved their quality of life.

What is one thing you wish everyone new about your profession? Massage is not a luxury. It’s preventative health care.

 

Anything you would like to share with The Hill? I love fishing and pedicures.

Burton Taylor: Feat. Athlete of August 2019


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive
These are the attributes we look for in the Athletes of The Hill.

“When an athlete comes to you and says they just want to feel better and be challenged you hope they respond in the way Burton has.  Burton gives it his all in every workout and is constantly improving with the direction from his coaches. Between his commitment to family, fitness and career the man also has time to sneak in a few marathons.  What?!”

-Josh

Let’s get to know more about Burton…

What is your favorite color? Blue
What would your spirit animal be? And if you could have one superpower, what would it be? Spirit Animal: Bear. Superpower: Good luck.
Row, Bike or Run? & Why? Row. I’ve been running most of my adult life, but you guys have got me loving the rower. It’s a nice alternative to hitting the pavement.
What is your favorite CrossFit Movement? Wall balls
Favorite Restaurant in KC? Or favorite Cheat Meal? Joe’s Z-man with a couple ribs on the side
When did you start working out at The Hill? April 2017
What were some of the emotional or physical challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? About six years ago, I was working to build a new business while raising two kiddos as a single dad. At the time, I decided to “cut” certain things from my life to focus on those that were most important to me. This unfortunately included giving up entirely on exercise, and I paid a price. I reached a point where I began to worry that if I didn’t take better care of myself, I might not have as much time as I hoped with my kids which was ironic given I had given up exercise to spend more time with them. Fortunately, I found the motivation to get back at it (with the help of a couple of friends) and ended up working with a personal trainer who helped me get off the couch. That said, personal training was not a sustainable answer for me given the cost. I wanted that same type of direction and intensity with my workouts but also wanted increased frequency. It was about that time that I was invited to check out the Hill.
What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve those challenges before you started at The Hill?The challenge of doing it “alone” — working out on your own — was daunting. The Hill’s community solved that problem. It’s an amazing group of coaches and people and, in addition to the camaraderie, one of the many benefits of that community is that it builds in a sense of accountability. 
How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill? What does life looks like now? I no longer struggle with the idea of “fitting in” exercise — I try to be in the gym five days a week and run on my own for a sixth. That said, my diet …. well, that’s another story. If I could just get a handle on what I eat …. I’d be ripped 🙂 
How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to? I’ve never seen a gym where the coaches took such a personal interest in each individual member’s health, fitness and progress. I am also continually impressed and humbled by their ability to show up every day with a positive and encouraging attitude. Every day. When I think about that as it relates to my own day job … showing up every day with a positive, helpful attitude … I’m truly inspired by the Hill’s team.
What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult? The variety of workouts, the community and the coaches keep me coming back. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I am motivated on many days by the competition I’m in with my diet — if I don’t work out …. my diet will win! 
How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule? Fortunately, the Hill makes classes available throughout the entire day — that’s frankly how I make it happen. While others might think my schedule is completely random — one day I’ll be in the 6 a.m. class, the next in the noon, and the following I might be in the 6 p.m. class — that’s how I fit it in. I pick classes day-by-day depending on my work and schedule with my family. 
What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? I would tell them the story about how I had a knee injury (caused by running a half marathon) which caused me panic because I needed to recover within two months so that I could ski with my kids. I was tempted to take a break from working out altogether, which I knew would be risky …. given that may lead to falling off the wagon. That said, I talked it out with the coaches and they encouraged me that I could keep working out and recover at the same time, which was a mind blower for me. In my mind, I had a bias that a bad knee and crossfit could not possibly go together. That said, I trusted them and kept at it. Coach Bri, Josh, Leyton and Jay spent the next two months helping me in regular classes where they constantly checked my condition, built in scaled options for workouts, gave me individual coaching for recovery and stretching, etc. All along the way, they gave encouragement that I could recover without giving up on exercise. In the end, my knee was completely repaired ahead of my ski trip and I owe it to the crossfit team.
What are some of your goals in or out of the gym? Personal Records or achievements that your proud of? In the gym, I want to get to the point of being able to do a muscle up, and I’m proud of the progress that I’ve made with the double under. Outside of the gym, I want to be a good dad, and I’m proud of my family.
What would your dream workout be? (list your favorite movements) Power cleans, wall balls, burpees box-jump overs and maybe throw in double unders. 
Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam? Gratitude

 

Getting to know : Hannah Chesley


Hannah Chesley
Caring  |  Honest  |  Driven

Getting to know Hannah Chesley, the newest addition to TheHill team. Highlighting the journey of everyone at TheHill!

“Whatever Hannah is doing she is doing it with her full heart. She has taken on the role of social media manager with so much excitement, and creativity. Her ideas and perspective on how to highlight the wonderful community here, is so refreshing and inspiring. We couldn’t be happier to have her on our team and in our fitfam!” -Brianna

What did you want to be when you grew up?
      A National Park Ranger!

Where did you grow up?
Chicago! Well, the cornfields south of Chicago.

What was your favorite subject/activity in high school?
     I was an adaptive PE Leader in high school. Instead of having a gym class,         my gym class was spent buddied up with a student that had special needs from the school and teaching them how to play sports and be active. Having always been passionate about health and fitness – it was an incredible experience to see a different side of it

Weird part time job you had in the past?
  I guess it’s not weird but I actually worked for CrossFit HQ out in San Diego for a summer in college

Favorite movie? Favorite line from that movie?
Into The Wild: “Happiness is only real when shared” or
Finding Nemo: “Fin. Noggin. Duuuude”

Got any hidden talents
 I dabble with the guitar a little and also I loooove to bake!

What do you like about KC?
Besides the amazing people I have met, I love that Kansas City is a very big small town. On any given day, I can meet someone new but it isn’t a surprise if I bump into someone I know.

What is your role at The Hill?
Social Media Manager

How did you get connected with the The Hill?
I moved here for a job with Red Bull. When I moved here, the people before me in this market did CrossFit as well and told me that The Hill is the best of the best and that I should go there! They weren’t wrong!

What motivates you in your craft?
People! I love people and being able to learn about them, their stories, and what makes our community what it is, is an incredible thing.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your role here?
I am simply sharing your stories. You are the ones that make them what they are!

Can Intermittent Fasting help with weight loss?


Can intermittent fasting help with weight loss?

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has risen in popularity amongst some of the early adopters of fad diets. We’re asking the question: does it work?

The answer is… you guessed it: it can work. Like many fad diets out there, they can and often times do work. But our goal has always been to treat you like an adult and have a reasonable discussion about why it works. Does it work any better than something less “fad-like?”

Don’t like reading? Check out this video with Sabrena Jo, Director of Science and Research at the American Council on Exercise:

What is intermittent fasting?

IF is a way of eating that restricts all food intake to a specific window of time. Many IF prescriptions call for an 8-hour window of eating followed by a 16-hour fast. For most, the fast will start at 8:00pm and normal eating will resume at noon the next day.

Will intermittent fasting help me lose weight?

IF seems to be working on overweight rats in some studies. But how do these results translate to humans? One of the obvious ways that IF could help you lose weight is that it simply results in less calories consumed. 

Here’s a very simple math problem that helps illustrate this point:

My basal metabolic rate = 2,000kcal (BMR is the amount of calories consumed to maintain my current body composition).

I consume 2,200kcal per day on my normal diet.

I switch to IF and eliminate any calories before noon.

I now consume 1,650kcal per day on IF.

I will lose about one pound of fat for every 3,500kcal restriction. Therefore, I will lose about one pound of body fat every 10 days on IF.

Don’t mistake weight loss for fat loss.

Here’s what most fad diets get wrong — there is no mention of WHAT we’re losing when the scale goes down. If Intermittent Fasting causes you to eat less calories but also less protein, you may also experience some muscle loss.

On the opposite end if the spectrum, IF may have you consuming more water than normal. This may cause you to “gain weight” simply through better hydration.

If you’re in Kansas City and starting a new diet routine Schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session where we can do a body composition scan to show you these numbers.

Does Intermittent Fasting work any better than a non-restrictive diet?

This is the question that we must always come back to: Is IF more effective than a diet of whole foods — mostly plants — lean meats, nuts, seeds, little starch and no sugar in portions large enough to support activity but not excess body fat? 

The answer to this question is likely not. Most fad diets involve restriction. Restrict carbs, restrict fats, restrict time, restrict portions. You get the idea. By nature, restriction = reduction. Reduction in kcal = reduction in body fat. But reduction in kcal can occur by increased consumption of fibrous vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats without any restriction.

Aaaaand here’s the big BUT…

Who is a good candidate for Intermittent Fasting?

There’s some interesting research coming out about the hormonal effects of obesity and weight loss. The main hormone we’re talking about is Leptin. Leptin controls how hungry or full your brain feels.

Please note this is where behavioral science meets biology. There has not been a correlation proven between intermittent fasting and leptin regulation. This is conjecture on my part. 

Researchers are finding that — in obese populations — as someone is losing body fat their leptin levels drop. The drop in leptin causes a “starvation” reaction, causing someone to feel like they’re starving to death while on the way to a healthy weight. This is what is known as a negative feedback loop.

Think of leptin like your toilet. You flush your toilet and all of the water is drained out of the tank, pushing the waste down the drain with gravity. There is a valve in the tank that floats. That valve floats on top of the water line of the filling tank, automatically shutting off when the level reaches the top.

What does this mean for weight loss? No matter your body fat percentage — 5% or 50% — that is your normal. It is your current baseline. Your body will react to a reduction in that baseline with a starvation response. As you go from 50% body fat to 40%, your body only understands the loss of 10%It is unaware that 50% body fat is dangerous territory. It actually feels the opposite — that losing 10% is dangerous territory.

How can intermittent fasting help obese populations?

One thing is certain and backed by a ton of research: learning to tolerate hunger is a must for people with obesity to achieve optimum health. AND IT’S REALLY, REALLY, REALLY FREAKING HARD TO DO. 

Simply telling someone to ignore a hunger pang is like holding someone under water and telling them to “relax… I’ll let you up before it’s too late.” What?!?!?!?

Intermittent Fasting could potentially help someone “learn hunger.” There are clear rules and time set aside to “practice” being hungry. I recommend incorporating a mindfulness or meditation routine to accompany this “hunger practice” to help you manage the emotional stress of hunger.

But — don’t forget — there is always a more sustainable approach to assist with hunger. Eating a ton of vegetables and lean proteins will not only help you feel amazing, but you’ll also have the added benefit of feeling very full from all the low-calorie fiber.

 

Erika Hansen: Featured Athlete of July 2019


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive
These are the attributes we look for in the Athletes of The Hill.

“A staple of consistency in the 7pm class and an athlete that is the hallmark of proactive exercise.  Erica never lets her work schedule get in the way of making it in and get her sweat on. Side note, she’s also a twin.” 

-Josh

Let’s get to know more about Erika:

What is your favorite color? Blue.

Pick a silly question or answer them all: What would your spirit animal be?
Koala. I’d like to hang out in trees, on a beautiful island, and sleep for my daily routine.

Row, Bike or Run? & Why?
Row. I have terrible running technique and I nearly die every time we have a workout that involves the assault bike.

What is your favorite CrossFit Movement?
It’s so hard to pick just one. I’m going to pick an olympic lift and a gymnastic movement. Squat snatch and bar muscle ups.

Favorite Restaurant in KC? Or favorite Cheat Meal?
I’m going with cheat meal and that will always be In-N-Out. Burger, fries, and a strawberry shake.

When did you start working out at The Hill?
October of 2016.

What were some of the emotional or physical challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill?
I had just relocated to KC two weeks prior to joining the gym. I moved for a new job and literally knew no one. I’ve always enjoyed working out because I love how it makes me feel and the mental clarity it gives me. I knew that with moving to a brand new place, I needed to get out and put myself in situations where I would be able to meet new friends. Additionally, I felt like I had plateaued a bit at my previous gym, so a new environment with new coaches and new training was just what I needed. Insert Crossfit Memorial Hill 🙂

What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve those challenges before you started at The Hill?
Trying something new and putting yourself out there can be a little intimidating, but I knew I wasn’t going to reach my goals if I didn’t.
How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill? What does life looks like now? Life is wonderful. I travel a lot for work and I miss the gym dearly when I’m away. It’s a really cool feeling to look forward to going to the gym every evening to be with people who share a common goal and are interested in making each other better humans.

How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to?
100% transparency, I’ve never been a member of a gym quite like this one. From the coaches to the training to the staff to the members, everyone is incredible. It’s a home away from home and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything better.

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult?
I love the challenge of a workout.  I try to be my best self every day and I know, that for me, working out is an integral part of that.  I don’t look at the workouts prior to coming to class. I just show up and know that regardless of how hard it’s going to be, there’s always a finish line.

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule?
It’s a non-negotiable for me.  I make time because I see the way it positively affects my life.  

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit?
Try it!  Anyone can do it and everything can be modified.

What are some of your goals in or out of the gym? Personal Records or achievements that your proud of?
Continue getting more fit.  I’m not a very competitive person, so PRs don’t really matter to me.  I just intend to continue showing up and giving it my all and having fun along the way.  

What would your dream workout be?
Deadlifts, toes to bar, double unders.  

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam?
I know I don’t know a majority of you lot, but it’s really neat to be part of such a cool, inspiring group of people!

 

Getting to Know Wes Hamilton of Disabled But Not Really


CONFIDENCE | COMPETENCE | COURAGE

Getting to know The Hill means getting to know Wes Hamilton of the Disabled But Not Really Foundation.

“There’s not much that I can write about Wes that his story doesn’t already tell.  Not only is Wes doing incredible things in the adaptive athlete community but he reminds us every day that our struggle does not need to be our identity.  He also shows us that through adversity we truly can overcome anything. We’re excited to have Wes and his organization in our space here at The Hill.”
-Matt Scanlon

Interview:

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a football player.

I wanted to play sports when I grew up because for me, I thought that was the only thing I COULD do.

Growing up as an African American Male, sports was the only thing we thought would make us successful.

Where did you grow up?

East side Kansas City.

Weird part time job you had in the past?

McDonalds – for someone that’s so healthy now- I worked there for 2 years and ate every double quarter pounder with cheese.

And I worked at a church for Full Employment Council when I was 14 or 15. Jameson memorial temple child mentors running kids programs down on 18th and paseo they used to do teenage programs where 14 you could get a job and they’d place you all over town.

Got any hidden talents?

My hidden talent is writing. I love to write. I wish I could blog everyday, but I try to get to it as much as possible on my personal website. I love writing. I grew up writing. I stopped writing when I grew up because that just wasn’t a thing. It was like a sign of weakness to do something that was intellectual. So now I write as much as possible because I have more self awareness. I’ve actually been writing a book for about 2 years now. So I love to write any chance I get.

What do you like about KC?

I like the community.

I like how people from all different backgrounds come together. Through Love. Through understanding that everyone might have grown up or lived different, but it doesn’t change who you  are as a person.

I love that most Kansas City people judge you off of your character. Not just your skin color or anything like that.

KC feels like home. I could travel all over the world and come back and know that the moment I get in KCI airport it just feels like peace.

The home feel and how you can be appreciated by anyone, are some of the things I love about Kansas City.

I drive around the city all the time. But I make sure that I drive by the east side everyday. There’s something about those neighborhoods that bring me such peace. Even though the way we grew up was rough and hard, it was home for us. I love Kansas City so much because I love a place where many people have never been. My love for KC is complete because I’ve been welcomed and respected and Created success in a place where maybe we didn’t see ourselves going.

In order for you to love KC you have to know everything about it. I know a guy who puts it this way… a lot of brands have the heart KC shirts, he says they should have only half a heart because they only love one side of KC.

For me, my heart is full. Because I love every part. I can accept the good and fall in love with the bad because that’s how I was brought up. And I’ve been welcomed everywhere. 

What is your title at Disabled But Not Really?

I am the Executive Director, CEO & Founder.

How did you get connected to The Hill?

I met the amazing owners of The hill during my year full of competitions. I was looking for a chiropractor who specializes in working with athletes, and after a google search, I found Unbroken Chiropractic. And when I saw a picture of Dr. Heather, I recognized her from working out at Genesis. Over time we got to know each other and in one of our conversations I started to speak about my desire to train other people with disabilities. But I didn’t have a place.

Heather said she might know some people who would be really welcoming to that. And she told me about the BUILD & Legends programs so she introduced me to Josh, and Josh blew my mind with the amount of awareness and acceptance that he was willing to bring to adaptive athletes. And then I met Matt and Matt was the same way and it just became home.

That was in 2017. 2 years of coaching- The Help Me Fit Challenge is into the 4th class- We have had 15 graduates so far. 

What motivates you to coach?

My own personal story. From being paralyzed 7 years ago, being overweight when I was first paralyzed, going through a lot of health complications, 2 years of bedrest. It was just tragic where eventually I got the will to do things that I never thought I could do.

One of those things was to go to school to be a dietitian to learn nutrition. I lost 100 lbs while I was on bedrest in less than a year. I fell into depression post injury I was depressed because people with the disability that I have always seemed like they were depressed and overweight. I fell into that same mindset. That was reality.

So when I started to change that reality or that perception of what I thought, then my life got better. And when my life got better and I felt good, I started to think about how I could help other people.

I came up with the idea of Disabled But Not Really while I was still in a hospital bed while I was recovering from my last surgery. At that point I didn’t care about me actually recovering. What I cared about was the fact that I had lost 100 pounds while being paralyzed.

What motivates me? I changed my life after a traumatic injury. Because of that, I believe that anyone can do the same. I saw change, I had never seen change before like that. My life got better, I became an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, everything.

It’s all about mindset. When I changed my mindset and started to look at my reality and started to accept myself, I believed that I could help other people accept themselves. That’s what fuels me everyday. Our athletes might not be at a certain place today, but they can be better tomorrow. I believe that with anybody. So that’s what motivates me everyday.

What do you love about your job?

The networking. What I really love about being the Director at Disabled But Not Really, is that I’m changing people’s mindsets. I’m putting myself in a position that makes being disabled look like the norm. And I think that’s the best part. I gained such a level of confidence during my transformation that if I could go out with the confidence that I have and change people’s mindsets of how they look at someone, how they see themselves, how they see their children.  If someone who is not be disabled sees strength and confidence in me, and says. “I can get that for myself- I have more ability than this guy..” that’s what motivates me. 

Everyday that I roll out of my house, I become an inspiration to others because I’m doing so much more than anyone believed that I could do. Including myself. 

What’s something that you wish everyone knew about people with disabilities?

That we are no different. That’s the biggest thing. People with disabilities are no different than you. Our inability to do things creates the ability to do them in a different way when people stop looking at you as incapable.

At the end of the day we are all able. So if someone needs to know something about someone with a physical disability… just know that it’s Not Really.. It’s always a mindset. Disabled starts in the mind. It’s not actually a person. It’s not actually a thing, it’s your thought process.

I just want everyone to know that you can be disabled mentally before you ever become disabled physically. Understand that just because we might have limitations doesn’t mean that we are mentally limited.

I tell people that when I grew up I was disabled mentally before I ever became disabled physically. Because when I look at the things I’ve created in the last seven years of my life being disabled, I pushed past every mental limit and every boundary that I had set for myself. I would never have been who I am today if I had never been shot.

Anything you’d like to share with The Hill?

I truly appreciate The Hill for bringing DBNR in here. And accepting us as family. Treating us the same. Treating every adaptive athlete that comes in as family. And being able to see our vision and join us to impact so many lives. I enjoy the uplifting vibe here and the overall love that the whole community provides is just amazing.

I want to say thank you to Matt and Josh and all the coaches, everyone, because not one person who comes through those doors, even myself, feels any different than anyone else.

I think that’s the best part. And for that I just want to say thank you.

 

Eric Hurst: Feat. Athlete of June 2019


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

These are the attributes we look for in the Athletes of The Hill.

“Each human within our walls is so uniquely wonderful, and Eric is no exception to that.

Someone who is here truly for himself, but doesn’t behave selfishly. He doesn’t get up caught up in comparing his workout to anyone else’s, because he knows and understands that his effort is his alone.

No one can add or detract from that, and he takes great ownership of that fact. He’s always here to encourage, support, and cheer others on, the true embodiment of living the value of positivity.

I look forward to coaching Eric anytime he is in my class, he is always hungry to learn and apply what he is given, even if that means slowing down or taking weight off the bar. Eric believes in fitness for life, and it’s a joy to be a part of his journey.”

-Coach Brianna

Let’s get to know more about Eric…

What is your favorite color? I’m partial to blue, but mostly wear black because it’s simple and I once read that people who wear all black are perceived to be intelligent. Whatevs.

Pick a silly question or answer them all: What would your spirit animal be? If you could have one superpower, what would it be? My spirit animal is California. Really, the only superpower I want is the ability to not get angry. Especially with my kids.

Row, Bike or Run? & Why? This is going to sound so Coach’s Pet, but I really like each quite a lot. Rowing is such a great all around workout. We have a Water Rower and it’s quite soothing. Biking is, again, a great all around workout, but my family has gotten in the habit of taking rides together and I wouldn’t ever trade that. Running is just a great solo activity. Put on some headphones and hit some hills. Feels great.

What is your favorite CrossFit Movement? Anything with a sledgehammer. Followed closely by anything with a barbell.

Favorite Restaurant in KC? Or favorite Cheat Meal? Naked Burnt Ends at Char Bar with all the fries.

When did you start working out at The Hill? August, 2018.

What were some of the emotional or physical challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? I felt like I had reached a plateau. It’s tempting to blame programming, or a coach, or whatever, but when it comes down to it, I wanted a change, and knew that one would do me well. I was in pain all the time, mostly from allowing myself to be guilted into doing more than I should. Emotionally, there was a lot of over the top machismo I allowed myself to take part in. It wasn’t healthy.

What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve those challenges before you started at The Hill? It felt like the morning after you drank WAY too much and you’re mad at yourself because you promised yourself yesterday you weren’t going to do that but here you are with the worst headache running to the nearest bathroom and moaning, “OH GOD I’M DONE DRINKING FOREVER!” and then later that night you’re cracking open another cold one knowing good and damn well what tomorrow morning holds.

How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill? What does life looks like now? I’m much more comfortable scaling back and being honest with myself about what I’m truly capable of. Additionally, I’m able to recognize that if I do the prescribed weight, I may not finish, but if I drop down a few lbs, I’m still going to get a great workout and that massive endorphin rush at the end that I’m a complete junkie for. In the end, it’s about staying active well into my later years. That’s all I want.

“The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Eric is that he is one of the most encouraging members we have at The Hill.

Within our gym, he is usually the first to celebrate the successes of those around him, and it’s clear that he does this because he genuinely likes to see those around him improve their lives.

Since joining us last fall, Eric has improved his fitness and movement tremendously by always showing up willing to listen and work on his weaknesses, which is inspiring to everyone around him. In the gym (and in life), it’s easy to cherry pick and focus on the things we’re good at, but Eric isn’t one to take the easy route, and I firmly believe that’s why he’s made so many strides lately.

Not only does Eric show up to the gym ready to work hard, but he’s an incredibly passionate individual when it comes to his work and social issues, and that shines through in all the conversations he has. Eric is a dedicated family man and a prime example of how the work we do inside the gym translates to leading a healthier, more balanced life outside of the gym as well.“

-Coach Jay

How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to? The community is like none other. I haven’t been to a lot of gyms, but the ones I have been to do not seem to foster a community with such intent and care like The Hill. I need that.

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult? I tell people, “Come for the workout, stay for the community,” and that’s what keeps me coming back. Cherry picking workouts has never been an issue for me. I’m very motivated by doing physically hard things just to have done them.

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule? I’m really fortunate to have a very flexible schedule and a very supportive family. My wife constantly helps me make room to get to the gym later in the day if I’m unable to make it to my normal noon class. Also, I work for myself, which is to say I work when there’s work to be done.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? Be gracious with yourself. Ignore what everyone else is doing. Be honest, find what feels truly challenging, and do that. This is for you, no one else. Also, say “Hi” to everyone. You’ll be back.

What are some of your goals in or out of the gym? Personal Records or achievements that your proud of? I’m trying to model to my kids what a healthy adult looks like, both mentally and physically. I’m proud that my kids LOVE coming to the gym with me and love being around the good folks at The Hill.

What would your dream workout be? (list your favorite movements) A loooong grinder where you beat down a tire with a sledgehammer, then flip that tire for a while, then climb a rope. I love the awkward movements with weird objects.

“If you have ever wondered how to make friends instantly, Eric has the secrets. Eric is incredibly kind and positive while also secretly a sucker for punishment.

He gives his all in every workout but is also one of the first to peel himself off the floor to offer a high five or fist bump. He’s also a pretty kick ass Dad to his 2 kids who are regulars as well.”

-Coach Josh

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam? This might be off topic, but it’s something I care about deeply. Suicide is a global epidemic. The chances of your life being affected by suicide are near, if not at, 100%. Men die by suicide nearly 4x more than women. It’s also completely preventable. If you think someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, or even has a plan, it is okay to ask them if they’ve thought about hurting themselves. You will not cause them to do it by asking, but you might help them realize someone cares and open the door to them getting help. http://www.sprc.org is a great resource for learning about risk and warning signs and how to help someone in danger. Finally, if you are someone contemplating suicide, please talk to me. I will help you.

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