February Athlete of the Month || Jesus Jimenez!!

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 2024 February Athlete of the Month is Jesus Jimenez! Jesus has been putting in the work for years, joining our family in August of 2020 after completing Fundamentals to learn the ropes. Coming from a lengthy athletic background, he took to CrossFit rather quickly but stayed modest with his progressions and weights to stay well for his favorite sport, soccer. A few sports-related injuries and one gnarly rattlesnake bite benched him for brief periods over the years, but he always returns to 5:30am with a smile on his face. He’s known by his fellow 5:30ers as the one who will encourage you and tease you equally often (just ask Fernando and Jack), but it’s his consistency, coachability, friendliness, and helpfulness that make him a standout in our community. Congratulations Jesus, as it’s been a long time coming and so well deserved! You would have gotten this a long time ago if it weren’t for that darned snake! All jokes aside, thank you for letting us share in your journey!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:

  • Jesus Jimenez, some people call me JJ.

Words to live by?

  • One day at a time

What is your fitness background?

  • I have always been involved in sports. Between the age of 6 to around 11 I just to swim and I competed in the Junior Olympics in Florida. I also completed a few triathlons, but Futbol has been my passion.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

  • I joined CFA during the pandemic when the gym started to open back up. Before that 0 CrossFit experience.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts

today?

  • I thought it was going to be easy but I notice quickly that I was in for a ride. I was tired and swore. Working out now feels smooth and good since I have paid a little more attention to my form and weight selection.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

  • The 5:30 crew make you feel like family. It’s always a healthy competitive crew that will keep you on your toes! Also, the environment and the coaches. It makes you feel comfortable and like you have been there for years.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

  • In the gym just trying to incorporate more performance workouts. Outside of the gym working on a full marathon and a trifecta for the spartan race series, it consists of 5k,10k and 21k.

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

  • Listen to your body and work hard, the results will follow. Work on your form. Oh, and don’t forget to stretch/mobility after class, coach Heidi is always watching

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?

  • Starting the day by working out just makes my day easier. It helps me clear out my mind and distress from the day to day by showing the baby weights who’s boss

What is your cheat meal go-to?

  • I really don’t have one, I will eat anything at any time.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

  • It helps me stay healthy and focused on my day to day.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?

  • I will have to say muscle injuries by not listening to my body. The latest challenge was last year in September when I got bitten by a baby rattlesnake on my foot. I thought I was going to be in the sideline for a bit, but luckily, I was just out for about a month.

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

  • Every work out i get to beat the grandpas from 5:30 am  (you guys know who you are)

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

JJ Special (13 for my DOB)

3 rounds for time

400 m

13 Power Cleans

400 M

13 Push ups

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?

  • Discipline to accomplish a goal, you can always rest after.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

  • If im not playing Futbol, im BBQ at home with the family or friends. also taking my dog chase for a walk.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

  •  I can’t go a day without Nutella

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

  • Thank you for the love and encouragement daily, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Introducing your 2023 Iron Buffalo Recipients!!

Every year, we’ve chosen a male and female that stood out to us and exemplified the things that we look for in members of our community. We call this award The Iron Buffalo. The athletes chosen were not limited to physical ability alone, although both of these athletes are quite talented in their individual areas. The award also encompasses their ability to connect with their fellow CFA members, their continuous drive, and their commitment not only to this community, but to their own longevity, health, and overall being.

As we were considering the elements of this award, Tim turned to his own family and his own history. The Buffalo has been a symbol in his family for many years. From family homesteading a ranch in Buffalo, Texas where he and his brother made many childhood memories, to his hometown in Bartlesville, OK where Buffalo statues line the intersections of the city. Even the company formed to purchase the gym, The Buffalo Collective, uses the symbol.

The Buffalo, in Native American culture symbolizes a spirit of abundance and friendship. As a totem it symbolizes earth-centeredness, selflessness, and the power of a team unit. The buffalo itself is a symbol of power. It has the strength the carry heavy burdens, not just physically, but in all aspects. We find all of these qualities to be what we looked for in our athletes of the year and could not be more proud to call them the Iron Buffalo recipients.

These athletes exemplify all of these amazing qualities and more. They lead by example. They work hard. Their family and friends are a priority in their lives and they uplift and encourage those around them. We are so honored to share the interviews of our 2023 Iron Buffalo recipients, Melissa Barker and Matt Cleaver. Congratulations you two! We’re grateful to have you as a part of this team and this family.

 

 

MELISSA BARKER

When did you join the CFA community?
September 2020

What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?
I joined the Thirsty Thursday crew during my early days at CFA and got to make new friends in a social setting after the 6 PM class.

What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?
The coaches are the best, and the onboarding program with a Coach For Life (shout out to Dylan!) is unique and a great way to start at the gym.

 

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit?
Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing around you. It is most important to learn technique and move well before you start adding weight to lifts and progressing in gymnastics movements.

What was your initial reason for starting (your ‘why’)? How has that ‘Why’ changed?
I started doing CrossFit because I wanted to get stronger and that is still my goal – there is also something new to chase.

How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
I have been consistent in my training and I try to always make time for workouts in my days. It is so good for both my physical and mental health.

What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to?
I know that I will always feel better after I have finished a workout. I also look forward to coming in to see friends and catching up on our days.

Recent PRs?
I recently PRed my clean and jerk as well as my snatch. That was really exciting after being stuck at some numbers for a long time.

Current training goals?
I’m trying to focus on my technique and moving well. I have been spending more time with the Olympic weightlifting classes and have started to see that pay off.

Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?
I have had a few injuries that forced me to take some time off or modify movements and workouts. It is really hard for me to take time away from the gym, but I have learned how important it is to listen to my body especially for longevity.

 

 

 

What is your cheat meal go to?
Definitely Taco Bell and champagne

What does the Iron Buffalo title mean to you?
The CFA community is unlike any other that I have been a part of, and winning the title this year is so special. It is such a great crew to be included with.

Thoughts upon winning the title?
I was surprised and truly honored to be recognized as the 2023 Iron Buffalo. Tim almost made me cry with that speech!

How will you use your new found Buffalo Strength?
I will continue to be consistent in the gym and help to welcome new people to the community. I hope that everyone feels connected whether it is during class time or at the social outings – always come say hi to me!

 

 

What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? Gym related and/or personally?
Personally, I’m looking forward to plenty of travel this year and getting to visit new places. Also more pool parties this summer!

Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
Call your mom…

 

 

 

 

 

MATT CLEAVER

When did you join the CFA community?
March 2020…yeah….perfect time to join a new gym with Covid looming.

What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?
During quarantine, our entire athlete congregation met virtually to workout in our home gyms, or patio’s. Watching coach Dylan’s face dug into the camera to watch people’s form through a 1 ½ inch screen is one for memory book.

 

 

What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?
It’s a tad cliché to say, but it holds true – our community. The coaches have cultivated a contagious culture that excites me to come every day. We have such an eclectic group of athletes that makes it differentiated from other gyms. Additionally, each athlete and coach genuinely wants others to grow, and obtain feats that they never thought possible.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit?
Do more weightlifting with Coach Dylan, and Gus. There’s more to the gym than just CrossFit. They will get you dialed in with technique.

 

 

What was your initial reason for starting (your ‘why’)? How has that ‘Why’ changed?
I’ve been involved with athletics my entire life, but I wanted to become a “well-rounded” athlete. Admittedly, aesthetics played a huge roleinto my “why,” but as I am getting older and growing my family, I want to be an example to my kids of the importance of health and exercise.


How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
Again, athletics have been a huge part of me. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s my identity, but it’s definitely engrained in my lifestyle. Additionally, it’s just plain fun to get a PR or just a good workout in and walk away feeling “yeah…I freakin’ crushed that WOD today, and I beat Ryan.” 

 

What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to?
This circles back to my “why” – I’m setting an example for my family. I have to give a lot of credit to my wife. She routinely encourages me and supports my love for the sport.

Recent PRs?2023, 215# clean and jerk. Also, I had my inaugural HYROX race in 2023. I highly encourage everyone to check it out, and Coach Tim is a heck of a coach for it.

Current training goals?
With baby #2 on the way, my goals for 2024 are simply to stay healthy and prevent getting a dad bod! I’m also still chasing BW snatch.

 

 

Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?
As athletes, we are imminently going to encounter injuries. I will encounter the typical lower back and/or shoulder injuries from time-to-time. When this occurs, I simply scale back weight and movements and work on the grueling resistance bands to ensure I gain the strength and mobility back. And shout out to Coach Heidi for her recovery techniques and massages!

What is your cheat meal go to?
Oh man….my routine cheat meal is Raising Canes. Gosh I love their sauce. I’ll also add I’m a sucker for chips and queso, and copious amounts of margaritas. Don’t forget to add the umbrella.

 

 

 

What does the Iron Buffalo title mean to you?
I am beyond honored to be the recipient of the Iron Buffalo award. It’s a reflection of the hard, consistent work I have put in, but I have to give genuine credit to my wife, and my CFA community. They make it a true joy to join them in gym and push beyond our limits. It’s the community and competitiveness that drives us beyond what we think we are capable of.

Thoughts upon winning the title?
I honestly was surprised, but again am very honored to receive it. There are several athletes I can name that are deserving of this award. My hope is that we as a community can all strive for that recognition and have 2024 be saturated with PR’s and excelling in not only the workouts, but supporting each other.

How will you use your new found Buffalo Strength?
I simply want it to encourage others. It’s a true honor to be recognized, and my hope is that encourage others to excel in their results, and grow as a community.

What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? Gym related and/or personally?
I’m excited to witness the folks training for the HYROX races coming in 2024. I know Josiah, Kyle, and Lynn are putting in some great work and am excited to see their hard work come to fruition in their upcoming races. It’s an unbelievable feat, but well worth the finish. Personally, I am mostly excited for the birth of our son due in April. I can’t wait to have another workout buddy.

Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
There is an opportunity cost with every decision you make – time, money, temporary satisfaction, you name it. However, those sacrifices need to be for something truly meaningful. Find your “why.” This doesn’t need to be gym related. In fact, I encourage it not to be, because there are numerous things larger than it. Your “Why” should be something higher than yourself – God, and your family.

 

The 2024 GORUCK CrossFit Open & CFA Intramural Open

The 2024 GORUCK CrossFit Open & CFA Intramural Open

 

REGISTER HERE

 

We’re already taking some steps to help get you ready. You’ll be seeing more specific skill portions in class, working past Open WODs into the programming, doing some extra PT sessions… all in hopes of preparing for the next Open.

More details will come soon with specifics on teams and game outlines, but for now we just wanted to get the word out because when the time comes, we’re going to have to act fast!

Who:
Open to all CFA members of all skill levels.

What:
The Intramural Open experience is a team format take on the CrossFit Games Open. All participants will be placed into a blind draft (2/24) – see below for more info) and then drafted into different teams managed by your Team Captains.

Points will be earned by things like:

Participating in the Open Workouts
Top performance in the Open Workouts
Team Spirit
Team Outings
Showing up to Friday Night Lights
Other super fun shenanigans

And more… To be determined, but will be established before we begin!

When:
Starting on February 29, one workout will be released from CFHQ each week for 3 weeks on Thursday evenings. We will program the workouts as part of the normally scheduled programming on Fridays  AND we will have an additional schedule that will be the BIG time for teams to gather and have a fun time together on Friday evenings. Special make ups outside of the classes/events may be requested and addressed on a case-by-base basis. The Intramural Open experience will wrap up with the final WOD announced on March 14th and we’ll have our wrap party Friday the 15th!!

Where:
The workouts will be run at the gym as part of the normal class sessions and during a special events schedule Friday evenings. If you are traveling during this time period, you may also find an affiliate to complete the standard workouts with to earn your participation points.

Why:
Because it’s fun and we believe it’ll make you better in more ways that just improving your health and fitness. Cheering each on other on in this environment gives you an experience that you can’t find anywhere else. The Open is a great way to test to see where your current potential is. We encourage everyone to participate because it’s the path that’s going to allow you to pursue your most positive potential and be able to connect with other fellow CFA family members.

For those that want to submit scores via the CFHQ Open, please feel free to do so, make sure you have a judge for your workout, and we will validate your scores via the CFHQ system accordingly. Please note, it is NOT a requirement that you sign up through HQ in order to participate with us. Signing up through HQ will allow you to see how you rank with the rest of the world, but we don’t require it for IMO.

How:
Sign up online through the PushPress Events HERE!! The registration fee is $50. This includes your t-shirt, entry fee, and funding for the finals party and winning team’s prizes

REGISTRATION DEADLINE – Friday, February 23! – The draft happens 2/24 at our February Birthday Social and shirts will be ordered immediately following! 

Again, you DO NOT have to register through CFHQ to register for the intramural open. You ONLY need to register with HQ if you want to submit your scores worldwide.

PRIZES
The top team will earn a GRAND prize. Details released soon!

Our focus is on FUN. We want participation because it will make you fitter, and it will get you high-fives and you’ll be happy and love life more and glow and stuff.

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or if you have any reservations about any unique challenges, I’m positive we can work it out.

December Athlete of the Month || Rola Hassan!!

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 2023 December Athlete of the Month is Rola Hassan! Rola joined CFA in May of 2023, and her consistent effort over the last several months hasn’t gone unnoticed. Rola devotes 2 hours a day, 5 days a week to working out. She’ll do her accessory programming before class and then still participate full out in noon class. She strives to make improvements in her technique and strength and has always been very coachable. We are excited to see her continued improvements, and we’re proud to call her our December AOM! What a great way to close out 2023! Congratulations Rola, and thank you for letting us share in your journey!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:

Rola

Words to live by?

And you Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.

 

What is your fitness background?

I started hitting the gym in 2014.

I used to do spinning, pilates, aerobics, boot camp, and trampoline “unbound”.

 

How long have you been CrossFitting?

I started crossfitting in 2017

 

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?

Although I had an idea about CrossFit, I did not expect it to be that challenging.

I did not even know that despite hitting the gym daily for years I was not even able to do a good squat or pushups!

 

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

The friendliness of the coaching team!

 

Current Training Goals/PRs?

My goal is to get getter at “double unders” and to achieve a new PR in deadlifts and back squats.

 

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

CrossFit is challenging. Don’t be discouraged! Keep pushing yourself to achieve your training objectives! And once you hit your training target you will get this sense of satisfaction and fulfillment of hard work

 

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?

I block 2 hours of my schedule daily for training! Hitting the gym daily is a must!

 

What is your cheat meal go-to?

I don’t have a cheat meal!

However, sometimes I crave for traditional Arabic sweets!

 

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

Exercising daily helps me stay focused! Exercising is one of the most effective ways to improve mental health.

 

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?

The biggest challenges I faced in my fitness journey are related to adopting a new lifestyle. I had to be committed to a daily training schedule and adjust my diet… not eating a pizza is not easy!

 

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

I used to be scared of handstands… it was a challenge for me since I was a child! Now I enjoy doing handstands!

 

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

I would create a Wod called Naim (inspired by the name of my son).

The workout would be:

 

13 (for my son’s age) rounds of

11 (for my son’s birth month) weighted sit ups

5 (for my son’s birthday) deadlifts

Directly into

2010m (for my son’s birth year) row

 

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?

Dedication 

 

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

I am into fashion, cooking, and reading.

 

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I am a holder of a master’s degree in Arabic philosophy

 

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

I moved recently to Austin, and you made me feel home again❤️

Thank you for 15 years!!

THANK YOU!!! We had such a wonderful time celebrating 15 years of CFA with you on Friday night! Thank you so much for joining us and making it a wonderful evening. We are looking forward to another incredible year with you!

Here’s a little recap of our Awards Ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRON BUFFALO RECIPIENTS
Melissa Barker
Matt Cleaver

 

BITTER BURPEE AWARDS
“The Watty” (aka Participation award) – Thomas Bueno
Swolemates – KB & Diamond Horton
Most Competitive – Ryan Vonier
Golden Shoes – Cory Guevara
Longevity – Shawn Mauser
Social Media Mogul – Annalisa Guartuche
Rookie of the Year – Michael Habib
OG of the Year – Jose Gonzalez
Tenant in C-300 (attendance) – KB
Community – Lynn Sexton
Fitness – Jack Smith
Adventure – Jenn Stem

November Athlete of the Month || Reed Cross!!

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 November Athlete of the Month is Reed Cross! Reed joined CFA in January of 2021, and his consistent effort over the last few years hasn’t gone unnoticed. Reed captures the spirit of growth and fitness longevity by being flexible with his schedule (often popping around to different class times to make it work), making appropriate modifications, and finding new skills to develop and refine. Most recently, he’s been working on his strict pull-up endurance! While he may be known as one of our “quieter” members, Reed is always friendly and coachable, and he’ll let his wild side show by bravely wearing shorts in 40-degree weather! We are excited to see his continued improvements, and we’re proud to call him our November AOM! Congratulations Reed, and thank you for letting us share in your journey!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Reed
Words to live by?
Every day is an opportunity. 
What is your fitness background?
I’ve never really been competitive about fitness, but I always feel better after I work out, so that’s why I keep doing it. 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I joined CFA in early 2021(ish) to get active after a bit of a pandemic lull. That was my first exposure to CrossFit. 
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
Really sweaty! I want to say the first actual class I took was Cindy, which makes 20 minutes feel like a really long time. It still feels long, but every time the workout comes up I feel stronger than the last time. 
 
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The coaching staff! It would be much harder to go to the gym if everyone wasn’t nice and encouraging.
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
My goal when I joined was to hit 225 squatting, now that I’ve done that I want to get better at pull ups.  
What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Just keep trying new things and over time you’ll get better. There are still a lot of movements/skills I’ve yet to master, but comparing to where I started a couple years ago I can see how far I’ve progressed. 
 
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
I consider the gym “me time”, I give myself that hour to not worry about other things going on in work/life. I come out of a workout more motivated and focused, so taking that one hour benefits me the rest of the day. 

What is your cheat meal go-to?
Pizza. The “ooh la la” at Pinthouse is fantastic. 
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I play a few recreational sports, I also like to run with my pups. 
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Winter is tough for me, it’s a lot harder to get out of bed when it’s freezing outside. 
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
The last time I did a one-rep max on deadlifts I got a PR!
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
IDK…I always feel the best after the really long workouts, so it would be like 35 minutes long with lots of cardio. 
 
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
The five dollar late cancel fee haha. That’s usually enough to get me out of bed and to the gym. 
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I really enjoy cooking for other people and my friends tell me I’m good at it.
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I really love to travel when I’m off work, Mexico City is my favorite destination yet, but I’d love to visit Japan one day. 
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Stay classy. 

October Athlete of the Month || Lakshmi Sirigireddy!!

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 Lakshmi Sirigireddy! Lakshmi joined CFA in March of 2023, brand new to the realm of CrossFit/Weightlifting Training. We must say, she has caught on very well! Since day one, Lakshmi has been extremely coachable and willing to learn. It is awesome to see her analyze a movement or get super excited to show one of the coaches when she has progressed in a skill. Lakshmi is a duel athlete! She participates on the CrossFit side and Weightlifting side equally, so you’ll be sure to catch her at some point. We are excited to see her continued improvements and we’re proud to call her AOM! Congratulations Lakshmi and thank you for letting us share in your journey!

 

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
I have a few that go with how I know and met you… Lakshmi is my intro/business name. Harshita is my family name. Hersh/Hershey is my nickname. Call me whichever!
 
Words to live by?
Never let anyone treat you like a yellow Starburst. You are a pink Starburst (…unless you like a yellow Starburst then flip the color…)
 
What is your fitness background? 
I wasn’t athletic at all growing up but picked up weightlifting in college. It’s been a great long-term investment.
 
How long have you been CrossFitting? 
8 full months!
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today? 
Sheesh, I was (and still am) impressed by how quickly and powerfully other people could move. I was just frustrated that I wasn’t there yet! Now having gone through a lot of mental resilience and encouragement from mentors to go past my limits, it feels like night and day even though each workout is challenging in its own right. Some workouts still leave me breathless and sore, but I do appreciate the progress I’ve made since that first day!
 
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The weightlifting side…sorry!
 
Current Training Goals/PRs? 
I have a few: 1) 40 push-ups in a row or at least a few handstand push-ups, 2) pistol squats for reps, and 3) more than a green plate for all the lifts: clean, jerk, and snatch.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Cliché but just keep going and then find cues to help you understand technique and form for specific exercises, especially since there could be so many variations! My personal favorite cues are 1) corkscrew into the ground, 2) be a mountain, and 3) “pull up your pants” (Marco taught me this one during cleans/snatches).
 
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
Life can be overwhelming sometimes so the gym/yoga is where I go to disconnect from all the stress and chaos. It’s like the physical version of therapy and journaling for me.

What is your cheat meal go-to? 
Mom’s mutton curry and chicken biryani…and an obscene amount of it.
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym? 
To open my own jars.
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Overcoming a semi-nasty back injury is my biggest one and it took quite some PT + a lot of patience getting back to full form.
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I’m happy and proud most days because I’ve just been super consistent in and outside of the gym and it’s been showing! I’m able to hit cleaner cleans and snatchier snatches and nail some of the harder skill progressions I’ve been aiming for.
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
The Baby Giraffe (because you’ll be walking like one afterwards): Heavy 5×5 of Back Squats, Front Squats, Overhead Squats, and Split Squats.
 
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it? 
I just brute force those days because I know I’m the only one that’s going to push myself to stay driven and on course. (But I also acknowledge when I do really just need a break and give myself permission to take one.)
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Hobby wise: I like taking cool photos, cooking, and playing video games. (Some of my favorite games have been Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Hades, GTA Vice City, and Until Dawn.)
Interest wise: I generally like all things tech, fantasy, and sci-fi.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have a lot of food venture ideas and would love to execute one of them next year. This one may not get executed, but one is selling small orders of Indian and Cajun/Creole fusion dishes (think tandoori style shrimp & grits).
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words… 
The journey to strength isn’t always about lifting the heaviest weight or running the fastest mile. Sometimes…it’s about conquering those darn jars, one lid at a time.

September Athlete of the Month || Billy O’Marra!!

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 August Athlete of the Month goes to the one and only Mr. Billy O’Marra! Billy joined the CFA family on December 16th with a hunger for growth and knowledge. Billy continues to surprise us with his dedication, discipline, and great attitude toward fitness. When the man has a goal, there is nothing that will stop him which is just one of the many things we admire about him #GOALS!

Not only does he put in the hard work, but he also listens to his body and makes the right decisions, constantly reinventing himself and adjusting his goals for a better road to success.

Billy, we love that you chose us to help you on your journey to success and can’t wait to see your continuation to success in your fitness journey

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
William O’Marra, Billy, aka Goat (the farm animal, not the acronym)

Words to live by?
Be tolerant with others, and strict with yourself.

What is your fitness background?
Growing up, I played sports like lacrosse, basketball, and football. My best sport was probably Ultimate. I had
more trophies for math than sports. As an adult, I got into yoga, calisthenics, boxing, and now CrossFit.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
January 2023, the journey officially began.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts
today?
My first day doing CrossFit was my first Fundy Day w/Coach Alien who shadowed me during a class. There
were burpees and pull ups, so it was in my wheelhouse, and I felt pretty good. In general, the weightlifting
aspect is all new to me, and most classes at the start were super tough. Classes are still tough, but I now have
an understanding of the fundamental weight lifting movements and it’s easier to figure out how to scale the
workouts appropriately.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The community is great, and I’ve met a lot of inspiring people who’ve shown me the ropes along the way, either
through example or side chats. I really enjoy the music the coaches play, and am known to take over the playlist from time to time.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Get stronger. I want to be able to do the Rx version of at least one OPEN workout next year, so I’m going to
spend the fall and winter focusing on building strength, spending more time on the WL side of things.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t stress, stretch
Show Up
Scale Down (as much as you need to)
Rock Out
The only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask.

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
No matter how busy life gets, it only takes a few minutes to drop down and do some push-ups, squats, or
burpees. In your office, hotel room, outdoors, on a plane (easier done on big planes), wherever you’re at.

What is your cheat meal go-to?
Lately, the double stacked chicken nachos at Twin Peaks, with a couple beers to wash it down. For dessert, if Crumbl cookies are wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Throwing my nephews around at the pool/beach. I work in video production so it helps to be able to hold a camera for a long time or carry/move heavy equipment. I enjoy helping people move, too. Moving boxes and furniture, up and down stairs, is probably my favorite workout. If you need a hand, hmu.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Mostly Injuries. I’ve got a disc in my lower back that easily slips out of place, and learning how to heal from and manage that has been a journey. Being open-minded, patient, doing research, and listening to my body.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
The first time I did 300 burpees (3 sets of 100) with a 12 lb vest was pretty freakin’ cool.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Goat’s 300 Workout – 10 Rounds for time of:
10 burpees
5 pull ups
10 wall balls
5 pull ups
Scale Up: Add weight vest and/or do 2-pump burpees (two push ups at bottom)

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
Just learning over time that 99% of the time when you don’t feel like it, you’ll feel better after working out. Sometimes I have to trick myself saying “Just do ten minutes.” Ten turns into 45-60 real quick once your heart
starts pumping.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy volunteering with the Travis County Juvenile Probation Dept. I teach a documentary class designed to provide education, life lessons, and combat recidivism. I’m also a huge fan of Portugal FC and the Jets.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I lived in NYC/Brooklyn for 15 years before moving to Austin in November 2002, but I grew up in Northern NJ ~20 miles west of downtown Manhattan, and from the top of my street you could see the Twin Towers on a clear day.   My father was supposed to be at 9am meeting on the 90th floor of Tower 1 on 9/11, thankfully he was late to work that day. A miracle for man who was never late and never had a sick day in his career. Unfortunately many of his co-workers lost their lives that day, 358 of them to be exact. I saw the sky turn black that day. I am forever grateful my father survived, and every 9/11 I think about those who weren’t as lucky. RIP

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Never get high on your supply.

August Athlete of the Month || Shana King!

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 August Athlete of the Month goes to none other than Shana King! Shana joined CFA in August of 2022 and we’re excited to celebrate her 1 year anniversary with us as AOM! You can find Shana in several different classes but 5:30 AM tends to be her jam, spreading the love with the early crew! Shana not only attends CrossFit classes, but enjoys going to WL as well.  She’s also no stranger to jumping in with her gym buds to showcase her skills in competitions.

Thank you for being a great athlete and putting in the hard work, Shana! We are honored to have you as our AOM and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations! Hay Hay Hooray!!!!!

P.S. (Ask her what’s her favorite bird and why! She is kind of an ornithologist 😏)

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Shana (shaa-nuh, like banana) King pronouns: She/Her/Ella
 
Words to live by?
Don’t talk about it, be about it!
 
What is your fitness background?
Growing up I was a swimmer and did competitive cheerleading. After high school I did very litte fitness or sports until I found crossfit in my mid 20’s
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
9 years. I got my Level 1 cert in 2020 and coached for about 2 years at our prior gym
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
My first workout was an AMRAP of running and kettlebell swings. I remember having a lot of fun and appreciated the AMRAP structure because we were all done at the same time, even though I had to take lots of rest breaks. I still love a good AMRAP for those reasons!
 
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Our prior gym closing was incredibly hard for me. I experienced a ton of grief about losing a place so special to me. Ty and I were worried we wouldn’t find a place with that same magic. I feel so lucky to have found CFA. I appreciate the strong culture, the diversity of membership, and knoweldgeable and passionate coaches. 
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
I want to maintain as much strength as I can, be consistent and smart with my training, and to have FUN!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Talk to and try to know the people in your classes. When I’m feeling like I’d rather hit snooze or skip the gym and head home, remembering that there are awesome folks waiting for me at the gym can be the little motivation that I need. 
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
Ti
me is definitely not something I have a lot of after becoming a school administrator a few years ago, and most recently a principal. But, I know that the one hour I can put aside for training will make all of the other hectic hours feel better. 

What is your cheat meal go-to?
Honestly, I’ve tried to move away from calling foods “good, bad, cheat, etc.” 
I tracked macros and was very strict for many years, and it’s not something that I have the mental or emotional capacity for these days. I try to eat home cooked meals (by Ty, luckily) during the week, and save eating out for the weekends in moderation. 
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Educators spend all day on their feet. My school is huge and has multiple flights of stairs, so being in shape helps me keep up with the pace of running a high school. It’s also something my students and I connect about. I like that I can hop in on our football team’s summer strength workouts and hold my own. I also run open gym and weight room every day at lunch and enjoy doing reps here and there and giving cues to the students that come in. I think it’s really important for young girls and boys to see that women can be strong. 
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Making peace with the fact that I don’t always have the capacity to train at the volume or intensity that I want or used to in years prior.
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Probably the first time that I did Murph with a weight vest. I did a good amount of training with the vest specifically to prepare for that workout, and I could feel that preparation pay off during the workout. 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
It would be a partner workout with power cleans, double unders, and some sort of heavy odd object/ sandbag carry. 
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
The people, the endorphins, and knowing I’ll feel better afterward. 
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I like to bake and try new recipes. I’ve gotten really into lego sets recently and also enjoy reading. I also spend every Sunday doing mutual aid work with our unhoused neighbors. 
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m a trained birdwatcher!
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Fitness, like all of the aspects of life, has seasons. There will be days, weeks, months where you feel great, and some where you are just in it for the check mark. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and keep riding the wave. Sometimes the goal should just be to have fun!

July Athlete of the Month || Perry Stallings!

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 July Athlete of the Month is Perry Stallings! Perry joined CFA in November of 2020 after returning to Texas from the Bay Area. Instead of heading back to Dallas or San Antonio where he and his wife grew up, respectively, they settled on something in the middle, and we’re so glad they did! Other than being one of the 7:30am regulars, Perry’s probably best known to new classmates as The Dancing Guy (oh yes, he gets DOWN, seriously) or the one who’s saying what they’re all thinking (“Whyyy?!?!”), but to his coaches and fellow regulars, he’s also incredibly intentional, consistent, and committed to good-quality movement in everything he does. He’s known to be in the gym up to an hour before class to warm up and complete any accessory or PT homework he’s been assigned!

We’ve loved being part of his journey at CFA and celebrating his wins along the way. Perry, we are honored to have you as our July Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:

Perry

Words to live by?

Move fast and learn faster

What is your fitness background?

I grew up dancing

How long have you been CrossFitting?

9 years. (6 consistently)

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?

Honestly, I don’t remember my first day. I feel a lot more consistent and stronger

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

I really like the coach for life concept and how it drives accountability and consistency 

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Recently got a heavier squat clean than my power clean

Getting a heavier squat snatch than power snatch.

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

Keep going. It doesn’t get better, you just start sucking less.

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?

I built fitness into my routine. It’s the start of my day.

What is your cheat meal go-to?

Chocolate, it’s not a meal but it’s how I cheat.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

Swing dancing and hauling merchandise at anime conventions 

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?

Scheduling. I used to be a night owl and love the noon class, but life got in the way.

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

Mostly when I hit strength goals

Hitting 225 on the clean

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

Dream Work

Full class workout for Time

5,000 lb cleans per person (1,250 lb minimum)

1600m run per person (400m minimum)

2 minute dance break

5,000 lb snatch per person (1,250lb minimum)

2000m row

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

Dancing

Video games

Board games

Dungeons and Dragons

Building a business with my wife

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I was part of a state champion highschool wrestling team.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

Work smart, play hard, Don’t die