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:

 

Member Spotlight: Jamie Kampman

If you haven’t yet met Jamie Kampman, well, that’s your own damn fault. Jamie is fun, friendly, and freaky fast at every WOD. She also is unabashedly curious about you all of the time no matter what you’re doing or where you are, so instead of us telling her all of our most shallow and deepest darkest (because she will ask), we’re gonna learn a bit about her.

Q: What got you hooked on CrossFit?

A: I’m a little competitive…

Q: What is the biggest way you’ve seen your fitness help others?

A: I love inviting people into what I’m doing. If it’s nutrition stuff or working out. I would much rather do it with people. I loveeee seeing people get excited about fitness and seeing their lives change!

Q:  If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

A: Really good Mexican; chips, queso, salsa and guacamole and a spicy margarita.

Q: What led you to adopt Bubba and how is he so cute and perfect?*

A: As I was looking over these questions earlier and thinking about this question it makes me cry so much. I can’t imagine our lives without Bubba. He is our son and God knew he always would be. A long time ago in college my mentor had adopted, and so that’s where my heart started towards adoption. The more I read about God and His heart is when I knew I wanted to adopt (and when I met my hubs he did too). When I would read my bible, I saw that we were all far from God in our brokenness. And When Jesus died and rose again, He offered for us to turn from our brokenness, believe, and be adopted into his family — believe and BE ADOPTED! We can all have that! What?! That’s amazing news! This made adopting Bubba even more sweet! He is AMAZING and I would adopt 20 more times but the hubs said he is donesy!

*She has an adopted son and he is so cute and perfect

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

A: I shave my legs and armpits everyday! Also, when I get nervous or someone scares me, my armpits tingle.

Tingly armpits? Add weird to the aforementioned list. We love you (and Bubba, and hubs, and your other 1,000 children), Jamie!

Coaches Corner with Brett: Discipline in Everyday Life

Ever been in the middle of a workout and just wanted to quit? Ever actually quit? I have. I remember multiple workouts where I was just over it; I didn’t want to finish. Most of the time I just rode it out until it was over, and a couple of times I tapped out and just stopped. But the times where I dug my heels in and fought through and pushed to the end… I remember laying on the floor feeling so proud of myself. Conversely, I can remember getting into my car after a workout where I threw the towel in because it was too hard, and I felt like I’d let myself down. It’s in those moments that the lies pour in…

“Why even try if it’s so hard?”

“It happens, people quit all the time – big deal”

“Is CrossFit working for you?”

Yada yada yada… you get the point.

Here’s the deal though, that crap bleeds over into the rest of life! Like say, when I’m part of a gym-wide nutrition competition, and I really want a cookie at a party, if I’m the guy who quits in the gym then I’m definitely the guy who will quit on his nutrition. Or even at home! When the toys are everywhere (looking at you, Finley) and the dishes are piled up and the laundry isn’t folded. If I quit putting in the effort at home, what message does that convey to my wife and rest of my family?

The people who have achieved anything in life have flat out stuck with it; put their heads down and done the hard work of living the disciplined life.

Let’s take Tom Brady for example. The skinny 6th Round draft pick out of college that the New England Patriots took a flyer on in 2000? The quarterback who was (is) very unathletic, has become one of the greatest football players in the history of the NFL.

How? He disciplined himself daily. He never quit, even though he may have wanted to. Even though there were plenty of opportunities to do so.

Anyone remember Jamarcus Russell? Probably not, but he was the #1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. They gave him $31.5 million in guaranteed money to play QB before he ever played in a real game.

But leading up the 2010 season, he was reportedly pushing 300lbs, and lacked work ethic on and off the field. He was released after just three seasons. With a little discipline, he could have secured tens of millions of dollars for himself in a few years, while getting to play a sport he loved for work.  

Listen y’all, the difference between being the girl who gets where she wants to be in this journey of health and fitness and the guy who doesn’t, tends to boil down to this: are you willing to put in the work?

Are you willing to wake up early? Are you willing to say no to sugars and processed foods and fast food? Are you willing to bust your ass in the gym several times a week? Are you willing to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get the sleep your body needs? Have you mentally prepared yourself for the marathon that it’ll be?

It’s going to require a daily resolve to be that person. You have the power to make all of those decisions. In two years, do you want to be fitter and healthier and stronger? Then start today. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not on the first of the month. Start today. But if the next two years is filled with a lack of resolve and a propensity to quit, you’ll only be putting distance between yourself and where you want to be. And you’ll look back with nothing but regret and disappointment.

So the next time you want to quit on a workout, or sleep in, or choose fast food over the meal prepped food you already have stocked, or let excuses run the gamut… it’ll be up to you. This is your life. And you only get one.

Hot Tip: Find a person or a group of persons who can pursue these daily disciplines with you! A Lone Ranger is a Dead Ranger.

Let’s do this thing though, like for real. Stop playing games and do whatever it takes. The Renew Crew is here for you and rooting for you!

Love,

Coach Brett

Member Spotlight: Brad Otts

Brad Otts in a nutshell: 7 on the Enneagram, tattoos, self-deprecation, sass.

And for Brad Otts in his purest form, proceed (with caution) below:

Q: What did you think about CrossFit before you started doing it, and why did you decide to get into it?

A: I was originally introduced to “Crossfit” via my Father-in-law (also known as the greatest human in existence) Michael Vasko about 7 or so years ago. I didn’t know much about it, but knew that I personally was very athletic, formidably successful at all athletic endeavors I participated in, and confident in my ability to eventually master all aspects of it. After starting, I learned that there were some movements that would take longer for me to master, mostly mobility issues involving my wrists, hips, arms legs, back, neck, chest, feet, head, and general body area, but as previously stated, I was confident my raw natural abilities, so I proceeded.

Q: What is the worst nickname you’ve ever had and explain the meaning behind it.

A: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a nickname per se, rather it’s my initials. My first name is Bradley, that first initial being the letter “B”. My middle name is Joseph, that first initial being “J”.  My last name is Otts, that first initial being the letter “O”. As such, no matter which way my given name was presented in abbreviated initialized form… I was a moving target.

“BJ” —- you can do the math.

“BO” — yea… strike 2.

Needless to say, that is how I grew a thick skin and mastered yet another aspect of life. Self deprecation.

Q: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A: Honestly though, aren’t we all animals in some way? Somewhere deep inside all of us is this deep natural instinct similar to that of a primitive beast. Be it predator or prey, we all find ourselves connecting with that deep naturalistic emotion. Also, I might be part dolphin. Intelligent, high communicative, wickedly fast in salt water and the key character in an award winning documentary on illegal fishing in Southeast Asia.

Q: What is the most ridiculous thing you did as a college student?

A: The details of my life are quite inconsequential… but very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was an 18-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons, and in the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds… pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe and by the time I was attending university I had a lifetime of living already done. By the age 22, I had climbed to the top of the MSC building at Texas A&M University only sit quietly reading 13th Century Jordanian literature.  So really… given my level of life experience, the most ridiculous thing I did in college was start this so-called “formal” education.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in life and why? 

A: Despite what you might think by this point, I am actually not a complete and utter lunatic… I do have some normalcy to me. I can easily say that the proudest accomplishment of my life is perhaps not necessarily an accomplishment in one single moment, rather a continual accomplishment. This would be that somehow through the the divine mystery of our Creator and the daily patience of my Jersey Girl, that I have been able to convince my wife to stay married to me, despite meeting her online, only knowing her for 4 months, and being a general horse’s ass for the first 75% of our marriage.

I have also had the honor of being a father to 3 wonderful children, 2 of these beautiful young seedlings I helped make (which will be explained in my 1 week Crossfit Renew sponsored speaking series entitled “When a mommy loves a daddy: A Life Explained” – by Brad Otts). The opportunity to be a husband and a father has been the single most humbling experience in my life and that’s saying a lot as we all remember that STUPID WOD where we walked around the entire parking lot doing barbell walking lunges. That said, I am a man of many blessings, more than I deserve, but I would say that being given the opportunity to breathe another day and love my family has been my greatest accomplishment.

He will help you move, he will give you life advice, he will tell you jokes, he will send you podcasts, and he is a killer cook and Green Acres aficionado.  Next time you see him, ask him to guess what number Enneagram you are and get to know each other on a philosophical level.

You rock, Brad!

Coaches Corner with Sadie Flynn: It’s the remix to nutrition, hot and fresh out the kitchen

I remember the first time I felt insecure about my body. I was in 7th grade, and we were heading out to the soccer fields to practice one afternoon after school.

At the time, Marshall Mathers’ cult classic inaugural hit “Slim Shady” was at the top of the charts. Cupping their mouths like juvenile hand megaphones, my teammates would loudly sing: “Would the real Slim Sadie please stand up?” because they had just learned what a rhyme was and everyone needs a junior high soccer practice walkout song. Whenever the lyric beckoned me, I would go from sitting or squatting to standing with my arms outstretched like a proud hype man signaling the crowd because I lived to please. Thankfully though, the Team Mean Girl was there to sit my ass right back down:

“Slim Sadie… except she’s not slim,” she said as she snickers and sneers and reapplies her Dr. Pepper-flavored Smackers chapstick.

From then on, I became hyper aware of my body. Noticing that none of my friends shared the same sizes as I did, didn’t experience the same rolling situations I did, and didn’t have anything bouncing after them while they ran to lunch. I began to observe what they were eating, and kept careful accord of what and how much I ate. It was a mental and emotional burden that wholly consumed me. Pun intended.

This burden would stay settled on my brain all throughout junior high, high school, and college. I’d create asinine justifications in my head that I thought were going to make my body better, by whatever dumb standard. If I was going to be in a swimsuit, I made sure not to eat before or during said swim event. I never got dessert, soda, or seconds unless someone else did. I never ate breakfast because I didn’t want to go to school “full”, and lunches were paltry. As a result, I’d gorge at dinner because I was rightfully starved. Diet pills were a cupboard staple, and Sugar Free Monster nearly replaced water because I learned that caffeine was a diuretic. College was more of the same, plus alcohol. If I knew I was going to go out and party, I’d skip dinner. Pre-game nutrition was light or non-existent because I didn’t want the weight of nutritious food bogging me down as I ran for 90 minutes. I had no idea what real nutrition was, or how to fuel my body properly — even as a D2 collegiate athlete at a world-renowned small, private university in West Texas.  I just knew that not eating was better than being fat. Sades was the name, and chronic food deprivation was my game.

It wasn’t until I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that I started to get a grip on my drunk and disordered eating. After my diagnosis, I read, I researched, I studied, I experimented. I learned what food could do for me not what I thought it’d do to me; I learned what macronutrients were, what foods exacerbated my disease, what balance looked like, what metabolic damage was, and how a dysfunctional diet contributed to like 99.999% of my mental, emotional, and physical issues.

Sleepy and sluggish? Eat more food.

Underwhelming workouts? Eat food sooner.

Skin breaking out? Eat better, whole food.

Achy, bloaty, generally irritated at your boyfriend and roommates? Eat different food.

Sayings like “food is medicine” and “I’d rather take vitamins now than drugs later” are pithy as shit, but I am proof that they are real and true.

So when Justin Hroch and Haley Hall — a real life Registered Dietitian — ambushed me at the gym one day and asked if I’d be interested in developing a nutrition program for Renew, my initial thoughts were, “I am in no way fit for this.” I am still very much a work in progress, and don’t have any abbreviations at the end of my name. But the more I chewed on it (I literally have food puns for every pomp and circumstance do not challenge me), the more I realized that an effective nutrition program isn’t about being a faultless example. Rather, it’s about teaching truths, providing valuable tools and resources, and delivering unwavering accountability and motivation for any human working toward their fitness and wellness goals.  And an effective nutrition coach is someone who listens well and is trustworthy; someone who can sort through all the myths and fads and fake food news out there and give real, attainable, and sustainable counsel — without judgment. And I am definitely fit for that.

So if you’re a human with goals and needs surrounding nutrition, let’s chat. Because nobody should live their life confined by the shackles of food misinformation and physical frustration.

With love and corn dogs,

Sades

To learn more about Refuel, our aptly named nutrition program, check out our shiny new section of the website. Or, if you’re interested in setting up a nutrition consultation or just want someone to email, get at me: sadie@crossfitrenew.org.

And with that I leave you with the funniest health memes and gifs the internet has to offer:

Member Spotlight: Heather Zeh

Member Spotlight: Heather Zeh

Haaaaaave you met Heather?

Heather is one of the newer faces at Renew, but comes with some CrossFit experience under her belt. If you haven’t met her yet, you’ll probably see her at one of the AM or PM classes because she apparently has the world’s most flexible schedule and is still trying to decide if she wants to A) lose sleep or B) die of a heat stroke.

Here’s Heather’s Q&A — enjoy!

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what made you keep coming back?

A: I was first introduced to CrossFit in the Fall of 2012 when I was in grad school in Colorado. A classmate wanted to try it but was afraid to go alone so we went and fell in love with it. From that point on, any time I found myself in a new area either for a clinical rotation or moving to a new city, it was always a goal of mine to get plugged in to a church and a CrossFit gym. Hands down the community aspect of CrossFit is what made me want to keep coming back and pursuing it.

Q: What is your fondest memory in any gym you’ve been a part of?

A: Between grad school, traveling, and moving to different areas, I’ve been to a lot of gyms. They all have different vibes and things to offer, but my favorite gym thus far (present gym excluded) 😉 was CrossFit the Point in Utah. I went there for a couple months while I was there for a clinical rotation. I don’t have 1 specific fond memory, but I LOVED the coaches, LOVED the members. It was a judgment-free zone and while it was competitive, in was in a safe, healthy, fun way. I seriously almost accepted a job offer because I loved that CrossFit so much. I looked forward to going every time.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in life?

A: The easy answer is probably getting my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology.

But on a deeper level, I would have to say the season of life I’m in right now. I haven’t done CrossFit in 2 years (so basically I’m starting over). I’m coming back from injuries and bad experiences at other gyms. I’m finding it takes a lot of strength to embrace where you’re at and stop playing the comparison game of where you used to be and the things you used to be able to do. Life isn’t linear. There are ups and downs. You make progress and there are setbacks. Letting go of the past is a big accomplishment in my opinion, and I’m learning how to do that through coming back to CrossFit. I love the name CrossFit Renew because that’s what’s actually happening in my life right now – I’m being renewed. My success isn’t defined by how lean I get again, or if I ever am able to do what I “used to do” anymore. I just want to enjoy the community, contribute positively to the environment, and get a good workout in – even if that means I have to scale. You have to meet yourself where you’re at. There’s a lot of freedom in that and opportunities for growth as an athlete and a human. I see this as an accomplishment that’s happening in my life right now and it’s exciting.

Q: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A: Childhood camping trip. Graham crackers with ketchup and mustard. Don’t ask me why… I don’t know.

Do not recommend.

Q: What is the most rebellious thing you did as a child?

A: When we were pretty young, I remember my older sister and I would dare each other to squeeze through the rails on the 2nd story of our home to walk on the wrong side before squeezing our way back in, unnoticed by our parents… for obvious reasons we weren’t allowed to do that. One day I ended up slipping and falling from the 2nd story on my back (I ended up being okay). Maybe that’s what led me to thinking eating graham crackers with ketchup and mustard was a good idea. 😉 Also I’m afraid of heights now.

Yikes. Well, we are so glad to have you, Heather! Here’s to spending the next unmentionable amount of time devoted to knocking CrossFit the Point out of the #1 spot.