CrossFit Gym In Overland Park

October Female Athlete Spotlight - Jenni Purvis

September 1, 2020

When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started? November of 2015. I had some friends in other parts of the country that were really into Crossfit, so I watched their journeys on Facebook and it just seemed like they totally loved it and had amazing communities. I started to get the competitive itch too, since so many of my friends had taken up marathons. I knew for sure I didn’t want to be a runner, so I figured CrossFit was worth a shot. My research consisted of googling which CF gym was closest to our house. I emailed CF913, Nick emailed me back right away and I went to class that night. I grew up with Andy Ellis and he was the first person I saw when I walked in the door, so I guess I felt at home from the very first day. What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?I just can’t like EMOMs. I’ve tried and I just can’t. As for favorites, I like the hero WODs I’ve done because I like the stories behind them and the connection to the bigger CrossFit community. Plus they’re all kind of miserable but it feels like such an accomplishment to finish them.What is your favorite/least favorite movement?For the first year or so I hated thrusters and wall balls. Now I am good with them. Pull ups and most gymnastics moves are currently on the bottom of my list because I still can’t really do them and I’m getting annoyed about it even though I’m progressing. I just did my first hand stand against the wall (without walking up the wall) a few weeks ago and literally yelled ‘Cam! I did it!’ My favorites are deadlifts and kettlebell swings. Once I figured out kettlebell swings I was like ‘umm, yep, love these!’ Also, for some reason, ‘Full American’ makes me giggle every time, so that’s another reason to love them. (Of note, ‘Full American’ is not currently listed in Urban Dictionary, so I’d say we have some opportunity in front of us.)Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)Anyone that’s been around 913 for very long knows Chris and if you’ve been to a Saturday with us, you probably know our 7 year old Lydia (aka Mini Me) and 4 year old Elizabeth. I’ve been in sales since college and on the tech side of things for the last ten years. I’m coming up on my three year anniversary of being an account manager for Cisco Systems. It’s pretty much my dream job, I get to consult with 7 big companies on how they use technology to run their businesses. Cisco makes most of the behind-the-scenes technology that allows the world to be connected, so I have to know about networks, data center, collaboration, cybersecurity, data analytics, all that good stuff. My job is kind of like crossfit for my brain—it’s really intense, constantly varied, at least once a day I think I’m way out of my league and I am always trying to keep up with the people that are better than me! I love being around people that are passionate and work really hard at what they do, so my job and CrossFit and Chris are all really great for me.When I’m not working, I mostly just hang out with my cool husband and our zoo of kids and golden retrievers. I’m active in groups that promote getting more women into technology and cyber security and more kids into computer science. My personal passion is working with HappyBottoms, the diaper bank of Kansas City, to help raise money and awareness for diaper need in our community. I started volunteering there when Lydia was a little baby and it’s been really amazing to watch the organization grow so much in the last 6 years. We share season tickets to the Royals and host a lot of Chiefs and KU watch parties at our patio, The Flying Pig. We are good at finding excuses to make cocktails and host parties.

What was your workout routine before CrossFit?I tried a couple of bootcamps, some running, yoga and of course LifeTime. I would do something for a few months and then stop because I didn’t see much of a change or, frankly, I didn’t really care. Before CrossFit, I hadn’t had a consistent workout routine since high school!What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?I went home and told Chris ‘I finished the whole workout!’ Looking back, it was an AMRAP, so of course I finished it. I could tell right away that I would love how varied the workouts were and I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. TJ even emailed me the next day to see what I thought. I knew I would be back, even if I could barely walk for the first few weeks (or months, who’s counting?)What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?I didn’t have any specific goals other than to find something I liked doing enough to keep going. We knew we were done having kids and I knew that I needed to keep myself healthy and in good shape or things could go downhill quickly in my mid-30s. I took a couple of ‘before’ pictures because I thought I was in pretty decent shape and looking back I barely recognize my body! I wish I would’ve done a body composition check and measurements at the beginning, because I have stayed the same weight while losing a crazy number of inches and have gone down 1-2 sizes in all my clothes.I have more than achieved my goal of finding something I like going to. For the first year, I would go 2-3 times per week and I thought that was pretty good. Then I started going 3-4 times, and for the last few months I’ve been pretty consistent with 5 days a week and really only miss days when I have to travel for work. I am still shocked at the muscle definition I’ve gained! Without a doubt, I’m in the very best shape of my life and getting stronger every day.

Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?CrossFit is such a major part of my life now, I can’t imagine not having it. I’ve changed the way I eat, how I sleep, how I arrange my day. It’s a huge stress reliever for me, which is so important with the intensity of my job. I also have really great female friends for the first time since college, which was really hard for me to find in my otherwise mostly male world! Overall, CrossFit has given me the balance my life needed, giving me a physically intense component to balance out my work and family obligations.Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?I went through some really tough family stuff over the past 10 months and being able to come into the gym and just put all that stress into something healthy has been huge. And seeing the same familiar faces every day and knowing there were so many people that would be there for me in a heartbeat was an unbelievable support system.In terms of achievements, every PR or progression feels so good. And now that I have leveled out on some of my PR lifts, refining my technique and really getting things right feels awesome. But (not so) secretly, I always enjoy Nick’s face when I mess up a lift. I mean, I’d rather not mess it up, but his ‘damn it!’ face is my favorite (sorry, Nick!!)What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?Stay with it! I decided not to really worry about physical results for the first year, just focus on being consistent on going. You hit plateaus throughout the journey, and then all of the sudden things click and you start hitting new PRs and finally getting new movements to work, so if you feel like you are leveling off or not progressing, know that you’re just about to break through!Also, take good care of yourself outside of the gym. I swear by ROMWOD, give yourself 15 minutes a day to really stretch and your mobility will improve and you will recover faster. If you have nutrition questions, just ask around, everyone has great advice. Also, have a martini after work most days, it works for me but will probably disqualify you from the nutrition challenges.Something you might not know about me is?I’m a total academic nerd. I loved school and would have been a professional student if I didn’t also love making money. The day I finished my MBA, Chris made me promise I wasn’t signing up to get a PhD. The only reason I didn’t do that was because I have no practical use for getting one, but I seriously considered it so that I could have a lifetime of having my nose stuffed in books and get paid to research and write. I read all kinds of non-fiction, I love The Economist and documentaries and history and science. Because of this, I tend to give really long answers to simple questions, so just be careful what you ask me. Also, I’m not offended if you get bored with what I’m saying and just walk away.

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