Murph Day 2023

 

REGISTER HERE

While many other gyms have adopted Memorial Day for their Murph Day events, however we have always held ours closer to the day he gave his life (June 28, 2005). We are continuing that tradition this year and we are proud to say that this is our 14TH YEAR hosting our Murph Day event!

CrossFit Austin will be hosting Murph Day Saturday (07/01/2023) honoring the memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy and all fallen veterans. Lieutenant Murphy was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he named it “Body Armor”. We will honor a focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

“Murph”

For time: 1 mile run 100 pull ups 200 push ups 300 squats 1 mile run

*Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed.**Teams of 2, 3, or 4 (max 4 per team) are welcome. ***All movements can be scaled. ****Be sure to wear your twenty pound vest or body armor if you have it.

 

EVENT SPECIFICS:

REGISTRATION DETAILS

Event Registration + Shirt – Deadline – June 11th

  • $40 for participating athletes
  • Athlete entry fee includes registration & t-shirt costs and donations

Event Registration without Shirt

  • $25 for participating athletes
  • Athlete entry fee includes registration costs and donations

***Shirt ONLY (non-participant) – Deadline – June 11th

  • $25 for shirt only
  • All proceeds from t-shirt sales will be donated

SHIRTS – The image above is the concept image and may have some slight changes to the final product.

Bella Canvas Unisex Tee

Bella Canvas Women’s Racerback

Bella Canvas Unisex Tank

 

EVENT DETAILS

  • This event is open to all – members and non-members and may be completed individually or in teams of 2, 3, or 4.
  • Athletes must arrive at 30 minutes prior to their heat to warm-up, sign-in, and pick up shirts
  • Heat times start at 8:00 am, 9:15 am, and 10:30 am – If the heat is visible as a choice when you purchase, you will get your preference. When the heat is full, the option will not be visible during checkout.
  • Spectators are welcome – dogs are not allowed at this location
  • Donations are welcome and can be made through eventbrite, Navy SEAL FoundationThe Amplify Center , or onsite the day of the event.

Donations and proceeds will go to benefit the charity of your choice. As always, you may donate to The Navy Seal Foundation. In addition, we are including a local foundation called The Amplify Center. The Amplify Center connects with young adults through their desired and available preference — either in person, over the phone or virtually via video chat. Its services are focused on mild to moderate mental health challenges. For individuals with needs beyond the center’s scope, the center works with its community partners to assist with additional and personalized support. You can read more about what they do HERE.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

May Athlete of the Month || Jack Smith!!

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 May Athlete of the Month is Jack Smith! Jack joined CFA in June of 2022, beginning with Fundamentals and then joined right in with the dark and early 5:30 am folks! Jack is consistent, disciplined, and well motivated which is a good thing because he has 3 kiddos and another on the way to keep up with! Not only is Jack a pleasure to have in class, but he’s just a heck of a nice guy to chat with. We have really enjoyed getting to know him and we’re excited to celebrate his 1 year anniversary with CFA soon! We’ve loved being part of the journey with him so far and celebrating the wins along the way! Jack, we are honored to have you as our May 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:

Jack Smith

 

Words to live by?

Let go of the things you cannot control, focus on the things you can.

 

What is your fitness background?

I’ve never really experienced a consistent or structured fitness program. That being said, I’ve enjoyed a range of physical activities over the years, from wrestling and cross-country in middle school to skateboarding and hiking as I got older. Today I’m consistently hitting a workout 5-6 days a week.

 

How long have you been CrossFitting?

10 Months

 

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

For me, it was getting my hands on that initial list of 50+ moves and realizing I knew no more than five. Today I’m a bit more in tune with how to approach each workout and the moves are a lot less intimidating.

 

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

Consistently challenging programming scaled to all with ample opportunity to be as involved as one would like in the CFA community. I’d have remorse if I didn’t mention the amazing folks that show up to the 5:30am class whom whether they know it or not, have helped me in one way or another.

 

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Complete a Murph workout in under 50 minutes. September 2022 was my first attempt… A grueling 1 hour and 40 minutes using a purple band for pull-ups. By March I achieved my first 44 minute Murph using a weighted vest for the run. My biggest concern is doing this work-out in the July heat and will be focusing my training on that over the next three months.

 

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

Register early and frequently, show up sunshine or rain and have a plan for how to approach the workout. For example, review the work-out ahead of time. If there are any moves you don’t recognize, look those up and study the movement. During metcons meet yourself and get to know that “voice” that attempts to disrupt your best self. Once you know that voice, when it hits, have a plan. My plan is usually to call it out in my mind and make an intentional choice on how to proceed.

 

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

Keep showing up. Even if I’m not there to give my best, I’m there. That process has propelled me to where I’m at today.

 

What is your cheat meal go-to?

Cheeseburger, french fries and a couple of cold beers. A double IPA counts as a meal itself right?

 

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

This gets into my why for even walking into CrossFit. I’m a father of three amazing kiddos age 4, 6 and 8 with one on the way. A lot of joy comes from being able to play just as hard as they do. Some of the activities I enjoy with my kids include rough housing, jumping on the trampoline, any kind of water fun, chasing, and fitness challenges like hanging (kids are really good at this). Other than that… life is demanding, and CrossFit makes saying yes to it all so easy.

 

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

It has been a constant flow of challenges. I’m a cybersecurity professional and spend hours at a desk. Transitioning from an inactive lifestyle to active one was a journey. It took about three months to rev up to about 5-6 days of weekly training (Shoutout to Hannan for helping me realize that potential). Then there was pain. Jared was instrumental in that first hop past wrist mobility. Then it was getting past feeling like I had tendonitis in my knees for about four or five months. Beyond all that, Heidi has been instrumental in helping me navigate all things CrossFit, mobility, and advice on how to map out my fitness journey. Last challenge is navigating an endless array of weightlifting exercises that honestly without the help from Dylan, Bach, Heidi and Hannan I’d be completely lost.

 

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

During foundations my first workout was Baseline. I managed to finish 10 push-ups by the 7min mark. Six months later I completed the full Baseline in 6 min 48 seconds. Had it not been for Heidi showing me my original attempt from day one, I would have walked away only happy with the workout. Instead I was reminded of the returns that consistently showing up provide. At this point I was hooked.

 

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

Hellfire (for time)

  • 50 box jump overs (24/20 inches)
  • 40 dumbbell snatches (50/*35/20 pounds)
  • 30 burpees
  • 20 thrusters (135/*95/35 pounds)
  • 10 pull-ups

 

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

I’m very interested in computers, infrastructure, hacking and security and spend a lot of time tinkering in a home lab built to further those skills. I enjoy camping and hiking with the fam. I’m very invested in creating a glamping experience for the family so they are more apt to want to go with me. Occasionally I still love to hop on my skateboard but more-so these days that translates to cruising around my hood on a 28-mph Meepo Mini 2 electronic board that I just love to hit top speeds on. I also have a knack for personal finance and budgeting and love helping people overcome that.

 

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I’m a certified penetration tester

 

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

Do or do not. There is no try.

HYROX || Coming soon to CFA!

We are now an official Hyrox Affiliate! We are working out the details of classes and programming, so hang tight on that front for a bit. We are just excited to give you an idea of whats to come!

What is HYROX? HYROX is know as “The Fitness Competition For Every Body”. It is essentially a distance running race combined with 8 movements/workouts with which we are all relatively familiar. The race begins with a 1000m run to Station 1) 1000m Ski Erg, then 1000m run to Station 2) 50m Sled Push, 1000m run to the subsequent Stations: 50m Sled Pull, 80m Burpee Broad Jumps, 1000m Row, 200m Farmers Carry, 100m Sangbag Lunge, 100 Wall Balls. In total, you accumulate 8K running across the entire race. It will test your engine and capacity. If you like doing Murph…this is likely right up your alley! If you Murph is daunting and you usually split it with a team/partner….there is a Doubles division!

What does it mean that CFA is a HYROX Affiliate?
As an affiliate, it means that we are licensed to use the name and offer classes and programming geared towards racing HYROX! Coach Tim is completing his HYROX Certified Trainer Certification, and other coaches leading these classes will be HYROX Affiliate Coach Certified!  Many of our CFA fam are participating in Marathons, 10K/5K races currently or have been for quite some time. Similar to having the CrossFit Open and Night of Champions (among all the other competitions that many of you participate) or having Austin Weightlifting classes to improve barbell technique and/or help us compete on the platform, our “Engine” focused classes will prepare us more specifically for longer duration workouts which require less technical prowess with barbells/gymnastics and improve running technique. Oh…and we get discount codes for all CFA members looking to sign up for a race!!!

When/Where are HYROX races?
There are races all over the world, mostly in big destination locations. There are are multiple opportunities to prepare for a race in Texas. If you read the “Save the Date” post on Instagram, you probably noticed the HYROX in Dallas on 11/17. We’ll be working with HYROX HQ to get another race in Austin hopefully next year! In the meantime, as we develop this offering with @hyroxtexas….we’ll be able to bring variations of the race to OUR HOUSE and host some smaller events to have some fun and get a taste of HYROX!

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! 

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