Simple Tips to Help You Stay Motivated || Coach Erica Cuellar

Deep inside all of us, there’s a desire of wanting to accomplish certain fitness/health goals; however, a lot of times we find ourselves never reaching these goals. I personally think it is because we often forget to look back on how far we have actually come and only focus on how far we still have to go. This in return leads us to losing our motivational drive. If you currently find yourself in this situation or have found yourself in this situation, you’re not alone, it happens to all of us. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay on track.

  Write down your goals and explain WHY these goals are important to you. Goals are important to have in order to know what course of action you need to take. The “why” is just as important because this involves the emotions that serve as your motivational force and it’s this force that will drive your efforts towards fulfilling your goals.

  Schedule your weekly routine. Commit to certain days and times, mark it on your calendar and make it happen. Also, if you are someone who prefers evening workouts, but often find yourself stuck in traffic or in the office, try getting your workout done in the morning.

 Start small. If you’re new to the program or had a minor set back and are just now finding your way back into the gym, don’t think you can pick up where you left off. Take it easy, scale, modify and make each workout count.  Remember, go at your own pace and always practice quality over quantity.

 Find an accountability partner. Find someone within your class that you know will hold you accountable and will push you out of your comfort zone and motivate you. I personally always liked to buddy up with someone stronger or faster than me because it pushed me to work a little harder.

 Journal your progress. This will allow you to track your progress and milestones. It also helps you remember the appropriate weight to use for a workout. Using the appropriate weight is important for progression.

 Rest/Recovery – most important part of your routine, yet the most overlooked. Lack of rest leads to overtraining, injury, and becoming burnt out. Overtraining not only affects our muscular and cardiovascular systems but also our hormonal, nervous, immune, and endocrine systems. So enjoy a day or 2 of active recovery a week, remember, it will do more good than harm.

 Change it up and change your scenery. Enjoy nature and go out for a hike or a jog/walk or take a yoga class or Oly class (wink wink).

 Reward yourself for your accomplishments. Make sure the reward is non-edible; instead of a cupcake, buy a new pair of workout shoes or outfit or treat yourself to a massage for that matter.

  Keep a great attitude and enjoy the journey.


Remember, the reward is much bigger than the sacrifices being made.Keep in mind that your health and fitness journey is for a lifetime, so be kind and patient with yourself, and know that there’s going to bumps along the way.  If or when you find yourself off course, revert to these tips to help you regain your enthusiasm.

Stay motivated,

-Coach Erica

Build Your House! || Coach Tim Garland

“Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.

A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of sticks. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of bricks.

The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of water and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died.

The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with bricks and lived happily ever after.”

– credit: www.short



We’ve all heard some version of this story, at least those of us that grew up before Facebook and Instagram. What if we take this story, change the characters and details up a bit, and then apply the general theme of the story to your training regimen? What does that look like…sticks, or bricks?

Over the years I’ve witnessed the evolution and devolution of people walking in and out of the doors of different gyms. The ones that stick with it for the long haul and make it a part of their lifestyle seem to approach things a bit differently than the other folks. That doesn’t mean they didn’t attempt to build a house of straw or sticks before they got wise and started laying down the bricks. What it does mean, is that they eventually found a better/more sustainable way of building their house. The goal of this article is to hopefully save someone the time (and possibly money) trying to build that new house, or remodel an existing one with more sustainable materials. The sustainability may just start with your blueprint…your paradigm or the way you approach things at the gym.

The straw and stick village residents occasionally take the shortcuts. You may know these folks. They may slack on their warm-up, cut reps here and there, or forfeit sets and reps that could be used to improve their range of motion and stability for sloppy form and heavier weight. We can all fall victim to these things on any given day. Those who have been on their fitness journeys for some time know when they have been slacking on the little things. If the house starts to creak, something might be a little out of whack.

All that huffin’ and puffin’ without a solid foundation can lead to injury and a demolished housed. Let’s work hard, train smart and do the little individual things/maintenance that each and every house needs. I challenge you take to the time, ask the questions and put in the work to build the best house you can. I challenge you to you to not brush off the “easy” skill work, but to embrace some of the different drills that can improve your overall skill set. Even if you can perform a skill, strive for improvement and more proficiency. Re-evaluate, re-assess. Build your house out of bricks. Those “modified” drills just might be the bricks your house needs to bust through an annoying plateau.

Warm-up. Cool-down. Improve stability throughout a proper range of motion. Skills and drills. Rest. Refuel. Recover. Repeat. Build a strong and secure foundations. Lay bricks!

Build your house,

-Coach Garland

Spring Cleaning: All Cleaned Up!

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone involved in our Spring Cleaning Competition last weekend! We were able to raise $500 for Linzi Newth’s new non-profit, GingerCare Pets. GingerCare specializes in matching homeless pets with the elderly in a mutually beneficial relationship that allows for stimulation and companionship amongst both, all while providing the necessary medical care for the pet. This is to include regular visits by a veterinarian or technician whom helps to assist and educate the client in caring for their pet. When the client can no longer properly care for the animal, GingerCare aids in the intake process in order to prepare the pet for a new home.

Congratulations to CFA’s own who competed: 

Leah Alter
Beverly Lopez
Ashley Coraci
Isaiah Rosario
Shelby Clark
Austin Coover
Stephen Crockett
Dan Morice

And thank you to all of the competitors from other gyms who came out for the event!

Thank you to all of our volunteers:

Ade Rampaul
Daniel Avneri
Danny Gomez
Erica Cuellar
Jamie Kimball
Jodi Vaughn
Lee Perry
Lindsay Gale
Linzi Newth
Leigh LeGare
Mark Grande
Mitch Tabera
Monique Clements
Seth Rosen
Shanda Evans
Tim Garland
Walker Palicek
Wes Kimball

*Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone!

Thank you to our Sponsors and those who donated prizes:
Fringe Sport
Cyclone Speed Ropes
Reebok Outlet
Kong Screen Printing

And finally a huge thank you to everyone who came out to cheer and support!

We will continue to donate the proceeds from Spring Cleaning t-shirts to GingerCare. We still have several in stock so come grab one and make a contribution to an awesome cause!

Congratulations to Linzi Newth for all of her hard work! This is what community is all about. 

-The CFA Team

Variety is the Spice of Life || Coach Walker Palecek

The end of competition season (at least, for most of us) can sometimes leave us feeling a bit…lost. While it’s not everyone’s intent to compete in CrossFit (now, or ever), so much of our focus has been on the Open; when it’s all over we can be left with a case of Now what?
First things first, it’s time to get back in touch with those goals; it might even be time to set new ones. Goals give us a purpose for training. They are often the reason we get up on a rainy day to fight traffic to get to class, they are the reason we fight through one more rep.
Something I have always used as inspiration when looking at my goals is
Greg Glassman’s “What is CrossFit in 100 Words or Less.” Within it you will find:
1- “Routine is the enemy” and, 
2- “Regularly learn and play new sports”
The longer you’ve been doing CrossFit the more important I think these words are. About once a year I focus on Glassman’s words and brainstorm, What can I do to mix it up?
1- Just recently I decided to change from afternoon workouts back to AM workouts. Switching class times (or days!) can be a whole different ball game. Never been to a Saturday workout? There are many lessons to be learned from a partner or team workout. Some time ago I decided to focus more on a Strength program and gave that a go – going to open gym instead of classes took an elevated level of discipline! The year before that I focused solely on Olympic weightlifting for several months…Each of these diversions benefited me personally and carried over positively to my CrossFit training.
2- Have you ever considered a goal that had nothing to do with CrossFit? From inception, I don’t believe CrossFit was originally designed to be a sport of its own. Rather, it was meant to enhance “real life,” e.g., having more energy to play flag football with your children or the strength to lift a suitcase into the overhead cabin. Or, it could be used as a training method to complement your abilities in other sports. Now I believe it works both ways. In my own experience, with each new sport I tried – whether it be Zumba class, softball, or tackling a 10K – I have enhanced my CrossFit training, and my CrossFit training gave me advantages (or a different perspective at least) in that sport. For example I was previously plagued with injury and weakness so running was never fun for me, but CrossFit allowed me to train for distance running. On the other hand, training for a run gave me more endurance at the gym.
As we prepare to support our CrossFit community at Regionals this weekend, take a minute to focus inward. Examine your goals and ask, what you could do to spice it up?
“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” – William Cowper
-Coach Walker



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.