The Final Update: 19.5 + Awards!




We made it through the 2019 CrossFit Open alive and only slightly scathed! We are so, so proud of everyone — from the first timers to the masters veterans — we saw some amazing community moments unfold, and some crazy athletic feats emerge from folks just simply getting out of their comfort zones.

Thank you to everyone who came out to make these last five weeks the best ever — Austin Sports Therapy, Airrosti, Rebbl, Pearson Properties, Nicki Morgan’s jalapeno dip, Jess Guevara’s margs, and we’d like to especially thank New Skin Liquid Bandages for obvious 19.5-related reasons.

For the past couple of years, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to award some folks some key superlatives, as well as crown the gym champs in their respective categories. So, without further adieu, we bring you the finishing highlights from 19.5 and this year’s slew of winners.

Way to go, y’all!

19.5 Highlights:

  • Hroch finished exactly when Mat Fraser did, times two. So, he’s essentially twice the man Matty Fray is.
  • Zach, Drew, Laura, and Jamie all  finished the workout in a buzzer-beating RX fashion and boy was it exciting to watch.
  • McKenzie, Whitney, Geoffrey, and Gerry said RIP and goodbye to the skin on their hands and made the rig look like a scene straight outta Dexter.
  • Val Harmon  m u r d e r e d  this workout scaled, and, later, found out exactly (the hard way) why we wrap our thumbs around the bar when doing pull-ups.
  • Shannon Frawley also demonstrated some serious athleticism and finished this workout scaled, but wanted to try her ~hand~ at RX, so after a few days gave it a go and got 33 reps!
  • Sadie didn’t go into labor during any part of 19.5.
  • Sally Mayo did ALL of her scaled thrusters unbroken, the whole time, and frankly we all should strive to be like Sally Mayo.

Before we go on to the final stats and winners circle, let’s take a minute and recognize all these badass first timers!

Ladies: Lindsay, Ciera, Chloe, Lauren, Kelsi, Kelly, Tara, Michelle Kwan, Frances, Meredith, and Elizabeth!!

Fellas: Alex, Chad (it’s about time, Chadley), Aiden, Michael Burton, Bryan Payne, Jared, Michael Zimmerman, Blake, Paul, Qasim, Dino, and Kevin!

Look at all those names, y’all! Some of these folks literally only started CrossFit a month or so before the Open began, and it only took weeks of convincing and a promise that they wouldn’t perish. Amazing. We are so proud of y’all!

Alright, after all that, let’s see what the 19.5 scoreboards looked like:


Men’s RX


Ladies’ RX

Men’s Scaled

Ladie’s Scaled

Men’s Masters

Ladies Masters

And, drumroll please, the final, overall stats and standings from the last five weeks of work!

  • Fittest Man, RX: Justin Hroch (6 points)
  • Fittest Woman, RX: Jamie Kampman (10 points)
  • Fittest Man, Scaled: Aiden Romano (54 points)
  • Fittest Woman, Scaled: Shannon Frawley (59 points)
  • Fittest Man, Masters: Paul Smith (133 points)
  • Fittest Woman, Masters: Sally Mayo (167 points)

Congratulations to you six for taking home the proverbial gold in their category! But now, the real awards:

  • Worst Rip: Gerald Flynn
  • Best Rester: Philip Edsel
  • Judge’s favorite: Paul Smith
  • Sweatiest Beast: Zach Lozano
  • Chalk Monster: Becca Matimba
  • Loudest Grunter: Becca Harris
  • Most Spirited: Jared Crowley
  • Most Aggressive: Whitney Furrh
  • Best Effort, Dudes Division: Bryan Payne
  • Best Effort, Ladies Division: Shannon Frawley
  • First Timer: Alex Morgan

If your name is on here and you weren’t there for the awards ceremony Friday night, find a coach and demand that they give you your very official awards certificate. You earned it, champ.

We cannot emphasize enough how stinking proud we are of all of you. You are why The Open is great — not because highly skilled elite athletes are working out on TV, no, but because new people, seasoned people, people who are nervous, people who are confident, and people who aren’t entirely sure what they’re getting into come together for the sake of bettering their friendships and fitness.

Thank you for stepping in to judge, bring treats, cheer each other on, keep the competition light and fun, and keeping those hungry butts starvin’.

Until next Spring — sayonara Open season!

Why our members are #InTheOpen

You’ve heard from our coaches about why they’re doing The Open, and now it’s time to hear from some of our members. Some are new to CrossFit as a whole, and some have participated in The Open for years. Either way, check out their why:

Alex Morgan, Renewb:

I am doing the Open as a way to understand where my fitness ranks among not only Crossfit Renew but the Community as a whole. This is something that attracted me to the sport of Crossfit as it is something that typically is an individual competition where everyone is equally competitive towards one another as they are encouraging. The Open will show me where weaknesses lie and skills that I need to improve, more so than others, before the Open comes around again!

Jared Crowley, Renewb:

I’m doing the open because I like baselines, I like competition, and because it’s a little intimidating. I mean- how do you measure growth if there is no baseline? I’ve got 8 months of Renew under my belt and am ready to take a shot at something serious. Watching the Games gets me so amped- remember when Matty Fraser beat Ben Smith in that sprint in ‘16? The Tia/Kara finish? This is my shot to compete- slower and scaled, sure, but I’m excited! And lastly, I’m old, I’m carrying a few extra pounds, and doing these workouts in front of a crowd is scary. But hey, face your fears right? Renew folks are solid and I know I’ll get a lot of support… So let’s do this bro.

Ciera Schick, Renewb:

The Open is something I’ve always known about but thought it just for the athletes who were a shoe in for the Games. When I found out us regulars could do it too, aside from immediate panic, I thought why not give it a try. Even though there are TONS of skills I can’t do and will likely scale in every workout, I felt like it was a good opportunity to set aside my fears and just do it. Maybe during The Open I’ll finally string more than 3 pull ups together or get toes to bar, maybe I won’t, but I won’t know until I try.

My ultimate goal for The Open is to leave each workout not feeling embarrassed or ashamed that I couldn’t do a skill or finish the fastest, but to remember that everybody started somewhere. I signed up, I started my journey, and in five Opens from now I’ll be thanking myself.

Steve Le, CrossFit Vet:

I’ve done the open every year since 2012, with the exception of 2017.

I do it for myself and the people I work out with. I finish every open with something new to work on and then I get to try it out the next year. This year I’ve been working on c2b efficiency. There not really where I want them to be, but I have made some progress.

But I get the most joy out of helping other people in the open. You do the workout alone, but you’ve got people giving you tips before if your are worried about a skill or a judge keeping you calm as you grind through a long WOD or the rest of the class cheering you on for one more rep. While I’ve been lucky enough to be around people who have made regionals and the games, my favorite open memory is helping a member get her first T2B in an open WOD. She still smiles every time she tells the story of getting it which I think of pretty cool.

Sally Mayo, CrossFit Vet:

I do the open because …

Sadie will harass and haze me if I don’t.

But seriously … I like doing the open because it’s always a challenge — even when doing it scaled, and I like being a part of a larger competition though it’s not the competition part that gets me. It’s the the shared experience of doing a workout that everyone at Renew is doing, in addition to people all over the world.  I do get a charge seeing how I rate among my peers.

The main reason to do the open is the Friday Night Lights experience:  I get to interact with people from Renew that are regulars at other times that I don’t get to see.  I like giving support to the crew and seeing everyone work hard and give their best.

When I get past that initial ‘judging’ thing I can experience the open as an incredibly supportive experience that is unlike I get in any other area of life. Being in a place where individuals are authentically cheering each other and supporting each other is THE BEST.

The Browns, CrossFit Vets:

Dom: I’m doing the Open because it’s a chance to hang out with everyone at Renew and you all are awesome. I’m happy to be a member here and happy to witness all of us push our limits. The Open shows you your weaknesses, but it also shows you how strong you are and how far you’ve come. My goals for this year include: becoming more proficient at double unders and ring dips. I also want to work on my cardio endurance.

I’m looking forward to seeing all my fav faces at Friday Night Lights and hopefully meeting some new folks too!


I enjoyed it last year, and I was excited about the prospect of getting a t-shirt this year!  More the t-shirt, really!

So whether you’re young or old, new or seasoned — the Open is for you. We are so excited to see what this year holds, and we can’t WAIT to see who learns what new skill or slam dunks a new PR. It’s gonna be a good year, people. We can feel it.

See you under the Friday Night Lights!

The CrossFit Open: who, what, when, why, how, help

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: The CrossFit Open is here!

There have been whispers in the gym of things like “Friday Night Lights” and “Dave Castro” and “18.1 wow please never again”, but if you’re unfamiliar, it kind of just seems like one big inside joke that is not fun to be on the outside of. So, allow me to explain:

What is The Open and how does it work?

Every Spring, CrossFitters ‘round the globe come together to compete in the worldwide Open. Yes, it’s a means for certain athletes of certain calibers to achieve certain scores and go to the Games, but for the rest of us normals, it’s an opportunity to come together every week for the sake of fitness.

Over the course of five weeks, five workouts are released (sometimes rather ominously) week by week by Games Director Dave Castro/CrossFit HQ. The same workout is applied to all divisions and adjusted accordingly based on skill level. There’s an RX Men, RX Women, Scaled Men, Scaled Women, Masters, Kids, RX Rescue Animals, Scaled Neighbors, and so forth. The workouts are released on Thursday evenings, and everyone ‘round the Earth has a chance to complete the workout in their respective division before the clock strikes 5pm PST on Mondays. You perform the workout as many times as you want, and then record your score through the Games site. As a gym, we perform the workouts on Friday nights. See the next section: WTF is FNL?


Every Friday, everyone who is registered for the Open comes to our beloved gym between the hours of 4pm and 8pm, sometimes 9pm if the bubbly is flowin’, to do that week’s workout in heats. It’s called Friday Night Lights, and it’s a pretty organized affair; with athlete warm up areas, a microphone, judges with clipboards, recovery pizza, pre-workout beers, and impressive feats of fitness.

This is by far the best time of the year for our gym. There’s so much camaraderie, so much hype, and just generally so much fun. We’re cheering for each other, we’re no-repping each other, and we’re pushing our bodies to the limits — don’t wanna jinx it, but, every year around The Open someone (or some few) nail a movement they’ve been working on all damn year. Chalk it up to adrenaline, or chalk it up to literal chalk, but it’s so awesome to see. Last year we had over five people get their first muscle up. Five!!!

Why should I register?

Because it’s a whole lot of fun and really cool, adrenaline-fueled things happen every year without fail. The end.

How do I register?

Because The Open has shifted a bit, we’ve decided to take to just take things in-house instead of direct you to the Games site. We want The Open to continue to be a place where people push themselves more than they ever have, where they feel encouraged more than they ever have, and where our whole community comes together for the sake of fitness and friendship. So get down to clown with us, and go to this link to register for a spot to compete in Friday Night Lights, and snag your 2019 Open tee. Again: that link will secure your competing slot and order your Open shirt. Be sure to do this by 2/13, so we can get your shirts in on time. Any registrations after 2/13 means you just get your shirt late.

If you’re still on the fence, or are afraid, or don’t think you are capable of doing any sort of fitness-related competition for xyz reason, talk to someone who’s been through the Open ringer. Or talk it out with a coach. Or Google any videos about The Open and be inspired by the 75+ year olds who are still competing as master athletes. Or the person who lost over 300lbs and decided they want to do The Open to mark a milestone in their fitness journey. Or the person who suffered a traumatic injury, whose doctors told them they’d never walk again, but they want to do The Open to prove to the world that they’re still capable of accomplishing the impossible.

They can answer all your questions, ease your nerves, and probably convince you to register.

Also, we want you to. NOW it’s the end.

Member Spotlight: Danielle Lindgren

Danielle Lindgren. You may have seen her sauntering around the gym — she’s that one girl with crazy colorful patterned pants and the lush lashes that brush you as she walks by.

Not that we’ve noticed…

Please enjoy this Q&A with our pal Danielle, and why she decided to join CrossFit:

Q: What (who) led you to join CrossFit?

A: McKenzie is the worst BUT she is what got me involved in CrossFit. She talked about this amazing community of people who are working towards being healthier and getting in shape and how that could help me with my goals. I came to a community WOD and then spent some time with members afterward and fell in love with the energy and welcoming atmosphere of the group. It was all uphill* from there.

*Unsure if this is a compliment.

Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment since joining?

A: My proudest accomplishment is probably competing in Monster Mash. Without knowing the workouts or what I was really getting myself into, I agreed to compete and was faced with a move I had never done before and wasn’t sure that I would be able to get through it: box jumps. But I did it! I pushed through and learned I’m capable of a lot more than I think and that positive encouragement from my fellow teammate and people at the gym really helped me get through it.

Q: What is one goal you’re working towards right now and why?

A: One goal I am working towards right now is to make sure that on days where we are heavy lifting I am also making sure that I am completing some cardio on my own. I have a tendency to try to come to the classes that are less cardio and more lifting, this will allow me to branch out in the classes I do go to and not feel self conscious when running is part of a workout.

Q: Please tell us about your Disney obsession.

A: Oh boy my Disney obsession…. a bit hard to explain but it’s a family addiction through and through. My family loves watching any Disney movie together, and Disney World/Land is always a vacation spot for us. Enjoying Disney together has brought us closer as a family, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

If I had to live out one character’s life, well I’m not sure whose life I would like to live but I can tell you my favorite memory from when I was little was during “Once upon a dream” in Sleeping Beauty — my dad would always sing the prince part in this loud, bellowing, horribly off-tune voice which always made us giggle. To this day my dad still does it when we play that song in the car. It’s embarrassing, but one of the reasons why Sleeping Beauty is my favorite movie, and why I got the song tattooed on my foot.

Q: What are your hobbies outside of CrossFit and dreaming of Disney?

A: My hobbies outside of axe CrossFit and daydreaming of being a Disney princess are the typical lay by the pool, paddle boarding, and talking to my family. But I also play in a volleyball league and compete in tournament style axe throwing. My axes name is Fury and he’s awesome. I’m also a forensic analyst so I listen to lots of true crime podcasts, my favorite being “serial”.

Member Spotlight: Julie Crowley

Here are some fun facts about Julie Crowley:

  • Julie is from Jersey. You may call her Jersey Julie.
  • You can catch her at every 5:30am class, occasionally the 11:30am when she’s working from home, and sometimes she tries to come to both and the coaches have to tell her to go home and rest.
  • She has a dog and she’s obsessed with her. Like… really obsessed.
  • She smells good, pre and post-workout, every time. No one knows how. If you find out, let us know.
  • We love her a lot.

Here’s the Spotlight (2 years in the making) for more on Jules, aka Jersey Jules, aka Julie from Jersey aka we could go on:

Q: What do you do when you’re not killing it at CrossFit or bro’ing out at Gold’s Gym?

A: Eating, haha! Well I really enjoy meal prepping – if you don’t have the Tasty app by now, you’re welcome. Dorothy, the most amazing Olde English Bulldoggie, has got me spending A LOT of time at Zilker these days, mimosas and sun rays for days, or exploring Texas with my partner in crime*… and also trying to beat him in every WOD possible. Love ya Gabe!!

*She means her boyfriend, Gabe, not Dorothy.

Q: How has CrossFit impacted your life?

A: Short answer: it actually challenged me to get comfortable with the uncomfortable – best decision I could have ever made. I have this sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the PRs, relationships, and experiences I’ve gained that I hold very dear to me.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you? (In or out of the gym)

A: Let’s just say double-unders, needed go to the restroom, but also needed to get 1st place soooo… you make sacrifices, and you multitask. I’ll let you figure it out.  Sorry not sorry.

Q: So you moved here from New Jersey, why Renew?

A: Honestly, I dabbled at a couple other boxes before Renew but they just didn’t click. When I walked into the Renew box for the first time, the energy, atmosphere and friendly nature completely sold me from the get go. I felt so welcomed, encouraged, and comfortable with everyone that was participating that day, and signed up immediately.

While there are a great deal of things I could say about Renew, I know for a fact that the community is second to none – I’ll be here for as long as humanly possible.

Q: Now that The Open is over, if you could tell Dave Castro anything to his face, what would it be?

A: You. Suck. Really though, this year he literally pointed out all my weaknesses so while I have to say “thanks” for making me work, mostly it’s a just a big “YOU SUCK” to him.

There you have it! If think you see her at the gym, but aren’t sure if it’s her, just wait for her to say words like “coffee” or “talk”. Or! If you want to be extra creepy, just wait until she walks by and give her scent a waft. So good.

You’re the best, Jersey Jules! Sorry for all the people who are about to sniff you!

Why I’m #InTheOpen: Becca, Becky, and Becca

You’ve heard from the Flynns, you’ve heard from Russ, and now it’s time for all the ~Bex~ in our gym to band together in solidarity for The Open.

Sorry, that was dramatic.

Anyway, we tapped all the Rebeccas in our gym for why they’re #InTheOpen

Presenting: Becca Harris, better known as DJ LaRae, Becca Matimba, and Coach Becky! We almost didn’t have Matimba, but she was able to be coerced and we are so excited to see her move some weight! No holding back on those deadlifts (or literally anything) this time, Becca!

Why she’s #InTheOpen, ft. DJ LaRae

“First, It’s FUN! I love having all of us together! You get to hang with people from all the other classes that you don’t regularly get to see. Yes people are watching, but it’s also encouraging because people are cheering you on! And of course you get see people accomplish cool stuff like PR’s. And i have heard the music is pretty good too.

Second, it’s a good benchmark. You will most likely do something in the open that you have never done before – and you will try something you have never tried before – and you will remember it. I remember when Becky got her first bar muscle up, when Cara deadlifted 155 lots of times and 155 had been higher than her previous 1 rep max. It’s a good test of where you are actually at and it’s fun to celebrate!”

*Also we just got word that DJ LaRae will, in fact, be dropping sick beats for us during Friday Night Lights. Let’s rage. *air horn x4*

Why she’s #InTheOpen, ft. Becca Matimba

“I joined Crossfit a year ago. I would’ve laughed in your face if you said I’d be Olympic weightlifting, running 5Ks, learning about functional fitness and being apart of a crazy/supportive fitness community dedicated to excellence.

I joined the Open because honestly it scares me and every coach wouldn’t stop talking it. I’m fairly logical and always expressive so I weighed my pros and cons. Having parents that set the bar high and playing sports growing up instilled a high-esteem for winning, but also a fear of failure/humiliation. I don’t want to do something while still being a rookie, it warrants a lot of failure. Sounds depressing (it is) but I’m always internally analyzing the odds. But, fear isn’t something to let rule my life and it ain’t real. So I’m facing that false fear and just going to do my best, have some fun, because ultimately it’s about progress not perfection.

Also, granting full permission to remind and yell this at me mid-WOD when I want to quit and bolt out the door because it hurts.”

Why she’s #InTheOpen, ft. a very succinct Coach Becky

“I do the open every year to challenge myself physically and mentally in a way that is different from just an everyday workout. But my favorite part, and the reason I would tell people to do it, is because Friday Night Lights is a blast and hanging out and cheering each other on is a great way to build up the community in our gym!”

The Bex have spoken. Time to step up and sign up. Leggo!

Friday Night Lights: what and why

Not to be confused with Friday Night Lights, one of the greatest television dramas featuring love, loss, Texas Football, and Taylor Kitsch to ever grace your eyeballs. When it comes to CrossFit, Friday Night Lights is the single best part of The Open.

What is Friday Night Lights?

Well, first, if you are still like, “What’s the Open?” read this. Basically, every Thursday for 5 weeks, CrossFit HQ releases a workout. As Open competitors, we have until Monday at 5pm PT to do the workout however many times we want and submit our scores to “the man” (CF HQ aka Dave Castro aka Greg Glassman). But Friday Night Lights is our chance to complete this workout as a gym family.

How will it work?

Every Friday evening, the gym will be set up with whatever is needed for the workout. You will already be assigned to a heat, and another member or coach will be assigned to be your official judge. Their job is to count your reps and make sure they are each to standard. You will come in, warm-up, and compete when it’s time for your heat. You will most likely lay on the ground for a while afterwards, and then get up and cheer your head off for the next heat.

That sounds overwhelming. What’s so great about it?

Hands down, one of the best things about CrossFit Renew is our community. And Friday Night Lights is one of the biggest community-cultivating events of the entire year. Sure you’re participating in a worldwide event (nbd), but you’re doing it with your buds, pals, workout comrades, arch nemeses, and for some — significant others by your side.

CrossFit technically is more of an individual sport, but as a gym, we are a team. There will be cheering. There will be a DJ. There will be matching shirts. There will probably be food and beer if Hroch has anything to say about it. There is a buzz about this event that is like nothing you experience in class the rest of the year.

Has anything cool ever happened at Friday Night Lights?

Yes. Every year. Last year, Luke Voss was still decently new at CrossFit and was pretty nervous going into it. He ended up CRUSHING every workout. It was unreal. And also Hroch accidentally turned the music and clock off while he was still working out but we’ve apologized, ok? Also! Val Harmon had never done a pullup and freaking finished all of them in one of the workouts.  AND two years ago, coach Becky had never done a bar muscle up and ended up getting them in the middle of a grueling workout.

I’m telling you, the energy and encouragement and adrenaline does crazy things to people. You just become the Hulk for 20 minutes and end up getting skills you’ve never done before, lifting more than you have in the past, or just exceed your own expectations by a landslide.

I am so excited to see who does what this year. Yes, it’s great to do CrossFit to stay active, but let’s put our competition stringers on and see what we’ve got in the tank. Every class is a training session, and every single one of your are physically able to participate in The Open.

Registrations starts Thursday, January 11th. Sign up here!  

New Year, New Goals

The new year is a natural time to reflect on the past year, as well as look forward to what is coming. We tend to make some sort of resolve for change. We all have new aspirations about what that change might be. For some, 2018 will bring big life changes like moving or a new job. However, for most of us our resolve will be in small things like our diet or books we want to read.

Overall, our desire for change can be a really good thing! I am a proponent for taking time to assess where we are in life and setting goals for where we want to see change. You can’t simply will change into existence, you need something to aim at!

The unfortunate thing about goals is that we generally suck at following through on them. We’ve all been here before. We have that grand vision of what the year will hold, but by mid March we’ve all but forgot them. I’ve done this for the last 10 years!

What I’ve found to be true about resolutions is that they come slowly with patience and a commitment to consistency. Don’t expect perfection — that’s just dumb. There will be plenty of failures on the way to change. But consistently holding your goals in front of you and aiming in their direction will produce change over time.

Oh, some good friends encouraging you along the way also helps!

The question I have for you all today is, “What do you want to accomplish in 2018 with your fitness?” I mean, this is kind of the domain I have purview to help you with. I want to know. When you think of this next year, what is it you want to see happen? Do you want to get a muscle up? Do you want to PR your back squat? Do you want to run a half marathon, or a half-half marathon?  Do you want to show up at least 3 times a week?

Non-fitness related, but gym related: one of my goals this year is to consistently start writing content for our gym. I want to provide you with thoughts to think about on a weekly basis. This is something you can hold me accountable to — I plan to write to you guys every Monday. If I don’t, you should ask me about it.

What is it for you? Shoot me an email with what you what to see happen in 2018. I would love to hear from you and also help hold you to your commitments!



Volunteering Opportunity with the Settlement Home

Another day, another volunteer opportunity with Settlement Home!

As a reminder/general PSA: Renew has teamed up with a foster home called The Settlement Home. It’s an all-girls home where ages range from early middle school to late high school. A group of the girls come to the gym Tuesdays and Thursdays to workout and have a discussion time at the end. They’re very BA and way cooler than me.

At Renew, we’re always looking for ways to not only strengthen our gym community, but also strengthen the Austin community as a whole. That’s why we looooove volunteer opportunities — they lovingly tap two birds with one stone. If you’re on the prowl for some volunteer opportunities to join, check out the below! (ALERT: these are also great opps for friends and family to tag along to. Sharing is caring.)


Option 1: Gift giving to a specific girl (deadline to have them to the gym Dec. 14th)

We are sponsoring 3 of the girls who regularly come to the CrossFit program! Their names are Kaylea, Felicity, and Vicki. They are all incredible, and have caught on to CrossFit very quickly. They also all feel comfortable enough with me to be willing to share their life stories with me, and they deserve the whole darn world.

Click here to see their wish lists and sign up to get one of the items! While Kaylea, Felicity, and Vicki take priority, there is also an Amazon wish list for girls that come to the Settlement Home around Christmas, and for various gift needs throughout the year.


Option 2: Holiday Program (10-15 volunteers needed)

Where: Settlement Home Campus

When: Thursday, 12/14, 5:30pm-8:00pm

What: Every year, they have a big event for the girls at the Settlement Home. If you were able to volunteer for Thanksgiving, it will be similar, but on a much larger scale! They will need people to help decorate, serve food, tear down, and anything else in between. I will be at this one, so you’ll have at least one familiar face!


Option 3: Gift Drop-off (Need 5 volunteers e/day)

Where: Settlement Home Campus

When: Friday, 12/8 from 11:00am-2:00pm or Saturday, 12/16 9:00am-12:00pm

What: This is an opportunity for you to be on campus to receive gifts from people as they are dropped off. People will be bringing things from the girls’ wish lists, as well as from the Amazon page.


Option 4: Gift Wrapping

Where: Settlement Home Campus

When: Wed-Fri, 12/20-12/22 at 10am each day

What: The staff have to approve each gift that comes in to make sure it’s appropriate to give to the girls. This means that everything comes to them unwrapped. If you have a special talent or love for gift wrapping (bless you), please put that talent to use and sign up to help the staff wrap everything for each of these ladies!


These girls are great, and can use all the lovin’ they can get. It would mean a lot to them to receive something from Renew, or see some of our faces during events. If you get a gift for one of the girls, please bring it (unwrapped) to the gym as soon as you can! I’m starting a pile on the desk to bring over!

If interested, please email me at

Thanks y’all!


Coaches Corner with Sadie Flynn: On Having Babies and Working Out

Just to go ahead and clear the air:

I am not a pregnant person. It’s called a food baby, ok?

Depending on your attention to detail, you may have noticed that in recent months we’ve had a handful of our lady members become pregnant and have (or soon will!) their babes. All the while barely missing a class, never skipping a beat, and just generally being way more badass than you and I will ever be.

This recent onslaught of offspring has forced the Renew staff to become fast friends with scaling for expectant women, and getting a good grip on the truths and myths around fitness and pregnancy.

Before we go on, if you’re a dude with no immediate plans for impregnating your spouse, you may just want to bookmark this for later. Unless you’re just really desperate for reading material, then by all means, join us on this journey through lady bodies and modified burpees.

All the pregnant ladies

As per the aforementioned disclaimer, I am not a pregnant person. And while I can read 1,000 articles about coaching pregnant women, I thought it best to glean some insights from the women who were (and are) actually living the pregnant/postpartum CrossFitter life. Val Harmon, Katie Michner, Jillian Myles, and Athena Newell dropped some knowledge on me.

When asked,what did you learn about yourself/body as you were working out while pregnant?” each baby-slingin’ BAMF had some really good things to say. For Val, she learned that her body is capable of more than she thought possible. “Even though I was carrying this melon on the front of me,” Val colorfully confessed, “ I was still able to push myself physically. However, I also had to learn my limits and let go of my pride. Pushing myself while pregnant had to look a lot different than when I pushed myself sans baby because there are different precautions you have to take so you don’t do any harm to yourself or the baby.”

This was Katie’s third pregnancy, but her first time staying active with CrossFit during each trimester. “The great thing about CrossFit is it’s all scaleable,” Katie said. “And as certain movements became difficult or uncomfortable the coaches were always supportive and willing to figure out a way to make the WOD still work and be beneficial.”

Similarly, Jillian’s experience was filled with learnings. “I continued to learn that my body can do more than my mind thinks it can. I was stronger than I thought. I knew continuing to exercise would be important while I was pregnant, but I think doing CrossFit while pregnant made my pregnancy more enjoyable, and my delivery easier and quicker!” Jillian raved. “It also made a HUGE impact on my recovery — I was back at pre-pregnancy weight in 2-3 weeks.”

And Athena, a fierce advocate of remaining safely fit and active during pregnancy, shed light on a common misconception: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. While doing “what feels good” is all good and well, some movements like kipping pull-ups, toes to bar, sit-ups, and even some barbell movements can have a major impact on your pregnancy, and postpartum recovery.

Straight from the source

I chatted with a fellow trainer/coach friend of mine, Bree Figgins, who’s based in California and coaches at Wine Country CrossFit ~ who happens to also be pregnant ~ about remaining active during pregnancy and, as a trainer, she’s noticed that moms typically come from two vastly different schools of thought: “In one camp, soon-to-be moms assume that because they are pregnant they are somehow unable to continue working out or that they can only do minimally intensity things like walking, yoga, etc.” Bree said. However, the countergroup is women who think they don’t need to change anything about what they currently do for fitness and press on doing movements that could be detrimental to them, their baby, and their postpartum recovery. “What this tells me.” Bree went on, “ is that we have a mindset issue more than we have an action issue.”

When I asked her what her biggest piece of advice for pregnant women who are vying to remain active during pregnancy would be, she had some choice words. For those of you who are thinking about becoming pregnant, who are currently pregnant, recovering from birth, or anywhere in between — get your notepad out:

“My advice to women is to truly seek good, real information about what is safe for both themselves and their baby. Most people freak out about pregnant women working out of fear of “hurting the baby”, however there is greater risk for the mother to be injured than there is for the baby truth be told. Educating yourself can be tough because there is a ton of information out there, some good, but honestly, most is misguided.”

Pelvis Presley

Bree continued: “Two big points pregnant moms need to be aware of is 1) how to prevent/approach/treat diastasis recti and 2) how to protect/treat the condition of their pelvic floor.

First, diastasis recti is a condition that is common in pregnancy and postpartum, it is when the connective tissue between the rectus abdominis (your “six pack”) becomes stretched from your growing belly during pregnancy. This stretching is typical, however it can become as issue postpartum if the correct measures aren’t taken during pregnancy to insure that excess stress isn’t placed on the connective tissues. We see a lot of postpartum women strive to get their bodies back to its pre-pregnancy state, but struggle to lose the “mom pooch”. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a “problem” aesthetically, but a sign there are unresolved and potentially detrimental issues within the system.

We are seeing this more and more in pregnant athletes, mostly because proper measures and techniques weren’t taken as she trained during pregnancy. Part of this proper protocol should be modifying movements, eliminating movements, learning how to create intra-abdominal pressure at the correct times and staying away from things that directly makes you crunch as your midsection, jumping, or overextension.

Ultimately, there are many considerations to be taken during the season of pregnancy and postpartum. When it comes to pelvic floor health, every woman — especially postpartum — should get evaluated. Peeing on yourself every time you jump and laugh is common, but it is not normal, and shouldn’t be your new norm just because you had a baby.

Bottom line? Women need to ask harder questions. To both themselves and folks who are much smarter than they are. And be okay with the answers — don’t settle for what’s the most appealing. As they say: “Pregnancy is temporary, postpartum is forever,” so don’t make choices in your temporary state that will put you at risk for forever consequences.

If you want to read further and you’re hunting for resources about this, check these out:

  1. The CrossFit Journal’s video series (training for two, pregnant, not dead, etc.)
  2. NPR’s dissection on diastasis recti
  3. This free eBook from Bri Battles, a pro in the field of pregnancy and fitness
  4. The whole kit and caboodle from BirthFit 
  5. Fit Pregnancy for generally all the things