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!

Frank:

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?

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: Qasim Burqawi

Qasim Barqawi is a few things:

  1. A Renewb
  2. A walking miracle (ask him about the plate in his head)
  3. Palestinian
  4. The light of our lives

Now that we have your attention, please enjoy this heartfelt, awesome, fun Q&A with one of the nicest, coolest, weirdest dudes you’ll ever meet.  

Q: Why did you decide to start CrossFit? 

A: Because if frightened the shit out of me. The idea of failing in a “classroom” full of people is not this A student’s idea of fun. So, following the words of my therapist, I chose to do more of what scared me and less of what kept me in my comfort zone.However, from a training point of view, I chose CrossFit for the interactive relationship between athlete and coach. I was attracted to the prospect of having someone walk me through every exercise in a healthy manner rather than me doing it the way I see fit since I’ve never stepped foot in a gym before.

Q: Why Renew?

A: Simply, it is a hop, a skip, and a little bit of gas away from my apartment. But why I chose to stay is more important to me; it’s because of the people. It’s easy to blow smoke up every hungry butt at Renew, because they all are such a cooperative community. I was welcomed with open/well-stretched arms into a group of strangers who have had such a phenomenal influence on both my physical, and more importantly, my mental health.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment since being with us? 

A: I quit smoking. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the people at Renew telling me to quit. Ill quote one person in particular who flat out said to me in front of the whole class as we were warming up “Either quit smoking, or quit CrossFit”. I’d like to think I made the right choice. Jury’s still out though.

Q: What is one fun fact about you that we would all be shocked to know? 

I think most people would be very shocked to find out that I in fact love being quiet and can actually go a while without talking. I enjoy a peaceful night with a soft blues record playing, and a nice rich glass of wine.

And even though this is technically two things, you should know I’m a supreme f*cking baker. My dark chocolate cake with white-wine-poached-fruit stuffing is the ultimate desert. In the middle of the kitchen’s ruckus I am my most focused, and though I can’t do a snatch as smooth as the next person, I move in a kitchen like the conductor of the New York orchestra.

*He also has a Nutella cook book containing only recipes using Nutella. Safe to assume Nutella is life for Qasim.

Q: What are 2 CrossFit goals and 2 life goals you’ve made for yourself this year? 

A: CrossFit goals:

  • To RX a WOD
  • To smoothly execute a snatch.

 

Life goals:

  • To stay as healthy as I could be and strive to find newer ways in which I can bring light into my life.
  • To fight more for causes I care deeply about and to be more active in my community and its betterment.

 

There you have it. I’m not sure how you can read this and not want to be his best friend..  Qasim, we are so glad to have you as a member of our crew; you are such a joy to have in class. CONGRATULATIONS in kicking a nasty habit, and we’re all looking forward to the day you can snatch as well as you can bake. Keep at it!

Coaches Corner with Hroch: Shiny New Programs

Guys! In case you missed it, there’s a lot of exciting stuff coming up in the new year! I’m sure there are a lot of questions about everything, so I’m going to answer as many of those as I can in this blog.

First up: Bring A Friend Week! (January 7-11)

I’m sure you have lots of friends you’ve talked about CrossFit to, tried to get to join you at a Community WOD, Wodder to Wine, Barbells and Bourbon…etc…and they just haven’t come because “they’re intimidated”.

Well. From January 7th-11th, you are in luck. During this week, workouts will be scaled down (to Community WOD style…but just tell them it’ll be easier) and we want you to bring everyone you know! They will be able to come to any and all classes they want that week.

The goal of this is to introduce our non-CrossFitting friends to this sport that we love so much. We would obviously love for them to come to love it as much as we do and join us forever. The more friends in the gym, the better, right? Send them this link, have them select which class they would like to join, and use the code BAF2019.

Best part about this? Perks for YOU! For every one of your friends that signs up to be a member of Renew, you will get a $50 gift card to the athletic apparel brand of your choice! Nike, Reebok, Lulu, Whatever you’d like!!

So, the more friends you bring, the better chances you have of getting some free dollars. Come one, come all!

Second up: Class Pass (January 21st – February 16th)

You’ve probably heard of “Class Pass” before — you know, that program where you sign up for a monthly membership and get to try a variety of classes and gyms around town.

Well, we’re taking a page out of a similar book and doing our own version within Renew! The Class Pass is your ticket to attend a variety of special classes that focus on developing a variety of skills to help you grow as an athlete. This semester’s classes will laser in on three key areas: gymnastics, aerobic capacity, and mobility. Three suspiciously important aspects of the 2019 CrossFit Open. Here’s what we’ve got this semester:

  • Gymnastics with Coach Becky Wickes: Saturdays @ 10am
  • Flowga with Andi Lozano of The Mobile Athlete: Tuesdays @ 6:30am, Sundays @ 6pm
  • Aerobocap with Coach Justin Hroch: Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm, Saturdays @ 8 am

So, there are multiple classes of each every week, giving you lots of options. So how do you actually attend these? You will pick one of the packages below using this link!

Class Pass Memberships (priced per month)

  • 1x Week – $59
  • 2x Week – $115
  • 3x Week – $169
  • Unlimited – $199

We know Open Gym is hard to get to for everyone, so we really wanted to create an opportunity for more learning and practice in a specific area. We are really excited about these weeks and can’t wait to see everyone’s improvements!

Lastly, Reboot! (January 14th – February 22nd)

We have been wanting to start a bootcamp style class for a while now, and we are finally doing it! Led by our very own Chelsea Montgomery!

This class will be a good middle ground for people who don’t want the intimidation of CrossFit, but are tired of their own boring gym routines. Chelsea is a very seasoned bootcamp trainer for a camp that must not be named, and is going to do an incredible job with this!

If you have any friends that won’t come to CrossFit (or Bring a Friend Week), this is a really great option for them to amp up their fitness. If you know anyone interested, send our way!

That’s it for now! We are all really excited for each of these things! So, get your friends amped for BAF Week, be thinking about how many and which classes to come to for Class Pass, and send anyone interested in Reboot to us!

Member Spotlight: Chelsea Montgomery

What is a Chelsea Montgomery, even? It’s straw hats and arm tats, it’s hugs and coffee mugs,  it was once a Camp Gladiator, now turned CrossFitter, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s this month’s member spotlight. Peep our Q&A with Chels and get to know her a little better!

Q: What brought you to Renew?

  1. Becky’s hungry butt
  2. Sadie threatened to end our friendship if I didn’t join
  3. I heard Hroch was starting Saturday Pour Over Seminars after community wods
  4. I wanted to grow as an athlete and coach

Q: What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

Being challenged, while simultaneously being humbled.

Q: Does your family fitness too?

Cooper (youngest brother): Yes

Dad: No

Mom: Chases goats on the family ranch

Jordan (younger brother): Beer can curls

Erica: Secretly, and in our garage, despite everyone’s efforts to get her to join

Q: What is your most cherished tattoo and why?

A: Oh, man. What a good, good question.

My grandmother, Goose, was my best friend, and she kept little “treasures” in bell jars in her home. I lived with her my last year at A&M (Whoop!), and shortly after I graduated and moved to Houston, she passed away due to congestive heart failure.

The anatomical heart in the bell jar on my forearm represents her heart; how much of an impact it had on me, and how much of an impact I can have on my family, friends, and the people I coach if I lead the way in taking care of my physical heart in ways she didn’t know how. And that, my friends, is how I got into coaching. #fullcircle

Also tattoo pro-tip/fun fact: if you’re going to get a tattoo, don’t just assume the artist knows everything about what you ask them to create. Before getting what happens to be my first real tattoo because my white girl tattoo doesn’t count, never once did I think to ask the Aboriginal Canadian princess who made this piece if she had actually drawn an ACCURATE anatomical heart. Rookie mistake but I asked all of my nurse friends and WE GOOD, Y’ALL.

Why is your Insta full of farm animals? Please explain.

I grew up on a small ranch west of Austin surrounded by everything but horses. Why no horses? Because horses = expensive. No one lives on the ranch currently, but we still raise livestock, so once a week(ish) I drive out there to feed, put out hay, fix fences, birth goats, castrate calves, drive tractors, chew tobacco, wear wranglers, shoot guns, skin deer… you get the idea. And then I take pictures of all of the (live) animals while I’m there. The goats are really cute, but the cattle are my favorite because they have been a life-long project, and they taste great.

So, basically, we can thank Becky’s hungry butt and Sadie’s threats for giving us Chelsea. Three hugs for Chelsea Montgomery!

Coaches Corner with Becky: WTF is Hungry Butt?

What the heck is a hungry butt and why do my coaches keep yelling that at me?! Well… maybe you know by now, but if you don’t, I’ll tell you: a hungry butt is a butt that is squeezed so tight it gives you a little wedgie. Your butt cheeks are literally eating your pants. So if you don’t got a wedgie, you ain’t tryin’ hard enough.

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve done a lot more hollow body work and things stemming from the hollow body position ever since I attended that lovely gymnastics certification just a few short months ago. And whether I’m coaching your class or working out in your class, I’m probably yelling “knees together, feet together, butt tight!” Is that just because I went to a certification and got really excited about the hollow position? I mean, I am excited and it was an awesome certification but… no!

It’s because I want you to be a better athlete.

We’re doing a lot of hollow body stuff because that creates tension everywhere in your body and requires that you use your core to its fullest potential. Typically, we don’t like to use or develop our core because it’s not exciting or sexy and we would much rather fly to the top of a pull-up bar in a bar muscle-up by thrusting our hips to the sky and chicken winging our way up, or for the majority of people, we’d rather deadlift 1,000 pounds.

But, I want to offer you three reasons why you should do the unsexy, hungry butt stuff instead.

  1. Gymnastics makes your core stronger, and with a stronger, better utilized core, you can improve literally every other thing you do in CrossFit (and life!). This means pull-ups, toes-to-bar, muscle-ups, yeah, but it also means front squats, power cleans, and even those precious deadlifts!
  2. A stronger core also means you’re more than likely being safer. Always complaining about your tweaked shoulder that you’ve been rolling and rolling but it’s not getting better? Or that chronic low back pain? Start using more core and stop relying on your limbs to get the work done and you’ll take some of the burden off those baby shoulders (and also ask your coaches what you should do to make it better and maybe go to Airrosti).
  3. Gymnastics promotes better body awareness. The load you are moving in gymnastics is your own body, which means, you need to know how to move your body through time and space in the most efficient way possible. Better body awareness means better lifts and better times.

As always, everyday you come into the gym is an opportunity to improve. If you come into the gym and you do everything on the whiteboard that day with intentionality, you’re going to see results. I guarantee it. It has been so exciting to hear people say how they have seen “all this hollow body work” improve their gymnastics, their lifts and how they feel it translating to lots of other stuff. Those results are why I do my job, and why I give it everything I’ve got week after week — because I want you guys to always improve and I want you to be excited about your own fitness. Keep up the good work, fam.

All my truest love,

Coach Becky

 

Member Spotlight: The Browns

This month’s member spotlight is a double doozy, as we’re featuring the incomparable Frank and Dom Brown! But don’t be presumptuous — there’s more to this duo than wearing your shades indoors and out lifting your ass by 200lbs. Peep the Q&A below to learn a little more about these two (more about Frank than Dom, though, because Dom ain’t got time for verbosity).

Q: What sports have you done in the past and how have they translated to CrossFit?

Dom: I ran track at the University of Florida (I was a sprinter) and competed a little post collegiately in the heptathlon. Weight lifting for sprinters consists of a lot of explosive movements, Olympic lifting, and functional fitness, so it’s a good background for a lot of what we do in CrossFit. There are a lot of differences too, though. I’m unfamiliar with a lot of the gymnastic movements and I’m not used to lifting in between cardio sets.  

Frank: I‘ve played a bunch of different sports going back to childhood, when I started out with swimming, basketball, and soccer (coincidentally Dom and I were both nationally ranked youth swimmers… but my moment of dominance only lasted until all the other 11 year olds caught up to my early growth spurt).   But in 8th grade, I started playing football, and continued through high school and into college where I walked on at West Point. Football as a sport has really translated the most to my interest in CrossFit. Well, not so much football but the off-season training regimen for football. Between high school and college, I’ve been hanging out in weight rooms off and on for the last 20 years of my life.  Younger people may not realize this but when I was in high school, Olympic lifting was not as prevalent as it is today. There were no rubber plates, so we were always cleaning with metal plates as the real focus was on powerlifting. That changed when I got to college and we had rubber plates, and it was during this time (circa early 2000s) that I really got a lot better at power cleans and jerks. All the strength coaches in college knew that Olympic lifts were key to strength and speed.  This was slightly before the CrossFit movement went mainstream. So I guess my point is, by the time I went to my first CrossFit box in 2011, I already had a lot of the lifting technique and requisite strength — and what I wasn’t practiced in I was not afraid of learning. I was also excited to get back into Olympic lifting and into this idea of more well-rounded lifting — and also the idea of a metcon as a good workout.

Q: What is something you’re proud of that you’ve done in the gym?

Dom: OH! I finally figured out kipping toes to bar thanks to some great tips from McKenzie!

Frank: I’ve always enjoyed power lifting, even though I’ve never done competitions.  Anyway, my max was in 2002 when I squatted 545 with knee wraps. I was a sophomore in college lifting heavy (and yeah, sorry, CrossFitters still don’t know what heavy lifting is) three times per week under a strength coach throughout the off season.  I’ve never really lifted that consistently since then, but just this past May, I finally beat my Squat PR after just doing CrossFit stuff. And I’m tempted now to train it more seriously and get up really high (700+).

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment outside of the gym?

Dom: Passing the Texas bar exam last year!

Frank: I don’t know, this is a tough one.  But, if I had to choose one, I am happy to have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s hard to know if the wars were justified or if I even made a difference in the long run (lots of money and lots of seemingly futile rebuilding projects).  But I believe that the local Iraqis and Afghans I met there and worked with on infrastructure and governance improvement projects saw me as a genuine person who wanted the best out of the situation.  My hope is that I represented the US well in that regard, and that over the years, the people I met remember that genuine desire to help them rather than any shortcomings in the execution. Obviously, there’s still a lot of scar tissue here, and that’s largely why I’m drawn to an idea of a lifetime of service to society.

Q: How did you meet? TELL US THE STORYYYYYY.

Dom: Well… the short version: we met as cadets at West Point and we lost touch for about 2 years when I transferred to the University of Florida to run track. Then we randomly ran into each other at a train station in New York! I gave him my number, and he then lost my number (lame) but then we found each other a year later on Facebook. At the time I was getting ready for Nationals and Frank was a 2LT at Ft. Benning. He started visiting me at UF, and the rest is history!

Frank: See above.

Q: Tell us something embarrassing about yourself because you’re both cool and we need to know that you’re real humans.

Dom: I fell off a treadmill once and ever since then I refuse to run on them. Thankfully, there are no treadmills in CrossFit.

Frank: After my NCAA eligibility expired (my clock started ticking when I entered Virginia Tech 2 years prior to transferring to West Point), I got into Cheerleading at West Point.  It was actually a lot of fun. It was also good way to continue to be close to football, take free trips to away games, and work out in the varsity weight room. And since this was at West Point, it meant getting out of drill (picture walking around in circles in the grass while in formation and carrying a rifle) and intramural sports.

Needless to say, The Browns are truly one of a kind, and it’s an honor having them as part of our gym family. Dom, thanks for making a difference in the legal system as a badass lawyer. Frank, thank you for your servitude and, perhaps most importantly, revealing that you were a cheerleader. Love y’all!

Coaches Corner with McKenzie: Let’s All Be Friends, Please

Take a second and think back to your first day at Renew. Hopefully, you were introduced to the class, asked questions about yourself, your job, your hobbies, and maybe a few things in between. In the days following, you were probably followed up with by a phone call from Justin, and one or two emails from yours truly. We want to know how class went, tell you about regular rhythms at the gym, and probably friend you Facebook before ever actually meeting you (because I’m trying to add you to the Facebook page….just accept my request, okay?).

Why do we do all of this? Y’all… part of my job is literally to make you feel welcomed into the community, nay, family that is CrossFit Renew. I don’t care how much experience you have, walking into a large group of fit strangers throwing around weight can be incredibly intimidating. Even if it’s just an email or phone call, we want you to feel like you have some kind of friendship with at least one human in the gym. And it’s extra cool if that one human is someone on the staff, right??

If you’ve passed that point of feeling new with us, that’s great! I hope you’ve made some solid friendships in your regular classes. But more than that, our goal is to have all of us be friends outside of that one hour class, a few times a week. There’s so much more to every person at Renew than we can see during a workout. Yes, the vulnerability of being exhausted and struggling together is very bonding, but our goal is to create an environment where y’all want to get Juiceland after class together. Or invite us to your birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, dinner, or other celebratory events! We want to help you move from an apartment to your first home, and we want to be there to watch your kids and walk your dogs. Building those friendships inside the gym translates to friendships outside of the gym and that translates to sharing life with each other.

And that’s what we want. We want to know about your big accomplishments so we can celebrate with you, heck yes! But we also want to know about hard things in your life so we can help or even just share in your grief. It’s important, y’all. I’ve sobbed like a child on more than one occasion in the middle of the gym to a coach or member that genuinely cares about me. Those are the times where I was most grateful for this place and the people in it.  

Being an adult is hard sometimes, but it’s less hard with quality people to share it with. If you do CrossFit, you either love it, or you’re a psycho who puts yourself through it for no reason. When Renew was founded, the goal was to combine an activity that we love, with the people that we love.

If you’re new, you probably can’t relate to this very much yet, but it is our hope that you will be able to very soon.

Also, if you’ve only gotten emails from me up to this point, hello, I’m McKenzie, and I’m really excited to meet you.

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”.

Coaches Corner with Russ: Work-Life-Workout Balance

Today I want to talk about work/home/gym life balance. Just like early this year when I overloaded you with GIF’s in the “Why Do the Open” article, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed like Gerry Flynn in a tank top store.

If you’re anything like me, it is easy to get caught up in the day to day. The days go by and before you know it you’ve been working, hanging out with family/friends, and working out and then you look up and it’s 2025 and robots are cleaning our homes and celebrities run the world. Or maybe you look up and the week has flown by and…wait…robots are cleaning our homes and celebrities run the world.

Either way, the problem here (among other things) is that it’s easy to lose sight of keeping balance in your life. Some weeks I feel like I am in the gym too much and don’t see my son as much as I would like. Other weeks I get overloaded with work and I get to workout once or maybe twice during the week. If this happens every now and then it’s not a big deal, life happens. But if you consistently find yourself in this place it might be time to find another approach.

If you think your work and home life is pretty stable, but it’s really hard for you to get to the gym, try changing up your schedule. Or try committing with someone to wake up and meet them there. If you find yourself in the gym too much and work/home life could use a little work, you might rethink your workout routine. Obviously we want you here at the gym as much as possible, but not at the cost of missed time with people at home! Or maybe it means rearranging when you come up.

In the end, the point of me telling you this is to get you to take a big picture view of how you balance your time. I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining your physical fitness, but at the same time don’t sacrifice needed time with family/friends to get that 8th workout of the week in. We can all work towards the aerobic capacity of Justin Hroch, the raw strength of Zac Lozano, and the height of Brett Myles, but 12 hours in the gym every week to get there probably isn’t worth it. Also don’t tell me I’ll never be as tall as Brett, you’ll crush my dreams. Don’t be a dream crusher.

And just because I wanted to add one more GIF, I leave you with what I picture to be McKenzie as she reads this to post on the Renew Blog: