Coaches Corner with Hroch: CrossFit — for anyone and everyone

CrossFit training

If you’re reading this, chances are you either A) are currently a member of a CrossFit gym or B) want to be a member of a CrossFit gym or C) know someone who is a member of a CrossFit gym and they shared this post and you got kind of curious so now you’re here and you’re in too deep so let’s keep going. 

Regardless of whether you identify with A, B or C — you’ve likely heard of CrossFit before. And you’ve likely already developed an opinion about it. Social media is always swirling with conflicting articles covering CrossFit — on the one hand, it’s the greatest thing since sliced organic farm-to-mouth bread. On the other, it’s a scary cult and it’s totally unsafe and no one in their right mind should partake. You see posts from your friends who’ve never worked out a day in their life join the gym and rave about it. And on the contrary, you see posts from those same friends sharing stories of athletes in peak physical condition doing an ungodly amount of burpees for time. 

There’s definitely a sentiment tug-of-war when it comes to CrossFit, but one thing remains: it’s for anyone and everyone.   

When you start at a CrossFit gym, your fitness level is irrelevant. In any case, you will be challenged — both physically and mentally. Coaches and classmates alike are right there with you, pushing you to your limits and encouraging you to bear it until the bitter end. And for some reason, you do. And you do it again and again, day after day. We looked into that “some reason” and came up with three. Check it:

 1) It’s “constantly varied”. Meaning, there’s something new every day.

Arguably, the most important aspect to CrossFit is the programming. Their methodology is “constantly varied functional fitness performed at a high intensity”. Meaning, simple movements you perform in your everyday life, put together in fun new ways for you to do to your best ability. The perpetually changing workouts of the day (WODs) are meant to help you stay motivated, continue honing new skills, and see immediate results. 

 2) Smaller classes mean more personal training.

Unlike your group classes at globo-gyms, all CrossFit affiliates have well-trained coaches responsible for leading small group classes (15 athletes or less). This bite-sized bunching allows you, the athlete, to have  one-on-one interaction with and access to the coach for the entire duration of the class — getting immediate feedback on form, support and encouragement when you need it most, and answering your burning fitness questions until your heart’s content. 

3) In CrossFit, there’s a modification for that. 

CrossFit prides itself on its ability to scale and modify any workout to meet the needs and goals of any individual, regardless of fitness or skill level. The intensity, volume, complexity, and weights used in a workout can all be adjusted to suit the capabilities of the individual so that they can achieve their goals — regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or a newly minted grandparent getting back in the fitness game. 

So now we’re here, at the bottom of the article. If you got here by Googling “how to lose body fat and gain muscle” — great! We can help you with that. Or if you got here because of that friend’s pesky post still showing up in your newsfeed day after day — we’re glad you found us and even gladder (yes, gladder) you stayed. 

If you’re on the fence about the whole CrossFit gig, but have been battling with getting back into the swing of gym things, book a No Sweat Intro with one of our coaches. We want to help you get you where you want to be. 

Come on in, the coconut water’s fine.

Member Spotlight: Haley Faulkner

Haley’s been a member at Renew for just a short while now, and has already put a ton of work in at the gym. A friend of a friend of many friends of Renew, it was only a matter of time before we lured her in. Read a bit more about Haley and if you see her around the gym, be super impressed by her because she’s been working her ass off. 

Q: How did you hear about CrossFit Renew? 

A: I heard about CrossFit Renew by word of mouth from current Renew members: Jessica Guevara, Kelsi Dawe, and Candace Knox.

(If you didn’t know, CrossFit Renew is the unofficial informal gym of all the nurses everywhere in Austin.)

Q: Do you feel like your life has improved since joining? If so, how? 

A: Yes, of course.  CrossFit is a completely new experience and challenge for me physically and mentally.  I was searching for an outlet to push my limits in both of those areas, and CrossFit Renew has definitely delivered!  I have learned to quiet the negative self-talk and let go of my self-consciousness by showing up to WODs knowing that I may not know how to perform some of the skills – but therein lies my opportunities to grow and transform.  That if I stay committed to this investment in myself, I will leave the gym more “renewed” and improved and the growth I’ve accomplished inside the gym will positively impact other areas of my life outside of the gym.  

Q: What’s been your favorite moment at Renew? And, why?

A: It would be easy to say my favorite moment at Renew has been when someone made me laugh or when a coach and/or member encouraged me to finish a WOD before the time cap.  A more accurate and a more important, meaningful response would be to say my favorite moments at Renew have been teaching moments, hands down. For example: It was a weightlifting back squat day (5/1/19) with a cap time of 25:00, and Justin was coaching.  I must have finished my first three sets of 10 too quickly (time remaining 18:45, whoops!) because when Justin comes over to my side of the rig to check in, he kindly asks “What set are you on?”…to which I reply, “I just finished set 3.” I notice his eyes widen, and I immediately feel embarrassed in realizing I’ve moved through this workout incorrectly.  Teaching moment: Justin takes the time to reiterate the instructions and goals of the workout (i.e. how heavy the weight should feel, how much time you should take in between sets in order to properly recover, what is 80% of my max weight on back squat, and if I don’t know my max weight I should come to open gym and find out!). Justin provides me with constructive criticism and at least 1-2 minutes of his undivided attention in order for me to make adjustments for my subsequent sets.  Although I was clearly embarrassed in my mistake, I was humbled and genuinely appreciative of his feedback. All in all, teaching moments = opportunities for improvement. They are humbling experiences that occur not merely to point out your mistakes, but to illuminate your mistakes in order for you to improve upon them, to do it better the next time! Making improvements in any part of my life, however small or big, is a confidence booster and immensely rejuvenating.  

All of the Renew coaches have provided me similar, crucial teaching moments in my short 2.5 months at Renew, and I am incredibly grateful.  You all want me to succeed and I believe it. Those small moments of your time (even if it’s 30 seconds to correct my form!) have helped me to make small improvements, and over time those small improvements can only lead to further progress so long as I stay committed.  In fact, I’ve already noticed progress from when I first started! So, I’ll continue to show up and with the trusted guidance of the Renew Crew, I will continue to reinvent myself with each new WOD. And, although slow-going at times, I’m excited about my continual transformation.

Q: So, how has CrossFit helped your professional life?

A: I’ll take the support I’ve so graciously been given at Renew and pay it forward.  I hold a leadership role within my NICU unit at the hospital, and I mentor/train/support graduate RNs (the newbies).  At times, they need my help and ask for my professional opinion, especially amidst hectic situations. Even if it’s crazy busy during a shift and I have 7 million other things I need to do (and that’s for real!), I’ll try to remember that offering my staff RNs 1-2 minutes of my undivided attention could make all the difference in their world.  That maybe my guidance and support will leave them feeling more confident in their skills and abilities, like Renew has done for me in my CrossFit journey!

Q: If you could be ANY animal, what would it be and why?

A: I would, hands down, be a gibbon.  Gibbons are lesser apes that live in tropical and subtropical rainforests within parts of Asia.  So, living among the trees in a beautiful location would be cool! Gibbons typically form long-term or lifelong bonds with mates, which I think correlates with the longstanding friendships I’ve made in my lifetime and my desire for eventual monogamy.  Their primary mode of locomotion is called brachiation (if you haven’t seen a YouTube video of a gibbon doing its brachiating thang in some trees, you need to!) Brachiation involves swinging from branch to branch for distances up to 50 feet and at speeds as high as 35 mph, AND they make leaps up to 26 ft while in the air!  I’m thinking, if I become a gibbon with that much upper body strength, I would likely be able to master a strict pull-up or kipping pull-up, finally! All in all, they are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals. I find them absolutely fascinating!

Q: What is something you’re proud of accomplishing outside of the gym?

A: I am involved in an Outreach Committee within my NICU unit, and we volunteer our time at local businesses, non-profits, animal sanctuaries, etc. on a monthly basis.  Just this afternoon actually, we volunteered at the Central Texas Food Bank for the second time this year. We sorted 3,450 pounds of food for families in need. The Central Texas Food Bank services 21 counties in Texas, and it was a wonderful experience to devote some of my time to aid in their efforts to end hunger!  So, I’m proud to volunteer my time to give back to my ATX community with some of my amazing coworkers 🙂

Q: What’s one goal outside of Renew that you’re working towards?

A: I am working on my hand-lettering skills, brushing up on my Spanish, and taking an online course this Fall semester in the hopes of obtaining a certification in event planning!

So, basically, if ever you want to look to someone in the gym for a little extra motivation — look for Haley. We’re so glad to have you around, girl! Keep up the kickass work. 

Member Spotlight: Paul Smith

Paul is the kind of guy who will never let you go un-said-hello-to. He’s the first to greet a new face, and quick to take a coaches cue. He’s kind, tall, bendy as hell, and remember Dino? Paul’s the aforementioned counterpart! A dynamic duo if ever there was one. 

We love Paul, and we know you will too. Enjoy his Member’s Spotlight! 

Q: Why did you decide to join CrossFit Renew?

A: As someone who works in the fitness industry (certified Yoga instructor), I had always heard mixed things about CrossFit. I had heard that the workouts are way too hard and always produce rhabdomyolysis and potential muscle damage, and that the coaches are poorly trained. But since my cousin in Minneapolis had been attending CrossFit enthusiastically, I was curious to see what it was like. Dino and I live nearby, and saw the sign for CrossFit Renew when driving by. I saw on the website that they were having a new member special, so we decided to give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised that the coaches didn’t put pressure on us to move so quickly through the exercises that we couldn’t work on good form. All the coaches seem very knowledgeable about how to perform the exercises, many of which require complex coordination that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me. I have also found the team spirit of the regular 8:00am class participants to be a motivation to show up each week.

(Shout out to the wild and unruly 8am bunch!)

Q: What were some of your goals coming into CrossFit?

A: My main goal in joining was increasing my strength. I am good about exercising several times per week, but not good about pushing myself to work hard and gain muscle. CrossFit encourages me to work much harder than I would otherwise. What I have found from doing the CrossFit workouts over time is that my primary goal has changed to increasing my cardio endurance, with strength increases as a secondary goal. I also want to stay as healthy as I can, and I believe that CrossFit is helping with that.

Q: What are some in-gym milestones you’re most proud of?

A: I am proud of a number of in-gym milestones! I’ve accomplished doing some rope climbs, running a 7K, getting somewhat comfortable with single-unders, and gradually being able to increase my weights on the Olympic lifting movements (even though I’m still using light weights compared to most). I also feel much stronger, and feel that I look stronger, compared to before I joined Renew. 

Q: What are some new things you’re working towards? 

A: I would like to eventually be able to do double-unders, handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, and ring dips. I also would like to continue increasing my strength to where I can always do the Level 2 options with regard to how much weight I am lifting. After that I’ll make a goal to often do the Level 1 options, then I’ll make a goal to occasionally be able to do the Rx options. If I stick with it I think I’ll keep gradually getting stronger. I hope to change my work schedule in September or January so I could come three times a week to make a difference in my progress

Paul, we are so grateful you are around and love how hard you work to make your goals a reality. If you don’t know Paul already, show up to an 8am and introduce yourself (or don’t, because he will). 

Member Spotlight: Dino Costa

Dino, Dino, Dino. Never not without his counterpart, Paul, and sassy under-his-breath comments — Dino has nestled nicely into the Renew Crew. But what do we really know about him? Not much. And welp, his Member Spotlight doesn’t give us much more to work with, but that’s the spirit and magic of Dino Costa. 

Happy reading!

Q: Why did you decide to join CrossFit Renew?

A: Peer pressure. 

Q: What were some of your goals upon joining?

A: Lower body fat and blood pressure.

Q: What other goals have you accomplished?

A: My blood pressure is lower than before I started CrossFit! 

Q: What are some new things you are working towards? 

A: Being pretty, rich and famous (kidding)! Just need to lose fat in the middle and improve cardio conditioning without killing myself. Is there an easy button?

Nope, but we’ll gladly be here to help out. Happy to have you around, buddy.

Member Spotlight: Frances Fluitt

You will find Frances at the 8am and the 8am only, likely speed walking from her car, because she parks it at the other side of the lot in order to get a little extra fitness in. Also because her car is a boat and it’s just safer this way. 

On the real, Frances is one of the hardest working members at Renew, and her gains back it up. If you haven’t met her, check out the rest of her Member Spotlight and get to know her a little better:

Q: What brought you to CrossFit in the first place? 

A: After having kids, I needed to get back in shape.  I previously signed up at 24 Hour Fitness but I needed someone to push me and hold me accountable. I then decided to look at Crossfit because of the structure and class schedule. That was over 7 years ago and I’m still going strong. 

Q: What’s one of your biggest accomplishments inside the gym? 

A: My biggest accomplishment is finishing 1/2 Murph and running the 1 mile before and after the pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment outside the gym in real life? 

A: Raising my kids.*


Q: What is one fun fact about yourself that we don’t already know?

A: I grew up in San Francisco and moved to Texas in 1999.

Q: Are you and Michelle actually sisters or is that a running joke, because no one is 100% sure on that one…

A: Contrary to what you might have heard, we are actually not sisters just workout buddies. But fun fact for those who didn’t know, my maiden name is Kwan (same last name as Michelle). 

Glad we got to the bottom of that one. We love you, Frances! We’re so glad you’re a part of the Renew Crew. 

Coaches Corner with Russ: Everything Hurts and I’m Dying

Based on my previous blog posts, or if you’ve ever heard me talking pretty much about anything while I’m in the gym, you probably know I’m old and typically working around and through different ailments in my body. This post is for those of you, like me, who are looking for ways to stay active and become more fit while also trying to cater to worn out tendons and aging joints. You also might know me as the guy that loads up his blog posts with way too many GIFs, but here we go. 

Everyday Amy Poehler GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Some common themes I have seen around the gym are tight hips, aching knees, tight shoulders, and tight back. This is pretty normal stuff, especially when you consider that we all want to push ourselves to get more fit but we never take the time to take care of our bodies. Sometimes these problems come from a one time incident, but other times you might start to notice certain movements feel less enjoyable over time. Maybe your knee has some tendonitis or your sprained ankle from pickup basketball 7 years ago keeps your ankle tight. I hope that rebound was worth it.

Jennifer Aniston Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Over time in dealing with these types of things I have learned that my tendency is to make things worse by trying to work through the pain. 

That'S What You Not Gon Do Basketball Wives GIF by VH1 - Find & Share on GIPHY

If my body is trying to tell me something is wrong, the correct response does not include ignoring that and just trying to roll out a little extra after the workout. Or if you’re the “I’ll roll out at home” type and you keep running into these things, this might be your wake up call. As much as completely ignoring nagging injuries won’t stop the pain, avoiding movements also won’t treat pain at the root. You might find temporary reprieve from knee issues if you stop coming to any workouts that have squats in them, but you also might end up like this guy and have a whole host of other problems down the road:


So without ignoring your problems and without avoiding movements that cause these problems, what do you do? Well that’s what this post is here for. 

Happy Hey You GIF by Bounce - Find & Share on GIPHY

Here is my list of suggestions for general improvement in this area, followed by my own personal experience and the best results I have seen.

Get educated. Grab an Instagram account and follow @theprehabguys, @squat_university, and @themobileathlete. From there I’m sure there are many others but these are my highest recommendations, with my favorite being Squat U.

Commit fully to your own health. You already want to be fit and workout, so make sure you’re healthy otherwise what’s the point? Spend time working on stretches, rolling, and strengthening exercises. Also, Sadie is making me tell you that your nutrition is also a very important part of this bullet point — key supplements like complete omegas and collagen can help bring life back to your joints, and drinking enough water and getting enough sleep generally cures everything.

Modify movements. If your knee is hurting at full depth, slow down and/or shorten your squat depth. If you have tendon issues (knee or anywhere for that matter), lower your volume of repetitions using that tendon. If it hurts to put any kind of weight overhead, find some resistance exercises that will strengthen the specific part of your shoulder that is hurting. 

Seek treatment. I said it before and I’ll say it again. If something is wrong, ignoring it won’t make it better. Airrosti, chiropractic care, suction cups, dry needling, massage — any of these are great options for diagnosing and fixing muscular tension. Physical therapy is also a necessary path for a wide array of ailments. 

We as coaches are constantly learning and trying to get better at our jobs to diagnose problems and help prevent injuries or nagging pain. But we are humans with finite knowledge and many times an athlete will be better served researching and getting professional opinions from medical professionals about what might be going on with pain in the body. From my own experience, here are some things that I have seen or personally dealt with and solutions/resources I have found to help the most:

Tendonitis in the knee: Limit volume of jumping/launching/squatting. Keep from going full speed or full range of motion on movements that cause pain and allow rest until pain is gone. Diagnose the cause of pain (for me it is lack of glute activation). Lots of stretching/rolling of quads and IT band followed by glute activation and strength exercises help here. Once the pain subsides, slowly—and with very controlled movements—start to ramp up volume again. 

Tightness in hips: Again this is often a result of poor glute activation. Tightness in one hip can lead to overuse of the other side. Best results I have seen here are more glute activation/strength exercises as well as rolling out and stretching hips.

Pinching pain in shoulder: Figure out which direction of movement hurts (pulling or pushing? One side or the other?).  Limit weight used going this direction and perform resistance exercises catered to strengthening the shoulder. Roll out with lacrosse ball all around the shoulder joint. 

Back: be patient.

Upper back/Neck: jolting and pounding movements like box jumps and running often make this worse. Stretching/rolling and low impact movements often help (like swimming).

Mid back

Lower back: Limit weight and allow time for your back to recover. Go light weight but remain active. Lots of foam rolling and stretching. 

Ankles: Just a general note about ankle mobility is that often tight ankles will cause many other issues downstream. It is really important to maintain mobile ankles.

Ankle mobility warm up  

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At the end of the day, we want your health and well-being to be put above posting a score on Wodify to show off to your friends at Yard Bar. I hope each and every athlete at our gym is able to learn enough about their own body to become more fit but also strengthen every area of weakness and eliminate areas of pain. We value you and care for you. 

Stay lit,

Coach Russ

Member Spotlight: Lindsey Payne

She’s more than purple hair, flashy slug bugs, and specs so cute you’ll wish your eyesight sucked — meet Lindsey Payne, this month’s Member Spotlight!

Q: Why did you join CrossFit Renew?

A: I joined Crossfit Renew because I needed something new, something different, something that challenged me mentally and physically. I also wanted to meet new people and make new friendships.

Q: What’s been your biggest accomplishment?

A: My biggest accomplishment was doing my first RX workout and signing up for The Open within a couple months of joining.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I want to practice and master all the gymnastics moves. I love that crossfit not only challenges me physically but mentally as well. I feel like I constantly have new things to work hard at and master. I am a very competitive person so I challenge myself to be better every single time I step into that box.

Q: What’s your favorite CrossFit Renew memory?

A: My favorite memory was FNL. I love to cheer for people and to have people rooting for me. Camaraderie; it’s so special when you legitimately want the best for each other. I love that about this place and it’s one of the main reasons I keep coming back.

Q: What motivates you to continue training at CrossFit Renew?

A: The people are what make this gym special to me. Genuine people. People who greet me with a smile when I walk through those doors, people who challenge me to be a better me, people who hug me as I cry and say they love me, people who genuinely want to know how I’m doing, people who ask questions because they’re interested in who I am or what’s going on in my life and people who push me hard physically and then encourage me afterwards with high fives or ‘good job’ or ‘way to work’. It never fails that my day is ALWAYS better because of the people and workouts I encounter at CrossFit Renew.

Man, those are some special words. Makes our CrossFitty family hearts pitter patter. So glad you joined the crew, Linds. Now you can never leave.

Coaches Corner with McKenzie: Open Gym and Drills Forever

Hey y’all! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we’re launching new Open Gym hours! Why are we doing this? Here are a few of those reasons:

First: Y’all have been screaming for them.

Second: As coaches, we tend to encourage everyone to get to class a little early, or stay a little late to work on skills you’re having a hard time with. We know that isn’t always possible, so we wanted to give y’all two more opportunities a week to get some drill work in.

There are lots of things that we could all be better at, and this is a really great and strategic opportunity to do so! Take advantage of the coach who will be staffing these extra hours — tap their knowledge of skills and drills and ways that you can work on very specific things. We are literally at your service, so use us!

Speaking of skills and drills, to give you some more ideas of what you could be working on, I’m going to let y’all in on where I personally need to grow and what I’m gonna be doing about it.

Gymnastics: Bar muscle ups

As a gymnast for 8 years, the glide kip is forever ingrained in my brain, and according to our BFF Dave Castro, gliding before kipping is not the CrossFit standard. To be considered a good rep, your toes cannot pass the line of the bar. In the video above, they show a hybrid of the glide kip, which is what I’ve reverted to doing, and is still not a true muscle up. So neither in this video are okay. Here are some things I plan to work on to help me retrain my brain:

Lat strength: as I kip, I need to rely on my lat strength as I push down on the bar after the hollow to get myself to the top of the bar, not my solely my momentum from the glide kip. To get better at that, I have been working on drills like this and trying to pull to my hips instead of my chest. That will help me better feel the push down on the bar as I move upwards.

Box push downs: Starting at 1:45 in this video, using a box to assist in getting me higher by the bar, but still allowing me to practice pushing down and away from the bar instead of pulling my chest directly to the bar.

Beat swings: Big, big, big kips, working on pushing down on the bar and almost laying backwards making sure I’m activating my lats and pressing down on that bar before trying to muscle my way to the top.

Weightlifting: Getting rid of my stripper butt

In most of my lifts from the ground, I tend to lift my butt first, and then the rest follows — instead of my shoulders and hips moving at the same rate. You might have heard this lovingly referred to as the Stripper Butt by some of our more colorful coaches. This happens on cleans, deadlifts, snatches…really anything from the ground, and it forces me to isolate just my hamstrings or lower back to do the brunt of the work, instead of utilizing my whole posterior chain! So here’s what I’ll work on to help fix it:

Halting clean complex: More specifically within this, I will be doing a lot of the first portion of this, the Halting Clean Deadlift. Because it will be light, I can focus on just that first part of the lift to right above my knees. As I’m working on this, I’m going to really pay attention to how engaged my hamstrings are, making sure my shoulders are moving when my hips do, and that I’m pulling the bar in towards my hips instead of having my hips meet the bar away from my body. We did this drill together not too long ago, but if you have questions, grab a coach and have them walk you through it!

Sotts press: This drill really improves stability in the bottom of an overhead squat, which will translate to stability in the bottom of a squat snatch. On top of that, it’s great for shoulder and core strength, which is pretty great for everything else, let’s be real.

And last but not least…squats, squats and more squats: I think I’m really going to focus on my back and front squat because those have never been as strong as I’d like them to be. As soon as I hit a higher weight, my knees cave in EVERY TIME, so I might even throw a theraband around my knees to remind myself to press them out. I also want to focus on shifting my weight back more towards my heels, and keeping my core way tighter than I usually do.

Aerobic Capacity and Metabolic Conditioning

Y’all, running is really hard for me, and I’ve wanted to get better at being comfortable with it for a long time. I want to eventually run the 10k, but I want to do a 7k one or two more times before I go for the 10. So…maybe every time I come to Open Gym, I’ll run a mile as part of my warmup and cool down. Start small, and work up to getting in a mental space to run a 7k probably by myself (unless any of you crazies want to join me).  

There you have it guys! As you can see, even coaches have plenttttyyyyy to work on! If you aren’t sure what your weaknesses are, or what drills you should do to get better at them, ask us. We are there to give you tips and tricks and drills and everything you need to eventually master those skills. We are excited to see how you all improve!

Member Spotlight: Anthony Davis

Everyone, please meet Anthony Davis — one of our Renewbs, nay — the Tallest Renewb! This Q&A will be very helpful if you are not a 5:30am-er, because that’s the only class he’ll come to.

Q: What got you into CrossFit?

A: I originally started CrossFit to break from my monotonous gym routine throughout the week. I love the community that comes with being part of a gym like this.

Q: What is one goal you have for in the gym, and one goal for out of the gym?

A: One goal for in the gym is to increase my strength and focusing on my form. I’m a bit tall and goofy so it takes some extra focus! One goal I have for out of the gym is to continue building my Director experience to become Regional Director of Reliant Rehab.

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

A: Anything my mom makes… she’s an incredible cook! I would have to say her german potato salad that’s ACTUALLY German*.

*We don’t know what this means.

Q: Growing up, were you a teachers pet? Class clown? Troublemaker? Let us peer into your past.

A: Definitely class clown… I was a goof ball.

Q: What’s one fun fact about yourself that we may not know?

A: I was once a personal trainer and track and field coach with hopes of owning my own gym and start a club track team… one thing lead to another and now I work in a nursing home.

What about a gym and club track team for geriatrics? There, we have laid out your path to success. Can’t wait to watch little old ladies in wind suits run 100m in :54 flat. Anthony! We’re so happy to have your long, cheery self brighten up the 5:30ams. Can’t wait to watch you get better every day and reach those goals!

Murph scaling with Coach Becky

How To Murph, as told by Head Coach Becky Wickes

Hey guys! Coach Becky here, wanting to chit and chat about one of CrossFit’s most notorious workouts on the Hero WOD list: Murph.

Never done Murph before? Well let’s make a plan of attack! Been there, done that? Let’s think through how to be smart anyway. Injury doesn’t play favorites.

First things first: What is Murph? (And possibly: What is a Hero WOD?)

For Time:

1 Mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Air Squats

1 Mile Run

RX: Wear a 20# weighted vest

You can also do the entire thing straight through without a vest, most people would still say that’s prescribed but who cares about that anyway because that’s not why we do it. We do it for fitness and fun and to honor the women and men who have fought for our country.

What’s that? For FUN, you say? That’s right. It should be fun. So, let’s talk about how to make it fun. Because making it not fun is to try to be the hero yourself, go straight through, do 100 kipping pull-ups one at a time, wormy pushups because your arms fell off 100 pullups ago, unable to bend your arms for a week and wince every time you sit down on the toilet for five days.

So let’s talk 🤸🏻‍♀️ MODIFICATIONS! 🤸🏻‍♀️

The possibilities are endless. Some options:

Partition it! Run your mile, then do 20 rounds of Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats) and then run your second mile.

Do a “Smurph” version of Murph! Half of Murph. You can still run the whole mile if you looooove running, or cut all of it in half. So in case you can’t divide by two, it’d look like:

Run ½ Mile

50 Pull-ups

100 Push-ups

150 Air Squats

Run ½ Mile

I would recommend partitioning this as well, though, so ½ mile, 10 rounds of Cindy, ½ mile. Still think this is too much volume for you? Cut it into thirds. Or quarters. Again, we want you to have fun, while still getting in a good workout. So consult a coach, not your amped up gym buddy, on how you should scale the reps.

What’s that? There’s even more you can do? Yep:

Wanna Murph but can’t run? There’s an alternative cardio source for that.

Modify your pullups! If you’ve never done 100 pull-ups before, today is not the day to start. This year we’ll be modifying to jumping pull-ups or ring rows. Heck, you can do a combo of them if you want, switching back and forth between jumping pull-ups and ring rows each round of Cindy you do.

Modify your push-ups! Do them on a box. The higher the box, the less of your own weight you are pushing so keep flipping it to a taller height if you’re struggling.   


The day before, during the workout, after the workout. This is the time to grab an electrolyte drink and add that in to your normal water intake. If you forgot what foods are packed with electrolytes or what drink variations you can bring that isn’t a super sugary sports drink — search “Hydrate” in the Renew Crew and click the comments of the first post from this year’s Open workout 19.5. Sades lays it out.

Remember, nobody is gonna have the breath or brain cells to be thinking about what you’re doing (besides me if your technique is garbage) because they’re more worried about themselves. So don’t do something you shouldn’t be doing just so your friends think you’re cool. Be smart and have fun! Thanks and good day.