5 Steps to Make it Happen This Year || Coach Gen

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With the New Year upon us everyone’s minds are buzzing about goals, resolutions, and how 2017 is going to be different! We all know that for the first month or so our minds and intentions are in the right place, but as the year goes on those goals tend to become less of a priority. So how do we do it? How do we finally reach that goal we’ve been setting every year (some of us for years…)? Below are a few tips to help you follow through and meet those goals this year.

1)      Ditch the mindset of a New Year’s Resolution. If that helps to motivate you, awesome, but don’t make your goals dependent on the new year. Why should you only set goals for yourself when the calendar is rolling over? This automatically allows you to procrastinate on taking the necessary steps to reach your goal. It also limits you in that, “if you didn’t put it down on January 1 it’s not going to happen this year…” BS! Goals are just as evolving as you are and as you get closer to the finish line, you should continue to grow that goal. Your work isn’t over when you reach the goal… There’s more to accomplish! Start now and don’t stop!

2)      Establish your ‘why.’ Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to hit that # in your back squat? It doesn’t really matter what the ‘why’ is, just that you know the motivation behind your goals. The ‘why’ gives them purpose and knowing your ‘why’ will keep you moving toward them.

3)      Set realistic goals and have a solid plan to reach them. It’s one thing to say you want to reach a goal, but to be successful you have to really think it through and put it into action. Set a goal that is realistic for you and your timeline. A lot of folks like to follow the S.M.A.R.T method, but you have to find what’s right for you. Coach Wes gave an awesome recommendation of setting small goals along the way. Use them as stepping stones toward your big goal. However you go about it, create a plan so you don’t end up missing your goals because you got lost along the way.

4)     Prioritize your goals and avoid roadblocks. You know that thing you’ve always wanted to do, but you didn’t have time, or it was too expensive, or excuses, excuses, excuses…. If you truly value this goal enough you will find time, finances, or whatever else is needed to make it happen. If there is a will, there is a way. It’s up to you to figure that out. Things come up in life that you make time and money for and your own goals should be no different.

Even if you have taken all the steps to set yourself up for success, there will always be speed bumps along the way. Some of them are unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to help keep yourself on track. It’s important for you to identify the things that may cause you to get off track. Be aware of them and avoid them if possible. Making smart choices along the way will get you to where you want to be.

5)    Don’t take yourself too seriously. Half the fun of reaching a goal is the journey you take to get there! Surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you and keep you going, even on the rough days (and trust me, you’ll have those occasionally). Reward yourself when you reach milestones and find ways to make getting there interesting. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when you’re working toward something. If something goes wrong one day, wipe the slate clean and keep moving forward. It’s not the end, it’s just one of those speed bumps.

Ok, so get to it! Start now, make a plan, and make some cool shit happen! Whether your goals are fitness related or otherwise, the process is the same. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you cool humans accomplish this year!

 

UDGUDE,
-Coach Gen

Congratulations To Our Award Winners!

Well, 2016 is coming to a close and we are so honored to have these incredible humans filling our space (and our hearts!) day in and day out! It is impossible to express our gratitude for our community’s support and hard work over the years, but we must be doing something right to continue having that support 8 years in! We have some exciting things coming up in 2017 and hope to see continue progress and growth in our community as well!

But first…. We have to recognize the winners of our 2016 Bitter Burpee awards and honor the always coveted Push Up Man and Push Up Woman of the year winners!

Our Push Up Man and Push Up Woman of the Year awards go to Michael Page and Leah Alter! 

THANK YOU for representing our little South Austin community so wholeheartedly. We are honored to have you two in this role and hope to continue supporting your journeys for many more years.

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“The Push-up Man and Woman of the Year exemplify everything that we love about our athletes, our community, and the human spirit. Not only do these people walk through the doors of CFA day in and day out, and work hard to improve themselves; they go out of their way to lift up everyone around them. They make their friends and families a priority over themselves. They lead and encourage by words, actions, and example. They represent the burning spirit of what makes our little South Austin gym unique and special. We at CrossFit Austin can humbly bestow no greater honor and we give our utmost heartfelt thanks that you both have chosen to make our gym, business, family, and lives a better place!”

 

***Stay tuned for an in depth interview from both of these folks after the new year. We can’t wait to hear all about what makes them tick!

 

 

 

Bitter Burpee Awards – As we all know.. Burpees suck, and so do these awards 😉 Image may contain: 25 people, people smiling, indoor

Golden Shoe Award (Kicks on point!)
Matt Milldrum

Blood, Sweat, & Cheers
(Most Accident Prone, Sweatiest, and Cheerleader)

Blood – Matt Carlson
Sweat – Austen Dyer
Cheers – JoAnna Brand

Mighty Mouse Award (May be small, but they pack a big punch!)
Kim Peabody

“Mr. & Mrs. Liftmas” (Gym Couple)
Lauren & Bobby

“Old Balls” (Veteran Members of the year)
Lane Lowke & Mr. T

“Yoda” (Mentor Member)
Brian Wei

 

 

Finding Balance During the Holidays || Coach Wes Kimball

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Its officially holiday time. Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now 10 days deep into December.  This also marks the time of year when the internet starts to tell you how to “Survive the Holidays.”  Basically there are a few schools of thought on how to manage holiday season.

 

  1. Go ape shit crazy, you deserve it! YOLO!
  2. Go against the grain and start your New Year’s Resolution today. Firebomb this holiday season with discipline and self-righteousness.  
  3. Find a balance that allows you to enjoy important time with friends and family with out completely undercutting your fitness goals.

 

As you can a imagine we’re going to make a case for number three. As I’ve stated here before many obstacles in life and fitness can be overcome by creating awareness around the things that are actually holding us back and devising a plan to overcome that obstacle. In my experience there are 3 main obstacles encountered over holidays that can negatively affect our health and fitness goals.

 

Social outings

While your social life always seems to be competing with you fitness goals, the shear volume of social events increases seemingly exponentially during the month of December.  Office parties, and Christmas parties with friends and/or family all squeeze themselves on to the calendar in December. Generally these parties include free booze and plenty of poor nutritional options.

 

Travel

If you don’t have to spend significant time in an airport or on the road  in December, consider yourself lucky.  Let me just tell you there are very few “healthy” options in between Wichita Falls and Amarillo and even less in the Amarillo airport. Couple that with the fact that you are away from the gym and normal training routine and we have potential holiday landmines here.

Big Family Meals

Finally, we all love our Mom’s delicious home cooking. Unfortunately that 5 lbs of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pie isn’t going to help our six pack, or shave a minute off our mile time.

So what’s the answer? Well first of all I’m of the opinion that you should enjoy and maybe even indulge in all of the “problems” above. Why? Because they are all part of interacting with and participating in the lives of people that are important to us. We as humans are by nature social creatures, and the effects of isolation and loneliness can be just as detrimental to our health as lack of physical activity or poor nutrition.  Establishing and maintaining personal relationships is incredibly important and why the holidays should be enjoyed not stressed over.  So below are some ways to mitigate the damage done by the above obstacles while still enjoying and being thankful for the time we have with our friends and family.

 

Exercise Consistently

This is priority number one. One thing the holidays do bring is some extra time off from work, so commit to exercise 30-60 minutes 5-6 days a week. Trust me you have time. If you’re on the road go for a run, do one of our travel workouts , drop in to a CrossFit box, or even just help pops shovel snow for an hour. Exercise is the one thing you can have 100% control of during the holidays. Heck, you can even throw in some double days with Zone 1 work when you’re off from work.

 

Plan Workouts before and after big meals and social events

This is a simple, yet underutilized way to offset damage done by parties and big holiday meals. The post workout state simply put, allows the body to find productive uses for the calories we take in and mitigates the likelihood those calories will just be stored as fat (for a more detailed explanation of this check this article out). You should always train the day after (preferably in the morning) a big social outing or meal. While this doesn’t sound or feel appealing after a late night at the office Christmas party, it helps you mentally deal with “being uncomfortable” and not allowing that state of uncomfort to affect your training schedule. It also ensures that your training consistency is not negatively affected by social outings, and eliminates excuses from your vocabulary.

 

Reduce Calories outside of  big meals, and parties

Counting calories has a bad a wrap and rightfully so, but it does have some advantages especially this time of the year. The important thing to remember is that calorie counting on a micro level (per meal) is largely inaccurate. So stressing about the exact number of calories you take in per meal is counter productive. However, having an idea of how many calories you’re taking in over the course of the day has benefit to overall fat loss.  So on the days that you know you will take in a good amount of calories, reduce your intake by eating smaller meals earlier in the day or doing some intermittent fasting.

 

So there you have it! How to enjoy yourself over the holidays and not go completely off the rails! Enjoy yourself and your loved ones this month, and hopefully these tips will help you stay consistent with your training!

-Wes Kimball

Back to the Basics: The Strict Press || Coach Gen Schmidt

Last week, Coach Tim taught us how to lift a heavy load from the ground via the Deadlift. Today we’re going to break down a lift that allows us to move a load from the shoulder to overhead; the Strict Press. Being able to move a load from the shoulder to overhead and vice versa is a skill that transfers directly to daily activities. The most direct example would be loading a carry-on into the overhead compartment on a plane. The opposite is true when taking an item down from a high shelf. Without proper technique and support these actions could prove to be very difficult, in some cases even resulting in injury.

The Strict Press is a phenomenal lift for developing upper body pushing strength and mid-line stability. So, let’s take a look at the components of the Strict Press and how we can most efficiently perform the task.

We can also break this lift down into 3 steps as we did the deadlift.

  • The Set up
  • The Execution of the Press
  • The Return

The goal of the Strict Press is to move the weight from the shoulders to overhead in the most efficient way possible. The bar path should travel along a straight line both on the way up and during the return.  Proper execution of each step is crucial to a successful lift.

The Set up:

  1. Begin with the feet hip width apart and the bar resting on the shoulders in the front rack position. The_mg_4371 forearms should be vertical with the elbows slightly forward of the bar and hands fully wrapped around the bar with a tight grip. The hands should be slightly wider than the shoulders.
  1. Before executing the lift it’s important to make sure your body is prepared to move the load. With the feet planted firmly on the ground, squeeze the quads, the glutes, the core, and the lats creating tension throughout the body.
  1. Take a deep breath in and brace through your core in preparation to move the weight.

 

The Press:_mg_4379

  1. In order to keep the bar traveling in a straight line, we must first remove an obstacle; your head! Begin by pulling the chin back. Think ‘double chin’. This will create the space necessary to keep the bar on its path.
  1. Driving through the heels and using the torque you’ve created, push the bar upward, directly in front of your nose, until you’ve reached full extension. Make sure the bar is directly over your mid-line and you’ve returned your head to a neutral position.
  1. You should finish the extension with the elbows locked out and active, externally rotated shoulders. Be sure that you are still bracing through the mid-line by squeezing the core with the rib cage down and glutes tight._mg_4377

The Return:

Once you’ve successfully lifted the weight to a fully extended overhead position, you must bring it back down! Efficiency in the return is just as important as the initial press. We have the same goal in the return that we did on the way up; a straight bar path.

  1. Begin by pulling the chin back, once again creating the ‘double chin’ position.
  1. Keeping the external rotation in the shoulders, begin to pull the bar back down along the same path that it rose until it meets your shoulders.
  1. Finish with your head in neutral position. The elbows should remain slightly in front of the bar with the mid-line tight and feet gently screwed into the floor, repeating your strong set up position.

There it is! You’ve performed the Strict Press. This lift is a foundational movement that will transfer directly into more complex lifts like the Push Press and Jerk. By perfecting your movement in the Press you’ll be setting yourself up for success in future lifts.

The main points to remember are:

  • Create tension throughout the entire body to support the lift. It starts from the ground up! Mid-line stability is key!
  • Full range of motion is important. We want the arms fully extended in the overhead position with tight, active shoulders.
  • A straight bar path during the extension and the descent will result in the most efficient lift.

Happy Pressing!

-Coach Gen

8 Years, 8 Lessons

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I’m going to depart from our normal health and fitness related info to talk a little about life and business. Today is somewhere close to our anniversary (we’ve got about three different anniversary dates for when CFA “Started”) and I wanted to share with everyone some lessons I’ve learned along the way.  

  1. Change is constant, change is inevitable. People change, people’s priorities change, markets change, new knowledge and experiences are gained, and the landscape will never remain static. People generally do not like change and clients and coaches have come and gone over the years due to change. But I’ve learned to embrace change and some of the most successful people I’ve met have seen the need for change far before the masses recognize it.
  2. Humor is the great equalizer. If you can make someone laugh and / or smile many of your other flaws will be overlooked. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing but it seems to be a thing.
  3. Priorities are shown through actions, recognize if your words and thoughts match your actions.   My priorities are in order my family, my employees, and our clients.  My decision are always processed in that order, and I believe that ultimately business owners have to think in this matter for long term success.
  4. Most people are under competitive or over competitive.  Most under competitive people don’t push hard enough to find their true limits. Most over competitive folks bite off more than they can chew and eventually stall out or burn out.  Its rare to find the sweet spot between the two. My theory is that once you realize that immersing yourself in the process and journey is more powerful than being motivated by competition you start to make lasting meaningful progress.
  5. A Toyota Prius is an incredibly valuable asset to own. Mine has a 150,000 miles on it and never once had to be worked on. You only have to change the oil every 10,000 miles and can drive 450 mile on about $15 – $30 depending on gas prices. I can confidently say CFA would not exist in its present state if I did not own a Prius.
  6. Being the smartest person in the room is far less valuable than being the most effective person in the room.  Nobody gets paid for their ideas or their IQ. People get paid for results.
  7. To this day the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received is this: “Expect the expected”.
  8. Lastly Success seems to mainly be a product of motivation, consistency, and hard work. It’s a simple concept that applies to business, training, nutrition, work, parenting, the list goes on and on. Gadgets, hacks, “going down the rabbit hole”, “deep diving”, etc only seem to be aids that can speed the process along. These things (and myriad of other concepts designed to help one succeed) are 100% contingent on a person’s ability to stay motivated, to work hard, consistently, forever.

December Athlete of The Month: Daniel Arredondo!

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 December Athlete of the Month is Daniel Arredondo! He has been with CFA since March of 2016. Daniel bounces around in his class times, but usually ends up with the lunch time crew. Daniel is a go-getter and has been from the start. As he continues to grow in his training he is always seeking more knowledge with consistent group classes and additional personal training with Tim. All that work has certainly paid off in his short time here. Daniel is always up for the next big thing, even participating in his first competition just 6 months into his time with us! We’ve enjoyed watching him make continuous gains over the last few months and we’re excited to watch him continue to progress for many more years! Daniel, we are proud to have you as our December 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: daniel3
Daniel Jose Gonzalez Arredondo II – My best friend calls me “tiny dancer”

Words to live by?We can’t control the world around us.
We can only control our reaction to the world. Leave the world a  better place by being the best version of you while loving and helping the people we share this world with.

What is your fitness background?
Back in the day, I did summer track and took up running again in 2015.  I have a minor in dance and love ballet, Latin, and country dancing!  I also play sand volleyball.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
9 months


Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?daniel2
I was so afraid of hurting myself and doing workouts that involved “legs”. I was concerned I would not be able to handle the intensity because of all the terrible YouTube videos that give CF a bad name. I had no clue what the acronym-ically (not a real word) challenged…WOD=want one doughnut…
Now I definitely got the crossfit alphabet down and look forward to each workout and getting closer to RX and new PRs!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I love the community of friends and family I now have to promote and encourage health and to socialize with outside of the gym. Love each coach and their unique take on coaching while still being united in a philosophy of physical health and training. It’s amazing!! I also like that we are very supportive during workouts and that the competitive atmosphere is friendly. Also there are so many times a day to come work out! I love that with my schedule!

Current Training Goals/PRs?
To one day be RX on all workouts….This year…250 deadlift, 120 strict press, 12 strict pull-ups, master butterfly pullups, 200lb back squat…i’ll stop there for now..oh and beach body!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t give up…results will come, I promise!  I was just using the bar for some exercises and once you get technique, you will exponentially improve.

What is your cheat meal go to?
There are too many…but I love getting chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, corn, pecan and apple pie, and a coke from Luby’s…yes I’m a southern boy!

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
daniel4
There are 4
When I finally got 10 strict pull ups. It had been a life goal

When I competed in Night of Champions and finished!

The time Wes said “good job Daniel” because I had finally received his approval

When Tim did the MURPH workout with me because I was out of town. Yeah, Team “34”!

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Tiny Dancer
10 pullups
5 power cleans
5 push press
10 burpees
800 meter run

daniel1What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love music. Singing and teaching choral music is what I do for a living. I love to dance, play sand volleyball, have now taken up boldering, and running.

Tell us something we don’t know about you...
I use to be a very shy guy, I have a Phd, and I don’t like the dark.

Longhorns or Aggies? Is this a real question?

Blood runs burnt orange!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Each day is a gift and a new beginning. It is another chance to reflect on who you are and who you will choose to be.

One step at a time

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Yesterday we posted a video on Facebook recounting the story of Kyle Maynard scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro without the luxury of being born with hands and feet. The most powerful part for me is when Kyle began to describe the mental struggle with what seemed like an insurmountable task. Paraphrasing he said “I had to remind myself to not look up and think about how far there is to go. Instead look back and see how far we’ve come. One step at a time.”

 

I want to explore this attitude in the context of all of our fitness journeys. There are many things we see people do in the gym that may seem unattainable.

 

“I want to get a pull-up.”

 

“My goal is to be able to do a muscle-up.”

 

There is no question getting your first pull-up and your first muscle-up are incredibly rewarding moments. They also can be an intimidating or seemingly

But sometimes by putting so much emphasis on such tangible milestones, we forget to look back and appreciate the smaller personal bests—and the equally as important milestones—along the way. Sometimes we even get ahead of ourselves trying to skip steps, and move further along in the process than we’ve earned.

 

The attitude of “One step at a time” is the surest path to obtain goals. For example think about your pulling strength (your eventual road to a pull-up and muscle-up) as being on a 100-step staircase. In this way, pull-ups and a muscle-up are simply just two other steps on the staircase, no less, or no more important, than the step before or the step after.

 

Using this analogy, let’s say a ring row with a perfectly horizontal body is step 25 on the staircase, while a pull-up is step 50, and a muscle-up is step 75.

 

he pulling strength you gain going from step 49 to step 50 is equivalent to the strength gained moving from step 50 to 51 (where step 51 might mean you can do 2 consecutive pull-ups), yet we’re more likely to celebrate reaching step 50 than 51. But why? Why is getting a pull-up somehow more important than being able to do two consecutive pull-ups?

 

It comes down to ego and our perception of what is important.

 

But if you change the way you think and your attitude about what you should or shouldn’t be able to do you’ll have way more to celebrate along the way. You can also look back and appreciate how far you’ve come, instead of fretting over the fact that you’re not quite to that 50th step yet. You also won’t get as frustrated and impatient waiting to reach step 50 because you’ll also get enjoyment reaching step 46, 47, 48, and 49, too.

 

 

Here’s a challenge:

 

Set 5 small goals along the way to your ultimate goal, and remember to pat yourself on the back when you reach them.

 

Because the journey is always more fun than the destination!

 

CrossFit Austin’s 8th Anniversary // Holiday Party

8th-anniversary

 

Hey CFA! It’s time to celebrate!
8th Anniversary WOD + Holiday Party + Celebrating with our CFA Family!

Join us on Saturday, December 17th to celebrate CrossFit Austin’s 8th Year down here in South Austin!

Part 1: Anniversary WOD – Regular class times – 9 & 10 am at CrossFit Austin!

Part 2: Meet us at Texas Keeper Cider where the real party starts! We’ll meet at 11:00 am for drinks, food, & CFA awards {Bitter Burpee awards & Push Up Man and Woman of the Year!}

Bust out your favorite holiday duds {or} tacky holiday outfit to WOD in and let’s have a Holly Jolly Holiday Party!

Recap of Some Key Components of the Deadlift

Anyone that has performed the deadlift, knows that it can be an extremely gratifying lift. The picking up of heavy objects can produce a feeling of empowerment. Performed properly, the deadlift is a lift that allows us to maximize our strength potential and physically express that potential. Notice I did say “performed properly”. This is important because while you may get away with sub-par reps every now and again, you will never know your true potential because the injury bug will eventually bite you. Even if maximal strength is not on your radar, these key points should be of note for you, if longevity and living that happy, healthy life are of import.

We can break the deadlift down into 3 critical phases.

  1. Set-up
  2. Execution
  3. Finish

If one of these areas is not up to standards, you probably won’t be training long or you will be chasing your own tail through a pattern of  “every time I get close to a new PR,  my back starts acting up”. So let’s take a closer look at the the aforementioned phases, and some key points for each phase.

Set-upstep1

The set-up is crucial for all multi-joint lifts. It is the foundation for us to build upon.  The “Frankenstein Monster Set-up”  is a quick, effective way to prepare
yourself for the deadlift. Without exhausting every “trick in the book” or “cues”, we can break this phase down into several key focal points.

  1. Stand with your feet in a comfortable stance, somewhere around hip-width, and shins touching the bar.
  2. Lift your arms in front of you and rotate your thumbs towards the ceiling.
  3. Pull shoulders back and down.
  4. Glutes tight, ribs tucked.

This initial position, even before attempting to grab the bar is important. For the beginner, it helps us recognize or “feel” a solid position. Next…

  1. Send your hips back without surrendering your neutral spine. This is referredstep4step2 to as the “hinging” or “hip hinge”
  2. With a soft bend in the knees, grasp the barbell with one hand, then the opposite hand.
  3. Lifting your chest to remove any slack out of your arms, should consequently remove any slack out of the bar.
  4. Maintain solid grip on the bar, push your butt toward the ceiling
  5. Maintain vertical shins and pull with your hamstrings to ratchet your hips down into your starting position.

Executionstep5

Once we have established a proper set-up, we can begin to execute the movement.

  1. Gently screw your feet into the floor.
  2. Maintaining a neutral spine, take a deep inhale.
  3. Squeeze your knees back and drive your hips up.
  4. Once your the barbell clears your knees, keep the bar close to your body  and your hips begin to come forward to meet the bar.

Finishstep6

The finishing position is simply standing upright and squeezing your glutes, ensuring that your shoulders are on top of your hips. Finishing with tight glutes can’t be stressed enough. It helps us perform the lift properly, but more importantly it helps us perform the lift safely. Athletes that are unable to squeeze the glutes at the top of the lift all too often experience either some acute or chronic low back pain. This pain is experienced  because the athlete moves the fulcrum from the hips (hip hinge) to the low back. Thus the load is shifted to the low back.

A few key takeaways;

*Maintain a neutral, braced midline from set-up to finish.

*Knees back, drive hips up.

*Squeeze glutes to finish lift.

Stay tuned for a video in the coming days! Happy and safe lifting!

-Coach Tim

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