How to improve beyond Group Fitness Classes

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The popularity of group based fitness classes have exploded over the past several years. Starting with CrossFit going truly mainstream circa 2011, 2012 many other fitness concepts have piggy backed on the intensity based group class model like we discussed a few week ago. The reason for this is it works, and it’s a good approach to get people working hard for themselves. That said today I’d like to discuss some ways to improve it, taking your training from “Good to great” if you will.

Lets start with this first, group classes and Bootcamps are quite good at a few things. They are:

  1. social,
  2. fun,
  3. and they motivate you to work harder than you otherwise might.

But they have their limits. They do not:

  1. Take into consideration your specific physical weaknesses, limitations or goals
  2. nor are they all that effective in prescribing specific intensities, to ensure you’re getting the most effective stimulus to promote physical adaptations.
  1. They do not promote a one-on-one relationship with a mentor coach to help you with a long-term fitness plan.

Because of this it is hard for group classes only to be a complete program. The issues can be minimized with good well thought our structure group programming, but even that can come up short since impossible to maximize a program for some people that come twice a week and some come 5-6 days a week.

Many people whose fitness endeavors start solely in bootcamps or group classes don’t stick with it for long. And even those who thrive in that environment longer term tend to see plateaus and regressions due to a lack of addressing individual needs.

What we have discovered through being part of the MadLab Group is a “hybrid model” of fitness really is the best solution to eliminate the issues. Utilizing the incredible environment of the group class concurrently with weekly, monthly, or quarterly personally training to address individuals limitations, weaknesses, or specific goals.

Here’s how a combination of personal training, and group classes can maximize your fitness efforts.

Group Classes:

  • Doing group classes two to three times a week is useful for providing a social, competitive environment that helps you feel connected to a greater community.
  • It’s a time to work hard together, share a laugh or two, and make lifelong friends in the process (much better than the anti-social Globo gym where nobody knows your name).
  • It also helps you stay accountable; if you’re meeting a friend to hit the 4 p.m. class, you’re not going to bail no matter how tired you are after work.

Personal training:

  • For new athletes, personal training allows you to learn complex movements at a pace that is right for you. One-on-one attention is proven to be the best way to learn. After 10-20 initial personal training sessions, you’ll have a better understanding of the movements you were taught—as well as your own fitness level—than you would if you went through a group introductory program.
  • For veteran athletes, it allows you to get additional one-on-one coaching for specific skills—often the more technical ones—you want extra help with.
  • And if you’re ever injured, personal training can become a rehab session, so you don’t need to abandon your gym routine during this time
  • One-on-one time also allows your coach to cater to your physical and emotional limitations and goals, not only to help keep you safe, but also to keep you motivated, and to provide specific movements and intensities that are going to help maximize your development.
  • It allows you to develop a relationship with your coach—a health and wellness mentor in your corner—to keep you accountable to your goals for years to come.
  • It gives you the chance to get one-on-one help in other aspects of life, such as nutrition—another concept that differs from individual to individual, and is therefore best tackled in a one-on-one setting.

So in summary a group class based training regime with consistent individualize training really fills all the gaps you need to improve your fitness over the long haul. We recognize this and our proud to be implementing this “Hybrid” structure as the next evolution of CFA.

Goals vs. Opportunity || Coach Wes Kimball

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Whether it be in the fitness, nutrition, business, or just life in general goals are all the rage. Pick up any book on one these topics and there is sure to be a chapter or two on setting goals. Short term goals, long term goals, SMART goals, big hairy audacious goals! The list goes on and on.  While I agree that goals are important they tend to overshadow a simpler and to me more powerful concept: Opportunity.

Opportunity is presented to us daily and finding happiness, success, and achievement hinges on us recognizing these opportunities and seizing them.  Maybe it’s an opportunity to help someone that’s not as good as you at something. You learn by teaching and the person you help has a new respect for you as a person and a peer. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to go above and beyond what’s asked in a job or as an athlete. You don’t have to do the little extra things but your coach or superior notices when you do. Setting yourself up to be depending on down the road.  Maybe it’s something bigger like moving to new city, taking a risk, talking to a stranger, or exploring a new place. All things that don’t fit nice and clean into a goal or plan, but force us to grow as a people and expand our view of the world.

I’m a relatively young guy that doesn’t have a ton of life experience. However, I’ve seen on numerous occasions, people so wrapped up in what the end state of a “goal” should look like that they fail to see thousands of opportunities to get themselves there. I’ve also seen many a successful person that has seized a moment or opportunity that’s carried them far past what they thought could be accomplished.  Ultimately both are important, but don’t get blinded by the pursuit of something, and miss out on all the wonderful opportunities around you.

-Coach Wes

Stress: Good, Bad, Indifferent

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The holidays are quickly approaching, and should be a welcomed, happy time. But with more hectic schedules and traveling plans, we often get pulled out of our daily routines. Not always a bad thing…but we need to have a good approach so that we don’t spiral out of control with our “to-do’s” and put our health on the back-burner.

“How often should I workout? How hard should I push myself? How often can I/should I have a “cheat” meal? If I ate x,y, and z…is it ok if I put this or that condiment on it for flavor? I missed my workouts on Monday and Tuesday because I was cramming for an exam and slamming Red Bulls for two days, do you think it would be a good idea to workout for 3 hours as hard as I can to make-up for that?”

These are sample questions that many folks have, and the answer isn’t always straight-forward (aside from maybe…don’t only consume Red Bull for 2 days). There are several variables that can affect the answers for different individuals. But never-mind the detailed, individual answers to those questions right now. What about the self-induced stress that may be accumulating each week, over something as little as “everything I ate this week was clean, but I put Sriracha on my chicken breast….and that has sugar in it.”

Yes, minimizing sugar is an important part of a responsible, healthy diet. However, if you are overworked and under-recovered (in life, not just the gym) and you add extra stress to your mind/body about every little thing…you may be doing yourself a disservice.

Below is a snippet from an article the American Psychological Association posted about stress: revised 2013

“When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.

Stress can make existing problems worse. In one study, for example, about half the participants saw improvements in chronic headaches after learning how to stop the stress-producing habit of “catastrophizing,” or constantly thinking negative thoughts about their pain. Chronic stress may also cause disease, either because of changes in your body or the overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress. Job strain — high demands coupled with low decision-making latitude — is associated with increased risk of coronary disease, for example. Other forms of chronic stress, such as depression and low levels of social support, have also been implicated in increased cardiovascular risk. And once you’re sick, stress can also make it harder to recover. One analysis of past studies, for instance, suggests that cardiac patients with so-called “Type D” personalities — characterized by chronic distress — face higher risks of bad outcomes. “

Research shows that activities like yoga, as well as breathing and other relaxation exercises not only help reduce stress, but also boost immune functioning. The ‘ole adage “sick and tired of being sick and tired” seems to ring a bell regarding the above. If you stress your mind worrying about too many little things, for an extended period of time, then chances are you will adversely affect your health and quality of life. Your brain won’t be firing on all cylinders, thus you will not sleep well, or produce the needed amount of certain hormones that help keep you functioning above the mere survival status. Coincedently, those same folks that seem to always stress, then in turn will naturally begin to stress about how their health is declining, turning circles…chasing their own tail.

We need to have a plan, to act as our guide. But if things don’t go perfectly, because life just happened, let it go! Take a step back…breathe…reassess…refocus….recommit. Dont just say “screw it” and ride the trainwreck all the way to Howthehelldidigetheresville. Develop a new plan of attack or tweak the current plan a bit and give it a shot.

If you don’t have some sort of routine to unplug and unwind, I suggest now as the perfect time to contemplate adding some simple de-stressing strategies to your life. There are many ways to do this, and the APA offers a few.

-Coach Tim

The CrossFit Austin Difference || Coach Wes Kimball

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The CrossFit Austin Difference

There are ton’s of option for people out  there when it comes to their fitness, but we like to think we encompass the most complete solution. A quick disclaimer we’re big believers that any exercise is good exercise. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. So in today’s article will look at some different options out there and some reason why we feel like we’re doing things better.

Yoga:
Yoga is great. For some things. Namely for mobility and recovery. And there’s nothing wrong with a glorified stretching workout. The older you get, the harder it is to maintain functional mobility, so if yoga helps you do that, that’s great. But that’s all it is: Stretching and balance. Maybe a bit of coordination, although you’re probably moving too slow to truly challenge coordination. Yoga doesn’t get you strong, and yoga doesn’t improve your cardiovascular endurance, speed, stamina or power.  In reality it’s a great supplement to a training program but not a great stand alone program to get you fit.

Running and Cycling:
The obvious here is that both are great for cardiovascular endurance and stamina, but do a poor job developing  strength (especially upper body strength), power, speed, coordination, flexibility etc… Both are one dimensional and lend themselves to some  “overuse” movement issues. Lots of runners we work with struggle to maintain a full range of motion in their ankles and hip, that can lead to overuse injuries in the IT-Bands, knees, calves, achilles. High volume cycling lends to an overdevelopment of the quads and creates poor posture in the upper and lower back. 

Generic “High Intensity” Training:
With the growth of CrossFit there has been a number of entities that have tried to replicate the “intensity” aspect of CrossFit. Companies like Orange Theory, Soulcycle, and other HITT training programs all tend to focus solely on the cardiovascular endurance and stamina aspect of fitness. In this type of training there is always going to be some short terms results, and working hard always makes you feel great. However for long term results strength development, improve mobility and movement quality, and smart variation of “intensity’ is the answer.

 

What do we better?

We will provide you with broad, useful fitness for life. We want carrying four bags of groceries up three flights of stairs to be a piece of cake. We care about helping you maintain your mobility as you age, and about ensuring you can go skiing or hiking for an entire day when you’re 20 and 65. We want you to be the fittest person on your softball team at 40, and the person who is still living independently at 85.

The nuts and bolts of our of our program will improve all the skills needed to live a long, fit, healthy life: Strength, speed, power, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, flexibility, coordination, agility, stamina and balance. But the real reason it works is the implementation of that program which is two fold.

Coach for life
We don’t throw our new clients right into the fire. We meet you where you’re at and work with you on your individual strengths and weaknesses to keep you safe and injury-free so you can continuously become more fit and healthy.

With us, you will have a personal coach for life to help manage your health and fitness and as well as individualize our program to your specific needs. Our coaches are well trained and some of the most qualified experts in the fitness industry. And it also means your coach is a career coach and his or her professional success is tied to how successful you are at achieving your fitness goals.

Community-based
We’re not just a gym. We’re close friends who socialize together, both in and out of the gym. It’s a perfect community in which to raise your kids—where they grow up witnessing people who care about being fit and healthy for life. (And if you’re single, there’s a good chance you’ll have better luck here than on the latest dating website.)

In other words, corny as it might sound, you’ll have fun. That’s important because above all else “fitness” is a habit.  Ingraining this habit into your life is allot easier when you have a great support system around you and you actually enjoy what you’re doing!

OCTOBER 29 || Barbells for Boobs & BOOrunch!

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CrossFit Austin will be holding a fundraising event to help raise money for Barbells for Boobs! Join us on Saturday, October 29th where we will complete “Grace,” the official Barbells for Boobs workout, during the regular 9 & 10 am classes. We have created a CrossFit Austin Fundraising team where you can make a donation or join our team and help us fund raise to meet our goal!

Donate to or Join Team CrossFit Austin HERE.

Why are we fundraising for Barbells for Boobs?
So that together we can take action, raise funds and help detect potentially life-threatening breast cancer occurrences. Barbells for Boobs is dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women and men under the age of 40.

Where does my donation go?
All fundraising efforts support much needed detection services in local communities across the country. Remember that the funds raised to support Barbells for Boobs mission are vital to those who may not have the means or access to critical detection services.

Here’s how you can help:
Make a donation of any amount on our fundraising team page or an individual team members page. For every $80 raised, ONE more person will know if they are living with breast cancer.

Additionally, you can spread the word and help us reach our goal by sharing this page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or even better, send an email to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to our page.

Together, with one unified voice we can make a difference.

Together we can help. Because… Everyone Has a RIGHT to Know.


Stick around after the classes for a Halloween Celebration! Last year our “Boo”runch was AWESOME. If you missed it, Wes made pancakes while wearing a hotdog suit and it was the best thing ever. Wear your costumes for the WOD and stick around after for a brunch feast and mimosas! 

October Athlete of The Month – Bobby Nussbaumer!

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 October Athlete of the Month is Bobby Nussbaumer! Bobby became a member at CFA back in April of 2015!  He’s part of the 5:30 am die-hards, starting his day off the best way we know how 😉 but you’ll also catch him in the evening Oly classes. He may be quiet, but trust us, there’s a fire burning in there and you’ll see it when that clock hits 3, 2, 1!  We’ve enjoyed watching Bobby make continuous gains over the last year and a half and we’re excited to watch him continue to progress for many more years! Bobby, we are proud to have you as our October Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Congratulations!

State your Name and/or Nickname please: image1First name is actually Robert, but I’ve always gone by Bobby.

Words to live by?
KCCO
Man of a few words 😉

What is your fitness background?
I played football from 3rd grade to the end of high school. So, most of my fitness/training was built around that. I worked out on my own for a couple years but never made much progress.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Crazy to say but it’s been about a year and a half now.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I showed up about 10 minutes early to an evening class with no clue where to start. I remember the workout had push press and a shit ton of double unders. Two movements I had never done before. I was extremely nervous and lost. Now I feel right at home.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The gym is my ideal place to start the day and a great way to relieve stress. I’ve never been the most talkative or outspoken person but the people I’ve met really make the experience that much better.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Back squat 315. Deadlift 405. The usual. GAINS.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t be shy. Ask questions. Have fun.

What is your cheat meal go to? image2
Mexican vanilla with Reese’s peanut butter cup from Amy’s Ice Cream.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Hitting a 20 pound PR at Night of Champions was pretty sweet. I was pumped after that.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Das Nuss
50- DUs
30- KB swings …lbs(idk, the heavy one?)
10- Power Cleans 155/85lbs
Four rounds for time.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I’m usually playing other sports like dodgeball or flag football but I get hurt too often with those 🙁

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life and I still don’t know how to 2-step

Longhorns or Aggies?
Longhorns!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Keep your chin up. Never mind what Billy Badass is doing over there, just focus on your goals and make your self better each day.

 

Welcome New Coach || Travis Reeves!

A word from Wes:

We’re excited to announce that we’ve brought on Travis Reeves as regular coach on our morning schedule. Travis has been a major behind the scenes contributor at CFA since last spring.  Most of you have seen him in the gym taking photos for our website, but he also spearheaded the renovation of the oly area and has been managing general maintenance and up keep of the gym.

Travis’s skills go far beyond handy work. He’s is a long time CrossFit coach that has earned his CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 certification, as well as his USAW Sports Performance Certificate. Before he and his wife moved to Austin, Travis coached, programmed, and operated a small non-profit CrossFit Box in Patterson, NY.

Needless to say, we’re quite excited for Travis to begin his coaching career with us here at CFA. He will be primarily coaching the AM classes that were previously coached by Zach, and be filling in for Ben’s classes while he’s on another IFly adventure.  Welcome to the team Travis!

-Coach Wes

 

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Travis has always enjoyed hard work, mostly in the field of construction and maintenance – Functional fitness has been the best way to stay prepared for any task – roofing in 110 degree weather, digging trench for plumbing, or whatever may be on the punch list that day.

It’s been a love of fitness, CrossFit in particular, that has lead him down the path to become a personal trainer and coach.  He really enjoys the deep sense of accomplishment in helping others achieve things they never thought they could be capable of doing.

Travis is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer; as well as CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and has a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Certificate. He reads everything he can get his hands on to stay current on sports science and truly enjoys diving into research on the “why” and “how” of biomechanics and fitness programming.  Troubleshooting the more complex weightlifting movements is another passion of his.  Sometimes Travis tends to be quiet and drift toward the background of large groups, but once you get him talking, especially one on one, he just might talk your ear off.

 

A word from Travis:

Just keep keeping on – enjoy the journey – it’s all about putting in the work and you will get results!  Training with a wide a variety of people has been a wonderful experience – Their stories are not so much my successes but really their own triumphs – great and small. It’s been awesome to accompany good friends on their path to fitness and now I’m looking forward to new friendships and joining you on your fitness journey!

 

Contact Travis at Travis@crossfitaustin.com

 

Farewell & Good Luck Coach Zach!

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Today, we have a bittersweet announcement to make.  This will be coach Zach Lane’s final week at CFA as he is making a move to Boise, Idaho. Zach has been a huge part of the CFA team for the last two years. His most visible role has been as a coach, but he’s also played a huge role in improving our social media presence, and also been a consistent part of our community as an athlete. Zach has always gone out of his way to work hard, and go above and beyond for the CFA community and for that we’re truly thankful for the time he’s spent with us.

While we’ll miss Zach, were excited for the new opportunity and journey ahead of him in Boise. Zach’s not one to bring attention to himself, but he did want leave you guys with a few words below.   

“Thank you to all those that I have coached, trained with, and been able to call my friends at CFA. This community has been like a family to me since I joined and I am forever grateful for that. 
 
My thanks goes out to Wes, Gen and the coaching staff, too. They have taught me so much and helped me out on many occasions. 
 
Although I’m very excited for my move and all of the new excitements and challenges it holds, I will certainly miss all of you. Hopefully, I can return to Austin soon so that you may all enjoy the massive amounts of sweat I produce while rolling around on the ground after a workout.” 
-Coach Zach

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS || WOD ANNOUNCEMENT

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We are 5 short days from our Night of Champions competition! As promised, below are the WODs we’ll see next Friday! Rx and Scaled weights listed below. Get yourself a partner and get registered! Remember, only 1 team member must register through the online system ($50 per team). We’ll email you to get your partner’s name and which division you’ll be competing in.

REGISTER HERE

 

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Event 1
“Captain Hiller”
4 RM Front Squat from the Ground
15:00 Time Cap

*Each team will have a station with a barbell and 300 lbs of weights for men, and 200 lbs of weights for women. Each team member will be allowed build up to as heavy a weight as possible in the allotted time.  The first rep of each set must be cleaned by the athlete attemping the set. If the athlete squat cleans the first rep that will count as the first rep of the set. Athlete’s will be able to increase weight in 5 lb increments.

*The combined weight of both athletes will be the team’s score.

Event 2
“President Whitmore”
19 Burpee Broad Jumps (One Partner)
76 Power Snatches @ 75 / 55 / 35
19 Burpee Broad Jumps (One Partner)
76 Power Snatches @ 75 / 55 / 35
*18:00 Time Cap

*Team’s begin on the burpee broad jump course, each jump will be a defined distance and athletes will be required to get both feet over the line.  The first half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by one teammate and the second half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by the other teammate. Teams then move to power snatches and can split work however they see fit. Teams then move back to the burpee broad jump course. The first half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by one teammate and the second half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by the other teammate. Teams then move back to power snatches and can split work however they see fit.

*The total time it takes the teams to complete the workout will be the team’s score.   If teams do not complete under the time cap their score will be total reps completed.

Rx
M: 75 lb barbell
W: 55 lb barbell

Scaled
M: 55 lb barbell
W: 35 lb barbell

Night of Champions Movements announced!

Check it out! Here are the movements you will see in our upcoming Night of Champions competition! Stay tuned for official workouts, weights, divisions, and standards to be released on Monday!

Cleans
Broad Jumps
Power Snatches
Burpees
Front Squats

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