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The Fitness Test

A couple of weeks ago, we retested a classic CrossFit workout called ‘Fran’ here at the gym. (see what Fran is HERE) In my class briefings, I said, “This is the ‘bench press’ of CrossFit workouts.” What I meant by that is that this is the workout that you can use to gauge your fitness level to other CrossFitters. If you tell someone you have a 2:30 Fran, they know you are a badass. Just like if you tell someone you have a 365-pound bench press, people know that you are strong. 

So the question that someone asked me was, “Is the goal to have a 365-pound bench press and a 2:30 Fran for a man?” The answer is No. I used bench press in my example because that is the classic meathead exercise, but to me, it’s not a true test of upper body strength. 

This is not to say that someone who can do both a 365-pound bench and a 2:30 Fran is not a fit individual, because they most certainly are. Still, I would not train specifically to be good at these workouts only. 

The natural question is then, “What are the tests that we should use to gauge fitness?” 

Here are my Six Fitness Tests that you can use to measure your fitness level. 

  1. Overhead Press – 1x Bodyweight
  2. Power Clean – 1.5x Bodyweight
  3. Back Squat – 2x Bodyweight 
  4. Fran – Under 3:30
  5. 5k Run – Under 21:00
  6. L-Sit – 1:00+

There are three strength tests. These are important because resistance training is part of a well-rounded exercise program. Testing these barbell movements allows you to see if your resistance training is effective or not. There are two cardio tests. One is a CrossFit workout that involves lots of intensity and high skill; the other is a classic long aerobic test. You have to train your skills and intensity to be good at Fran, and you need to have cardio sessions that are 20:00 or longer to be good at a 5k run. The final test is an L-Sit. This is the ultimate test of core strength, and to be good at this, you have to work your entire core using dynamic and isolating movements regularly. 

I am a little biased, keeping Fran in my fitness tests and eliminating the bench press, but here is my reasoning. Horizontal pressing is not a complete test of upper body strength, and a vertical press is. That does not mean that you don’t train horizontal pressing; just it is not your focus. Fran is a perfect combination of push & pull + intensity. Yes, to be good at it, you need to have the awkward kipping pull-up, but that doesn’t take away from the test. You need to practice, develop, and refine your ability to kip and generate power with your hips dynamically. This is a skill that everyone should have, and everyone should practice. 

Compare your weights and times to these tests and see where you need to improve your fitness. Is it pressing strength or leg strength? Do long cardio or intensity and skill work? You can use these standards to mold your exercise program to make you more well rounded. Of course, the ultimate training program consists of CONSTANTLY VARIED FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS PERFORMED AT RELATIVELY HIGH INTENSITY. 



New Year – Don’t Be Fooled

The new year is here, and many people have delved into a fitness regimen all over the world! Many people want to poke fun or tease these people, but I applaud them. Deciding to be more healthy and better your life through exercise is an excellent thing at any time of the year.

I searched around for some stats on what percent of people make resolutions to be healthier, fitness, or diet-wise. Through a couple of websites studies, to me, it looks like more than 60% of people that make resolutions in the fitness realm. I also found that less than 25% of people stick with their resolutions.

I think most of this is driven by the low-cost gyms pushing for sign-ups and not providing any help to their members. One of my good friends sold memberships at the two major globo gyms here in Baytown, and at the beginning of the year, their goal was to sign people up and lock them in and hope they do not show because their space and equipment could not hold that influx of people. After a few visits, most will get tired of waiting for racks or machines and quit but still be locked into their memberships.

Some other insight into their membership selling strategies is when it’s not a high sign up time of year; they offer personal training sessions that are included with your sign-up. I was told that they did a study and found that if they provided a set of private training sessions to someone’s membership, either for free or at a discounted rate, it almost tripled their term of membership. The reason being is if the new clients use the sessions, they feel more confident working out and will stick around longer. Most people don’t use them and would end up not coming to the gym at all but would renew their membership when it came around because they did not want to lose the training sessions that they got for free or at a discount.

Unfortunately, when you are just a number, your resolutions or goals do not matter to the staff or trainers. To keep your fitness resolutions, you need to be somewhere with a supportive community. Somewhere the trainers know your name and care for you and help you to get better daily as part of your membership, not just when you pay for it separately.

CrossFit is scary to some, but what I can tell you what’s scary is walking in a globo gym alone, not knowing what to do and hoping no one judges you. At our gym, this will never happen. You will be greeted at the door; your coach will address you by name and give you proper instructions on how to do the workout. Every person in the class will have been where you are right now and will help you along the way.

The misconception with CrossFit is that you need to be in shape before you start. This is the biggest fallacy of all time. 90% of the people who walk through our door have not exercised in years. We are well versed in getting people started with our exercise program, and I am confident we can get you in the best shape of your life.

To start your fitness resolution, the same way that has been proven to fail is just silly. Do something different.



My Attempt at Intermittent Fasting

Over the last couple of years, I have spent less time working out and more time working on trying to build the gym. Unfortunately, the way I was eating did not change. I am not a good dieter, and I have always been an athlete, even as an adult, from playing soccer at a collegiate level right into competitive CrossFit. As I have slowed down my training, my eating has not. I have never been worried about the food I was eating because my main goal was calorie consumption, well things have changed.

I needed something easy to follow but wouldn’t have me changing the way I eat too much, frankly, because I didn’t want to stop eating what I wanted. A friend of mine was doing intermittent fasting and loved it. He broke it down to me like this, “It does not have to change what you eat, but when you eat it.”

For years I have done six meals a day, and I teach people to eat the same way with an appropriate calorie goal. So the thought of changing to something where I spend the majority of my day not eating was a little scary.

I jumped right into fasting and tried it for about three days and quit. I am an avid breakfast eater, and I usually coach our 5 am classes, so I am up at 3:45, and for me to get a sixteen-hour fast, I couldn’t eat until noon. That was over eight hours awake without eating, and mentally I was not ready for that.

About a week later, I started again, but instead of 16 hours, I did a 12 hour fast. I simply skipped my usual two breakfasts, one at 4:00 am and the other at 7:00 am and ate at a big breakfast at 8:00 am. I was fasting from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am. It wasn’t bad, and after a week of that, I moved it up to fourteen hours, and a week later, from there was up to sixteen hours.

Since then, it hasn’t been hard to make it through a fast. I took a couple of extended breaks with a wedding in Mexico and the holidays but was able to start right back up with no problem. Recently I even started exercising inside the last hour or so of my fast, and I have seen some pretty excellent results not only aesthetically but physically. I PR’d my Fran time from June by twenty seconds with a time of 2:21.

On average, I usually weigh anywhere between 175 & 180 pounds. After a few weeks of fasting, I started averaging between 165 & 170, and my body aesthetically changed in a good way. I can always tell my leanness based on my vascularity, and right now, I am leaner than I have ever been and not losing anything performance-wise. Also, I have seen a difference in the quality of my sleep, as well as my ability to focus when at work. My knees and back hurt less even though I’m still training the same, and the best part about all of this is I still eat whatever I want.

I try and get enough protein throughout my day, and that is it. I eat all the carbs, good and bad, all the fat, and do not avoid alcohol. Genetics play a factor in this, of course, but I was doing the same thing and not fasting, and I was gaining weight in all the wrong places. I have become a believer in this for general health and general performance & aesthetics.

I hear a lot of people say, “I do intermittent fasting,” but really what they mean is, “I don’t eat breakfast, and I am losing weight.” I have geeked out pretty hard on this and found that there are a lot of intricacies to this. Yes, by skipping breakfast and not eating for 12-16 hours, you will lose weight, but most likely, you will also end up being a smaller version of a fatter you. For me, and probably for most reading this, the goal isn’t just to lose weight but to burn fat. We want to look lean and perform well in our workouts. Just skipping breakfast isn’t going to do that.

I am thinking about writing up a fasting meal plan and posting it on a blog. If that sounds like something, you would like to let me know in the comments on this page or the Facebook post.

Also, next Saturday, 1/25, at 10:30 am, I am going to do a clinic at the gym about what I have learned with intermittent fasting and answer any questions someone may have based on what I know. I am not a dietician and do not try to be one, but I can talk about my experiences with intermittent fasting and what I have learned through my trials with it. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email.



You Don’t Get This At Your Gym

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about “Doing Something Different” and told a little story about myself and my experience at a CrossFit gym and meeting some life long friends.

I mentioned how I met a friend of mine at the gym, and a year later was one of his groomsmen, and I had a couple of people tell me similar stories. I had people reach out to me and tell me that they have met their best friend at our gym, and even someone I know from out of town messaged me the same thing.

The other day I was going through and editing pictures and found many different pictures of smiling faces and good times from our recent events like Friday Night Lights as well as some older ones from our Veterans Day events and other parties.

There are countless videos of people hanging out before and after classes at the gym. From being at the old gym and kicking it out on the picnic tables to the new gym sitting in the green area, the ability to hang out with your friends before and after a workout is one of the best parts of the class.

I have family members who go to other popular group fitness programs where they meet people in their classes, but they never get to know anyone. There is no outside of the gym events, no parties, and no place to hang out. They are chain/franchised companies whose main job is to get people in the door and then right out the door. Relationship building between the owners, trainers, and members is not high on the priority list.

At our gym, we call this difference “Community.” A community helps you stay committed. A community enables you to grow as a person. A community works, but you have to give it a try. Attend events, participate in challenges, and come to the gym to have fun. It will change your world.

Fitness and health are just part of what you can develop here at BayWay CrossFit, but those are not the only thing. If you haven’t given our community a try yet, stop by and see what we are all about.



My Favorite “No Time” Workout

You would be surprised by how often I miss workouts even with being in the gym pretty much all day. I coach the majority of classes and tend to find myself at my computer through most of my non-coaching hours. So there are plenty of days where I am left with only 30-45 minutes to work out, and that includes warming up.

If I don’t work out, I usually feel terrible, I am slightly addicted to exercise, and it takes a toll mentally and physically when I miss. Mentally I feel like I am going to lose what I have worked for over the last ten years, and physically I ache more when I don’t work out — the whole “a body in motion” theory.

Whenever I am short on time, I like to make my workouts into intervals. Intervals are bouts of exercise that can be fast-paced or slow to moderate paced, followed by a period of rest. For me, I like to keep my intervals to about three and keep the range between 4-6 minutes with about half of that in rest. So, for example, if I am working out for 4 minutes, I will rest for 2 minutes.

I want there to be some free weights combined with some monostructural type cardio. (running, rowing, biking, burpees…) If my knees or back are aching, I make the weights be upper body focused. If my shoulders sore, I make it the weights be lower body focused. If the weights are lower-body focused, I usually try to make it a triplet (three movements) and add in some gymnastic work.

When it comes to warming up, I usually need them to be quick and focused. Prep the body parts you are going to use through some quick dynamic and light work and move on. I like to use light kettlebells and dumbbells to prep the shoulders and bands to prep the lower body. If I am planning on doing any real loading, I will do an additional few sets building up to the weight I want to use.

Here is the workout I did last week, including the warm-up:
2-3:00 minutes on a foam roller
3 rounds:
10 Calorie Bike (Legs Only/Arms Only/Sprint with both)
12/12 Single Arm Kettlebell Floor Press (26/35/53#) – tempo 30X1
60′ Monster Walk (Forward/Lateral/Sweeping)

2 rounds:
AMRAP x 6 Minutes
Calories on Bike
Dual DB Suitcase Reverse Lunges 50#
-rest 3 mins-

The warm-up took me right at 10:00 to do; I put my kettlebells and band away I used for the warm-up, grabbed the 50# dumbbells, and did a few lunges without weight, some with one dumbbell and a few with both. I repped out a few push-ups and was ready to go 5:00 later. The workout is a total of 15:00. I finished the whole thing in about 30:00 and had time to shower before I started my 4:00 pm class.

Workouts like this take a few minutes to plan out if you are not a seasoned workout planner if you are interested in workouts that are quick and effective like this be on the lookout for our new “30 Minute” class for those who are looking to beat the traffic home after work or need a last quick workout!

See you soon!



Yoga Helps CrossFit

Stay in CrossFit long enough, and you will probably here of GOWOD or ROMWOD. These are two apps that you can download to your phone that focus on helping you optimize your athletic performance through mobility work and stretching. The creators found that people in CrossFit or high-intensity exercise programs are missing certain things from their fitness routine that a program like Yoga could provide. We held our first Yoga class in a while this Tuesday, and while taking the class, I realized what exactly those things were.

I am a subscriber to both ROMWOD and GOWOD, and I have seen good results when it comes to flexibility from using both programs. But just like you can do CrossFit at home, I realized Tuesday the benefits of taking Yoga a class instead of using an app. Yoga has many transfers to CrossFit. I am sure that someone who is an avid yogi could see a similar transfer of programs, but I can only speak from a CrossFitters perspective.

The three things that I think are the biggest takeaways from a Yoga class for a CrossFitter may surprise you, stretching is not one of them. Although stretching and gaining a better range of motion is the obvious benefit, it is the one thing that you can get from the apps, but the three takeaways as a CrossFitter I got from our class on Tuesday were to Slow Down, Core & Balance and Mental Toughness.

Slowing down was the thing I had the hardest time with. In CrossFit, we go fast. Most workouts are based around the clock trying to finish a task as quickly as we can or in a given time do as many reps as possible. In Yoga, it’s about slowing down and moving with a purpose. In athletics, the thought is to train for speed because it is always easier to teach a sprinter to pace than it is to coach a long distancer to sprint. In a Yoga class, a good teacher will keep you at the desired pace and will strive for perfection in your movement, just like we do in our classes at BayWay CrossFit.

Core and Balance are what I would consider Yoga’s physical skills. Balance is a skill developed through our CrossFit program, but in Yoga, it’s developed in stillness while working towards alignment. In CrossFit, we use dynamic movements like single-leg squats and snatches to help us create balance, but holding still while standing on one foot forces your brain to work with all parts of your body to stay in alignment from your shoulders to your toes.

Core strength is vital in all aspects of life, but especially important when someone is trying to create a force as often as we do in CrossFit. CrossFitters build their core mostly through exercises that involve the transfer of energy through our core; we call these “Core to Extremity.” This is done through movements like kipping pullups or power cleans. In Yoga, the focus is on static and isolating core movements. Although we incorporate these into our program, it is the base of core work in Yoga. Some yoga classes will have core-specific sections, but a good teacher will always bring you back to your core in all poses. From keeping active shoulders, bracing the midline, or reaching through your toes, the core is continually working to hold your body still and allowing you to reach deeper into each pose.

Toughness is not something that comes to mind when thinking of Yoga as someone who has done CrossFit for the last ten years, but Mental Toughness is something that can be developed through practicing Yoga. Holding a pose seems easy in theory and on paper, but the actual practice of it is very challenging. Muscles start to burn and become uncomfortable, but you are taught to focus your breath and work through it, reaching deeper into the pose. Learning to breathe and hold still are some of the hardest things we can do as humans. From the moment you open your eyes until you close them, most of us never stop moving and breathing a natural thing, so we never stop to think about how we are doing it and how we can do it better.

A yoga class is an excellent addition to any CrossFit program. Yes, it is the complete opposite when it comes to theory, but it can help you build the Ten General Physical Skills that are crucial to your success as a CrossFitter.

Richard Andrews



Do Something Different!

The beginning of the year is right around the corner, and the time to get back into shape is coming with it. For many, this usually means heading on up to the local Globo gym and mill around on the machines for a couple of weeks until we get bored or feel uncomfortable. Then after we have worn out the seat on the same machine, we stop until the beginning of the next year.

First, here is a little secret; the local Globo gym wants you to sign up and never come. Most of these gyms could not hold 10% of their members if they showed up at the same time to workout. That is why they list their memberships low enough that you do not feel bad about seeing that amount leave your bank account each month, year after year.

When I was younger, I never wanted to go to the gym. Although I played sports, I was always smaller than the other guys, and I felt embarrassed about going. I was always worried that people would judge me because I couldn’t lift as much or that I wasn’t doing something correctly. I started CrossFit on my own at home because a lot of the workouts were bodyweight or with dumbbells and kettlebells. It wasn’t until I met my roommate during my senior year in college that I felt comfortable in the weight room. We worked out together almost every day, and I learned how to lift weights, but after graduation, we lived four hours apart, and I was back to feeling uncomfortable again.

Although I had already done an RX’d CrossFit competition, I was still super nervous to walk into a CrossFit gym. I made the call, and I remember the guy seemed busy (he was very busy, he was a police officer at work) but told me to go in and ask for Shane. Shane was ready for me, greeted me with a smile and a handshake. Introduced me to the class with a funny ice breaker, and the rest is history. I made friends that day that I am still friends with now, and I even coach with a remote program. Shane and I became really good friends as well, and I even stood in his wedding a couple of years later as one of his groomsmen.

A few years later, I co-owned my gym, trying to spread my love for this group coaching program called CrossFit to as many people who are willing to give it a try. If you met me today, you would probably never think that I was too shy to want to go to the gym alone. You definitely wouldn’t believe that talking in front of dozens of people daily would make me nervous. But I was, and CrossFit not only has given me a passion and a career in coaching but also life long friends.

If you are looking for something different and being apart of something more than just a number at a Globo gym, give us a call and try a class. 832-444-3565

See you soon!



New Gym, Same Training

The last three months have been pretty hectic for me and the gym with trying to move into the new facility while still getting it put together and then jumping right into the CrossFit Open and hosting an event for five Fridays in a row. But like most fitness facilities with the holidays coming up, things will slow down a little until, and I can get back on track!

BayWay CrossFit has been the premier Functional Fitness & Coaching facility in the Baytown area since the fall of 2012. We have grown year by year because of our awesome community and culture. Over the last eight years, we have provided the best training in a facility that did not meet the same quality. Now we are in a building that allows us endless possibilities of workouts, coaching, and events because of space and equipment we currently have.

Besides, our previous space being small, and a little bit on the older side, we had a significant issue with parking, but that is no longer a problem with over 100 parking spots.

In our old facility, we shared two bathrooms with another business but now have three bathrooms of our own. The smallest of the three is 36 square foot giving you plenty of room to change after work. Our biggest bathroom is 72 square feet with a shower that can be used to get ready before work or even if you need to grab a workout at lunchtime!

This new building was built specifically for our gym, insulating the entire thing in a way that keeps the building warm during the colder months and cool during the summer. We have multiple ‘Big Ass Fans’ and two 15′ bay doors that keep us cool and comfortable even with the Texas heat!

Last but not least, we now have more equipment than any gym similar to ours within 20 miles. We have been in business going on eight years and have accumulated the equipment along the way. We have twelve Air Bikes and Rowers, so you’ll never have to share or wait for your turn. We even have odd equipment like big sandbags, slam balls, ski erg, reverse hyper, and a treadmill. We have a 50′ Rogue Pullup rig that can hold over 20 people on it at a time. You will never have to wait for a pullup bar to open up in the middle of a workout. The rig also allows us to run workouts with rope climbs or any movement that involves gymnastic rings as well as gives us ten squat racks. It truly is the centerpiece of our facility.

BayWay CrossFit is the premier CrossFit and Functional Fitness Coaching facility in the area. If you are looking to start exercising or just looking for a change or to try something new, come try out a class for free!

Richard Andrews

Co-Owner, Head Coach, CF-L2


Why Short Why Long

When I am writing out the gym’s program, I usually do it in 12-week cycles, and each one is programmed with a specific purpose. We program a few testing workouts at the beginning of the cycle and use those 12 weeks to improve on those movements with the ultimate goal of improving our scores from the testing workouts.

The testing workouts are designed to be different not only in structure and movement but different energy systems as well. The beauty of CrossFit is that it doesn’t focus on making someone fit in one way. An example of this is a runner; most people who run for exercise only train one energy system. They become good at moving slowly for long distances and creating a body that is good at running but usually lacking in strength.  

Another example would be a weightlifter. They train in short, intense sets focusing on moving fast. They only work one energy system and become good at moving fast for a short period of time, and usually, have the capability of moving some heavyweight but anything aerobic they will struggle.

The goal of our program is to create a variance in your workouts so that your body is continually being forced to adapt to the new stress. This is done weekly by varying different time domains, movements, and weights. The difference between our program and other CrossFit gyms is that we create a 12-week goal based cycle that has a purpose. It is structured, not random, and because of this, you can have success without doing workouts that are designed to destroy you.

It is crucial that a gym understands its program. Some gyms purchase programming from another coach or follow an online template that creates a structured program with goals, but the issue I have with this is, the goals established for your gym are someone else’s and not yours.

Find a gym that programs out a structured program of their own. One that creates goals for you through a cycle that isn’t filled with workouts designed to destroy you. To get the most out of a program like this means that you need to show up on the long workouts and the short ones. Because that is where your gains are made.

Richard Andrews



How To Start When You Haven’t Done Anything

A common statement when people are talking about doing CrossFit is, “I am not in shape enough to do it.”

When someone says things like this, I imagine they think they need to start getting in shape by hitting the elliptical, lifting some light free weights or maybe begin jogging. I think these are all great ways to get into fitness. The problem is you are doing these alone.

I think the most significant mistake people make when getting into fitness is starting by themselves. Anyone who has begun alone knows that a week or two into hitting the gym by themselves to face the elliptical gets to be a bit boring, and motivation to show up starts to fall off.

Some will go out and find a friend to hit the gym with. This is usually the solution to the problem, but again, anyone who has had a workout buddy knows that at some point they’ll miss. Then you’ll miss. Then the schedule you guys have put together no longer works, and now you are back to working out alone.

So to the person who is looking to start a fitness routine at a CrossFit gym (at least at BayWay CrossFit), you will never be alone. You will always have a trainer there leading you through your workout from start to finish. You won’t have to worry about coming up with a workout, how you are going to warm up for it, how to do certain movements, if you are doing them safely or how to cool down after a workout. All of these things are taken care of for you; all you have to do is show up.

Some people may think that they are not capable of what CrossFitters do, and that is without question false. CrossFit has a fancy way of saying this in that our program is universally scalable. Which means that no matter what the workout is we can make it fit for you, and not just by lowering weights but by making it fit in such a specific way that you are receiving the same stimulus from the workout as anyone else is.

Many people who do not like our program, for whatever the reason, and they like to show videos and pictures of two types of people doing CrossFit.

The first is the person who fails and fails miserably. I am not saying these things do not happen but it is scarce, and at a gym that only does instructor-led classes like ours, it happens even less. If you are with a trainer, they are not going to let you attempt something where you could hurt yourself.

The second type of CrossFit person that those who dislike the program show are the CrossFit Games athletes. These are the 1% of 1% — the top athletes in the world. No one should compare themselves to these people. Their bodies look and perform like no other humans in the world. Here is what you can take away from these athletes though. They are proof of how effective the CrossFit program can be. Yes they do it in an extreme manner and I think this is a turn off to the everyday person, but just as 40-year-old former high school quarterback can watch what Tom Brady does and understand the work he puts in to be the best in the world, an everyday CrossFitter can understand what these top people are doing as well.

The point is if you are starting a fitness journey you need a trainer. You need people around you that are going to push you. Find a place that has both, and you will be successful.

Richard Andrews