Adventure Series || Liz Ronco || Grand Teton

Here at CFA our goal is to push people outside their comfort zone to pursue a great life. While there are many factors to achieving a great life we believe we can have a meaningful impact in three primart areas. Providing a supportive community of fun likeminded people, a lifelong pursuit of fitness that improves ones physical, mental, and spiritual being, and an attitude of adventure to explore this world. Today we continue our “Adventure Series” to highlight members that embody that spirit of adventure, and use the tools they hone daily in the gym to explore the beauty and tranquility of this world!

Adventure Series || Liz Ronco || Grand Teton National Park

Hello CFA community! The next chapter of the Adventures Series has arrived. Earlier this month, while visiting friends out in Jackson Hole, we took the time to hike the Grand Teton National Park. It’s a typical thing for us. The best vacation, in my mind, is a little relaxation mixed with adventure and exploration; or as CFA would say, “functional fitness”. It was only a short few days, but that is never an excuse to not push the limits of experience.

The Grand Teton Park is beautiful yet mostly forgotten national park by the average vacationer. It sits just south of the famous Yellowstone National Park and is often overlooked in favor it’s even more southerly neighbors, Zion and The Grand Canyon. But I can tell you, this 18 mile hike from Jenny Lake through the Cascade Canyon and ending at Lake Solitude, is breathtaking. Literally, there were parts I couldn’t breathe; hiking up a glacier will do that to you.

Hiking has always been an activity I’ve enjoyed. Its freedom from an ordinary routine. And there is nothing as fresh or as therapeutic as mountain air. I’ve never experienced a runner’s high, but I’ve experienced a hiker’s high and its awesomely rewarding. Hiking is also a good benchmark. I can tell when I get on the trail how good my conditioning is and CrossFit absolutely transfers in my benefit. It’s great to be 5 hours in and still have fresh legs under you. To feel the dividends of all squats and met-cons. But it’s also level sets your stability, flexibility and breathing. When your making your way up a mountain on loose or shear rock, how good is your balance? Are your hip flexors getting tight? Are you shoulder or belly breathing? It’s fun to remember how my body feels and where I can improve.

 

But getting back to this particular experience, we started at Jenny Lake trail head where the first part of the trail twists and turns next to the lake. Then you take a left hand turn and shoot straight up for about a mile finally landing in the Cascade Canyon where you are surrounded by enormous mountains on all sides. The next 5 miles are rather tame as the trail takes you up a slow incline towards Cascade Falls. Then the fun begins. The last 3 miles are a fairly arduous climb up to the lake. And when you finally think you are there, the last half a mile is across slushy, compact snow that ultimately lands you next to a glacial lake and a very inviting sandwich (self provided). Rest for a little bit and then head back down.

Hiking is our family thing. Its allows us to experience a place in a unique way. Its therapeutic. Its affordable (once you’re stocked with gear). And it’s challenging in a different way than everyday fitness. Maybe it isn’t for you. Maybe cycling or running or skiing is your thing. Whatever it is, use it. Use it to stay healthy. Use it to have fun. And use it to challenge yourself.

Until next time! Adventure on fellow CrossFitters.

August Athlete of The Month: Darien Nuckols!!

Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.

Our August Athlete of the Month is Darien Nuckols! Darien joined our family with fundamentals in August last year. She’s primarily an early bird with either the 5:30 or 6:30 am classes. Not only is Darien a great example of how drive and determination can guide you, she’s also an amazing member of this community. She’s had an incredible transformation since her inception at CFA. Darien’s lost close to 40 pounds and is down 4 sizes in her clothes.

It’s not all about the aesthetic measurements, but she has worked so hard for those results and in addition to looking great, she’s stronger than ever! We’ve enjoyed Darien’s positive attitude and infectious smile in class. Darien, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our August Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work! Congratulations!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:

Darien / D

Words to live by?

“My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but better than I used to be.”- Wayne W. Dyer

What is your fitness background?

Grew up playing water polo and surfing

How long have you been CrossFitting?

I started classes last year. I think it was in October 2016?

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?

After my shoulder surgery I had not been able to work out so I was a bit intimidated but, I knew CrossFit was something I had to do (or at least try).  I thought I was going to die during my first group workout. Once I finished I was surprised how proud and accomplished I felt. I remember asking if CrossFit got easier with time. The answer was no, (not the answer I was looking for) but they told me that I would start to get used to the hard workouts and really start to love it. Ha! I totally understand now, its so true! I still fell like I’m dyeing during a workout but I love it, my day doesn’t feel complete without it. I am also stronger, healthier, have way more energy and confidence now!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

The amazing people! From the coaches to the members, everyone of you guys are so unique, It really makes CrossFit Austin a great place to be!
Oh and shout out to the morning crew, thanks guys for all the support.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

My main goal is to be consistent with my workouts, listen to my body and really make an effort to keep track of my max weights and progress.
I have also been working on my handstands!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?

Whenever in doubt go to the work out. I’ve never gone to a workout and regretted going after!

What is your cheat meal go to?

Anything from Gourdoughs

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

I love hiking and swimming. Also lifting puppies (see picture for details). Haha

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.

The first time I RX’d a workout I definitely felt like a badass.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?

The Dino-Sore…..
100 singles
50 step ups (25 each leg)
40 butterfly sit ups
30 Russian catelbell swings
20 deadlifts
10 toes to bar
1 rope climb

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

I’m a big art nerd, I do lots of studio art and could spent a whole day in a museums. I also really enjoying learning, getting out of my comfort zone and traveling.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I could swim (float and go under the water) before I was walking!

Longhorns or Aggies?

Longhorns

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

You guys are all super inspirational! Keep up the hard work!

August 2017 Programming Overview

Let me be the first to congratulate you on surviving the dog days of summer (so far). While there’s no immediate relief from this heat coming, we can at least rejoice that football returns this month. Also a new treat for functional fitness fans, the CrossFit Games makes its August debut this weekend.  I’ll be tagging along with my wife to the games this weekend, and I’m hoping to get an Adventure Series video in beautiful Madison, WI this weekend. Meanwhile a new month means a new programing update! As always a brief rundown of our general structure….

  • Strength and skill focuses run on a 6 week calendar, and are coupled together to maximize the time we have in class.  The goal is to get consistent touches at light, medium, and heavy loads in each lift and skill to create a level of mastery we can’t achieve by putting these movements in the programming randomly and sporadically.
  • Skills focuses throughout the year are designed to build on top of one another and safeguard against injury. What this looks like in practice is a simple to complex movement progression, and single limb to double limb progressions in most cases. An example is: doing single arm ring rows and single arm presses to eventually progress into strict pull-ups and handstand push-ups.
  • The conditioning work we do progresses from longer work when the strength progression is in a lighter phase, and shorter more intense workouts when we’re lifting heavier in the progression. If you prefer one side of the coin more than the other just be patient it will show back up after a few weeks.
  • We also include conditioning “tests” every other week or so. These tests will be retested in the future.  I will keep folks apprised of when a test or retest is happening and whether it falls into the category of long, light, heavy, bodyweight, or team focused.
  • Finally there will be other elements including cashouts, skill warm-ups, and additional strength / skill work peppered in to round out the program. However the above represents the core work that will keep folks moving forward over the long term (2+ years).

Strength & Skill Focus for August

We are deep in the heart of our front box squat cycle. Things have and will continue to get heavier over the next three weeks.  That said remember percentages are not absolute rules, if you need to hang back at a lower percentage to perform the reps with the proper mechanics that’s perfectly alright. Additionally don’t let your strict pull-ups be an afterthought. All your reps should be performed with a nice tight hollow body, and no chicken necking! Don’t add weight or reduce your band tension unless you’re accomplishing these things!

We close the book on this front box squat cycle at the end of the month and turn the page to snatches and dips.  Both of these movements benefit tremendously from mobile ankles, shoulders, and thorax (upper back).  Do yourself a favor and get ahead of the game by work on your mobility in those areas now, before you start tossing a barbell over your head. If you’re not sure  how to attack it, contact your CFL and they will get you setup with a game plan!

Conditioning Test in July

Below is the tentative schedule for conditioning tests for August.  Some may shift by a day or two as the weeks get put together, but all of these test will be seen in the coming weeks.

Heavy:
Monday August 7th
“Open WOD 11.3”
Max reps in 5:00
Squat Clean & Jerk
@ 165lb / 110 / 75
*last tested 1/18/2016

Heavy:
Thursday, August 17th
“DT“
5 rounds for time.
12 Deadlifts @ 155 / 105 / 75
9 Hang power clean (same)
6 Push jerk (same)
*last test on January 17, 2017

Bodyweight:
Thursday, August 10th
100 Burpees

Team:
Saturday, August 19th
“Jackwagon”
5 rounds
20 deadlifts @ 225 / 155 / 75
(one person works at a time)
20 DB push press @ 45-55 / 25-35 / 15
(one person works at a time)
10 Synchro Bar Facing burpees
(in unison over one bar)
400m run
(run together)
*Two Person Team

Long:
Tuesday, August 25th
Open WOD 14.5 /16.5
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Thrusters
Burpees

Here’s to a great August at CFA! Don’t forget we also have free Weightlifting classes all month! Stay tuned for some great community events, and get those summer adventures in before school starts back again!

Introducing Coach Dylan Wall

Sports and the weight room have always been a huge part of Dylan’s life. He started lifting and competing at the age of 10 in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting under the tutelage of  USA Senior International coach Tim Swords. By the age of 13 Dylan was competing at the national level and gained his USAW Level 1 coaching certification. Since then he’s had the opportunity to coach many athletes at local and national level competitions. In 2012 Dylan received an internship opportunity with the Olympic sport strength and conditioning program at Texas State University under Leo Seitz. He’s now currently the head Graduate Assistant for the Strength and Conditioning program under coach Seitz,  and is pursuing his degree in exercise and sport science.

Dylan leads the Strength and Olympic Weightlifting Program at CFA

A Message from Dylan:

Lifting, competing, sports, the weight room have all been in my life as long as I can remember. Through the process I have found a passion for coaching that far surpasses my love for even lifting! I didn’t achieve all what I dreamed of in Weightlifting but my love for it has allowed me to turn that passion into helping others achieve their dreams. Nothing is better than seeing someone else succeed because of my help. I want to help others. I want to see good posture/technique. I want to help create explosive athletes. I believe in it, I believe for it, and I know that it is so.

-Dylan

Adventure Series || Zachary Perl || Our Trip Around America

Here at CFA our goal is to push people outside their comfort zone to pursue a great life. While there are many factors to achieving a great life we believe we can have a meaningful impact in three primary areas. Providing a supportive community of fun likeminded people, a lifelong pursuit of fitness that improves ones physical, mental, and spiritual being, and an attitude of adventure to explore this world.  Today we continue our “Adventure Series” to highlight members that embody that spirit of adventure, and use the tools they hone daily in the gym to explore the beauty and tranquility of this world! 

Zachary Perl || Our Trip Around America

Recently, 5 buddies and I decided to embark on an adventure – a new challenge for the mind, body and soul. Our plan was to drive over 2000mi from Utah to Washington and stop at as many National Parks as we could. It would be tough, but this was a trip without borders and much like any AMRAP it was up to us to make it to the next round. Despite the days that our legs ached, our minds lingered, or the heavens opened up to rain down upon us …we persevered.

But let’s backtrack for a moment. When I originally fell in love hiking, it wasn’t for the stunning views or the deep feeling of tranquility that nature provides. To be honest, that came later. In the very beginning, it was all about the workout. And why not? The beauty of hiking is that you can make it as leisurely or as challenging as you’d like it to be – whether it’s a spur-of-the-moment stroll to the Greenbelt or a vigorous scramble up the side of a 12,000ft peak.

So we challenged ourselves – hiking over 150 miles in 10 days. We climbed the frosty, jagged peaks of Wyoming, we rafted down the crystal clear, glacial-fed lakes of Montana, and we trekked through the dense rain forests of Washington. We spent more time with the bears and the moose than we did in any town and spent more time sleeping in hammocks than in any bed.

The workout was great, and though you can’t find those views in a gym I’ve found myself thankful for practicing functional fitness in the past three years. To me, CrossFit is not the “be-all and end-all” of fitness as much as it is a compliment to my life. Using functional fitness as a tool, I’ve been able to explore more of the countryside than I ever thought possible and snowboard down peaks I never thought my legs could withstand. My lungs breath deeper when the air is thin and my body pushes farther when I’m taking the next step seems impossible.

Whether CrossFit is your mecca, or it is a compliment to your health – I urge you to get outside and use your fitness. You see, getting outside is everything to me. It’s my church, it’s my therapy, and – much like working out – it’s a challenge. I’m not sure where the next adventure will take me (I’ve been dreaming of Machu Picchu & Mt.Kilimanjaro lately), but I will be looking for you when I’m out there.”

July Programming Overview

First off thanks again for everyone that participated in Murph Day! What a great day with the CFA family and great effort to give back to our community. Stay tuned, we’re working with the other affiliate owners to get the first rower of many to our local fire fighters. That said,  let’s get to our programming overview for the next several weeks. As always we start with an overview of how our cycles work.

 

  • Strength and skill focuses run on a 6 week calendar, and are coupled together to maximize the time we have in class.  The goal is to get consistent touches at light, medium, and heavy loads in each lift and skill to create a level of mastery we can’t achieve by putting these movements in the programming randomly and sporadically.

  • Skills focuses throughout the year are designed to build on top of one another and safeguard against injury. What this looks like in practice is a simple to complex movement progression, and single limb to double limb progressions in most cases. An example is: doing single arm ring rows and single arm presses to eventually progress into strict pull-ups and handstand push-ups.

  • The conditioning work we do progresses from longer work when the strength progression is in a lighter phase, and shorter more intense workouts when we’re lifting heavier in the progression. If you prefer one side of the coin more than the other just be patient it will show back up after a few weeks.

 

  • We also include conditioning “tests” every other week or so. These tests will be retested in the future.  I will keep folks apprised of when a test or retest is happening and whether it falls into the category of long, light, heavy, bodyweight, or team focused.

  • Finally there will be other elements including cashouts, skill warm-ups, and additional strength / skill work peppered in to round out the program. However the above represents the core work that will keep folks moving forward over the long term (2+ years).

 

Strength & Skill Focus for July

Today was our post test of the Split Jerk and it was great to see so many “PR stars” by folks name.  As we discussed last month we are starting our Front Box Squat Cycle and strict pull-up cycle. July will be the meat and potatoes of this strength cycle so consistency and focus on strength days are priority number one.

 

The front box squat is one of those high ROI movements that most folks are unaware of. Not only does it improve our trunk and core strength in the front squat, it also provides great assistant to the start position in the snatch and clean. A full pause on the box allows athletes to learn how to “push with the legs” while maintaining a strong upright torso. So once again while the lift is less sexy than some of its relatives front box squats have great applications to many different barbell lifts.

 

Conditioning Test in July  

Below is the tentative schedule for conditioning tests in July into early August.  Some may shift by a day or two as the weeks get put together, but all of these test will be seen in the coming weeks.

Heavy – “Open WOD 11.3” Monday 8/7  (last tested 1/18/2016)

Light – “Chief” Thursday 7/20 (last tested 12/4/2013)  

Bodyweight – “Annie” Tuesday 7/25 (last tested 2/23/2015)  

Long – “ Wittman” Monday 7/31

Lastly, we understand that summertime is full of travel, vacations, and fun.  That doesn’t mean you have to let your fitness go to waste! Please reach out to us so we can help you with gym recommendations on the road, equipment free workouts, and fun active outdoor ideas for your vacations! We love a great adventure as much as you do!

 

Welcome Guest Coach Rebecca Black!

CFA is excited to announce that we will be hosting another guest coach for the month of July! Rebecca has been a client of or Coach Wes Kimball’s for almost 5 years now. More importantly she’s been coaching and training people to achieve their fitness goals for over 14 years! “RB” is currently a full time CrossFit coach at CrossFit Optimistic, and has been involved with CFO for the past 7 years. Rebecca will cover Monday evenings for us in the month of July!

Rebecca’s coaching background:

In her “first life” Coach Rebecca worked in the networking field for companies such as Lockheed Martin, Qwest and MCI. Unhappy with the instability of the field, she made the leap from geek to jock, and left the tech world to pursue a passion for fitness and nutrition full time. She has over a decade of fitness experience and has been a certified trainer since 2003. Rebecca loves, and is quite good at helping people incorporate fun, daily activity and healthful nutrition into their lives. She started CrossFitting in April 2010 and has found her calling, and her true home in the CrossFit community.

Rebecca holds the following certifications: CrossFit Level I and II, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, CrossFit Rowing, CrossFit Kettlebell, ISSA Certified Physical Trainer, ISSA Performance Nutrition Specialist.

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