Why I’m #InTheOpen: the Guevaras

Even though Jess and Patrick are still pretty new to the ~CrOssFiT UniVeRsE~, they’re still down to clown in The Open. When we asked them why they’re #intheopen, they responded separately but with basically the same answer because they are super spouses. Check it:   

“Because peer pressure.

But really, because of the community. We have loved getting to be a part of this weird group of people, and the FOMO of not going to Friday Night Lights was just too great! Patrick and I are still really new to Crossfit, so I have no idea what to expect from the Open— in my head it’s basically doing Murph once a week for a month. That sounds terrible. But I love this group! And even in our short time doing crossfit, I feel like I’ve done so much stuff I NEVER thought I’d be able to do. I’ve seen wonderful improvements in my strength and endurance and flexibility, and part of that is because I’ve had you guys around me, cheering me on through the workouts. So the unknown, daunting challenge of the Open seems much more doable because we’ll be surrounded by our Crossfit family. And in this kind of setting, gathering every week to cheer and push each other, the challenge of the Open seems worth it. Even if it is doing Murph once a week for a month*—  you guys are worth it!

*If the open is Murph every week, I 100% quit, but will be there very Friday night to cheer you guys on. -Jess”

Sidebar: Each week will not be Murph. You know, unless Dave Castro decides that it is. And then every week will unfortunately be Murph. But probably (hopefully) not. But also maybe.

“Why am I #InTheOpen? Honestly, the community. Everybody says the Open is a ton of fun and even though the workouts are terrible, we’re all struggling together. The people are what makes this box great. I’m looking forward to pushing myself and cheering on everybody else as they do something they didn’t think they could. I’m most excited about setting a baseline that I can try to beat next year and the year after that.” –Patrick

P.S. We are not sorry about the peer pressure.

IF YOU HAVE STILL NOT SIGNED UP FOR THE OPEN, GET ON IT. It’s going to be so fun and so great and so hard but so fun and so great. Games.crossfit.com

Why I’m #InTheOpen: the Lozanos

We all know Zach Lozano as Hroch’s younger, cooler arch nemesis. He’s been a member at Renew for a long time, and is definitely the one on the leaderboard that everybody loves to chase. Or roll their eyes in disbelief. It’s hard to say!! Zach’s no stranger to The Open, so you can bet yer butt he’ll be setting the tone for Hroch there too.

Zach’s wife, Andi, while a newcomer to the CrossFit community, is quickly climbing her way up the leaderboard — workout by workout. A yogi and mobility connoisseur, she’s bendier than we’ll ever be. And guess what? She’s signed up for her very first Open.

Read more on Zach and Andi’s “Why”:

“I am a terrible wordsmith, and honestly don’t know why I am doing the open. I guess peer pressure is effective.  I think Andi is writing something up though.”

Zach

Neat.

“When the first announcement for The Open came, I, like many of us, immediately thought: “I’m not doing that.” I came up with every excuse on the planet:

I’ve only been doing CrossFit for 6 months.

I didn’t start CrossFit to compete.

I’m not strong enough.

I’m going to look like a fool compared to everyone else.

I can’t do *insert movement here*.

I don’t like drinking beer after I workout.

Blah, blah, blah.

But after all the negative self-talk, I gave myself a minute to think. I started CrossFit as a way to aid me in my yoga practice. During my yoga teacher training, I was about one month into my CrossFit journey, so I was basically sore 24/7. I got really frustrated when yoga teachers would queue a pose for “tight shoulders”, but my muscles were literally too tight to even get into the pose and too fatigued and sore to even hold it. It made yoga frustrating and not enjoyable.

So I let my body be the teacher instead, and I learned how to use yoga as way to make it feel better. It became more and more apparent to me that I wanted to bring yoga to the CrossFit community to 1) recover well, 2) increase mobility & body awareness, 3) build a fiery core!

I registered for The Open so I could essentially feel the pain, lol. I can make an educated guess on how to recover from a workout based on the muscles that were worked, but there is something to be said about feeling the fatigue myself. Feeling intimidated about registering for The Open is an understatement, but I’m a firm believer that you should never let fear be in driver’s seat. I’m #InTheOpen to be a better yoga instructor. I’m #InTheOpen to be a better CrossFitter. I’m #InTheOpen to be challenged, to push past mental limits, and to be a part of the best community in Austin.”

Andi

There you have it. Zach, you know you love competition. Andi, we are so freaking proud of you for joining us. You won’t regret it!

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!

Member Spotlight: Anelisa Martin

The alternate title was: Member of the Month: Mighty Mouse. Because she is small, but she is oh so very mighty.

****Pic of Ben included as part of the fam and unofficial member that needs to become official because we all love him****

Q: Why did you decide to get into CrossFit?

A: Honestly I was so naive and I had no idea what I was getting into. I was looking for a gym to help me lose the freshman 15 (which carried over into grad school and turned into more like 30), and there was a CrossFit gym across the street from where I was living at the time. I’ve been addicted ever since!

Q: What is your favorite memory involving CrossFit?

A: Rich Froning delivered a sled to my house for a Rogue commercial. It’s not every day that the fittest man on earth shows up at your doorstep.

[SIDE NOTE: THAT IS NOT CASUAL NEWS AND IS VERY COOL, HERE IS THE VIDEO.]

Q: Have you ever done The Open, and if so, what is your favorite thing about it?

A: Yes, I’ve done the Open almost every year since 2012. My favorite thing about the Open is the community and cheering on everyone! The energy is always so high and everyone puts in so much effort. It’s like Christmas and Dave Castro is Santa.

Q: What is your goal for The Open this year?

A: To not die!

Q: What is your go-to junk food snack?

A: ICE CREAM. All day, err’day.

Q: What is one thing about you that we would all be surprised to find out?

A: See #2. Haha but also, I used to own a CrossFit affiliate in Nashville and we had a team that went to Regionals. I was not on the team (obviously).

[ALSO NOT CASUAL NEWS.]

Anelisa, we are so glad you ditched Karhu (or changed jobs and had to move… whatever…) to be a part of our crew. We love you!

Why I’m #InTheOpen: Coach Russ

Every year The Open comes around, I’m always tempted to make the same excuses:

“My body hurts.”

“I don’t want to do thrusters ever again in my life.”

“I already beat Hroch in The Open once, I’m good now.”

And yet every year, without fail, I come limping back for more. Buckle up and prepare for way too many GIFs as I tell you why I’m #InTheOpen:

First things first (shoutout to Iggy Iz): The Open is a great competition. Participating in the open allows you to embrace whatever level of competitive spirit you possess. If you’re Hroch, that means being first in the gym, and never speaking of that L he took a couple of years ago.. Or if you’re Makayla Garrison (aka the nicest/most encouraging person among us), it’s a fun way to see where you stack up against everyone else in our gym family. But actually, I’m convinced we all want to beat our competition all the time but maybe we don’t vocalize it. Just me? No?

The CrossFit Open will bring you together under an umbrella of suffering unlike anything else.. You might be wondering why I’m telling you this… but if you are an active member of the CrossFit community then you already willingly inflict pain upon yourself all for the greater good of #Gainz — or maybe for some other cardio-related reason that I’ll never understand. . But it’s the persevering through each Open WOD that bonds you among peers — and is the reason why we keep coming back to the box in the first place — because it’s terrible and we’re weird.

Also, I guarantee you will surprise yourself in some way. In the 5 years I’ve been around crossfit I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone accomplish something during The Open they thought they would never be able to  do. Maybe now is the time to get your first muscle up, or maybe it’s your first time to try RX wallballs with the heavy ball — wherever you fall on the scale, The Open is the time to push yourself on movements and reap the benefits of all the work you’ve been putting in.

And we’ve said this before, but The Open presents itself the opportunity to really show you how much you suck. And it’s great.  Maybe you’re like me, and anything endurance-related is your biggest weakness. Or maybe your endurance is great, but you struggle with squats because your mobility game is not so strong. No matter how fit you think you are, The Open will expose your weaknesses.  But instead of shying away from the stuff that sucks, embrace it! Use The Open as a time to improve and achieve.

Just remember, all of these movements are for functional fitness.

All to be said, I registered for the 2018 CrossFit Open — marking my 6th time to compete, to rejoice in suffering, to work my weaknesses. Will I get to passive aggressively wish I was beating you?

The Open: In Like Flynn

 

Because we aren’t kidding about wanting every single available member of our gym to sign up for The Open, we’re gonna spam you from our blog, too. Every week (…ish) we’re gonna feature some folks talking about why they’re #InTheOpen. From coaches to noobs to long-time veterans. Everyone has their reason, and our hope is that their reasons may inspire those of you on the fence to go ahead and hop off on the fun side.

This week? The Flynns tell us why they’re #InTheOpen:

“I am 100% the type of athlete whom Becky Wickes loves to hate. I looooove doing the things I’m good at, and — if left to my own devices — I do what I can to avoid working on the things I’m not so good at.

It’s what makes me a really, really great coach.

Anyway, I emphasize “left to my own devices” because I discovered this nugget of information about myself early on in my CrossFit career. As such, I have to make a conscious effort to work on the stuff I suck at (or the ones I just don’t like). Because I know it makes me a more well-rounded CrossFit athlete. I force myself to go to the WODs I don’t want to go to (albeit I complain the entire time), and I make Becky do gymnasty-dominant workouts with me because she gives me grief if I slack. Forced accountabilibuddy!

The same rules apply to me and The Open. I know there will be movements I am not proficient at, but I also know that by putting myself in situations outside of my comfort zone I’m getting a little bit better with every workout. My pride keeps me from being the best I can be, and by registering for The Open (the scaled version, mind you) I can tell my pride to sit down and see what my body is capable of.”

– Sadie Flynn

“My first year of doing CrossFit, I didn’t register for The Open because I thought “Why would I pay more money to do a workout?” but I still attended the Friday Night Lights workouts to hang out/because Sadie made me. What I found was an incredibly energetic environment — full of friends cheering each other on and then immediately drinking beer. I was sold after one Friday Night Lights. In subsequent years I have (still somewhat begrudgingly) registered, worked out, hated the workout, but had fun talking about how terrible the workout was and drinking beer with all the friends as I watch the next heat suffer through it.”

– Gerry Flynn

Register for The Open, y’all. Just click here, give Greg Glassman $20, and let the good times roll.

 

 

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!  

Coaches Corner with Becky: The drive to be better

In case you don’t know this about me, I’m a rule follower. I have this innate need for justice and it shows up in a lot of places but especially in my work in child welfare and… CrossFit.

According to the OG CrossFitters, fitness is made up of 10 recognized general physical skills if your goal is optimum physical competence. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility (LOOKIN’ AT YOU, BROS), power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy (read more in Greg Glassman’s article in the CrossFit journal). So, CrossFit is designed to encompass all of these things over a period of time. And, we know it works because Rich Froning showed us it does. Four times.

So, while CrossFit is about getting stronger, it’s about a lot of other things as well, and if you make strength paramount, other things are going to suffer, thus is your overall fitness. CrossFit is about technique and variation and intensity, as well. So, if all you want to do is the things you’re good at, or only do half a back squat when we’re testing our 1-rep max and hope no one saw that you didn’t go past parallel, you’re not really doing yourself any favors.

For fitness, we don’t just want to move, we want to move WELL. Sometimes this means doing things that are less exciting like overhead squatting with the barbell for four months before you increase the weight while working on shoulder and hip mobility to get past parallel, or doing push-ups on your knees to develop the core and pectoral strength to do them correctly. I can think of endless examples but the point is, if you can’t do the movement how it is intended to be done, don’t shortcut it. Do the work it takes to do it correctly because people much smarter than us included all the movements we do to make us the most physically competent people we can be.

At CrossFit Renew we believe fitness is for more than just looking good or being really competitive, but it’s about being better dads, teachers, friends, teammates, etc. As a believer of that myself, that’s why I want to uphold the “rules” of CrossFit with great veracity. Not only can you be better at all of those things with good physical fitness, but I think we all have experienced challenges in CrossFit, and with those challenges we have an opportunity to build character. With self-discipline, we can choose to do the less cool modification of what is prescribed to meet the workout’s intended stimulus. With honor, we can record our score honestly even when we’re not proud of it. With humility, we can continue to give our best in a workout even when we’re not meeting our own expectations in the middle of a WOD.

In summary, CrossFit can make you a better person—physically, mentally, and emotionally, but you have to CHOOSE it. Everyday that you go into the gym, you have to choose why you’re there, and ask yourself, are you there to win no matter what it takes? Or are you there because you want to have some fun, take care of yourself, and encourage others around you? Unfortunately we don’t always choose the latter, but that’s okay, because we’re human and we’ve always got tomorrow’s workout to try again. Get back in there and work hard as coach Brett awkwardly yells “C’mon, Baby!” because he never truly left his baseball days.

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!

 

 

Member Spotlight: Mike Rondini

You will likely find Mike Rondini Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday mornings, crackin’ jokes and slingin’ smiles among the mob of benches in the warmup area. The 8am ladies are his crew, so you mess with Mike, you mess with all of them. And Dayna is scary AF.

For many reasons, Mike is our member of the month. Check out his spotlight and remember, don’t mess with Dayna.

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit
A: I’ve been doing Crossfit for about two years.

Q: What is your favorite thing about it and why?
A: I like the challenge of mixing strength and endurance. My background is all long distance endurance, so this is a real test for me.

Q: What is your favorite memory with the 8am crew, with us or at BVM?
A: You guys crack me up and are very supportive. It’s the perfect combo. I once got locked in the bathroom at BVM… but that’s for another day.

Q: What is one fun fact about you that would surprise us?
A: Most people don’t know I’m from Las Vegas. I leave my pinky ring and shark skin suit at home most days.

Q: What is your coolest hidden talent?
A: Hidden talent, hmmm. As you know, I’m very modest, so this isn’t an easy one. As a kid, I was a both a pretty competitive bowler and BMX racer — although not usually at the same time. Otherwise, I’m stubborn to a fault and don’t quit. I did my first Ironman about 18 months after learning to swim.

Raise your hand if you’d like to see him bowl and bike at the same time! Mike, we are glad to have you, and thanks for making Tuesday and Thursday mornings so dang fun!