Fall Programming Update


As we finish up Test Week I have a quick update on what you can expect from our programming this cycle. We’re testing out some new concepts this cycle so the weekly format may look slightly different than in the past.  


Some cool new things you can expect:

“Scaling Guides”
Most days will include a more in-depth scaling guide. This will give you the athlete, as well as your coach, a more detailed approach for the day’s workout. It will also help folks accomplish the “spirit of the workout” as opposed to the “letter of the workout” (I’ll explain more about this in a later article). Lastly we’re expanding our listed scaling options to help standardize the workouts a bit more.


“Weekly Format”

The biggest change here is we may not always have a dedicated strength day on Wednesdays.  In an effort to offer a more complete programming package to those of you that can only train 2-3x a week some Wednesday’s will include a conditioning element. Not to worry, we will still always include a strength element on Wednesdays and we will still have certain Wednesdays in the cycle that will focus solely on strength and strength practice.


“Cash Outs”  

Some days will include optional cash outs.  These are designed for folks to grab a little bit extra conditioning, and auxiliary work. If you feel like you scaled to much or paced a workout to slow this is an opportunity to do a bit more work at the end of class. A word of warning this is not extra volume just for the sake of extra volume, and don’t “leave some in the tank” just so you can do the cash out.


I want to thank our friend Jeremy Jones at Thrivestry for the help on the new programming stuff.  If you’ve been here for a long enough you know that I don’t stay static on what we do in the gym. We’re always pushing and experimenting to try and make things better. Our hope and expectation is that this will result in an even fitter and healthier community.

Why we believe in the Coach for Life || Coach Wes Kimball



Over the past 5 months CFA has made some changes and evolved the way we operate. One of the biggest changes that happened was that many of you were given your own personal coach. And those of you that have started with us in the last 5 months have we’re set up with a “Coach for Life” from the get go.

Maybe you realized at the time—or maybe you didn’t—but having your own personal coach is a fairly unique concept in our broader community. Talk to your friends who CrossFit at another gym in a different city, and chances are they probably don’t have a personal coach in their corner.

But have you ever thought about why we do it this way?

Why we think it’s best for you to have a consistent coach for the duration of your time with us?

I can assure you it wasn’t an arbitrary decision. We adopted this concept because we think it’s the best way to help you be successful with your long term fitness plan.

Most people who become CrossFit coaches, personal trainers, or bootcamp / spin class /  yoga instructors, or even folks that have worked with us in the past do it for an average of one to three years and then they quit and move on to something else because it hard to make a living in the fitness industry.

Truth is, there are very few full-time, career fitness coaches today (let alone professional coaches). For some folks they simply get burnt out, others have other career and family obligations that supersedes their job as a coach, and some move on because they realize they can’t earn a living in the fitness industry.


For the client, this can mean many things, but the worst case scenario is a coach that isn’t invested in the clients. The best case scenario is a coach that really cares, but simply can’t sacrifice anything else to chase their passion and have to move on.  Both scenarios are a net negative for the client.

We’re part of a movement called the MadLab Group that’s trying to change this. MadLab has found a way to help coaches become career coaches able to make a professional living in the fitness industry. And because of this, coaches stick around are able to offer clients more coaching security by providing you with an invested coach for life (CFL).

Our hope with the CFL concept is for you to have someone to manage your health and wellness for years to come—the same way you have a family doctor, accountant, lawyer, and maybe even hairdresser for the duration of your entire life.

This doesn’t mean you can’t work with other coaches, of course. It just means your personal CFL —the one who put you through your first day experience at our gym, who trained you during personal training, and who probably still coaches many of the classes you attend—is invested in your progress, and he or she isn’t leaving next month!

And if you ever want more personal training, or you find yourself needing to rehab from an injury at some point, or you want some diet advice, or just need someone to vent about life, you have a personal coach to turn to.

We’re well on our way, but are still working to get all of our current clients with CFLs.   Regardless we are big believers that this is the path to a sustainable future for any gym that wants their clients to succeed over the long hall!

-Coach Wes

Volume giveth, and volume taketh away


A few weeks ago Dan Pope put out a very interesting article:




I suggest everyone click on that link and read the article. The premise is simple, researchers studying elite rugby player found that performing too much exercise at any given time increases risk of injury.  In this particular study they were able to quantify a threshold of volume for these rugby players that if crossed rendered them 70x or 7000% more likely to incur a non contact soft tissue injury.  


While this particular studies done on rugby players isn’t a one to one correlation to what we do in the gym. It is not hard to see that the fundamental principle of this study could be applied to those of us pursuing recreational or competitive fitness goals. Now the flip side of this is the researchers also confidently stated that greater intensity and volume produced more physically and mentally prepared athletes. Or put more simply improved the chance of getting “Results” the hard work involved in training.


So what’s the answer?


How much is too much?


Where is the line that I shouldn’t cross to give me optimal results without injuries?


The answer is we don’t know, and the reality is most of us don’t need to get close to that line if we’re not professional exercisers or professional athletes.  Maybe one day someone will do a study of this nature in the CrossFit world and try to quantify the optimal volume threshold for CrossFit.  That said here’s my advice if you feel like you need to do more:


Focus on practice, and movement virtuosity over heaps of mindless work. A common mistake folks make when they are in the novice stage of training (typically 1-3 years) is trying to do more work instead of making the work they’re already doing better. Spending an hour or two a week perfecting your kip swing or drilling you pulling positions in the clean will trump slogging through a 60 minute workout with 100 pull-ups and 100 heavy squat cleans any day.


Match training time with purposeful recovery time. A typical training session last 60-90 minutes and for some the rest of their day revolves around sitting at a desk at work and laying on the couch at home.  I always recommend you match your training time with purposeful recovery time. This could be more active recovery modes like walking, hiking, casual bike riding, swimming, stretching, and meditating. Or more passive modes like ice baths, contrast showers, massages, or soft tissue work.  For most of us this means we train hard 3-5 hours a week and match that with 3-5 hours of non stressful activity. It’s also worth mentioning that good nutrition and good sleep should be the foundation of all this as it “amplifies” what you do in the gym. While poor sleep and poor eating habits limit the results of your hard work in the gym.


Those are the big ones for me. If you can do these two simple things then you’re likely safe to add some additional work volume to your weekly routine.  For those that choose to train multiple times a day with no thought or purpose to recovery practices. And / or those that beat themselves down with mindless work without a sound foundation of good movement just know it’s not if but when you’ll be sidelined with an injury.

Coach Wes

The Expert Series || Int/Adv Gymnastics Clinic with David Henderson



CONTACT: Frontdesk@crossfitaustin.com for 3-Day discount rate

About our Expert:

CFA is proud to welcome our very own David Henderson as our Expert Series coach this month. David has honed his craft under some of the greatest gymnastics coaches in the world including 3x USA Olympic Head Coach, Kevin Mazeika, one of China’s top coaches, Xiao Yuan, 2x Olympic Champion from Ukraine, Rustam Sharipov, and current U.S. Olympic Men’s Gymnastics head coach Mark Williams.  As an athlete David is a 4x NCAA National Champion (3-Team, 1-Individual) and 5-time All-American, and spent 3 years training at the OTC with the men’s national team. At the culmination of his competitive gymnastics career David spent four years as a professional acrobat as a part of the Cirque du Solei Company.

David now resides in Austin as Head Coach and Men’s Program Director at Star Center Gymnastics. David also currently travels the country teaching CrossFit specific gymnastic methods as a part of I99 Fit.

David’s concept is that he, “…teaches life lessons and principles using the tool of gymnastics.”

Saturdays August 27th,  September 3rd, and September 10th

10 am – Noon

$75 / session or $200 for all 3 sessions (limited to 12 athletes / session)
CONTACT: Frontdesk@crossfitaustin.com for 3-Day discount rate

Movement Focus:
Progressions for Muscle-ups (Strict & Kipping)
Progressions for pull-ups (Strict, Kipping, Butterfly, & Bar muscle-ups)
Handstand control and handstand walking
Core control, mobility, flexibility and body control for all gymnastics movements


Experience Level / Prerequisite :
This is an Intermediate to advanced course. Athletes should have at least a year of experience utilizing gymnastics in their training (rings, handstands, pull-ups, etc.) This is not a beginners course, athletes should have the ability to perform a minimum of 3 strict pull-ups, 3 strict dips, and 3 kipping pull-ups. If you have any question as to whether you’re prepared to take the class please contact us at info@crossfitaustin.com .


Full Bio:
David began his career in gymnastics at the age of 12, considerably late for a gymnast, yet excelled quickly to the highest ranks. Within four years he was on the National Team representing USA at the international level. He was coached by the top coaches in the world ranging from the 3x USA Olympic Head Coach, Kevin Mazeika, one of China’s top coaches, Xiao Yuan, and 2x Olympic Champion from Ukraine, Rustam Sharipov. Following his junior career, he attended the University of Oklahoma on a full- ride scholarship where he helped establish the dynastic reputation in the men’s program. He was a 4x NCAA National Champion (3-Team, 1-Individual) and 5-time All-American. Upon graduating, in 2006, with a degree in Anthropology, he then continued his competitive career at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado for three years. At the culmination of his competitive career he decided to move into the field of acrobatic performance.

In 2010, David joined the spectacular company, Cirque du Soleil, by completing the General Formation. Yet, prior to his actually joining a Cirque show, he performed as a Tumble Monkey in the Festival of the Lion King at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. After six months of performing in the Lion King he then went on to perform as a flyer in two shows for Cirque du Soleil. He toured throughout Europe in the show, Corteo, for one year with his family. At the end of his tour he was offered another contract to perform and tour North America in the show Totem for another year. He remains active with Cirque on special requests.

Learning much about himself and the world while in the circus, he then chose to take his family and live “off the grid” in California for four months in order to learn the principles of permaculture. He is fascinated with nature and all that this world has to offer. After trying his hand in the field (quite literally), he honored his true calling which was to be back in the gym as a gymnastics coach. Realizing that he could offer more to humanity through what he knows best, David and his family found a home in Austin, Texas, where he now resides as Head Coach and Men’s Program Director at Star Center Gymnastics. David’s concept is that he, “…teaches life lessons and principles using the tool of gymnastics.”

David was recently introduced to the CrossFit world through providing handstand clinics in the Austin-area over the past year. He now offers his expertise to people interested in enhancing their understanding and development of the gymnastic elements within CrossFit.

David Henderson lives with his wife, Kai, and three daughters, Sanoa, Gaia, and Ea and their dog, Osiris. His interests are cognitive development, philosophy, the study of the human body through Anatomy Trains and other Structural Integration practices, health and well-being, nutrition, and overall holistic living.

Attaboy! Chris Williamson

Happy Friday, All! I just want to give a quick shout out to Chris Williamson! This guy has been doing PT with me once a week for the last few months and he’s made huge improvements along the way. He comes in to group class 3-4 times a week and works with me 1 time a week. We’ve worked everything from mobility to technical break downs and he’s done a great job carrying our personal work over to group class. I see him doing his homework and getting great results. Kudos to you Chris for putting in the hours and making a solid commitment to your health and fitness journey.

Thanks for all your hard work and great company!
-Coach Gen

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August Athlete of The Month – Gilbert Nevarez!

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 August Athlete of the Month is Gilbert Nevarez! Gilbert became a member at CFA back in September of 2013 and I still remember when he started! He has always been such a friendly face! Gilbert is a devout 6:30 am guy. Like clockwork, he walks in with a smile and says “Good morning!” He gives his all in every single workout and it’s been a pleasure watching him grow in his years here. We’re excited to watch him continue to progress for many more years! Gilbert, we are proud to have you as our August Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Congratulations!

Words to live by?gilbert3
Treat others how you would like to be treated.

What is your fitness background?
Before CFA, running around town lake, mountain bike riding the greenbelt, and cycling.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Going on 3 years

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
Felt a little intimidated at first, with all the bad ass athletes around this gym. It took me a while to realize that I was not competing with anyone but myself. Looking back, I have also realized that the soreness never goes away. Every workout is a challenge and awesome!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The coaches and the members! It is such an awesome environment. Never a boring moment here. Always a great time!

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Finish a Spartan Beast in October.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Listen to your body. Do what only your mind and body can handle. Hove lots of fun while your doing your workout. Remember that you are only in competition with yourself.

What is your cheat meal go to?gilbert2
Whataburger with cheese all the way! I have tried them all in Austin. Even though there are a few excellent ones out there, Whataburger is old school! Born
and raised in Texas and consistently good. And don’t ever tell me In and Out is better!

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Finishing my first Karen!

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
It would be one that makes me feel like my heart feels like it is going to jump out of my chest! I absolutely love heart throbbing work outs! Probably name it Heart Attack or something like that.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Traveling out near the beach as much as possible.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I enjoy doing volunteer work in other countries at least once a year. After volunteering my first time 10 years ago, I was hooked! It was so fulfilling to help the less fortunate. It opened my eyes to see that we have it made here! It definitely puts me back in check every time I go out.gilbert1

Longhorns or Aggies?
Definitely a Longhorn! Even though I don’t get to make it out to many games as much as I used to, I am a Longhorn at heart! Hook Em!

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words:
Shout out to all you awesome coaches! If it wasn’t for the awesome coaching skills, I would not have been here almost 3 years. I am honored to be a member at CFA! I am honored to have been chosen this month AOM!



Strict Muscle-Ups with Coach David Henderson


In today’s video CFA Gymnastics expert David Henderson Jr. and CFA 2016 Regional Competitor Stacey Magnesio work on the attributes needed to master the strict muscle-up.

Phases of a Strict Muscle-ups

1. “The Support”  the stronger the support the easier it is to get to the top of the rings. Focus on squeezing the

the body as one piece while stretching the head to the ceiling and the feet towards the ground. Maintain the rings in a parallel position.

2. “The False Grip” hook the knobby bony part of the wrist at the bottom of the rings.  Athlete’s must be able to maintain this grip hanging with a fully extended elbow. The most common mistake is to “choke up” to much on the rings  causes the athlete to push away from the support position during the transition.

3. “Pulling phase” maintain the rings in a parallel position and keep them as close to the center line of your body as possible, pulling as high as possible.

4. “Transition phase” maintain rings as close to the body’s center line as possible while continue to move upward.  Must maintain continuous upward movement during the transition.

Tips for improving or achieving a strict Muscle up.

1. Develop a picture perfect support position at the top of the rings.

2. Strengthen your wrists in the false grip so you can comfortably hang from the rings with a proper false grip.

3. Use negatives to train the transition phase of the strict muscle-up and improve your ability to keep the rings close to your centerline.