November Featured Athlete Family: The Mansfields

Check out our first Featured Athlete Family!

The Mansfields joined The Hill earlier this year and have been a hard working, joyful and all-around wonderful addition to our family. Take a moment to get to know Gabe, Jerry and Sami Mansfield!

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1. What’s your athletic background?

Gabe: I was a national D1 soccer player up until this school year then started playing football for St. James Academy.
Jerry: I played soccer and golf and coached Gabe’s soccer team for about 6 years.
Sami: I played some (co-ed ) soccer in high school, but was known more for my tenacity than skill. I started doing weights when I was Gabe’s age and triathlons as an adult, but I laugh when people call me an athlete as I’ve never really felt naturally athletic. Earlier this year I decided to get my L1 and with Matt’s help, started the BUILD cancer survivor class at The Hill.


2. What was your first experience with CrossFit?

Gabe: I did a Saturday WOD at the box my Dad and Sami were at. I used a training bar and bumper plates and struggled to finish.
Jerry: Sami made me go to the CrossFit gym she was a member of at the time. Everyone had their shirt off and were grunting and dropping weights. It was quite a shock from Lifetime Fitness.
Sami: I had been at a place that did some of the workouts, but 20-30 minute metcons and no Olympic lifting were what we did. I realized that I was missing the intensity piece so when I did my first 8 min AMRAP of wall balls and rope climbs (after some 5×5 squats) I was in love.


3. When did you start CrossFit? 

Gabe: About two years ago.
Jerry: Two years ago.
Sami: Three years ago.


4. Why did you choose CrossFit Memorial Hill?

Gabe: That’s where Sami and my dad said we were going.
Jerry: I wanted something a little less testosterone, more laid back but focused on coaching and teaching vs “here is the workout go do it and set your 1RM.” Plus Dr. Heather from Unbroken told Sami it was the best coaching gym in town.
Sami: We were looking for a place that would not only push us but really take a focus on coaching and teaching us to be better at every single movement (in every single class) not just throw workouts on the board randomly (and Dr. Heather and Coach Sabrena assured me it was what we were looking for!).


5. What keeps you coming back?

Gabe: Wanting to get stronger.
Jerry: Seeing the changes in me physically makes me want to keep at it plus I like when I can beat Sami in a WOD.
Sami: I love seeing improvements in all of us. Watching Gabe back squat 300 lbs was pretty cool. We also have so much fun together and the best days are when we are all there and trying to beat each other in the WOD. I love the environment & the people.


6. Why do you live in KC and how do you like to spend your free time?

Gabe: I am here because of my parents.
Jerry: I am here because of Gabe! In our free time we like to travel. KC is great but the world is also a great place to see!
Sami: I came for a job but Jerry & Gabe have kept me here:) If I’m in town, I love to spend my time in the kitchen or looking for new recipes to try (because my boys love to eat).


7. What do you like about KC?

Jerry: I have lived in a lot of places and KC has a small town feel but large city amenities and some amazing restaurants. Plus the easiest airport in the world which makes traveling to other places easier. I do wish they had a better transit system so I didn’t have to drive on hard shoulder WOD’s.
Sami: KC has such a small town feel and the people are amazing here. You can get to anything in 15 minutes and that make life easier. I love that it’s central and we can get to either ocean in a few hours.


8. What are one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CrossFit?

Gabe: Stronger and more endurance plus being able to squat more then my dad.
Jerry: Overall better health. I feel better (although I have aches), eat better and overall have a lot less stress.
Sami: CrossFit has taught me more grit that you can learn anywhere else in life. You just have to do the work, quit talking about it and thinking about it and dig into the hard stuff.  We’ve also really embraced the lifestyle of working hard, eating well and recovering as a family and it gives us more and better time together.


9. What are your goals for 2016?

Gabe: Continue to get stronger and gain 15 pounds of muscle before next season.
Jerry: Fully recover from surgery and get back to where I was before strength wise.
Sami: I love to see improvements and I want to continue in both quality of movement and weights. But I also have a burning desire to get on MU and I feel like I am finally close to the strength needed!


10. What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit?

Gabe: It’s hard, but stick with it and it will get easier.
Jerry: It is overwhelming with all the different lifting and acronyms and people taking their shirts off and grunting, but eventually it just all becomes comforting and something you look forward to (well not the shirts off).
Sami: Try it with an open mind and no expectations for the first month other than to show up and just keep moving during the workouts. The hardest part is getting there, the coaches and community will take care of the rest.


11. What’s your favorite & least favorite CrossFit movement?

Gabe: Clean. I was able to set a freshman record at my school. Worse is snatch, probably because I have horrible flexibility.
Jerry: Handstand pushups because it is something I used to be really good at. My least favorite is snatch because well I have the shoulder of a WWE wrestler.
Sami: Burpees are my favorite (mostly because I can beat Jerry & Gabe) but they are super efficient and you can do anywhere. I have a love hate with DU simply because I’m not very consistent with them but that just tells me that I need to make time to practice!


12. What’s your favorite cheat meal?

Gabe: What’s that? I eat everything and anything.
Jerry: I would have to say pizza, but since Sami has me on a mostly gluten free diet I hate pizza after I eat it!
Sami: Having a glass of wine & desert with a meal or when Jerry takes me to Bluestem for date night!


13. Anything else you would like to share with The Hill family?

Gabe: Nope.
Jerry: I want to say thanks for always making us feel a part of the group and making it fun.
Sami: I love the positive environment of The Hill and personally I have really enjoyed how much support the BUILD cancer survivor class has gotten. They were so nervous about coming into this environment and everyone has been so incredibly friendly and positive it’s really impacted them so I thank everyone for that!