Will lifting weights before a metcon make you stronger?

Ah, the age-old debate. And one that — with a basic understanding of physiology — is beginning to look like the recent Flat Earth movement.

The answer to this question is NO. Definitively no. To even entertain this statement as true demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of strength training. 

(But in all fairness, lifting weights doesn’t make you stronger either)

Ask a better question.

More often than not, this debate descends into “but Rich Froning…” or “When I was doing ____ I was the strongest I’ve ever been.”

But these anecdotes don’t really answer the actual question. So let’s start with a better question:

“How do I get stronger?”

Answer: Recover from resistance training.

This isn’t a “recovery is more important than training” post. My goal is to help you understand the fundamentals of how your biology actually works.

When you run, jump, lift, do push ups, or ride your bike, you’re causing a bunch of tiny little tears in your muscle fibers, bones, and connective tissue. After you do this activity, you consume energy (food), breath oxygen, and rest. Through a web of interconnected organs and hormones, your body magically repairs those tears with a stronger bond than previously existed. Your body becomes stronger during the repair — or supercompensation — period of recovery. 

The bubble athlete

If I had unlimited resources to get someone as strong as possible, I would do a series of blood tests immediately prior to a training session to calculate the exact minimum effective doseNotice I said minimum… not maximum. Remember, the goal from training is recovery which means WE ACTUALLY WANT TO MINIMIZE TRAINING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Immediately after the training session, I would feed my bubble athlete a perfect combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Adequate carbs so bubble athlete has insulin in their bloodstream and adequate lean protein so the insulin can do it’s job of delivering amino acids to bubble athlete’s muscles to repair the damaged we just caused.

Bubble athlete would go back into the hyperbaric bubble to sleep, get massages, practice mindfulness, and get ready for our next minimum effective dose.

So where did the Lift then Sweat come from?

Lifting and then doing some type of sprint or plyometric exercise has been a mainstay in strength and conditioning for years. Then, CrossFit came onto the scene. It wasn’t too long before CrossFit became a full blown sport. And, just like strength and conditioning, what the pro’s are doing has trickled down to high school athletes (that’s us in this analogy).

In a day-long test of fitness, competitive CrossFit needed to measure strength, endurance, power, and speed in the same setting. CrossFit has never been interested in absolute strength, but relative strength. In essence: “Cool. You have a 500 pound deadlift. But can you run a sub-20 minute 5k?”

So athletes needed to train to be able to hit ~90-95% of their 1 rep max deadlift in the same day they do Fran. So, that’s how they started to train.

But they always knew that doing so meant that both their deadlift 1 rep max AND their Fran time would suffer as a result. The question of competitive CrossFit has never been “how do I get stronger?” It has been “how can I perform good enough on game day?” 

So competitive CrossFit coaches started getting their athletes ready for game day accordingly. And the programmatic effects have trickled down to those of us trying to be the fittest person in the cubicle bank.

So what’s the answer?!

The answer is simple: if you want to get stronger, you need to begin the process of recovery as soon after the lifting session as possible. Some of you may have experienced my weird, hippy breathing drills after hard workouts. This is an intentional signal to your body to begin to super-compensate – or recover.

But, yes, there are days where we’ll program a lift with a Metcon. Here’s another peak behind the curtain: we don’t do it because it is effective, we do it because it is efficient. Seriously… we have a discussion along the lines of “yeah… this isn’t ideal, but there’s a short WOD today and we want our athletes to leave feeling like they ‘got a good workout.'”

So… the answer: Lifting before a Metcon gets you better at lifting before Metcons. It does NOT make you stronger. 

This has a place, however. If you’re doing an exercise competition where there is a strength piece BEFORE a metcon, you should begin to train accordingly ~6 weeks out from competition. If the workout is Metcon – Strength – Metcon, you should also train that way.

The novice effect

The reason the “Lift, then WOD” has had a lot of us (including myself) getting stronger is due — almost exclusively — to the novice effect. This means that any stimulus — no matter how ineffective — will have favorable results. This has been the dirty little secret of the fitness industry forever. It doesn’t matter what you do for a reeeeeallllllllllly long time. And most gyms know that folks won’t stick around for long enough to move beyond the novice phase to where we actually need to start having the discussion of minimum effective dosing and recovery.

In the world of the barbell, the novice is generally someone with less than 10 years of consistent training. Consistency means uninterrupted, intentional practice. Those weird starfish power cleans with wrist wraps you did in high school don’t count toward intentional practice.

Do I need to WANT to get stronger?

This is the beauty of the entire thing – NO!!! We have a major rule amongst the coaching staff: we will never project our own goals onto you.

Does lifting before a WOD make you feel strong, powerful, and capable? Then freaking lift before your WOD! I will be your number 1 supporter. Just do so knowing that it is not the best way to get strong.

As I’m sitting here writing this, each of your coaches PR’d their deadlift today. We’ve each been under a barbell for a really loooong time. If you told me I could add more than 5 pounds a year, I’d be the happiest guy in the gym. Today, I PR’d my deadlift by 15 pounds! How? I lifted waaaay less (~24 reps per week) than I ever have and put all my focus into recovery.

If you’re still crushing PR’s left and right – don’t change a thing! If you love hitting the WOD each day and high-fiving your squad after – don’t change a thing! But if you feel like something is missing; that your “gainz” are stalling — holler at me! I’d love to take a look at what you’re doing and provide any guidance I can.


You’ve COMPLETELY Misunderstood Lifestyle Track

TL; DR: Our “Lifestyle” programming track is written as the most intense version of the WOD, the Development is written as the least intense, and the Strength Track written as the most intense FOR REGIONALS ATHLETES, but most of our athletes land somewhere between Lifestyle and Development.

Intensity Drives Results

The “performed at a relatively high intensity” piece of the CrossFit methodology is referring to the longest standing principle in strength and conditioning — the SAID principle. Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. In layperson’s terms, the SAID principle means that, in order to increase your 1-mile run time, you must run differently. Add sprints, run 2 miles, run a mile backwards, do some jumping — the world is your oyster.

The definition of SAID and the definition of insanity are somewhat similar: repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Scaling should make things MORE difficult, not less.

We often confuse complexity with difficulty. Let me give you an example. “Fran” is written as 21-15-9 reps of 95 /65 pound thrusters & pull-ups.  The workout should be finished in about 2-5 minutes. If I saw that workout on the whiteboard, I’d be much more nervous than if I saw 21-15-9 reps of 155 / 105 pound thrusters and ring muscle ups. Why? The second workout is clearly more difficult.

I would argue that — for me — the second workout is actually less difficult. But, why? Well, first off, I can’t cycle 155 pound thrusters. So, those would be single repetitions done about once every 10-15 seconds. Compare that to the roughly 8 repetitions I would complete of the 95 pound version in the same amount of time. Secondly, I could probably push myself to do all the pull ups relatively unbroken in “Fran.” I would probably need to do my muscle ups in workout #2 in sets of 2-3 with about 10-15 seconds rest between each set. Workout 2 would take me in the neighborhood of 16-18 minutes whereas it would take an elite CrossFit Athlete about 7 minutes.

Believe it or not, my “Fran” would probably feel — to me — similar to how workout #2 would feel to Mat Fraser. This is the point of the Lifestyle track. 

Reframing things.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t considered changing the name of the Lifestyle track to “Intensity” to trick you into achieving the desired stimulus. You’re an intelligent adult who can handle unbranded science. I know there’s a human tendency to create hierarchy. So, I understand why you’ve (incorrectly) felt Lifestyle = chill, gonna just get in a sweat and not push it and Strength = the most advanced, intense, athletic thing that I’ll never attain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Since no one in our gym is on the cusp of a Regionals appearance, the truth is actually the other way around.

Lifestyle – the most intense track.

With the Lifestyle track we’re trying to adjust load, repetitions, and range of motion to achieve a stimulus. The question we’re asking ourselves is: How can we make the Lifestyle version of this workout FEEL like the strength track would feel for an elite, regionals-caliber athlete? YouTube 2018’s Regionals and ask yourself is that how I felt after yesterday’s WOD? 

Development – the least intense track.

You want to learn new skills – climbing a rope, doing a muscle up, learning a more efficient jerk. When acquiring a new skill, you’ll need to pump the brakes a little bit. This means dialing down the intensity to make room for some more focused practice work. For most of us, this means gymnastics and high-skill barbell movements.

So we dial down the load, decrease the reps, and create a little space for some intentional practice within the day’s WODs. Personally, I will opt for a Development version of the day’s workout during times when I have a little more mental energy and time in the day to focus on getting better at certain skills. If I want a “good, hard workout” I’m always doing the Lifestyle version.

“But Scanny… what if I can do Strength Track weights but not gymnastics?” Well, athlete, if you don’t want to get better at gymnastics, stay the course. If you want to get better — do what’s written. That may have come off as sarcastic, but I truly mean it. It is your hour. If that’s where you are in your training it’s all good! Your coaches are here with a roadmap – you’re behind the wheel.

The Development track shouldn’t leave you writhing on the floor in a heap of your own sweat and tears. That’s Lifestyle’s job.

Strength track – Lifestyle intensity for Regionals athletes (or somewhere between the two for you)

Strength Track is where it all comes together for regionals-level athletes. The intensity of Lifestyle combined with the complexity of Development. Notice I said Regionals Level Athletes. Strength Track is written in such a way that — if you achieve the intent with every workout in a given 4-week bloc of programming, you’ll likely make it to Regionals as a Masters Athlete (by Masters, I’m not referring to age per se but rather that you’re not a complete genetic mutant who is a full-time exerciser).

For most of us “normies”, Strength Track will be slightly less intense or difficult than Lifestyle. Remember, the point of scaling is to make the workout less complex, but more difficult. 

So where do you fall? Are you guilty of Lifestyle = Easy track?

Here’s a good self test: Think about a “Strength” athlete in the gym. Next time you’re in class with him or her, take a look at them after a tough workout and ask yourself “do I feel how they look?” That’ll be your indicator of whether or not you’re meeting the stimulus of the day.

Getting to Know Matt Scanlon

These are the core values we hold as a team. Part 9 of our “Getting to Know The Hill” series..

This month we are getting to know our owner Matt Scanlon.

“Leadership not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in our charge.”
– Simon Sinek

Scanny is always looking out for the best interest of his athletes and team. Eager to develop them into the best version of themselves, he creates space for people to learn and grow. A true entrepreneur, it would take all day to list everyone he’s currently collaborating with, and  everything he’s working on. Matt is always developing business tools at the 321GoProject to benefit other gym owners, but the thing that excites him the most, is developing the talents and skills of his staff team at The Hill.

We are all lucky to have such a leader.  Let’s get to know more about Matt…

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? An Architect.

Where did you grow up? Salina, KS.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Woodshop.

Most known in high school for..? Definitely being the class clown.

Most interesting part time job? Probably telemarketer when I was 15 or working as a horse guide in CO.

Most Quotable movie? “Tommy Boy” for sure.

Got any hidden talents? I initially went to college to play drums. I also play guitar.

What do you like about KC? KC definitely has an entrepreneurial energy amongst 30-somethings. I’ve really enjoyed watching the development of the city since we moved here 7+ years ago.

Coaching: Your Job Title at The Hill. Owner.

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? At its founding in 2011-2012.

How long have you been coaching? I think I started coaching my first 1-on-1 client 12 years ago.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? When I first started coaching, I was really motivated by helping people “get healthy.” Nowadays I’m increasingly more interested in the change that occurs in athletes’ minds; seeing them become better humans as they practice making positive choices, helping others, and developing delayed gratification.

What do you love about your job? 100% the people I get to work with everyday. Our staff are easily the best coaches in Kansas City (and arguably the country) but moreover they are some of the best humans I know.

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of? I have my CF L1, CF L2, and Movement and Mobility certificates.

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing? I’m increasingly more interested in getting more education on what motivates people. 

How would you describe your coaching style? It really varies with the athlete. Anywhere from “super positive-everything is awesome” to being a real hard-ass. It really depends on how much trust we have built and the headspace they seem to be in that day.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? Health and fitness is the simplest thing in the world. It is also the most difficult thing in the world. Simple, not easy. Breathe hard, move weight, and stretch – several hours a week. Eat real food, lots of vegetables, and adequate protein – but not too much. There is no magic pill, no “30 pounds in 30 days”, no “secret workout routine” you’ve yet to discover. Just years of consistent work, that is best enjoyed with friends.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Having fun. I’m really working on working out hard, competing with myself, and being grateful for movement. As I get older, I realize that some of my best Olympic lifts may be behind me – and that’s OK. I feel super thankful that my body works well, that I can carry big Costco boxes up the stairs to the condo. And that I wake up feeling great.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? I’m excited to create opportunities for our athletes to begin to give back; to invest in one another and their communities. I feel that, through fitness and nutrition, people are learning real self-care for the first time. The continuation of that self-care is building up others along the way. I see great opportunity for that in our community.

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? The members at The Hill are the best people I know. I’m so thankful and happy to be able to see them on a daily or weekly basis. I don’t know of any other situation – ESPECIALLY in a “gym” – where each member would confidently refer one another personally or professionally without hesitation, and we see that everyday. 


Getting to know Dr. Heather of Unbroken Chiropractic

This month we are getting to know Dr. Heather Bourdon from UNBROKEN Chiropractic

It’s no secret that we are so lucky to have Dr. Heather at The Hill!

Heather doesn’t want to just crack, snap see you back. She finds the root of the issue, makes adjustments and gives you movements that help you actually heal. Not only does she take excellent care of her clients, (which include many members of our team and athletes) but when you are with Heather, you often find yourself smiling and laughing. In her calming and patient presence, you start to relax and feel that everything will be ok.  We believe this is the mark of a true Healer.

Let’s get to know more about Dr. Heather!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be? I wanted to be a Police Detective.

Where did you grow up? Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Science and P.E.

Known in high school for? Being strong and beefy.

Most interesting part time job? During my summers in college, my sisters and I worked as “beer cart” girls at a local golf course!

Favorite Movie  to quote: A League of Their Own. And I can rap along to “Ice Ice Baby”

Got any hidden talents?  When I was in high school I was a podium finisher for the Western Canadian badminton championships. This was a serious sport growing up in Canada. The competition was serious; only 4 out of 500 girls made the team (3 out of 4 were my sisters and I). We played in special clubs and badminton gymnasiums with special lighting and fan placement to not affect the flight of the birdie (shuttlecock). When I came to the United States and saw ya’ll playing it outside on the lawn at backyard BBQs, my mind was blown! LOL. As an adult, I’ve realized by this question, that I need to find a hobby.

What do you like about KC? I love that it is like a small town in a big city. You have the luxuries of the city but I don’t feel like I am a small fish in a big bowl! I love KC!

How and when did you get connected to The Hill? Very early on, I started seeing a few patients from The Hill, and one by one I began seeing more patients as the months/years went on. I established relationships with each of the coaches as we worked toward the same goals with their clients who would come to see me. After time, we began working more together from a coaching perspective and I realized what kind, generous, and determined individuals I was working with at The Hill. It has been nothing but pure motivation, and inspiration being a part of The Hill. I am SO happy to be here!

How long have you been a Chiropractor? I have been practicing for 5+ years. I was a coach and personal trainer prior to my chiropractic education.

Why Practice? What motivates you personally? I am motivated by seeing the drastic and vast improvements with patients. Seeing how it affects their lives, their relationships and friendships, and how they see their own bodies. I love to educate people on how their body works, and how to help them help themselves.

What do you love about your job? Working with self motivating patients, seeing excited (painfree) expressions on faces after treatment, working in a gym and seeing patients workout between treatment sessions (to gather more information on their care), and education.

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of? “D.C. Chiropractic, B.S. Kinesiology, DACBSP (Certified Sports Physician), Associates in Religious Studies :), Rock Tape, Kinesiotape 1-3, FMT1, Several Nutrition Courses.
Of course I am very proud of all the certifications I receive. I think  education is an integral part of being a professional. However, the certification I am most proud of is actually a certificate I received by my educating body while in clinic. I received the “”Clinic Service Award”” which is an award given to an individual who provides great care to their patients, their patients like them as a provider, they show respect to other students, clinicians and the institution. I am most proud of this award because of what it states about my goals of being personal and professional in providing patients with great, quality care. That is my main goal.”

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing? I plan to take the next steps to work on my Diplomate for my Chiropractic Sports Physician degree. Dry Needling/Acupuncture. I am also extremely interested in female hormone regulation.

How would you describe your coaching style? I practice with a mindset of being efficient, direct and understandable with a chill and easy going vibe behind the surface.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? You don’t have to live with chronic pain! We should live WELL into our older ages feeling vibrant and pain free!

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? The seasons of my training are ever evolving. My practice has always taken precedence over my own training goals since I have started. My biggest goal in this season is to stay active most days of the week (if not all 7), by doing CrossFit, or other forms of weight training, cardio, swimming, biking, and walking (occasionally with a 20 or 40lb vest on) for overall health.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Personal and Professional growth. I feel like moving to the Hill has given me new perspective on life. Professionally, it’s incredible to be surrounded by such self motivators. Its infectious! How can one NOT grow in this environment. Personally, learning what balance truly is in life, setting realistic goals for myself, not beating myself up about achieving every single goal but letting life happen and learning to adapt!

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? My experience here thus far, has been incredible. I enjoy coming to work everyday, and EVERYONE is friendly. There motivating people surrounding me which gives me this safety net to lean into if need be. As I get to know more and more of the members, I am intrigued by their stories. What makes them who they are, what they do for their job and hobbies and what motivates them. Which motivates me. I am just so happy to be a part of this gym and I am proud to call it home!

Follow @unbrokenchiropractic

Getting to know… Laura Wheeler

These are the core values we hold as a team. We are so fortunate to have such highly skilled & passionate Coaches at The Hill.
Part 7 of our “Getting to Know The Hill” series..

Laura loves to connect with people. She is a lifelong learner and believes the best in people. She loves playing board games and having fun with friends easygoing and loves her two dogs.

Let’s get to know more about Laura…

Your Job Title at The Hill:  Director of Corporate Partnerships.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Bad A$$ Business Woman/Boss Lady.

Where did you grow up? Sweet Home Alabama.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Volleyball.

Voted in high school most likely to…? Or known for ? Most Athletic.. heck yeah!

Most interesting part time job? Lifeguard.

What’s a movie you can quote? I have probably watched the movie Bridesmaids a zillion times.

What do you like about KC? KC has everything you need from a City (culture, arts, food) without all the bad stuff like traffic or high cost of living.

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? I joined CFMH when I first moved to KC in 2012 and have remained connected ever since.

How long have you been working at The Hill? May 2018!

Why is developing Corporate Partnerships important to you personally? I want to change the way our society thinks about health and wellness in the workplace. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself. It’s time to shift the paradigm!

What do you love about your job? Do you guys have all day? No seriously, if I had to pick one thing it would be the people of The Hill KC. It doesn’t get any better. 

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of? Certified Personal Trainer.

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing? Currently working on my Behavior Change Coach certification through ACE.

How would you describe your coaching style? Trial and Error. lol

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? “Small changes lead to lasting change. Don’t try to do too much at once. You could be setting yourself up for failure. Forget about everyone else. Are you doing better today than you did yesterday? That’s all that matters. “

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Listening to my body.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Getting The Hill KC Corporate Wellness Program off the ground and running like a well oiled machine!    


Getting to know Coach Matt Phillips

These are the core values we hold as a team. We are so fortunate to have such highly skilled & passionate Coaches at The Hill.
Part 6 of our “Getting to Know the Coach” series..

Matt is patient thoughtful and has a 100$ smile. He’s a team player, super hardworking and very kind. Matt studies each movement and helps our athletes make those detailed improvements every day. We are so glad to have Matt coaching at The Hill!

Let’s get to know more about Coach Matt…

Where did you grow up? Blue Springs, MO

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Astronaut.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Science.

In high school I was most known for…? Being an identical twin with Nick.

Most interesting part time job? Construction high school summers with my friends’ family business.

TV show you can quote? The Office.

Got any hidden talents? I can salsa dance, and I am learning to play the guitar. 

What do you like about KC? It has a little bit of everything and you don’t have to worry about tsunamis. 🙂

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? In November of 2016, my mentor challenged me to look for an internship and The Hill was just launching the program. I know God had a hand in connecting me here. 

How long have you been coaching? 1 year.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? Getting to help others realize their potential. Sometimes God gives me the ability to see something in someone they don’t yet see, and there’s nothing better than being able to encourage them. I love helping people do things they didn’t think they could do.

What do you love about your job? I work with one of the best teams around. They constantly challenge me and help me grow. I love to compete, be challenged, and fitness. I get all of that here. 

What certifications do you hold? CF-L1 and planning to get my CF-L2.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Rehabbing my right shoulder and Olympic weightlifting. 

What are you looking forward to in 2018? God has been doing a lot. It’s been a season of rebuilding and solidifying that foundation. 

How would you describe your coaching style? Relentlessly fun! 

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness?

Two things. First, it’s a lifestyle, not just a goal. Just like all areas of life, we tend to work from the outside-in. But when you focus on who you are, and then what you do, the results follow. 

Secondly, I believe there’s more to health and fitness than just the physical aspect, and that Jesus is the ultimate source of fitness. We’re more than physical beings. If you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, it will affect your body. Fitness applies to the whole person. Body, mind, soul. You can’t separate them.

Anything you’d like to share with the whole #fitfam? The Hill is an amazing place and I am grateful for each of you! 



Getting to Know Coach Al

These are the core values we hold as a team. We are so fortunate to have such highly skilled & passionate Coaches at The Hill.
Part 5 of our “Getting to Know the Coach” Blog Series..

Al is Strong. Intelligent. Authentic.
Resilient. Inclusive. A True Artist. An Advocate.
And Definitely Honest!

Coach Al is an integral part of our coaching team. She brings a consistent and genuine dedication to our athletes’ progress with an unrelenting drive toward excellence.

Sadly, Al will be leaving our community to pursue a longtime dream of working as an architect in Germany. While Al will be leaving huge shoes to fill, my personal hope is that our athletes each see Al stepping WAY out on a limb in pursuing a new life in a new country. We could all learn from Al’s willingness to pursue this dream – no matter how daunting it may feel.

We’ll miss you, Al! Thanks for all the great memories and moments.

Let’s get to know Coach Al Lampier.


Where did you grow up? Barrington, IL (NW Suburbs of Chicago).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Paleontologist, biochemist, astronomer, professional soccer player (i.e. Mia Hamm). I still want to be a polyglot when I grow up.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Outside of sports? Creative writing.

Voted in high school… Most Athletic.

Most interesting part time job? Only part time job: soccer referee.

Share a movie you can quote… Singin’ in the Rain.

Got any hidden talents? I can whistle like a bird.

What do you like about KC? No traffic! And the people are ok too 😉


Your Job Title at The Hill: CrossFit Coach

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? 4 years ago. I didn’t have a car when I moved here, so I was just looking for something I biked past en route to work. This was located perfectly for me. Dug the workouts and the folks. The rest is history.

How long have you been coaching? At The Hill: 4 years, 6 years total.

Why Coach? Coaching allows me to combine my love of sports with my adoration of physics. Perfect every day applicability. Plus I love seeing the light bulb turn on for folks when they’re learning new skills or when they accomplish a task they didn’t think was possible. It empowers people. 

What do you love about your job? For coaching, see above. For design, I love light, shadow, and textures. A well-thought out, well-executed detail warms my heart. Being able to share those passions with others through an experience is a privilege and a pleasure. 

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of?

Coaching: CF-L1, CF-L2, CF Weightlifting. Before it expired, I held an ACE Certified Personal Trainer Cert. I was super proud of that because I had no personal background in training when I studied for and took the test. I’m still proud of it.

Architecture: I’m a licensed Architect in the state of Missouri. Definitely proudest of this one because it was 7 tests over the course of a year. I wanted to quit so many times but I didn’t.

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing? Just bought Carl Paoli’s “Freestyle” so, I’m gonna read that. At some point I’d like to get the gymnastics cert. Perhaps consider the Level 3, but that won’t be for a while. Definitely interested in learning more about nutrition and programming as well.

How would you describe your coaching style? Profanity-ridden.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? That their body (including mind) is their greatest asset; therefore it should be invested in, challenged, nurtured. It’s not a test or competition. It’s simply about taking care of yourself.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Consistency and patience.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Improved mindfulness and presence.

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? You guys rock. Thank you!







Practice Difficult, Scary Things Often

Josh and I with 3 of our BUILD members, Cathy, Leah, April after completing Murph.

A few weeks ago I had an epiphany. Well… epiphany may be a strong word. Let’s call it an almost universal confirmation of a long-standing suspicion.

This confirmation came during a “town hall” meeting with the participants of BUILD: Functional Fitness for Cancer Survivors. In this meeting I wanted to reconcile something that continues to perplex me about the program: Every participant has seen dramatic improvements in strength, health, and overall feelings of well-being. The near unanimous feeling is that BUILD is the “best support group I’ve ever had.” I’m trying to reconcile these facts with our difficulty in growing the program proportionate to the number of people in Kansas City affected by cancer. The program is affordable (sometimes free with scholarships), safe, effective, fun, supportive, and positive. Why aren’t hundreds of Kansas Citians involved? 

And then I asked the question.

“By show of hands, who was nervous or afraid to come in for the first time?”

Every. Single. Hand.

  • I thought I’d be the oldest one there
  • I didn’t think I’d be able to do the workouts
  • I figured everyone would look like a greek god
  • I haven’t worked out for a REALLY long time (or at all)

No mention of a cancer diagnosis or treatment. Nothing.

And then, this.

In addition to the unanimous I didn’t think I’d be able to do it responses, there was also a near-unanimous this is the longest I’ve ever maintained an exercise routine. This was my lightbulb moment.

The experience of this Town Hall struck a deep chord that finally illuminated the essence of why this stuff works; the heart of our mission.

We walk toward difficult, scary things together.

This lightbulb moment came when I finally realized that these survivors’ feelings of nervousness are the exact same feelings that everyone who has ever stepped foot in the door has felt. 

Multiple Golden Glove Winners. Professional football players. Olympic athletes. Great-grandmothers. 23 year-old college grads. 44 year-old accountants. People walking around with an extra 100 pounds. People needing to gain weight to save their lives. 67 year-old cancer survivors. Literally everyone we have ever trained. 

And that’s the magic.

Anything you do for the first time will feel scary. Anything worth doing will be difficult. Change is the most difficult thing a human can do. It’s buried deep in our DNA; avoid discomfort and new things because discomfort=danger. And, up until about 60 years ago, our DNA was correct. Difficulty and newness did mean death and danger.

But it’s a new era.

Thanks in large part to advanced medicine, technology, and a decreased manufacturing presence, difficult and uncomfortable things are crucial to survival. In 2018, those who expose themselves to uncomfortable and scary things will adapt and overcome life’s obstacles at an exponentially higher rate than those who avoid it. It feels weird because our biology resists this notion at every turn.

In our not-so-distant biological past, embracing discomfort almost assuredly meant death. In the form of disease, food poisoning, and attack from outsiders, the new and unknown often posed a significant risk to self and family. Today, the new and uncomfortable are the keys to a full life.

No one has ever been proud of an accomplishment that came without doubt, fear, difficulty, and hesitation.

I recently spoke with a friend about some doubts and fears I have regarding some ambitious changes in our business and personal lives. In response she said: “If you’re thinking rationally and consulting trusted advisors, self-doubt is the indicator that you’re embarking into unchartered territory. It’s a normal survival mechanism. It’s also an indicator that you need to go toward that thing.”

Whatever your “I could never do that because ________” happens to be, embrace it. Walk toward the thing that makes you feel afraid or inadequate. On the other side of those feelings are satisfaction and accomplishment.


Getting to Know Coach Josh

These are the core values we hold as a team.
We are so fortunate to have such highly skilled & passionate Coaches at The Hill.
Part 4 of our “Getting to Know the Coach” Blog Series..

He’s never looking for a compliment, but Josh is well deserving of praise. Passionate about coaching, an encyclopedia of knowledge, willing to do the jobs no one else wants to do, and improving everyday both as an athlete and coach.
Josh embodies Caring Honest Driven with every breath. He believes in the payoffs of hardwork and making the world a better place by sacrificially serving others. He expects a lot of himself and is excellent in all that he puts his mind to. He is a loyal friend, quick to encourage others, and a good leader. When Josh is your coach you want to make him proud and find yourself laughing and having fun along the way.

Josh, it is good to have you on our team at The Hill.

Let’s get to know Coach Josh Snyder


Where did you grow up? Breda, Iowa.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be? Park Ranger/Wildlife Manager.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Shop class.

Voted in high school most likely…? Most likely to have the most girlfriends.

Most interesting part time job? Mowing lawns in college.

Movie you can quote or know all the words to.. ALLLLLRIGHTYYYY then! Any Ace Ventura movie.

Got any hidden talents? Karaoke King of Garth Brooks.

What do you like about KC? It is a big city with a small town feel.


Your Job Title at The Hill: Director of Training.

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? August of 2014. I was moving from San Diego and wanted to continue to coach CF so I decided to walk in and see what The Hill was all about. The people were great, Matt had a beard, and I never left.

How long have you been coaching? 5 years.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? I want to be able to help individuals develop some mental toughness and grit. CrossFit allows me to do that through physical adversity.

What do you love about your job?

1. The people I get to encounter on a daily basis.
2. The freedom to shape my own path.
3. The feeling of knowing what we are doing is meaningful beyond physical abilities. 

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of? CF L-2, Underground Strength, CF Mobility,
I am not proud of a single certification but of the relationships they have helped me build. 

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing?  CF L-3 sometime in 2018.

How would you describe your coaching style? Light hearted but focused. We are here to put in work but also have some fun doing it.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? That it is not about today or tomorrow. The journey of health and fitness is a lifetime endeavor. If done correctly we will be the ones kicking it with our grandkids in the yard and on the beach when we are 90!

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Overhead Squats. My wrist has always been a limiting factor but with the right mindset I am getting more comfortable overhead.

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

1. Building more quality relationships with my athletes.
2. Helping coaches develop their own style and build their own relationships.
3. Helping local veterans through Chalk Up for Burpees.
4. Getting Married to Laura!

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? I am grateful to have found an amazing group of individuals who care beyond their own needs. Thank you for setting the example for so many to follow and helping others along the way. Semper Fi!!!




Getting to Know Coach Mindy

Where did you grow up? Independence, MO

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Fashion Designerloved to sketch, Pro Basketball Player, and yes- a Personal Trainer.
Favorite class or activity in high school? PE of course! And basketball. 

In high school, what were you known for? I was known for being athletic and aggressive on the basketball court. 

Most interesting part time job? In eighth grade I worked at a teachers house helping the build a retaining wall, mowing, and cooking.

Share a movie or show you can quote and/or list songs you can rap/know all the words to etc.. I am the worst at quoting anything, but I could probably manage getting through a Jack Johnson song- “Better together” or “Breakdown”.

Got any hidden talents? I love to sketch, dabble on the ukulele and guitar, and I can salsa dance.

What do you like about KC? I like that it’s affordable, you can get anywhere in about 25 minutes, and all my favorite people are here.


How did you get connected to The Hill? I was looking for a place that I could do Olympic lifting on platforms and saw that The Hill had the best open gym hours and rates, and well of course I knew Bri worked there so I reached out to her and got started!

How long have you been coaching? Well if you add in internships and grad assistant, then its around 7 years. I have been coaching at The Hill since March 2016.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? I am motivated by each ah-ha moment an athlete has. To be honest, I am motivated more and get way more excited seeing an athlete do something right the first, second, third, and then every time, then hitting heavier weight. Don’t get me wrong a PR is still very exciting, but when I see someone struggle day after day to achieve a skill and finally something clicks and they do it, then their face lights up. That is what motivates me. I want people to push themselves and see what they are really capable of. Not just how hard can someone push through a workout, but how hard can they push while maintaining virtuosity in a movement. Achieving virtuosity in a skill takes dedication, patience, pristine focus, and drive.To me that is beautiful, and creates longevity for our daily movements and activities.

What do you love about your job? The people! I love the people I work with and work for.
I love that as a business we are constantly growing and striving for excellence.
I love that we have a positive atmosphere.
I love that I have the possibility of changing someone’s life in a positive manner.
I love that I have opportunity to teach others how to do cool things!
I love that I constantly have to learn and grow. There will never be a time that I will know everything.

What certifications do you hold and which are you most proud of? CF- L1, USAW 1, USAW2, CSCS, Gymnastic training course. I’m proud of all of them. However, I really enjoyed my gymnastic course the most and feel like that has had the biggest impact on me and the people I train.

What continuing ed are you planning? My next CEU I will either be advance gymnastics, or CF-L2.

How would you describe your coaching style? Straight to the point, but goofy. I try to keep things simple and explore different coaching techniques that best fits each athlete.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? That it’s a journey and you will never reach the end. The journey is full of challenges and bumps, and maybe some bruises, but it is also full of joy, success, and confidence. The journey is also way more fun and successful if you have loyal travel buddies.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Mental toughness.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Find new things (hobbies/places) to experience and fall in love with.

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? You all are amazing people! As individuals you all have helped create such a friendly environment that works hard. This can be taken for granted on a daily basis, but it shines bright as new people join the gym or as we have drop-ins. You all receive and welcome everybody with bright smiles, encouragement, and positivity that overflows. Keep it up!!!