Getting Through The Suck || Coach Nole Steketee

In the last few years that I’ve been coaching Crossfit,  I’ve heard, and used,  hundreds of different cues in order to help teach athletes to perform different movements.  Recently though it occurred to me that of all those cues, little to none have had anything to do with the mental aspect of our conditioning.  I realized that I’m teaching people how to move and be aware of their bodies and expecting them to translate that into a better Fran time, while completely ignoring a huge part of what makes us achieve that accomplishment.  I realized it doesn’t matter how strong you are or how large your anaerobic capacity is. If your mind shuts down at the first sign of discomfort during a workout then that huge deadlift PR you got last week doesn’t really matter.  Some people refer to this as mental fortitude, or as I like to think of it, the ability to decrease the number of “This Sucks!”, or  “I’m tired, I want to stop”  per workout.   I used to think that mental fortitude in athletics was something some people are just born with, but I’ve come to realize that it is something that must be learned.

So with that in mind I wanted to give you a few Mental “cues” to help you get through some of those grueling workouts a little faster, and hopefully make them “suck” a little less.


1. Have some Play Pretend Time.

Once you hit that point in your workout where the “This Sucks!” thoughts start to creep into your head, just pretend you are not in the middle of a workout.  I took this idea from the book “Born to Run” which had a story about a ultra marathoner who used a similar trick during a really grueling 100 mile race through Death Valley in the middle of summer.  He was in last place, laying in the fetal position in a pool of his own vomit (something we as crossfitters can all relate to.. more or less), when he decided to get up, pretend he just woke up and was about to go for his morning run, and ended up winning the race and setting a new course record.  Well if it worked in those conditions I’m pretty sure it might help you during your 20 min AMRAP. Here’s what you do: When you are in that home stretch and you feel at your worst, pretend you just finished warming up for the class that day and you are just starting your workout.  This might seem silly, but it works, and you just might realize that all that discomfort you are feeling is really just in your head (mostly).

2. Talk to Yourself.

You may have seen professional athletes doing this during games, and as silly as you might feel giving yourself a pep talk in the middle of a workout, this also works.  Telling yourself things like “You got this”, “Come one, we’ve done much harder workouts than this before”, or even “You are a Crossfit GOD! ” will help you fight off the negative thoughts that can creep in.  The funny thing about this though, is it doesn’t really matter what you say to yourself.  You could start reciting the lyrics to your favorite Justin Beiber song if you like. Because speaking gives your brain a task to perform, it will stop it from focusing on the discomfort you are feeling. So give it a try if you don’t mind the other people working out around you thinking you are a little off.

3. Focus on the movements.

Once again we are in distraction mode here.  The more you can give your brain a specific task the less ability it will have to focus on how much it wants you to stop doing what you are doing.  So if you are doing Wall Balls, really focus on making each repetition smooth and efficient.  Deadlifts? Focus on making each rep perfect.  Before you know it you will be on the last rep and it will have came faster than your realized.


4. Set small goals.

Sometimes focusing on the whole workout and the total number of reps to complete can get overwhelming, especially halfway through a long workout when you feel like you will never be able to finish.  When this happens try to stop thinking of the total and just focus on the getting through a small chunk, then focus on the next small chunk.  Before you know it you may just be on the last few reps.  I personally use this a lot on the last few rounds of a hard workout when I can say “OK, this is the last time I’ll be doing burpees, so I may as well just finish them off as fast as I can”.  Then I move to the next exercise and repeat.  Give it a shot next time you don’t think you can get through that last round.


5. Get competitive.

When all else fails, if you are really struggling, you can always call up your competitive nature to help get you through a workout.  In the middle of a workout when the negative thoughts start sneaking in, look around at the other people working out, find someone who appears to be in less trouble than you, and try to keep up with them, or even beat them.  Once again we are trying to distract our brain, and focusing on another athlete can be a good way to do this.  If you try this and it works, make sure to thank the other athlete after the workout for helping you get through it.


You may have noticed a theme running through these tips.  Its all about distraction, so whether you use any of these “cues” or not, you do need to find a way to focus your mind on the task at hand, and discard the negative thoughts during your workouts.  If you can do this, you may find your performance can increase without lifting a single weight or doing a single rep. Good Luck and have fun!

-Coach Nole

Final Day to Register || Spring Cleaning Competition

Today is the final day of registration for the Spring Cleaning Competition benefiting GingerCare Pets!

Registration closes at 11:30 pm tonight!

{Register Here}

Learn more about {Spring Cleaning}
Learn more about {Ginger Care}

We’d like to thank all of our partners who donated prizes for our Rx and Scaled Divisions:

Airrosti Rehab Centers:
1st Places Prizes – Dynamax Medballs and T-shirts

FringeSport :
2nd Place Prizes – Sunglasses, Wrist wraps, Jump Rope, Strength Band, and a T-shirt

Cyclone Speed Rope & Reebok Outlet San Marcos:
3rd Place Prizes – Jump Rope and Reebok apparel

We’d also like to thank Kong Screen Printing for helping us out with our shirts!

Get Off Your… || Coach Mark Grande


{The Consequences of Sitting}

We are all guilty of sitting way too much, whether it is watching TV, working, eating, commuting, or just lounging around.  The latest statistics show that 86% of Americans sit ALL day at work!  Recent research studying the damaging effects of excessive sitting suggests that health disparities such as musculoskeletal injuries, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes will exponentially increase.  As we sit for long periods of time, our body’s physiological and metabolic systems are not functioning properly.  For example, the metabolism slows, blood flow and respiration is restricted, hormonal systems become off-balance, and the hips become ‘tight’.  However, taking several short breaks throughout the work day just to stand and stretch can reduce the above mentioned risk factors!  How does this relate to your performance at the gym?

Yes, those hips!  Tight hips and inactive glutes (from excessive sitting) can hamper physical performance in a variety of activities, such as sprinting, squatting, and deadlifting. If you want to perform at your best, you need to make sure that your hips stay limber and that your butt muscles are firing and active.  Below are some tips and exercises you can perform at home or work.

Stretch out those hips on that work break with these exercises! (hold stretches for 60-90secs)

2 3 4 5 6

These are just a few exercises to get you started on the right track.  If you can forsake yourself looking weird at work, I recommend foam rolling during those sitting breaks also.  It’s okay to be THAT guy/girl at the office!  Stay Strong and CFA On!

-Coach Mark


*Photos courtesy of The Art of Manliness


May Athlete Of The Month: Isaiah Rosario!

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 Isaiah Rosario! Isaiah came to us from Connecticut last summer. He joined with some experience under his belt and we’ve loved watching him continue to grow with us. Isaiah is normally a morning guy {no, not chicken o’clock}. He frequents the 7:30 & 8:30 am classes, but also joins the noon crew on occasion. Come join him for a WOD and muster up a little friendly competition. We guarantee he’ll push you. Congratulations Isaiah! We are thrilled to have you as this month’s Athlete of the Month.

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Words to live by?isaiah1
Work Hard, Stay Humble
What is your fitness background?
Played Football, baseball and ran track throughout my high school years.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
On and off for about 2 years.
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
My first day at Crossfit was amazing. It reminded me of all the brutal football and track practices that I went through in high school. There is just something about pushing yourself to the limit and embracing the suck with everyone else in class. I honestly still get the same feeling I had since day one.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
EACH and EVERY person! When I first moved back to Austin I was nervous about starting over at a new box because I had built so many relationships at my previous box in Connecticut. But once I walked in on day 1, I knew this was the place for me.
Current Training Goals/PRs?
Continue to get better each and everyday
What is your cheat meal go to?
Whataburger, sweet tea and breakfast tacos or my mom’s Mexican food when she’s in town
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I would probably say that I was proud of myself the first time I ever cleaned 225. It was during my first competition at my old box and that was a weight I had wanted to hit for a long time.
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
I’d call it Sweetness named after Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Walter Payton. The WOD would consist of thrusters (95) and hill sprints. This is how it would work:
20 thrusters, 5 hill sprints (up and back down is 1)isaiah2
19 and 5
18 and 5
etc…till you get to 1
***Beer and breakfast tacos would meet you at the end of the wod!
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
-I love trying new foods
-I love to cook
-I love binge-watching shows
-I love listening to live music (especially country)
-I like meeting new people
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m the first one in family to graduate from college
Longhorns or Aggies?
LONGHORNS! Sorry Wes but we all know who really runs this state! Hook ‘Em
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Thank you to all the coaches and the rest of my fellow crossfitters at CFA. You guys have made my time here unforgettable and I love suffering with ya’ll day after day. I’m honored and humbled that I was picked for Athlete of the Month.

Behind The Scenes with GingerCare Pets || Linzi Newth


“…and the preacher said that dog even bowed his head to pray,” an excerpt from a story about my great grandmother and her dog that went to church with her every Sunday.  An unspoken connection with animals has been passed down my family line.  I have had the pleasure of animals in my life since the day I was born and haven’t gone one day since without. I can’t imagine a day without their unconditional love and companionship.

Veterinary school was not my chosen path but it definitely taught me more than I could have ever imagined.  As a veterinarian, I enjoy the good days but the bad days can be almost unbearable.  The first bad day was one month after starting my first job as an official doctor.  I walked into an exam room and saw a fragile crouched elderly woman sitting on the bench, her fluffy red companion at her side.  MaryAnn had brought her sweet dog, Ginger, in because she was not acting normal.  Bloodwork showed that Ginger was in liver failure.  When I broke the news to MaryAnn, the tears immediately started falling.  I had single handedly broken this gentle woman’s heart, which in turn broke mine.

MaryAnn had lost her husband years prior. Ginger was her only companion so she decided to do everything in her power to prolong Ginger’s life and keep her comfortable.  Thousands of dollars and five weeks later, Ginger passed away.  MaryAnn knew it was inevitable but five weeks was just enough time for her to say good-bye to her beloved companion.  Needless to say, MaryAnn was devastated.  Once waking up to a sweet furry face every day, she now had to go through life alone.

I began having lunch daily with MaryAnn at her home.  Never having a daughter of her own, we quickly became very close.  I started bringing my own dog, Remington, to our lunch dates.  Remi and MaryAnn hit it off immediately.  Eventually, I started dropping Remi off before work and picking her up afterwards.  MaryAnn and Remi’s relationship flourished during the next two years until I was faced with an international relocation.  I offered to find MaryAnn a compatible pet of her own but she consistently denied my offer, stating that she was not sure she could care for a pet appropriately.  Even more concerning to her was what would happen to her new companion if she could no longer care for or keep the pet.  It broke my heart to, yet again, be responsible for the flurry of emotions MaryAnn was left to deal with; sadness, loneliness, emptiness and hopelessness.

I have since moved back to the states and set up a new home in Austin.  I have visited MaryAnn since returning and she still denies my offer to find her a companion.  She is lonely and empty.  I want nothing more than to help fill those holes.  The golden years should be a time of happiness, reflection and peace but all too often, the elderly get neglected due to the busy schedule of our own lives.  My dream is to change that for as many senior citizens as possible.  I want to make the last years of their lives ones filled with love, smiles, warmth and unconditional love.  What better way to do this than to provide a constant companion?

I founded GingerCare in 2014 to fulfill this dream.  I will be finding clients, senior citizens, and interviewing them to find out what kind of companion they want and will fit best into their life.  I will then adopt and give them this companion, all the while taking care of all pet related costs, including food, toys, litter, and medical care.  I will check in on them regularly and will always be on call if they ever need anything.  If something were to happen to the client and they could no longer keep their companion, then the pet comes back to GingerCare where it will be placed in a new loving home.  Everyone deserves unconditional love and companionship, especially during their golden years.  I dream of a day where I can spend my time providing that joy to people’s lives.

-Linzi Newth


Join us this Saturday {May 9} for our Spring Cleaning Competition benefiting GingerCare. Proceeds from registrations along with Donations will be going to Linzi and her non-profit to aid in her efforts.

The last day to register for Spring Cleaning is Thursday, May 7. Find our more about Spring Cleaning {Here}



Upcoming Peak Training Phase


Folks we are officially half way through this cycle as of the today. Well done to all our athletes for putting in a ton of effort and hard work over the past 3 weeks, and being willing to “grind” through things that may feel a bit tedious or boring.  Doing the not so “sexy” work is how we continue to progress over the long haul. With that said, over the next 3 weeks sexy is back and we get to compete and have a ton of fun in the gym. We’ll still make time to practice our skills over the next 3 weeks, while we challenge ourselves to push past our limits both mentally and physically.

Once again a quick review on how we run our training cycles:

Week 1: Test Week
Week 2-7: Training
Week 8: Retest Week
Weeks 9 & 10: Transition weeks

We break our training weeks into two phases, a 3 week Base Phase which we just finished, and 3 week Peak Phase which begins on Monday.

In the peak phase my goals are:

  • Work Olympic and strength lifts in the 85% range to prepare for the final strength tests
  • Improve efficiency in specific test movements
  • Work moderate range conditioning efforts (8-12 minutes) via traditional CrossFit “Metcons” and mix modality aerobic power intervals


The schedule for the peak phase is less structured than the base phase, but you will still see either a strength lift of olympic lift or both on Monday’s and Wednesdays. We will continue work static gymnastics position as extra credit, and our conditioning work will be different depending on the day.

One thing to do now is to reflect. Go back and look at the test week, and remind yourself what you’re working for. If there is something in those tests that you know is a major weakness talk to your coach and let them help you start moving towards improvement. That might mean taking the time to go to Oly class, working one on one with a coach on a gymnastic movement, spending some extra time improving your movement with mobility work, or simply showing up more consistently. We give you the big plan to move the whole community forward, but you get to decide what to attack to make YOU better.

Looking forward to another great week! #UDGUDE

 –Coach Wes  



The Perfect Moment || The Prep – May 4

ALWAYS WAITING for the “perfect time” to get started on new projects? To learn a new skill? To eat better? To exercise more?

If so, here’s something to think about.
When I get a different job.
When things are less busy.
When I find a workout partner.
When I find the right equipment.
When I feel less awkward in the gym.
When I lose 20 lbs.
When I get the right workout routine.
When my fridge is full of the right foods.
Tomorrow. Next week. Never.

There is no perfect time. There never will be. However, there is a perfect moment. There is actually always a perfect moment.

That perfect moment is now. Here. Today. The living, breathing sliver of time that you have in this precise second. Because that is all you ever have: right now.

Seize your moment. Join us for The Prep starting Monday, May 4.

Designed to introduce new clients to the fundamentals and essential movements often seen in our group classes, The Prep is a course that teaches proper movement, recovery, mobility strategies, and a crash course on nutrition & lifestyle. This beginners program ultimately gives our clients the tools to make their time at CrossFit Austin life changing.
{Learn More}

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