Farewell & Good Luck Coach Zach!

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Today, we have a bittersweet announcement to make.  This will be coach Zach Lane’s final week at CFA as he is making a move to Boise, Idaho. Zach has been a huge part of the CFA team for the last two years. His most visible role has been as a coach, but he’s also played a huge role in improving our social media presence, and also been a consistent part of our community as an athlete. Zach has always gone out of his way to work hard, and go above and beyond for the CFA community and for that we’re truly thankful for the time he’s spent with us.

While we’ll miss Zach, were excited for the new opportunity and journey ahead of him in Boise. Zach’s not one to bring attention to himself, but he did want leave you guys with a few words below.   

“Thank you to all those that I have coached, trained with, and been able to call my friends at CFA. This community has been like a family to me since I joined and I am forever grateful for that. 
 
My thanks goes out to Wes, Gen and the coaching staff, too. They have taught me so much and helped me out on many occasions. 
 
Although I’m very excited for my move and all of the new excitements and challenges it holds, I will certainly miss all of you. Hopefully, I can return to Austin soon so that you may all enjoy the massive amounts of sweat I produce while rolling around on the ground after a workout.” 
-Coach Zach

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS || WOD ANNOUNCEMENT

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We are 5 short days from our Night of Champions competition! As promised, below are the WODs we’ll see next Friday! Rx and Scaled weights listed below. Get yourself a partner and get registered! Remember, only 1 team member must register through the online system ($50 per team). We’ll email you to get your partner’s name and which division you’ll be competing in.

REGISTER HERE

 

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Event 1
“Captain Hiller”
4 RM Front Squat from the Ground
15:00 Time Cap

*Each team will have a station with a barbell and 300 lbs of weights for men, and 200 lbs of weights for women. Each team member will be allowed build up to as heavy a weight as possible in the allotted time.  The first rep of each set must be cleaned by the athlete attemping the set. If the athlete squat cleans the first rep that will count as the first rep of the set. Athlete’s will be able to increase weight in 5 lb increments.

*The combined weight of both athletes will be the team’s score.

Event 2
“President Whitmore”
19 Burpee Broad Jumps (One Partner)
76 Power Snatches @ 75 / 55 / 35
19 Burpee Broad Jumps (One Partner)
76 Power Snatches @ 75 / 55 / 35
*18:00 Time Cap

*Team’s begin on the burpee broad jump course, each jump will be a defined distance and athletes will be required to get both feet over the line.  The first half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by one teammate and the second half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by the other teammate. Teams then move to power snatches and can split work however they see fit. Teams then move back to the burpee broad jump course. The first half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by one teammate and the second half of the 19 burpee broad jumps will be completed by the other teammate. Teams then move back to power snatches and can split work however they see fit.

*The total time it takes the teams to complete the workout will be the team’s score.   If teams do not complete under the time cap their score will be total reps completed.

Rx
M: 75 lb barbell
W: 55 lb barbell

Scaled
M: 55 lb barbell
W: 35 lb barbell

Night of Champions Movements announced!

Check it out! Here are the movements you will see in our upcoming Night of Champions competition! Stay tuned for official workouts, weights, divisions, and standards to be released on Monday!

Cleans
Broad Jumps
Power Snatches
Burpees
Front Squats

Get out of your head and just lift the weight || Coach Wes Kimball

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Many times as we approach a lift we become our own worst enemy.  Our minds fill with anxiety, fear of failure, and perhaps frustration as we try to accomplish the task at hand. Our intentions are good, but the inability to control our thoughts many time impedes our physical capabilities. Today, I’m going to go over a couple of “mind tricks” I’ve developed over the years to help in one of the most common scenarios we see in the gym: lifting weights.


My general rule of thumb here is the heavier the lift, the less you can think about what is happening.  An example of this would be on a back squat if I’m lifting below 80% I’m going to be focusing on allot of elements of the lift.

Is my breathing sequence correct?  
Am I tight through my core?
Is the weight distributed correctly in my feet?  
Am I “spreading the floor” with my feet so my glutes are involved? etc.

Even in an exercise as simple as the back squat there are several moving parts and conscious effort needs to be directed to the movement to make sure things are on point. However the trick is stripping away that conscious thought as you get heavier and heavier.  At 80-90% you can only focus on 2 maybe 3 elements of the lift, and once you get into the 90% to max zone you simply have to trust your training and focus all you mental effort into one thing. In our back squat example your focus should 100% be on being as aggressive as possible.

The problem is athletes, and especially novice athletes tend to approach this backwards. They go into “autopilot” and pay little attention to weights that are light and “easy” as they build to the heavier sets. Then once the bar becomes heavy enough to “notice” the athlete begins to over analyze and micro manage the movement. By the time max loads are reached fear, self doubt, and anxiety have taken over. Resulting in the athlete’s thoughts impeding their ability to reach the speeds necessary to perform a maximum load.    

While our example above is a back squat this concept becomes more important the more complex a lift is. In simpler slower lifts (squats, deadlifts, etc) you can get away with more conscious thought at heavier loads, than you can in more complex faster lifts (snatch, clean & jerk).  That’s why when I coach an Olympic lift my cues to my athlete become simpler the heavier the weight is. I might start with something like  “stand longer, and keep you shoulders over the bar” and then move to cues like “tighter”, “more legs”, “more aggressive”, “big throw”, etc.   If athletes are trying to think of multiple individual actions of the lift then they are for sure going to be moving to slow to be successful.

In closing, here are a few tips to keep your focus simple during a lift:

  1. Visualize don’t think.  Before you step up to the bar visualize what a successful lift will look and feel like.
  2. Focus on single word actions.  Fast, close, aggressive are all “thoughts” that can be beneficial at max loads. If you can’t say it in the time it take to do it then it’s most likely to complex a thought to be helpful.
  3. Practice. Conscious thought and effort is very important in mastering lifts just not beneficial at max loads. This is why we program submaximal lifts often, so you can practice doing things correctly and your body reacts appropriately when the weight gets heavy. So don’t blow off the light sets, and don’t try to go heavier when it’s not prescribed. Use that time to practice all the various components of a lift and be disciplined enough to make them picture perfect.

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS || September 30

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Night of Champions – Team Edition is an in-house member’s battle for the belt!

Are you a champion? Show us your stuff!

Teams of 2 – Male/Male or Female/Female
Rx & Scaled Divisions available!
Night of Champions – Team Edition will consist of 2 WODs
WOD 1 – A Lifting Event
WOD 2 – A Partner WOD
Details to come!
6:30 pm – Athlete Check-In
7:00 pm – WOD 1 Start Time

$50 per Team (includes registration for both team mates) Come show us how much of a champ you are!

(Only 1 registration per team – We’ll send an email to get division and partner name)

REGISTER HERE

A Challenge from Coach Tim…

Happy Friday CFA!,

As many of you know, I tend to write about things that are more directly applicable within the walls of the gym. I write and post about this, but in individual conversations we are able to go a little further into what overall health means to me. Not just how to perform a lift properly or what you should/ should not eat. Find balance. Challenge yourself. Appreciating said challenge and attacking it with a win/win mindset can help us grow. We may not win them all, but with this mindset…even a “loss” can be viewed as a “win” if we contemplate and learn from the “loss”.

Here lately, your Coaches at CFA have been studying up on psychology and communication. We want to be able to listen and understand more effectively so that we can be more precise in communicating with you. Communicating …any and all knowledge we accumulate through continued education to make your experience here an experience of progress and growth. Physical. Mental. Emotional. Social. Growth.

The article below is something I stumbled across the other day in search of a different paper. However, I recently had a conversation with someone who had been in a rut. This hit home for me within the context of that conversation, but can be interpreted/applied by all in some form or fashion.

FIXED VS. GROWTH

A couple of highlights that stood out in this article that I see/ hear reflected in people’s daily actions and responses;

  1. Your intelligence and personality can be developed/sharpened, they are not just  “immutably ingrained traits”
  2. There is a piece in the article that speaks about “deliberate practice”.  In the gym, we want to reinforce great form with deliberate practice each day. But outside the gym, we need to employ deliberate practice in other areas of our lives to ensure continued growth and avoid stagnation.

This weekend, I challenge you to get outside. Be still. Be quiet and think.

What area of your life can you grow?

-Coach Tim

September Athlete of The Month – Liz Ronco!!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:liz5
Liz

Words to live by?
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Nietzsche

What is your fitness background?
I’ve played volleyball since I can remember. It pretty much ran my life for about 10 years all the way through college, and I loved it. After that, I dabbled in the general gym arena, but it never much caught on. I love to hike and be out doors.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
2.5 years. How time flies!liz3

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I don’t remember the first day as much as I do the introduction class. I started when I still lived in California, so I wasn’t at CFA yet. I remember I felt pretty confident, definitely wanted to get stronger, and slightly intimidated…okay very intimidated. Everything was going along relatively smoothly until I had to do a clean. Let’s just say the execution was….awkward. Since then, I like to think things have gotten a little less awkward – although there are moments. Once I realized the only person I was competing with was myself, I was able to get a lot more comfortable with the workouts.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
My favorite part of Crossfit Austin is the people. From the amazing coaching staff to the evening workout crew. They’re the best!

Current Training Goals/PRs?liz2Working out 5 days a week. Most of it’s done with Crossfit, but I make sure to squeeze in a run or a hike, as well. I travel a lot for work so between that and a desk job, staying active when I can is very important.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Technique, technique, technique. If you are not comfortable with the movement, go a little lighter with the weights – even too light. There is plenty of time to build up. And listen to your body, sometimes it just says ‘no’ or ‘I’m a little slower today’. It doesn’t mean don’t go out there and give it your all, just be mindful when you do it.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Would you like the full list or should I just seem like a normal person and name one thing? Let’s go with chocolate…it’s the root of all my weaknesses anyway. 🙂

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I don’t have one moment. I have a lot of moments, which is why I think Crossfit is awesome. The more you work at it the more you succeed and achieve those wins, even the little ones. It’s an amazing feeling and it’s why I keep coming back for more!

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?

Tall Person WOD
500 meter row
40 wall balls
500 meter row
20 wall ballsliz4
500 meter row
10 wall balls

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

I love hiking and exploring new places.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have no boundaries when it comes to my animals. I share my breakfast, lunch and dinner with them. They hang out with me all day in my office. They take over the bed at night. And they come with me pretty much everywhere.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Ummmmmm baseball? SF Giants all the way.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Thank you to everyone for making CFA an amazing and fun place to sweat it out!

liz1

Fall Programming Update

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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

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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