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.

July Athlete of the Month – Daniel George!

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 July Athlete of the Month is Daniel George! Dan joined our family in September last year. He’s an evening guy hitting up the 6:30/7:30 pm classes. Not only is Dan a great example of how drive and determination can guide you, he’s also an amazing member of this community. He’s a hard worker and a friendly face for new folks coming into the gym. Dan’s always on board for a good time with social events and has been holding it down at Tailgate Thursday 😉  We’ve enjoyed Dan’s positive attitude and watching his continuous growth and we’re excited to see him continue to progress for many more years! Dan, we are proud to have you as our July 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:

Dan

Words to live by?
Never ever ever give up

What is your fitness background?
I swam some in high school, but It wasn’t until college that I started to care about physical fitness. I had to get into shape for the Marine Corps, so I started running, doing push ups, pull ups and crunches. From there I wanted to learn more about fitness and that’s where I came across the crossfit website.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I’ve been crossfitting since 2009-ish. I actually started at a military affiliate, Crossfit Cherry Point, where it was all donated equipment and volunteer coaches. We had a really tight community and we were constantly learning from each other. I even got my level one certification while there!

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
My first experience with crossfit was at the military affiliate at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. I’ve attempted CF workouts on my own before that, but I had no idea what I was doing. So I would show up and get smoked checked daily. Eventually I was able to do a proper deadlift or over head squat or whatever. I think my brain has pushed out some of the more painful memories of trying to learn everything.

I will always compare my home box with the community and passion I experienced at Crossfit Cherry Point. I’m lucky to report that CFA has that same community and spirit.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The community. That is the not so secret ingredient to the wild success of “Crossfit”. It encourages you, pushes you, keeps you in-check and keeps you going. I honestly wouldn’t push myself nearly as hard as when a fellow athlete is sweating and suffering alongside me or a coach not letting you give up

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I’m actually beginning to reach a few plateaus that I’ve hit already in my crossfit career. Generally, I want to break through all of that, i.e get a body weight snatch, DL 400+…really just all around strength and endurance improvements across the board.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Refer back to my words to live by. NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP. Also enjoy good beer on your off days.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Pizza and lots of beer.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I like to run and hike.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Doing murph this past weekend….it was hot…my the callous on my hand tore…I was reaching muscle failure but I didn’t give up and I completed Murph ‘straight through’. A fellow crossfitter even ran the last mile with me and kept me moving.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Dirty Dan
100 D/L at 225
100 C&J at 155
100 Push press at 135
100 D/Us

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?I love to travel (its a life long pursuit), being on a beach, and scuba diving.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I love heavy metal music! If it was up to me, I’d blast Metallica, Lamb of God, and other heavy shit out the speakers during WODs.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Longhorns I guess!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Choose yourself. Its easy to accept meritocracy or bad things that life might through at you. But you can choose to invest in yourself and become a better all around person.

 

Adventure Series || Max McGregor || Iceland

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 start 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! 

Max McGregor || Iceland

What’s up CFA – here I sit contemplating where to start on this piece Wes asked me to write about my experiences earlier this month. Our fearless leader has a long term goal of encouraging all of us to utilize our fitness outside of the gym, and it looks like I might’ve unintentionally, although very happily, modeled the behavior he’s looking for from our community.

Earlier in June I spent a week touring the south coast of Iceland with a few of my best friends. We started the week in the capital city of Reykjavik, spent a couple days there, and then spent our last five days in our home base of Hella. From Hella we traveled throughout the south coast over the course of the week. It’s easy to list the things we saw – from breathtaking waterfalls, to beautiful glaciers, mountains, geysers, black sand beaches, and probably most importantly – Game of Thrones filming locations. Although cliché, the photos don’t even come close to giving the experiences justice.

 

To speak to the theme of Wes’s big picture fitness goals for us – being fit was certainly needed. Climbing 500 steps to the top of a waterfall or hiking 60+ vertical stories to look over the Atlantic washing onto a miles wide black sand beach is no joke. Even being in good shape those were both strenuous chores. That being said, what was even more important to me was getting out of my comfort zone and putting the grind of daily life aside. Booking a trip to a foreign place isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to traveling, and neither is forgetting about the things that seem so important to you – your job, your pets, the people you encounter on a daily basis.

 

The unknown feeling forcing you to push beyond normal physical & mental comfort levels is the area that allows you to grow. I know the first time I stepped into a CrossFit gym was a terrifying experience, but now I prioritize my schedule around making it to class. I think the same sentiment can be applied to travel for those who haven’t experienced new places as well as plenty of other outlets of life. It feels good to do something different and uncomfortable, to break out of routine, and to utilize the bodies that we spend so much time building inside CFA.

 

 

Yoga at CrossFit Austin!

Happy Thursday CFA! We are excited to announce a new pilot program to the menu! In our efforts to continuously provide opportunities for growth, we’re beginning a trial course for Yoga at CFA. Two familiar faces will be leading you in this trial course! In the mornings we’ll rise and shine with Vy Mai and we’ll close out the evenings and weekends with Taylor Grande!
What’s the scoop?
We are doing a trial run to see if these yoga classes will become a permanent fixture on our schedule. Through the trial period, these courses will be offered for free. If there is enough interest and consistency in attendance we will continue the classes after the trial period is up as an add-on to your memberships. It will not be wrapped into your regular memberships, but a yoga pass will be an option you may choose to purchase as an add-on service.
When and where?
Thursday mornings at 5:30 am with Vy
Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm with Taylor
Saturday mornings at 11:00 am with Taylor
*Classes will run from July 6th – July 28th and will be held in the front office of CrossFit Austin
Requirements
There are no pre-requisites to these classes, however, you must provide your own yoga mat. If you do have blocks or straps please feel free to bring those as well!
Feel free to message Gen with any questions! gen@crossfitaustin.com
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About Vy:
Vy’s been at CFA since her sophomore year of college, so about 4 years now! She was first exposed to yoga while studying at St. Edward’s where she soon began to develop a regular practice. After graduation, she studied with the local donation based studio Black Swan Yoga where she earned her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training certification dedicated to the study of Hatha Vinyasa yoga, meditation, anatomy, history and philosophy of yoga. She has experienced the positive effects yoga and is excited to share this with the rest of the CFA community.
A message from Vy:
I’m just a girl who really loves yoga and I can’t wait to share this awesome practice with you guys! I personally, normally take fairly active yoga classes and like to always be challenged with new and more advanced poses. I aim to offer classes that facilitate growth, both physically and mentally, but also provide a space for self-care and simply an enjoyable time. I like to give hands-on assists and adjustments, when desired, to help students get deeper into the poses and learn proper alignment to avoid injuries. I’m so excited!

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About Taylor: Fitness and athletic performance have always been a big part of Taylor’s life. She has been everything from a highly competitive track athlete, a national and international competitive cheerleader, competitive dancer, and gymnast. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Texas State University and an AFFA group exercise certification for yoga, Pilates, cycling, as well as circuit training.  Taylor has taught at Texas State University and at Pure Austin Fitness. Her favorite styles of yoga to teach are Vinyasa flow and Power Yoga.

A message from Taylor: Throughout my diverse background in athletics, one thing that was very essential to each sport was practice. You had to practice to get better, faster, stronger or to learn a new skill. My current practice is yoga. What’s beautiful about the practice of yoga is that you constantly evolve, with each pose leading to the next. You get to work on yourself from the inside-out! While being able to do handstands, head stands and funky balances is cool, yoga is about much more than what you can do on the mat. By practicing yoga you are finding inner peace and acceptance for the wonderful person you are by clearing any judgment or imperfections you hold on to. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing those that I teach, find that inner peace through their practice.

 

 

June Programming Overview || Coach Wes Kimball

 

Goodness! Happy June people! May flew by and summer is upon us! I want to give everyone a quick update on programming for the next 30 days, and what to be looking out for. Before we start, remember we have a few basic themes you’ll see (and you’ve seen) with the programming:

  • 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 May

Today was actually the culmination of our Power Snatch cycle and I’m excited to see the Power Snatch PRs go up on the board! The rest of the month will be focused on Jerks and Split Squats until we do our overlap again with a pretest for the “Front Box Squat” tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 21st!  

One thing to keep in mind as we work through the Jerk / Split Squat cycle is not to blow off the split squats. I know they’re not always fun, and can be tedious. However they do a great job of building balanced leg strength that will really pay off on your other squatting lifts, as well as help keep you knees and back healthy. So again make sure you challenge yourself on the split squats!

Conditioning Test in June

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

Heavy – “Isabell” Monday 6/12 (last tested 1/2/2017)  

Light – “Fight Gone Bad” Wednesday 6/14 (last tested 10/31/2016)

Bodyweight – “Baseline” Friday 6/23

Long – “ Murph” Saturday 7/1 (last tested as Team Saturday 5/27/2017)

We also will be doing some Murph specific buildup work in our Wednesday Cash outs as well as this Saturday and next (6/10 & 6/17) for those of you that need some extra running work to get prepared.  If pull-ups or push-ups are your nemesis with Murph schedule a hybrid session with your CFL so they can get you on a specific individual plan to improve one or both of those movements in preparation for our big event!

That’s it folks! Embrace the heat, and drink lots of water!

 

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