Meet Kansas, an American collegiate volleyball player turned CrossFit Level 3 coach. After honing her skills on the court, Kansas has taken her passion for fitness to the next level by inspiring others as a coach. Now, she finds herself in the heart of the Middle East, residing in Saudi Arabia. Through her dedication and expertise, Kansas is dedicated to enriching the lives of the women she works with. Discover her journey and how she continues to motivate others to achieve their fitness goals in this captivating article.
Let's Jump In!
Kansas has been active for most of her life; she grew up in a family that loved volleyball. In fact, her parents met while playing volleyball, and they kept the sport going by introducing it to their daughter. Kansas played volleyball for 17 years, going as far as being a collegiate volleyball player. From this, she learned the value of discipline and perseverance. Her dedication and love for fitness have stayed with her, and she is now a CFL3 CrossFit Coach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who occasionally competes in CrossFit competitions.
She may have started as an athlete, but Kansas’s real passion is being a coach.
“Growing up, I had the privilege of being coached by some great coaches that really impacted my life in sport, but also who I was as a person. When I started getting into coaching, I realized that my position was one that had the ability to make my clients' lives better in many areas of life- not just the physical aspect."
Kansas was fortunate to grow up in an environment surrounded by coaches and family that encouraged her and helped her see that she was strong, confident, and capable of great things. When she came out of that environment, she saw that this was not the case for so many others, especially women.
"I would say I was a bit naive at the beginning of my coaching journey to what many women go through in terms of lacking confidence and strictly looking at their outward appearance instead of what they are capable of.
I've worked with both men and women, and I think there are pros to working with both, but with women, you're usually looking to build up their ego and confidence from the ground up. It can be really exciting to see women recognize their strength and abilities.”
“Being able to be a source of affirmation to women has been the most rewarding aspect of my career.”
Kansas encourages those who are starting out on their fitness journey to “Start with small goals.”
She continues by saying,
“Making these goals will promote success which then improves motivation. Get a coach you trust who actually cares about you as a person. If you can’t get a coach, start with a friend with similar goals- and start small together.
Kansas herself admits how hard it can be.
“The hardest thing by far has been staying consistent when I haven’t been motivated.”
Think it’s maybe too late to start something new?
“it’s not too late; you’re not too old; there is so much opportunity for you right now as you are.”
You can often feel like the work you put in isn’t resulting in anything, but it’s in the times that you get challenged that you discover that your consistency, no matter how small or big, can make a difference. Kansas tells us about a time when she didn’t think she faced such a challenge.
“I was in a CrossFit competition in Egypt with two friends as a team. We had just placed pretty low in the first event, which we thought was actually going to be our best event. The next event was a 3km run. I had told my team not to have high hopes for placing well there since I was not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. My teammate was going to keep pace on his watch, and we agreed on a pace that I felt I could keep. We had a plan and started the race. Dead tired and recovering after the race, we found out that we had finished in the top 15% of teams."
Her teammates told her that they had run at a faster pace than they had agreed on, and Kansas realized she had just run her fastest 3k without even knowing it! With the support of her teammates and her consistency in training, she had accomplished something she had not thought possible.
So surrounding yourself with people who can encourage you and make those goals can pay off in the long run! (pun not intended).
Kansas, on moving to Saudi Arabia.
As mentioned earlier, Kansas lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We dig a little deeper into what brought her there and how it has become a home away from home.
How long have you been in Saudi Arabia and what brought you there?
"I moved to Saudi in January 2019 and have called it home away from home since then. I was coaching at a gym in the States. There were plenty of gyms in my area, and you could say that fitness as a whole industry had become oversaturated in the States. I wanted to work as a coach where fitness for women was still a fresh concept and maybe not very popular yet. I started looking for coaching positions overseas. I was having a tough time finding a position, but I found a connection in Jeddah, where I was introduced to the gym I would work for over 4 years."
What was it like when you arrived in Saudi Arabia, did you experience “culture shock?”
Do you have any “survival” tips or tricks for other expats who move to the Middle East?
"You should try to understand and respect the culture you are entering as much as you can. I think a lot of times, having an open-mindedness to how things are done in that country and how you fit into their context can make life more manageable. So much of life in another country is releasing control and accepting whatever it is."
Kansas encourages to find things that give you life. For her, this is spending a weekend on the Red Sea or going to her favorite coffee shop. Find people you can build a community with away from your home and set yourself time to connect with family and friends back in your home country.
From being an athlete and a coach to life as an expat, Kansas’s story is truly inspiring, and we hope that you have enjoyed reading it!
Four Key Takeaways
◆ It’s never too late to start.
◆ Set realistic goals
◆ Find a coach and/or community that supports your goals
◆ Don’t be afraid of a challenge, even if that might include moving to a new country!
You can connect with Kansas on social media, where she shares her training and life in Saudi
Why does Kansas like and wear Born Primitive?
“I like their mission for impact- seeing men and women everywhere move their bodies in ways that promote health and longevity. It's a clothing line that makes me feel confident and capable.”