To Go Forward, We Must First Flow

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To Go Forward, We Must First Flow

If you want to workout well into your golden years, get unconventional.


To know Coach Tim Dancy is to know two key things:

  1. Early 2000s rap and hip hop bangers.
  2. If it’s offset and/or unconventional, Tim is in.

In the fitness and wellness space, information, trends, practices, and standards seem to ebb and flow like the (loudest, most opinionated) tide. Just when we think we’ve mastered a modality or a movement – something breaking comes along to debunk or evolve the thought.

A great example of this is the death of R.I.C.E.

For decades, coaches and athletes alike treated acute injuries using the R.I.C.E Method – Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. However, recent studies have come out to claim that this method of laying frozen peas on a swollen ankle resting on a stack of throw pillows actually delays healing. Even the doctor who coined the term has reneged on his research. Today, that tired old grain is out, and M.E.A.T is in (Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, and Treatment).

I call this out to reiterate that if we’re not learning, we’re dying. If we’re not trying new things, incorporating new methods, or adapting to new information, we’re missing out on an endless well of opportunities to live our longest, happiest, healthiest lives.


I sat down with Tim – who also happens to be my coworker, so we were already seated – to discuss some of the more unconventional ways he trains and why they’re so important in today’s ever-changing landscape.


Q: When someone walks into the gym, they will often find you twirling a weighted rope or throwing around a kettlebell in a corner – but you are a man of many athletic backgrounds. What’s filling that fitness hopper?

A: I grew up playing tennis, basketball and baseball competitively. After completing my time as a collegiate athlete, I pivoted to coaching and began the journey of trying to train myself. Shortly thereafter, I started doing CrossFit. I’ve been a CrossFitter for 14 years, tried my hand competing in USA Weightlifting for a couple of years, and am currently learning and honing rope, kettlebell, mace, and animal flow practices.


Q: What brought you to coaching/training? What inspires you to do what you do?

A: I started coaching tennis at the college level, and over the years, I have had the pleasure of instructing tennis players all over the age map. I’ve always valued the fitness that is required for sports and have encouraged sports enthusiasts (whether that’s former athletes or people who just want to learn how to be athletic) to leverage the gym to improve their strength and conditioning and to elevate their every day or sports performance.

I really enjoy helping people expand their perception of what they think they are capable of by building on their strengths through movement. It brings me so much joy to see how someone’s consistent training can expand well outside of what they originally thought they were capable of.

I also get to witness some people shift from discovering and practicing a hobby to stepping into the competitive space. Competitive athletes that make identity shifts into different activities get to experience the carryover of building new physical and mental strengths and how doing so improves a person’s capacity in work, school, and family life.

Also, coaching/training in your everyday gym bridges such an important gap. For former collegiate athletes who have been coached their entire lives, it’s an opportunity to continue the work that makes them feel strong, happy, and capable. For people who are just experiencing fitness for the first time, it’s an opportunity for us to educate and empower them like they’ve never known.


Q: Talk to me about your current interest in all things flow – what is it/what are the types you offer, how did you come to learn about it, and what are some tangible benefits you’ve seen as a coach from exploring that corner of fitness?

A: Flow started for me during the pandemic when gyms were inaccessible, home gym equipment was scarce (and expensive), and I wanted to be the catalyst for maintaining me and my wife’s physical and mental wellness for our toddler, despite what was going on in the world. It started with applying everything I learned about barbell exercises to kettlebells. The more we trained with the limited equipment available, the more intricate our movements and complexes became as our progressions were based less off of additional resistance but by the vast variety of shapes and transitions that we explored moving our bodies.

My exposure to steel mace and rope flow was driven both by my curiosity and as an alternative modality for clients who required fitness options with less impact and resistance. Both practices have continued to expand my mindset of what functional movement can be. I’ve had to do some unlearning around rigid rules of movement and revisited maintaining proper and prolonged tension through unconventional positions and patterns – which has led me to discover more movement options and play with freedom and creativity. It’s been a fun progression of getting stronger and more mobile, as well as letting go and shifting from extrinsic motivations and outcomes to a more intrinsic perspective on movement.

I offer rope flow, kettlebell flow, and animal flow coaching as a fun and accessible entry point for individuals beginning their strength and conditioning journey. These movement practices are also beneficial for the more seasoned athletes that are looking to broaden and refine their athletic capacity in a different arena (not to mention the preservation of coordination and joint health). The additional brain work that these practices encourage creates more movement efficacy when applied to their ultimate goals.


Q: How does rope/KB/mace/animal/yoga flow impact your athletes long-term?

Those with diligent attention to detail, accuracy and efficiency while pushing freedom and creativity has been a recipe for creating intrinsic fitness motivation and self autonomy in athletes. With intensity as a secondary goal, athletes can focus on joint health and breath work with regularity as these movement practices require minimal equipment.

Our joints were made to move – not just forward and backward, but side to side, across, behind, and around. Using various apparati to put our bodies in new positions forces us to build stability and strength in ways that we’ll never be able to achieve with a barbell alone. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is for our longevity that we incorporate unilateral, rotational, and offset work in our fitness regimes.


Q: So be a Bop It, got it. Anything else you want readers to know about it?

These movement practices wouldn’t be my first choice to build strength and endurance for most people, as more traditional resistance training can accomplish this better. But rope flow, kettlebell flow and animal flow are integral for optimizing the body for any strength conditioning or athletic goals that an athlete has!


Tim is one of the most dedicated, passionate, and open-minded coaches I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. If you’re looking for someone who can blow your mind and get you fit as hell, you can find him at CrossFit Renew six days a week.


(Article originally published in Austin Fit Magazine)

Who wrote this post...

Sadie Flynn

Sadie Flynn

Sadie, who's been coaching at Renew since 2016, is a former collegiate athlete with a penchant for power lifts. So, unsurprisingly, her favorite benchmark workout is the lovely Linda. As a mom, Sadie is passionate about pregnant and postpartum fitness and wellness, and works hard to help women take care of their bodies before and after birth. When she's not making jokes at your expense or forcing her 90s alternative music beliefs upon you, you can find Sadie outside somewhere with her husband, two dogs, and their insane toddler.

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