Life after the Open…. What comes next?


CFA has been immersed in the Open for the last 4 weeks. We’ve lived and breathed it. Talked about it every day. Thought about it moment by moment… In just 5 days we will be wrapping up the 2018 Open. All scores will be posted. We’ll have done & re-done 5 weeks of some of the most intense workouts many of us have ever done. We’ll have hit PRs, but also major roadblocks.

Many of us will spend the next few weeks looking back and talking about the wild standards and how crazy some of the workouts were. Those of us that participated in CFA’s first Intramural Open will be talking about the challenges, the friends we made within our teams, and the AMAZING videos that Julia put out each week… But how many of you will look back on the moments of opportunity and see them as so? How many of you will leave those opportunities in the midst of the Open and wait for them to resurface next year?

Yes, there was that WOD you couldn’t do RX because you don’t have ring muscle ups… or the one that you know you could have done better if you could only clean a little more weight… Whatever it was, we all had a moment that exposed a weakness and I see WAY more value in that than smoking a workout and moving on with life. It’s those moments that help us determine where to go next. We all have that rabbit we’re after, but if you don’t focus on going after it you’re never going to catch it. I promise if you just sit and wait for that rabbit to run by again next year, you’re going to still be watching it’s fluffy little butt pass you by.

Although some magical things can happen during the Open, we can’t rely on that annual excitement to truly develop the skill. My challenge to you this year is to make a list of your opportunities from this year’s Open. What weaknesses did you find? What would you like to improve on? Once you’ve made that list, let’s talk about it. Let’s make a plan and get some drills going so that you can achieve some of those things and turn those weaknesses into strengths! You have coaches and sessions available for precisely that reason. We want to help you improve so *cough cough* let us help you!

The other thing I challenge you to do is to keep this fire going! I’ve seen this community do some amazing things over the last 5 weeks! We’ve had people jump in to help, no questions asks. I’ve seen you cheer each other on to the ends of the earth. I’ve seen people getting together outside of classes to help each other and just to hang out. On top of that I’ve seen a bigger drive and focus in many people’s training. More questions are being asked in class and you guys have been taking bigger steps to improve.

Don’t let this flame die out just because the Open is coming to an end. Let us see what kind of things you’re capable of all year long!

Whether you’re doing IMO or not, please join us this Friday for our final Friday Night Lights with 18.5. We’re going out with a bang with DJ Kay Cali, Airrosti, and bites from Henbit. BYOB and come cheer on your friends for 18.5. See you there!


Diaries of a Coach 019 || Me and 18.3

Let’s talk 18.3.

Let’s talk about all the double unders in the entire world put into one workout.

Let’s talk about the fact that only two people in the world finished it.

Let’s talk about all the great PRs that were set for many, after years of diligent practice and hard work.

But let’s also talk about how frustrating it was for a lot of us to see this workout announced movement by movement.

I’m with you. I was SAAAAAAAALTY post WOD announcement last week. I admittedly gave into the temptation to be frustrated that this workout would expose my weaknesses and my inabilities, that it would alienate me and thousands of other CrossFitters who just aren’t there yet from participating in the competitive spirit of the Open last week. Being unable to perform even one rep of a movement in a workout forces me to scale and/or modify, and consequently disregard the workout as a whole. Anyone else? I end up telling myself, “It doesn’t matter anyways.”

Wrong guys. That is all wrong. But it’s so hard not to think that way, right?!?

Here’s what I realized.

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic. I’m frustrated by my failures and shortcomings, discouraged by any set backs, and horribly competitive with myself and others. Sometimes, if I’m really honest, I flirt with giving up altogether. But when I step back, take a look at what is really important, I realize there is so much to be learned in the long haul. So much that it makes it better for us to wrestle with things, to struggle and come out on the other side.

This journey that we call CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. We have to work hard, show up, stay consistent, but also and maybe most importantly, give ourselves grace along the way. Let bumps and bruises motivate us.

The other thing I had to realize last week was that it’s not just about me. Turns out I’m being pretty selfish when I get caught up in my own ability or inability with no regard for what’s going on in the lives of those around me. Those that, with their own weaknesses to battle, show up and work hard right alongside me. Why would I not be grateful for those dang ring muscle ups being in that workout simply to witness and celebrate the accomplishments of my friends, and maybe one day, they will celebrate with me. These are my people, my fellow warriors. Man, I want to witness more moments like I did on Friday night and not be blinded by a bad attitude because I have more work to do.

So this week, let’s change perspective. Let’s find something in this workout, whatever it might be, to attack with everything we have but remind us that this is a journey. But let’s also find something to cheer on and celebrate with someone else. Let’s all take on THAT perspective this week. One that looks outside ourselves and into the lives of others. Let’s admire and encourage and challenge each other. After all, that’s what this whole community thing is about.

-Coach E

Diaries of a Coach 018 || Lessons from 18.2 and 18.2a

Alright CFA, another recap from CrossFit Open workout number two! Here’s a little glimpse into my experience last week, my shining redemptive moment and the lessons I’m taking away. Enjoy!

I completed the second Open workout, 18.2 and 18.2a, on Friday afternoon. Immediately following this workout, I was severely disappointed with my performance. I knew the conditioning piece, DB squats and bar facing burpees (which I lovingly refer to as barfing burpees), would be difficult with my training focus having been on primarily Olympic lifts for the last 12 weeks. I decided to pace this portion, knowing my endurance would be crucial. That decision resulted in a time above my sub 10 minute goal. I simply knew I could do better. On the lifting portion, a max clean, my time was consequently extremely limited. I hit my starting weight with ease and with only enough time left for one more attempt, I made a big jump, a 20 pound increase, and failed.

Post WOD I knew in my gut I needed a redo. Unfortunately, my only experience with redoing an Open workout was 17.1… and it did NOT go well. The last thing I wanted was to waste time and energy to not improve. Still, the score haunted me and when Monday rolled around, I knew I had to at least try.

I’m proud to report, I redeemed the shit out of that workout! Shaved 90 seconds off my time on 18.2 and made the lift I failed the first time, increasing my weight by 20 pounds from my first score, on 18.2a. But more than overall improved numbers, when all was said and done, there was much to learn and take away from my experience.

1) Rest up.

Ya girl was not well rested before my first attempt. The day before, I had done Olympic lifting programming that included high rep sets of back squats, specifically aimed at added conditioning. Muscle fatigue set in quick with such high volume the day before. All I can say is, rest up y’all. These workouts are intended to test our skill, our capacity, our efficiency… so we have to bring everything we have to the table if we want to truly know where we are. I can promise you this, Thursday I will be “moving” but intentionally resting for whatever 18.3 has in store.

2) It’s go time.

Gosh if you’re like me you’re usually adamant about setting a smart and efficient pace in any given workout. Finding that pace helps me maintain good technique and not “empty the tank”, so to speak, too quickly. However, we train for “competition”. That may not mean the CrossFit Games or even an official CrossFit competition, it may just mean moments where we are testing our performance, attempting to set a new PR, or a friendly competition with another athlete’s score on the board that day. For many of us, the Open can and should be that. In a workout like this, pacing was the enemy. My doubt in my capacity kept me from pushing too hard and I ended up not pushing enough. Know the overall goal, in this case, competition, and perform. Now is the time.

3) Practice well.

Shame on me for always opting out of the jump over the bar. I’m a bar stepper, I admit it. Having not practiced a skill I am completely capable of definitely set me back on this. (I told Coach Aaron that morning I was seriously contemplating scaling just to step over the bar. Don’t worry, he was quick to deny me the luxury.) Don’t let that happen to you. Use regular training days to intentionally practice good movement, both in terms of technique and capacity. If I don’t push myself with these when I train, they will never get easier or more efficient, and are sure to keep me underperforming.

4) Do it for you.

With the stigma attached to Open redos for me, I was extremely hesitant to reattempt this workout. I would have been proud to submit my first score had I known it was the best I could do. But knowing it wasn’t my best, I redid this workout for myself, to prove to myself I had more in me. My biggest encouragement would be to simply make yourself proud. Redeem it if you need to, even if its not judged or scored or submitted. No matter the score, leave these workouts with your head up, knowing you gave it all you had!

March Athlete of the Month – Brenda Maldonado!

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 March Athlete of the Month is Brenda Maldonado! Brenda joined us a year ago this month and became part of the family right away! She’s one of the #BadassBabes of the 4:30 pm class and has recently started her journey in the Olympic Weightlifting classes. Not only is Brenda an awesome athlete, but her kindness and willingness to jump in and help anyone in this community is another one of the many reasons we love her! She exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown really amazing progress in her time here. Brenda, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our March Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. 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: 

Words to live by?
Be patient

What is your fitness background?
I was a dancer when I was a teenager. Then, I did a little bit of everything like pilates, yoga, muay thai, softball, etc. but nothing really serious until I found CrossFit.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
4 years (I should be better, I know)

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
A friend took me to the class against my will. The WOD was box jumps, wall ball shots, and running. I could not do box jumps and the wall ball shots I had to do one by one. At the end of the class, I really like it and started to train the next day.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The vibe of the 4:30pm class

Current Training Goals/PRs?
My goals are to better my weightlifting technique and my gymnastic skills.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Do not be afraid of starting your journey with CrossFit. You will not be the best the first day, but if you leave the frustration outside, you can achieve great things.

What is your cheat meal go?
Hopdoddy’s hamburger with green chile queso, french fries, Hershey’s chocolate bars and of course TACOS!!

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I like to try new outdoor activities. Anything that gives me a little adrenaline rush.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Everyday, because always in my mind I think about quitting, but when I finish it, I feel great and proud of myself. Especially when we have to run.

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

Say what…?
box jump overs
push jerk

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love to dance, outdoor activities, and cooking.
Being surrounded by my old friends always brings me lots of joy

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have a chemical engineering degree and I worked for 7 years in the oil field.
This month will be my one year mark living in the US woohoo!! and i’m totally in love with Austin Tx.

Longhorns or Aggies?
mmm?? Texas Longhorns??

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I am so much funnier in Spanish 🙂

Diaries of a Coach 018 || Lessons from 18.1

After barely enduring last year’s first open workout, last week had my mind racing with the anticipation of 18.1. Would it make 17.1 look easy? Would they ease us in gently? What movements, what modalities, what weight selections are we talking? All the questions and no answers until Thursday at 7pm.


Unfortunately, when the workout was released last Thursday evening, life was happening and there was way too much on my mind to give it a second thought, so I didn’t. Life outside of CrossFit… what?!?!


But once I had time to process, I was actually pretty excited. Rowing, I’m all over it. Dumbbell, yes please. But 20 minutes? No freakin’ thanks.

My fears were immediately dialed in to the significant (self-perceived) regression in my conditioning over the last ten weeks. Unfortunately, when it comes to training, there are often seasons where we focus on technique, one or a few specific movements, or on various weaknesses, to the neglect of others. For me, the past few months have been consistent work and dedication to my Olympic lifts (plug for Dylan and his Olympic lifting class… that’s where it’s at y’all!) and I was simply afraid I wouldn’t be able to hack it.


While I am proud to say I recently hit a PR on my snatch, the truth of the matter is that I’m used to sets of 1-3 reps, with more than adequate rest before the next. Gains in strength and technique have surely been to the detriment of my cardiovascular endurance, or so I thought.


However, and here’s the lesson, a lesson that actually took me by surprise… the loss was well worth the gain. Maybe it was partly mental stamina, but whatever the explanation, I was able to keep a fairly consistent and moderately fast pace throughout. For 20 minutes. Turns out that my body knew it was capable of that duration of conditioning, so when the time came, it performed within that capability. Regardless of the time that had passed.


Part of me has always feared narrowing my focus in training, thinking I would surely sacrifice my strengths in order to work on weaknesses. Which I just haven’t been willing to do. I’m sure to some degree, there is some truth to that. However, the strength and technique gains I have seen have been well worth the time, the effort and any slight dip in my conditioning and a few other skills and movements. I’m willing to account for that loss in order to now take huge steps forward with Olympic lifts.


While the Open is a great time to push yourself and test your fitness, it is also the perfect time to explore your opportunities for growth. Don’t get discouraged, get encouraged to develop those areas!

So with that, let me encourage you as we continue on in these Open workouts. Admit the weaknesses and then do what needs to be done to commit to working on those post-Open.


Coach E

Diaries of a Coach 017 || Don’t Be A Scoundrel

Alright guys. The Open is upon us. Sometime tomorrow we will know the first of five 2018 Open Workouts. With all the hype that has led us into this season, it’s no wonder nerves are at an all time high.


First of all, that’s good. A good dose of healthy humility never hurt anyone. Let’s be confident of where we are and how far we’ve come, but humble as we admit our weaknesses and the abundant areas of opportunity to improve. The Open will be a great measurement of current strength and skill in order to dial in our practice and training over the next year.


Secondly, don’t let these nerves get the best of you. Don’t let the desire to do well, to excel above others or even yourself, lead you into areas of dishonesty. Don’t be shady y’all.


When it comes to the rigid judging system put in place for these Open Workouts, there will be no where to hide when it comes to rep standards and completion. But more than that, it’s important that we cultivate integrity, whether we are in Open season or not. Why? While it’s tempting to get caught up in the hype of competition, scores, winners, losers… the goal should always be diligence in training. When we are diligent in practice, our performance improves. When we do things like count insufficient reps, or shave reps completely (think, doing 10 reps instead of the prescribed 12), we do nothing but hurt ourselves and our progress toward better, stronger, more efficient movement.


Now, hopefully you guys have heard this before from your coaching staff. In fact, Coach Gen touched on this last year in a post on Integrity In Training, just before the Open. If you missed that, click here to read more.


What’s important here is not your score, it’s practicing proper movement in order to progress over the long haul. If not, what’s the point? Let’s keep ourselves and those around us from self-sabotaging progress tomorrow for the sake of a score today.


I’ll leave you with this. In order to make my point, I went looking for a good definition of integrity. Here’s my favorite, “Integrity is a personal quality of fairness that we all aspire to — unless you’re a dishonest, immoral scoundrel, of course.”


I’ll just leave that right there.



Diaries of a Coach 016 || My First Open

This was my first Open Workout:

10 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
20 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
30 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
40 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
50 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs.

20 minute time cap.

Some of you may remember it from last year. Open WOD 17.1. As much as I’d like to say I’m a seasoned vet, I’m actually just coming up on my one year anniversary with this crazy thing we call The Open. Last year was my first year to participate, at only about six months in to CrossFit at the time.

Leading up to the first workout, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And with this being my first experience with the Open, a workout like this quickly became the expectation moving forward. As soon as I saw it, I questioned, “Wait, will they all be this bad? What have I gotten myself in to?” Let’s just say fear did not delay.

Let’s be honest, it was awful. (Can I get an amen from anyone that did it?!) Especially when conditioning isn’t your strong suit. On top of a terribly hard workout, my coach at the time persuaded (borderline pressured) me into the RX-ing my first ever Open workout.

I felt nothing but nerves leading up to that 10 second countdown. From buzzer to buzzer, beginning to end, the actual workout is all a big blur. The only thing I remember is slamming my opposite shin with the dumbbell at one point and looking at the clock as I finished, seeing that I had exceeded the time cap by 41 seconds.

And you know what’s funny? As if once was not enough, I tried this workout again THE NEXT DAY (word to the wise… not smart). Instead of doing better the second time, I actually did worse. Still not beating the time cap and here’s a fun fact, I peed a little bit! #CrossFitriteofpassage

Moral of the story: My first Open workout was not pretty. Yours doesn’t have to be either. But I can honestly say, I am so glad I did it. It pushed me mentally and physically, way past what I thought I was capable of. It humbled me, reminding me that I have work ahead of me to do. And it excited me. It’s exciting to test your limits and see yourself get better, faster and stronger over time. Maybe one day I’ll tackle that workout again and hopefully see measurable progress.

So if you’re considering The Open this year, do it. You won’t regret it!


Nervous? Here’s a few things to ease your mind.

The workouts are 100% scalable, just like you’d see in a regular workout on any given day.

Full permission to be where you are when it comes to skill and strength. It’s all about having fun and challenging yourself, pushing a little harder than you normally would.

This year, the Open will be a little different at CFA! We are playing in teams. You’ll have friends cheering you on the whole way. Think fun and encouraging atmosphere with your CFA fam! Points are more participation based than performance based so if you don’t beat the time cap, but you did your best and well…. you did it at all, you’re not only contributing to your own strength and challenging your limits, but you’re contributing to gaining the lead with your team! Registration for the Intramural Open with your CFA family closes on Friday {2/16}! Sign up on the sheet under the whiteboard and let’s get this party started!

Follow the FB event here!