Introducing Your 2022 Iron Buffalo Winners!

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 he 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 2022 Iron Buffalo recipients, Jacki De Los Santos and Josiah Smith. Congratulations you two! We’re grateful to have you as a part of this team and this family.

Jacki De Los Santos

When did you join the CFA community?image0.jpeg
2018
What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?I
Always being nervous! I remember one time I saw the previous class doing double unders and turned my car around and said, “NOPE!” I did eventually turn back around though and once I got comfortable with more people I was less anxious to do things I wasn’t good at.

 

What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?
Well duh, it’s the community! No, but for real even before I started crossfit I always admired the camaraderie of the professional athletes in the sport. I had no idea how much of an impact the cfa community would have on me when I started but I’m so happy I found it!
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit? 
Stop worrying about what everybody else thinks and just do the work! Ain’t nobody worried about how you look in your workouts.

image1.jpeg

What was your initial reason for starting (your ‘why’)? How has that ‘Why’ changed?
I was ready to get serious about getting healthier and I had been wanting to try crossfit for a while. One day I just decided to start looking for a crossfit gym and welp, the rest is history baby.
 
How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
There is something about pushing my body to the limit for a hour that really just hits different for me, it’s almost addicting so it’s easy for me to come back day after day so discipline has never been a problem for me. Knowing how much better I feel when I’ve worked out also helps, sometimes if I miss a day it messes up my whole day. 🙁
What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to? 
F R I E N D S 🙂
Recent PRs?
 105# bench, 40kg snatch, and a sub 30min 5k!!
 
Current training goals?image2.jpeg
Training for the Austin Marathon! I’ve always loved running so I’m super excited to see how far I can push my body!
Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?
Pregnancy for sure! I was very lazy and sick most days so navigating that new space was such a challenge for me and one I was particularly successful at. Taking my time coming back with Heidi’s BirthFit classes were such a huge part of my successful comeback postpartum, as well as taking it easy until my body was more healed and ready.
 
What is your cheat meal go to?
That depends on the day, but I love to bake and I realllllyyyy like to stress bake so any homemade bread/tortilla/cookies/etc are a problem for me
What does the Iron Buffalo title mean to you?
Putting in the work and always showing up even for the hard stuff.
Thoughts upon winning the title?image3.jpeg
It’s just awesome to know others saw all the hard work I put into 2022. Ready to conquer my next quest next!
How will you use your new found Buffalo Strength?
First, to train for the Austin Marathon (half) and probably do at least one CrossFit competition and another weightlifting meet!
What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? Gym related and/or personally?
Growing, healing, and becoming a better mother 🙂
Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
Don’t you ever worry, not even a little, about what other people think about you. You are amazing just the way you are.image4.jpeg

Josiah Smith

When did you join the CFA community?
January or February of 2019.
What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?
Getting my form corrected and critiqued by Austin Coover on my first day and trying to keep up with Aaron Garza and being humbled. Still probably couldn’t beat him.
What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?
I appreciate the focus on functional and practical fitness that translates to a lifetime of fitness and not necessarily focusing on the “elite athelete” growth.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit? 
Don’t be so hesitant to adapt a growth mindset when it comes to your definition of being in shape/fitness.
What was your initial reason for starting (your ‘why’)? How has that ‘Why’ changed?

Originally i was getting tired of the traditional gym and wanted a more “extreme” workout

Now I come for the focus on total body strength,  long term health, and community.

How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
By making fitness a priority of every day. Regardless of if that’s crossfit, running, yoga or just going on a walk.
Continually changing my challenges and keeping track of progress

What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to?

Knowing I’ll feel better after I do it. It’s always worth it after starting

Recent PRs?

Just ran a 25k trail run that had over 3500 ft of elevation change under 3hrs. Pretty happy with that.
Current training goals?
Not look like a scrub at The Fittest Experience at the end of the month. Come watch!

Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?

Actually had my first real injury earlier this year deadlifting at 60% max, still did the WOD and made it worse. I had to take a hard look in the mirror and shift my focus to rehabbing it and modifying which wasn’t easy mentally. The idea of longevity and not acute gains helped.
What is your cheat meal go to?
Pizza forever and always

What does the Iron Buffalo title mean to you?

Although we’re not coming to CFA for the recognition, I was very humbled and  honored to be recognized by the coaching staff and gym. It makes all the effort and hard work at the gym have a lovely physical and emotional reminder. Always grateful for all the people who have made me a better person and athlete.

Thoughts upon winning the title?

Sayyed texted me in Costa Rica and told me I won. I thought he was joking with me and I didn’t hear from anyone else so I kinda just ignored it haha but I was very happy to hear it!
How will you use your new found Buffalo Strength?

I’ll just keep doing the things I’ve been doing and if that continues to demonstrate Buffalo Strength then I’ll be happy with that.

What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? Gym related and/or personally?
Gym: the fittest experience
Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
Thank y’all for being an extended family. Love seeing all the new faces at the gym and watching it grow!

CFA Intramural Open 2023

The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open & CFA Intramural Open

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 (1/26 – 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
Other super fun shenanigans

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

When:
Starting on February 16, 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 2nd and we’ll have our wrap party Friday the 3rd!!

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. I 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 Triib Events HERE!! The registration fee is $40. This includes your t-shirt, entry fee, and funding for the finals party and winning team’s prizes

REGISTRATION DEADLINE – Thursday, January 26th @ 5:00 pm! – The draft happens 1/26 @ 7:00 pm at CFA (aka Thirsty Thursday) then we’ll order team shirts!

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 || Zac Spangler!

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 Zac Spangler! Zac came to Austin as a PT student and fell right in with our community! Zac is usually an afternoon fella. Just look for the guy with excellent form and the friendly face! He’s been such a pleasure to have in class and we appreciate his kind and welcoming personality. We’ve loved being part of the journey with him and celebrating the wins along the way! Zac, we are honored to have you as our December Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your 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:

Zac Spangler

Words to live by?

You’re a product of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose your circle wisely

What is your fitness background?

I have been involved in fitness most of my life, mostly training to improve athletic performance while still playing sports. When sports ended I began at a local CrossFit Gym and have been training for personal fitness, health, and longevity ever since.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

I began CrossFit in 2017.

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

I was way too aggressive when I began CrossFit and thought every workout needed to be 1000% effort and if you were not laying on the ground after you did it wrong. I’m happy I did it this way because I have a better understanding of my upper limits and know when to scale back and when to push. Now, I am focused on respecting my body and training for health, longevity, and improving technique.

 

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

The coaches, community, and programming

Current Training Goals/PRs?

To go 6 for 6 at my first Olympic Weightlifting meet on Dec. 17th!

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

I’d tell someone to not feel pressured to RX workouts, each workout is designed to create a specific stimulus, and weights or speeds will look different for each person. I would recommend a focus on building a solid foundation, respecting your body, making friends, and having fun. Focus on longevity and celebrate the small wins along the way.

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

There’s no way to avoid life getting busy and I try to focus on everyday movement. While each day might not be a workout at the gym, I can still go for a walk, do yoga, or get outside and soak up some sun. Doing the little things to still get my body moving allows me to make progress on goals even when not in the gym.

What is your cheat meal go-to?

Panda Express lol

 

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

I use my fitness outside of the gym by going hiking, mountain biking, and camping.

 

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

Staying consistent with training while moving as often as I do. Throughout my education to becoming a physical therapist, I have moved to multiple new cities. Having to relocate to new cities for internships has been a challenge to stay consistent with CrossFit or Olympic Weightlifting styles of training.

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

Basically doing any workout with my dad. My dad started doing CrossFit after watching me do a 2018 Open workout and has been doing it ever since. He has improved his fitness, strength, overall health, and longevity. I always have fun and feel proud when doing a partner workout with my dad.

 

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

I’m not great a programming but if I could choose a single movement to add to a workout it would have to be bar muscle-ups.

 

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

Just focusing on everyday movement even if it’s something simple. Keeping physical activities simple will get me moving on days when I do not feel like it.

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

Currently, I am a third-year physical therapy student so outside of CrossFit I am typically studying and learning about the body, rehabilitation, and physical therapy practice. Also, most nights you can find me riding a longboard around for fun!

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I have a cat named Kota and she’s my pride and joy

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

Don’t forget to take moments each day to slow down the busyness of life, there’s simple beauty all around so take it in.

November Athlete of the Month || Shan Vonier!!

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 Shan Vonier! Shan joined the CFA crew when she and her wonderful family moved to Austin in March of 2021! She’s a morning mama with the 5:30 am crew, but you’ll see her around in the afternoons when she brings her girls to the youth class as well! Shan knows what’s up when it comes to finding balance in her training. She always makes smart choices for how she feels each day. She has such a wonderful heart too and always encourages and lifts up those around her. We’ve loved being part of the journey with her and celebrating the wins along the way! Shan, we are honored to have you as our November Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your 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:
Shan – its not short for anything.
 
Words to live by?
Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, its not for them. -Joubert Botha
 
What is your fitness background?
I‘ve played sports my whole life(softball, golf, volleyball). I didn’t like to lift weights and would only run in the gym when I was dragged there.
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I‘ve been going since November 2019 with a break in 2020. Started at CFA in March 2021.
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
My first crossfit workout was The Murph 2019….solo. I was nervous, but also I had no real clue what I was getting myself into. I finished and it was the one of the hardest things I had done physically. I didn’t do another workout until the Open, when I did all those workouts, so yeah, I guess I just dove right in. I still get nervous because almost every workout seems daunting to me, but I just try to keep moving and know that it will end eventually.
 
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The people! We just moved here and living in an apartment and homeschooling puts a damper on meeting people. We’ve really been able to build friendships and make connections with some amazing people here! Its been great for us as well as our 3 girls.
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
I‘m working on my pull ups and handstand walks. I recently got a PR for something and got to hit the gong, that was cool.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Do not listen to Ryan. Haha. But honestly, go at a pace that you feel comfortable. There will always be someone who is pushing you and cheering you on, but it really is about you and your goals. Comparison is the death of joy. Do you.
 
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
I have started paying attention to my body more. When I get that lazy feeling and miss workout or eat junk, I feel it and I don’t like it. I have noticed how much better I feel when I workout consistently, so I try to workout consistently. It’s easier when you have a husband who goes everyday he is town and a group of girls who text you, encourage you to be there and lift you up.

What is your cheat meal go-to?
Spaghetti, salad, garlic rolls and cheesecake for dessert.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I have 3 girls who are very active and I do like to keep up with them. They will be out lifting me fairly soon, so I take what I can get right now. 

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
My own mind. Weightlifting, working out, etc has always been associated with losing weight, so I’m still learning about doing this for my health/enjoyment and not just to lose weight. I’ve had to really slow down. Crash dieting and running is easy because you see instant results. Staying consistent with workouts and eating habits does not yield overnight results, but it is sustainable and for longevity(thats what I hear anyways).

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Honestly, I’m proud of every workout I complete, because I never think I am going to. BUT, my first rX workout this past summer. I cannot remember the actual workout, but it included power snatch and I did 65#. That was pretty exciting.

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

“Lose Yourself”

10 min AMRAP

10 Box Jumps
10 Wallballs
10 Power Cleans

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
The one aspect of CrossFit I was drawn to….time. I like how I can show up, warm up, workout and be done within an hour. An hour is really not that long and to be done with an entire workout as well as have stretched, possibly lifted some heavy stuff, chatted with the girls and its barely 7AM…it’s a great start to any day.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I play sand volleyball and golf. I love to cook and read.  I’m really into making focaccia bread these days. If I’m not doing those things then I am hanging out with the fam. I have 3 girls who are into dance, weightlifting and volleyball, so we are usually doing one of those things.

Tell us something we don’t know about you….
I was in 4-H.  I showed dogs(St. Bernard), rabbits, sheep and made cookies. I did it for 3-4 years and I won Champion a couple times. At one point I had probably 10 rabbits. They were Angora, so they had the long hair that was super soft. The first rabbit I bought was gray-blue and his name was Harry-Bob.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I’ll refer back to words I live by and paraphrase….It’s your journey. You do you, boo.

October Athlete of the Month || Tarun Nandkishore!!

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 Tarun Nandkishore! Tarun joined the CFA Family at year ago, but wasn’t a stranger to CrossFit when he came to us! You’ll usually find him in the 6:00 pm hour whether that be a CrossFit class or back in the Weightlifting Center! Tarun has been such a pleasure to have in classes! He is always eager and willing to learn and truly takes the coaching he receives to heart. We’ve loved being part of the journey with him and celebrating the wins along the way! Tarun, we are honored to have you as our October Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your 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:

Tarun or Tarooon (Like Coach Dylan, Alien & Bach call out…)

Words to live by?

Live & let live.

What is your fitness background?

The only fitness option while growing up was playing sports. Playing Cricket (It is big in India) & also did a bit of
swimming as well.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

Around 4 years

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel?

It was very intense. The work out included Air squats, Burpees, Running. There were 4 new folks along with me
trying out CrossFit for the first time, at the end of the work out all of us were on the verge of passing out. Lol….

How do you compare it to workouts today?

I understood that beyond just getting physically fit, CrossFit teaches you humility and perseverance. It also
reminds me that there is nothing quite as satisfying as finishing a brutally hard workout and being able to reflect
the growth you experience as an athlete in that space.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

CFA has been the one of the most diverse gyms I have come across. I look up to all the coaches and lots of
individuals as well, who are always cheering you and being very supportive. It gives you a very positive feel &
the energy is very vibrant. My wife (Vaish) & I love ATX for the same reason, the vibe is just fantastic, and it is
one of the best decisions we have made by moving here. Now the main highlight is the weightlifting class. It
has transformed my thinking & understanding on how to move my body for complex movements. Coach Dylan
has the magic mantra on how to gain momentum and live with consistency.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Press over head -Body weight, Squat- Body weight, Deadlift- 2 x Body weight. Currently, I can only squat my
body weight. Get strong or lose weight are the only options…

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

Enjoy the moment, trust the process. Always remember, physical strength can only take you to a certain limit,
after that it is all mental strength, training your mind and staying consistent will help you in the long run & yeah
always be humble and open to learning.

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

Making the choice to re-prioritize and put yourself higher upstream in priority.

What is your cheat meal go-to?

I am a foodie, love all the Carbs & grease but yeh… a good burger would be my go-to cheat meal.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

Hiking. Couple of years ago did a Back packing trip in the Grand Canyon & would love to do it again.

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

Eating clean and the town I lived in Michigan was all about breweries.

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

Not particularly a workout but started training 3 days a week and listening to the body before bringing that
volume to 4 or 5 days a week. Giving the body time to adapt to a point where the importance of training is
prioritized in my life to accommodate hours every week. I am super proud of that.

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

Appetite for Destruction – 5 Rounds for time: 5 Heavy Back squats, 200m Sledge push (Heavy), 100m sprint.
Heavy is subjective, loading up the bar with your body weight or more..

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

That feeling of accomplishment, after completing your workout. That endorphin release!!

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

Love traveling, road tripping, try out new delicacies.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I was a design engineer in interiors for private charter aircrafts.

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

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”:
Sun Tzu- The Art of War

September Athlete of the Month || Kaytlin Blanchard!

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 September Athlete of the Month is Kaytlin Blanchard! KB joined the CFA Family in December of 2020, but wasn’t a stranger to CrossFit when she came to us! You’ll usually find her sweatin’ midday with the lunch bunch! She always comes in with a good attitude and a great big smile. She’ll make ANYONE feel like a rockstar when they walk through our doors. Kaytlin always comes in ready to work hard in class and try to be a little better every day. We’ve loved being part of the journey with her and celebrating the wins along the way! KB, we are honored to have you as our September Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your 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: image0.jpeg

Kaytlin/KB

Words to live by?

We should all treat each other like groups of drunk girls in restrooms, the world would be a much nicer place and full of random compliments!!

What is your fitness background?

I’ve always been active!! Started off with competitive dance then field hockey became my true love. I was lucky enough to play on teams all over the USA and overseas then coached for awhile!!

How long have you been CrossFitting?

I started CrossFit in 2012. Took a break due to injury in ‘16. Rejoined in Dec. ‘20!

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

Oh man, I felt so excited and scared to do my first WOD!! I think it had some overhead plate lunges with a partner and I knew I didn’t want to let them down so I pushed myself so hard. Cut to the next day, I could barely move hahaha I think I took 5 days off to recover but I was hooked and ready for more!!

Now, I do 2-3 WODs a day 5-6 days a week!! So much progress has been made!!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

Easy, the community and coaching staff!! I’ve never found such a wonderful group of people. Everyone is so genuine and truly loves to watch each other succeed both in and outside of the gym, it’s incredible!! I feel so lucky to be a part of the crew

Current Training Goals/PRs?

I’ve been training for a few competitions over the last few months and it’s been a blast!! So many PRs have been made thanks to all the coaching and programming. My current goal outside of comp training is to get my TTB strung together!!

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

Don’t be scared or intimidated!! Starting out is the best part, everyday is pretty much a PR!!

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

I’m fortunate that I can plan my days around my training for the most part. On days where it seems like it’s hard to get in a WOD I just remind myself, it’s 1hr of my day and it makes me feel soooo much better!! I can give myself 1hr

What is your cheat meal go-to?

HAH…anyone that’s met me knows my whole life is a cheat meal!! That’s why I’m always at the gym lol

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

Not to brag but, I can bring in all my groceries in one trip lol!! Haha really though, I like to test my fitness trying new things. This year I completed in my first terrain race with some other CFA members, I also started competing in some local team CF comps with CFA members too! I enjoy hiking, running, skiing/snowboarding, golfing, paddle boarding, pretty much anything active and outside is my jam!!

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

I’d say my challenges are mostly mental. As a masters athlete, listening to my body and actually slowing down or going lighter vs full send, has been a process. I know it’s necessary so I can continue to have longevity in the sport and continued health without injury though!! The second challenge has been my body dysmorphia. Putting on muscle, being healthy, and being able to do the movements in CF has changed my body a lot and I’ve come along way in loving my gains but there is still some work to be done!! The CFA community has really helped so much with this and I can’t thank everyone enough!! It’s the best!!

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

It may sound strange but I’m most proud of the days where the WOD falls apart or maybe I breakdown because I’m having a bad/sad day and I still persevere!! Those days are hard but it’s rewarding to look back and know “I still did it”.

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

“Of course there’s running” 5 Rounds for time: 3 Rope Climbs 6 Heavy Cleans 21 Sit-ups 400m Run What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it? I’ve never regretted workouts I’ve showed up for, only ones I didn’t.

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

I’m a road trip gal, Augie (my dog) and I leave town often!! I’m a classically trained pianist and play the baritone as well. I like throwing pots or really anything ceramics/art related. I absolutely LIVE for animals and love anything and everything involving them!!

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

9 is my favorite number, it comes up in my life often. For example, being picked for AOM on the 9th month!! It’s said in numerology 9 is the highest level of change and I certainly like to mix it up!!

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

If you didn’t dance at some point during the day, did the day ever really happen?!

August Athlete of the Month || Stephen McCoy!!

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 is Stephen McCoy! Stephen joined the CFA Family in March of 2021, but wasn’t a stranger to CrossFit when he came to us! Stephen is a tried and true 4:30 fella, although every once in a while he’ll pop in on another class. Stephen’s journey hasn’t always been an easy one, but he is an incredible example of the amazing things that can happen with discipline, consistency, and a positive outlook. He always comes in with a good attitude and is ready to work hard and try to be a little better every day. And, if you ever need a smile, you’ll be sure to get one from Stephen! We’ve loved being part of the journey with him and celebrating the wins along the way! Stephen, we are honored to have you as our August Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your 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:
Stephen, or Steve
 
Words to live by?
It sounds cliche, but daily consistency is really key to me making progress. What can I do today to be 1% better and the results becomes compounding over time.
 
 
What is your fitness background?
 Played sports and engaged in ‘fit things’ as long as I can remember. Rugby, Cricket (yes, that weird British sport), Swimming, Cycling, Half Marathons, Football (okay Soccer) etc.
 
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
 I don’t remember exactly, but probably about 5 years.
 
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel?
 Excited and a little nervous. I had watched some Crossfit on YouTube including games events and saw these crazy people excelling across multiple strength, fitness and gymnastic movements. I had a feeling I would probably enjoy it..
 
On my first day I remember doing a modified version of ‘Fran’ with a 45lb barbell and banded pull-ups. It was super tough, but the love affair started, lol!
 
How do you compare it to workouts today?
Looking back, it now seems easy but we all have to start somewhere on our Crossfit journey. The motivating community really helped me make great strides little by little each year.
 
 
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
 Like many people have said, the Community of members and great coaches. Over and above fitness, CFA has been a supportive and open community to build new friendships and encourage each other in our life and fitness challenges.
 
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
I don’t have any specific goals or PR’s in mind. As I get older, I am more focused on enjoying the privilege of being able to use my body to do cool stuff, and having fun. I still get competitive with myself and want to push to get stronger.
 
What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
 I guess a Crossfit gym can be a daunting environment to enter. I would say, enjoy the process, be open to learning new things and the cool people at CFA will keep you challenged and encouraged.
 
 
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
It’s not hard for me to prioritize training in my life for the most part. I view it as my mental and physical escape from the busyness of life. It’s fun for me, and reminds me of getting out of the school classroom at break (recess) to go to the playground with my friends.
 
What is your cheat meal go-to?
Gotta be a stacked burger with fries, and I might throw in a ‘choccie’ milkshake to amp it up.
 
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
In the summer I love being on and in the water swimming, paddleboarding etc. In the past I have done some obstacle races and a Spartan Beast.
 
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Last year I fractured my skull and sustained a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from a scooter accident. At that point my future mental and physical wellbeing was uncertain and frightening. Through intensive physical and mental rehabilitation, and the encouragement of friends and family I was able to get back to Crossfit, and my career. I feel very lucky!
 
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I think it was 4 months after my TBI, being able to walk back into the gym and do a Power Clean without all the mental and physical issues I had been facing. I remember laying in my ICU bed trying to visualize doing that movement again and it gave me motivation to keep getting better each day. Doing it that day at CFA represented a fulfillment of that milestone!
 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Probably something with muscle-ups in it. I enjoy flying around on gymnastics bars..
 
The Big Lebowski:
5 rounds for time
6 Muscle Ups
10 Power Cleans (135 lbs/ 95 lbs)
10 Burpees (yes, I am that sad)
 
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
What keeps me going…? I actually don’t know sometimes, keeping my brain on autopilot to avoid self-negotiation around ‘should I workout today?’ maybe
 
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy nerding out on investing, and currently learning Options trading. I love traveling and have visited many cool places but continue to have the desire to visited many more places. A few weeks ago I got back from Cartagena, Colombia, wild and fun place!
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
Growing up in South Africa I spent two years learning one of the local African languages called Zulu. It was so fun to learn and I use to sing some local tribal songs to help learn the language. I don’t take requests haha.
 
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Keep challenging yourself and encouraging one another.