Thanksgiving – No Excuses!

With Thanksgiving next week and CFA having a limited class schedule, it’s easy to take days off, and blame the innocent Thanksgiving Holiday for a week of not working out! This quick little article is my way of giving you no excuses.  The following circuits were created for Olympic Track and Field athletes that were traveling for competitions, but still needed to get in Fundamental/Mobility work.  They can be done anywhere and anytime.




Hotel Room…


Front Yard…



20 mins and No Warm up…


Everyday pick one of the following Circuits perform 2 Rounds, 10 each exercise. No excuses!

Aaron Davis



Rocket Jumps


Iron Crosses

Wrestler Briidge


Side ups

Leg toss




Prisoner Squats

V- Sits



Rocket Jumps

Leg Toss //

Clapping Push ups

Wrestler’s Bridge

Iron Crosses

Decline Pushups

Prone Flex single Leg Hip Extension

2 “Simple” Ways to Improve

Today, lets talk about some simple ways to get more out of your training. And let me just point out the word “simple”, when most people see the word simple they think easy. However, just because something is simple there is no guarantee that it will be easy. So even though my suggestions are simple in theory, implementation will require some effort and work!


Show up

The number one way to succeed at CrossFit or any training endeavor is to show up, and show up consistently.  The great thing about coming to class every week is that we remove the guess work out of your training. All we need you to do is show up and be ready to work.  We’ve talked recently as coaches how showing up to the gym twice a week or eight times a month is the minimum buy in to see some results.  I’m a big believer that training a good 4 times a week is the sweet spot where a person thrives with they’re training.   So, making it a priority to train at least four times a week (inside or outside the gym) should be a goal for anyone that takes their health and fitness seriously.


Move everyday

Taking the showing up concept a step further, Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable famously said, “If it is important, do it every day, if it isn’t, don’t do it at all”.  When it comes to movement and activity, this means that we should be active in some fashion everyday. That doesn’t mean blow yourself up with workouts 24/7/365 but there is allot of value daily non stressful activity.  The best ways to do this is to simply be active for at least 10 minutes a day. You can walk, ride a bike, play with your children, the list goes on and on. This helps us relieve stress, sleep better, and recover from the harder bouts of exercise you do during the week.


So keep it simple silly! Regardless of the busy world around us, we always have the opportunity to improve our health and fitness if you’re willing to show up and do the work!

Wes Kimball

Skill = Strength


It’s easy to get caught up in the competition that a CrossFit class can elicit.  It’s what pushes our fitness to a level we couldn’t attain by ourselves. From a coach’s perspective this is both positive and negative. Though competition can bring out the best in an athlete, it can be also be a roadblock in the training process.

The two questions I hear frequently are “How do I get better at _____ skill” and “How do I get stronger?”.  The simplest answer is, practice them often and do as many correct reps as possible; even if it’s one rep at a time.

Our bodies are an electrical highway, making new roads and highways all the time. These highways improve information pathways and feedback to the brain, especially when we are beginning the training process or learning a new skill (yes, even a Heavy Squat is a skill).  Once introduced to a new skill, our bodies are already starting the process of building a road to mastery.  As we practice “correctly” that road is turned into a freeway which allows more traffic and feedback to come back and forth, self-correcting the skill in real time.

Most people have an idea of this, but few apply it to strength. Often, skill is thought of in the realm of double unders, kipping pull-ups, or higher end gymnastics movements.  Just ask Coach Thomas why Olympic lifters are just as strong as Powerlifters (without the help of Suits) in the squat, even though Olympic lifters hardly ever squat at the same intensities as powerlifters. It’s because they squat often and focus on perfecting each rep. They build their electrical highways to a higher degree than their powerlifting counterparts.

So how can we apply this to our everyday CrossFit classes?

Train with intent!  Perfect every rep during this new cycle.  It will be especially hard under fatigue, but the more perfect reps you do the better roads you will build, which will lead to more improvement over time.

Trust me, we will let you know when to compete!  Test weeks are a perfect time.  Right now find your place of Zen, be mindful, put competition aside and focus on technique.

“Nerves that fire together wire together” – Donald Hebb

-Aaron Davis


Today I’d like to take a moment and say thank you for the unbelievable outpouring of praise and support that I received after qualifying for the the American Open this morning. Back in July I talked about taking your fitness outside of the gym and challenged folks to go out there and compete.  I challenged CFA and the community and did they ever respond, we’ve had a ton of athletes that stepped outside of their comfort zone, and put themselves out there. I’m going to attempt to recognize all the athletes and coaches that have competed since I put out the challenge. I’ve done my very best to include everyone, but if for some reason I accidently miss someone please add to the comments below and I’ll update the list. Here we go!


Coach Ade Rampaul: CrossFit Classics

Alex Gold: The Athlete Open (2nd)

Coach Alex Janns: CrossFit Classics

Andy Hollister: The Athlete Open

Ash Warren: Grass Iron Last Chance Qualifier Weightlifting Meet

Blaz Ruzic: Power Athlete Challenge (3rd), Africa Partner Challenge (2nd)

Coach Chad Vaughn: 2013 USA Weightlifting National Championship (1st)

Chris Geno: The Athlete Open, CrossFit Classics

Dayna Lowke: Fit Company Fittest Professional Female

Denise Valdez: TriPearl Triathlon

Doug Clements: Hell and Back Challenge, CrossFit Classics

Coach Erica Cuellar: Woodward Women’s Throwdown 3

Gabi Groom: The Athlete Open

George Hribar:  Grass Iron Last Chance Qualifier Weightlifting Meet

George Valdez: TriPearl Triathlon

Greg Pepin: The Athlete Open, CrossFit Classic

Ikechi Urum-eke: Power Athlete Challenge (3rd)

Jeri Kreb: The Spartan Race

Julie “Crash” Shamblin: Barbells for Boobs

Jillian English: Hell and Back Challenge

Kara Denney: TriPearl Triathlon

Kat Bevel:  CrossFit Classics

Kelly Jackson: CrossFit Classics, Bat City Grand Opening Competition (3rd)

Leah Alter: Bat City Grand Opening Competition (3rd)

Coach Leigh Legare: The Athlete Open (3rd)

Linzi Newth: The Athlete Open

Coach Lindsey Guelde: The Summer Crush Games, The Athlete Open, The Alamo City Throwdown, The Ironcat Open

Liz Yankiver: 2013 Copperhead Open

Lizzie Collura-Rosenburg: The Athlete Open

Maureen Nelligan: Doggy Dash 5K

Mike Sanchez: Barbells for Boobs

Miguel Garza: CrossFit Classics

Ryan McDaniel: Grass Iron Last Chance Qualifier Weightlifting Meet

Stacey Magnesio: The Athlete Open, Barbell for Boobs

Coach Sharon Blecker: CrossFit Classics

Coach Thomas Lower: 2013 USA Weightlifting National Championship, Grass Iron Last Chance Qualifier Weightlifting Meet (1st)

That’s an amazing list and a special kudos to everyone on this list that competed for the first time. Again if I missed anyone on this list please add into the comments and I will update the list. So proud of what everyone has done and lets finish 2013 strong!

-Coach Wes

Improving movement with the Hip Hinge

As clients you hear us coaches harping on about the squat.  “Knees out” “Squat Deeper” “Chest up”. By now ours words have turned into mantras while you squat. The problem I see now is clients bring the mechanics of the squat into the Deadlift or hip hinge movements. The two movements should not only feel but visually be different.

Why should you care about the hip hinge?  Well, it’s the foundation for a healthy back, glutes and hamstrings as well as being essential in movements like kettlebells swings, RDL’s, Snatchs, and Cleans. Most importantly, it helps in correcting posture.

To test whether or not you have a good hip hinge all you need is a broom stick or PVC pipe and do the following:


Hip Hinge Test


Hold the PVC behind your back by placing your hands behind the small of your neck and the small of your back (which hand goes where doesn’t really matter). For you to PASS this test, the PVC must stay in contact with your head, upper back, and butt throughout the entire hip hinge. Give it a go! If you passed the test you have a solid hip hinge. If not, here are some quick ideas on what might be wrong:

  1. If the dowel is coming off of your butt, you are rounding your back

Quick fix: Arch your back instead!

  1. If the dowel is coming off of your back, you are squatting too much

Quick fix: Maintain vertical shins and push your butt back!

  1. If the dowel is coming off of your head, you’ve got too much rounding by the shoulders

Quick fix: Try moving the shoulders back and down. Keep a neutral neck and good posture!

If you are still struggling come find me and we will get to work!

Aaron Davis

Stubbornness and The Ripple Effect of Injuries

Back in the old days, it wasn’t uncommon for athletes to train and play through injuries.  At times it was expected.  Now with million dollar contracts and every team looking for the slightest competitive edge, it’s becoming a thing of the past.

At CFA it’s no different. Our goal for our clients is lifelong fitness. To achieve this goal you need to be healthy and injury free. Injuries are only roadblocks. Don’t let stubbornness get the better of you. If you feel an injury coming on, take care of it!  The more you prolong treatment of an injury the longer it will take to get better.

Ripple Effect of Injuries

  • If the injury/dysfunction happens within days: Monitoring inflammation is priority number one.

(Tip: don’t kill it with anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) right away.  Inflammation is a process for healing.  Only use if you have high amounts of acute inflammation are present.)

Recovery Protocol:
Reduce exercise load, let pain be your guide to scaling movements down.

  • If Injury/dysfunction happened within weeks:  Inflammation has lessened, but muscle firing patterns have been altered from scar tissue within the muscle.

Recovery Protocol:
Airrosti treatment and corrective exercises maybe be an appropriate addition to the exercise protocol.

  • If Injury/dysfunction happened within months: Inflammation is gone, but firing patterns have been altered within the muscle and now may be causing joint alterations.  Nerves might also be involved by this time.

Recovery Protocol:

Airrosti, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic techniques and corrective exercise may be needed.

  • If injury/dysfunction has lasted for years: There will be no inflammation, but now recruitment of other muscles have been made to compensate for the injury/dysfunction causing dysfunction in recruited muscles. It is now harder to clearly diagnosis the original cause of injury/dysfunction.   

Recovery Protocol: ????


Being proactive is of the utmost importance.  Notice “Rest” is not listed as a recovery protocol.  If adhesions are present and muscles are dysfunctional, rest will not heal the injury.  Instead mobility will be compromised due to stiffness and inactivity causing even a longer road to recovery.


That is the price of being stubborn.

-Aaron Davis 

Maria L. Urso and Michael N. Sawka

Inflammation: sustaining the balance to optimize recovery of skeletal muscle, connective tissue, and exertional injuries

J Appl Physiol September 15, 2013 115:877-878; published ahead of print May 16, 2013, doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00512.2013