Athlete Spotlight: Connie Harwell

A. Thruster Technique work

B. 4 Rounds:

400m Run

21 Thrusters (85/55)

21 Box Jumps* (24'/20")

*show control on top of box 


Short Answers:

How long have you been CrossFitting: Since March 2011

Favorite movement: GHD sit ups

Least favorite movement: Cleans of all kinds...power cleans, hang cleans, etc.

Chalk or No Chalk: Chalk on gloves...I know Ryan hates gloves ;) but they prevent tearing and blistering for me, and adding the chalk onto the glove really helps my grip from slipping. 

Favorite cheat meal/food: Chocolate Cake/Desserts or Mac & Cheese

Preferred parking area (back lot, PCH, avenues): Back lot

Excuse for not making a workout: Work or traveling

Words friends use to describe your CrossFitting: When I tell my friends that I Crossfit, there are usually the following responses: 1.) You're crazy, or 2.) I can't believe you can do that stuff, or 3.) That's awesome! I've never been the most athletic person so I think most of my friends are more amazed than anything else. Half the time, I'm amazed myself at the things I can do now...I remember how I couldn't jump rope! I'm still embarrassed thinking about it, but Ryan had to stand there and tell me when to jump and I still couldn't get a single under! And now I can do double unders!! 

Longer answers:

1. You have been a part of the gym since the Paulina days. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like working out there and the evolution of the gym in your eyes?

When I first started working out at Paulina I was completely new to Crossfit. I came from working out at gyms like LA Fitness that had tons of machines, equipment, classes, etc. to Paulina. It was a much smaller operation than the gyms I was accustomed to, but after my first Crossfit session I was truly amazed at how intense the workout was and how great I felt after the workout was completed. It didn't take all those fancy machines or classes at the gym to get me a great workout. I think that is the most amazing thing about's pushing your body to new limits with minimal equipment. With that said, it's been so neat to see the small operation at Paulina turn into Crossfit Redondo. We had smaller classes at Paulina and less space, but great workouts nonetheless. The increase of members and growth at Crossfit Redondo has been amazing, and it's great to see this expansion while meeting and Crossfiting with new people.

2. You originally joined the gym with the goal of getting in better shape for your wedding. Have your goals changed since then and what motivates you to continue to improve your fitness?

Yes, very much so. When I first started Crossfit, I wanted to get in shape and look slim and toned for my wedding...come on, which bride doesn't want that?!? Crossfit did get me in shape for my wedding, but my goals have changed a bit since then. It went from I want to look better in my wedding dress to I want to be stronger and push myself to do things I didn't think I could. There were a lot of things I couldn't do when I first started Crossfitting. I mentioned jump roping as one of them. Another thing I wasn't able to do was pullups. I remember having 2 to 3 bands to get one pull up complete and now I can do pull ups without a band. My goal now is just constant improvement for myself. My motivation for Crossfit is when I look at my workout log I see that my max reps, max weights, or times have improved since the last time I did that same workout. Seeing that make me feel very accomplished and seeing myself get better and stronger with each workout is what drives me and motivates me to continue Crossfitting. 

3. What does CrossFit mean to you and how has it improved other areas of your life (other than fitness)?

All I can say is after Crossfit I always feel amazing and truly accomplished, and there aren't a ton of things in life we can say that about. When life or work gets stressful, a crossfit session is the best therapy for me. It makes me feel better mentally and physically after I complete a workout session.

4. Finally, your kettle bell swings have been renowned as "best in the gym". Are you willing to share any secrets for us who struggle with kettle bells?

Haha, I don't know about all that, but that is very flattering to hear. For me I just try and open up my hips as much as I can. I also try to push the KB back when it's between my legs. That little bit of extra momentum makes it easier to get the KB overhead. Overall the key for me is to just keep practicing them. I remember the first time I swung a KB, I could barely get the 26 pound kettle bell up and overhead and now I can swing a 53 pound kettle bell. With enough time and practice, your muscles get stronger and the swings become easier.