3 “Force Multipliers” to increase your Fitness Now || Coach Wes

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Force multiplication, A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment

– Official definition of the United States Department of Defense term force multiplier.

Force Multipliers are tools that help you Amplify your effort to produce more output. A hammer is a force multiplier. Investing in Force Multipliers means that you’ll get more done with the same amount of effort. Generally, the only good use of debt or outside capital is when it gives you access to Force Multipliers that you wouldn’t be able to access any other way.

– Josh Kaufman “The Personal MBA”

So what does increasing the combat potential of soldiers and utilizing outside capital to stimulate business growth have to do with your fitness? Just like you can multiply efforts in those arenas you can dramatically improve your fitness efforts by finding simple force multipliers to include in your regiment. Here are three that have a great track record of success.

 

Sleep

Now, as a father of two young children I understand that getting good sleep is sometimes completely out of our control. However, if you have the luxury of full control of your sleep you should aim to get a minimum of 8 hours a night. Sleep amplifies all the “good” hormones that contribute to our ability to lose body fat, build muscles, optimize a nervous system for maximum strength, and just feel good and motivated in general.  So while training and great nutrition are going to have the most direct impact on your fitness, sleep sets the stage for you to take full advantages of your efforts in those areas.

 

Daily dedication to mobility, stability, flexibility aka “movement quality”  

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people plateau or sustain a setback like an injury because they don’t move well.  This can manifest itself in many forms (the reason I didn’t simply say mobility)  and honestly, all of them are intertwined so it behooves some to get assessed by a professional to see where they need the most work.  So many times the results are staggering, I’ve seen people improve snatch maxes by 20 lbs by improving core stability,  shave minutes off their Fran time by improving the rack position, and actually be able to perform and overhead squat by improve ankle dorsiflexion.  The take home message here is that it not only improves your performance, but hedges against the things that tank motivation or keep us out the gym.


Private Coaching

This is something that most people will overlook, or blow off as not worth the cost. However, having an objective professional to evaluate your fitness needs and help you create an efficient plan to achieve your true potential is invaluable. The reality is that no amount of internet searching can replace the experience, time, and money that a professional coach has invested in understanding fitness. Lucky for you guys we make it easy to get assessed by a professional coach, all you have to do is schedule one of your built in hybrid sessions.  

In closing the important thing to take from this is to evaluate your efforts and think outside of the box. Conventional wisdom tells us we need to add or subtract when it comes to fitness. Add more volume, subtract food groups, etc. The reality is there’s plenty of habits we can implement to multiply the effort we already have in place.
Enjoy your holiday weekend and come join me on Monday for a great Memorial day hero WOD: DT!

-Coach Wes

June Guest Coach: Forrest Martinez!

As most of you guys know everyone’s favorite cat lover, Coach Ben Wells, is quite the world traveler! Since we 100% support folks going on adventures, we always do our best to make due without Coach Ben while he teaches folks how to skydive on a boat.  That said, it does present scheduling challenges for us so we decided to think outside the box for the upcoming month of June.

I’d like to give a warm welcome to our guest coach Forrest Martinez.  I’ve known Forrest for almost 6 years now and he has always been a very impressive young man. Forrest helps run his family box CrossFit Optimistic in San Antonio, and is fellow Texas Aggie set to graduate next fall with a degree in Chemistry. Forrest has been an individual client of mine, and has been coaching CrossFit from a very young age. He will take over the bulk of Ben’s schedule starting in June until Ben’s returns in early July!  

– Coach Wes

A message from Forrest:

I’m a senior at Texas A&M studying Chemistry and will graduate this December. I’ve  been involved in the CrossFit community for almost 7 years, and earned my CrossFit Level 1 certification in 2012. I enjoy coaching athletes of all ages for the past 5 years at my family’s box in San Antonio, TX: CrossFit Optimistic.  I’ve also had the opportunity to volunteer at the South Central Regional (2012-2014), California Regional (2015), and the Crossfit Games (2014-2015).

When I’m not at the gym, I love spending time with my family and brewing coffee. I can’t wait to share my passion for CrossFit with the fine folks of CFA, and I promise a positive workout experience for everyone!

May Athlete of The Month – Chase Pitman!!

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 May Athlete of the Month is Chase Pitman! Chase started his CFA journey back in February of 2016. He’s a solid staple in the infamous 6:30 am crew.  It’s been really great to see the progress Chase has made in his time here! He’s been putting in the extra work, especially over the last few months, to reach the goals he’s set for himself and all that work has certainly paid off in his time here! Not only is Chase a great example of how drive and determination can guide you, he’s also a great personality to have in class. We’ve enjoyed Chase’s positive attitude and watching his continuous growth and we’re excited to see him continue to progress for many more years! Chase, we are proud to have you as our May Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for the early morning giggles and all your hard work! Congratulations!  

State your Name and/or Nickname please:

Chase Pitman.

Words to live by?

There are two sayings I try to remember every day.

1) “To have a friend, be one.”

2) “One see’s clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

What is your fitness background?

Well, my Dad made me play football through my Freshman year of high school? I also took a half semester weight lifting class in college. Other than that, I guess the best answer would be: None?

How long have you been CrossFitting?

If you don’t count the one class I went to in 2011 (you shouldn’t) that would be about 454 days. If you don’t want to count that back, I started on Feb. 1, 2016.

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

Well, it was the first time I had woken up before 8:00 am in months, so mostly I just felt tired. But I was also pretty intimidated and unsure what to think. Coming in and seeing the 5:30 am class absolutely had me questioning whether I had made a terrible, terrible mistake. But after the first day, despite being exhausted and a little overwhelmed I felt comfortable in the gym. And the workouts are just as hard, if not harder, today.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?Image may contain: 2 people, candles

It’s a toss up between the 6:30 crew, washing the gross gym grime off my hands after a bunch of burpees, or when a workout is over.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Currently, I’m pretty determined to master double unders and handstand pushups.

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

My biggest piece of advice would be to figure out what’s driving you and constantly keep that in your mind. You don’t have to be a lifelong athlete or even a monthlong athlete to be successful as long as you’re dedicated and willing to work. Honestly, you’re probably going to be last in a lot of the WODs early on but don’t let that discourage you. You’re not there to prove anything to anyone but yourself (unless you are, in which case, ignore everything I’ve said), so ask questions and focus on yourself and not the people around you.

What is your cheat meal go to?

Sour Neon Gummy Worms. Or any artificially flavored, artificially colored, sour neon gummy animal including, but not limited to, bears, sloths, and octopi.

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

I was pretty proud of myself when I first RX’d an entire workout. But it’s a toss up between that and the one time I hit 100 meters exactly in the rowing game.

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

I would call it: Lazy Sunday=

14 minutes of jump rope. Every time you stop jumping/miss a jump, do 2 burpees.

(I have no business creating a WOD)

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

This is starting to feel a lot like Tinder, but I enjoy hiking, ultimate frisbee, camping, reading, cuddling with my dog, and eating candy. I’m also pretty interested in music and politics. I listen to way too much NPR and podcasts. On top of that, I’m the best dang furniture salesman you ever did meet.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I won the invention convention in 3rd grade and the geography bee in 5th grade.

Longhorns or Aggies?

I like sports too!

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

Ladies, I’m single.

May Programming Overview || Coach Wes

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Happy last week of April CFA peeps! I’ve had several requests to update folks as to what they’ll see in the programming in the coming months so let’s get into it!

 

Before we start I  want to outline 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

We will conclude our snatch / single arm strength focus in May and have a post test tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, June 6th.  The strength cycles do have some overlap, so we also have a pretest scheduled for Tuesday May 16th for the Jerk. Our Jerk strength cycle will be coupled with DB split squats in preparation for the front box squats in July.
The snatch weights will get heavier this May and if you did a good job of dialing in technique and practice early on in the cycle you should be able to perform at heavier loads without overthinking your technique. If technique is still lacking, schedule a hybrid session with your Coach For Life (if you’re not on hybrid or don’t know what that means, shoot us a message 😉 ) for some additional technique work, and / or keep your weights at the lower percentage we’ve already seen in April. Success in any lift will always be more abundant when you’re consistently “making” lifts, even if the weight is a bit lighter. Particularly in a snatch people commonly stall out when they are chasing weights and “missing” more attempts than they make.

Conditioning Test in May

Below is the tentative schedule for conditioning tests in May.  Some may shift by a day or two as the weeks get put together, but all of these test will be seen in May.
Heavy – “Back in Black” Monday 5/1
Bodyweight – “Cindy” Friday 5/5
Heavy – “Fox on the Run” Wednesday 5/3
Team – “Team Murph” (Can also be used as a “long” pretest for Murph in July if you plan to do it solo) Saturday 5/27
Long – “Plenty of Gas” – Tuesday 5/30

*Please remember to record your scores for these workouts as they will be retested 4 to 8 weeks from the initial tests.  They’ll also be tests that pop up consistently year over year.

Lastly, if you’ve been consistently hitting the workouts Rx or the scale-up versions and feel like you’re ready for some additional work please schedule a hybrid session with your CFL. They are more than happy to assess whether additional volume and accessory work is appropriate for your development. More isn’t always better, but there are specific things your coach can help you with if you feel like you’ve stalled out in a specific aspect of your fitness.
Hope this is informational for everyone’s brain as we make our way into the last month of spring. As always, feel free to ask any additional questions you may have in the comments!

Night of Champions || May 5

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Night of Champions CINCO DE MAYO!
Are you a champion? Show us your stuff!

Teams of 2 – Male/Male or Female/Female
Rx & Scaled Divisions available!
Night of Champions will consist of 2 WODs
WOD 1 – A Lifting Event
WOD 2 – A Partner WOD
Details to come!
FRIDAY MAY 5
6:30 pm – Athlete Check-In
7:00 pm – WOD 1 Start Time

$50 per Team (includes registration for both team mates) Come show us how much of a champ you are!

(Only 1 registration per team – We’ll send an email to get division and partner name)

REGISTER HERE

A Gym’s Mission

When we opened CrossFit Austin over 8 years ago, our purpose was never about producing elite athletes to compete at the CrossFit Games. Over the years we’ve dabbled in the competitive exercise game, and had moderate success. Through all the years we’ve realized that still isn’t our mission here at CFA.  Yes, we want you improving your fitness and hitting PRs regularly, but our mission is much bigger than that.

Our intention has, and always will be, to help others achieve lifelong fitness and have a lot of fun doing it.  The motto we preach to our coaches is everyone should have a great experience. Your hour in the gym should be the best hour of your day.

Our gym is where relationships are made. Whether its a mentor relationship with a coach, a new best friend, or maybe your future spouse, the community of CFA is forged through iron-clad relationships. This is the unknown secret ingredient people from the outside looking in don’t grasp until they’re immersed in it.

Finally, we strive to provide results relative to people’s goals. This is why we are such strong advocates of the hybrid (PT + Group Class) model of training. It allows us to work with people and push them towards achieving the goals they have for themselves, not put people in a box and demand they achieve a preset standard for what fitness should be.  

In the end it’s simple:  Experience. Relationship. Results.

Ultimately we don’t really care how much you clean and jerk, per se; but care if you’re falling in love with fitness and doing it with a lot of great people that you love around you.   Because one day we’ll all be that 40 year old dad who still wants to mix it up on the basketball court with his teenage kids, or that 65 year old grandmother that needs the stamina and strength to hike a mountain with her grandkids. That’s what we’re about, the long game, the love of the game, and loving the ones we’re playing the game with.  

Fitness Fundamentals: Weightlifting

This is the fourth article in our “Fitness Fundamentals” series, so far we’ve addressed Nutrition, conditioning, and gymnastics.. These articles are for those just starting a health and fitness journey who need simple actionable advice to start improving right away. For those whom fitness is already an active part of their lives, fundamentals are something that should be revisited consistently to make sure the foundation of our hard work remains solid in support of our goals.

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Today we discuss “Weightlifting”. Much like the “gymnastics” we teach and perform in the gym, the weightlifting we are referring to is basic strength training, and an emulation of the traits that competitive Olympic Weightlifters possess. Strength training is one of the most important aspects of any training because it not only contributes to all aspect of fitness, it is one of the single biggest factors in health and longevity. However strength can not exist in a vacuum and over emphasizing strength at the expense of all other fitness qualities is neither productive or healthy.  Below we’ll discuss some ways to get the most out of the all important “strength work” in our program.

 

Consistency

The best way to get stronger is to consistently train for strength.  We recommend folks include a strength element to their training a minimum of twice a week. This not only allows the body to adapt sustainably overtime, but also allows for consistent practice that improves the body’s neurological ability to perform movements under load. Along with this comes the consistency of the actual weights used. Instead of striving to constantly hit new heavier weights, our goal is mastering the load you are at, improve form and make it feel easier before you move on to the next weight.

Quality over Quantity

One of the biggest mistakes people make with lifting weights is being focused on lifting heavier and heavier weights. When strength training is done properly it will create physical resilience in a person that will prevent injuries.  However many times strength training is associated with injury in the gym because folks are either training with poor movement quality, and / or to much weight.  So it is imperative to set aside your ego and commit to mastering the quality of your movements before you make big jumps in the quantity of weight lifted.

Action step:
Commit to strength training twice a week, and use consistent loads and movements for six weeks. This will help you master the movements to begin with.  If you only introduce two new movements every 6 weeks for a year you will have laid a great foundation in 16 different movements.

Thanks for stopping in! Our final installment we will discuss the concept of sport and how it applies to getting fit!

 

 

 

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