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!

 

 

 

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

 

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!

 

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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Shannon Oelke: Featured Athlete of December


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

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

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

Shannon’s Interview:

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

What is your favorite color? Fall Leaves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ashley Travalent Featured Athlete of November 2018


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

These are the attributes that we look for in our athletes. Each month we like to Feature an athlete who exemplifies these core values.
Ashley is super consistent and always encourages others. She works really hard and is fun to hang out with and brings a super positive energy to the gym.

Thank you so much Ashley for being part of the foundation of The Hill, and for bearing with Scanny’s 90’s playlists.
Without athletes like you we would not have the awesome community that we know and love.

How long have you been working out at The Hill? 3 years.

What would your dream workout be? Running, hang power cleans, sit ups, push jerks.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? You don’t have to be an elite athlete to do it! CrossFit is infinitely scale-able for every person.

How is The Hill different than other gyms you’ve been to? The coaches here are dedicated to improving their skill set so they can pass those skills along to us. Whether it’s Bri with nutrition certification or Mindy with gymnastics, our coaches are driven to learn more – I love that!

What were some of the challenges you were having before you started at CrossFit Memorial Hill? My form before finding the Hill was awful! Fortunately the coaches here are all about integrity of movement, so I’ve been improving ever since.

How have you seen those challenges improve since joining The Hill?  Now that the mechanics of my movement are better I’ve been able to increase my intensity during the workouts.

How do you make working out fit into your busy schedule? When I was working full time I went to the 6 am class. I knew I would talk myself out of going to a later class, so getting in the gym early and getting it done was a priority for me.

What are some of your goals in or out of the gym? Personal Records or achievements that your proud of? I finally PR’d my back squat after 2 years of trying. 🤗

What keeps you coming back? And where do you find your motivation when the workout looks difficult? The coaches and the people keep me coming back. Our gym is d-bag free. I have to admit that when the workout looks difficult I think maybe I’ll take a “rest day”. Then I remember that I didn’t die during the last difficult workout so I probably won’t die during this one either. It also helps to know I won’t be suffering alone – we’re all in it together.

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam? I super duper love the Hill! And I love how inclusive our gym is. Between Legends, Build and adaptive athletes, we’ve got something for everyone. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Andrew Graziano Featured Athlete of October


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

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

From the moment Andrew walked through our doors, we could tell that he was Our PEOPLE. It was love at first WOD.

Andrew is not daunted by anything we program. He happily goes for it with intensity and positivity. He is humble and easy to coach. Andrew encourages others so much, Miss Hollie recently made him our Deputy Cheerleader.

It’s also rare to see someone work so hard yet have fun and not take themselves too seriously. Andrew captures the essence of The Hill in this way- We’re not trying to set records or go to regionals, but we still give it our all and leave everything on the gym floor.

What’s your athletic background? I have been CrossFitting for about four years. Before that I was a lifeguard instructor and runner.

When did you start working out at The Hill? 24 May, 2018. It was a 5pm class on a Thursday.

What keeps you coming back? The community. Leadership at The Hill has fostered a community of positivity, support, and encouragement. This place and these people welcomed me when I moved to Kansas City where I knew absolutely zero humans.

Was this your first experience with CrossFit? My CrossFit journey began in Upstate New York at CrossFit Mohawk Valley. It was my first time picking up a barbell, attempting a pullup, and touching a kettlebell or rings. The coaches at CFMV were patient with me as my knowledge base and skill level grew. Never once in CrossFit have I ever been made to feel inadequate or weak. It is that mentality that I try to bring to every WOD I do. To make sure every human, no matter skill level, knows that they are putting in hard work and are adequate and amazing.

If you could write the WOD what would it be?

RUNNING
CLEANS
PULL UPS
DEADLIFTS

FOREVER!!!!!!!

What are some of your goals, fitness or personal- for 2018? I want to be able to clean over two hundred pounds. Also, I would be absolutely buzzing if I could get two or more strict ring muscle ups in a row.

Any PR’s that your proud of? One time Josh said he wanted us to go light for snatching one day. I PR’d twice. It was awesome.

There was a WOD where we had HSPUs, Bike, and Rowing. I was able to string all of my HSPUs together for each round. Which was a huge moment for me because I am very uncoordinated.

OH AND there was the day I PR’d C&J at 185. Everyone was watching because it was two minutes before class ended (obviously). Coach came up to me and said, “Get tall before getting under that bar.” And when I fired, something just clicked, and the bar was overhead. I screamed out MISS VANJIE and ran around the gym. It was a great day.

List one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF? I gained ten pounds of muscle in two months. So that has been fun.

Also, I am more confident in who I am. Not in like a douche way, in that I am content with the person I have become. I am loud, and goofy, and HELLA awkward. But I know that I am kind. I encourage others. I make a concerted effort to bring joy to others. There was a time where I would be too scared or insecure to talk to people for fear that they would make fun of me or not like me. I am okay now being authentically me. Because I don’t think there are a lot of people out there that genuinely want to be kind and give life to others. CrossFit has helped me be authentically, transparently, unashamedly Andrew.

What do you like about KC? The Hill.
The people I have meet here at The Hill have accepted me into their lives. I cannot express how much this means to me.

Also, Tiki Taco is legit.

Why do you live in KC? And how do you like to spend your free time? I am a medical student completing three of my Third Year core clinical rotations at St. Luke’s Hospital.

When I am not at SLH or The Hill, I am hanging out with #fitfam from The Hill. Literally any of the members, I just turn up where they are. Like an awkward piece of furniture in their spectacular, beautiful lives.

I also read. Mainly Stephen King or YA fiction. 

What’s your favorite cheat meal? Probs Tiki Taco consisting of the Surf & Turf burrito, a chupacobba, and a steak quesadilla. Yes, I have and will eat that all. AND AFTER I WILL HOUSE A PINT OF BEN & JERRY’S CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE TRUFFLE

BECAUSE IT’S CHEAT DAY B*TCHES!!!!
🦄🦖🙌🏼🏋🏻‍♂️💅🏼🌈👏🏼🤸🏻‍♂️💅🏼😎

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? This is YOUR journey. No one starts knowing this. We all have to learn and grow. Be patient with yourself and know that you will make progress. I am on your side. I know you can do it.

Anything else you would like to share with our coaches or the whole #fitfam? In all sincerity I cannot express how grateful and humbled I am. That all of you have accepted me into this beautiful community. I am very touched and thankful that you have let me be a part of your lives.

I must single out Coach Josh. You are patient and kind. You never get upset with anyone in class. Even when we get distracted. Even when I pull my clean too early. Or call you Dave Castro. I very grateful for your guidance, your example as a man of character & coach, and your friendship. Thank you.

Featured Athlete of September: Megan Sheeley


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

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

Megan “Hot Pants” Sheeley is one of our head cheerleaders and the original “Woo-Girl” at The Hill. A natural leader, overcomer and an encouraging voice during difficult WODs. Loyal to her family and friends she loves her tribe and we can’t imagine ours without her.

What’s your athletic background? I played some high school sports, and ran a couple of marathons in my younger days.

When did you start working out at The Hill? October 2014

What keeps you coming back? The community is great. I love the people I work out with, I love the energy I get from being around like minded people. It keeps me healthy and happy. The coaches are amazing and continually strive to make working out fun and challenging at the same time.

Was this your first experience with CrossFit? First time ever doing CrossFit! I tried it once and am staying for life.

If you could write the Workout Of the Day what would it be? Back squat, cleans, maybe some wall balls. One of my favorite WODs was one where we had 30 rounds. It sounds awful but it was fun to do and you just had to keep going. The great thing about CrossFit is that as much as I don’t like the idea of doing some of the WODs I love the way I feel at the end of it!

What are some of your goals, fitness or personal- for 2018? One freaking pull up!!! One of my goals is to increase my endurance. I just finished the endurance class with Mindy and it was just what I needed. Hard as hell, but I did it and finished the workouts every time. I am always working to find the best side of me. I do this with my interactions everyday. I think the people I meet at CrossFit Memorial Hill reflect a lot of positivity and courage towards me and I can see that as I work towards my perfect me.

Any PR’s that your proud of? I just got a 15 pound PR on my clean- I don’t know where that came from but it was amazing!
I can also do 2 double unders!!! What? What?????

List one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF? I love that I can feel so many muscles in my body. I remember driving shortly after CF and think.. Whoa! There is a muscle there!!! I am able to manage my stress so much better! My posture is much better since starting CF.

What do you like about KC? I am born and raised, so there really isn’t much about KC I don’t like!

Why do you live in KC, and how do you like to spend your free time? I live in KC for my family and my job. I like to spend time with my family and friends. I love to laugh so anyone that makes me laugh is a good time to me.

What’s your favorite cheat meal? Mexican Food! I love nachos!!

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? You can totally do it!!! You don’t have to be a star athlete to have fun and get healthy in CF. You just have to be willing!

Anything else you would like to share with our #fitfam? I want to thank everyone that is in classes with me. I am so grateful that I have this wonderful community in my life. Every coach is amazing. They are so talented and care so much about the people at the gym. Joelle is amazing- always smiling and welcoming to everybody. It’s just a great place and I wish I could bottle the energy I get when I walk in the gym and carry it around with me all day. I am forever grateful of CF Memorial Hill. It has changed my life for the better. I am eternally grateful for all the people that walk into the gym every day with me and work towards a healthier and better version of themselves. You inspire me to be a healthier person and strive to be the best I can be.

Featured Athlete of August: Patrick O’Day


Coachable | Hardworking | Positive

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

Patrick is just good people. Generous, patient, kind and super hardworking; Patrick puts the P in Positive! He helps shape our culture into the welcoming and go-for-broke everyday #fitfam that we are all so proud to be a part of. There’s nothing more satisfying than to see an athlete come eager to learn and improve with such consistency. Plus he’s quick to encourage and include others, and always willing to do the extra work.

Join us in Celebrating Patrick this August and let’s get to know him a little better…

What’s your athletic background? Nothing really. I didn’t do much organized fitness/athletics until I started doing CrossFit when I was in pharmacy school.

When did you start working out at The Hill? September of 2017.

What keeps you coming back? It’s cliche, but the people! If it wasn’t for the awesome members and coaches it would be just another CrossFit gym!

Was this your first experience with CrossFit? I started back in pharmacy school at Crossfit 864 in Clinton SC! It really started as a way to de-stress when my school workload was getting heavy.

If you could write the WOD what would it be? Pull-ups and sandbag work! Maybe throw in some moderate weight cleans to cycle for kicks.

What are some of your goals, fitness or personal- for 2018? For fitness I’d really like to get stronger in my Olympic lifts. I’m also a pharmacist at KU hospital, and I’m trying to get more involved in our residency programs and some research!

Any PR’s that your proud of? I hit 195 lbs on my clean and jerk! And I’ve done a few competitions with some other awesome Hill members, which have been a ton of fun.

List one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF? I’ve started being more health minded. Before I started doing CrossFit I didn’t really watch what I ate or work out much. Now working out and cooking are two of my favorite things to de-stress.

What do you like about KC? KC is the perfect sized city. It’s big enough to always have something new to do, but small enough that it’s not overcrowded. There’s tons of awesome places to eat, and there’s a pretty awesome sand volleyball league (always looking for players!).

Why do you live in KC? And how do you like to spend your free time? I moved here to work at KU hospital. When I’m not at work, or The Hill, I’m usually playing volleyball, looking for tacos, or hanging by a pool.

What’s your favorite cheat meal? Cereal…. If there’s a box in my apartment it will be gone in 12 hours.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit? DO IT! It’s the most supportive group of folks I’ve ever met! Wherever you are in your fitness level, all of the movements are modifiable, and the coaches and members are super helpful in getting you to your goals.

Anything else you would like to share with the whole #fitfam? #fitfam is the best way to describe you guys for me. At this point this is the farthest I’ve lived from home, and I didn’t know anyone when I moved here. All of you guys have been super welcoming, and KC would not be the same if I hadn’t joined The Hill!

Featured Athlete of July: Jill Mueller


Jill doesn’t like the spotlight much, but we think she is very worth celebrating!
She is one of the main pillars of our BUILD program: Functional Fitness for Cancer Survivors. Each day we see Jill in the gym, we’re reminded of our Core Values for our athletes: Coachable, Hardworking, and Positive. Jill – no matter what we’re working on – always shows up with a smile and a willingness to work hard and learn. We appreciate you, Jill! – Matt

Let’s get to know more about Jill..

What’s your athletic background? Swimmer – 8 years; ran track two years in high school.

When did you start working out at The Hill? January 2017

What keeps you coming back? Community; getting stronger; acceptance of who I am exactly the way I am.

Was this your first experience with CrossFit? Yes! 

If you could write the WOD what would it be? Squats; kettlebell swings; rowing. 

What are some of your goals, fitness or personal- for 2018? Find a 3x to come to the gym each week, i.e. a class that will work for me; commit to losing 10 lbs.; work on core strength. 

List one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF? Definitely stronger – all over; 

What do you like about KC? It’s a great small big-city – it has all the attributes and amenities of a large city, without all of the drawbacks.

Why KC? And how do you like to spend your free time? My husband and I both work in KC; we raised our kids in Lee’s Summit and moved downtown after our youngest went to college. We love that we have access to restaurants, theaters, etc. and all by walking!

What’s your favorite cheat meal? Mexican – OMG the chips… 🙂

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit?  Try it!! It is empowering!! And make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing training you – like those coaches at CrossFit Memorial Hill.

How did you hear about BUILD? Through my neighbor Chad’s FB post.

What is something you wish everyone knew about fitness/CrossFit/BUILD? That truly ANYONE can do it.

What is your cancer story?
While scratching my neck at work one day back in early 2011, I felt a lump.
Due to my family history of thyroid nodules, I didn’t panic – I just went to have it checked out by my doctor. One test lead to another, discovering multiple nodules, two of which were were cancerous. I was reassured that this was a very slow-growing cancer, and very curable. I underwent surgery in March of 2011 and had Radioactive Iodine treatment in June of that year. Dealing with the lethargy that comes with having no thyroid, and frequent blood tests to tweak my meds, can get old; but you come to accept it.

Then in the summer of 2015, I went to my GYN for my annual exam, and after talking through my symptoms we did a few more tests. I was told I had uterine cancer. Seriously??? I was 51 at the time, and this was my 2nd cancer. I was told AGAIN that “…if you have to have a cancer, this is a good one to have.” REALLY? Is there ever a GOOD cancer? I knew my doctor was trying to be encouraging, but I wanted to throw something. I underwent surgery for a complete hysterectomy in September of 2015. Because they caught this cancer very early I was incredibly fortunate to not undergo any kind of post-surgery treatment. I’m sure the instant menopause and hot flashes will burn away anything remaining… LOL (that’s a joke…)

One thing I know for sure is no one can or should go through their cancer journey without a support system. My husband, kids, extended family, church family and friends were priceless to me during all of it. And now I have my BUILD family and #fitfam as an additional support network. You all are the BOMB!! Thank you!

Anything else you would like to share?  Thank you for welcoming me into your amazing #fitfam-family!!