April Athlete of The Month – Shaelyn Stone!!

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 April Athlete of the Month is Shaelyn Stone! Shaelyn started sweating with CFA back in February of 2016. You’ll usually catch her with the 6:30 am or the 4:30 pm crew.  It’s been really exciting to see the progress that Shaelyn has made here, especially recently! She has a great drive and solid focus in her training. All that work has certainly paid off in her time here! We’ve enjoyed Shaelyn’s positive attitude and watching her continuous growth and we’re excited to see her continue to progress for many more years! Shaelyn, we are proud to have you as our April 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:
Shaelyn. Or just Shae.

Words to live by?
“See, winners embrace hard work.” –Lou Holtz

What is your fitness background?
I played a lot of basketball and volleyball before I got to college. Now I just play them for leisure.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
A year and three months. And I’ve loved every second of it!

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
Haha, ok, so this is a funny story. My first day of CrossFit, I dropped into a class on a day when they were doing only mobility stuff. I had dragged three of my friends with me because I was terrified to go alone, but by the end of class we all walked out with our heads held high, scoffing at those who’d warned us about the painful trials of CrossFit.
Then day two came…and we died. All I remember was a crap load of heavy deadlifts and jumping pull-ups. It felt like every muscle in my body was torn and trying to mesh itself back together. But I LOVED it! It hooked me, and here I am today! The daily soreness is still just as bad, but my performance is so much better.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The people, no doubt! The coaches, the other members, everyone. And the programming. I love the programming.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Currently I’m working on getting strict pull-ups and some HSPUs. Just two weeks ago, I got hand stand kick-ups down, and during the Open this year (which was my first Open ever, by the way) I was able to string together a few kipping pull-ups!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
It took me a while to learn to leave my extremely competitive nature against others at the big bay doors. But I think that’s helped me most. The only one you should be concerned with competing against is yourself! Like anything else that’s worthwhile and rewarding, this is gonna take time and it’s gonna be hard. But it’s also gonna be a ton of fun!

What is your cheat meal go to?
Chicken and waffles drenched in maple syrup! Oh my gosh, nothing on this earth makes me as happy!

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
That’d probably be during 17.2, when I got those kipping pull-ups! That was a big moment, lots of adrenaline, surrounded by awesome people.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
I love double-unders, so I would just steal “Annie” and instead name it… I don’t know, the “Shae-nay-nay?” Gosh, that sounds awful, haha.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love anything to do with the outdoors! Hunting, hiking, camping, kayaking, cave crawling, horseback riding, you name it. I also LOVE to shop and to read books!

As for talents, I speak pretty good French. And I’m expert with a long-range rifle.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
Not to brag (well kind of), but I’m actually a fantastic singer! I was classically trained in Opera for most of my life, but I sing just about any genre! Except Screamo.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Aggies? Is that some kind of disease?! Nah, I’d have to go with my beloved burnt orange all the way!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Oh my gosh, I’m really blessed to be a part of this community! Y’all are the highlights of my semesters, and I’m super excited to keep working out with y’all and learning from y’all! I think we all know that every time we come to CFA, it’s not just about going to a gym, it’s about being fit for life and taking part in an awesome community!

Welcome New Coach || Aaron Garza!

A word from Wes: 

Aaron has been an active member of our community for the last several years. Over the past year he’s put in a ton of work immersing himself in education
around coaching and improving his own and others fitness. We’re excited to add him to our AM coaching staff and are confident in his ability to lead within our community. Above all else Aaron is a humble, hardworking, great person (just like every other member of our staff) and we’re excited to see him grow and display those qualities as a coach with CFA!

About Aaron:

Aaron Garza graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering. As a lifelong athlete with an engineering background, Aaron has a passion for problem solving, especially when it comes to human movement and performance. He began competing in the endurance space throughout college which ultimately led to the completion of the 2012 Dallas White Rock Marathon. However, In June of 2013, while training for the Austin 70.3 Ironman, a cycling accident landed him in the ER with a broken tibia. It was during the injury rehabilitation process that he discovered Crossfit. After immersing himself in the world of Crossfit for nearly 3 years, he received his Crossfit Level 1 Trainer Certification.

A Message from Aaron:

“My knee injury was a tough time for me. I went from working out 6 days a week to non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. During my rehab, Crossfit provided me the opportunity to address my limited range of motion and mobility with healthy, strength specific training. I instantly fell in love with Crossfit and always knew that one day I’d give back and serve the same community that did so much for me. I am beyond excited to be a part of this team and eager to help others improve their general health and wellness in a way that’s positive and fun.”

Fitness Fundamentals || Gymnastics

This is the third article in our “Fitness Fundamentals” series, so far we’ve addressed Nutrition, and conditioning. 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.

 

Today we address “Gymnastics” basically learning how to to control and move our own bodies through space. It’s important to distinguish between competitive gymnastics  and gymnastic as it pertains to fitness training. For most the high level skills displayed in competitive gymnastics are not necessary for fitness, however we do want to emulate the physical qualities competitive gymnasts have perfected.  We’ll define those qualities as flexibility, body control, and upper body strength.

 

Flexibility

You’ll hear flexibility called many names in fitness circles (mobility, increased range of motion, etc.) but we simply want people to maintain the ability to freely move your joints and muscles without significant limitation. For most their current work environment is actively reducing their flexibility and ability to correctly perform simple natural movements like squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, and pulling. A consistent routine of stretching and performing the above movements.

Action step:
Maintain and developing flexibility is best done with day to day consistency. The best source we’ve found for this is call ROMWOD. They offer a short 15-20 minute flexibility session daily.  

 

Body Control  

Not only should we be able to move our muscles and joints freely we also need to be able to control those movements to ensure they’re effective and safe. Body control is simply the ability of your of your body to do exactly what your brain tell is to do. The way gymnast obtain this skill is with load of tempo and isometric work. In layman’s terms that means moving in and out of positions slowly and holding positions for extended periods of time.  Tempo work can be applied to any of the above mentioned movement patterns (squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, and pulling) to develop effective body control. Additionally using core exercises such as hollow holds and hollow rocks help one develop the ability to coordinate the upper body and lower body to work well together.

Action step:
Next time you’re training try adding a 3 second descent and 3 second pause at the bottom or top of your movements.  Notice the increase in difficulty and intensity that a little extra “control” adds to any given movement.

 

Upper Body Strength

Lastly let’s talk quickly about the importance of upper body strength. Most men spend years of their youth focusing on bench press numbers at the cost of developing adequate pulling and pressing strength. Meanwhile many female gym goers shy away from upper body work in fear of looking bulky. Utilizing fundamental gymnastic movements helps create well balanced upper body strength as well as an aesthetically pleasing upper back physique.

Action step
Here’s a quick upper body training with the goal of achieving 1 strict pull-up.

Day 1 –
3 sets of 8-12 banded pull-ups (enough band tension to do 8 but no more than 12)
2 sets of 10-15 RIng Rows or Horizontal pull-ups

Day 2 –  Rest

Day 3 –
3 sets of 3 Negative Pull-ups: Jump your chin up above the bar and lower yourself for 5 seconds.

 

Day 4 – Rest


Day 5 –
6 sets of 3 banded pull-ups (less band tension than day 1)
3 set of :10-30 Hang from the Pull-up bar.
Thanks for stopping in! Our next installment we will discuss weightlifting and barbell training!

Fitness Fundamentals: Conditioning

This is the second article in our “Fitness Fundamentals” series, last week in part one we addressed Nutrition. 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.

 

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

 

Today we address “Metabolic conditioning” or just “conditioning”. This type of exercise goes by many names but I like to think of it as exercise that is limited or regulated by your ability to breath or control your heart rate. Most new to fitness will recognize this as “Cardio”.

 

Crawl before you walk…

And more importantly walk before you run.  Walking is one of the most beneficial types of exercise most of us tend to neglect.  Walking improves aerobic capacity, aids in recovery, provides mental stress relief, and is just generally good for your soul. For folks who are just getting back into training (or starting for the first time) walking is a great way to prepare and progress your feet into higher impact movements like running.   

Action step:
Add a 60-90 minute walk 3 days a week to your routine. Preferably find a great park or some nature to make it an even more enjoyable cathartic experience. For those just beginning this is a very important first step into actual exercise that should not be downplayed. For those of you currently training hard, walking provides mental and physical recovery from the higher intensity work you’re used to.

 

Variety is the spice of life

Despite what conventional wisdom suggest there are far more injuries involved in distance running than weightlifting. Why is it that throwing 300 lbs over your head is statistically safer than going for a jog? The short answer is because distance running imposes repetitive stress on the same muscle groups, ligaments, and tendons over and over again that is absent in competitive weightlifting.  The key point is doing the same thing all the time eventually breaks down specific areas of your body’s structure. This can be avoided by learning and applying a wide variety of movements into your training program.

Action step:
If running or jogging represent your entire conditioning training take the time you normally run and do a different movement. If you have access to equipment you could row, bike, or swim in lieu of running. You can also sub a simple bodyweight exercise like burpees.  For my hard charging CrossFitters sometimes what looks like variety can also become repetitive stress.  I challenge you to take a week to do the opposite. Only run, bike, swim, or row the times prescribed (or average time of completion) of the WOD and see how it differs from your normal training.

 

Go Slow and Fast
Finally the importance of varying intensities is important as well. Most inexperienced trainees have the “more is better” mentality so ingrained,  that junk miles and slowish work dominates they’re conditioning training. The goal should be a balance of short fast sprint type work, medium to moderate effort work at a challenging pace, and longer slower work.  

Action step:
Here is a weekly template that can be utilized today by anybody at any skill level:


Monday:
20 Rounds
:10 Sprint @ 100% effort
:50 Rest

Tuesday:
5 Rounds
5:00 of work @ at challenging, but sustainable effort (hit the same distance / total work each round)

7:00 Rest

Wednesday:
20-30 minutes @ steady state / pace

Thursday
Rest

Friday:
4 Rounds
2:00 work @ As fast as possible
Rest until you feel 100% (typically 5-10 minutes)

Saturday:
20-30 minutes @ steady state / pace

Sunday:
Rest

 

**Walk 60-90 minute 2-3 times a week either on rest days or after training”
**Any type of exercise can be used for this but rowing, running, biking, or swimming will yield the best results.  Running is not suggested for someone brand new to training, or who is overweight.

 

Thanks for stopping in! Our next installment we will discuss gymnastics and bodyweight only training.

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 8.05.13 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 8.05.28 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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