You Just Finished the CrossFit Open – Now What?

Brilliantly sandwiched between being “just a little too busy” to attend to your New Years Resolutions and “oh crap it’s almost summer” is the CrossFit Open. The Open is a great time to have a little fun, test your fitness, and see where you stack up.

Where should you go from here? The do’s and don’ts of post-Open training.

My first Open season was 2011. My big takeaway: I needed to get stronger. In hindsight, I was right. I weighed 148 pounds (I comfortably walk around 20 pounds heavier), could do a million pull-ups, but struggled with anything that weighed over 95 pounds.

But, I reacted poorly.

How? Well, it’s right there: I reacted. I started an olympic lifting cycle, stacked on a powerlifting cycle, stacked on some strongman work. I quit working out alongside people because I had this super-special proprietary program that would get me strong for next year’s Open.

Well, I got strong. Really strong. But… I lost my muscle up. I lost my dozens of unbroken pull-ups. I got adrenal fatigue which caused me to gain significant body fat. 190 pounds does not feel good on my frame.

After stepping over to the coaching side of things, I would have given myself much different advice. Would I have listened to me? Maybe. Maybe I thought I was a snowflake that knew better and actually had a coach telling me these things. For what it’s worth, here you go:

Do: Evaluate.

Look at where you finished on the leaderboard. Do you see any outliers? Is there a time domain you crush and one where you struggle? Is there a gymnastics skill that routinely jams you up? Was your max effort clean at the end of a workout WAY (15%+) off your PR? Did you PR your clean in that workout? Take a look. What do you see? Here are some fixes:

  • Time domain: Don’t worry too much here. In regular classes, you’ll have plenty of exposure to different time domains. Find a rabbit in each class and push each other.
  • Gymnastics Skill: How many days over the last year did you work on that skill? I’m not talking about those 3 weeks you really got after it. I’m talking about 5-10 minutes a day, everyday. If doing the skill under fatigue is the issue, simply shift your practice time to post-WOD.
  • Strength under fatigue: If you want to be a full-time weightlifter or powerlifter, that’s one thing. If you want to be a generalist, that’s an entirely different beast. In the world of CrossFit, you don’t need to be maximally strong. You need to be strong enoughI’ll bet that targeted skill work will go further in your CrossFit training than a strength cycle.
  • You PR’d your clean AFTER a workout: One of two things occurred here: (1) You’re new (less than 6 months) or (2) You could stand to push the envelope on your training a little more. Don’t always grab the same plates, kettlebells, wall-ball, or whatever. Push it a little.

Don’t: React.

Did you not do as well as you thought? Whatever you do, don’t pull a 2011 Scanny and react. You absolutely don’t need to do olympic lifting everyday, squat everyday, and do a million muscle up attempts each day. Remember: working out won’t make you fitter. RECOVERING from working out will make you fitter. Work on technique, not volume. Remember: The Open, in a nutshell, is one workout performed to maximum effort with sub-maximal weights and ABSOLUTE WORK CAPACITY. I’ve always wondered why peoples’ programming reactions to poor Open performances look nothing like Open workouts themselves. It’s like teaching a kid to drive using a horse.

Do: Learn your rhythm.

A lot of times folks get all up in their head when the Open workouts hit. If, by some reason, the hype of Friday will allow them to summon  Thor-like powers and crush everything that Dave Castro has laid before them. This often results in poor breathing mechanics, poor performance, and frustration.

Instead, use your daily workouts as benchmarks. How do 20 unbroken wall balls make me feel? What’s my pre-workout routine? At how many total reps do my pull-ups fall apart? Where should I breathe in a Thruster? 

Play around with stuff. Attempt t0 find some waves in your training. You won’t be able to go all-out every single day in the gym. So, start off by doing it once every 10 training sessions. Then, once every 8. Eventually, you’ll get the idea of how your body feels and what you can do to get optimum performance.

Don’t: Go hard all the time.

Again, find some undulation in your training. Think in waves and listen to your body. Remember, in most sports, “practice” encompasses ~80% of physical activity. Make sure that your daily workouts have the same rhythms.


Find someone to push you. Take a class with someone that’s working on the same things as you. Make a bet on who will get the first muscle-up. Chase each other to higher performance. I’ve seen dozens of athletes get their first pull-ups and muscle-ups using this “Arms Race” tactic.

Do: Have patience.

If I could go back to 2011, I’d try to drill into myself that strength takes decades of repetition to build. Thousands upon thousands of repetitions. I don’t think a barbell snatch felt “right” until 2-3 years into lifting. Think about putting in the minimum effective daily dose of work.

Don’t: Analyze programming.

There’s a weird tendency I’ve seen a lot of athletes gravitate toward. Beginners just want to learn the movements and show up to work out. Novice athletes begin to care about performance. How well am I performing a pull-up? There’s a shift that occurs as an athlete is cresting novice to intermediate – programming becomes a focus. Things like “volume” and “cycles” come up in conversation. Unfortunately, this premature focus on programming, keeps an athlete “stuck” in this novice/intermediate transition. I was stuck there for years. If you want to add things (“volume”) to your training, the first volume you should add is accessory work: Reverse Hyper, Strict Pull-Ups, Handstand holds, Strict toes-to-bar, planks, and the like. Grab a coach to get some ideas.

Do: Analyze the things that matter.

What matters before programming? Mechanics, nutrition, sleep, alcohol consumption, stress mitigation, workplace ergonomics, appropriate intensity, movement efficiency, breath control, how you deal with adversity, and attitude. I could probably go on for awhile longer, but you get the idea. If you have a butt wink when you squat, no special “squat cycle” will fix gross motor dysfunction. Double your recovery efforts. Double your focus on mechanics. Double your focus on metabolic conditioning. You’ll get really fit, I promise.

Speaking of mechanics… Did you know we have an Olympic Weightlifting Course coming up?


Murph 2018 – Will You Be Ready

Memorial Day Murph is right around the corner.

What is “Murph”? 

Almost all experienced CrossFitters have attempted “Murph” at one point or another. It’s long, painful, and named after Navy lt. Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, a SEAL killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Workout: 

  • 1-mile run
  • 100 pullups
  • 200 pushups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1-mile run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

Getting Ready for the Workout

Mark your calendars now:

Saturday, May 26th
10:00am – Everyone finishes
The Hill

The Murph Prep Program

Coach Mindy has written a program to get you ready for Murph in 8 weeks. The program focuses primarily on increased push-up volume, running prep, and – most importantly – shoulder health.



Healthy Lunch Options in the Kansas City Crossroads

meal prep

One of my favorite parts of living and working in downtown Kansas City is all the amazing local restaurant options. From BBQ to vegan, you can’t go wrong. If you’re trying to dial in your nutrition or lose weight, however, the abundance of close and convenient eateries can be problematic. But, with a little planning and menu tweaking, you can actually find some delicious, healthy lunch options. Here’s a run-down of some of our favorites:

Cafe Gratitude

Honestly when it comes to eating out this might be one of the best menu I have ever seen! I really don’t think you could go wrong with any of the options. 

TryAdd Kimchi to everything!  Fermented foods rock!

ModifyI would recommend staying away from the juices and smoothies because they will be high in sugar, low in fiber, and not fill you up for very long. 

Evolve Paleo Chef

Try: Salads and entrees look good.  They are a little high in fat, but for “eating out” it’s not bad. Take a fruit or veggie cup or jerky pack back to the office to snack on later.

Modify: The desserts. Just because they are paleo doesn’t mean you need dessert at lunch. Again, I’m not a huge fan of juices so I would avoid those and snack on whole foods.  And I definitely would advise against having a full juice with a meal.

Protein House

Try: Breakfast Sandwich, PH Hash (could split into 2 meals or a meal and leave some for a snack later), Loaded Oatmeal, PH Greek Yogurt, Super Bird Omelet, SHRDD Veggie Omelet, Plant Power Bowl (vegetarian), Power Wrap (vegetarian), PH Vegan Mixed Salad (vegan), Southwest Veggie Wrap (eat half and save other half for a snack or lunch the next day), Salads, Bowls, and Wraps.

Modify: Always add dressing yourself. And try to use oil-based dressing (Vitamins A, D, E, & K are fat soluble, which meals there must be fat present to absorb them). Split wraps/bowls into 2 meals and have with a side salad. 

The Westside Local

Try: They have a seasonal menu, so it changes frequently and is always fresh. Look for items that list at least 1-2 veggies. Eat ½ of wraps and sandwiches and pair it with a side salad or a veggie Locality. When looking at entrees make sure there is a protein and at least 1 veggie, preferably 2.

Modify: Items covered in cheese.

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop

Try: Thai Lettuce Wraps, Satay, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Wok dishes are a good choice (the more veggies the better), Curries, Salads, Red curry tofu.

Modify: Sodium is always the biggest issue at noodle/ramen restaurants. Wok No Brainers – avoid meats that have been battered and/or fried. Soups are going to be very high in sodium.  If you get a soup make sure to eat the veggies and meat and leave remaining broth. Always add salad dressing yourself. Substitute crab rangoon for spring roll. Be mindful while eating meals that come with noodles or rice.  These are fine to have, but the correct portion size is a cupped fist full (1 for women, 2 for men).

Blue Bird Bistro

Try: Look for items that list at least 1-2 veggies. Eat ½ of wraps and sandwiches and pair it with a side salad or a veggie starter. Choose meats that are grilled not fried. When looking at entrees make sure there is a protein and at least 1 veggie, preferably 2.

Modify: Menu items covered in cheese

The Mixx

Try: Build a salad, add any veggies you want, 1 fruit, 1 protein, 1 legume OR grain (unless you are vegetarian, then 1 of each), nuts and seeds optional – no candied pecans, substitute black beans or salad or sandwich side, the more veggies the better for mixx ins.

Modify: Cheese optional – ask for a small amount, always add dressing yourself.

Jack Stack BBQ

Try: Fill up on salad first. Eat sandwiches open faced. Opt for lean meats, like turkey & chicken over fatty cuts like burnt ends & sausage.

Modify: Substitute a side of fries for a side salad, coleslaw, baked potato with a little butter, broccoli with roasted garlic butter, or veggie kabob. Use BBQ sauce sparingly. BBQ may be good for the soul, but not so much for the “diet”.  Eat intuitively.  Stop eating when you are 80% full.  If you are still hungry after 5-10 minutes have a little more. 

The Jacobson

Try: Fresh Markets Greens and More are good options – Always add dressing yourself. Waldorf chicken salad – ½ might be enough with a side salad or veggie Accompaniment. Heirloom & Ancient Grain Bowl. Bourbon-Glazed Roasted Cedar Plank. Salmon

Modify: Crispy Fish Tacos – ask for them grilled. 

BLVD Tavern

Try: Avocado Toast, Organic Scottish Salmon, Shrimp & Grits, Quiche of the Day

Modify: Corned Beef – Get Creamy horseradish on the side and use sparingly – only eat ½ if it is a large sandwich & have greens as side. 

Grab ‘n Go: Eat Fit Go

Try: Breakfast choices are a good way to start the day.  Avoid starting the day with processed sugar (i.e. bagel, muffin, sugary coffee, cereal). Snacks are great to keep in the office when working long hours. There more veggies the better. Has a lot of options for people with food allergies. 

Modify: Eat Pasta meals sparingly. 

Remember, restaurants generally aim to create the best-tasting food experience. Even if the restaurant has fresh, “healthy” ingredients, it is easy to rack up the calories while eating out. Try to limit how many times you eat out for lunch but, if you find yourself in a bind, follow these simple steps to choose some healthy options next time you’re in Kansas City eating out! 























Getting to Know Coach Blue


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 2 of our “Getting to Know the Coach” Blog Series


We can only assume that Coach Blue’s calm, caring demeanor stems from his glorious beard and love of cats. You’ll find Blue throwing down good vibes weekdays at 7:00pm and throwing down daily in his own training. We’re grateful for Blue’s adaptability, care for his athletes, and – of course – his annual speedo appearance.


Name: Eric Blue

Where did you grow up? South Bend, Indiana.

Fill in the blank: I wanted to be a __ when I grew up. A veterinarian or a gym teacher. So basically two complete opposite things.

Favorite class or activity in high school? Biology.

Voted in high school most likely to… Be in the Olympics. I was a State Champion Swimmer!

Most interesting part time job? Competitive swimmer from the age of 6 to 22.

I can quote… Both Home Alone movies and Ms. Jackson by Outkast.

Got any hidden talents? I have an encyclopedic knowledge of useless information (movie quotes, sports facts, etc.).

What do you like about KC? BBQ (obviously), the music scene, being a part of a city that is trying to grow and progress, all the great people I have met since moving here.


Your Job Title at The Hill: Trainer

Certification: Crossfit Level 1

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? My friend Mitch Stout was one of the original owners/coaches here. He and his wife moved to Columbia (where I used to live) and when I was getting ready to move to KC they said I should check out the Hill.

How long have you been coaching? Three years since January! My first year or so was at Crossfit Fringe in Columbia and the last two or so years have been here at the Hill.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? Helping people to improve daily. Not just being able to do a pull up and snatch better but also creating the right mindset about daunting workouts, lifts, or movements.

What do you love about your job? Interacting with people. My other job is fairly individualized so it’s nice to be able to come into the gym everyday and interact with like minded people and just have fun.

What continuing ed are you planning or currently doing? There are a few seminars and courses I would like to attend but the stars haven’t aligned recently. I am hoping to attend gymnastics and weightlifting related courses in the near future.

How would you describe your coaching style? Laid back.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? Not that this is some sort of secret, but it is important to be consistent and flexible. If you have a day where you aren’t motivated, just getting up and moving is worthwhile. You don’t always have to throw heavy weights overhead or collapse onto the ground in exhaustion after a workout to make that day “count”.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Taking care of myself through good, consistent nutrition; getting an adequate amount of rest everyday; being focused in the gym at the task on hand and not what is coming up or what happened in the past.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? The Open!







A Case for Not Checking the WOD

I’ve grown to love analytics. If you get a critical mass of people behaving in very similar fashions you can begin to make inferences about that behavior. I especially geek out about people’s’ behavior online. One of my jobs is to help gym owners with their online presence and branding. After looking at users’ behavior on hundreds of CrossFit websites, I’ve noticed an interesting trend:

People will do ANYTHING to see the day’s WOD.

I mean, it’s pretty incredible. On our site alone, Monday through Friday, the WOD is checked nearly 800 times a week. In fact, the data is so overwhelming that we’ve begun to change the way we build websites accordingly. Gyms are no different than any business or organization – communication with customers is very difficult. We’ve tried email, text messaging, Facebook Groups, announcement boards, and announcements after every workout of the day. It was still really difficult to convey a message.

So we buried the WOD.

In website development, there are a couple absolutes – you have about 3 seconds and 2 clicks to get people where you want them to go online. Our attention span is all but non-existent – especially in a digital world. There is one HUGE exception to this rule: the day’s WOD. You can put that bad boy down a digital Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole and CrossFitters everywhere will hunt it down like a prized bird dog. We started to build websites with WODs buried under (more) important things like nutrition information, content from coaches, and announcements. Hell, you’re probably reading this now because you were on your way to see a WOD 🙂

I get it.

I did my first CrossFit WOD from almost a decade ago. I joined my first affiliate almost 8 years ago. It’s only been in the last 9 months that I refused to look at the WOD ahead of time. I do the same warm-up everyday, then ask Josh what we’re doing 10 minutes before we start the party. Cherry-picking aside, there are plenty of very valid reasons to check the WOD that I’ve heard in the past:

  • I’d like to know what I’m getting myself into
  • I’ll skip a lunch meeting or eat a little healthier if I know Fran is coming up today
  • I won’t go out for drinks tonight if tomorrow’s WOD is a brutal one
  • I want to know what mobility I need to do
  • I want to plan my extra workouts throughout the week, like training for a marathon or doing a 2-a-day

All completely valid reasons. But, if we’re being honest, most of us would be better off behaving as if tomorrow will be a really tough workout, right?

I’d like to make the case that you take the next month and never check the day’s WOD. Simply choose a workout/rest schedule and stick to it no matter what. Come in Monday through Wednesday, rest Thursday, then workout Friday and Saturday. Or and Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday rest, Thursday/Friday. Choose a class time and get it in. 

1. Practice being “up for anything”.

Lessons from the gym carry over into life. Life is unpredictable. Really terrible shit can happen very randomly. We can do absolutely nothing to change anything the exact moment that thing happens. Our only course of action is to adjust our reaction to the thing. I used to get really bent out of shape when I’d make an accidental mess; like grinding up a bunch of coffee only to spill it all over the kitchen, making an awful mess. What would getting upset solve? You just have to begin the slow tedious work of cleaning up all the ground beans you spilled.

What if we used the day’s WOD to practice this? Show up, see how tough it’ll be and say “Well, what other option do I have? Let’s get it done.”

2. Surrender to the process.

WebMD has turned us all into armchair Physicians. Similarly, Instagram has turned us all into fitness professionals. If you have legitimate, attainable, measurable goals you want to work toward – like body composition change or running your first marathon – don’t try to figure that crap out on your own. Sit down with a coach. They know – and they’ve done – the WODs coming up. They have trained thousands of different people for thousands of hours under countless conditions and goals. Lean on them for guidance and schedule a time to meet with your Crew Captain regularly.

If you’re trying on your own to “build the perfect program” – it doesn’t exist. You’ll gravitate toward the things you like and shy away from the things you don’t (and probably need). Trust me, I did this for years and my fitness suffered tremendously and, ultimate, ended in an injury from which I’m just now recovering. In a given 2 weeks, you’ll have exposure a couple cardio days, a couple strength days, a few High Intensity Interval Days, and some “active recovery” days. Each of these days rotate weekly. If you set your schedule (see #1), you’ll hit each of the appropriate workout types to achieve world-class fitness.

3. You don’t need anymore stress or anxiety.

Save your anxiety for stuff that matters. While you may say to yourself that “the workout doesn’t matter” the truth is that you expend some mental energy on thinking about what you’re about to do. You plan on a 6am workout, but you check the WOD the night before giving yourself just hint of stress about what you’re waking up to. Your alarm goes off, you check the WOD, and hit snooze coming to the conclusion that the work “doesn’t fit with your goals right now.”

It’s important to begin to create positive associations with beneficial habits. I know cause I’ve been there; sitting in a cubicle, checking the WOD, and freaking out about how much it’s going to suck. Questioning whether or not I can do it. Thinking about how much everyone will be looking at me. Scared that I’ll be at the bottom of the leaderboard. What if we adopted the “up for whatever” mindset? What if we attacked our weaknesses with the same gusto we played to our strengths.

4. The unknown and unknowable – both physically and mentally.

This is what CrossFit was founded on – practicing the unknown and the unknowable. Having such a strong basis of General Physical Preparedness, one could realistically complete any task in front of them at a moment’s notice. I like to think of it as the “5k Principle” – if someone asks me to hop into a 5k run this weekend, I’d like to think I’d be up for the task. I won’t be first, I won’t be last, I may be in a small amount of pain, but I’ll get the job done and not be wrecked for the rest of the weekend. Similarly, I’d also like to be able to rip a bodyweight snatch in Nanos within 10 minutes of warming up. Not a world record, but the carry-over into a functional life is clear.

Much like the physical unknown, what if we practiced this in our mental and emotional lives? What if we stepped into a potentially uncomfortable situation, not knowing the outcome three to five times a week? What if we became so calmly comfortable with the unknown, uncomfortable that our ability to adapt in our careers and relationships improved as a result of practice in the gym?

A 4-Week Challenge.

Here’s my challenge: Set a time and day schedule for the next 4 weeks. Don’t check the WOD and just show up no matter what. As weird as it sounds, this has dramatically changed not only my fitness, but my life. I used to hate – and almost entirely avoid – any type of unknown social interaction. Shopping was the worst. Going into a situation in which I didn’t have defined roles and tasks would tie my stomach in knots. I much preferred to play bartender or chef at a party than sit and relax with other people I only kind of knew.

Showing up to work out without knowing what I was getting myself into really helped with this. It was an unknown, uncomfortable situation that pushed me but I survived every single time. I became more adaptable and less afraid of the unknown and unknowable. I started making better life choices because I never know when Fran would be poking her head out around the corner…

In Health Knowledge is NOT Power

You want to improve your health. You just need to KNOW what to do, right?

Every time I do a presentation on fitness, health, or nutrition I ask the audience the same question: “How many times today did a physician tell a patient some version of ‘eat healthier, stop smoking, and move more?” The number is probably in the tens of thousands.

Now, imagine a late-night “man on the street” segment. The host asks passers-by “true or false: you should eat healthy foods, plenty of veggies, minimal sweets, not smoke, and workout several hours a week.” What percentage of “true’s” would we get? My guess is somewhere over 90%.

Imagine a study where people of all walks of life, income levels, socio-economic backgrounds, and ages are all shown images of food found in most grocery stores. The foods range from kale to Twinkies. Each time an image pops up, the participant must select “One should probably eat more of foods like this than they currently do” or “one should probably eat less of this than they currently do.” My guess is that participants of all different demographics would tend to select the buttons congruent with a scientifically-supported “healthy” diet.

Take those same participants and show them different types of scientifically-supported exercise – aerobic activities, resistance training, HIIT classes, and stretching. Randomly show them other “less healthy” activities like excessive sitting, binge drinking, or sleeping in. My guess is we’d have similar results. An overwhelming number of people will be able to recognize the activities that promote health and those that detract.

I recently took a moment to pause at the food stand of my favorite retailer.

I noticed that the calorie content for each of the meals and snacks was posted next to the menu item. On the surface, I thought “hey, what a great idea!” –Please don’t get this twisted – I am a strong supporter of treats, snacks, and “cheat” meals. If you want a hot dog – go sick. Have the best, most loaded hot dog imaginable. But, back to the menu- A well informed citizenry will make great decisions, right?


I’m not advocating that we abandon the acquisition of knowledge whatsoever. Knowing how the body works protects us from charlatans and snake oil salespeople. In fact, I advocate that you increase your understanding of science and physiology. What I’m talking about here is where the rubber meets the road.

When someone talks about a car’s horsepower, there are two numbers we look at. There is horsepower and then there is Wheel horsepower. Wheel horsepower is always a lower number because power is lost as it transfers from the drive shaft, through some gears and finally where the tire meets the road. Horsepower only matters at the wheel. Sure it is cool to have a 1,000 horsepower car, but all those ponies only matter if you can haul ass, right?

Many times people hide behind knowledge. They’re looking for just the right programming. Maybe they need someone to tell them the exact ratio of protein, fat, and carbs to eat. They spend more time researching the perfect meditation app or mindfulness strategy than they do sitting still. They freak out over toxins and “unclean” foods while hammering vodka sodas all weekend.

You have all the knowledge you need to drastically change the course of your health and your life. You probably have coaches all around you repeatedly telling you the things you need to do, but you’re not quite ready to hear the truth. Focus more on where the rubber meets the road – your horsepower at the wheels – than you do your car’s theoretical horsepower. This is done through habit, consistency, and practice. This comes from doing what you know you should do whether you feel like it or not. Building your horsepower at the wheels isn’t sexy. It takes time. It takes discipline. It is uncomfortable. Find a friend or coach, buckle up, and let’s use some of that mental horsepower to lay down some rubber.


Getting to Know Coach Brianna

These are the core values that we hold as a staff and coaching team.
And we are so fortunate to have such highly skilled and passionate Coaches at The Hill.

Welcome to Part 1 of our “Getting to Know the Coach” series.

Getting to Know Coach Brianna Walters!

Many would not recognize the Brianna I first met nearly six years ago, at Liberty Memorial Park. Timid and shy, Brianna went way out on a limb to join a CrossFit class. Shortly thereafter, Bri started up through our Fundamentals program and began to blossom into the athlete you know today. I’m incredibly proud of the coach she is, but more importantly, the person she is- and is becoming. She’s an adoring wife, fiercely loving mother, and someone who pursues excellence in everything she does. Coach Bri is a shining example of our core values for coaches and we’re incredibly thankful to have her on the team. -Matt Scanlon

Name AKA: Bri. Breezy Fo’ Sheezy. Burrrrrito.

Where did you grow up? Bates City, Mo.

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

It changed a lot. A veterinarian. A homicide detective (thank you Diagnosis Murder). A horse trainer.

Favorite class or activity in high school? I mostly just socialized.

During high school known for…

Mmmmm. I was probably most known for dating the most popular (shoulder brush) guy at our rival school.

Most interesting part time job? Construction Manager for a family construction business. I also did all of the construction cleans for him (Rough-in, Sheetrock, final).

Song or movie you love to quote/know by heart?

Super Troopers is the most quotable movie of all time. And I can rap all of Usher’s – ‘Yeah’.

Got any hidden talents? I sing, or used to. It’s been a minute. Second alto ya’ll.

What do you like about KC? I’ve always lived here. It’s comfortable, it’s where my family is, and it’s centrally located to the whole U.S. of A!


Your Job Title at The Hill: Epic Noon Coach and other stuff.

How & when did you get connected to The Hill? January 2013, I was given a Fundamentals package for Christmas.

How long have you been coaching? I’ve been coaching for 3-1/2 years.

How would you describe your coaching style? Lighthearted and welcoming, with a hint of “stop your whining”.

Why Coach? – what motivates you personally? I love being with people, and helping our athletes realize and achieve their potential.

What do you love about your job? Seriously? It’s the best place to work. The support of the leaders and staff. The friendly and hard-working athletes. Spikeball. I always feel at ease and excited to be there. I’ve never had a “bad” day at The Hill. My mood always changes when I walk in the doors.

What certifications do you hold and of which are you most proud? CF-L2, ACE CPT, PN1, Movement and Mobility. I am proud of all of them. They represent hard work and dedication. Some were harder to obtain than others, but they’re all apart of what makes me the coach I am today.

What continuing ed are you planning? I’d like to get the MWOD Performance Cert next year, and perhaps a CrossFit Specialty certification.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about health and fitness? It doesn’t have to be so hard. Have fun, be consistent, and give your best. And don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh when you mess up, dance party when you find success.

What is something you are working on improving as an athlete personally? Ugh. Gymnastics, because I’m not the best at them. Back Squats, because I love them.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Living life!

Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family? Thank YOU, for making this place all that it is. Without my friends and family here, I’m just someone who claps and cheers alone.






Is Your Vitamin a Waste of Money?

Adding a daily vitamin is never a bad idea.  In today’s fast food culture only 13.1% of Americans are meeting minimum fruit recommendations and only 8.9 % are meeting vegetable recommendations.  The real kicker is that when you do eat your fruits and veggies you still may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.  Over the year’s nutrient content has decreased by upwards of 37% due to improper farming techniques, pesticides, and GMOs.

Synthetic Vitamin Forms

  • B6 as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Folic Acid
  • B12 as Cyanocobalamin
Natural Vitamin Forms

  • B6 as Pyridoxal-5-phosphate
  • Folate
  • B12 as Methylcobalamin
Non-Chelated Mineral Forms

  • Oxides (Zinc or Magnesium Oxide)
  • Carbonates (Calcium Carbonate)
Chelated Mineral Forms

Amino acid chelates are significantly easier to absorb and utilize

Ingredients: Unnecessary Binders, Fillers, Coatings, or Preservatives

  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Lactose
Ingredients: No Unnecessary Binders, Fillers, Coatings, or Preservatives
Ingredients: No Synthetic Colors or Flavorings

  • Synthetic Colors (FD&C, Brilliant Blue, etc.)
  • Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose, Ace-k)
Ingredients: No Synthetic Colors or Flavorings


Taking a multivitamin can help fill these gaps.  However, not all vitamins are created equal.  Take this chart with you next time you are out shopping to help you pick out the best multi.

What type of gym is right for you? A Quiz.

The coaches at the gym and I have been creating an assessment rubric over the last month to integrate in to our Personalized Success Plans for new gym members. While we’ve always included some type of mobility and safety assessment, we’re beginning to explore long-term adherence to gym attendance. What external factors keep people engaged? What do the other 23 hours outside the gym need to look like in order to support the 1 hour spent inside the gym?

This morning, someone shared another “Dear Fitness Industry…” article with me. The author explained how he, like many standing on the outside, feels as though the fitness industry does not speak to him; that the messaging from the industry is missing the mark. I couldn’t agree more. However, we’ve seen literally hundreds of examples of “outsiders” finding their home in our gym. From Adaptive Athletes to Cancer Survivors, we see people finding their gym home everyday. I believe that fitness is for everyone. But, you have to find the right tribe for you. And that means you’ll need to keep an open mind.

People still think we’re crazy for thinking CrossFit is ideal for cancer survivors. Swing by some Tuesday or Thursday evening and I’ll introduce you to dozens of badass survivors that will disagree. Training seniors outside of a four-foot pool? No way. Swing by our Legends class and meet some amazing folks building serious functional strength and independence.

What’s the right gym for you?

Use the following quiz as a rubric to determine what type of gym or workout plan will keep you coming back. Keep in mind that you’ll want to be doing whatever you choose to do for the next 50 years. Also keep in mind that you’ll need to begin working on things in addition to working out – things like nutrition, stress management, recovery, and sleep. All these factors are just as important as the workout itself. A good gym or fitness professional should be able to speak to these.

Also keep in mind that your motivation will run out. Most folks can maintain their own motivation for 6-12 weeks after which they will need some external supports to maintain their gym routine. A lot of the questions in this quiz will related to those external factors since they will have the largest bearing on your long-term adherence.

Each of the following questions are yes or no. If you fall in between the two, try to honestly assess toward which answer you’re leaning.

Without deviation, FOR THE LAST 18 MONTHS: 

  1. I have attended a gym for at least 3 hours per week interrupted only by holidays and vacation.
  2. I go to bed and wake up at the same time at least 6 days per week.
  3. My job has predictable daily and weekly hours, with duties rarely eating into my personal time.
  4. I travel less than 10% of the year for work.
  5. My work is rarely stressful nor do I think about it outside of working hours.
  6. My five closest friends and significant other all work out at least 3 hours per week.
  7. I eat at restaurants two or less times per week.
  8. I have 80% of my daytime breakfast, snacks, and lunches planned before my week begins.
  9. I generally stay with a consistent workout program for at least 6 months, knowing that results take time and consistency.
  10. I have a morning routine that includes things like cooking breakfast, practicing gratitude, making my bed, going for a walk, or meditating that I maintain at least Monday through Friday.

Go ahead and tally up all of your “yes” answers. Be sure that you’re answering based upon your last 18 months, not your last 3 weeks of really high motivation. It’s important to remember that your motivation will run out typically in the first 12 weeks. After that, you’ll need additional structures to maintain your new habits.

Score: 8-10. Access Gym, ClassPass, or Home Gym

You have strong external supports and built-in habits already. Your work and home life are conducive to you maintaining consistency in the gym without adding much additional support. It typically takes 3-5 years of consistency to get here, but going to the gym is an integrated part of your day. You wouldn’t feel right if you didn’t go to the gym.

You should feel confident signing a long-term one or two year contract at an access gym – like Gold’s or Planet Fitness – since the likelihood of you using that membership are very high. ClassPass is a fun option if you like to work out with other people. ClassPass is also good because you have the knowledge to manage your own program and will, like the Access Gym, utilize the full value or your passes. You can also feel confident investing in some good Home Gym equipment knowing that it won’t be a coat rack in a few weeks.

Score 5-7. Hybrid Gym or Dedicated Class Program

You have some of the supports that will predict success, but not quite enough to ensure long-term adherence. Work or home life may be in conflict with your goals, which means you’ll need some structure from a fitness professional. Before going down the road of finding a fitness pro, be sure to really evaluate if you’re ready to re-structure things in a way that will be in line with your stated goals.

You may tend to feel really motivated at certain benchmarks – New Years or at the outset of pool season, for example. At these times, you may sign a long-term contract at an Access Gym only to fall off after 6-8 weeks. You may also try a ClassPass, but randomly try classes that sound fun but soon find yourself only using a pass a week. Access Gyms and ClassPass make all their profit off the 5-7 group. Really motivated at first, but then continue to pay for a service they never use.

5-7’s do really well with structured, linear group classes coached by emotionally intelligent coaches – not cheerleaders. This group tends to find motivation in learning new skills and progressions while the body composition changes are happening behind the scenes. 5-7’s will meet new friends at the gym, building out their external support structure. They will begin to make adjustments in their day-to-day schedule because they’re finding working out to be fun (weird, right?).

If you found a lot of your “no” answers were related to work & schedule, this group will need some 1-on-1 support. Whether this is weekly or monthly, you’ll need just a bit more accountability. If work obligations tend to creep into self-care obligations, the financial and personal accountability of a 1-on-1 session will be a good benchmark to keep in your calendar. If you travel a lot for work, having a skilled coach create some programming or meal planning options while you travel will help you maintain some discipline while on the road.

Score 0-4. 1-on-1 Training, Nutrition Coaching, or Outside Help

The first thing to recognize is that everyone starts here. Whether they were 14 or 40 years old, anyone starting a new habit begins in this range. When you first started brushing your teeth as a toddler, you were a 0. Now you’re (hopefully) a 10. You probably had a parental figure providing 1-on-1, daily assistance as you built that habit. Approach your fitness with the same mindset.

Your goal (if you’re, in fact, ready to start) is to find a trainer you trust. More important than their credentials is their ability to listen and empathize. The purpose here is not necessarily to see results, but to build a positive experience – to have a “win” – each time you walk in the gym. You’ll see results, but only after you’ve created a habit and trust with your trainer. You may also be a great candidate for in-depth Nutrition Services. Again, the goal with Nutrition Coaching is not necessarily education (you know what you should and shouldn’t eat), but to build trust and positive experiences around food.

This is also a time to evaluate if fitness is the immediate need. There are times when someone’s needs may be outside the scope of a fitness professional. When your feelings about your abilities, your body, and food go beyond needing to make some tweaks in your routine and schedule, it may be a good time to seek some professional counseling. Again, this will also lead to building positive experiences and feelings which will, ultimately, set you up for success in the gym.

Everyone is different.

We live in a time in fitness where every gym or program is screaming: “OUR WAY IS THE BEST WAY!!!” Generally, this is well intended. The trainer probably stumbled upon that thing – yoga, CrossFit, spin, or powerlifting – and had a life-changing experience. Of course they’d want to share that with the world! But the reality is that no two people are motivated the same way. More importantly, your outside-the-gym life is a much greater indicator of your success inside the gym. So be honest with where you are today and make a decision accordingly.



Learn Now What You’ll Do in June

Take a moment to visualize the most stressful day you had in 2017.

What about the most stressful week or month? Think back to a time when you were traveling for work more than usual or had an extra busy week in the office.

What was your default setting?

We don’t rise to the level of our expectationswe fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

During that day, week, or month what did your diet look like? Did you work out first thing in the morning? Did you have a moment of gratitude for your significant other or family? How did you treat the people around you?

A healthier lifestyle isn’t built upon motivation, it is built upon training, repetition, and habit. Becoming healthy is becoming aware of your default settings under stress; it’s accounting for the least common denominator. Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds (of body fat) in 2018. This won’t occur until sometime between mid March and May 1st. What habits will carry you past the point that you feel motivated.

I hate “challenges”

For the second year in a row, the Whole30 Challenge was ranked worst amongst 37 other diet protocols. Not only does it provide the false hope of a plummeting scale (mostly water and lean tissue loss), but it never accounts for your most stressful day. Is the prescription of the diet something that can be maintained during your worst, most travel-filled week of 2018? No.

Building Sustainable Habits

Honestly, it’s MUCH easier to give you a list of “good” and “bad” foods and say “eat this, not that” and give you points for eating “good” things. Black and white. Good and bad.

But, what are you going to do in May when you slept in, need to get your kid ready for school, and the best you can do is grab a cup of coffee as you rush out the door, forgetting your work bag? What happens when you don’t have someone over your shoulder saying “sweet potatoes good, donuts bad”? What’s your default training?

This year, our New Year nutrition “challenge” is called “Building Sustainable Habits.” Honestly, it’s not really a challenge. It’s training. It’s understanding your default setting when things get tough. It’s finding 2-3 things that you’ll fall back on in June. It’s creating a nightly routine so you have a small handful of vegetables and a turkey sandwich sitting in the fridge when you slept through your alarm.

There is no motivation – only training.