March Athlete of The Month: Bruce Cline!

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 March Athlete of the Month is Bruce Cline! Bruce finished up fundamentals with Coach Tim and joined group classes in September of 2016. You’ll usually catch him with the 4:30 pm crew. Bruce has a fire for training that is tough to match. It’s been really exciting to see the progress he’s made in the short time he’s been here. He gives it all during class and puts in the extra work to reach his goals. All that work has certainly paid off in his time here! We’ve enjoyed Bruce’s positive attitude and watching his continuous gains over the last few months and we’re excited to see him continue to progress for many more years! Bruce, we are proud to have you as our March Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for all your hard work! Congratulations!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Bruce Cline

Words to live by?
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

What is your fitness background?
Organized sports in High School, Unorganized sports in College, Mountain Climber (many 14ers and soon to be a 19er).

How long have you been CrossFitting?
For two trimesters.  The first 3 months were real pukey, the second 3 have been less pukey but the aches and pains have increased!

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I was excited to learn new techniques and proper movements but I was pretty winded early in the lifts and would get nauseated quickly.  Today, I can push the engine a little harder.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The people.  Everything that seems to divide our nation today (politics etc.) doesn’t enter this realm…I think it stays in our cars or at home or on Facebook LOL.  We enter the gym as one group and that is a refreshing 1+ hours of good butt kicking.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Do a muscle up in 2017.
Do double-under(s) in 2017

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Be patient.  Look around the gym…if someone is killing a workout; I guarantee they have put in many hours or years.  Don’t be afraid to work hard.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Mexican Food & Beer

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Going a little harder when everything hurts.  That decisive moment can come once in a workout or 100 times, but it feels good when you give it the middle finger and push harder.

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

4 Rounds for time, no Cap
400m run with medicine ball (20lb/14lb)
10 reps deadlift at 60%
20 wall balls
20 push-ups
20 sit-ups

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Landscaping.  I love fossils.  I can ride a unicycle.  

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I discovered a juvenile triceratops (or part of it) on a dig in Wyoming.  I touched something that lived 65 million years ago.  I also have a T-Rex tooth and that is just badass.

Longhorns or Aggies?
I root for both of them.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
“Everything is only for a day, both that which remembers and that which is remembered” Marcus Aurelius

 

Fitness Fundamentals || Nutrition

In today’s culture everyone is constantly looking for a way to “hack” their way into a smokin hot bod, world class athleticism, and lifetime of bliss and happiness. Hard work and the investment of long hours are quickly abandoned for the latest shortcut found on the internet. The truth is getting fit is a fairly simple task, but it is far from easy.  Most fitness results are found through the process of mastering a few simple, but highly effective habits and repeating them consistently for a lifetime.  

 

So, in an effort to cut through the noise we’re offering a new series of articles we call “Fitness Fundamentals”.  For those just starting a health and fitness journey this is simple actionable advice to start improving right away. For those whom fitness is already an active part of their lives, these are the thing we tend to forget as we move further away from the beginners stages. These fundamentals are something that should be revisited consistently to make sure the foundation of our hard work remains solid in support of our goals.

For the sake of sequence we’ll use the classic visual of the fitness pyramid to present the fundamentals:

http://crossfitgeneration.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/crossfit-pyramid1.png

 

So we begin at the bottom of the pyramid with Nutrition. Here are the 3 nutrition fundamentals we believe all nutritional strategies should be built upon.

Eat protein and “lots” of vegetables at every meal.

While protein intake amount will vary based on size and goals of the individual, some protein should be consumed at every meal.  For most, protein will mean fish, eggs, chicken, beef, and / or pork. Green vegetables should always be the first thing consumed on your plate, and the more the better. Kale, broccoli, spinach, lettuces, asparagus, brussels sprouts are a great place to start with getting an abundance of greens at each meal.

Food quantity should be natural not neurotic.

While many in the nutrition industry will ask you to count calories, weigh and measure every ounce of food, and hit precise “macro” percentages we believe there is a better way. While all of those things have some merit in specific higher level situations, we follow a simpler quantity solution developed by Precision Nutrition: A palm of protein, a cupped hand of non veggie carbs (fruits, and starchier carbs like sweet potatoes), and a thumb of fats.

For more details on how to apply this approach based on gender, and size take a look at this infographic from Precision Nutrition.

Make water 90% of liquid intake.

Water is the most important thing we voluntarily consume. You can survive 30-40 days without food, but maybe only 8-10 days without water.  Hydration is not only important for your survival, but your ability to thrive as well.

Many times folks who struggle with fat loss or fitness performance still take in a large amounts of calories from alcohol, sodas, juices, or other sugar laden drinks.  It’s best to eliminate these or reduce their consumption significantly. And, while we’d never ask someone to give up their coffee, we do recommend drinking at least twice as much water as coffee in the morning to maintain proper hydration throughout the day.  

Our minimum recommendation is 16-20 oz at night before bed and immediately upon waking. If you plan on exercising 32 – 40 oz an hour before exercise and then another 16-20 oz twenty minutes before exercise, and drink as you feel “thirsty” during exercise.

In closing we like to remind everyone that we’re not doctors and this is not medical advice. There are many conditions that adults face that may call for a nutritional intervention that’s beyond our scope of practice. However, we do believe that implementing the three “fundamentals” presented here will immensely help anyone who is striving to improve their health and fitness.

 

Step Down or Rebound || Coach Tim Garland

With the CrossFit Open just a few weeks away, our last few articles have focused on mindset and integrity in training. Applying those principles, I’d like to focus on a single movement often in the Open. The box jump.

The box jump is an expression of power and control of our body-weight. The explosive strength required, as well as stamina when performed at high volume, is not for everyone.  An alternative to this movement is the step-up. While the step-up does not have the same explosive strength demands, it can be a safer movement, especially when considering the urge to “rebound” from a box jump.  Some of us are new to this realm of exercise, so let’s define ‘rebound’ within the context of a box jump.

Rebound- rēˌbound
*to bounce back through the air after hitting a hard surface or object*

So, the next question…how do you determine if you should rebound?

It is probably best for the majority of the general population of group class folks to go ahead and step off of the box. The demands placed on the Achilles tendon, thus risk for injury, are not worth the reward. Rebounding should be left for those that make training a top tier priority. This means they are recovering with the best of the best, by keeping incredible sleep hygiene, eating to replenish for their body type and workload demands, and taking care of their bodies with a complete soft tissue regimen.

So, you are not an elite athlete and do not know where to begin with taking care of/troubleshooting your body. Below are three examples of soft tissue work that you can implement, if you are not already doing so,
that will aid the likes of running, double-unders, and of course…box jumps.

 

Foam rolling the lower portion of your calf. You can also use a kettlebell or even barbell if you find that you need a bit more pressure. Simple place the lower portion of your calf on the object of choice, then work through some extension/flexion of the ankle, and even clockwise/counterclockwise rotations.

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Using a band below the ankle joint itself, elevate the ball of your foot and drive your heel toward the floor while simultaneously pushing your shin toward the top of your foot.

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Working off of a box, place a ball in the belly of the muscle on your shin and gently apply pressure. Here, as with the foam roller in #1, you can work through flexion/extension of the ankle while slowly working your way up (or down) the front of the shin. Please don’t place the ball on the bone itself, remember we are working the soft tissue!

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 8.05.37 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try these out. Not sure if you are doing them correctly? Ask a coach, they are there to help!

Stay Safe and Healthy,

Tim

Integrity In Training || Coach Gen

mem

On Tuesday, Coach Wes posted a meme that was the perfect intro to today’s article. He had no idea what I planned to write about, but the fact that there is a meme about it says it’s a common occurrence.

In the midst of all the New Year’s resolutions and the hype of The Open coming up there tends to be an added pressure to ‘perform’ in the gym. People’s focus turns to the numbers on the board and the actual work being done becomes secondary. This leads to mediocre training just to get that score and very little actual progress. I challenge you to find a way that that is going to serve you in the future.

In my opinion, as a coach and an athlete, training is very rarely about the score. It’s much more about the quality of movement and the development of the skills so that I can progress. That’s not to say I don’t push my people or myself, only that if it’s a shitty rep, we’re not counting it. Yes, there are those who straight up shave reps (see below video), but in my opinion, it’s just as bad to count reps that you know aren’t up to par when you are trying to. Here’s why:

Let’s say I’m working on my toes to bar. I can get close, every once in awhile my toes get all the way up there, but for the most part I just do the work and say “eh, that’s close enough” with a good 8 inches between my toes and the bar. How am I EVER going to get better at the skill if I settle for mediocre? What do you think would happen if instead, during every single WOD with toes to bar, I held myself accountable and only counted the reps where my toes truly touched the bar? I’d probably progress more quickly because I’d get pretty damn tired of doing all those extra reps that didn’t count.

Another option I have here, is to take a step back in the progression. Maybe I never actually get my toes close to the bar, but I can get my knees to my elbows almost every time. What’s the better option here? Do shitty toes to bar reps or do proper knees to elbows reps? At least in the second option I’m practicing proper form and I’m going to develop the skill and my strength. Once I’m efficient in that progression, I can move back up and continue my progress. Poor practice makes for poor performance.  Proper practices makes for improvement.

Now let’s look at those rep shavers. ‘Karen’ is on the board (150 wall balls for time).. I’m scanning the scores from the earlier classes and I see that ‘John’ did it in 5:15. Well… I’m going to do it in 5:00! 3-2-1 go… rep after rep (let’s say for the sake of this scenario that all my reps are legitimately good).. I’m getting tired and no one else is counting my reps, but me….. Rep, rep, rep… oh jeez the clock says 4:45 and I’m only at 119… eh screw it, I have to beat John so I just call it at the 5:00 minute mark even though I only completed about 130 reps. No one will know. I report my score, Coach gives me a high five, and no one is the wiser.

A few weeks down the road, ‘Karen’  comes up again and we do it with a partner who helps keep count. Where am I now? I shaved 20 reps last time to get that score and I’ve done nothing between then and now to improve my ability in this WOD. I’m in trouble because there is no way I can repeat that score with a proper rep count… busted.

Guys, regardless of what your scenario is, it all boils down to integrity and diligence in your training. If you truly want to improve and succeed you have to hold yourself accountable. We as coaches do our best to give corrections and cues throughout, but I can’t stand next to you and count every rep or watch to make sure your toes hit that bar every time. There is always room for improvement and I am the first to admit that sometimes fatigue, injury, or whatever else affects the movement. If that’s the case, do your best at the proper progression, but don’t come report RX when 90% of the time your toes were 8 inches from the bar.

If you need help with a progression, ASK US. We are here to guide your progress so if there is something you’re struggling with or you don’t know the proper way to progress, get with your coach and we’ll figure it out, but don’t settle for mediocre movement for the sake of the score.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Be excellent.
-Coach Gen

February Athlete of The Month – Colette LaPorte!!

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 February Athlete of the Month is Colette LaPorte! She started with fundamentals back in June of 2016 and has been in group classes since July. You’ll usually find her with the 6:30 am crew, but she occasionally pops into noon as well. Colette has been a natural since she walked in the door. It’s been really exciting to see the progress she’s made on top of such a solid foundation. She puts the work in during class and pays close attention to taking the proper steps to reach her goals. All that work has certainly paid off in her time here! We’ve enjoyed Colette’s infectiously positive attitude and watching her continuous gains over the last few months and we’re excited to see her continue to progress for many more years! Colette, we are proud to have you as our February Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for all your hard work and the smiles you bring us on a regular basis! Congratulations!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:Image may contain: 1 person, standing and shoes

Colette

Words to live by?

My dad would say to me growing up “just do your best, no matter what that is” and I always try to apply that to my life.

What is your fitness background?

I played soccer as a kid and have always been a runner.  I got into weight lifting about 4 or 5 years ago.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

I started training with Gen in June of 2016

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I definitely felt overwhelmed when I first started CrossFit. Some movements I knew how to do, but there were lots that I didn’t. I still feel like I’m a major work in progress but I love improving and accomplishing small goals.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

The camaraderie and the competition. It’s nice to meet like-minded people and to have them push you harder than you would working out alone.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I’m training for the Austin Half Marathon this month and I also really want to be able to do a handstand!

_MG_3725 (2)

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

That not everyone is critiquing you or watching what you’re doing like you might think. Focus on progress, not perfection!

What is your cheat meal go to?

Pizza – it’s my love language

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

Anytime I push myself harder than I thought I could.  Whenever I do more weight, reps, whatever more than I originally thought I could going into the workout.

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

“Let’s get this over with”

8 burpees
8 squat cleans
8 pull ups
8 toes to bar
400 m run Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
3 rounds
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I like to travel, binge-watch Netflix, and any DIY craft.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I’m fluent in French and my fingers are double jointed so I can twist my hand into a pretzel.

Longhorns or Aggies?

Can I plead the 5th? I went to OU…

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Never give up on what you truly want!

Why you’re still falling short of your goals in 2017

http://www.runningtricks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/StraightLine.jpg

 

Today marks our final sunny day of January, and hopefully all of you are in hot pursuit of more fitness “wins” in 2017. Now that said I’m sure many of you like myself left a few things on the table in 2016.  The inconvenient truth is we all set out to accomplish something last year only to fall short (or maybe not even start at all).  

Most times this is less a product of effort and more a product having a flawed approach.  Often times people think that to improve at a specific movement they just need to keep practicing whatever movement it is they want to get better at. While the reality is there’s much more below the surface that needs to be corrected for that movement to progress. Confused? take the conversation below:

Athlete: “I want to add 20 lb. to my clean this year. My best right now is 200 lb.”
Coach: “What’s your 1 rep max front squat?”
Athlete: “I think around 210 lb. Why does my front squat matter?” It’s my clean I want to get better at.”

Clearly this person doesn’t see the same opportunity their coach does to improve the clean via squat strength improvement. That’s not an indictment of the athlete. It’s a simplistic example of the gap in experience and knowledge between a coach whose job it is to know this stuff inside and out, and an athlete who may be excited about what’s in front of them but hasn’t dug deeper to understand their own limiting factors.

Another example:

The athlete who can’t perform on overhead squat but wants to improve his snatch and thinks the answer is to spend an extra 20 minutes after class each day hammering away at snatches.

The better approach is to work with his coach who can provide him homework—probably a bunch of tedious seemingly unrelated drills, stretches, and fundamental movements that make him wonder how this will translate to the snatch—to help him gain stability overhead, and mobility in the hip, ankles, and upper back.  A far better approach than just hitting snatches four days a week hoping something will eventually click.

And since we’re on the cusp of the Open:

Athlete: “I want to get a muscle-up this year.”
Coach: “How many strict chest-to-bar pull-ups and ring dips can you do?”
Athlete: “1 or 2 ring dips and I don’t think I can do a strict chest-to-bar pull-up.”
Coach: “Well let’s start by improving your strict pulling and pushing strength before we get thinking about a muscle-up.”
Athlete: Makes a sad face.

The point is simply to say that getting better at cleans or snatches or muscle-ups or toes-to-bar involves way more than just logging time flailing around on the rings or a bar. It involves diagnosing what’s preventing you from improving—is it strength, is it positioning, or is it just a small technical correction?— then removing the limiting factors and building the necessary movement qualities to help you achieve that ultimate goal.

You can spend years using trial and error or spends hours a week researching on the internet trying to self diagnose why you still can’t do certain things. Or you can work with a great coach and start knocking those goats off your list systematically, and successfully. Let’s do it different in 2017. Get a coach, get a plan, and start winning.

 

Play with Patience || Coach Tim Garland

Image result for dick and jane

Patience is a virtue. Ever hear that? You undoubtedly have, but how does this apply to exercise?  If I wait around to move, I won’t get stronger, leaner, insert any other goal-oriented adjective you’d like….

The patience I’m referring to could be viewed from two different, yet very similar situations. Let’s take a ride with John and Jane through their respective situations.

John is brand new to the world of exercise. He played football in middle school and has been pounding away at the keyboard with a steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew ever since. He wants to get moving and is on fire right now for his New Year’s goals. He has done his research on local gyms and decides that going the 1-on-1 private training route is the best place for him to safely learn and begin.

He goes through 15 private sessions and decides he’s ready to move into group classes. John and his coach talk about being smart, and not getting in a rush when he transitions to the faster paced group classes. He takes several months, progressing at a slow, steady pace. He decides after a few months that there are a few movements that he is ready to tackle, and schedules another private session with his coach. The coach assesses, and decides that John is not ready for the next level movement just yet, but assigns certain drills to aid John in his progress toward his goals. John is diligent with his homework and patient with his progress. This patience pays off, and he’s rewarded with successful completion of his first set of kipping pull-ups!

Jane is the exact opposite of John. She is an ex-collegiate athlete, with weightlifting and gymnastic experience. She is a STUD! Jane has done CrossFit for nearly 2 years, when work transfers her to a different state. Jane is a social butterfly and quickly gets involved in the Social Sports group scene in her new city…and blows out her knee in the first month. After surgery, rehab with her Physical Therapist, and a few sessions with a trainer bridging the gap between the therapy room and weight room…Jane is itching to get back to her old self. She goes light and moves smart in her first week back. Jane is feeling GOOD. The following week she decides that she is ready to attempt close to the same weights she was moving prior to surgery as well as moving at the same pace/speed. Wrong! Crack,snap, pop. She’s back on the floor because she rushed her recovery which sets her back another 6-8 months. In the meantime, ‘ole John is cruising at his pace, and surpasses all of his goals for the year!

All that to say, no matter where you begin…you have to listen to your body and respect the weights/movements that you are attempting. You can’t rush progress. It is a compilation of correctly-focused work and drills. The CrossFit Open is right around the corner. Keep Jane in mind, and be like John. Constant quality begets longevity!

Play smart,
Coach Tim

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