Diaries of a Coach || 011 – Cold Weather Training

Yeah, so, it’s cold. And consequentely, I’ve missed some of y’all at the gym lately!

Funny how that works, right? Frigid temperatures seem to be the perfect excuse to skip the gym simply to stay inside and stay warm. On top of that, it’s scientifically proven that weather affects mood, right? Because my mood has been annoyed, irritable and non-aggressive anger (had to clarify, I’m not going to hit you if you see me) for the past two or three days. It’s not exactly a mood that wants to be put to work.

But you know what’s annoying, in the midst of temperatures that make you want to stay inside, cozy up, and call an audible on life? There are actually benefits to working out in cold weather. Of course, something that sounds awful is actually good for you.

I know you’re thinking, “I don’t want to hear this, let me stay home and take full advantage of my cold weather excuse to miss workout after workout.” Sorry, I have to stay honest y’all! So here it is, the benefits of working out in temperatures less than your age.

You’ll burn more calories as your body tries to regulate core temperature. Simple as it sounds, your body is working a little harder to keep that temperature up and that effort equals calorie burn. This will vary numerically based on the person and the extremity of the colder temperature, but doesn’t that at the very least increase motivation with a little extra pay off?

You’ll strengthen your heart. Your heart is also working harder, to pump and distribute blood throughout the body. Your heart, a muscle (and a very important one for that matter), can be strengthened by this added work, increasing readiness for those higher capacity cardiovascular workouts in the future.

You’ll hydrate. Because sweat will evaporate quicker with colder temps and dryer air, hydration is key in order to replace fluids when it seems like the body is losing less. Drinking water before, during and after your workout will help you stay warm, protect you from injury and maintain performance levels.

You’ll reap the benefits of a crucial warm up and cool down. It’s not easy to forget your warm up when you’re freezing. A sufficient warm up will effectively prevent injury and cooling down will prevent unnecessary tightness brought about by the cold weather. In fact, exposure to cold air or water post workout actually increases recovery time and decreases inflammation, leading to faster recovery and increased performance (think, ice baths).

And here is the kicker for me. YOU’LL FEEL HAPPY AND MORE ENERGIZED. (Ok, ok, I give up. It’s worth a shot to kick my crabbiness, right?) The body actually produces more endorphins as it works to stay warm and with less humidity, the air around you will literally feel lighter and your body stimulated by the chill. Happy and light… that’s a good day in the making right there!

So there you have it. Just a few reasons why you should come see me, come workout and come reap a few added benefits of cold weather wods. See you soon!

Hydrostatic weighing – What it is and why you should do it!

Happy Friday folks! The last Friday of 2017 in fact! We’re all scrambling to tie up the loose ends of this year and prepping ourselves for the New Year. Goals, intentions, wishes for the future and all that…. We’re getting ready for the Whole Life Challenge, the Open, and everything else that’s coming up. If you’re overwhelmed by all of that and don’t really know where to start, I’m here to help. 😉


As for goals, I wrote an article last year about New Year’s resolutions and how to actually make your goals happen & there is also a link to Coach E’s article from this year. Basically it boils down to 5 simple things:

  1. Ditch the mindset of a New Year’s Resolution – yup, you heard me. Goals can and should be set and started at ANY time.
  2. Establish your why – Why do you even care about that goal? What’s your motivation?
  3. Set realistic goals and have a plan to reach them – Sorry, but you aren’t going to lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks… not in a healthy way at least.
  4. Prioritize your goals and avoid road blocks – You have to work your goals into your life just like you work Netflix and Starbucks breaks in. There will be things to trips you up so make sure you know how you will handle them.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously – If you are so stressed about reaching your goal that you don’t enjoy the journey then why is that even a goal? (see above steps and try again)

The actual article is more in depth and better written so you can read that here 🙂


On to the actual topic of this article. I promise one has to do with the other. If you have a goal that is at all related to the composition of your body (lose weight, gain muscle, get shredded, etc. etc. etc.) then you need to actually understand the composition of your body…. Like REALLY understand it.

This year as part of the Whole Life Challenge (remember early bird registration ends on 1/3) we wanted people to have the opportunity to do pre & post testing so that they could make realistic goals based on their individual composition and track their progress to the end. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge (but you should) and you want to do the testing that’s fine too. Reserve your spot.

I’ve heard a TON of questions, comments, and concerns over the last few weeks about the testing so let’s get down to business.

“Hydrostatic what?” 

Hydrostatic Testing (Underwater Weighing) has become universally regarded by industry experts as the “Gold Standard” in body fat testing.

Body Analytics hydrostatic method uses a three component model which separates the body into 3 areas:

  1. Bone, muscle and organs, along with connective tissue, collectively known as lean mass, sinks (is more dense than water)
  2. Body fat floats (is less dense than water)
  3. Total body water which is neutrally bouyant, but must be removed from your actual weight

By obtaining your dry weight and water weight, based on buoyancy, our specialized computer program can scientifically calculate your body fat as a percentage of your total weight. The ordinary scale cannot tell you if weight loss is muscle or fat while testing with Body Analytics will tell you exactly what took place with your body during your weight loss regimen.

-straight from Body Analytics USA

“I don’t want to know how fat I am, I just want to lose weight.” 

First of all, ditch that lack of confidence. Managing body composition is a journey and it’s not about “how fat/skinny/ripped/flabby” or whatever else you think you are. It’s about understanding what your body is comprised of so you can make smart choices to reach the goals you have. I promise that this will be a positive experience if you get out of your head a bit. This is a tool and MUCH more accurate than just eating a ton of salad in January and hoping for the best.

“Cool. I’ll be there.” 

Awesome, you’re on board, but slow down there! There are a few things you need to know and a few rules you have to follow. First, you MUST reserve a spot. This isn’t a show up and walk in kind of thing. There’s a timed schedule with limited space. Reserve your time slot HERE.

Here is a list of FAQs and answers from the Body Analytics folks. Please read through to make sure you’re prepared and will get the most accurate read.

What Should I Bring?

Bring a swimsuit and a towel. Change in the privacy of our dressing room located inside the lab.
Please bring swim cap if you wear hair products or hair gel etc.

Can I Eat Prior To Testing?

Don’t eat anything 2 hours prior. Eating a big meal within 2 hours before the test may affect your results by up to 1 1/2%, but no more. Therefore, we advise you not to eat within two hours before the test. Working out and drinking water is okay. A small snack or protein shake is ok, just no large meal.

How Should I Prepare For Testing?

You should try to use the restroom and take a shower if possible. Please bring swim cap and remove as much hair gel or hair products as possible.

What Is The Test Like?

You will submerge your whole body underwater leaving only a small portion of your mouth and nose above the water.

The water is heated to between 89° and 94°, depending on the season. The water is also chemically treated for cleanliness to meet all local swimming pool and hot tub requirements of the local health department. We also replace the water daily. We have a private dressing room on board and for your comfort the lab is air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

A trained technician will be with you every second of the test. You will have privacy and confidentiality during the entire test, which takes approximately 10 minutes.

What do I do with the info?

After the test, you will receive an email or hard copy printout of your results, showing you where you are, where you should be, and what it will take to get there. You will then have a realistic baseline to establish your fitness goals. Get with your Coach For Life (if you don’t have one email Tim or Gen and we’ll make sure you’re set up) to help get you on track.

Final Details

Body Analytics will be at CrossFit Austin on Monday, January 8th from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. We’ll set up a retest day for after the challenge so you can test your pre and post composition numbers.

Single test – $49
Pre & Post-test – $89 (save $10)


OK! Let’s see what you’re made of! Literally…

010 || Diaries of a Coach – New Year’s Resolutions…


What were the last three New Year’s Resolutions you made? Do you remember?


Did you make one last year? Did you follow through?


Think about it for just a second.


What made you succeed? What made you fail?


If you didn’t make one, what was your reason for not?


I’ll admit, historically, I just don’t do it. For a long time I think it was the fear of failing that kept me from committing to a resolution. More recently, I’ve disagreed on principle with the whole premise of only setting goals and putting forth effort toward their accomplishment once a year. But that has quite possibly been a cover up for the added pressure of a New Year’s Resolution, the still present fear of failing and my lack of motivation. After all, the idea of a resolution tends to be something we need to “give up” which means we want it but shouldn’t have it. So deny ourselves intentionally of what we really want, who wants to do that?


Well it’s officially that time again my friends, time to decide on the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Maybe you’re thinking, “Nooooooo, it’s not time yet!” Ok friends, step one is realizing that it is, in fact, time. Thinking ahead, thinking about it now, will play a part in your success. If we take the time now to put thought into where we REALLY want to be and want we need to do to get there, goals will be more meaningful and we will undoubtedly take more ownership in getting there. Decide now what areas need some slight adjustments in the New Year and an intentional resolution to making them happen. Think through possible plans of action to get there, what resources do you have? What do you need? I promise the New Year is coming, fast!


Step two, narrow the scope. As of today, I have been asked to be a part of two New Year “challenges.” Anyone else? Saying no is a lost art for many, including me, but we need to. You can’t do it all and do it well. There are two areas that I’d like to focus on in 2018, because neither of these offers would get me closer to my goals in those areas, a “no” is crucial. Time and energy are limited resources, invest them well. After all, we always seem to be complaining that we lack one or the other. Pick one or two things, not 12, and really commit. And make sure they are actually attainable, given your time, resources and motivation.


Third, figure out what success looks like. How will you know when you get there? Is success measurable? Can you track some sort of progress along the way? Think about it in terms of the accomplishment rather than what it might cost to get there. If the end result is your motivation, it is less likely to dwindle as the busyness and stress of life settle in.


And lastly, tell everyone. Like, literally, everyone. I’m serious. The more we are encouraged and held accountable, which involves communicating our goals, our progress and eventually our success to others, the more we will stick with it. Quite honestly, I’m motivated by how much it would suck to have to answer questions about my progress with, “Oh, I gave up.” (Using pride to my advantage like a champ! Wait, is that bad? Maybe. But it’s the truth!)


A great way to do this is the CFA accountability board. At the start of the New Year, we will feature a board in the gym where you can post your goals and when those goals are met, move them from the “I will…” side to the “I did…” side. This is a great tangible reminder to you and to others in your community who can encourage you along the way!


So when it comes to goals this New Year, plan now, narrow your scope, define success and tell the world! We are here to help, so utilize the accountability board, talk about ways to improve and reach your goals with a coach, sign up for the Whole Life Challenge… make your move CFA, we are in it with you!


Oh, and if I don’t see you before Christmas, have a Merry one! See you on the flip side!

Coach E

Holiday Schedule

Image result for merry christmas


From our family to yours, for whatever holiday you celebrate, we wish you a Merry Christmas and the best holiday season!

Holiday Schedule:

Friday 12/22 – No Youth or Oly
Saturday 12/23 – No Yoga

Monday 12/25 – Closed
Tuesday 12/26- Closed

Friday 12/29 – No Youth or Oly 

Monday 1/1 – Closed – Happy New Year!

Balancing & Addressing your {Whole} life with the Whole Life Challenge

You’ve {hopefully} seen me post about The Whole Life Challenge pretty regularly over the last few weeks as we are getting ready for the New Year’s 2018 Challenge. We are very excited about this year’s game! With this being our 3rd year to run it, we’ve worked out all the kinks and have added some exciting new opportunities to the game. You can check out all of those details HERE.

But, today I just wanted to share with you an example of the value that is included with being a part of the challenge. The Whole Life Challenge encompasses just that. Your. Whole. Life. That includes the 7 habits that are a part of the game and the accountability of playing with the team, but they offer so much more through their blog and podcasts. This post is an example of just ONE of the things they touch on in the articles that are available and I thought it was perfectly appropriate since we are all about to go spend {quality} time with our families 🙂

Read and enjoy and hopefully we’ll see you on our team starting in January! Remember, this challenge is for everyone. They don’t have to be a member to participate. It’s actually more helpful to have your whole household taking part so encourage your friends and family to join you and let’s make 2018 ours!

-Coach Gen



How to Stop Holiday Stress (and Still Love Your Family)The holiday season is traditionally portrayed as a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, where we give thanks for the past and look forward to the future.

In reality, it’s usually a time when we try to squeeze more things — parties, shopping, social activities, food, drinks, gifts — into our already full lives. We often do these things out of a sense of obligation, in the belief they’ll make our loved ones happier and bring us closer together.

Given the extra physical, mental, and emotional load the holiday season brings, it’s not surprising this time of year signifies stress, frustration, and resentment for many people. Much of that holiday stress comes from dealing with loved ones and extended family members in emotionally-charged situations, which seem to repeat year-in, year-out.

  • Perhaps it’s your uncle Vinny retelling that embarrassing story from your childhood every time he sees you.
  • Or your aunt Barbara’s passive-aggressive comments over the dryness of the turkey and the lumpiness of the gravy.
  • Or that simmering conflict with your cousin Jim, which always turns into a heated argument after a couple of beers.
  • Or your father-in-law’s comments about the kids’ behavior and how “things were different in his day.”
  • Or your grandmother commenting about your appearance during dessert.

If the above examples sound familiar to you, rest assured we all have dramas with loved ones at some point in our lives. The nature of relationships means disagreement and conflict is normal, and it can be a healthy opportunity to adjust unhelpful behaviors.

During the holidays, though, the close confines of social gatherings — combined with a tendency to drink more alcohol and eat more sugar — leads to a diminished ability to regulate our emotional impulses. Cue the conflict, outbursts, and feeling like an angst-ridden teenager all over again.

Download the WLC Cheat Sheet

Clearly this can impact our emotional well-being in the form of increased stress, anxiety, frustration, and overwhelm. It can also impact our physical well-being, particularly if we engage in compensatory and avoidance behaviors such as emotional eating, excess alcohol consumption, working longer hours, or over-exercising.

Rather than approaching this year’s gatherings as obligations to be tolerated — and steeling yourself for conflict and drama — there are ways to bring a little harmony into your holidays. Here are five tools for putting a stop to the holiday stress, and maybe even enjoying your family.

1. Be Proactive

If a particular relative or loved one causes friction, try approaching that person beforehand and attempt to resolve the situation away from the emotionally-charged environment of family gatherings.

While it may not be possible to fully resolve the conflict, the process of airing each other’s grievances and being heard can go a long way toward reaching common ground. If nothing else, you can agree in advance not to let your disagreement detract from the upcoming gathering.

How to Stop Holiday Stress (and Still Love Your Family)

2. Schedule Your Breaks

For every social engagement added to your calendar over the holiday period, schedule a corresponding time-out.

The physical, mental, and emotional load is higher during the holidays as we spend our time running from event to event trying to remain upbeat, engaged, and energetic. To truly be at your best during this time, recognize that you may need additional restorative time in the form of extra sleep, walks in nature, reading, journaling, listening to music, yoga, meditating, being creative, etc.

3. Accept It

Much of the pressure around holidays stems from the expectation that things should be perfect — from the presentation of the food, to buying the ultimate gift for your partner, to the behavior of your family.

In reality, life and people are unpredictable, and trying to achieve the picture-perfect holiday season is unrealistic. Our loved ones are human — as beautifully flawed and imperfect as we are. Accepting them that way, and accepting that things will not go to plan, will greatly reduce feelings of angst and disappointment over how things “should” be.

How to Stop Holiday Stress (and Still Love Your Family)

4. Know Thyself

If you know that spending an entire day with your loved ones will leave you feeling depleted and resentful, how much time can you spend with them? Is it half a day? Three hours? Sixty minutes? How much time will give you the connection and enjoyment of the occasion, without leading to conflict or disappointment?

Once you have this level of self-awareness, you can begin to plan your social interactions accordingly. Then, communicate those time-frames to your loved ones, so they know in advance how much time they have with you.

5. Take a Breath

If you do nothing else differently these holidays, do this — take a breath.

Before leaving the house, changing lanes while driving, knocking on your parent’s door, or responding to an obnoxious family member — take a breath. Not only could this pause save you from additional drama and conflict, it can soothe your stress levels and allow a little perspective and clarity.

Bonus Tip: Plan Your Circuit Breakers

If a situation becomes heated, emotionally-charged, or you feel yourself tensing up, it’s okay to have a quick break. This could be a trip to the bathroom, a walk outdoors, a stretch, or calling a friend.

How to Stop Holiday Stress (and Still Love Your Family)

Holiday Stress Is About How We Respond

The postcard image of a bright, happy, loving family sharing a perfectly cooked holiday meal in perfectly presented house with perfectly clean children is not real. And that’s okay.

Life can get messy because we’re human. The key point is to recognize that, while you cannot control other’s behavior, you can control how you react to it. As adults, we have a choice in how we respond. We can choose whether to react in a helpful or harmful way.

Take responsibility for your own holiday experience, and perhaps others in your family will follow your lead next year.

The Whole Life Challenge is about looking at your health with the whole picture in mind — not just exercise and not just nutrition. Participating in the Challenge will improve your mind, your body, and your daily habits, leaving you happier, healthier, and in control of your lifestyle. If you’re ready for a change, this is your opportunity. Click below to learn more:



009 || Diaries of a Coach – 5 Tips for Surviving Holiday Travel

Considering we live in a city of transplants and unicorns, I’m assuming most of you, like me, have some degree of traveling to do this holiday season. When I think about the two trips I have planned, whatever routine, whatever consistency I’ve developed in regard to my workouts, seems highly threatened. Anyone else?

Well here I come in my red cape to save the day! Tips for surviving holiday travel without losing precious ground toward your fitness goals.

*I feel like it’s also worth mentioning here, it’s going to be ok. If you drop the ball on these things for a week, all. is. not. lost. Promise. Alright boo, here we go.

1) Get creative.

I recently moved to an old ranch house in the middle of no where. Seriously, it’s the epitome of country living. Like, we have coyotes. Need I say more? Anyways, one of my roommates introduced me to what she calls “driveway sprints”. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Sprint out, walk back. Sprint out, walk back. DOESN’T THAT SOUND FUN?!?! Ok, no, but all you need is a driveway, a road, a stretch of sidewalk or even some stairs. This is essentially interval training, in it’s simplest form, alternating between work intervals where your heart rate is between 70-90% of you max heart rate (which is 220 – your age), and rest intervals where the heart rate comes down to 60-65% of your max heart rate. HIIT training is a great way to burn fat, build endurance, and leave you feeling accomplished after any degree of sedentary traveling. Win!

My point is this, get creative with what you have. Maybe there’s a nearby park, AMRAP your little heart out with pull ups, push ups, squats and sprints. If you have to goblet squat a kid, do it. Your fitness goals are on the line! I’m kidding, please don’t harm a child.

2) Hydrate.

Did you know traveling can dehydrate you? Particularly if you are flying, the lack of humidity in the air on a plane can easily cause dehydration, fatigue and increased risk for airborne sickness. So sip on some water folks. Not only will this help decrease the risks involved with travel but it will help your body with digestion and nutrient absorption, body temperature and blood circulation, and joint and muscle movement, all important for muscle growth and recovery. Hydrating will also cleanse the body and rehydrate if (or maybe when) food and alcohol consumption are slightly elevated. (That was a nice way to put it, right? Read: When you eat like shit and are drunk off your ass.)

3) Plan good nutritional choices.

Traveling usually lends itself to the most inconsistent of diets. Eating out, eating late, eating too much or too little. When I’m traveling I usually try to abide by my “make more good choices than bad” rule. This allows me the room to enjoy life but to feel good at the end of the day, mentally and physically, about my nutrition.

Two ideas (one I’m pretty good at, the other, not so much):

Pack healthy snack options for travel days and you’ll save time and money trying to find them in an airport or on the road. I will admit, I’m a sucker for travel snacks. It’s part of the experience, right?!? But here’s my promise to you CFA, I’m going to pack my snacks this year! Hold me to it.

This one I actually enjoy and do pretty well. When eating out, look at menus ahead of time. Find a healthy option and decide what you’re going to order, that way, the decision is made when you get there and you don’t even have to look! Enjoy your time and the people you’re with instead!

4) Find a gym.

Not sure where you may be headed but for me, going home always reminds me how fortunate I am to live in a city so centered around activity with such easy access to multitudes of fitness outlets. A lot of cities just don’t have many options, so this is a huge struggle for me. Luckily, after multiple trips and attempts, I did find a great CrossFit gym near my sister’s. So keep looking, do some research ahead of time and make sure you are aware of drop-in protocol. Post in our members group and see if anyone has been to your destination and found an exceptional gym or ask a coach about an affiliate gym in our business network.

If you’re staying in a hotel, use the gym or fitness center there! Don’t be a CrossFit snob, get your butt in there and get some resistance training/accessory work or cardio knocked out. Find a coach and get some suggestions that will help you make specific progress where you need it.

5) Take some gear. 

This one may or may not be possible depending on your travel mode and destination. Bring some equipment that will not only make workouts possible, but remind you to do it! Bring a foam roller or lacrosse ball, do some mobility and soft tissue work. Bring a jump rope to get in some cardio or skill work on those dreaded double unders. Resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, all very transportable if you’re location is within driving distance.

Ultimately, move. Planned and unplanned, programmed and unprogrammed, structured and unstructured. Enjoy life and the capability you have to be active. Explore new places, try new activities, have FUN and MOVE with friends and family this holiday season! Good luck out there!

-Coach E

Travel WOD:

Pyramid Workout

Complete 10 rounds, decreasing reps each round (10-9-8-7…etc.)
Each round will end with a timed sprint or sprint for distance (30 sec. or about 100m)

Squats (weighted if possible)
Glute Bridge (weighted if possible) or Kettlebell Swing
Sprint out/walk back (return trip is your rest/recovery)

The Open Season || Coach Tim Garland


Howdy CFA! As I write this, the weather is changing….and so is our ‘season’ in the gym. Having some general ‘themes’ or ‘seasons’ throughout the year helps keep things interesting while preserving the primary stimulus of building better humans. The past several months have been focused on building a solid foundation with lots of barbell work. While we won’t be putting up the barbells, those of you who are consistent with 3-5 days a week training might notice a subtle shift in focus. The shifts in the programming will be hard to notice for the average member. They are ‘shades of grey’ instead of ‘black and white’. We still want to preserve the main goal of getting people generally fit for life, but we don’t want people to be forced into a regimen that isn’t aligned with their goals.


So…stepping out of our ‘Barbell’ season and into our ‘Open’ season, what can we expect? Here are some highlights of our ‘Open’ season:

-Focus on barbell lifts that will likely play an important role in the Open

-Increase in skill work for movements that are common the the Open

-Metcons will include more volume, as well as develop volume in higher skill movements

-More frequent posts of previous Open workouts


During this season, you’ll also have a few opportunities to work on some of these skills in a setting devoted only to certain movements. The first of which is this Friday from 6:30-8p, where Coach David Henderson will be working with us on a few of these high skill movements. (REGISTER HERE) We will sprinkle in a few extra ‘skills’ classes here and there on Saturday afternoons and Tuesday or Thursday evenings…so be on the lookout for those dates and what movements will be covered during each class!


I’d like to make a few reminders as we progress our way into this season. An increase in volume also needs to be matched and accompanied by a few things outside of class. A focus on recovery should always be present, but if you increase workload….make sure you’re getting all the goodies that will help you achieve your goals. Having an appropriate intake of nutrients is preached, understood and practiced by many. If you are unsure of the best route on the nutrition path for you, talk with a coach. Also, starting in January, Coach Ben will put his Nutrition degree into practice and will be doing nutritional consults to help you step your game up! You can set-up a consult with him via email at ben@crossfitaustin.com  Another component you’ll need to stay on top of is your SLEEP! People are beginning to catch on, but in this fast-paced, I need to accomplish everything today world that we live in…many are foregoing this wonderful aid in recovery.

In our New Year Whole Life Challenge, we’ll be addressing and setting goals for these things as well. You can join our team HERE!

-Coach Tim