Diaries of a Coach 024 || “Listen to your body!”

“Listen to your body.”

Isn’t that such a weird thing to say? Maybe it’s just me but part of me, when urged to do just that, wonders, “Huh? What does that even mean?” I control this thing, I’m driving the ship here, pretty sure my body is going to listen to me. Right?


As some of you may know, I recently traveled to my fine home state of Kentucky. Side note: I went to celebrate my nephew’s 1st birthday and y’all. He. Is. The. Cutest. See photo attached. Cue the ooos and awwws. And also, you’re welcome.

Anywho, two days prior I got pretty sick. Sick enough to consider canceling my trip. After much debate I decided to tough it out and make the trek. Let’s be honest, I’d do anything for that little nugget. #auntlife

With a late flight arrival in My Old Kentucky Home (See what I did there? Probably not… it’s a song. Google it. Or watch the Kentucky Derby, you’ll hear it!) it was easy to pass out almost instantaneously. However, the next day I found myself sending my sister out to run errands alone that morning so I could sleep a little later, falling asleep on the couch mid afternoon for about an hour, and then dosing off during an evening movie when I was supposed to be helping with party decor. The next day was no different, I slept late that morning and I’m pretty sure the sun was up when I went to bed that evening. Not only did I snag copious amounts of sleep, but I worked out approximately zero times during my time at home. That’s reason enough to stick the back of your palm on my forehead, raise a confused brow and say, “Are you ok?”

Here’s the lesson. Lean in because it’s enlightening and borderline revolutionary. Apparently, when you fall asleep at random times during the day, your body is trying to tell you something, mainly, that you need to sleep. (Maybe listen a little closer next time, Erica.)

All jokes aside, my encouragement today is just to tune in. I know it’s weird but how do you feel? Like, right now? When you move, does your body resist? Are you lethargic and unenthused when it’s time to workout? When you rest, does your body overdose? Do you feel like you just can’t get enough? Maybe not, maybe movement energizes you. Then keep moving! Rest is always essential but maybe your body is up no problem when that alarm goes off. Then get up and go! Just promise me that you’ll keep checking in, keep listening, because those signs and signals are there and always changing.

Spoiler alert. You are only human and many times, as humans, we are at the mercy of our circumstances and busy schedules, our ever-changing emotions (just me?), and the chemicals that balance and unbalance within us. Take time to check in, take time to rest if that’s what you need. You only have you, and you’re a pretty important part of living the life you want to live, fulfilling the dreams and desires your heart has. Take care of you boo!

I’m out. Maybe to go sleep, who knows!

Coach E

Night Of Champions || BAR WARS

Night of Champions 
Are you a champion? Show us your stuff!

BAR WARS || May the fourth be with you

Teams of 2 – Male/Female teams – Our FIRST CO-ED NOC!
Rx & Scaled Divisions available!
Night of Champions will consist of 2 WODs
WOD 1 – A Lifting Event
WOD 2 – A Partner WOD
Details to come!
6:30 pm – Athlete Check-In
7:00 pm – WOD 1 Start Time

$50 per Team (includes registration for both team mates) Only 15 spots available!

(Only 1 registration per team – We’ll send an email to get division and partner name)

***Proceeds from Night of Champions will go toward new equipment for the gym!***



Diaries of a Coach 023 || Prescription or Preventative – Crossover Symmetry

Hey friends! As we head into the next strength cycle, jerks, I wanted to pass along an article I found that offered a new perspective and prescription on pain. For those of you that have shoulder issues or injuries, this is for you! If not, the value will be more from a preventative standpoint.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. If any of you out there are over 30 like me, (or have just beat up your bodies along the way) you may have experienced a similar struggle. As of late, my shoulder has been giving me a pesky pull in a loaded overhead position. In an effort to pinpoint the pain and it’s cause, I had Coach Gen take a look. What she saw was slight tick of internal rotation of the shoulder when under heavier loads. It’s something that tends to happen with instability and improper activation of the surrounding muscles. The Crossover Symmetry system has been my lifeline the last few weeks, in order to train my mechanics into proper position and activation. In researching the system and its benefits, I came across this article. Definitely worth the read and worth testing out the Crossover Symmetry, whether it is to retrain and alleviate pain or to be proactive to prevent it.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a video from Gen and Tim on how to set it up, what you should be focusing on and feeling, and how to get the most benefit out of it.


End Your Pain by Retraining Your Brain

Diaries of a Coach 022 || The Cost of Avoidance Training

Yesterday I made an announcement to the five people who were participating in Open Gym at the time. After getting their attention, I’m sure quite obnoxiously, I proclaimed with great pride, “I’m going to run.”

May not sound like much, but if you’ve been around me in the gym for more than five seconds you know that I have a hate/hate relationship with hitting the pavement. I hate running, running hates me. We’re good with it, it works for us. Or so I thought.

The last few weeks I’ve felt an inkling of a conviction that maybe this whole running thing should get a second thought. Maybe it’s all this silly talk from coach Tim about “running season” in our programming. It’s initiated some internal dialog for me regarding training and truly investing in my weaknesses.

Let’s be honest, I would love a workout with some heavy clean and jerks, some rowing, some kettlebell swings… those movements are money in the freakin’ bank for me. But what happens when we leave out all the movements we hate is extremely narrow training that has extremely narrow benefit, both physically and mentally. And we might think we want narrow training, but who wants narrow benefits? Not me. Not only would we never get any better at said movements from a physicality standpoint, we would never experience the benefits of enduring through challenges and failures and reaching success only after much diligence and dedication. That shit builds character y’all, not just in the gym, but in life.

So why do we hate and avoid certain movements? Apart from physical restrictions (mobility, work capacity, strength deficiency, etc.), more than likely it’s our pride. We don’t like to feel insufficient or less than capable. So we avoid these things at the cost of potentially gaining the strength and skill we need over time and discipline. I experienced a very similar conviction a few months ago regarding heavy front squats. I hate them, and was avoiding them, because they are hard and make me feel insecure in my ability. Who likes to feel like they can’t do something or do it well? But I realized avoiding them was only worsening the problem.

So what do we do? We take initiative. Hear me say, this isn’t easy. Liken it to approaching that severed relationship in life that you know you need to make right. Or setting up boundaries to avoid spending too much money or drinking too much alcohol… whatever the issue may be. That takes admitting the problem, and then putting time and work into a solution. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Eventually, with front squats, I came face to face with my inability and hopped on the coach Dylan train to get my heinie on a squat program. If I hadn’t taken the initiative, my squats would probably be exactly the same today. Doable, but with no hope for progressing or gaining the strength I need. What we need to do is force ourselves to hang out at or near our point of breakdown. Train it, improve it. And then we push that line back over time, little by little, and things become easier. That’s why we train the way we do (you see it most clearly in working with percentages in strength cycles).

But now it’s time for me to take the initiative with one of my biggest foes. Running. I’m not happy about it, and that’s ok. I want the benefit of growth, to be a well conditioned athlete because I worked at it and for it.

So WHEN you catch me running, say hi, run a lap with me or simply encourage me to keep going because I can guarantee you I am fighting the internal battle of wanting to quit, and probably cussing up a storm in my head. What do you need to intentionally spend time on? Where do you need help or accountability? Or asked better, what are you avoiding in the gym? Why? How can you take the initiative to actually improve instead of avoid?

Good luck out there guys. Be brave and tackle the hard thing!


Coach Erica

Are you “Exer-submissive?” – A word from Jeremy Jones

Stop being a fitness masochist or what I like to call an: “Exer-submissive”

Beating your body into submission is not healthy. Going to war on your fat is not good for you long term. There is no enemy inside of you that you need to defeat and punish.  It is not your (or your coach’s) job to exact retribution on yourself.


There are varying degrees of ‘Exer-submissives’ in the fitness realm, but I feel like there is an inordinate amount that gravitate toward CrossFit (and Bootcamps for that matter).  I expect that most people who exercise regularly have a set point in their personality that says: “Oh boy. I am really going to need to work hard in the gym tomorrow because of that”, or “I need to go on a long run to make up for that”.  A little of this is fine, it can help people stay on track and possibly even avoid the temptation in the first place by turning it on its head: “I had better not, I don’t want to have to work extra hard in the gym tomorrow. I am already working hard enough!”

For some people, this inclination of repentance takes a much larger and dangerous role.  It becomes a manifestation of the disappointment and self loathing that one feels after doing something ‘bad’.

People who take this to the extreme are not only looking to do extra work because they ‘cheated’ or missed a few days of training, they have sense that they need to be punished.  They need to suffer. Pain is mandatory, and the longer the better. Bonus points if a coach or authority figure is there to yell and push even more.

There are probably a multitude of avenues to get to this mindset (upbringing at home, religion, work, biology, etc), but primarily I think it stems from two opinions:

  1.   You are at war with an internal enemy (you aren’t).
  2.   The misinterpretation that PAIN = RESULTS always (It doesn’t).

The pain during a particularly long and terrible workout, the pain of the soreness that lasts days, the pain of torn hands, the pain of jump rope lashes, rope burn on the leg, and even the pain from a lacrosse ball placed in the ‘right’ spot are NOT signs that you are making any progress.  Do not get these signals confused with results! These are not weapons to use against the devious enemy inside of you who is trying to stop you from reaching your goals.

This confusion of pain and results is probably the most common and most dangerous part of CrossFit.  Discomfort and pain are unavoidable symptoms of hard training, but better, faster, results come from smart programming and adequate recovery.  Training ‘hard’ but not ‘smart’ is the surest way to injury, stagnation, and wasting inordinate amounts of time and money.  Joint injuries, mild rhabdo cases, disruptions to training plans/programs are what come from the hard, painful, workouts – Not progress.  Nowhere is this more evident than the ease at which it is to make a ‘hard’ workout (nausea inducing, hand tearing, sore-for-4-days…) that earns you nothing, results or performance-wise.  Compare that to the difficulty of creating a workout that maybe ‘hard’ while it is happening, but it doesn’t take an excessively long time, leaves your body intact, you can train again the next day, AND you are a healthier person and better athlete afterward.

Start paying attention to these thoughts of the ’10 Hail Marys’ workouts.  Start asking yourself where the guilt is really coming from.  Find out if you are trying to use pain and discomfort as a way to punish yourself for your transgressions.  Try and direct that ‘need for correction’ into organizing a better meal plan for the next week and/or being extra consistent on your training for the next few days.

Shift your view of your other self from ‘enemy’ to ‘impetuous child’.  You don’t need to beat your body into submission; you need to set it up for success.  You don’t need to go to war with your fat; you need to out-smart it. There is no enemy inside of you, there is a part of you that needs to be taught and lead down the right path.

And if you find yourself having the ‘Exer-submissive’ thoughts again, stop and ask yourself what emotions are you really trying to erase. Then figure out how to fix the real problem so you can stop punishing yourself.


Diaries of a Coach 021 || A Different Kind of Check-Up

Alright, believe it or not – accept it or not – we are a fourth of the way through 2018. (Even though it feels like it just started yesterday.) The New Year is always the cliche time to talk about goals and what you want to do differently throughout the course of the year, and we did. We even made those resolutions tangible here in the gym on our goals board. But do you ever intentionally check back in on those goals and your progress toward them? I think if we did, we probably wouldn’t find ourselves setting the same goals, making the same resolutions, year after year.

So now is that time. Now is the time to think about the goals you set three months ago. Maybe they were goals in the gym, maybe they were lifestyle changes, priorities that needed to change. Whatever they might be, where are you now? Are you closer to reaching those goals? What have you done to create movement? Where have you succeeded? Where is there opportunity?

For me, my goals were to dial in my nutrition, more specifically through counting macros (I have been a long time calorie counter), and to diligently prioritize and improve squats and Olympic lifts. Here’s my honest assessment of both, in hopes that this fine community would continue to encourage and support me, but also hold me accountable when distractions and discouragement threaten. And I’m ready to do the same for you!

In regard to nutrition, I have definitely made progress, specifically with the use of Avatar and MyMacros+. However, that progress has stalled at times leaving me with still a long way to go. Anyone else find themselves letting the circumstances of life derail their best intentions? Even when I have meals planned and logged, the last minute invite for tacos and margaritas will get me every time! While I believe that’s ok at times (let’s agree to enjoy life a little bit!), my big picture progress toward my goals has to remain a priority. The difference comes down to how I feel each time measurement day comes around. If I’m disappointed in myself, knowing I could have easily done better, I know I let this goal take the back seat to life. In contrast, there are weeks when weigh in comes and I know I enjoyed life and made tangible progress. That’s the sweet spot that I need to find consistently.

I’m happy to report that when it comes to squats and Olympic lifts, thanks so Coach Dylan and the Olympic lifting squad that works tirelessly in that back corner, I’ve improved these lifts tremendously. Do I love squatting? No. But I don’t hate it anymore. Not to mention, both my front and back squat have improved, and I’ve set new PRs on both my snatch and my clean and jerk. There are days that have been extremely difficult and discouraging, but pushing through those days is an important part of the journey. I’m excited to continue to work hard and make even more progress.

So where you are? Maybe your goals need to be reset and refocused, and that is ok. Maybe you are knocking one goal after another out, keep at it! Wherever you are, know that community is the absolute best context to pursue your goals. You have people cheering you on and people that are here to help (talk to your coaches!). Let’s get after it, together, and accomplish great things.

Good luck out there, I’ll check back in soon!

Coach E

Diaries of a Coach 020 || The End of the Open

If I’m honest with you today, on Wednesday March 28th, 2018, I have to say I’m really not mad to see the 2018 Open come to a close. While it was a great test of strength and skill, I for one am more aware than ever that I have plenty to work on in the coming year… and I’m excited to get started. It really only took 18.3 to get me to the point of realizing the extent of my weaknesses and limitations (I think I’m in good company there, with all but two people in the entire world), so the final two workouts, for me, served as reminders. Reminders that I have come so so far… but still have so far to go. (humbling, right?!) Here’s a recap on the final two workouts, and my experience with both.




Handstand Push up



Deadlift (increase wt.)

with 50 ft. Handstand Walk between each set

Before I tackled 18.4 I said to a fellow athlete, “I’m going to scale the gymnastics and RX the weight… because that’s the kind of athlete I am.” Unfortunately it’s true, my strength is lopsided opposite my gymnastics skill. I know this. I think part of me tries to hide it in the midst of regular days and workouts. But the Open makes it blatantly obvious to me and to the rest of the world (Honestly, the rest of the world probably isn’t paying much attention but that’s the feeling I get. Anyone else?). So before the buzzer started on this workout, I knew somewhere in the thousands of goals I have for moving better this next year would have to be handstand work.

I actually impressed myself with my performance here. Coming off of a recent back injury, I was apprehensive to pull the heavier weight, and pull it well. However, when the time came, I was unhurried and focused on form and technique coming off the ground. Form truly did dictate my pace, and for that I am grateful to remain on the other side of this injury. Even in the heat of competition, the maturity to be smart, to pace where and when it’s crucial to our long term health and wellness, is invaluable. This workout was tough, the volume, both weight and reps, were absolutely exhausting. Go us!


3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18… etc. (increase by 3 reps each round)


Chest-to-bar pull ups

And then there’s 18.5. I voted for it and then when it came time to do it, immediately regretted that and every other decision in my life. Guys, we had a chance to completely avoid thrusters and we passed it up. What were we thinking?!?! At this point, my excitement and motivation for these workouts had gone out the window completely and it became more about finishing a commitment and getting a completion point for my team. And you know what? I think that’s ok. I committed to these workouts alongside a great, crazy group of friends and athletes, and I wanted to finish strong for them. Now, could I have done better performance-wise? Yes, I think so. (I’m pretty sure I took a minute rest somewhere in there and should have brought my folding chair over from the weightlifting corner!). But it was about finishing and I’m proud that I did, regardless of the fact that I had mentally checked out. Honestly, I was ready to get back to weightlifting and seeing through my commitment there.

So I would challenge you today, now that the dust has settled, reflect on these last five weeks. Reflect on the workouts, the movements and your performance, yes, but also on your character throughout this Open season. How you committed (or didn’t) to these workouts and to the competition here at CFA (which got a little heated, can I get an amen?!), on how you rallied together with your community (or didn’t) and how you persevered and finished strong (or didn’t). Hopefully there are things that leave you feeling encouraged and proud, but also elements of character that you can grow and intentionally cultivate moving forward. At times competition brings out the best in us. At times, the worst. What comes out under pressure is a great indicator of what’s really inside us. So let’s walk away with lessons to push us forward as athletes in a crazy sport, but also as humans in a crazy world.


Love y’all!

Coach E