October Athlete of the Month: Cody Skinner

State your Name and/or Nickname please
Cody Skinner

Occupation?
I’m a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym Cedar Park, an educator at lululemon athletica, and a semi-professional rockstar. I’m also an occasional guitar teacher and pedicab driver.

Words to live by?
No shirt, no shoes, no problem.

What is your fitness background?
I grew up playing every sport imaginable. My dad was a college and semi-pro football player and a competitive baseball, softball, and volleyball player. My parents actually met on the volleyball court. I started with roller skating and t-ball, and by high school I was playing baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. I was actually on a tripple-A hockey team out of Dallas before I got burned out on the sport. In college I did a year of rugby before switching my major to music and getting lazy. After spending a couple of years getting fat and out of shape I became a gym rat, then went through a rock climbing phase followed by a marathon running phase. At some point along the way I heard about crossfit and started messing around with some of the main site WODs. Then I joined up at CFA and the rest is history.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I think it’s about a year and a half now. Maybe not quite that long.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I love the workouts and I love the people. Wes and Tristy are AMAZING coaches, plus we have access to people like Chad Vaughn and Carl Paoli. And that’s just the staff. Some of our members are truly amazing, one-of-a-kind people. Anybody who’s worked out in the same class as Sleeves or Darlene or Carissa knows what I’m talking about. Seeing Darlene in the final WOD at the games might be the high point of my year so far.

What are your training goals?
Achieve total awesomeness! Basically, the way my personality works is that I’m fairly compulsive about seeking out new skills to learn or areas to improve on (read obsess over). My ultimate goal is to compete. Right now I’m working on getting my shoulders healthy and trying to get crazy strong. I also want to master muscle ups and hand stand push ups. And the olympic lifts. And everything ever.

Favorite sport or activity?
CrossFit wins it hands down. Rock climbing is a distant second.

Recent adventure you’re planning?
I’m hoping to take Fresh Millions on tour to NYC and back in October. If it all goes according to plan we’ll be crammed into the mini-van with all our gear for about 18 days. Travel WOD, anyone?

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I read 3-4 books a week.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Texecutioners.

You were the run away winner of the mustache contest last spring and not coincidentally you also just finished playing ACL for the first time. Explain to us the rock star/mustache relationship/evolution?
It was a long journey, one that began several years ago in a place called Denton, TX. I was studying classical music and sporting a beard. When I moved to Austin, the beard was right at home but the classical music was quickly replaced by an insatiable need to plug in and play that funk! Eventually I just out-rocked the beard. I knew only a curly mustache would give me the proper swagger to finally achieve that next level of strength, speed, and rock stardom.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words?
crossfit gives us plenty of opportunity to feel pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Fortunately, it also gives us a chance to make friends with those feelings, and that’s the beauty of the sport. So next time your legs are burning and you’re gasping for breath trying not to puke as a callus rips open on the palm of your hand, just remember how much fun you’re having. 🙂

Thank you CrossFit Austin! -from Darlene

This is a great big THANK YOU to all of you at CrossFit Austin for your awesome support and inspiration, not just during the Games, but since the first day I joined CFA. I doubt I can tell you fully how deeply you have touched my heart, but then one of the many lessons I have learned from CrossFit was printed on a T-shirt I saw in the stadium: “Achieve Failure.” So here goes.

Most of you already know my story, so I won’t belabor it. If not, you can watch the testimonial Sleeves created, posted on the main page. Let’s just say I traded in a beat-up clunker of a body for a sporty (vintage) convertible. And surprised the hell out of myself in the process. As MG Jenny said, “If NowDarlene told FirstDayDarlene she would be standing on that podium…she never would have believed it.” Nope. Not in a million years.

But this story is about YOU—about the spirit of CFA that first healed me, then made me strong, then flew me across the stadium in Event 5 to your banner held by Jamie and Boone. From the first phone call with Wes before setting foot in the gym, I was assured that being weak, older and significantly overweight would be no problem at CrossFit Austin. It never has been, although I seriously questioned that promise the first day, when I observed Blake back-squatting 3000 lbs. (Whatever weight it actually was would have impressed me no less.) On the contrary, even when I finished at the bottom of every WOD, I received encouragement and support from everyone.

While your enthusiastic support was a huge factor in my success at the Games, your stories were the greater one. From day one, I have been awed by the stories I have heard at CFA.

There are the ladies who trained with me between Regionals and the Games, starting with Tristy, CFA’s Manager. If you’ve had even one class with Tristy, you know that she is a task master about form. If your form is not what it should be, Tristy will let you know it, and she will work with you to improve it. If that attention grates, know that what motivates her is protecting you from harm. Did you know that Tristy is partially blind in one eye? A band hit her in the eye during one of her early classes, and several surgeries were required to repair it. Did that stop her? Not on your life. But she will not stand idly by and watch you put yourself in danger. She can’t.

Liz would have trained with me if she could have, but she was busy healing from surgery. Liz unwinds from saving lives every day as a paramedic by moving mountains in the gym. She just set a new CrossFit Total of 610 lbs. But the first mountain she moved was herself. Since joining CFA, Liz has lost over 70 pounds. You might think she would take it easy coming back from surgery before setting new records. Not Liz. The instant she was cleared to return to normal life, she shot out of the gate with a 165 lb jerk PR. Jeez.

Then there’s Carissa (Teamie!). Carissa and I teamed up during Sectionals, and her drive to excel propelled me, too. Carissa can both back squat and deadlift almost twice her body weight. How such a small frame can generate so much power is nothing short of marvelous (ha ha, I pun!). You probably don’t know that six years ago, Carissa’s life had spun out of control. The destructive path she was on nearly cost her life, a path that did take the life of a dear friend. Carissa chose life instead, moved to Austin and found CFA, for which I am profoundly grateful.

Like Carissa, Christy can both back squat and deadlift significantly more than her body weight. Her kipping pull-ups are poetry in motion. She jumped in with both feet and pushed me through the grueling workouts Wes constructed for me in July. Christy has an amazing story, too, but she’s shy about it. When you get to know her, she’ll tell it to you herself. It’s fair to say that adopting paleo nutrition and CrossFit transformed her life. Today she is healthy and strong and a force to be reckoned with. Christy’s courage fuels me every time I watch her.

When Leigh (rhymes with LEE, not LAY!) walked in the door in early February, every woman in the gym breathed, “Whoa.” I’m pretty sure every guy did, too. The excitement was electric. You might say that Leigh came to us as Rx. When we heard she was new to Austin and deciding which gym to join, I remember thinking first, “Wow, finally, competition for Stacey,” and then, “Oh no, what if she decides to choose that other gym?” (You know the one I mean.) What relief when she chose CFA and what joy it’s been to watch her and Stacey support and push each other to ever new PR’s. You might think Leigh has always been rock solid—I did—but if you ask her (and she’s not feeling vulnerable), she’ll show you the photo she carries of chubby pre-CrossFit Leigh.

When I joined CFA almost two years ago, Stacey was my idol. She still is, of course, but now there’s a LOT more content behind that statement. Coming from a soccer background, she was already a star athlete when she joined CFA, and the epitome of the team player. As I struggled to do a single push-up, Stacey was ever there encouraging me. The story that for me crystallizes Stacey’s awesomeness I heard from Dale Walker, owner of CrossFit Valor in Cedar Park, and Stacey’s judge for the muscle-ups at the 2010 Regionals. Stacey was in 12th place going into the final event. Wouldn’t you know, that event included muscle-ups, a skill Stacey didn’t yet possess. Did that fact stop her? Dale told me it broke his heart to watch her as she tried and failed time after time, until time ran out, to do just one. Stacey worked all this past year to acquire this skill, conquering it only days before Regionals. And this year, she did THREE muscle-ups.

She almost didn’t get the chance. That brings me to the men of CrossFit Austin.

Dr. Nick, of the Killer Thumbs, kept me patched together for the Games. His performance at Regionals was amazing. You’ve heard the stories of the blistering heat that weekend, of bars and kettlebells and blacktop so hot they seared skin off competitors’ hands. It was excruciating to watch. Despite the brutal conditions, by the end of Saturday our team had moved from 19th place after Sectionals to 5th place and qualified to advance to Sunday. We were on fire! Sunday morning Stacey and Nick teamed up for Amanda: 9-7-5 reps of muscle-ups and squat snatches. We all expected Nick to fly through the first nine reps and turn over the stage for Stacey to break out those shiny new muscle-ups. What we didn’t know was that Nick had injured his shoulder and elbow. For 15 heart-wrenching minutes of the 20-min event, we watched Nick attempt time after time to nail those nine muscle-ups. For me, with Dale’s story branded on my memory of Stacey in 2010, it seemed an eerie déjà vu. Like Stacey, there was no quit in Nick. His whole being focused on getting it done, so Stacey could, too.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Sleeves, because—forgive me, guys, but I have to put this in terms Tony Sleeves will appreciate—he’s just f*ckin’ beautiful. Sleeves trains with focus and ferocity that is a joy to watch. Yet he will interrupt his own training readily to help you improve yours. Many times over the months preparing for Regionals, Sleeves took the time to help me, whether it was improving my pull-ups, kettlebell swings, weight lifting, nutrition, you name it. He has helped and inspired me in so many ways. Even when he didn’t end up competing at Regionals, Sleeves was right there, roaring for our team with every fiber of his being. The photo above says it all, and I love him for it.

Chad Vaughn visits CFA weekly to teach us the finer points of Olympic weightlifting. I owe my 110 lb clean & jerk PR at the Games to Chad’s skillful coaching. You probably know that Chad just won his SEVENTH national weightlifting championship. Holder of the American record in the clean and jerk, Chad is a two-time Olympian and is currently training for a position on the 2012 team. Awesome, right? So I was dumbfounded when I read that Chad was born with a club foot. It was surgically repaired while he was an infant; he learned to walk while the cast was on his leg. A debilitating handicap that would have defined the life of nearly anyone else, Chad simply never let it matter. And totally conquered it.

These are just a few of the stories of the Circle of Awesomeness at CrossFit Austin. There are so many. Colleen, Miguel, 2×4, AG & LG, Big Shug, Fro, Walker, Melicious…. they filled my mind and heart as I paced back and forth waiting to start the last event at the Games. I kept thinking how grateful I am that Wes and Boone created this amazing place that has attracted such people. I’ve never owned a business, but over the past 25 years I’ve been fortunate to work for three successful small firms. I’ve witnessed first hand the strength of character it takes, first to step into the unknown, and then to create a thriving long-lived concern. There are so many details to cope with—taxes, regulations, insurance, bills, staffing, on and on—details that have nothing to do with the passion that created the business in the first place. It’s no surprise that the vast majority of new businesses never make it past year three. To master all of these challenges while maintaining a vibrant and imaginative atmosphere, constantly striving to refine and improve your product, focusing on the success of your clients first, this is no small feat. To further possess the integrity to follow your best judgment, even when your decisions cause friction and resistance, in order make real that vision that you see, to do all of this, while attracting a faithful group of such amazing members, who themselves form treasured bonds of love and friendship—all this—it truly is Awesomeness. I love you guys.

Finally, to have such people screaming their hearts out for your success, to have them believe in you and see in you the things you’ve worked to create in yourself, and hoped to make real…. if there is a sweeter gift a friend can give to you, I’ve never discovered what it is. All this you have given to me. Thank you, my CrossFit Austin family, with all my heart.

Darlene
August, 2011

July Athlete of the Month: David Cantu

State your Name and/or Nickname please.
David Cantu, Can2

Occupation?
Broadcast Engineer at KXAN

Words to live by?
Respect, Control, and Motivation

What is your fitness background?
I’ve always been active but CossFit made exercise a lifestyle not a chore.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
On July 5th I celebrated my one year anniversary.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit?
After every workout it’s a new me.

What are your training goals?
My goal is to lose more body fat and gain more muscle.  Oh yeah..I would like to do a muscle up within this next year.

Favorite sport or activity?
Other than CrossFit, I enjoy football, softball, beer pong, flip cup..you know the outdoor games.

Recent adventure you’re planning?
Hey gimme a minute I just got back from Vegas.  If theres a football season a Cowboys game for sure.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’ve met Chuck Norris and live to tell about it.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Longhorns

Greatest mustache of all time Burt Reynolds of Tom Selleck…. go!
Tom Selleck

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words?
Learn it, Live it, Love it

Murph Day Updates

First off if you haven’t signed up yet do it! The spots are filling fast! Its going to be a great day at CFA! On to the updates…..

  • HyperWear has generously agreed to lend us 10 of their HyperWeight Vests for those of you that want to do a true Murph. They also donated a new HyperWeight Vest as the grand prize for the Male competitive division.
  • If you’ve signed up for the event please email your donation receipts to info@crossfitaustin.com, remember this is your official ticket to participate.

2010 “Push-up Woman of the Year”: Darlene Price

Today we’re taking a break from the weekly challenges, to bring you a fantastic video that Sleeves created for CrossFit Austin.  As most of you know Darlene Price was honored as the “2010 Push-up Woman of the Year” at this at this past year’s Christmas party. This video is her story, and a  testament to the character, toughness, and enthusiasm she brings to the gym every day.  We’re proud that she calls CrossFit Austin home, and we’re equally proud to share her incredible story with each and everyone of you. Enjoy!

Weekly Challenge #4: Outstanding Push-up Man Picture

This week’s challenge is inspired by Jerry’s fantastic photo posted to Facebook above. This weeks challenge is pretty straight forward, send in the best Push-up man picture and you receive a $20 Lululemon Gift Certificate!

Here are a few ideas for winning this challenge:
Great Photography
Celebrity Push-up Man
Great backdrop
Creativity (see above)
Creativity
Creativity!

This challenge will end and be judged as our facial hair and southern do contest at the end of the challenge (March 12th).  So you’ve got some time to hound b-list Austin celebrities and travel the world rocking the push-up man! Please send all pictures to info@crossfitaustin.com.

Award winning Hurricane Gale Chili

2 cans diced tomato

1 can tomato paste

2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp oregano

sea salt (to taste)

1 tbsp celery seed

2 tbsp black pepper

5 tbsp chili powder (or if you aren’t feeling as paleo use a chili seasoning packet)

2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

2 tbsp fresh chopped basil

3 minced garlic cloves

5 slices of slightly cooked bacon chopped

2 lbs of ground grassfed beef

¾ red onion chopped

2 homegrown jalapenos

add 1-2 yellow or red bell peppers to make it sweeter (we didn’t add this, but I think it would make it better)

Directions:
Brown ground beef in skillet while cooking bacon in another skillet. Warm the tomatoes in a pot w/all spices and everything else. Dump in ground Beef to the tomato pot when it’s browned. Then cut up bacon when almost fully cooked and dump in. Cook in pot on low, stirring occasionally for 2 hours. You can really eat this after like 20 minutes of all the flavors mixing together, but the longer you let it sit, the flavors come together better I think. Enjoy!