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.
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!
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!
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?)
1 Mile Run
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 shouldbe 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
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.
And remember, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE.
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 Crewand 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.
Have you ever been so sore and tired from lifting and metcons that you just don’t wanna keep going back? Me too. I’m often reminded that my body is rapidly breaking down and unable to do the things it used to. I recover slower, the fight to get into the gym is increasingly difficult, my already slow metabolism seems to only get slower, etc.
But here’s the deal — we’re all aware that these things are part of life. Who’s actually shocked that your body begins to break down as you get older? Check this stat out: Did you know that 10 out of 10 people die? Crazy right?! Super positive vibes here, Coach.
Here’s why I mention that: Life is short.
There will be a day, a day unknown to me, when I will breathe my last breath. I think about that day a lot. Not in a depressing way, but in a motivating way, because I want to live well right now. And as much as I want to live well in the here and now, I want to finish life well.
And that’s exactly what we want at CrossFit Renew, too. We want you to finish well.
Whether you’re currently in your 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, or you’re a young buck in your 20’s – our goal is the same: we want you to be healthy enough to play with your grandkids. We want you to stave off heart disease and high blood pressure. We want you to be able to get in and out of chairs without assistance on your last days.
In part, that is why we do this.
Sure it’s fun to compete, the community is incredible, and the terrible/wonderful feeling of embracing the suck of a 15:00 dog fight with a barbell and a wooden box can be addictive and life-giving in the here and now, and as much as we want you to be able to compete in CrossFit competitions and see your fitness translate to other sports and activities outside the box — we want you to finish well the most.
Live with your last day in mind. Show up at the gym tomorrow thinking about that and you will be thankful you didn’t bail on this health and fitness thing because it was too hard. You’ll be glad you didn’t. So will your kids and grandkids.
This month’s member spotlight is probably one of our favorites (don’t even, she’s your favorite too). Grab a cozy corner, and let’s shine light on CrossFit Renew’s most precious angel Lululemon-wearing soul, Georgia Levin.
Q: How did you get into CrossFit and what is your favorite part about it?
A: I was introduced to Crossfit by my previous trainer , Valerie Hunt. I had been with her for many years and she was the one who thought we should try something new. My favorite part of it is feeling like I am challenging my body and mind. When I leave the studio I feel stress free!
Q: What is one accomplishment in the gym that you’re most proud of?
A: I was very proud of myself when I got a couple of double-unders in a row for the very first time! And when I did hrusters with a 35lb bar. I am usually just happy that I can keep up with the rest of the group!
Q: What do you do besides slay all day in the gym? What’s your favorite part?
A: I work full time as a Realtor and really enjoy helping clients buy or sell a home. I also enjoy staging a home for sale. Relationships are important to me and I enjoy meeting new friends.
Q: Outside of work and working out, what’s your favorite pastime?
A: I am also on an Art committee and enjoy going on Artist visits to select art for our next exhibit. I also enjoy planning our opening receptions. Also, I love shopping and eating out!
Q: What is something about you that we would be surprised to know?
A: I enjoy being with young friends as it makes me feel younger!
Sweet Georgia, we’ll go shopping with you any day. Thanks for bringing such a kind energy into the gym every time you walk into it! We love having you around.
Alert: This is gonna be the first of a few posts, because there’s a looooot of information out there about this topic and I don’t want to immediately lose you by sheer word count. I want to lose you the right way: you being bored.
Let us proceed.
I wanna get a few things straight before I dive into this very riveting topic about pee, pelvic floors, and pressure management:
Growing and birthing a human is a damn miracle and all women should be given a lifetime achievement award.
Sometimes we experience incontinence at 70 years old because of natural wear and tear, and sometimes we experience it at 20 years old because we’re strong and active but misled on how to stay safe through said activity. It just be like that sometimes.
Peeing or leaking during exercise or exertion is common, but it is not normal. (I wrote about this last year some re: pregnancy, peep it.)
But contrary to popular belief, peeing while you workout (or sneeze or cough or generally exist) isn’t some rite of passage, or badge of honor for lifting heavy ass weight. It’s actually a sign of poor pressure management and/or a weak pelvic floor (which is different than pelvic floor dysfunction), and — gasp! — this issue isn’t exclusive to women who birth humans (though they are the leaders of this pack); both men and women of all shapes and sizes and fitness backgrounds can experience symptoms of a weak pelvic floor — and those symptoms can be caused by a whole heap of things.
So what exactly is a pelvic floor and what is it responsible for and why should I care holy crap you’ve said the words “pelvic floor” so many times get to your point? Our pelvic floor is comprised of a hammock or dome-shaped group of muscles and ligaments located within the pelvis, and beyond bladder/bowel control and supporting women’s bodies during pregnancy and birth, our pelvic floor is responsible for working with the rest of your core to stabilize and protect your spine during everyday life, as well as exercise. So when we experience weakness in our pelvic floors we see incontinence as a common symptom — but as active humans who run and jump and push and pull and throw weight around, we may also be putting our spines at risk with our weak little muscle hammocks.
So, how do you know if you have a weak pelvic floor? Let’s run through a quick checklist. Do you regularly pee or leak when you:
Run (either during sprint sessions or long distance)
Lift heavy weight or max out a lift
Perform an explosive movement where you have to land at the bottom of a squat (cleans, squat snatches)
Among quite a few other more severe/personal symptoms. If you said yes to any of those bullets, you may have a weak pelvic floor. And guess what? It doesn’t go away on its own and — similar to all the other muscles in our bodies — if we don’t use them, we lose them. Just like we have to rehab a knee after ACL surgery, we have to treat this as a weakened body part and treat it with a rehab program.
Okay, tell me how.
I’d argue that the best thing we can do to help identify or mitigate pelvic floor problems — or even solve some that already exist — is to first see a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Yes, that is a real thing.
These therapists help you uncover the what and why of your pelvic floor weakness. They zero in on when it happens most, what you can do to prehab (“prehab” in that they are preventative exercises/measures given if, say, you are trying to get pregnant or are currently pregnant), rehab those muscles, and give you tactical ways to better manage your breath and internal bracing/pressure during workouts. I’ve been seeing the folks at Sullivan Physical Therapy and highly recommend them.
If seeing a medical professional is not in the cards for you right now, or you feel like you want to try some exercises on your own first, OR you aren’t necessarily experiencing weakness and you just want to be preventative — let’s set up a time to meet so we can walk through your symptoms and figure out a training plan to get those muscles right, and get ‘em tight.
You know where to find me.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, coming at some point, where we’ll talk about breathing strategies during heavy lifts and high intensity workouts in order to better manage the pressure in our core/midline and not dump all the work on our pelvic floors.
Despite having joined the gym around the same time, and beyond our staff believing they look kinda sorta alike, Evan and AJ are two separate individuals who are completely unrelated whatsoever, but because our staff is full of idiots who think they’re funny, we’ve decided to let you get to know them as a twosome.
One thing they for sure have in common, though, is that they’re consistently the hardest workers in the room every time they walk through those doors. Take note, people!
Q: How did you hear about Renew and why did you decide to join?
Evan: I first heard about Crossfit Renew during a Financial Overview with a fellow member, Alex Morgan (go see him!). I was looking for a workout family, and a place that was welcoming to the new guy in the room. The Texas Flag on the wall didn’t hurt, either.
AJ: My wife found Renew first. With some changes in her job and becoming pregnant, she decided to follow a different workout program. But she was so complimentary of the staff that Renew was the first box I looked at once my schedule opened up and allowed me to start doing CrossFit again. I’ve done CrossFit off and on for the last 10 years and have always found it to be the most fun, challenging, and beneficial workout. Above all, it pushes me like other workouts don’t.
Q: What is one of your proudest moments in the gym so far?
Evan: On a few occasions, I have finished a tough RX WOD with just a sliver of time remaining, and it usually involved the earlier finishers cheering me on to the end. While I was proud of finishing, I was most proud of the Renew community around me, pulling me up.
AJ: There haven’t been many, but I feel great when I can RX a WOD. My body doesn’t do the same things it used to 10 years ago, so I’ve had to become okay with scaling workouts. So anytime I can perform at the RX level, I’m extremely proud.
Q: What is one of your proudest moments outside of the gym?
Evan: Late last year, I finally became debt-free. There was a new sense of freedom that came with that, and I’m glad to share my journey with anyone that asks!
AJ: I’ve been looking at a lot of post-business school job opportunities. Though some aren’t the right fit or don’t have openings, I’m proud when they say I’m the kind of person they want to hire. Being a good person and demonstrating that you can work hard still means something, so I’m proud when those traits are recognized in me.
Q: Tell us a funny story from college!
Evan: I was a cheerleader at LSU, and part of that job required frequent encounters with live broadcasts. During a nationally televised basketball game, an ESPN cameraman was filming right behind me during a team back flip, which I realized while upside down. The camera shattered, as did the self-control of the cameraman screaming obscenities on live television.
AJ: My buddies and I once took a spring break trip to Big Bend. We didn’t know what we were getting into, so we were very surprised/upset to find that there were no swimming pools in the area and that liquor stores were few and far between. Along with those spring break disappointments, my mom’s Jeep that I borrowed broke down, my best friend got sick and had to find a hospital hours away, and our site got demolished by animals while we were gone. It was the worst trip ever, yet a funny one to look back at and remember now.
Q: What’s one thing about you that we would be surprised to know?
Evan: I am a terrible swimmer, to the point that swim lessons are in my 2019 plans.
AJ: I’m looking at opening a distillery. I’ve immersed myself in the business for the last year and have so much yet to learn. We’ll see if it ever materializes.
So biggest takeaways here: Evan can do a herkie and AJ is giving us free drinks for life as soon as that distillery opens up. Solid.
We made it through the 2019 CrossFit Open alive and only slightly scathed! We are so, so proud of everyone — from the first timers to the masters veterans — we saw some amazing community moments unfold, and some crazy athletic feats emerge from folks just simply getting out of their comfort zones.
For the past couple of years, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to award some folks some key superlatives, as well as crown the gym champs in their respective categories. So, without further adieu, we bring you the finishing highlights from 19.5 and this year’s slew of winners.
Way to go, y’all!
Hroch finished exactly when Mat Fraser did, times two. So, he’s essentially twice the man Matty Fray is.
Zach, Drew, Laura, and Jamie all finished the workout in a buzzer-beating RX fashion and boy was it exciting to watch.
McKenzie, Whitney, Geoffrey, and Gerry said RIP and goodbye to the skin on their hands and made the rig look like a scene straight outta Dexter.
Val Harmon m u r d e r e d this workout scaled, and, later, found out exactly (the hard way) why we wrap our thumbs around the bar when doing pull-ups.
Shannon Frawley also demonstrated some serious athleticism and finished this workout scaled, but wanted to try her ~hand~ at RX, so after a few days gave it a go and got 33 reps!
Sadie didn’t go into labor during any part of 19.5.
Sally Mayo did ALL of her scaled thrusters unbroken, the whole time, and frankly we all should strive to be like Sally Mayo.
Before we go on to the final stats and winners circle, let’s take a minute and recognize all these badass first timers!
Fellas: Alex, Chad (it’s about time, Chadley), Aiden, Michael Burton, Bryan Payne, Jared, Michael Zimmerman, Blake, Paul, Qasim, Dino, and Kevin!
Look at all those names, y’all! Some of these folks literally only started CrossFit a month or so before the Open began, and it only took weeks of convincing and a promise that they wouldn’t perish. Amazing. We are so proud of y’all!
Alright, after all that, let’s see what the 19.5 scoreboards looked like:
And, drumroll please, the final, overall stats and standings from the last five weeks of work!
Congratulations to you six for taking home the proverbial gold in their category! But now, the real awards:
Worst Rip: Gerald Flynn
Best Rester: PhilipEdsel
Judge’s favorite: Paul Smith
Sweatiest Beast: Zach Lozano
Chalk Monster: Becca Matimba
Loudest Grunter: Becca Harris
Most Spirited: Jared Crowley
Most Aggressive: Whitney Furrh
Best Effort, Dudes Division: Bryan Payne
Best Effort, Ladies Division: Shannon Frawley
First Timer: Alex Morgan
If your name is on here and you weren’t there for the awards ceremony Friday night, find a coach and demand that they give you your very official awards certificate. You earned it, champ.
We cannot emphasize enough how stinking proud we are of all of you. You are why The Open is great — not because highly skilled elite athletes are working out on TV, no, but because new people, seasoned people, people who are nervous, people who are confident, and people who aren’t entirely sure what they’re getting into come together for the sake of bettering their friendships and fitness.
Thank you for stepping in to judge, bring treats, cheer each other on, keep the competition light and fun, and keeping those hungry butts starvin’.
First time muscle-uppers, first time kipping pull-uppers, and what? Built-in rest? That was probably the most exciting part of the whole thing if we’re all just sitting around being honest. This one was a fun one to watch: good old fashioned hard-as-you-can for that first bit, and then some really great efforts on the gymnastics/technical portions. And you just can’t beat our crowd — everyone was so supportive. The Open! It’s the best!
Here are some of the highlights:
First and foremost, Nicki Morgan’s creamy jalapeno dip was incredible. If you missed it, well, that’s because Sadie and Becca Harris ate it all.
Jamie had never done a muscle up before Friday, and then banged out 10 in the workout… so.
Becky did it alongside Shirtless Wonder Russ before FNL and got 3 muscle ups the first round… but then did it again and got not only all the muscle ups in the first round, but all the snatches and a muscle up into the second round!! Worth it.
And to continue the ~fit femme~ trend, Laura, Athena, and Jamie repped some out, and Whitney and Julie were thiiiiiiis close to getting their first one. They’re gonna get it soon… we can feel it.
Zach beat Hroch! NEED I SAY MORE!
Jared has been working on his pull-ups, and he repped out 20!! Good work, Jared!
Andi, Shannon, Michelle Kwan and Sadie’s pregnant ass finished the entire scaled workout in under the time cap and lived to tell about it.
And here are the results from 19.4. To see the full leaderboard, click here and scroll through!
One. More. Week.
Let’s finish strong, and cap the night with some fun and food — our afterparty kicks off at the end of the final heat! Pearson Properties is gonna hook us up with some food (there are rumors of Chick-fil-a nugs…), we’ve got RX Bars to hand out like Oprah hands out Chrysler sedans, Restore Cryotherapy and Austin Sports Therapy will be there to help us both prep and recover, and Rebbl is coming back out to hand out more of their bottled goodness.
Bring a friend or five and see you under the Friday Night Lights!!