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!

{Details & Registration}


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

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