CrossFit Gym In Overland Park

October Male Athlete Spotlight - Connor Stremel

September 1, 2020

When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started?I actually started CrossFit as a spectator/fan before I ever tried my first CrossFit workout. I started getting interested when I separated my ankle during the first game of the 2013 football season at Baker University. Because of that, I was confined to a knee scooter and very limited physical activity involving my lower body. Being the type of individual that I am, I started to go stir crazy not being able to do any physical activity that involved my legs. So I scoured the internet to find all sorts of different workouts that I could do to try and stay in decent shape. During those searches I stumbled upon all sorts of videos about CrossFit and was instantly hooked. I remember watching Every Second Counts, Days in the Life of Rich Froning, videos of Spealler and Bridges doing Fran, pretty much every video out there multiple times. Even though I had turned in to a CrossFit super fan, I didn’t actually start doing CrossFit full time until the summer of 2016. I would try a workout every few months or so but never fully committed. I always said it was because of football or that I had a good routine but it was really because I was nervous that I would be awful at it.But in June of 2016 I started at Jayhawker CrossFit in Lawrence. I only started because after a year of working out at the KU Rec Center while I was a graduate assistant, I found out that I technically was not allowed to workout there. So I reluctantly decided to finally pull the trigger and give CrossFit a shot. Luckily, Jayhawker had a Groupon for two free weeks of classes otherwise I don’t think I would have ever actually started. But in the end, being told I couldn’t workout at the KU Rec Center ended up being a huge blessing in disguise.What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?My favorite type of WOD is anything that is short and simply structured. Anything like Fran, Grace, or Elizabeth.On the opposite end of the spectrum, my least favorite WOD’s are anything that is long and monotonous. For example, the 21 minute Wednesday EMOM’s have never been enjoyable for me.What is your favorite/least favorite movement?My favorite movement is a ring muscle up. They aren’t my strongest movement but I always enjoy workouts that have them programmed. I think it’s because it is something that is so far outside of anything that I did in sports or training before I started CrossFit.Least favorite movement is double unders, especially in high volumes. There is nothing more annoying than already being tired, having to do an absurd amount of double unders and then continually whipping yourself when you miss.Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)I was born and raised in Lawrence, KS. I grew up staying as active as possible, playing football, baseball, or pretty much anything that time would allow for. I ended up being fortunate enough after high school to have the opportunity to continue chasing the football dream at Baker University. After a few seasons there and meeting Sara, the woman who I am now lucky enough to call my wife (dependent on if this is published before or after October 6th), I joined the Williams Education Fund with KU Athletics as a graduate assistant. During that time I completed my MBA in finance. After graduation, I moved to Kansas City so that I could continue trying to convince Sara to marry me and to pursue a career in financial advising. I now work for Pegasus Capital Management in Overland Park.Rock Chalk!

What was your workout routine before CrossFit?Before CrossFit, I did the standard football / meat head workout routine. When I was still playing it was plenty of squats, cleans, bench, with lots of high intensity conditioning mixed in. After I graduated and my athletic career was over I would still try keep the intensity high when I would workout but the lower body tended to get ignored more often than not and I started to follow the typical gym rat routine. What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?I wish I could say that I had one of those, “I’m hooked” moments after my first workout, especially considering how big of a fan of the sport that I already was. Sara actually convinced me to finally give it a shot. It was at PSP3 when they were located where The Grind Cycling currently is, in the same building as 913 now. Being a former football player and thinking I was in decent shape, I assumed I would crush the workout. It was a mix of deadlifts, bar facing burpees, and box jumps. It wrecked me. I remember thinking, “I hate this, I never want to do this again. Why did I ever think this looked enjoyable?”. I went another year and a half of the standard routine without much thought of giving CrossFit a shot. Of course, I eventually ended up falling in love with all aspects of CrossFit but it was not the most pleasant beginnings. What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?Being new to CrossFit and not having the slightest idea about how insanely fit you have to be to be highly competitive, my goal was to go to Regionals. So no, that goal hasn’t quite come to fruition. But over the last two years my goals have been adjusted to be a bit more realistic and I have been able to accomplish a large amount of them, such as PR’s, skill development, and winning a few competitions.Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?CrossFit has affected my life in more ways than I can count. It is something that I have a hard time articulating to someone that hasn’t experienced CrossFit before and doesn’t understand all of the benefits that it can provide if you are open to them. I have seen benefits ranging from better nutrition, to improved quality of life, and of course, the amazing community. CrossFit and the members at CrossFit 913 have truly been able to change my life for the better!

Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?I always come back to the Open this year when I think about special moments at CrossFit 913. It was amazing to see how strong of a community that we have here. The support and camaraderie from each of the members that participated was amazing to see. No matter the skill level, experience, or team affiliation, there was always a contingent of supporters cheering everyone on. Also, it wasn’t too bad for team NIAJB to get the win!What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?Don’t give up on it, keep showing up. It may all seem overwhelming and daunting at first but just know that everyone in the gym has been in your shoes and is more than happy to help. It’s easy to compare yourself to those around you and get caught up in where you end up on the daily leaderboard or what the other people in class are doing. But just know that everything is relative and everyone is at a different stage with their fitness. Enjoy the journey, celebrate your successes, and only compare yourself to yourself! Something you might not know about me is?If you haven’t been able to tell by now from the earlier questions, I am getting married to Sara Snow on October 6th. We are incredibly excited to start our life together as a married couple here in Kansas City!

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