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!

 

 

 

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.”
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