June Athlete of the Month || Michael Surges!

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 June Athlete of the Month is Michael Surges! Michael wrapped up his Fundamentals sessions at the end of July 2018 and dove head first into classes. His fun personality and his determination to finish strong has kept him on the growth track from day one.  Mikey is another member of the  “coffee crew” at 7:30 am (that class is killing it!) Michael has made some serious changes in his life since starting his training here. It all comes from his focus and his dedication to putting in the extra work. He understands the importance of a solid foundation and is quickly building his fitness empire to tackle the competition side of things. Michael exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has truly become a pillar of the community. Michael, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our June 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:
Michael Surges, Mikey

Words to live by?
Comparison is the thief of joy.

What is your fitness background?
I started racing BMX at 4 and got into serious competitions around the age of 8-14. During this time I also played baseball, wrestled, and played football. Once I got into high school I stuck with football and wrestling, and eventually went on to play football in college for a couple years. I’ve always loved the off season and the training that goes into performing at a high-level.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I think June or July will be my one year anniversary.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I GOT SO NERVOUS! like butterflies and nausea nervous. There were so many things I had in my head that I thought I couldn’t possibly do. Now, I still get nervous as all hell, but I try my absolute hardest to not compete with anyone and just do my best.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
EVERYTHING!! are you kidding me!? It’s soo much fun. I love working with the coffee crew and seeing the same faces every morning. We all build each other up and cheer each other on for PR’s and finishing strong.They put up with me, I love them. It’s hard to not be inspired by the people I get to train with every day.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I want to qualify for a competition. I don’t know where, at what level, or when, I just know I’m going to qualify for a competition.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Dive in. Drink the kool aid, and make an effort to be coachable. I know it had been a while since I’ve had a coach, but it’s a worthwhile adjustment to make.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Twix, coca-cola, and frozen pizza. I’m not even kidding.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Well,I carry all the groceries up in one trip and I move kegs around a lot at work. I wish I could say hiking or something cool, but I’m too scared of snakes.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Just being able to breathe during the wods since the clots. I had a year of really restricted activities when I was first diagnosed and felt like I lost everything physically. It was a great feeling to surpass where i was before I got sick.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
‘Dorthy’ 95# bar
100m run
10 bar facing burpees
15 OHS
200m run
10 bar facing burpees
15 OHS
300m run
10 bar facing burpees
15 OHS
400m run
10 bar facing burpees
15 OHS

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
Training is my absolutely favorite thing to do, i’m usually pretty hungry to get back into the gym. Being far away from my goals really keeps me motivated to keep at it.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love watching stand up comedy, listening to music, and playing video games. I don’t know if it’s a talent worth having, but i can make a damn good cocktail.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m deaf in one ear. It’s loud at the gym and i promise if you think i’m ignoring you, i’m not. I was born completely deaf in my right ear, and I can’t hear shit!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I would just like to say thank you to everyone i’ve met over the past year. I’m constantly inspired by y’all and i appreciate y’all letting me be apart of this big family. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.

Kitchen Adventures || Pistachio Energy Bites

Hey y’all! It’s HOT! Summer is definitely upon us. I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot my appetite drops. I don’t like to eat big meals in the summer, but sometimes that leaves me needing a little extra boost throughout the day. I honestly cannot believe I haven’t shared this recipe yet. This is one of our favorite snacks. Tim asks for it pretty regularly and if you make them, you’ll understand why.

Not only do they taste amazing, but they are extremely easy to make (like everything I do) and they are a perfect like pick me up if you need something before or after a workout… Or like around 2:30 pm when you start getting that afternoon lull. 😉

I’ve done these in several different forms. I have made bars, little bite sized squares, rolled them into balls (which wasn’t the most successful, but you do you) and I’ve even put them into a mini muffin tin form. They’ve held up best for me in a bite sized square, but you do have lots of options.

**Quick note** These will be ok without being refrigerated if you’re taking them with you somewhere, but to store for multiple days, keep them in the fridge. They’ll last longer, but also when they get warm they tend to fall apart. It all has to do with the coconut oil in them!

Ok, here ya go!

INGREDIENTS
9-10 soft, pitted medjool dates
1 Cup hulled pistachios – You can use raw or roasted – If you use salted pistachios, skip the salt in the recipe
1 Cup hulled pumpkin seeds – same notes
4 TBSP coconut oil – liquid form (you can just zap it for a few seconds in the microwave if needed)
3/4 tsp cardamom – I actually like a full tsp, but if it’s a new flavor for you start with less and add to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt – skip if using salted nuts
Optional – 1 tsp Matcha Powder – if you have trouble with caffeine skip this. These are still a great little energy bite without the added caffeine

DIRECTIONS

Add pistachios, seeds, salt (if using), cardamom, and matcha powder to a food processor. Pulse a few times to begin mixing and chopping, but don’t over do it. Add the dates, vanilla, and oil. Pulse until all of the ingredients are combined and it begins to clump together.

Once your mixture is ready, decide what form you want your bites to take. For bars or squares, line a pan (I use a glass 9×9 dish) with cling wrap leaving enough over the edges that you can cover your entire mixture. Transfer the mixture into the pan and press it nice and flat so that it becomes very compact. Wrap the plastic wrap over the top and chill it in the fridge of freezer until firm (about 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 in the fridge).

Unwrap it, cut into bars or squares and then transfer it into a dish with a lid to store! Like I said, they will fall apart a bit if the coconut oil heats up so keeping them refrigerated is best, but they won’t last long anyway because they taste so good!

Food Facts: * If you’ve never used cardamom, it has a very unique flavor. Interestingly enough, it is in the same family as turmeric and ginger and has some really amazing health benefits as well! Cardamom is great for digestion. It works as an aid for nausea. It’s a diuretic and works as a liver cleanser. It’s used as a breath freshener and also has amazing antioxidant properties that are used to prevent and treat cancer. Hooray cardamom!

Kitchen Adventures || Mango Chicken Bowls & a little something to think about

Happy Hump Day! Ok, real talk for a moment… Yesterday, as I was getting ready to coach class, I said hello to everyone as they were coming to check in and asked how they were doing. I got a variety of answers, but most were along the lines of “Tired,” “Stressed,” “Had a rough week so far…” Don’t get me wrong, I find myself in that boat more than I’d like to, but I was really feeling for my class yesterday. I had 10 people and maybe one answered back with, “I’m good!”

It made me sad that on TUESDAY, everyone was already having a really rough week. People were beat down, their minds elsewhere… I know sometimes you can’t help that. Life tends to air on the side of difficult, BUT I hope that when you guys come into the gym that you’re able to set that stuff aside and take the hour for YOURSELF. All of those things you’re worried about… they’ll still be there to deal with after class. It’s going to affect your training, your focus, and your mood if that’s where your mind is when you’re in class.

Do yourself a favor when you come into the gym. Leave your phone in the car or stashed in your bag. Set all that “life stuff” outside and give yourself an hour to just BE when you come in here. Take a mental body scan when you walk in to refocus yourself. Take a deep breath to let that stuff go for a bit and just be present. You’ll feel better, you’ll be more productive, and your training will go better too.

Additionally, I’m a pretty good listener if you need to get something off your chest 🙂 We love you guys and want to be a source of relief and happiness so let us be that!

Ok, food! Warmer weather, sunny skies (for a minute…) I wanted something bright and fresh and I’ve been getting some AMAZING mangoes lately so I went for something a bit more tropical this week and I don’t regret it at all. This is another one of those ‘heat part of it and add the cold stuff after,’ but what can I say? I love dishes like that… Anyway, so so so easy and full of flavor. I hope you enjoy!

 

Mango Coconut Chicken Bowls (made 4 bowls)

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups dry jasmine rice
2 Mangos – 1 peeled and pitted to go into a food processor,  the other peeled and diced
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast – cut into large chunks – make sure none of them are too thick
Unsweetened shaved coconut flakes (for topping)
Avocado (for topping)

Mango Puree – 
Peeled and pitted mango for food processor
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Lime Juice
3 tsp Honey
1 TBSP Sriracha
2 garlic cloves – peeled
1 tsp salt

Corn Salsa –
The diced mango
1 can black beans – drained and rinsed
1.5 cups sweet corn (off the cob)
1/2 red bell pepper – diced
1 jalapeno – *optional – finely diced
1/2 red onion1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBSP lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook rice according to package. While that’s simmering, combine all ingredients for puree into a food processor and blend until smooth. Reserve 2/3 for topping. In a large bowl, pour the other 1/3 of the puree over your raw chicken to marinate for appx. 10 minutes.

While your chicken is marinating, dice the red onion, jalapeno, bell pepper & mango, and chop the cilantro to your liking. Mix in a bowl with the corn, black beans, lime juice, and salt. Let sit until ready to serve or put it in the fridge if you’re using it later for meal prep.

Heat a cast iron skillet (a regular skillet will do, but I love cast iron…) on the stove over med-high heat with a little bit of oil. Place the chicken in the pan, but be careful not to crowd it. Leave it alone for 3-4 minutes and then flip and cook until it’s no longer pink in the middle (usually another 3-4 min depending on thickness)

To build your bowls – Divide the rice into 4 bowls. Evenly divide your chicken on top of the rice. With the remaining 2/3 of your mango puree, drizzle over the chicken and rice. This will be the portion you reheat.

Keep the corn salsa, avocado, and coconut flakes separate to use as a topping after you’ve reheated your bowl!

This is a very simple recipe and took about 30 minutes to put together. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or something that will brighten your day at lunch, this is a good one to add to the rotation. Enjoy!

Kitchen Adventures || Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

How’s your week been? This week has been one that I felt like I started off behind and I am struggling to keep up. This past weekend was busy for us. Awesome, but busy. Monday came very quickly and almost felt like a break from how fast paced the weekend was!

What I did not fall behind on however, was meal prep. And that God for that! If I hadn’t gotten our to our meals for some reason this weekend, this “I can’t catch up week” might feel even crazier. It’s amazing how much better life is when I don’t have to think about food through the week. Kudos to meal prep. It’s an awesome concept.

Anyway, I have things to do so I’m going to stop wasting time blabbing about how busy I am so I can actually get back to being productive!

I have another breakfast recipe for you that I didn’t expect to like all that much, but I honestly love it. Enough that I’ve made it twice now. Usually, I like to mix quinoa with other grains for texture and I’m not a fan of boiled eggs, but I’m also not sure I’ve ever eaten a soft-boiled egg before this. They are way better than hard boiled eggs! I left these bowls without any bacon or sausage, but you could add it if you want.

This is really easy to throw together, filling, and customizable to your liking.

The measurements below made 4 bowls for us.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups dry quinoa – cook to package instructions
4-8 Eggs (depending on how many you’d like in each bowl – I like 2 eggs for each)
1 Pint small tomatoes (cherry, rainbow, etc..) – quartered
1/2 Red onion – diced
1 Jalapeno – diced
1 clove garlic – finely minced
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Avocado to top

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the quinoa according to the package. When it’s finished, fluff with a fork, at 1 TBSP olive oil and salt to taste and mix well. Divide quinoa into 4 containers.

While the quinoa is cooking, make your pico. Quarter the tomatoes, no need to deseed. Chop the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro. Mix all of your ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil, the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

For dang near perfect soft boiled eggs – Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the eggs into the water. Keep the heat high enough for a boil and set the timer for 6:30. Immediately transfer the eggs to a large bowl filled with ice water for appx. 2 minutes or until they’ve come back down to room temp.

Once cooled, slice eggs in half and place them in your bowls. Keep the pico and avocado separate until you’re ready to eat.

Reheating – depending on the “doneness”of you eggs and whether you like them warm or cold you can leave them on or take them off when heating the quinoa. Heat in the microwave for 1:30 – 2:00. Add pico and sliced avocado and enjoy! It’s simple, but tasty and filling!

 

Context || How to Approach your Workouts

You may have noticed the little words written up in the top right corner of the programming square for the day. Or, maybe you’ve seen the ‘context’ block in your app when you look at programming. Possibly, if you’re listening and paying attention 😉 , you’ve heard your coaches discussing it for the day and how it should effect the way you approach your workout for the day. It’s the CONTEXT.

This is an important note that works directly with your daily program to keep you safe and help you progress. If you’re ignoring the context, I can guarantee that you are not getting everything out of your programming that you could.

 

Check out this excerpt below from Jeremy Jones of Thrivestry programming to help you understand a little more about where the context comes from and what it’s for so that you can get even more from your daily workouts.

 

Click the link here to read the whole article:  Using the Context of the Programming for Longevity and Getting out of Ruts 

Or scroll down to get a preview of the content!

Using the Context of the Programming for Longevity and Getting out of Ruts

The context is the recommended overall approach to the class that day. Without a planned approach you will likely stick with the same default approach you are comfortable with and you will not get the most out of your training.

Context Overview.png

There are three contexts: “Practice”, “Competition”, and “Mental Toughness.”

With Thrivestry Programming, we balance these three contexts with the right ratios to each other and with an eye toward the lesson plan for the day (as well as the week, the month, and the year!)

The problem with not having a planned approach is that it is likely that you’ll be ‘stuck’ with one approach every day. We have found that varying the approach is one of the keys to long term growth and using our training to improve our lives outside of the gym!

For example, when most people start CrossFit, they tend to be suck in Competition mode. Every day is a battle. Every day they push themselves beyond their normal pace to try to get the best score. They pick heavier loads than they should because it is what is written on the workout. They are more concerned with how they compare to other people rather than if they improved as a human.

It usually isn’t their fault. They are not used to having every one of their workouts scored and compared. They think that the goal is always to get the best score possible every day.

The goal is always to get better overall, not just win the workout that day.

It is like trying to win every battle… but losing the war.

We cannot go as hard as possible every day. We will get injured. We will get frustrated when we under perform according to our expectations. We will start skipping workouts we know we won’t do well on. We may start fudging reps or scores because ‘there is no way so-and-so beat us on that workout’…

In the long run, all of the negatives start to outweigh the benefits of the training. And it is only a matter of time before you need a ‘break’ or you quit outright.

To summarize the problems with getting ‘stuck’ in any one mode:

If you do Competition context all the time you will get hurt.

If you do Mental Toughness all the time you will get burned out.

If you do Practice all the time you will get bored.

.

.

.

Big Picture

In the end, the context is a ‘big picture’ layer that on the micro level keeps us growing, healthy, and involved. On the macro level, it is where we learn lessons about ourselves that apply to our lives outside of the gym.

Are you stuck in Competition mode in your life? Are you always pushing to win and sacrificing other parts of your life?

Are you stuck in Mental Toughness mode? Are you always trying to grind it out and piling on more? Putting off recovery and fun things because you feel guilty if you aren’t constantly busy?

Are you stuck in Practice mode? Are you always playing it safe, planning, and never actually getting out there and doing something new? Are you avoiding the next challenge because you are comfortable where you are, and you don’t want to fail?

-Coach Jeremy Jones

 

A note from you CFA Coaches: 

Remember folks, we are training for life, not just for the best score that day. This is why we track progress, test and retest, and continue to adapt as we go through our weeks/months/years in the gym!

We’ll continue to talk about it, but we hope you start paying a little extra attention to those contexts and see how they can aid in your approach the the workouts. Try it for a few weeks and let us know what you discover!

 

May Athlete of the Month || Jaclyn De Los Santos!!

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 Jacki De Los Santos! Jacki joined the crew back in August of 2018 and very quickly became a part of the CFA family.  She is pretty die-hard with the “coffee crew” at 7:30 am. Jacki has taken HUGE strides in her health and fitness since joining class. Her Whole Life Challenge results were insane and she’s been putting in some serious work in class. When Jacki comes in, she works hard, encourages others, and always finishes with a smile. She exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has truly proven herself as one of the #badassbabes of the community. Jacki, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our May 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: 
Jaclyn Marie De Los Santos, but everyone calls me Jacki

Words to live by?
“Conquer your inner b***h” lol
-Joe Rogan

What is your fitness background?
None! Besides playing a few different sports and dance in high school, I really had zero experience when it came to a barbell.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
9 months, still such a baby!

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I remember it like it was yesterday! I went to Austin’s 6pm class and we did Grace. I decided it was a good idea to use 55lbs on the bar, which I paid for later!  I finished in under 5 minutes, but I seriously felt like I was drunk or had been hit by a truck! I could barely walk straight out to my car and I probably said ‘thank you’ to just about anyone who talked to me during class. Will definitely always remember this moment.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Not to sound corny or anything, but seriously everything! From my 7:30 crew, to the amazing coaches, to the sense of community it gives me. I’m just in love with it all!

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Since I’m still pretty new to CrossFit I have so many! One of my goals for 2019 was to get all my lifts to at least 100#, I’ve hit a few but still have a long way to go on other ones. I also want to eventually do a competition and commit to adding weightlifting to my regular schedule. There’s more but I think that is a good place to stop!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t be nervous! No one is judging you for not having as much experience as the other, and you also don’t need to be super strong to start CrossFit in the first place! That all comes later 🙂

What is your cheat meal go to?
Italian food! Pizza, gelato, you name it. Mandola’s is my husband and I’s favorite!

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Running and hiking. It’s so crazy how easy running is now that CrossFit has made my endurance higher!

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Definitely during 19.5! I probably cried the entire time and might have yelled at Coach Mark once, but it was such a nice feeling to finish!

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
“Jack-Attack”
Buy In: 1000m Row

then

5 rounds for time:
10 ‘Heavy’ Squat Cleans
10 High Box Jumps
10 Kipping Pull ups

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
Knowing how disappointed I am in my self when I don’t go to class and how much better I feel when I do.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love cooking, gardening, hiking, running, camping, and most of all reading.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I once worked part-time at a Comic Book shop. It was one of my all time favorite jobs.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Never give up! It took me so many years to commit to my health and fitness and it was definitely a slow process, but here I am doing stuff!

Jaclyn De La Garza

Kitchen Adventures || Spicy Mushroom Bowls

Don’t get me wrong. We eat meat in our house. In fact, our freezer is full of it. But, in an effort to change it up a bit, in addition to at least one pescatarian meal, I’ve been trying to do a meatless meal once a week.

I’ve done black bean taquitos, portobello mushroom tacos, and several other dishes. Most recently we had nice little meal with an Asian flair. This was so fresh and delicious, but filling at the same time. We’ll definitely be including this in our rotation again!

QUICK PICKLED CUCUMBERS

  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (substitute stevia or monk fruit sweetener for a non-sugar alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cucumber

GOCHUJANG MUSHROOMS

1 Tbsp gochujang Japanese chili sauce (you can find this in the international foods aisle)
2 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp water
1.5 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 portobello mushrooms caps
1 small yellow onion
1 Tbsp cooking oil (I used toasted sesame oil)

BOWLS

4 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 carrot shaved
2 green onions chopped

*Optional – Add a soft boiled egg

INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt for the quick pickled cucumbers. Thinly slice the cucumber, add them to the bowl with the vinegar dressing, and toss to coat. Let the cucumbers marinate, stirring occasionally, as you prepare the rest of the dish. They should soften and release water as they marinate.

Prepare the marinade for the mushrooms. In a medium bowl stir together the gochujang, coconut aminos, water, coconut sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir until the gochujang and coconut sugar are dissolved.

Clean each portobello mushroom to remove any dirt or debris. Cut each cap in half, then slice crosswise into thin strips. Place the mushroom strips into a shallow dish and pour the gochujang marinade over top. Gently stir the mushrooms to coat in the marinade, taking care not to break them. Let the mushrooms marinade for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the mushrooms are marinating, shred the carrot using a cheese grater. Thinly slice the yellow onion and slice the green onions.

Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the sliced yellow onion and sauté for about two minutes, or just until the onion begins to soften.

Add the marinade mushrooms and all of the gochujang marinade to the skillet. Continue to cook the mushrooms and onion over medium until the mushrooms have softened and the liquid in the skillet reduces to a slightly thickened sauce (about 8 minutes).

To build the bowls add about 1 cup cooked rice to each bowl then top with 1/4 of the gochujang mushrooms, 1/4 of the pickled cucumbers, and 1/4 of the shredded carrot. Sprinkle sliced green onions over top, then serve.
*If adding soft boiled egg – Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and gently place your egg(s) into the water. Boil for 6:30 minutes and then immediately transfer to an ice bath for about 2:00. Slice in half and place on top of your bowls!
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