Thursday, August 16, 2012

I have switched my blog over to a new site. Please click this link
to see all the newest post!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Butterfly Effect - It Starts with You

CrossFit is highly represented by intense people who have this insane idea that CrossFit is the end-all-and-be-all to fitness. Many athletes buy into this belief that if you aren't doing CrossFit WODs every day then you can't really be at your fullest potential.

I would like to state that, although our program does deliver results, most CrossFitters will be well-served by simply incorporating it into their already busy and active lives with a 2 or 3 day a week program.

You see...for most folks, being the best at CrossFit is less of a priority then just adding in a challenging fitness program that gives them a varied experience to their usual daily tasks.

Rachel is a 3 day-a-week/45-minutes-a-class CrossFit Athlete who shows up consistently, all while being a full-time mother and wife. She really doesn't have any more time available to do it.  I am always inspired by the women of the CrossFit Central community that do this for themselves because of the carry over that it will have for their families.  I can remember during my childhood being less than adequately guided in the realms of health and fitness simply because my mom was way too busy with work and life to even understand the importance of it.

Rachel and people like her have the ability to change the lives of our future generations and could potentially turn around the disturbing health realities our children face today.

Rachel's Story

I started at CrossFit Central about 2 years ago. I had never even heard of CrossFit before I walked into the gym for a tour.  I chose Mike’s MWF 6:15am class because it worked with my schedule. I wanted to go 3 days a week and knew if I didn’t go in the morning I’d find excuses and a million other things to do.

Mike is just the kind of coach I need.  He knows when to push me and when I need encouragement.  I am stronger and more confident now. When I started in Mike’s class, I had to use a weighted PVC pipe because I couldn’t lift a barbell over my head.  I was so intimidated by everyone in class; they were all stronger and faster than I was. I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into! Now I know we’re all there to get better and no one is laughing at me.

My perception of what I wanted my body to look like has changed since starting CrossFit. I started CrossFit to get skinny, but now skinny looks so unhealthy! I want to get stronger and set a good example for my daughters. I used to only see all my physical faults, but now I’m happy with the way I look, imperfections and all! I have more energy and am happier in my own skin. I feel better physically and mentally, so I’m a happier person all around.

I’m motivated by feeling strong and healthy, by getting PR’s and mastering new skills. I’m motivated by seeing how far I’ve come and by working to get better. My coaches and classmates also help me stay motivated.
Before CrossFit, I was 36, overweight and always tired. I put taking care of myself last. I got caught up in the notion that to be a good mom I needed to put everyone else first. That one hour a morning 3 days a week is my time for me. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself! I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight – less than 10 lbs – but I’ve lost about 10% body fat.

Six months before starting CrossFit, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease so we had already drastically changed the foods we ate – we just substituted gluten free products for the wheat ones. We are all gluten free now and try to follow the 80/20 rule in eating Paleo. I have a giant sweet tooth, so ice cream is my weakness!

My current goals are to master kipping pull-ups and double unders and to dead lift 225 pounds.  I’ve done several challenges: Lean Turkey, I AM CrossFit and, most recently, Bettys on Boards. SUP boarding was fun and I meet some great ladies! I sign up for the challenges to try new things, like SUP boards, and to meet new people in the CrossFit Central community that I wouldn’t otherwise meet. I must say, I like the competition – I haven’t participated in sports since high school.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Up and Comer

Here's what I expect myself to do as a Crossfit Coach...

Make my athletes better at it!

Some people just move faster than others. In the short amount of time I have been working with Teo, he has rapidly improved.  Young, focused and unbelievably driven is who this kid is.  His story is about work ethic.  His peers respect him because he puts himself out there as the guy who is going to lead by example and demand that they keep up or get left behind.

I see Teo as a natural leader and as a young man who is destined to bring out the most in many, many people in the years to come!

Stay on the lookout for this kid in the CrossFit and the Austin community as a whole!

Teo's Story
I started CrossFitting in July 2011 with Big Mike. I didn’t actually choose Big Mike. The owner of our company, Holly Evers, was training with Mike and she would always talk about him. I always thought “He’s just a big dude. How good can he be? A meathead.” Holly got us into a CrossFit class, and I got to working with Big Mike and realized that he’s an amazing athlete and an amazing person. His work ethic and dedication went towards us and we realized that Holly was 100% right about everything she said about Big Mike. Big Mike is a role model to me – for someone his size, the way he moves, the flexibility that he has, the mobility is just amazing and I wish to be where he is.

When I started CrossFitting, I was 23 years old and already in pretty good shape. I ran marathons and I’ve always been an athlete. I weighed about 136-140, I was 6% body fat, and my energy levels were up and down. Now I’m under 5% body fat, I weigh around 142-143, and my energy levels are pretty high. I haven’t gone down drastically (in weight/body fat) because I didn’t have that far to go. But I've added muscle and have seen my strength skyrocket. Just last week I set a couple of PRs. I power cleaned 215 and I front squatted 235. I went up on my front squat 30 pounds in a month. I had never really maxed out in my power clean and I didn’t think it was over 185 – but I guess it is.

Honestly, CrossFit just reminds me of me being a kid again, in high school, in training super hard. I’ve always loved training and pushing my body, but now in CrossFit I can push my body to a goal, rather than just push my body to play a sport.  I’ve noticed that CrossFit has not only changed me, it’s changed my girl friend, it’s changed friends. I’ve changed many lives and I haven’t even started. I’ve always been a leader in the group of friends that I have and now with CrossFit it’s even more because I have something that they look up to, my ethic, and how hard I work, I never give up no matter what. It’s showing them that that’s how life is, you give up you get dropped away – you take weight off (the bar) it shows how you are in real life, you keep the weight on and you push through it, it reflects on your future and how you do things.

I got my girl friend into CrossFit and she’s amazing at it. I currently train 3 good friends of mine and I had one friend go from 235 pounds to 180 (in about 5 months) and he’s loving it, it’s changed his life – and he’s changing lives. Now he’s training 3 of his friends, so it’s kind of like a chain event – I’m changing lives, everyone is changing lives. People see the energy levels, they see the confidence, and they want that.

The only challenge I’ve done so far was the CrossFit Open which was a huge eye-opener for me on how, around the world, people are really good and they don’t leave anything on the table. When I grew up I was always leaving something in the tank, just to tell myself that I could have done better. But that’s one thing that CrossFit has really shown me, that you don’t leave anything on the table, that you go balls out and no regrets and that’s one thing that I do now. When I did the Open, that burpee challenge was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life, the most pain I’ve had in my life and it just showed me that pain is temporary and failure is forever. So that’s how I’ve been living my life.

I’m definitely looking forward to doing Fran (at the Level 1 cert). That will be the first time I’ll do it. My goal is to do a sub-4 and go unbroken and I think with motivation and those people looking at me I definitely won’t put that bar down, that’s for sure.

My future goal now is to coach. Big Mike has inspired me so much and I’ve started coaching and I love it – I love changing people’s lives, I love seeing the happiness that comes from it and the happiness that I get from it. Honestly, when I coach, I don’t stop smiling. I never saw myself as a patient person but now coaching people and watching them evolve and become better athletes, it does something to my inner self that’s just not explainable.

My peers approached me about being a coach. They always looked up to me. I never offered to coach anyone and I still don’t even call myself a coach. When people ask if I’m coaching anyone I just say that I’m helping people reach their goals. I have a mind block about calling myself a coach because I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished enough to be called a coach. When I came into CrossFit and I met the coaches here, and they are all great athletes, elite athletes and they’re still not even at their prime yet. I guess that’s one thing people see in Big Mike, he’s huge, he’s mobile, he can perform any movement he talks about. So of course people want to be coached by him because he’s an elite athlete.

What keeps me motivated in my own training is the future. I’m a guy that looks at the future. For example, the PRs that I did last week, those keep me motivated – getting stronger and bigger and faster. I currently do martial arts, I play different sports every week and every time I’m on the field I out-perform everyone, I’m stronger than everyone and that keeps me motivated. People see me out on the field performing, they’re in shock because they’ve never seen someone just push so hard for so long and that’s what keeps me motivated, showing people that you can do it and that you don’t need to do drugs, you don’t need to drink, you don’t need to do illegal substances to be at that level. If you want your body to perform at high levels you have to treat your body really really well.

I try to stay as active as possible. I’ve been doing jujitsu for two years. That’s what I love to do. It’s not a very contact sport. I used to box, I boxed for 3 years and I did some MMA but after a while I realized that I didn’t like to hurt people. I just like to learn. Basically jujitsu is submission wrestling, grappling – they call it Smooth Jazz because you just roll and it’s very graceful and very chess-like, every move means something, ever angle means something. I also have a soccer game every week on Sunday morning. I play softball with the guys from work, I’m in two softball leagues and I also play flag football on Wednesdays.

I grew up playing lots of sports. The thing I was most successful at in high school was cross country. I was a really good runner and had several scholarships in running and I still run a lot today. I did the Spartan race last year and I got second place overall. Anything that involves running, I’m really good at it. I love the Helen workout, that’s my favorite. That’s one thing that I will definitely never give up. A lot of times people will tell me that if I want to get stronger I need to stop running and I just tell them I’ll just eat more, whatever it takes, but I will never stop running.

I’m a valet driver downtown in the warehouse district with 9 other guys. We all started CrossFitting together in July 2011. Everything we do at work, we have a smile on our face. Everything we do at CrossFit, we have a smile on our face. That’s the difference I believe in working out in a box together. We love it. We never argue, we push our bodies as hard as we can, we don’t leave anything back. We challenge each other, we encourage each other, and we definitely have each others' backs no matter what. We’re definitely a lot closer – we were close before but now we’re inseparable. If one person doesn’t come to CrossFit, we’ll get on him and make him feel like there’s no way he’s gonna miss another day of CrossFit.

We normally work from 4pm to 4am. By the time we’re counting money it’s 5am. Get home, get some food, by the time our energy levels are down it’s 6am. So we don’t normally get that much sleep when we come to CrossFit, but it’s definitely well worth it. We’re not used to waking up at noon, that’s kind of early for us but we wake up at that time to come to CrossFit.

My brother always told me to lead by example and that’s what my dad has taught me too. I grew up in a real bad neighborhood, and thanks to my role models – my dad and my brother – they showed me that there are different routes in life. By working hard you can get places and that’s where I am now, taking risks, working hard. I was working hard as a valet and that got me into a position to do CrossFit here. It’s definitely a gift – we thank Holly Evers more than anything for giving us this opportunity, putting 9 guys through this great program with a great coach.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Athletes Train!

Athletes Train! This is a simple concept that most people don't fully understand! Sometimes over-complicating things or letting negative emotions into the realm of training sessions hold people back from seeing more rapid success. Russ is not one of those people.

Since coming into the gym, Russ has continued to exceed himself in every way possible. I have to give him all the credit in the world, and in many ways I am not even sure how he is able to do what he does. I see Russ at CrossFit Central and Red Black Gym often 6 days a week. Training Monday through Saturday is something not very many people can or should do. All this tells me is this guy is doing everything else right! Sleep, nutrition, mobilization and probably prayer are keeping this man going strong daily.

Here is what I've noticed from Russ over his past 6 months in our gym:
- Hard Worker (He goes all out every single time!)
- Visual Learner (If he see something done he can typically replicate it on point)
- Natural Athlete (Movements are "to the T")
- Humble (Never an ounce of pride and always praising others for their accomplishments)
- Funny (Always has an unexpected and hilarious answer or statement during class conversation)
- Good Looking (Why do we CrossFit anyway...Right?)

Anyway, this blog isn't to take credit for this guy's success...only to highlight what this man has done in order to achieve it! Great job Russ! More people should be like you my friend!

Russ' Story

I started CrossFitting in May 2011, and I started in Big Mike’s class about 2 months later. I chose Mike as a coach because I saw his picture and noticed he was big and ripped. So I figured he knew how to get big and strong.

Since training with Mike, I have noticed my strength go up. My deadlift has gone up by 60 pounds, my shoulder press by about 25 pounds. I think Mike incorporates the spiritual side into his training in terms of helping his athletes to remove limitations that they set in their own minds. CrossFitting has taught me to get rid of physical limitations that I imposed upon myself. It has also taught me that your body can do a lot more than you think it can and that the mind is the power behind the body.

I am fitter and healthier now, and I enjoy belonging to the CrossFit community. It has given me some real goals to shoot for in life from a competition perspective. Having God in my life keeps me motivated. God is the reason for any success I may have.

I was 40 when I started CrossFit. My weight hasn’t changed since then, but I have way more energy/strength, and my body fat went from 11% to below 8% in less than a year. I didn’t realize that I could work out as hard as I do in CrossFit. It has taught me to push myself harder. I also eat healthier now. Before, I ate whatever I wanted to eat - now I pay more attention to eating things that will help me have energy and strength for my workouts.

My main goal is to be a better man. My father has taught me about that. In the gym, I want to compete more. I want to get my CrossFit totals above 1,000 within the next year. I want to get better at technique in the snatch, muscle-up, etc. These were never goals before.

I recently did the Underground Kettlebell Challenge, and I loved it. I enjoyed the last challenge so much that I want to keep signing up. I love the camaraderie it brings among CrossFit athletes. It inspires me to train harder in my regular classes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making Her Way

Laurie's story represents one of the true essences of CrossFit's ability impact a person's lifestyle at a deep and meaningful level. Watching her get out of her comfort zone has been remarkable. I am proud to see this woman take on a program like CrossFit after spending her whole life prior to it without ever taking on physical challenges or being an athlete. She has found a new self through the experience. Seeing how her success has inspired her husband to join us a year later speaks volumes for how much Laurie is truly a positive model for her family, friends and anyone else she comes across on a daily basis!

Laurie's Story

When I started CrossFit, I was 37, a couple dozen pounds too many, and decidedly not fit. Motherhood and career were my lazy excuses for not making time for myself, much less for my health. I was beginning to learn that the levels of fitness I tucked away in my teens and 20’s were requiring greater and greater effort to maintain. I had jumped from swimming to running to gyms, not finding a sustainable match, and the extra pounds continued to appear from nowhere. I knew that as I got older, this would only become more prominent and more difficult to turn around.

I had never done anything like CrossFit before and had never considered myself an athlete. All the gymnastic movements and strength training were foreign to me. I had very little confidence that I’d be able to do any of it. But on a whim, and with the shining examples of a CrossFitting cousin and friends, I started in early 2011. I’ve been in Big Mike’s class for exactly one year now, after having worked out with a level one class for 3 months. I ended up with Big Mike as my coach by luck - choosing his 6:15 am MWF class because it allows me to get home and ready for work before getting my kids off to school (just barely!).

I have always been fortunate to have good energy, to sleep well, and to generally be a confident and happy gal, and yet CrossFit has enhanced the energy I feel throughout the day, improved my mood, and elevated my confidence. I also feel the workouts and clean eating have started to affect my thinking, which seems more efficient and creative than it was before. This is important in my life right now, as I'm studying for a doctoral degree and juggling regular work and kids. It is crucial that my limited think-time be really efficient and productive. I also feel good about the messages my kids are getting about fitness and food. More importantly, they’ve witnessed me starting something new, being nervous about it, and then keeping at it and getting better. My husband recently started CrossFit as well, so there’s the added entertainment of family-friendly WOD trash-talk.

The community atmosphere keeps me motivated to continue showing up and pushing myself. I did not grow up competing in team sports, and the coaching and group elements of CrossFit have been fun surprises. I was intimidated by the people and the workouts in the beginning, but now I look forward to seeing and working out with my class. Mike and Conner truly want to see me get stronger and healthier – it is clearly not “just a job” for them. It’s a great blend of support and fun-loving competition. Being healthy in community is so much more fun, realistic and feasible than going it alone. And I have to admit I’ve discovered a little bit of suppressed competitor in myself.

Strangely, CrossFit also keeps me feeling close to my big brother, who died 5 years ago. My brother was a natural athlete and strong in every way, and since his death the stories of his feats of super-human strength have, of course, grown. He would have been proud and encouraging of this new part of me. Even though he would have kicked my butt in every conceivable WOD, we would have had a great time CrossFitting together!

In addition to my class, I’ve done Fuel-21 twice and the I Am CrossFit challenge once. All three challenges really helped me hone the way I shop for and think about food. As a busy working mom, I find that if I am organized about shopping and cooking, I am more likely to eat clean and feel great. Participating in the challenges and food logging provided the extra incentive and accountability I needed to establish new routines. The challenges keep me on target and also keep things fun and interesting. After completing the I Am CrossFit Challenge earlier this year, I lost about 9 pounds, 5% body fat, and went down two sizes in clothes. While I don’t eat 100% paleo/primal, my eating has changed tremendously. Breakfast, for example, used to consist mainly of beans and tortillas, and now it centers on fresh vegetables and high quality protein. Across all my meals, vegetables have replaced all the pasta and bread I used to rely on.

I’d like to keep leaning out, so I definitely have more work to do in terms of weight and body fat. My goal in 2012 is to continue the progress I made during the I Am CrossFit challenge by continuing to eat clean and to add another workout into my week. Plus I’d really like to bid a fond farewell to banded pull-ups!

My work is related to social injustice, violence, and exploitation - specifically to issues around sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking (modern-day slavery). Without a doubt, these are heavy topics, full of complex stories of both overwhelming trauma and tremendous strength and resilience. There's an unfortunate myth that if people in the helping professionals are really passionate, they should be worn out, burned out, and sacrificing their health for the cause. When you add to that the myth of academic scholarship telling you to study all night, eat crap, and live at your laptop, you have a precarious combination. I believe strongly that pushing our bodies physically is one of the best ways to balance out some of the tough intellectual and emotional burdens (either personally or professionally) we carry. When people inevitably ask me, "Isn't it depressing? How do you keep doing it?" I think of three things that help me maintain that delicate and crucial balance: my role as a mama of small kids in keeping me rooted in the here-and-now; the gift of sleep; and CrossFit's support of that holistic view of mind-body health.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Money Isn't Everything...

But it is one thing!

I have financial goals. This type of thing can be a very controversial topic to a lot of people. I think many people's minds have been shaped to think in terms of education, security and benefits. This is basically the norm in our culture...but the thought of living in this manner sickens my stomach.

Several years ago I started spending money I barely had to go to seminars to develop myself personally. Each time I did this, I would come back home with new tools to increase my personal monetary value.

When I hear Recession, I think Opportunity. Not just for myself, but for anyone I know that I can come back and teach what I learned.

I am an Entrepreneur for a reason. I know that I get to decide how much I earn by what I have to offer that gives value to the lives of others.

I am grateful for the fact that I have achieved some major financial goals in the past few years, and this year I am aiming for money that I couldn't fathom during my childhood.

All I know is keeping limitations on myself is not an option.

In 2 weeks I will be taking a trip (not vacation) to New Jersey to see my Man Tony Robbins for the second time in 4 months. This could seem expensive but the deal is if you're not improving're either dying or already dead!