September Athlete of the Month || Meg Livingston!!

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 Meg Livingston! Meg joined the CFA Family in the spring of 2019 and fell right into place with us. Meg is one of those people that you immediately know has a good heart! Meg’s smile and friendly greetings definitely make everyone feel welcome and happy to be here. The coaches also appreciate coachable Meg is and just the pure dedication to working hard in class. Meg, we are proud to introduce you as the 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: Meg Livingston
 
Words to live by? Speak your mind – even if your voice shakes
 
What is your fitness background? I (poorly) played sports high school but that was pretty much the extent of my fitness background prior to getting involved with CrossFit.
 
How long have you been CrossFitting? Roughly 3 years
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today? I felt like death! I jumped into a free session to try it out and I think I was sore for at least a week after. I found a different gym for an intro class and it was really encouraging to learn the basics and not feel so far behind everyone else. I haven’t thought about it much until now but I’ve improved a hell of a lot from day one and am now at the point where I really enjoy the workouts as opposed to suffering through them.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin? It’s hard to pick a favorite. The programming of the workouts is phenomenal and so are the coaches. And the community. Yes, impossible to pick just one!
 
Current Training Goals/PRs? My goal since starting and learning about this workout has been to complete Murph. I’ve lost sight of that goal over time but am now focusing on it again.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit? If you keep working at it, it can literally only get easier. Eventually you’ll be challenging yourself to do things you never thought your body could do.
 
Things look a little different right now, how are you staying focused in your training and in your life during this time? Staying focused has always been a struggle for me and is even more so now with the serious weirdness of the world. I’m learning to take things one step at a time and to understand that having a bad day or even week doesn’t mean I’ve derailed myself. Tomorrow always brings a new day and new possibilities for success.

What is your cheat meal go to? Stupid, delicious pizza.
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym? Prior to working at a cat only vet clinic, I used my fitness daily at work by lifting/carrying/holding/restraining various animals, primarily dogs. Deadlifting an anesthetized (aka floppy) 65+ pound dog became significantly easier once I learned how to properly “lift with my legs, not my back!”
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout. Anytime I hit a PR after learning proper technique. I think I was only able to front squat 65# or so when I first started. Squatting was probably the hardest movement for me so far but now that I’m more efficient I’m up to 135#. Still a ways to go but having moments of massive improvement is really encouraging.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey? Nutrition. That has always been my main challenge and historically has been my excuse for giving up on fitness goals.
 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be? This is tough because I’m not very creative. I’d probably choose a 5000m row because I haven’t done that since my first month in CrossFit and I’d like to compare. I can for sure tell you what would NOT be in that WOD – burpees and thrusters. They’re both very terrible.
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it? Understanding that time is going to pass regardless of whether I’m personally moving forward or backward so I might as well keep moving forward.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? This is the third time I’ve been asked this question in the past week and every time my answer is the same – I spend most of my time outside of work watching/playing/annoying with my dogs and cats. I really need some new hobbies!
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you… I lived and worked at a primate sanctuary in South Africa for a year and a half.
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words… Early voting starts October 13th-30th. The deadline for voter registration ends October 5th. Election Day is November 3rd. Get out there and vote!
 

Kitchen Adventures || Tropical Chicken & Sarah Annie Navarrete

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Happy Wednesday, friends! Another week, another recipe, and even more exciting, another feature! I have been thinking about past performances lately and REALLY missing my dance community. This year has definitely put a damper on that part of my life and as memories pop up on Facebook and Instagram of past shows, it’s really given me the bug.

Anyway, I’m really excited to introduce you to my sweet friend Sarah. I met her through the dance community here in Austin, but she is a powerhouse woman of many talents. One of her many talents is photography and let me tell you… she’s brilliant. She’s shot several shows I’ve been a part of and I have even done some individual work with her. She produces some beautiful, etherial images and just has a stunning aesthetic. Take a look at some of her work and if you’re looking for some new pieces for your wall, she has prints for sale! You may even recognize a familiar face in a few of these shots 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s recipe – Tropical Chicken Bowls

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken & veggies

1 TBSO oil – I used avocado
2 lbs chicken breast cut into 1 inch chunks
2 bell peppers any color – julienned
3 handfuls fresh spinach
S&P to taste

For the sauce

1 can organic coconut milk – full fat
1 cup salsa verde – mild/medium your choice
1 large mango – pitted, peeled, and rough chopped
1 jalapeno – seeded & deveined
3 TBSP coconut sugar
2 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder – more to taste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Dash of Sriracha to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender or food processor, add all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking. Set this aside to add to the chicken soon. 
In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Once the skillet is hot add your chicken and begin to brown. Before the chicken is cooked through, add the bell peppers and cook until they begin to soften. 
Stir in the sauce and add the spinach to the skillet and cook until the chicken is cooked through and spinach is wilted. Serve with rice.

Kitchen Adventures || Southwest Breakfast Bowl & Force of Nature

Hey Crew,

How’s everyone doing? Life’s been a bit wacko lately and I seem to be falling into an “every other week” cycle with my Kitchen Adventures posts, but honestly.. I’m ok with that right now. That’s what I can make happen and that’s a lot like meal prep. Sometimes you just keep it super simple and make what you can happen!

The recipe I’m sharing below is one of those…. Before I get into that, I want to introduce this week’s spotlight.

Robby Sansom and Force of Nature! If you keep up with me at all, I’ve actually mentioned FON in past posts, but Robby and FON are totally worth a full spotlight. Force of Nature has become my go to source for clean meats. Not only does Force of Nature provide incredible, clean products that taste amazing, what they do is actually good for the environment! I know, you’re thinking “but what about all the big plants, blah blah blah…” The farms where the meat is sourced are all operating on the foundations of regenerative agriculture.

With many of the “meatless meat” options shouting about the lower carbon effects their processes produce, they can’t be matched by the CARBON NEGATIVE process of regenerative agriculture. Yes, you read that right. The way that these animals are raised is good for the earth, the soil, the animals, and your bodies. I’m not the person to explain it all in depth to you, but Robby and his team are doing amazing things here.

For those of you who may not know, Robby is the husband of our own community member, Kristy Marsillo. He’s also just an excellent human being and someone we are honored to have in our lives. We were so excited to be involved in this venture and we were one of the first gyms to begin carrying the products. If you haven’t been in the front office for a while, go check it out. There’s a cooler with all the info and you can buy directly from us. Spend some time on the website too. There is a ton of excellent information about the process, products, etc and so many good articles on the blog.

 

Ok, on to the recipe. Like I mentioned, I needed a “make it happen” recipe for breakfast this week. I know, I’ve been on a kick with the breakfast recipes lately. I’ll do something else soon, but I figured this was a perfect one to share with the Force of Nature spotlight since I used one of their products!

That said, I bring you… Something that I promise tastes better than it looks in this picture haha!

Southwest Breakfast Bowls

INGREDIENTS

1 package FON Wild Boar (honestly, any of the products would work in this)
1 can organic black beans – drained and rinsed
1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn – thawed
2-3 cloves garlic – minced
1 small onion – sliced
2 bell peppers – any color – sliced
1 large bunch of kale – stems removed and torn into pieces
1 package taco seasoning if you’re being lazy – HERE is a good recipe for your own if you want to make it
8-10 eggs – scrambled (+milk if you prefer for fluffier eggs)
Salt & pepper
Oil for cooking – I used avocado oil
*Optional – 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To top –
Avocado and hot sauce of your choice – I like the yellowbird serrano for this!

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the meat and season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove and set aside. If there is not at least a TBSP of grease left from the meat, add a dash of oil. Add the onions and peppers and saute until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, taco seasoning, & kale and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the beans, corn, and tomatoes and cook until heated throughout and kale reaches desired consistency.

In a separate skillet, cook your scrambled eggs to desired consistency. If using, add cheese and season with S&P to taste. Add the eggs and meat back into the skillet with the veggies and mix well. To serve, top with fresh avocado and hot sauce!

August Athlete of the Month || Elijah Hamrick

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 Ivan Ayela! He has been a part of the crew for years and what we really appreciate about Ivan is how much time he spends on the extra stuff. He’s consistently in the gym 30 minutes to an hour prior to class just to do the work to improve his individual needs. It takes a lot of focus and drive to put in the time for the “not so sexy” stuff, but he has no problem doing it! Ivan is also a friendly face and one of the first to say hello and welcome any newbies that walk in the door! He makes everyone feel welcome! Ivan, we are proud to introduce you as the 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:
Elijah
 
Words to live by?
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right.” Henry Ford
 
What is your fitness background?
Marital arts and Military physical training
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
4 years
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel?
My first day I thought I could do 135 strict press in a WOD. I ended up hurting myself bad enough I had to stop training for the next 3 days.
 
How do you compare it to workouts today?
While I push hard I am much more tempered with how I approach a WOD to avoid serious injury.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
There is so much to love about CFA.
My favorite is the friends I made and the amazing coaching staff.
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
Improve my squat snatch to a solid 135lbs and not die during a WOD on a hot day.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Keep in mind everyone started off at different fitness levels.
Pick a small goal then once you reach that goal set another and another.
You will surprise yourself by how far you can go.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Indian food or thin crust pizza
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I typically use my fitness when I have to do a labor intensive blacksmithing project or construction related project.
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Carrying the flag during the first lap of MURPH and finishing it in 34:30 with the weighted vest.
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Changing that voice in my head that tells me I won’t, to I will
 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
5 rds
25ft overhead barbell lunge
20 burpees
400m run
20 Russian KBS
1 min rest
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
(LUCK) Laboring Under Correct Knowledge
No matter if I take 1 step or 10 as long as I am moving, I am progressing.
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Fiction writing, poetry, blacksmithing, traveling
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
For 2 years I performed poetry several times a month while I was stationed in the middle east.
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Always have a goal in some part of your life the satisfaction never comes from the destination
Its always from the journey it took to get there.

Kitchen Adventures || Zucchini Lasagna & Chris Bergen!

 

What’s up, guys!? Hope everyone is having an excellent week so far! Tim was out of town last weekend and I did a MASSIVE meal prep day on Sunday. I cooked for hours, but it was nice to get so much done and not have to think about what we’re eating for a while. The recipe I’m sharing today is a take on a zucchini lasagna that turned out pretty great, but first, I want to tell you about this week’s feature!

Chris Bergen, if you haven’t met him, is a member here at CFA and he’s just an excellent human being. He’s super kind, works his tail off, and just has a certain drive in him that makes YOU want to work harder too. Over the last year, Chris has been working on writing a book. It’s inspired by his amazing little pup, Superstar Wonder Dog, but tackles all kinds of life stuff. It’s out on apple books and kindle (Check it out HERE)

He’s actually doing a sneak peak in a live reading on FB tonight if you want to give him some love and hear a bit of the book! He’s going live on his FB page at 7pm (central). I’m super excited for Chris and can’t wait to check out the book.

“Being a superstar isn’t always about getting the most points in a game or throwing the longest pass. It’s not always about running the fastest or jumping the highest. It’s not about being the most popular. Sometimes, it’s about learning what is on the inside and being the superstar you’ve always wanted to be.”

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 TBSP coconut oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms sliced
1 medium onion – rough chopped
2 medium tomatoes – diced
3 cloves of garlic – minced
2 cups tomato sauce
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
*Optional – red pepper flakes – only if you want more heat than the hot Italian Sausage adds
1 large zucchini thinly sliced – I used a mandolin
1 bag fresh spinach
2 TBSP fresh basil – julienned
1.5 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 large egg
2-3 cupa Shredded Mozzerella Cheese – depends on how much you like
1/3 grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400. Combine Ricotta & egg in a bowl, season with S&P, Italian Seasoning, and red chili if using, and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the Italian sausage, crumbling into medium sized chunks as you cook. Once it’s close to cooked, add coconut oil if there isn’t enough fat from the sausage (about a tablespoon). Add the onions, tomatoes, & mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they soften. Then add the garlic, spinach, and basil and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Finally, add the tomato sauce and adjust seasoning to your liking.

In a glass baking dish (a deeper dish is better, like a loaf pan…) grease the dish and then layer, zucchini, meat & veggies sauce, ricotta mixture, cheese (both of them), over and over until you reach the top. I used 2 smaller dishes, but as long as you can get 2-3 layers you’re good. Finish with the mozzarella on top.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until warm throughout and the cheese on top starts to brown.

Kitchen Adventures || Ultimate Breakfast Muffins & Remington Pet Ranch!

Hi friends! So, I was not originally going to post this as a recipe because it’s not really a “recipe,” but more of a random thought I had at the grocery store and it turned out really well. After telling a few people about it, they’ve convinced me that I need to spread the good news 😉 Anyway, let’s get to this week’s spotlight and then you can scroll down and check out what you’re having for breakfast this week!

Just a little context, this year has been such a mess and small businesses, artists, musicians, etc… really took a hit. I figured that if I’m posting weekly anyway, maybe I could try and help out, even just a little bit, by sharing the things my friends are doing in the world! Maybe it will be a good resource for you if you’re looking for a particular service and maybe it will help them in a time when business is slower! Anyway, I also just like to celebrate my friends because I know some pretty amazing people putting good things out into the world….

That said, this week’s spotlight goes to Remington Pet Ranch! Linzi Newth has been a long time member and friend at the gym. We’ve watched her grow and do some really incredible things over the years. She also runs a non-profit called GingerCare that matches elderly people with pets that need homes. There’s a lot more to that, but you can check out more info on that HERE.

Today, I’m specifically talking about Remington. Linzi has been a veterinarian for years and she and her awesome fiance’, Meg (who is also killin’ it in the gym) run this amazing place. Remington is a 35 acre ranch where your pets very well might have a better vacay than you do while you’re gone! It’s beautiful out there! They offer pet boarding, as well as special medical boarding for pets with extra needs. They have doggy day care (and a hilarious insta account to watch your pups play all day), and are also offering pet grooming now.

Not only is this an amazing place to take your pets, but Linzi and Meg (and the whole team) are just truly amazing people. We feel very lucky to have them in our lives and our community so if you want to take your pets to someone you can trust, this is the place. Check them out & give their socials a like or follow!

 

Alright, on to the “recipe.” The reason I don’t take credit for this as a recipe is because all I did was combine two things, but apparently there is a little finessing to do so here we go!

First, you could really do this with any pancake mix, but I LOVE Kodiak Cakes mix. It is a little cleaner than your typical pancake mix, but has the added bonus of 14g protein per serving and you can boost that up by using milk and eggs (if you do dairy)! There are several flavors available, but my favorite is the cinnamon oat, which is what I used for this breakfast prep.

 

BACON PANCAKE MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

Bacon (About 1/2 pound for 12 muffins)

Kodiak cakes (+ 1 egg and milk if you want to boost the protein)

**If using muffin papers, make sure you get the parchment paper ones or at the very least, spray what you’re using with baking spray. My first batch, I used regular cupcake liners and they stuck SO BAD

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 and line or grease your muffin tin.

For the Kodiak Cakes, I doubled the normal amount for pancakes on the side of the box and it got me 12 muffins in a normal sized muffin pan + a little bit extra. So 2 cups mix, 1.5 cups milk, 1 egg… 

Chop the bacon into small pieces and pan fry until just under what you normally like it. Drain the grease and let it cool enough to touch. Once you can handle it, use about half of it and put in each cup, but save some to put on TOP of each muffin. Pour your pancake mix to about 3/4 full in each cup and top each muffin with bacon.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup!

I stored these in a gallon size ziploc and just pop a couple in the microwave for about :45 seconds when I’m ready to eat them.

 

 

Welcome || Coach Eric Jones!

We are very excited to introduce you to a good, long time friend of mine, Eric Jones! I met Eric back when I first started CrossFit in2011. Actually, Eric is the one who taught me how to do kettlebell swings (among other things I’m sure)! We later coached together for a while, but between his military career and my…. well…. life… we’ve come and gone in each others lives over the years. We have always stayed in touch and kept up online, but any chance we got to connect, we basically annoyed everyone else by talking about the fitness industry. 🤷‍♀️

 

Anyway, Eric is making his transition out of the Air Force through a really cool program called SkillBridge. Basically, as a part of his transition out of the military, he’ll be doing an internship/residency with us as he transitions back into civilian life. We are really excited to have him come hang out with us for a couple of months and to be a stepping stone for him with this program.

 

Some of you may have already met him at some point. He’s popped in a few times over the years, but in an effort to give you guys a chance to get to know him a bit before he gets here, I asked him to write a bio.

 

Eric Jones || Trainer

About Eric:  Eric is returning to fitness full time after a twelve year career in the Air Force. Prior to his time on active duty he was afull time personal trainer for the Sports and Rec department of The Ohio State University and fitness coach for CrossFit Columbus. That affiliate would be one of the first 100 in the world and would later be known by the more well known name Rogue Fitness. Eric would go on to compete for the Rogue team in the 2008 CrossFit Games in Aromas, California.  He then left Ohio to fly the C-130J Hercules aircraft in Arkansas and three deployments to Afghanistan. Since then, he’s been living in Texas teaching undergraduate and instructor candidates in the T-1A Jayhawk and T-6A/B Texan II trainers. All this time Eric has kept his fitness instructor proficiency by training with the nearest functional fitness gym to include acting as head coach for CrossFit Del Rio. Eric will be separating from active duty in November and will be training at CFA under a transitional internship program known as Skillbridge.  

BS in Exercise Science – The Ohio State University
CrossFit Level 2
USAW Level 1 Sports Performance 

 

Seminars:

CrossFit Barbell
CrossFit Endurance
American Kettlebell Club Coach

 

 

A message from Eric:  I played many sports through my youth and high school and somehow always knew I had a different approach to practice.  I was better at the training than the actual sport! That and an interest in training for “military” fitness without having to run led me to CrossFit in the early days of 2006. I’ve seen many fitness trends come and go in that time but I’ve also seen how the basics don’t change. They have yet to fail me even as I have gotten older. I am really looking forward to helping clients of all kinds meet their goals and exceed their expectations.     

Lift hard, eat well, and have fun!  

-EJ

 

 

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