2018 Intramural Open || How it all turned out

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! For 5 weeks we’ve worked with our teams to gain points towards being crowned the winner of the Inaugural CrossFit Austin Intramural Open. There were a lot of laughs, some tears, some friends (and some frenemies) made, but here we are and we’ve all made it out alive!

If you gained NOTHING else out of this year’s Open, we hope that you gained a better sense of community within these walls. Yes, we are a CrossFit gym and we want to test our fitness, gauge and improve from year to year, and see where we stack up. But, we hope that you learned a little more about yourself than how many reps you could get in seven minutes.

About half way through this, we were talking about competition and character. I’ve heard people say competition builds character… but Tim made a good point that it also reveals character. We hope that whatever the IMO revealed for you helps and guides you forward in whatever comes next.

Ok, blah blah blah…. On to the points. Who won? So this week was a wild one. We’re going to give you a break-down of the points awarded and how things came to stack up.


The Funky Skunks –

This week Sayyed scored 2 points for his team with a heartfelt act of kindness that is continuing to grow. Sayyed fed and talked to a man named Mike who was “a good man in a bad situation.” After getting to know him a bit more, he’s connected him with Jose who works to help place the homeless in jobs and homes. Let’s all send good vibes that it pans out for Mike! Good work Sayyed.

Jose gained a whopping 20 points for his team by making 2 mascot steals at FNL. We could argue that it was a dick move and since this was #dontbeadick week we COULD have deducted 2 points…. But we didn’t. 😛 ALSO – y’all are killing me. These hashtags aren’t that hard! Since when did your team drop #teamfunkyskunks and start making up your own hashtags? That one was NOT included in the mascot steal post so if we’re getting into the nitty-gritty…. But, that 20 point swing makes it more interesting for sure.

Moving on from these damn mascots… Since no team was successful in getting 75% (10 people) of their team together for an outing, we chose to award points for how many of their team members DID make it. The Skunks gained 8 points for this past weekend’s axe throwing outing. Again…. Why did none of you post a picture of your group outing???? But… you still get the points for this one because I have the proof on my phone.

These combined with the participation and other weekly points gained the Skunks a collective 69 points for the week.

Hedge Of Allegiance –

After leaving their Hog to be taken care of by a dog…. The hogs lost some ground this week.

I will say this team definitely has some big players in regards to the fitness side of things. Their 3 major players, Aaron, Rob, and Jenni managed to score 3 points for their team all 5 weeks for being 3 of the 4 top athletes.

Ashley’s act of kindness came in liquid form with a coffee to her coach. It’s the little things sometimes, ya know?

In the spirit of closing the chapter on the mascot debacle… we’re showing an act of kindness to the red team and giving them their 10 points from the 2 previous steals….  But… those are lost again anyway because they did not successfully recover their mascot from the Skunks which means 10 points deducted….

We are still not entirely sure how these guys all ended up together on a blind draw, but we know that morning crew is solid through and through.

Combined with their participation, etc… the red team earned themselves 32 points for the week.


The Trash Pandas –

The blue team has consistently been in the lead from week to week by keeping themselves relevant on the internet and doing goofy shit to win the team spirit awards. If nothing else, there were some pretty hilarious photos that came out of this one.

Page showed Coach E some kindness this week as well (girl made out like a bandit!) by bringing a special cookie just for her. You should all know he donated all those amazing cups/cookies/drinks to our FNL for 18.5 as well. Solid kindness from that dude. Thank him by going to chow at Henbit! (shameless plug – his food is amazing).

Stacey, the 4th of the top 4 pulled another point for the blue this week. Not only is she our top female, she’s 92 worldwide and 6th in the region in her division! Damn girl! We’re all still #ChasingStacey. Now we get to cheer her on through the qualifiers!

The Trash Pandas were the other team with a specially organized outing. They spent an awesome day at the park slacklining, grilling, and getting strangers to do burpees with them. They had a few tag-alongs, but ended up with 7 points for their team member presence at that outing.

Collectively, the Trash Pandas pulled in 46 points for the week.


The final standings:

While it was an extremely close call…… The Trash Pandas are walking away with the championship for the 2018 CrossFit Austin Intramural Open.

The Trash Pandas – 249 overall points

The Funky Skunks – 247 overall points

Hedge of Allegiance – 200 overall points

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated this year. It was a first for us and we are FILLED with love and gratitude for the support and the turnout we had. It was a massive amount of work and we’ve definitely learned some lessons so that we can continue to grow and make it better in the years to come, but it doesn’t happen with you guys. So thank you.

Now… let’s get on with our lives without imaginary points for a few weeks! We’ll play again on May 4th with Night of Champions || Bar Wars. Get those Co-Ed partners and get ready!

Big Love,
Gen & Tim

Life after the Open…. What comes next?


CFA has been immersed in the Open for the last 4 weeks. We’ve lived and breathed it. Talked about it every day. Thought about it moment by moment… In just 5 days we will be wrapping up the 2018 Open. All scores will be posted. We’ll have done & re-done 5 weeks of some of the most intense workouts many of us have ever done. We’ll have hit PRs, but also major roadblocks.

Many of us will spend the next few weeks looking back and talking about the wild standards and how crazy some of the workouts were. Those of us that participated in CFA’s first Intramural Open will be talking about the challenges, the friends we made within our teams, and the AMAZING videos that Julia put out each week… But how many of you will look back on the moments of opportunity and see them as so? How many of you will leave those opportunities in the midst of the Open and wait for them to resurface next year?

Yes, there was that WOD you couldn’t do RX because you don’t have ring muscle ups… or the one that you know you could have done better if you could only clean a little more weight… Whatever it was, we all had a moment that exposed a weakness and I see WAY more value in that than smoking a workout and moving on with life. It’s those moments that help us determine where to go next. We all have that rabbit we’re after, but if you don’t focus on going after it you’re never going to catch it. I promise if you just sit and wait for that rabbit to run by again next year, you’re going to still be watching it’s fluffy little butt pass you by.

Although some magical things can happen during the Open, we can’t rely on that annual excitement to truly develop the skill. My challenge to you this year is to make a list of your opportunities from this year’s Open. What weaknesses did you find? What would you like to improve on? Once you’ve made that list, let’s talk about it. Let’s make a plan and get some drills going so that you can achieve some of those things and turn those weaknesses into strengths! You have coaches and sessions available for precisely that reason. We want to help you improve so *cough cough* let us help you!

The other thing I challenge you to do is to keep this fire going! I’ve seen this community do some amazing things over the last 5 weeks! We’ve had people jump in to help, no questions asks. I’ve seen you cheer each other on to the ends of the earth. I’ve seen people getting together outside of classes to help each other and just to hang out. On top of that I’ve seen a bigger drive and focus in many people’s training. More questions are being asked in class and you guys have been taking bigger steps to improve.

Don’t let this flame die out just because the Open is coming to an end. Let us see what kind of things you’re capable of all year long!

Whether you’re doing IMO or not, please join us this Friday for our final Friday Night Lights with 18.5. We’re going out with a bang with DJ Kay Cali, Airrosti, and bites from Henbit. BYOB and come cheer on your friends for 18.5. See you there!


Diaries of a Coach 019 || Me and 18.3

Let’s talk 18.3.

Let’s talk about all the double unders in the entire world put into one workout.

Let’s talk about the fact that only two people in the world finished it.

Let’s talk about all the great PRs that were set for many, after years of diligent practice and hard work.

But let’s also talk about how frustrating it was for a lot of us to see this workout announced movement by movement.

I’m with you. I was SAAAAAAAALTY post WOD announcement last week. I admittedly gave into the temptation to be frustrated that this workout would expose my weaknesses and my inabilities, that it would alienate me and thousands of other CrossFitters who just aren’t there yet from participating in the competitive spirit of the Open last week. Being unable to perform even one rep of a movement in a workout forces me to scale and/or modify, and consequently disregard the workout as a whole. Anyone else? I end up telling myself, “It doesn’t matter anyways.”

Wrong guys. That is all wrong. But it’s so hard not to think that way, right?!?

Here’s what I realized.

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic. I’m frustrated by my failures and shortcomings, discouraged by any set backs, and horribly competitive with myself and others. Sometimes, if I’m really honest, I flirt with giving up altogether. But when I step back, take a look at what is really important, I realize there is so much to be learned in the long haul. So much that it makes it better for us to wrestle with things, to struggle and come out on the other side.

This journey that we call CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. We have to work hard, show up, stay consistent, but also and maybe most importantly, give ourselves grace along the way. Let bumps and bruises motivate us.

The other thing I had to realize last week was that it’s not just about me. Turns out I’m being pretty selfish when I get caught up in my own ability or inability with no regard for what’s going on in the lives of those around me. Those that, with their own weaknesses to battle, show up and work hard right alongside me. Why would I not be grateful for those dang ring muscle ups being in that workout simply to witness and celebrate the accomplishments of my friends, and maybe one day, they will celebrate with me. These are my people, my fellow warriors. Man, I want to witness more moments like I did on Friday night and not be blinded by a bad attitude because I have more work to do.

So this week, let’s change perspective. Let’s find something in this workout, whatever it might be, to attack with everything we have but remind us that this is a journey. But let’s also find something to cheer on and celebrate with someone else. Let’s all take on THAT perspective this week. One that looks outside ourselves and into the lives of others. Let’s admire and encourage and challenge each other. After all, that’s what this whole community thing is about.

-Coach E

Diaries of a Coach 018 || Lessons from 18.2 and 18.2a

Alright CFA, another recap from CrossFit Open workout number two! Here’s a little glimpse into my experience last week, my shining redemptive moment and the lessons I’m taking away. Enjoy!

I completed the second Open workout, 18.2 and 18.2a, on Friday afternoon. Immediately following this workout, I was severely disappointed with my performance. I knew the conditioning piece, DB squats and bar facing burpees (which I lovingly refer to as barfing burpees), would be difficult with my training focus having been on primarily Olympic lifts for the last 12 weeks. I decided to pace this portion, knowing my endurance would be crucial. That decision resulted in a time above my sub 10 minute goal. I simply knew I could do better. On the lifting portion, a max clean, my time was consequently extremely limited. I hit my starting weight with ease and with only enough time left for one more attempt, I made a big jump, a 20 pound increase, and failed.

Post WOD I knew in my gut I needed a redo. Unfortunately, my only experience with redoing an Open workout was 17.1… and it did NOT go well. The last thing I wanted was to waste time and energy to not improve. Still, the score haunted me and when Monday rolled around, I knew I had to at least try.

I’m proud to report, I redeemed the shit out of that workout! Shaved 90 seconds off my time on 18.2 and made the lift I failed the first time, increasing my weight by 20 pounds from my first score, on 18.2a. But more than overall improved numbers, when all was said and done, there was much to learn and take away from my experience.

1) Rest up.

Ya girl was not well rested before my first attempt. The day before, I had done Olympic lifting programming that included high rep sets of back squats, specifically aimed at added conditioning. Muscle fatigue set in quick with such high volume the day before. All I can say is, rest up y’all. These workouts are intended to test our skill, our capacity, our efficiency… so we have to bring everything we have to the table if we want to truly know where we are. I can promise you this, Thursday I will be “moving” but intentionally resting for whatever 18.3 has in store.

2) It’s go time.

Gosh if you’re like me you’re usually adamant about setting a smart and efficient pace in any given workout. Finding that pace helps me maintain good technique and not “empty the tank”, so to speak, too quickly. However, we train for “competition”. That may not mean the CrossFit Games or even an official CrossFit competition, it may just mean moments where we are testing our performance, attempting to set a new PR, or a friendly competition with another athlete’s score on the board that day. For many of us, the Open can and should be that. In a workout like this, pacing was the enemy. My doubt in my capacity kept me from pushing too hard and I ended up not pushing enough. Know the overall goal, in this case, competition, and perform. Now is the time.

3) Practice well.

Shame on me for always opting out of the jump over the bar. I’m a bar stepper, I admit it. Having not practiced a skill I am completely capable of definitely set me back on this. (I told Coach Aaron that morning I was seriously contemplating scaling just to step over the bar. Don’t worry, he was quick to deny me the luxury.) Don’t let that happen to you. Use regular training days to intentionally practice good movement, both in terms of technique and capacity. If I don’t push myself with these when I train, they will never get easier or more efficient, and are sure to keep me underperforming.

4) Do it for you.

With the stigma attached to Open redos for me, I was extremely hesitant to reattempt this workout. I would have been proud to submit my first score had I known it was the best I could do. But knowing it wasn’t my best, I redid this workout for myself, to prove to myself I had more in me. My biggest encouragement would be to simply make yourself proud. Redeem it if you need to, even if its not judged or scored or submitted. No matter the score, leave these workouts with your head up, knowing you gave it all you had!

March Athlete of the Month – Brenda Maldonado!

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 March Athlete of the Month is Brenda Maldonado! Brenda joined us a year ago this month and became part of the family right away! She’s one of the #BadassBabes of the 4:30 pm class and has recently started her journey in the Olympic Weightlifting classes. Not only is Brenda an awesome athlete, but her kindness and willingness to jump in and help anyone in this community is another one of the many reasons we love her! She exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown really amazing progress in her time here. Brenda, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our March Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!


State your Name and/or Nickname please: 

Words to live by?
Be patient

What is your fitness background?
I was a dancer when I was a teenager. Then, I did a little bit of everything like pilates, yoga, muay thai, softball, etc. but nothing really serious until I found CrossFit.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
4 years (I should be better, I know)

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
A friend took me to the class against my will. The WOD was box jumps, wall ball shots, and running. I could not do box jumps and the wall ball shots I had to do one by one. At the end of the class, I really like it and started to train the next day.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The vibe of the 4:30pm class

Current Training Goals/PRs?
My goals are to better my weightlifting technique and my gymnastic skills.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Do not be afraid of starting your journey with CrossFit. You will not be the best the first day, but if you leave the frustration outside, you can achieve great things.

What is your cheat meal go?
Hopdoddy’s hamburger with green chile queso, french fries, Hershey’s chocolate bars and of course TACOS!!

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I like to try new outdoor activities. Anything that gives me a little adrenaline rush.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Everyday, because always in my mind I think about quitting, but when I finish it, I feel great and proud of myself. Especially when we have to run.

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

Say what…?
box jump overs
push jerk

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love to dance, outdoor activities, and cooking.
Being surrounded by my old friends always brings me lots of joy

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have a chemical engineering degree and I worked for 7 years in the oil field.
This month will be my one year mark living in the US woohoo!! and i’m totally in love with Austin Tx.

Longhorns or Aggies?
mmm?? Texas Longhorns??

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I am so much funnier in Spanish 🙂

Diaries of a Coach 018 || Lessons from 18.1

After barely enduring last year’s first open workout, last week had my mind racing with the anticipation of 18.1. Would it make 17.1 look easy? Would they ease us in gently? What movements, what modalities, what weight selections are we talking? All the questions and no answers until Thursday at 7pm.


Unfortunately, when the workout was released last Thursday evening, life was happening and there was way too much on my mind to give it a second thought, so I didn’t. Life outside of CrossFit… what?!?!


But once I had time to process, I was actually pretty excited. Rowing, I’m all over it. Dumbbell, yes please. But 20 minutes? No freakin’ thanks.

My fears were immediately dialed in to the significant (self-perceived) regression in my conditioning over the last ten weeks. Unfortunately, when it comes to training, there are often seasons where we focus on technique, one or a few specific movements, or on various weaknesses, to the neglect of others. For me, the past few months have been consistent work and dedication to my Olympic lifts (plug for Dylan and his Olympic lifting class… that’s where it’s at y’all!) and I was simply afraid I wouldn’t be able to hack it.


While I am proud to say I recently hit a PR on my snatch, the truth of the matter is that I’m used to sets of 1-3 reps, with more than adequate rest before the next. Gains in strength and technique have surely been to the detriment of my cardiovascular endurance, or so I thought.


However, and here’s the lesson, a lesson that actually took me by surprise… the loss was well worth the gain. Maybe it was partly mental stamina, but whatever the explanation, I was able to keep a fairly consistent and moderately fast pace throughout. For 20 minutes. Turns out that my body knew it was capable of that duration of conditioning, so when the time came, it performed within that capability. Regardless of the time that had passed.


Part of me has always feared narrowing my focus in training, thinking I would surely sacrifice my strengths in order to work on weaknesses. Which I just haven’t been willing to do. I’m sure to some degree, there is some truth to that. However, the strength and technique gains I have seen have been well worth the time, the effort and any slight dip in my conditioning and a few other skills and movements. I’m willing to account for that loss in order to now take huge steps forward with Olympic lifts.


While the Open is a great time to push yourself and test your fitness, it is also the perfect time to explore your opportunities for growth. Don’t get discouraged, get encouraged to develop those areas!

So with that, let me encourage you as we continue on in these Open workouts. Admit the weaknesses and then do what needs to be done to commit to working on those post-Open.


Coach E

Diaries of a Coach 017 || Don’t Be A Scoundrel

Alright guys. The Open is upon us. Sometime tomorrow we will know the first of five 2018 Open Workouts. With all the hype that has led us into this season, it’s no wonder nerves are at an all time high.


First of all, that’s good. A good dose of healthy humility never hurt anyone. Let’s be confident of where we are and how far we’ve come, but humble as we admit our weaknesses and the abundant areas of opportunity to improve. The Open will be a great measurement of current strength and skill in order to dial in our practice and training over the next year.


Secondly, don’t let these nerves get the best of you. Don’t let the desire to do well, to excel above others or even yourself, lead you into areas of dishonesty. Don’t be shady y’all.


When it comes to the rigid judging system put in place for these Open Workouts, there will be no where to hide when it comes to rep standards and completion. But more than that, it’s important that we cultivate integrity, whether we are in Open season or not. Why? While it’s tempting to get caught up in the hype of competition, scores, winners, losers… the goal should always be diligence in training. When we are diligent in practice, our performance improves. When we do things like count insufficient reps, or shave reps completely (think, doing 10 reps instead of the prescribed 12), we do nothing but hurt ourselves and our progress toward better, stronger, more efficient movement.


Now, hopefully you guys have heard this before from your coaching staff. In fact, Coach Gen touched on this last year in a post on Integrity In Training, just before the Open. If you missed that, click here to read more.


What’s important here is not your score, it’s practicing proper movement in order to progress over the long haul. If not, what’s the point? Let’s keep ourselves and those around us from self-sabotaging progress tomorrow for the sake of a score today.


I’ll leave you with this. In order to make my point, I went looking for a good definition of integrity. Here’s my favorite, “Integrity is a personal quality of fairness that we all aspire to — unless you’re a dishonest, immoral scoundrel, of course.”


I’ll just leave that right there.



Diaries of a Coach 016 || My First Open

This was my first Open Workout:

10 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
20 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
30 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
40 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs,
50 dumbbell snatches,
15 burpee box jump overs.

20 minute time cap.

Some of you may remember it from last year. Open WOD 17.1. As much as I’d like to say I’m a seasoned vet, I’m actually just coming up on my one year anniversary with this crazy thing we call The Open. Last year was my first year to participate, at only about six months in to CrossFit at the time.

Leading up to the first workout, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And with this being my first experience with the Open, a workout like this quickly became the expectation moving forward. As soon as I saw it, I questioned, “Wait, will they all be this bad? What have I gotten myself in to?” Let’s just say fear did not delay.

Let’s be honest, it was awful. (Can I get an amen from anyone that did it?!) Especially when conditioning isn’t your strong suit. On top of a terribly hard workout, my coach at the time persuaded (borderline pressured) me into the RX-ing my first ever Open workout.

I felt nothing but nerves leading up to that 10 second countdown. From buzzer to buzzer, beginning to end, the actual workout is all a big blur. The only thing I remember is slamming my opposite shin with the dumbbell at one point and looking at the clock as I finished, seeing that I had exceeded the time cap by 41 seconds.

And you know what’s funny? As if once was not enough, I tried this workout again THE NEXT DAY (word to the wise… not smart). Instead of doing better the second time, I actually did worse. Still not beating the time cap and here’s a fun fact, I peed a little bit! #CrossFitriteofpassage

Moral of the story: My first Open workout was not pretty. Yours doesn’t have to be either. But I can honestly say, I am so glad I did it. It pushed me mentally and physically, way past what I thought I was capable of. It humbled me, reminding me that I have work ahead of me to do. And it excited me. It’s exciting to test your limits and see yourself get better, faster and stronger over time. Maybe one day I’ll tackle that workout again and hopefully see measurable progress.

So if you’re considering The Open this year, do it. You won’t regret it!


Nervous? Here’s a few things to ease your mind.

The workouts are 100% scalable, just like you’d see in a regular workout on any given day.

Full permission to be where you are when it comes to skill and strength. It’s all about having fun and challenging yourself, pushing a little harder than you normally would.

This year, the Open will be a little different at CFA! We are playing in teams. You’ll have friends cheering you on the whole way. Think fun and encouraging atmosphere with your CFA fam! Points are more participation based than performance based so if you don’t beat the time cap, but you did your best and well…. you did it at all, you’re not only contributing to your own strength and challenging your limits, but you’re contributing to gaining the lead with your team! Registration for the Intramural Open with your CFA family closes on Friday {2/16}! Sign up on the sheet under the whiteboard and let’s get this party started!

Follow the FB event here! 

February Athlete of the Month – Max McGregor!!

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 February Athlete of the Month is Max McGregor! Max came to us back in 2015 and has established a solid place for himself in the community. Although he’s a tried and true member of the 6:30 am class, you’ll occasionally see him pop in during an evening class. He and his locks can’t be missed! Max exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown really amazing progress in his time here. Max, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our FebruaryAthlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Max. This one bully calls me man bun.

Words to live by?
Take it easy, it’s probably not a big deal

What is your fitness background?
Sports on sports on sports – hockey, basketball, soccer, and anything else that has a winner and a loser.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Since the day after Thanksgiving 2015

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
It was like a 40 minute partner workout I did with Christina. I was full, I was hungover, and I was last. Things have gotten a little easier since then.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Obviously the 6:30 gang

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I just got ring MUs since they were added to the programming so next is handstand walks.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Stick to it. The progress in the first year is enormous. Once you feel the progress working out becomes an addiction.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Pizza, cookies, ice cream, bread, pizza, ice cream, pizza, pizza

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Sports on sports

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
16.3 was huge. I had never tried a bar muscle up and ended up getting 9 or 12 that day. Any PR is fun. Smoking T in literally every single workout also never gets old.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
20 minute AMRAP –
4 ring MU’s
10 pushups
30 DUs
20 wallballs

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
This is starting to feel like a bumble profile. I do everything with Stella, one day she’ll be allowed back inside CFA. Anything outside with her is fun, anything competitive, I love to travel, drinking is still fun, & spending a Sunday melting into the couch isn’t so bad either.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m a mortgage lender & I’m really good at it. Buying a house is one of the coolest things you get to experience in life & you need to ask me about what it takes to do it – 512-800-0981.

Longhorns or Aggies?

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
This is where I’d normally tell a pizza joke, but it’s too cheesy.

Diaries of a Coach || 015 – Barbell Cycling

Hey CFA, Coach Erica here. Wanted to give you a little recap from the skills session this past weekend on barbell cycling. For those of you that couldn’t make it, here are some quick tips with the ol’ barbell as we approach The Open… fo’ free!

First things first. Before we can talk about positioning, variations of a lift and cues to save you time and energy, we have to accurately (and humbly) assess the work ahead of us. For the sake of this discussion, because we are specifically talking about barbell cycling, lets assume the priority is speed through a determined number of reps. The first assessment must be the recommended weight as it relates to personal work capacity. Depending on that, we then prioritize speed, under a relatively manageable load, or efficiency, focusing on maintaining heavier loads while preserving effort, grip and overall fatigue. We must also keep in mind the rep scheme and how it will relate to grip and to other movements that may be included in the workout. An accurate and honest assessment of the workout is crucial.

From there, let’s breakdown the discussion into various barbell movements that you’ll see in classic CrossFit workouts as well as The Open: the Snatch, Ground to Overhead and Shoulder to Overhead, all in their various forms.


When it comes to the Snatch, we have three acceptable variations. First up is the Muscle Snatch. This catch position allows the most efficient use of time because the lift finishes in the achieved standard – knees, hips and elbows extended with the barbell overhead. However, this particular lift is expensive in regards to strength and exertion. Be prepared to transition to a power snatch when necessary.

Tips: Keep the bar close on both the ascending and descending portions of this lift. As the bar descends, shoot the hips back and get the elbows over the bar quick, ready for your next pull. When weight is light, go straight down without a touch point at the thighs, almost vertical shins and weight in the heels.

When weight or rep scheme exceeds what we can consistently muscle, the Power Snatch becomes the most efficient variation. When cycling power snatches, adjust to a wider stance to save time (rather than jumping and landing every rep) and reduce range of motion from floor to overhead.

Tips: Again, keep the bar nice and close with an aggressive turnover to lock out at the top of the lift. Slightly push the hips back to reach the power position faster. As the bar comes down, same cues apply from the muscle snatch. However, a touch point at the thighs may be optimal, with weight as the determining factor. Touching the bar slows the bar down and keeps it close, ensuring a better position over the bar for the next rep. It also reduces tension in the back.

Finally, the Squat Snatch. Ideally, the squat snatch is used only when specified in the standard of a workout. If weight is relatively heavy, we may utilize the squat snatch out of necessity. Again, start with a wider stance when cycling, to avoid replacing the feet with each rep. Because we are speaking specifically in the context of CrossFit workouts, rather than Olympic Weightlifting, a slight cut to the hip extension may also save time as you pull yourself under the bar to achieve the standard of this particular lift. (If you know me, you know it pains me slightly to say that because this is NOT optimal in competitive Olympic Weightlifting.)

Tips: Keep the bar close. (Seeing a theme with that one? The closer the bar the more control as we cycle.) Be aggressive turning the bar over and locking out. Pull under the bar to reach appropriate depth, below parallel. Again, adjust the need for touch points as the bar descends based on weight.

Shoulder To Overhead

Next up are our Shoulder to Overhead movements. Options here include the Push Press and the Push (or Power) Jerk. (Strict Press and Split Jerk have been omitted for the sake of this particular discussion as it relates to barbell cycling.) Upon first glance there is an advantage to the push press because we end the lift meeting it’s standard, hips and knees extended. However, weight is our variable here. Opting for the push jerk will allow heavier weight and higher volumes.

Tips: In both lifts, sit the hips back with an upright torso and explode from the shoulders. Think about punching the bar into your overhead, rather than pressing (this was a game changer for me). Squeeze that booty and lock out your knees to finish. Then, pull the barbell back down and reload into the bottom of the dip, the explosion point of the next rep. With the push jerk specifically, take that wider stance again, to save time. Drive with the legs and then sneak under the bar to save those arms! Another tip for both, breathe (simple, right?), but often overlooked. Exhale as you punch overhead and inhale as the bar returns to the shoulders. Lastly, practice hand positions that might give you an advantage in regard to range of motion. If mobility allows, you may be able to adapt an advantageous wider grip.

Ground to Overhead

Finally, your Ground to Overhead. Let’s assume all Shoulder to Overhead assessments and variation techniques apply. From the ground, we then focus on the Clean, where the Power Clean is primarily most effective. Just as with the power snatch, starting in a wider stance will save time and reduce range of motion. No matter which overhead variation you establish as preference for the given workout, you are already in your dip position at the end of your power clean, so immediately drive overhead.

From the top down, touch point options include, straight to the ground, a touch point at the shoulders or straight to the thighs. Your choice should depend on the degree of difficulty for the weight required.

And there you have it folks. While it’s a lot of info, hopefully you found one tip or trick that you can try out to increase efficiency. So get out there, lift that barbell well and don’t forget to give me coaching cred when you’re named Fittest on Earth!

-Coach E

*Adapted from CrossFitInvictus.com. Click the link for full articles.