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Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. February’s Athlete of the Month is Ellie Williams. Ellie was chosen because even though she graduated from Bootcamp only a couple of months ago, she has already become a staple at the 5:30am class and has RX’d several of the class wods. She listens to coaching cues and tries to implement them as best she can. She always has a positive attitude in class and goes out of her way to make others feel welcome. She always works hard and never complains about the workouts. Her hard work is paying off and we love having Ellie as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Ellie below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? I have been at OPCF for five months, two of those spent in Bootcamp. 

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I don’t remember what the workout was, but I think the bike was involved. I do know I almost puked my guts out. I remember feeling so humbled by that hour, but excited and eager to get back in there and learn everything I could. I liked the challenge.   

What has been your favorite workout so far? My favorite workout so far has been the E3MO3M 24 ME Row. I almost cried (per Leah “If you’re not crying you’re not trying”) but I really enjoy pushing myself mentally in a workout like that.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Chic-fil-a fries and a peach milkshake.    

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? As a kid I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld (ha!). I am a pediatric nurse at a clinic in JoCo. Before that I worked in the NICU with the sweetest little babes-a really close second to training dolphins.

What do you like to do outside of work? CrossFit of course! I love being outside and doing anything active. On my day off you’ll find me sitting on my porch swing in the sunshine with a good book. I like two-stepping/swing dancing, fishing or spending time with my wonderful friends and family. But being an aunt is my very favorite pastime. 

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Show up, even when you know (looking at the workout the night before) that you will scale everything. Don’t be afraid of embarrassing yourself! When I first started I was insecure and afraid I’d look ridiculous since CrossFit was completely out of my comfort zone. I quickly learned that the coaches (and members) will never make you feel silly for not being able to perform a movement correctly, but they will come alongside you and work with you until you get it! They are so kind, helpful and encouraging. Learn to embrace humility and keep showing up.  

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Deadlifts are my favorite. Overhead squats and I just don’t vibe quite yet…  

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I want to get a strict pull-up. 

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? SO MANY. I have more confidence. I’ve seen such a change in my overall strength and performance in this gym. I like to workout before work now (never thought this day would come). I think the biggest change for me has been my mentality though. I’ve always looked at CrossFit as something I could never do. But I’ve learned that I really can do difficult things, and I’m tougher than I thought. I think this has poured over into multiple areas of my life. I’m more confident and determined to take on things that seemed so unattainable to me in the past.  

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far?  I’d say my biggest improvement has been my squat technique. By no means is it perfect and I definitely need frequent reminders to keep my chest up, but it has significantly improved since Bootcamp.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? It really is a highlight of my day, so I enjoy making it a priority. I couldn’t consistently make the evening classes with my work schedule, so I tried a 5:30am class and loved it. It took some getting used to, but I know I’ll never miss due to work or other commitments. Plus it’s an amazing way to kickstart your day!

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I love new experiences, meeting people and exploring new places, so I’d like to work as a travel nurse in the future. I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Italy (those plans got derailed in 2020, so hopefully I will get that on the books soon)!

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