April Athlete of the Month || Heather Zdancewicz!!

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 April Athlete of the Month is Heather Zdancewicz! Heather joined CFA in August of 2021, beginning with Fundamentals and then found her spot with the 6:30/7:30 am sunrise crew. Although she may seem quiet (or stealthy as we see it 😎) we know she’s always watching and listening and soaking up every bit of good stuff the coaches have to offer. She puts in the work and is very coachable. She’s one of the many who’ve made CFA a family affair by getting her son onboard as well! We’ve loved being part of the journey with her so far and celebrating the wins along the way! Heather, we are honored to have you as our March 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: Heather Z

 

Words to live by? Be kind to everyone.

 

What is your fitness background? I swam on the Middle school swim team. Mostly I’ve been an active adult, but not one to exercise.  I started running about 10 years ago, which I continued through the first year of the pandemic.  

 

How long have you been CrossFitting? During the summer of 2021, I faced the fact that I needed to be accountable to someone(s) to really stay fit. I had noticed cross fit gyms around town, so just looked online to find a close gym.  So how long – coming up on two years.

 

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today? I did the essentials classes with Heidi.  I felt exhausted, even just learning a few skills.  But it was always a good exhaustion. 

 

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin? No two days are the same – or at least the rotation of workouts is so far apart, every day seems different.  That is a big difference from running or swimming.  The first time I walked in and saw the ropes down, I was terrified.  But now I get excited when there is a day of climbing. 

 

Current Training Goals/PRs? I just recently hit a goal – finally I was able to complete a proper push up.  Doesn’t sound very impressive, but at 58, it feels great.  I can feel other PR’s are close.  I wonder how long it will take to get a pull-up.  

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit? Don’t get discouraged by plateaus.  Sometimes they seem to last forever.  But if you keep working it, that skill will finally fall into place. Also, be diligent about foam rolling.  It really does make a huge difference in how you feel tomorrow.

 

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy? I primarily work out in the morning.  I feel more energized in the morning, and there is a less of a chance of something else getting in the way of a workout.

 

What is your cheat meal go-to? Cereal or a fruit smoothie.  I really like to cook, and normally cook from scratch.  So when I am just not in the mood, a bowl of Cheerios will do – or possibly a fruit smoothie.  I always have some frozen bags of fruit that I can pull out and pulverize in a hurry.  And always chocolate. The darker the better.

 

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym? I sleep better. I have better posture, am more flexible, and generally feel good.

 

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey? Comparing myself to people half my age.  I started cross fit late in life and need to keep that in perspective.  I can find myself trying to “keep up” with others around me and have to mentally let go and just worry about keeping up with me. What is fantastic about CrossFit Austin, is all the encouragement and friendliness of all those around. 

 

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout. The first time I maxed out on deadlifts.  Coach Heidi kept encouraging me to add more weight, exceeding what I thought I would be able to achieve.  When I exceeded 3 digits, I was exhilarated. 

 

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be? 800 M run buy-in, then 4 rounds of 21 Russian kettlebell swing, 15 front rack lunges, 9 sit-ups.

 

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Since moving to Austin in 2017, I’ve been taking sign language classes.  I hate to work in the yard, and much prefer to work on building shelving in the garage or painting the house. 

 

Tell us something we don’t know about you…I’ve never seen a Rocky movie.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…Invest in your 401(K), drink good scotch, send a letter to friend.  

 

March Athlete of the Month || Zach Ritter!

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 Zach Ritter! Zach came to CFA in October of last year and fell right into place with the community! Not only is he an excellent athlete, but he’s just a great human being. We got to know Zach a little better as he stepped up and captained one of our Intramural Open teams this year and we loved seeing him jump in and guide his team so well! We’ve loved being part of the journey with him so far and celebrating the wins along the way! Zach, we are honored to have you as our March 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:

Zach Ritter

Words to live by?

Don’t let your meat loaf!

What is your fitness background?

I played lacrosse in high school and college.  Tried a lot of different types of fitness after that, but never found anything that stuck until finding CrossFit.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

8 years with a couple years off in there.

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

I did a drop-in with a friend and I don’t really remember the workout but I do remember throwing up in the bathroom of the gym.  I was hooked!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

The people.  I really tried to avoid this cliché answer but it’s impossible not to.  I met more great people in the first month here than I did in a year and a half at my last gym.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Consistency.  Not only in attending classes but with mobility, documenting, nutrition, etc.

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

It may not be for everyone, but it is for anyone.

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

Control what you can and find the time.

What is your cheat meal go-to?

Cheesesteaks (whiz, no onions) and pierogis

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

I think everyone does whether they know it or not!  I don’t really play any sports or anything anymore though.

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

Getting older and realizing that’s not a bad thing!

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

Nothing specific but probably times when I’ve scaled something to make myself feel better two days later.

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

21-15-9 – HSPUs and 135# power cleans

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

Knowing that I’ll feel better on the drive home than I do on the drive there.

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

Star Wars, drums, lacrosse, Phish and my dog and cat (Rza and Clegg)

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I visited 48 states and 6 Canadian provinces by the age of 12 in a minivan with my family on summer vacations.

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

Hold the wheel, read the sign

Keep the tires off the line

Just relax, you’re doing fine

February Athlete of the Month || Jen Ostrich!!

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 February Athlete of the Month is Jen Ostrich! Jen came to CFA and began fundamentals in late 2020 and is part of our early morning crew! Jen has grown so much in her time here, not only in her training, but her confidence has exploded as well and it’s been wonderful to see! She’s been such a pleasure to have in class and we appreciate her attention to detail and conscious training. We’ve loved being part of the journey with her and celebrating the wins along the way! Jen, we are honored to have you as our February 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:
Jennifer Ostrich – I go by Jen (and my initials are JLO so sometimes called Jenny From the Block!).

Words to live by?
In Crossfit: Scale it, baby, ha!
In life: live with gratitude and that’s a life worth living.

What is your fitness background?
Honestly, not too much. I played field hockey and lacrosse through high school – my coach always told me to go
to the gym as my arms needed strength, but I was too focused on boys! Since then, I’ve had spurts where I
would run regularly 2-4 miles, nothing crazy and I’ve always hiked with Koko – we used to do 8 miles in the
Santa Monica mountains.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I started fundamentals Oct 2020, group class January 2021.


Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts
today?
Oh man I was a bit overwhelmed – trying to get it “right”, trying to feel stronger, and manage getting out of my
head and more into my body! Today, less overwhelmed for sure, working on slowly but surely feeling stronger
and thanks to the coaching and some PT I’m learning to connect my head to my body and really focus on
maximizing what the movement is intended to do.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Everyone says the community and I 100% agree; I’ve built some special friendships. But, I gotta say for me it’s
really the coaching staff – there is zero chance I would have joined if Gen wasn’t so great in helping me
through Fundamentals. And since then Heidi and Hannan have been absolutely incredible helping me SO very
much to feel comfortable in class, explain things further for my head to process, adjust and scale if needed (my
norm), coach me to what my physical therapist suggests, and the list goes on. I’m so beyond appreciative for
the coaching, the patience and the customization for me and my (aging) body.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
SO MANY! I’ve been focused on getting an unassisted pull up – feels like it will never come but I’m relentless
about this one. Also, a good strong push up. Beyond that, getting comfortable/stronger being upside down /
against the wall, and maybe throw in a rope climb too – ha, that might be 2024!


What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Slow and steady especially if it’s all new to you. I often say to my own clients – we CAN have it all but it’s not
always at the same time. That’s how I feel CrossFit can be – we can and will improve, grow, get stronger in all
areas, it just takes time and doesn’t all come at once.

How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
I struggle with this a bit, but I got myself travel bands to keep up with my pull up practice in hotel gyms, and I
have some fall back foundational PT moves and glute / core strengthening stuff that can be done anywhere so
when I’m not at a gym I try to remember I can always do that.

What is your cheat meal go-to?
I’m not sure I restrict myself enough to call it a cheat – HA (oops!). But something I limit my indulgence in that I
absolutely love is ice cream and french fries.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
In general it just feels better to feel stronger and to be able to do more, carry heavy things, etc on my own. My
real driver though is my dog Koko, who is my child and he’s 11.5 now. Someday I may need to lift him and my
goal is to be strong enough on that day

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
I often feel I get one step ahead and then fall two steps back with something in my body getting tweaked. 2021
I re-hurt my back and that took a long time to heal. This year I discovered my hamstrings were really irritated
and my pelvic floor tight because I wasn’t using my glutes, so I’ve been focused on building strength there. So
once again it’s learning to have grace with myself and my body and embracing patience knowing it takes time
to build strengths in all the areas.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I take each WOD pretty slow and steady and one time we had the choice to run or row and I chose to run. I got
back and most of the 5:30 class was still on the rower – I remember thinking – YES, there is at least one thing I
can do at a competitive pace – HA! Beyond that for me I think it’s the overall commitment despite being
knocked down here and there. I can have a fixed mindset about things like this, and this entire experience has
truly helped to stretch me more toward a growth mindset, and that I’m real proud of.


If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Fly Like an Eagle
20 minute AMRAP
8 kipping pull ups
20 wall balls
400M run

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
I’ve come to learn that when too many days pass without a good workout my body feels worse than it does
when I come home from the gym or wake up sore! I also always sleep better on the workout days. So both of
these things along with my bad ass crew at 5:30am keep me motivated.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I dabbled in standup comedy before Covid and am itching to get back to doing open mics to try out some
content. Knowing there is such support in this community that is motivating me, so putting that out there now. I
just released a book on how to create more energizing and effective feedback in the workplace, Feedback
Reimagined, so that’s exciting. And I love football and am a raved Phila Eagles fan so yay for Super Bowl LVII!

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
Not sure this is news but perhaps it is for some: I’m single and looking to mingle!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
With the Super Bowl in a few days, I gotta close with: GO BIRDS!!!
(and hope by the time this comes out I can sing once again WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS)

The Fittest Experience, Experience || Coach Bach Vu

 

Rewind back to September 24, 2022, The Fittest Experience Throwdown arrived. This was a competition that was held throughout Texas in major cities, hosted by various boxes. Any team could have registered, but only the top sixteen teams throughout would qualify for The Fittest Experience.

Three young city boys from CFA approach CrossFit Skyline in the heart of downtown Houston in the early hours of the morning. Caffeine in hand, we walked in not really knowing what to expect. We understood each other’s fitness levels but only relative to the community we were a part of. With little competition experience amongst the three of us, we eagerly and anxiously anticipated the three WODs that would soon put our fitness to the test. 

After check-in, we walked into the briefing area with so much free stuff we had thought we already won. Little did we know, the actual winning was yet to come. With so much excitement in the air, we observed every team get into the zone and their mental focus shift. The head coach at the event debriefed all of the athletes on each workout, clarified gray areas, and answered any questions. We circled back together and reviewed our planned strategy. 

Prior to this day, Griffin, Josiah, and I tested all three workouts – identifying strengths, weaknesses, efficient transitions, where to hit the jets and when to settle into our pace. This would prove to be effective immediately. Workout one was a descending chipper ladder that included movements that were in our strengths – synchro deadlifts, synchro lateral burpees over bar, and toes to bar. Boom. One event in and we claimed the number one spot. This brought on the confidence we needed to know that we can hang with these boys and we are capable of fighting for a podium spot. 

Sticking to our strategy, we understood event two was where we needed to land at least in the middle of the pack or higher because this event tested our weakness – strength. Each athlete was to find a 3RM for one movement. Griffin tackled the 3RM shoulder to overhead, Josiah took on the 3RM front squat, and I hung on for dear life looking for my 3RM hang clean. Event two completed and we were right where we wanted to be, 4th place but dropped our overall to 3rd. Not sweating it, we regrouped, reenergized, and prepared for our last and final event. 

During event three, we quickly learned that this was going to be a fight to the finish – who’s fitness will supersede the other. Every team needed a good finish on this workout to even consider qualifying. Event three was a two part workout, part A was max cals on a rower and part B was a chipper that included a descending ladder of wall balls and pull-ups. We stuck to our strategy and breezed by the chipper… but that was not going to keep us afloat alone. Upon completion, we spent the remainder of the time cap gutting out as many calories as we could on the rower. Looking around at the other lanes, guys were exhausting every bit of energy they had left trying to crank out one more row – but we were too. The feeling of fatigue began to settle in but Josiah and Griffin managed to push themselves past exhaustion. Griffin closed us out as time expired and the look of resilience (and the possibility of redlining) became visible as he cranked out as much power as he could muster up in each pull. Clock beeped. We all fell to the ground in such depletion trying to bring our HR back down. 

We finished event three 1st in part A but fell lower on part B. Nevertheless, we did enough to finish and podium in 2nd place. From coming in that morning with not knowing what was ahead of us to finishing 2nd out of 10 teams, that spoke volumes to us and filled us with so much confidence and excitement to what was ahead. We later learned that day that we were one of the 16 teams to qualify for The Fittest Experience. Let’s go. 

Fast forward now to January 27, 2023, The Fittest Experience was among us. After four months of training, dealing with life, and navigating through weekend habits, CFA City Bois arrived at the Williamson County Expo center late morning, questioning why we need to be here so early if our event wasn’t for another 4-5 hours.. Anywho, we checked in, established our home base in the athlete village and (im)patiently waited for our names to be called. The venue was filled with athletes from all over Texas in all shapes and sizes with one goal in mind – win. This was the first big sanctioned competition for any of us so we went in with an open mind but kept our confidence high. 

Event one, front squat ladder. Immediately, we started off the weekend with an event that tested one of our weaknesses – strength. Which is ironic because we did better than our trial runs. Josiah and I PR’d our 2 rep front squat at 260lbs, and Griffin was able to complete the ladder with ease and tough out 23 deadlifts at 275lbs. Doing better than our expectations, we left day 1 right where we wanted to be, in the middle of our division, and looked forward to the events the next day.

Saturday arrived and our first challenge of the day was dealing with a torque tank and a 100 lbs sandbag. During our practice runs at home, we substituted the tank with a plate loaded sled… quickly into event two we realized that those two pieces of equipment are not cut from the same cloth. 3…2…1…go I started us off with the sandbag ground to shoulder and tank push. Even though my distance to travel with the tank was only 40m, I felt as if my legs lost all connection to my mind. I wobbled off as I tagged in Griffin and he then switched out for Josiah. Highlight of this event was Josiah’s ability to push that notorious tank for 120m and give us a 9th place finish. We all came to the conclusion that we have never experienced such fatigue and lactic acid build-up in our legs – ever. We walked it off, replenished our energy and awaited for the second event that day. 

Going into the last event of the day beat up and worn, we were sitting in 12th place. 12 out of 22? Not bad. We knew though, that this was the event where we made up some ground and gave us a competitive edge… or so we thought. Event three and four were back to back. We started off with a chipper that included pull-ups and hang power cleans – this was our money maker right here. Griffin acted as the main barbell guy, Josiah was the middle man that was efficient in both, and I was the pull-up specialist. We started off on a great start. When I hopped on the pull-up bar for the first set, each pull-up felt like it was the easiest thing I’ve ever done – but at a cost. For a person that never wears grips and never rips… I happened to rip not in one spot but 5 spots in both hands and blood was flowing everywhere. With the adrenaline running through me, I pushed through and we finished event three in decent position.

While everyone was resting in the 4-minute transition period, I spent that rushing over to the medical tent to get my rips looked at and taken care of. A quick wash, pair of scissors and athletic tape seemed to do the job just right. Next up was another object that we had zero experience with. Have you ever seen that episode of Spongebob where he has to wrestle that Alaskan bull worm? Well the CFA City Bois had to wrestle a different variation of that worm. It was a three man worm that demanded 15 thrusters and a 5 meter lunge, four times. We were gassed. This worm really tested us and how far we could push ourselves. We dug deep and finished. Not only was the workout finished, but we were pretty finished ourselves. I don’t know if I have felt that kind of exhaustion before. It was really eye opening. Day two came to an end and we all were ready to head home and get as much rest as we could before Sunday came around. 

Sunday. A 2.8 mile trail run was the last thing we needed to complete to close out the weekend. We went into Sunday in 14th place and needed to jump 6 spots to qualify for the finals. Completely sore from the days prior, we decided to give it what we can and try to be competitive. From the start, Josiah took off doing what he does best – run. Griffin and I stayed in the middle of the pack with the intention of hitting the jets towards the end of the run. We were off to a fantastic start with the idea of potentially qualifying lingering in our heads, but was cut short. To preface, it had been raining all day before and it was cold out. This made the trail muddy, slick, and with zero traction. Griffin just happened to step in a divet that caused him to roll his ankle. Frustrated with the environmental circumstances I carried on and finished with Josiah. 

Though we did not get the finish we wanted, we were sort of relieved that there was no more suffering ahead of us. We gave this competition what we could and it chewed us up and spit us back out… We were hurting! But in the best way possible. TFX was a great learning experience that definitely humbled us and brought into perspective that in fitness – there’s levels to it! I applaud and respect any individual that can push their bodies to these limits and continue on to the next event. Overall, there is no other group that I would have wanted to suffer and experience all of this with. Through the highs of finishing second at the throwdowns and to the lows of feeling utter defeat from a freakin’ worm, I would go through it all again with those two. It is back to the drawing board for us and see where we can take our fitness level to next year! 

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.