May Athlete of the Month: Alexandra “Sissy” Walton!

 In an effort to get to know the fine folks of CrossFit Austin, we embark on our Athlete of the Month series.  Each month we will spotlight a different CFA athlete.  This month we have our beloved Sissy!

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State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Alexandra, Alex, but mostly known as Sissy!


Words to live by?
“Be a master of the mind, not mastered by the mind” -Zen Proverb-
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” – Buddha –


What is your fitness background?
I don’t really have one. I played volleyball a few years in high school and have always worked out in some fashion since middle school. I really didn’t start focusing on my fitness until I joined CFA, and I am so thankful I did. 


How long have you been CrossFitting?
It will be 2 years in June and one of the best decisions I have made.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

Everything! I love the workouts, the coaches, and the people. The coaches are amazing and always bring such positivity and encouragement. They always push me and make me realize my own potential. The 5:30am class is freaking amazing. They are just such great people, athletes, and supporters. They are always there to cheer me on and push me through the workouts.  I couldn’t choose better people to work out with. 


What are your training goals?
I just want to be healthy most of all. However, I love that I keep getting stronger and faster during the process. I also would love to improve my upper body strength and my overall endurance.  


Favorite sport or activity?
CrossFit, Reading, and Meditation!


Recent adventure you’re planning?
I got married in October and we plan on taking our honeymoon later this year. We are still deciding on our location.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I tried to be a boxer when I was younger, but it didn’t work out so well.  My dad was a boxer and I wanted to be cool like him. However, I quickly discovered I really didn’t like hitting people. I felt too guilty hurting them, so needless to say I didn’t make a very good boxer. =)

 

Longhorns or Aggies?
Longhorns, of course. Given that my husband works for LHN, I might be in trouble if I choose Aggies. 


Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Thank you CFA for everything. You not only have had an impact in my fitness journey but have had an everlasting impact in my life. You constantly push me to realize my own potential. You push me past my comfort levels and no matter how much I want to quit, you have given me the confidence I need to constantly keep moving. Everything I have learned and continue to learn at CFA are invaluable lessons that I am forever grateful for. 

The Push-Up Man & Woman of 2013!

Danny Stacey

If you missed the CFA Holiday/5th Anniversary Party, you might not have heard about our 2013 Push-Up Man and Push-Up Woman of the Year!

The Push-up Man and Woman of the Year exemplify everything that we love about our athletes, our community, and the human spirit. Not only do these people walk through the doors of CFA day in and day out, and work hard to improve themselves; they go out of their way to lift up everyone around them. They make their friends and families a priority over themselves. They lead and encourage by words, actions, and example. They represent the burning spirit of what makes our little South Austin gym unique and special. We at CrossFit Austin can humbly bestow no greater honor and we give our utmost heartfelt thanks that you both have chosen to make our gym, business, family, and lives a better place!

 

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The Push-Up Woman Of The Year: Stacey MagnesioState your Name and/or Nickname please:
Stacey Mag

Words to live by?
Attitude is everything!

What is your fitness background?
I played everything under the sun growing up- soccer, swimming, basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, ran track, underwater basket weaving (kidding on the last one). I owe my parents a lot for carting me around from game to game!

How long have you been CrossFitting?
My 5 year anniversary is this January:)

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The people of course! The community at CFA is amazing! Thank you CFA-ers for making our gym a fun place to work our butts off!

What are your training goals?
Stay healthy, eat good, and look good naked… I mean, work hard. Did I say that out loud? I also will continue to train for competitions and compete for our team in the Open and at Regionals:)

Favorite sport or activity?
CrossFit obviously, but I still play a mean game of pick up soccer at recess everyday;)

Recent adventure you’re planning?
No plans yet, but I do have all summer to play, so if anyone wants to go to the beach…

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I set up my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving this year

Longhorns or Aggies?
Bobcat! Texas State! Eat em’ up cats!

How do you plan to use your new-found fame and honor as Push-Up Man of the Year?
Obviously I am a teacher, so naturally I love to help/teach people. So if anyone needs help with a movement or lift, just ask:) I’m also a pretty good cheerleader, so I will continue to cheer everyone on as they reach new fitness goals this year.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Keep working hard and share your awesomeness daily!!!

 

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The Push-Up Man Of The Year: Danny Gomez
State your Name and/or Nickname please: 
Danny Gomez
Words to live by?
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and leave no doubt ~ Mark Twain
As far as fitness is concerned, Miguel Garza once told me to “make sure you get to enjoy the process, fitness is a life long journey”  That really changed my entire outlook on training.

What is your fitness background?

I was an active overweight kid growing up that played any and everything I could.  In High School I primarily played Football, shortly after I realized I wasn’t big enough, strong enough, or athletic enough, but I was awkwardly fearless… so I started playing rugby instead, I played for a few years and then NOTHING.
 
My first day at CFA I had to stop once or twice on the 400m warm up lap because I got a stitch in my side.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I joined CrossFit Austin in May of 2011

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin? 
Honestly my favorite part of CFA is the members!  Not just my friends, but every single person that walks through those bay doors!  I love that there is such diversity within the community yet we ALL come in each day, bust our asses side by side, and get it done.  It’s a beautiful thing.

What are your training goals?
My goals are pretty simple… Get stronger, faster, and have as much fun as possible doing it.

Favorite sport or activity?
I love being outdoors…Hunting, fishing, whatever!  I also <3 exercise

Recent adventure you’re planning?
No adventures planned in the immediate future, so I will probably spend most of my time in the gym with all of my SouthSide Athletics peeps getting strong and planning our world dominance.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’ve been a competitive Archer since I was 14 years old and have had some success at the State and National level with that.  I also have a thing for cat t-shirts!Longhorns or Aggies?
Both, I love rivalries and competitiveness!

How do you plan to use your new-found fame and honor as Push-Up Man of the Year?
I’m still not sure they even gave this thing to the right guy!?

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I joke a lot and rarely take things seriously, but I am truly honored each day to train with all of you!  We’re a community built around the simple principle of Awesomeness… When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.  This award is just as much yours as it is mine!

Great Reading For Your Halloween Workday

I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween Thursday!  Today I offer you some fantastic articles from around the interwebs. Please enjoy while you pretend to work this afternoon and have a happy and safe Halloween!

Embrace the suck
“The lesson the suck teaches us is that we have the ability to escape it.”

Chris Shugart start us off with a little motivation and a reminder that quitting is not an option. When times of adversity hit your only choice is to fight your way out. This is a great reminder for all of our folks that are new (or newly returned) and experiencing the growing pains of starting or restarting their fitness journey. Not to leave anyone out, its also important for those of us deep into the journey that we too must attack our hardships and plateaus with a great attitude and good ole fashion hard work!

Hacking Sleep
“Chronically bad sleep slathers on body fat, screws up our hormones, ages us faster, increases chronic illnesses, and drains our IQ and mojo.”

Brian St. Pierres article is a comprehensive on how to improve your sleeping and waking habits to ensure you get much more out of your night’s rest.  Nothing incredibly new here, but a great all in one resource if you find your sleep and/or recovery getting out of whack.

Rethinking Stress could save you life
“Stressing over stress is what makes stress so stressful.”

In this fantastic article from Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark breaks down why the perception of stress and our mental, and emotional response to it is truly what does us physical harm in the long run.  Sisson also gives some great techniques for coping and dealing with normally stressful life situation.
– Coach Wes

Strong

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I was recently in the gym coaching my SouthSide athletes and overheard Danny make an interesting comment. He said “what’s the downside to being strong? Give me one situation where being strong is a bad thing.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, and the good news is you’re in the right gym if this is a part of your belief system.  If being strong isn’t high on your priory list, hopefully it will be after this article.

Here at CrossFit Austin, and in SouthSide Athletics, we use concepts in our programming that relate to the idea that “being strong is better”.  In reality, all high quality strength and conditioning programs believe in a strategic plan of progressive overload, it’s called Linear Periodization.  Think of it like this, if we are going to build a pyramid we’d start with the base.  The larger the base is the taller we can build, and the same goes for training.  The better our base strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance is, the farther we can go in our fitness ventures.  Once we hit a certain height, we need to come back and work on the base before we can continue on.  This is happening everyday in our training, making us very unique.  Getting stronger can literally help you in all aspects of your training, let’s look at a few.

Endurance

Wait a minute here, getting stronger for endurance?  You better believe it.  Now we must understand that specificity will always reign supreme in training.  To get better at running, you need to run. To become a better cyclist, you must cycle.  There are other things we can do in your training to make you more EFFICIENT.  What does this mean for a endurance athlete?  The stronger you are, the more efficient your stroke or stride becomes.  Which means the athlete is able to do the same amount of work with less effort, or more importantly, more work with the same amount of effort.  We see this a lot with top CrossFit athletes.

Technique

This can be a wide variety of movements and skills, from weightlifting to handstand walks.  Sometimes in the CrossFit world people are obsessed with little “tricks” during skill practice to just “get the movement”, we see this constantly in kipping pull-ups and muscle-ups (ect).  So, is it the fact that they have bad technique or they are too weak? I believe that it is BOTH!  You can’t just separate technique and strength because you are too lazy to get stronger.  I believe that strength and technique are “intertwined”.  Is an athlete losing the position of the lumbar spine during a lift because they have bad technique, or because they are not strong enough?  I think you should know the answer by now.  Whether you are new to CrossFit, or have been in it for years and need a little wake up call, remember, conditioning takes weeks, strength takes years. Just because you are feeling “in shape”, and believe you should be able to do all of the skills in CrossFit, does not mean you are strong enough.

Prevent Injuries

Let’s be honest, most people in our facility are not in it to compete in anything.  They want to lose weight and feel better.  We LOVE this population of our clientele, and highly respect them.  Which is why we put such emphasis on strength.  No matter how good you look, no matter how good you feel, it’s worth nothing if you are getting hurt in the process.  An increase in strength has been shown to increase Bone Density, Coordination, Balance, Flexibility, Joint Health, the lists goes on and on.  Studies have shown up to a 68% drop in injuries with groups that do strength training.  We can maximize these benefits, especially Tendon and Ligament strengthening by working around the 85% range.  Here is the kicker though, if we work around 85% and the goal is to get stronger, we cannot do all of that work in a quality manner at high intensity.  That is why we have our strength specific days in our training, which are not our most popular days by any means.

So, when you are struggling with movements or feel like you have hit a wall you need to ask yourself two questions.  Have I done the proper strength base work for the given movement.  If the answer is no, then ask yourself if you have been coming to the strength workouts in the programming.  These days may not be the most entertaining training days, but I hope you now see the importance and why we value strength so much in our programming.

-Coach Thomas

Core Value Number 3 – Excellence

After a brief hiatus due to the Athlete Open we are back to making our way through the CFA core values. For those of you that missed my original article on CrossFit Austin’s Mission and Core Values take a few minutes to read through it for context on today’s article.  Just to review, here are the CrossFit Austin mission statement and core values:

CrossFit Austin: The Catalyst for Personal Evolution

Today’s concept is simple, commit to excellence and strive to always be better.

Excellence is about never settling. Never settling for good enough, not being content with average, always looking for avenues to learn more, and work harder.

Excellence is about commitment. Commitment to always reaching a little higher, learn a little more, push a little further, and work a little harder. Doing what others won’t. Perfecting the little things.

Excellence is putting your absolute best effort in whatever you are doing. Whether you’re training, coaching, or just walking the dog.  100% effort is all we can ever ask of ourselves, and is always what’s expected.

Ultimately we want everyone at CFA to be the best version of themselves everyday. To find their perceived weaknesses, the things that make them uncomfortable, and have the courage to fight through them to achieve excellence in all they do.

-Coach Wes

October’s Athlete of the Month: Jose Gonzalez

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Jose Gonzalez. No nickname yet, but hopefully I’ll work my way up to one.

Words to live by?
“With great power, comes great responsibility” and ” It is in our darkest moments that we must focus on the light”

What is your fitness background?
Well I never had a fitness background. I was overweight most of my life, and if I was in a sport I was usually the backup or benchwarmer.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
It has been 7 months.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
It’s the community! The people and coaches are awesome! It’s nice to be a part of a community that’s very supportive and encouraging. The tips I receive to improve my movements are always appreciated, and I feel like I might not have made these improvements without that help.

What are your training goals?
For now I want to try to make it back to 150lbs, but I’m in no rush. I’m OK where I’m at, but it doesn’t hurt to get stronger and lift heavier.

Favorite sport or activity?
Does guitar hero count as a sport? Ha! I like to listen to music, reading comics (yeah, I’m a nerd), or just going out for a run.

Recent adventure you’re planning?
The next big thing I have planned is a trip to Philadelphia after graduation next May, so I can get a tattoo!

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
Well I used to be overweight, I was up to 400lbs. I actually never thought I would loose that weight, and never thought I would be where I’m at now. Luckily I had a friend who gave me awesome diet tips, and a handful of workouts to do, and as time passed I lost up to 200lbs, and I’m still in shock that I did that. I never gave up on what I wanted, and never will.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Neither. I’m not a fan of college football, but if I had to have a team it would be Notre Dame because of the Rudy movie.

Jose, you started coming to CFA shortly after your friend Ed started with us. Tell us what it’s like to CrossFit with your friend and how competitive do y’all get?
It was fun! It had been a while since I hung out with him, and it was cool catching back up with him. Ah men, there was competition between us, and there seemed to be an unspoken agreement of bragging rights on the line, but it might have just been me. He was the guy that I tried to catch up to or do better than. It was helpful because now I have that drive to push myself, and if I ever go to a 530am workout (or if he shows up) I wanna see if I’ve caught up to him, or what I gotta work up to.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Never give up. No matter how things may seem, we can all overcome any odds. It’s just gonna take that extra push for us to get there, but it’s possible.

 

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