CrossFit Gym In Overland Park

April Male Athlete Spotlight - Nick Bender

September 1, 2020

When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started?My wife and I moved to Kansas City in 2014. I tried working out for a year at a traditional gym, but it wasn’t the same programming and community I had for years in Oklahoma City. The workouts weren’t challenging enough, there was no accountability and I missed the friendships. I decided to give CrossFit a try in 2015 even though I wasn’t a beer drinker. I was hooked after my first workout. In 2016 we moved to Overland Park and CrossFit913, and I finally found the part I was missing: community. I still don’t drink beer.What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?I like engine WODs and Hero WODs. Knowing why we do the Hero WOD helps me mentally persevere when my body wants to stop. My least favorite WOD is Diane.What is your favorite/least favorite movement?My favorite movement is back squat; it’s almost summer, baby! I have to also add snatches. I was terrible at them a couple years ago, but thanks to hard work, great coaching and shoulder surgery (mostly surgery) I’m improving. I hate HSPUs.Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)I come from a big Italian family in Pennsylvania. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Penn State, and moved to Amarillo, TX after graduation for my first job as a Broadcast Meteorologist. My career then took me to OKC and Tulsa, where I met the love of my life, my wife, Damaris. We recently just had our first child, Dane. We also have a black, Standard Poodle named Nimbus. I’ll forever be a student of the weather; it’s one of my greatest passions. I practiced Taekwondo throughout my childhood and teenage years, which means if you throw something at me for a bad forecast I can easily dodge it.

What was your workout routine before CrossFit?Bootcamp style workouts with lower weights, and more focus on cardio.What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?That this was going to make me a healthier, stronger, faster more flexible human being, as soon as I was able to sit up off the floor. There were many workouts that followed with a legitimate fear of not being able to shift my car in gear for the drive home. I loved it.What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?I didn’t have any goals when I started, other than to just keep going consistently. At the end of the day, I just want to be consistent, happy and healthy. Sure, I’d like to squat as much as Purvis, split jerk as much as Coach Reyes and talk as much as Gruenebaum, but I dream big.Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?Absolutely. My wife started CrossFit913 last year, and now we work out together. That’s such an awesome bond. The people we work out with have become close friends, and we grab lunch, dinner, watch sports and play poker together. It’s been a big blessing in my family’s life.

Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?My first year during Murph at 913. Seeing other athletes who serve or served our country doing the Hero WOD, some in BDUs, was incredibly inspiring. So dang proud of them.Squat PR day when we all dressed in black was the epitome of CrossFit fun.What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?Challenge yourself, but scale the workouts as you need to. Don’t worry about how strong or fast others are around you. There’s always going to be someone stronger or faster than you. Listen to your coaches, because they genuinely want you to succeed. We have the best coaches at 913!Something you might not know about me is?I’ve chased a mile-wide, EF 5 tornado in a helicopter. RX+.

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