Presenting: Push Up Man & Woman of the Year 2014|| Doug Clements & Leigh LeGare

If you missed the CFA Holiday/6th Anniversary Party, you might not have heard about our 2014 Push Up Man and Push Up Woman of the Year! We offer our sincerest congratulations to Leigh LeGare and Doug Clements for their outstanding actions that lead to being the recipients of our Push Up Man and Push Up Woman of the Year awards. We are honored to present to you look into the lives of these two special folks.

“The Push-up Man and Woman of the Year exemplify everything that we love about our athletes, our community, and the human spirit. Not only do these people walk through the doors of CFA day in and day out, and work hard to improve themselves; they go out of their way to lift up everyone around them. They make their friends and families a priority over themselves. They lead and encourage by words, actions, and example. They represent the burning spirit of what makes our little South Austin gym unique and special. We at CrossFit Austin can humbly bestow no greater honor and we give our utmost heartfelt thanks that you both have chosen to make our gym, business, family, and lives a better place!”


Push Up Woman of the Year 2014: Leigh LeGare

When did you join the CFA community?
Valentine’s Day 2011. Appropriate considering it’s been the most consistent ‘love’ of my life. I’ll always have a date ‘at the bar.’

What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?
Regionals 2011 in Tomball, TX and the beginning of ‘Team Awkward’…coined for good reasons: leigh2

  • We introduced our neon pink shirts to the world (yes, even the men wore them).
  • We had one shirt for a three day competition and while we washed them every night, the sweat accrued from the 105 degree days and the dirt we laid in between workouts caused yellow stained armpits… we still wear these shirts.
  • Shane and I did a deadlift/box jump workout. I looked like a pooping dog on EVERY deadlift (Shane had perfect form…I struck fear into Wes’ heart)
  • Wes invented the ‘dirty south toes to bar’ which helped us beat Central in a team chipper. The following year, CrossFit HQ banned the ‘dirty south’ standard from use in workouts. #trendsetters
  • We wore baseball gloves on the final day due to the lack of skin on our hands from the use of scorching, hot pull up bars the day before.
  • We had a towel, covered w/ ice cubes on the hot pavement to get through 120 burpees without singeing our chest hairs. Not to mention, a bag of ice water to pour on ourselves mid workout…divas!
  • Wes doing ‘bunny hops’ during overhead squats to prove to the head judge he was reaching FULL EXTENSION!
  • Our members/spectators fed us twizzlers and chocolate covered pomegranate between workouts.
  • Our girls thought it was cool to wear ‘booty shorts’ which equated to see through spandex every time we squatted (apologies for those behind me in the Thruster ladder)
  • We went into it as the underdog and surprised ourselves with a 7th place finish! The phrase: Team Awkward is considered a term of endearment at this point.

What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?leigh4
Obviously the community! What separates ours is how people act towards each other. Whether you’re new, visiting, or have been a long standing member of CFA, other’s success trumps personal success. We are a humble gym and I love it!

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit?
Less is more. Rest days are a necessity. 150 GHD sit-ups in one workout will give you Rhabdo…and LOTS of swelling in areas that shouldn’t swell (true story).

How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
I kept coming! 😉

What keeps you motivated?
There’s always something to improve on and always something to gauge improvement.

What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to?
The shirtless men! Not what you meant? 😉 I love the people I train with! Working as a team for a common goal (2015 Regionals) always keeps me motivated to do my part. There’s a bit more pressure when training with a team which makes me work harder.leigh1

Recent PRs?
25’ handstand walk…with these long levers, feels like I’ve defied physics and that’s worth celebrating!

Current training goals?
Primary: To help CFA qualify for Regionals via the Open (starts in 7 weeks…who’s with me?!?!)
Secondary: To make the Regionals team for the fifth year in a row
‘Thirdary’: to burn enough calories to justify my chocolate problem.

Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?
My size! I’m 5’9 with a short torso and long levers. I’m convinced my hip flexors are disproportionate to the length of my legs which makes any kipping movement hanging from the rings or pull-up bars translate into a dying dolphin! I tried to get shorter, but realized that was much harder than developing the proper strength and ‘body awareness’ to achieve things like chest to bar pull-ups and muscle ups. ‘Gymnasties’ will always be an obstacle for me and I’ve finally accepted that. Now, it’s a matter of enjoying the journey and celebrating the gains…big or small!

What does the Push Up Woman title mean to you?
Enough for me to snot, drool and cry all at once! Translation: humbled/shocked to receive it. I’ve always viewed it as a way to recognize the amazing women of CFA.
Women I’ve respected and admired throughout the years. They are strong, confident women who lead with humility and compassion. Every single one, I’ve gotten to know personally and am honored to be a part of their ‘club.’  I’ve put these women on a pedestal for how awesome they are and even still, don’t think I should be on their level. It may be just a ‘gym’ award but to me, it’s an honor and privilege to be grouped with the past women of this award. They’ve set the bar high and I’m still trying to grab it!

How will you use your new found Push Up Woman glory?
It’s my tagline on Tinder and has caused a ‘swiping right’ epidemic. So many matches! I may or may not sleep with the award, too!
What is your cheat meal go to?
BLT’s (bites, licks, and tastes) to be exact. Chocolate, pretzel crisps, mac n cheese, snacks left from clients at CFA, cake pops, cheese plates…I do damage to any spread at a party.

Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
I’ve finally come to terms with this:
‘Fall in love with the process and the results will come.’

And this pretty much sums it all up:
‘Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.’


Push Up Man of the Year 2014: Doug Clements

When did you join the CFA community?
February 2012.doug3

What is one of your most memorable moments from your early days at CFA? Any ‘newbie’ stories you’d like to share?
There are a lot.  I remember Walker’s foul mouthed coaching in many of my Level 1 classes, which I loved.  I remember sweating and learning with a lot of faces that are no longer at the gym today, but I remember them often.  But, personally, a story I remember pretty vividly is my first time doing “Fran.”  It was the first time I’d done one of the named workouts, and I’d spent the entire day game-planning my approach and by 6:30 pm I was supremely confident that I would kick Fran’s ass.  I went out of the gate HOT!  Got through the round of 21 in great shape and somewhere around rep 6 or 7 in the round of 15 thrusters, my body completely gave up.  I could barely see, breathe, or move.  I thought my heart might stop.  I sat on the ground as my partner encouraged me to get up and keep moving.  The seconds turned to minutes.  The rest of the class finished, one by one.  Aaron was coaching that day and somewhere around 10 minutes he looked at me and said, “I’m calling it, Doug.”  I didn’t even finish.  In the moment, I was totally demoralized, but looking back it’s one of the most valuable lessons I learned in CrossFit.  Pacing is EVERYTHING. Understanding your body and listening to it is even more important.  Later that week, I would complete “Fran” at a scaled weight of 75 lbs. somewhere in the ballpark of 7 minutes.  It wasn’t Rx.  It wasn’t a time I had envisioned earlier that week.  But I was happy to have finished it and I learned that week that any workout with a name on it is not one to be underestimated.

What is it about CFA that you love or that is different from other sports/programs you’ve tried?
Anyone and everyone that has come through the bay doors at CFA will answer this question the same: the people.  From all walks of life.  In all shapes and sizes.  All ages.  And without exception, everyone is a genuinely good person.  The camaraderie experienced at CFA is the first time since high school athletics that I’ve felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself.  Sure, self-improvement has always been a top priority for me at CFA, but investing even the smallest amount of time in the journeys of those around me has been infinitely more satisfying than any of my own PRs.  Watching everyone grow – together – is what separates CFA from most any other athletic experience I’ve had in my life.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started CrossFit?
Slow down, but always go for it.  Admittedly, I was in a big hurry to “grow up” in CrossFit.  In some instances, this was to my detriment.  In many others, it was to my advantage.  After all, you’ll never know if you can do a muscle up or a handstand or a butterfly pull-up until you actually try!  Now, there is a proper progression for all advanced movements that should be followed in order to establish proper movement patterns and understand where your body is in space.  But I’m a firm believer that pushing the envelope a little bit, going for it, trying new things will lead to growth.  Not only in the gym, but within yourself.  Be smart.  Be safe.  But don’t ever be afraid.

How did you create long term fitness/CrossFit success for yourself?
Showing up.  The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, to achieving long-term fitness success is making the commitment to show up.  The best part about any CrossFit gym, but especially CFA, is that once you’re there the rest is taken care of.  The coaches will warm you up.  Keep you focused on movement quality.  Ask you how you’re feeling to avoid any complications or injuries.  The workout is posted on the board and your fellow classmates will rarely give you a pass to just mail it in or sandbag it.  The hardest part is showing up, and really, when you think about it, it’s the easiest thing you can do (except on those especially terrible days in Austin rush hour traffic!).

What keeps you motivated? What makes you come in and train on days when you don’t want to?
My motivation to show up has evolved quite a bit in my time at CFA.  Initially, it was just making some kind of effort to get back in shape.  As time went on, it shifted towards becoming the very best athlete I could be.  I enjoyed the competitive aspect of CrossFit because it pushed my limits and in doing so my self-esteem and confidence skyrocketed because I was routinely doing things I never, ever imagined myself doing.  Now, my primary motivator is my health and wellness.  I’ve set the competitive aspect aside (for now, at least), and have shifted my focus to maintaining a healthy body and mind.  Don’t get me wrong, when I’m mid-workout and see someone who is neck and neck with me, it’s hard to resist the urge to push it a little bit harder and finish ahead of whoever it is (usually Jillian – although she routinely kicks my ass!).  And I’d be lying if there wasn’t an undercurrent of vanity that drives me from time to time.  Who doesn’t want a washboard stomach and biceps like Ike?  But, ultimately, my primary motivator is my long-term health.

Recent PRs?
Split Jerk @ 245 lbs.  Which I was especially shocked and proud of.  I had been out of the gym for months, and in my first week back was just trying to move and enjoy being off the couch again.  Alex Gale (A-Geezy!) and I were lifting together that day and I tied my old PR of 225 lbs. and decided I’d call it a day.  AG threw 245 on the bar and gave me the old “C’mon man!” and so I gave it a shot and BOOM!  As I said before, the camaraderie and shared successes is one of my favorite parts about CFA.

Current training goals?
For the entirety of my time at CFA, I have kept a journal of all my workouts and running commentary on every workout I did.  After missing several months and returning to the gym, I decided to set the journal down, quit chasing numbers, and just have fun.  While I am a strong advocate of maintaining a journal and tracking your progress – your successes as well as your failures – for me, right now, I’m just enjoying my fitness and trying to express that when I jump up on the pull-up bar or grab the barbell.

Tell us about an obstacle you have had to work through in your training. How did you work through it?
I’ve referenced it loosely a couple times already, but in September of last year I developed the dreaded condition of rhabdomyolysis or “rhabdo,” for short.  If you aren’t familiar with the condition, check it out.  There’s plenty of information out there on it.  It happened at a competition at another local gym who shall remain nameless, because I don’t see the benefit in “calling them out” or shaming them for poor programming.  I don’t believe they did it to me, or that CrossFit did it to me – I did it to myself.  Well, a couple days after the competition I was in the most physical pain I’d ever been in.  After a couple visits to my doctor and several blood tests, it was confirmed that I had a pretty severe case of rhabdo and would need to be admitted to the hospital immediately for treatment.  Treatment consisted of round-the-clock IV fluids and patience.  There was nothing else to be done, but wait for my blood levels and organ function to return to relatively normal ranges.  After a 3-day stay at Seton, I was released to go home, but it would be weeks before my blood work and organ function would return to “normal.” Before I go any further I have to give my public and heartfelt thanks to my loving girlfriend, Jillian, and my good friend, Alex Gold.  Jillian was with me almost the entire time and made sure I never had to eat a single meal from the hospital cafeteria.  One day, Gold spent his own lunch break (and then some) to come see me and bring me reading material, a litany of my favorite snacks, and his unique brand of humor and love.  You both know how I feel about you, but you’ll never know how important your presence was to my morale in that hospital room.  After many weeks and many tests, my blood and organ function returned to normal and I was given the go ahead by my doctor to return to exercise… slowly.  It was mental hell.  I had lost nearly 20 lbs. of muscle and naturally, after weeks of inactivity, my endurance was poor.  However, with the ever-present support of those around me (another special shout out to all my fellow competitors and Dayna Lowke!), I was reminded constantly that things would get better, and they did.  Without question, the experience was one of the most difficult of my life, and I would not have been able to weather the storm as well as I did without the support of my family, Jillian, and everyone at the gym who reached out with kind and supportive words.  Thank you all so much!  And remember what I saiddoug4 earlier: never be afraid!  Listen to your body, stay within yourself, be smart and be safe, and you’ll never have to worry about a visit from the rhabdo monster.

What does the Push Up Man title mean to you?
Words fall short of describing what this award means to me.  It is deeply humbling to be honored in such a way by people whom I so deeply respect and admire.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the guidance, support, and friendship of Miguel Garza.  He’s been a big brother of sorts to me (even though I’m older than he is) in CrossFit and at CFA.  I want to also thank our fearless leader, Wes Kimball, who believed in me and my abilities even when I didn’t believe in them myself.  Shortly after receiving the award, I wrote a special note to all of my former and fellow Competitors, which is my best effort in trying to explain what this honor means to me, and I want to share that with the community now:

“I write this today with sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude. To be honored with the Pushup Man of the Year award is humbling, to say the least. Having had a couple days to reflect, all I can say is “Thank you!” To each and every one of you. All of you, in your own, unique and special way, have left an indelible mark on my being. Three years ago, I never imagined 1) being physically fit again or 2) having as many friends and people who care about me as I have through CrossFit Austin. We truly are a neighborhood/community/family/whatever you want to call it. While many people see CrossFit from the outside-looking-in and view it with skepticism and loathing, they fail to see through all the sweat and ridiculousness to the true reason we all continue to step through the bay doors every day: Each other. The experience is so meaningful because it is shared. Without that, it’s just exercise. We all know, through our own very intimate experiences at the gym, that it truly is more than just exercise. No single word truly encapsulates what we have and share together, but we know it exists and it is real because we do it together. And so, just as every workout is done together, this award is not mine alone. It is yours, too. Thank you for taking a part in my growth as an athlete, but more importantly, my growth as a friend, a teammate, and as a person. I love you all very much. I mean that. It is often a phrase we neglect to share with those closest to us – whatever the reason may be. But I want to be direct and clear with all of you: I love you.”

How will you use your new found Push Up Man glory?
It is my hope that I can take all of my amazing past experiences at CFA and pay it forward.  If you have a question about fitness, nutrition, mindset, anything PLEASE do not hesitate to ask me.  I have been given more than words can express and I want to share that with our community.

What is your cheat meal go to?doug1
Those who know me best, know that I LOVE a good sandwich.  But I hardly think a Turkey Club or Italian Sub truly qualifies as a “cheat meal.”  When I’m not feeling my day-to-day meals, I drive to the closest Whataburger and order a double cheeseburger with bacon, fries, and a chocolate shake.  Coach Mark knows what I’m talking about!

Leave the fine folks of CFA with some parting wisdom.
You may have already noticed that I can be a little long-winded, at times (my family would tell you I’ve always had a lot to say).  I’m not sure I can add much more to what I’ve already shared, but I’ll leave you with about the extent of my “wisdom.”  Before 2014 started, I set some goals for myself.  Many of which, by the way, I did not reach (not yet, anyway).  To reach those goals, I set forth some guiding principles, or intentions, by and through which I would hope to achieve those goals.  Those four intentions were as follows:

1) Show up.
2) Be positive.
3) Be a good teammate.
4) Do work.



Congratulations guys! We’re so proud to have you as a part of the CrossFit Austin Community!