Strength is… || The Prep at CrossFit Austin || July 6

Strength is…

Strength is more than being able to lift the most weight. It is more than being able to do any number pull-ups or push-ups. Strength is more than being the first to finish the workout.

Strength is being able to make it up the stairs with your groceries. Strength is being able to carry your own bag through the airport. Strength is keeping up with your kids, grandkids, dog, siblings, friends, whomever. Strength is giving it a try even if you might fail. Strength is setting goals and continuously working toward them, even when they seem impossible.

What is your strength? Let us help you find it.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi

The Prep at CrossFit Austin || July 6

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july prep

“The Prep” is 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. We’re not just movers and shakers at CrossFit Austin – we’re thinkers, too. Producing athletes that train smart, work hard and also know their stuff is what we’re all about.

July 6 – July 31

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 5:30 am
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at 6:30 pm

Group Prep: $200
Private Prep: $300

H2O is Mo’ Better! || Coach Tim Garland

The first official day of summer has arrived. As our bodies adapt to the heat and humidity that this season brings us, you hear your coaches tell you to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. What is “plenty”? Why is it so important?

Many of us know that water comprises the majority of our body. So making sure that we are consuming an appropriate amount of this clear, flavorless liquid is a no-brainer requirement for optimal health. Now, imagine yourself this summer hiking the Greenbelt, completing your WOD, or sitting by pool/river/lake for countless hours…without any water. Thirsty thoughts? Thirst is often thought of as an alert for the beginnings of dehydration. According to Merriam-Webster, dehydration is defined as;


Dehydration– an abnormal depletion of body fluids


I don’t think anyone would argue that the aforementioned activities could bring on the onset of dehydration without appropriate measures being taken. Most of us have heard the 6-8, 8oz. cups of water per day as the standard for water consumption. Yes, this is standard. However, just as our nutritional fingerprint differs from individual to individual, so should our water intake. We all come in different shapes and sizes and participate at different levels in vastly different activities. Additionally, depending on our current state of health, some systems are more efficient than others at regulating the needs of said activities. Without throwing specific recommendations out there for person A, weighing ‘x’ amount at such and such height yada-yada ya…here are some dehydration indicators to be aware this summer to help you key in on your health, thus your performance, as it pertains to water intake.

A few symptoms have been identified as;

  • Little to no urine, or dark yellow/amber hued urine
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion


Conversely, proper hydration helps eliminate the chances of these occurring, and can aid us in;

  • Regulating core body temperature
  • Lubricating our joints
  • Keeping our kidneys and liver healthy by flushing out toxins and eliminating waste
  • Helps carry oxygen and nutrients to our cells and tissues


Are there other sources to help me stay hydrated other than JUST water? Yes. Although here, water is king, here are a few other ways to sneak in the liquid. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of h2o, as well as their juices. Keep in mind that the juices may have unwanted calories due to added sugars. Coffee and teas also contain water, but caffeine can act as a diuretic and lead to frequent urination and counter our purpose.


All in all, plan and prepare for your daily activities.

  • Be aware of your environment (heat and humidity) and what your body is telling you
  • Keep a mental note of your previous 12-24 hours of water intake
  • Keeping a water bottle with you throughout your day will help you monitor your water consumption
  • Adjust your consumption as needed to fit your daily activity level

“Mama said Gatorade is the devil”


Train smart, live smart,

-Coach Garland

Ankle & Calf Mobility and Stability || Coach Walker Palecek

When many of you read Coach Leigh’s Achilles article you might have been wondering what the best way to “prep” the Achilles might be, or how to increase ankle/calf mobility in general. Well, here are some answers!

I love a good foam rolling session, but I always think of the roller as a toothbrush; the lacrosse ball is like dental floss and can be used for more detailed mobility. That said, one of the first – and easiest – things you can do to work out tension in the calf is to sit down, extend the leg, and set the muscles right on top of the ball. If it’s uncomfortable, you know you need some work in that area. Maintain pressure – or slow movement of either the position of the ball, or the foot/ankle itself – until the sensation of pain subsides. You can also add pressure to either side of the Achilles itself (two lacrosse balls taped together, AKA a “peanut” is perfect for this). Stack the other leg on top if you need more pressure. Two to three minutes is all you need.
Next up you’ll want to stretch. (**It’s best to do any release work prior to stretching. Picture a rope with a knot in the middle; if you just pull on either sides of the rope, it’s certainly not going to get rid of the knot!)
The easiest stretch for the calf is a two part one: In a slight lunge, place one foot behind you, keeping the back leg straight. You want to feel a stretch high up on the calf. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Next, bend the back leg and you’ll feel the stretch move down the calf. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
A favorite ankle mobility exercise of mine is the “11-12-1.” (Great for squats too!) Stand in a shallow lunge with the front foot about 2-4 inches from the wall. Slowly bend the knee straight ahead (12 o’clock) until it touches the wall. (If your heel comes up, move closer to the wall; you want it to be a challenge.) Repeat this movement towards the 11 o’clock angle, and again at the 1 o’clock angle, for a total of three reps. Repeat 5 times. Get competitive, the more you do this, the further you can place the foot from the wall as your mobility increases.
Three-way calf raises are quick and effective. Though you could do these on the floor, ideally you should do these over an edge of some sort (a stair or step, a box, a bumper plate, a hardcover book, whatever!). Place the feet under the hips and facing straight ahead, with the ball of foot securely on the surface and your heel hanging off. Slowly sink deeply into your heels, then slowly raise as high onto your toes as you can go. For the next set, bring your heels together, and toes facing out; repeat the movement. For the final set, bring the toes together, and have the heels facing out. Start with sets of 8, work up to 12 or 15.
The above takes all of 5 minutes and can have a big impact. Git after it!
-Coach Walker
Images courtesy of Top End Sports, PopSugar, and Marshall Total Fitness.

Austin Weightlifting || Post Meet Congrats!

We are very excited to announce that Austin Weightlifting members Beverly Lopez, Leah Alter, Nick Piacente, and Wes Kimball rocked it this past weekend at the Naturally Fit Olympic Weightlifting Meet! Bev and Leah both had PRs while Leah and Wes both placed 2nd in their divisions! Way to go guys! We are so proud of all of you!

Bev – Total: 100K (220) Snatch: 42K (92.4) Clean & Jerk: 58K (127.6) PR**

Leah – Total:110K (242) Snatch: 46K (101.2)  Clean & Jerk: 64K (140.8) meet PR**

Nick – Total: 225K (495) Snatch: 100K (220) Clean and Jerk: 125 (275)

Wes – Total: 267K (587.4) Snatch: 119K (261.8) Clean and Jerk: 148K (325.6)


The ‘Achilles Heel’ of Crossfit

Did you think we weren’t going to address this after top Games’ athlete, Julie Foucher, tore her achilles while doing box jumps this past weekend? 😉 To avoid sounding cliché, I won’t jump on every anti-high rep box jump bandwagon.  What I will do is shed light on the anatomical side of things and why this tends to be a consistent topic of discussion. Time to get nerdy and anatomical with y’all! 😉

Let’s look at the movement itself. A box jump is a plyometric exercise where there’s a powerful eccentric contraction (lengthening) quickly followed by a concentric contraction (shortening). When we land, The Achilles tendon is in the eccentric phase. It’s being stretched at the same time the calf muscles are contracting. The lengthening phase (eccentric) of the Achilles stores energy for the start of the next jump.

The acceleration of lengthening/shortening of muscles under stress is what helps the effectiveness of plyometric exercises and developing strength. It’s also what makes them risky based on the degree at which the muscle and tendon are being tensed. The role of the Achilles tendon during a box jump can be compared to a rubber band. When stretched it stores energy that it uses to return back to its shortened state. Pull too hard and it snaps.

Most exercises create small tears inside tendons. Nothing to be scared of as this is how we build strength. However, in the case of the Achilles, high rep box jumps can cause injuries because the repetitiveness of eccentric loading causes enough micro tears that it no longer has the strength to absorb the forces; leading to a macro tear or complete rupture of the tendon.

I’m certainly not here to tell you to stop rebounding off the floor. We’re adults, you can make that decision. However, I can shed light on where you fall.

If you have:

  • Poor ankle mobility (stiff ankles or limited calf flexibility)—stick with the jump up, step down method. You’ll thank us.
  • Foot pronation (ankle collapses inward and you aren’t working in a straight line)—again, step down method until we find a way to develop better ankle stability.
  • Trained frequently w/ explosive movements and haven’t allowed enough time for rest (i.e. sore/tight calves, tenderness in ankle)—think carefully about rebounding. It may be a good idea to give more time to recover with the step down method.

If your goals include:

  • Day to day health and fitness—by all means, if they’re in a workout, STEP DOWN. You’ll gain more from it and will certainly decrease this risk.
  • Improving movement quality—go with the step up/down method. Better glute engagement and overall positioning
  • Competing—you can’t avoid these in your training but use progression here. Smaller boxes to train rebounding but use as strength sets. You should never use these in workouts if you haven’t built the strength to handle the force the rebounding places on the Achilles. If you’ve been competing for a while, use them as conditioning sets between exercises but never under fatigue/towards the end of a workout. I’d save rebounding for game day.

The Achilles is a tricky beast as no one is sure why it starts to degenerate. It gives no signs and even well trained athletes are at risk for rupture. But with proper training and understanding your own movement patterns, you can certainly minimize your risk for this. Yes, it’s a one in a million injury but it has become the ‘Achilles heel’ ☺ within the crossfit world. I’d like for all our members to have healthy ones!

Train smart, live smarter, CFA!
–Coach Leigh

Stress Eating || Coach Ben Wells

Hello fellow foodies,

As I write this post, I’m contemplating life and all it has to offer and in my hand I have a hard apple cider to help me hopefully sound intelligent when I’m typing this up. When I think deeper

into why I have this drink I look at two different scenarios in my head.

  1. A) This is freaking delicious and I DESERVE THIS DRINK!


  1. B) I need to be eating 200 grams of carbohydrates every day and I am not even close and it is past my bedtime so liquid calories it is.

How many of us would have chosen A? Why did we choose A? Is life giving a whole bunch of lemons? Maybe we need to look at what we have going on in our lives and assess our stresses and plan accordingly especially when it comes to our meals and what we are using as our fuel.

Eating just to eat is not the way to achieve our goals. We need to eat to feed the machine.

A car of any sort, I was going to use the normal Ferrari/Lamborghini/fast sports car analogy but we’ve heard that too many times, has very specific needs to run correctly, get you the best gas mileage or not get a flat tire on the way to work. We might be able to get by without filling up the tires but when you need them most you are on the side of the road.

Our bodies are the exact same. So treat it right.

Life happens. We all know that but don’t make up an excuse to eat a whole carton of ice cream or the whole large pizza.

Treat yourself, but in moderation. Longevity is the goal. We want to live as long as possible and to keep doing what we love. We need healthy habits to keep that going though.

So put down that spoon and grab yourself a fork instead and binge out on some salad with some color in it. I’ll take your spoon.

Keep killing it,

-Coach Ben



Help for Central Texas Flood Victims || Donation Drop off at CFA

As we all know, the recent floods have been devastating for central Texans. In an effort to do what we can to help our friends and neighbors, CrossFit Austin is setting up a drop off center in the front office for donations. If you would like to bring any of the following items to be donated, you may leave them in the front office and we’ll make sure they are taken to the appropriate locations. 

Items Needed:
Cleaning supplies – Solutions, towels, sponges, brooms, mops, etc… The flood waters left a lot of mud throughout homes.
Trash bags
Water – Many homes are currently without running water. Bottles and jugs are greatly needed.
Clothes & Shoes – All sizes (laundry detergent to wash those that are salvageable)
Blankets & Pillows

Gift cards 

Thank you in advance. We have such an amazing community of people and we hope that by coming together we can make a difference in the rebuilding of these people’s lives. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at

-The CFA Team


Other ways to help:


If you know of a specific family in need and would like to add their funding page please comment with the link.

Do you even lift? || Oly Lifting @ CrossFit Austin + Free Community Session

First off, we’d like to say a huge congrats to Coach Erica! She competed this past weekend in the Memorial Weekend Open in Rockport, TX. This badass babe had a 56kg Snatch and at 75kg Clean & Jerk. Congratulations on your AWESOME work and we are so proud of you.

We would also like to wish Coach Wes, and members Beverly Lopez, Leah Alter, and Nick Piacente the best of luck as they compete in the Weightlifting Wise Championships at the Naturally Fit Games the first weekend of June.

 aw logo
If Olympic Lifting piques your interest (or scares the crap out of you), we’d like to invite you to join us on Saturday, May 30th for a FREE Oly Open Gym session with Coach Erica. We’ll have the Oly center open from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Coach Erica will go over the basics in the first part of the session and then we’ll get down to lifting! This session is open to everyone: members, non-members, experienced lifters, brand newbies, excited participants and the hesitant friends. Come one, come all and let’s lift!

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What’s Your Mindset? || Stacey Magnesio

What’s Your (CrossFit) Mindset?










Every person who starts CrossFit started the same. The movements were awkward, we lacked strength, and what the heck is a kipping pull up? But if we all started the same, how come only some CrossFit athletes excel in competition, get “the body”, and make strength gains? Some will chalk it up to pure talent. They were born with it. “She’s a natural!” they say.

Mindset plays a huge part in CrossFit! How you take on a challenge or handle a setback or interpret criticism is all about your mindset.

As I sat in on our first back to school staff development day this year (wishing I was still on the beach sippin’ on a drink with a little umbrella in it), we watched Stanford University psychologist Carol Dewek talk about The Power of Believing That You Can Improve. She explained that:

“Mindsets are beliefs- beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about you intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone and that’s that? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?”

“People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent and nothing can change that. If they have a lot, they’re all set, but if they don’t… So people in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others.”

“People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. They understand that their qualities are just a starting point and that no one has ever accomplished great things without years of passionate practice and learning.”


The next time you face a WOD that you know will be a challenge, or go for a deadlift PR, or fail at another muscle up attempt, remember that you have a choice. You can choose to interpret it with either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Which mindset will you choose?

-Stacey Magnesio