Making the Best Possible Transition to CrossFit {guest post}

Hey Friends! Hope you are enjoying these awesome Guest posts! I’m certainly enjoying some much needed time off. It’s all about balance, right? Today I have a treat for you… Chuck from is sharing some of his awesome CrossFit knowledge with you! Enjoy! – Courtney

Hey boys and girls,

I have been around CrossFit for quite some time at this point, not just as a CrossFitter, but also as a coach and an active part of the larger community. Since getting my Level 1 back in January of 2009, I have gone on to run GSX CrossFit in Fort Worth, assistant coach for the CrossFit Gymnastics Certifications, and facilitate CrossFit competitions internationally. I now have the following CrossFit Certifications: Level One, Endurance, Olympic Weightlifting, Gymnastics, and Kids. During that time I have coached hundreds and hundreds of individuals. Additionally, I have watched thousands of CrossFitters compete at all levels, from Games competitors to first-time scaled competitors. That large exposure has allowed me to identify some key points in what allows people to transition into CrossFit as efficiently, effectively, and with as much enjoyment as possible.

Do you want to do CrossFit or be a CrossFitter?


There is a great distinction between the two, whether people want to talk about it or not. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong answer, but identifying which side of the line you are on will save you time, money, injuries, and frustrations. If you want to dabble in CrossFit, even on a regular basis, as a way to keep your workouts interesting and fresh to focus on fitness, awesome. If you want to be a CrossFitter and treat CrossFit as your sport, there is a great deal that changes. Most of this will be applicable to people that have decided to move forward and really make CrossFit a big part of their live, but all of it applies to people that do as much as a single WOD a week.

Find a Good Gym with Good Coaches!

There are LOTS of CrossFit affiliates out there at this point, over 4,000. Some of these CrossFit affiliates are amazing, some should be de-affiliated, but pretty much everyone is going to tell you that they’re good. If a CrossFit gym does nothing but bash every other affiliate in the area, walk away. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t have some type of Foundations, Elements, Fundamentals, etc for incoming members, walk away. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly touch on nutrition and recovery, walk away. If a CrossFit gym’s metcons/WODs are really long (20:00-30:00+ on a regular basis,) walk away. More on that point here. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly incorporate higher skill lifting and gymnastic work (Snatching and Muscleups,) walk away. Find a relevant and quick read in regard to this entire section here.

 Look Down!

Like straight down, at your shoes. Virtually everyone that stumbles into CrossFit is wearing the wrong shoe. Almost universally, their feet are usually resting inside of a typical running or cross-training shoe. News flash, they both suck. Not just for CrossFit, but even for your running, walking, and natural movement as a whole. What we want is some type of flatter, more minimal soled shoe. This isn’t because they are trendy, but because they work. Something along the lines of an inov-8 or a Reebok Nano will allow you to move much more naturally with much better bio-mechanical movement patters.


A shoe like that will also allow all of your barbell and kettlebell work within CrossFit to be much easier to master. Anytime you are doing any lifting, boil it down to your spine stabilizing an external load. If you’re wearing a typical running shoe with excessive cushioning, it’s like your body and central nervous system are trying to make sense of these movements with marshmallows underfoot. It makes learning CrossFit’s movements much more difficult and potentially quite dangerous.

Get Over Your Carbs!

Most people coming into CrossFit, especially those with an endurance background, are eating too many damn carbs and too many of the wrong ones! It’s hard to argue that the CrossFit community hasn’t created some of the fittest and most athletically balanced individuals on the planet. If individuals that have Deadlifts over 2.5 times their bodyweight while also being able to hold sub-6:00 miles don’t need to choke down tons of granola, cereal, pasta, and grains to “get carbs for energy,” neither do you. The reason that the Paleo diet has become so big in the CrossFit community, is because it is so focused on being as healthy as possible. Cutting out gluten isn’t something that is done simply for weight loss, it’s done to help the body operate as well as possible. Your body is not designed to process grains and the damage that they wreck on your digestive tract, bones, joints, and hormones is staggering. I strongly recommend that you get educated on the Paleo diet. My number one book recommendation would be The Paleo Solution
by Robb Wolf. If you don’t want to read a whole book (even though it’s a fun and easy read,) ask your CrossFit Coach. If they can’t explain Paleo to you, walk away.

Get Stronger!

Many people coming into CrossFit, especially from yoga and endurance backgrounds, don’t want to get stronger because they are under the false belief that it will compromise their other athletic passions. The other adversion to this that I typically see is women not wanting to get stronger because they think that it will make them too big and muscular. These are both HUGE misconceptions! Women see many of the female competitors at the CrossFit Games and think, “Nope, don’t want to look like that.” Trust me, you won’t. Their training volumes, intensities, frequencies, and supplementation is beyond anything that you will subject yourself to, even if you get very into CrossFit. On the other side, strength increases will benefit any other athletic endeavors that you choose to participate in. If you’re a yogi, go check out some true gymnastics videos on YouTube and seriously tell me that the strength that gymnasts possess limits their ability to bend, twist, and balance. If you’re an endurance athlete, cruise on over to and get educated. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly program strength work (both lifting and gymnastics,) walk away.

Some of these are massive oversimplifications that could all each be expanded into a novel of information. If there is a demand for it, I would gladly continue this into a several part series. In the mean time, feel free to reach out to myself or my wife via

Train safe, smart, and hard.

Chuck Bennington


CrossFit and the Journey of Progress {guest post}

Hey everyone, I’m Gabby and I blog about Crossfit, paleo and gluten-free recipes, and my life over at Gabby’s Gluten-Free. A special thanks to Courtney for letting me take over her blog today! Courtney is such an inspiration to me so it’s a truly an honor

First off…a little about me and Crossfit. I’ve been Crossfitting for a little over six months now and have grown leaps and bounds from the first time I stepped into the box. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that this is a journey and it is about progress not perfection. I’ve been a perfectionist my entire life and Crossfit pretty much kicked that habit right out of me. In the past I would get frustrated and give up when I couldn’t do something “perfect” the first time.  I only saw the end game, not the journey. Now, I’m grateful for the journey.


For the first few weeks of Crossfit, I would get angry when I had would have a training did that didn’t go perfectly. I would get frustrated when I didn’t hit a new PR or master something right away. I remember my first really off training day came when we did cleans and snatches. I had no prior experience with the Olympic lifts and honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. I did what I could but was angry that my body didn’t seem to want to do what I was telling it to do. Suffice it say, I left the gym that day very frustrated.


But, instead of throwing in the towel, I got determined. I was determined to improve those lifts – so I did.  I came in to open gym every other week on Friday mornings just to work on cleans and snatches. I practiced technique with light weights, I practiced moving quickly with heavy weights, and I’ve got the shin scars and collarbone bruises to go with it. Each week, I got a little bit better.

I would have a session where all of my lifts were stellar and then it would be followed by a session where it looked like I had never picked up a barbell in my life. Instead of getting angry when I didn’t hit what I wanted, I appreciated the lesson, saw the journey, and kept going.


I’ve had more bruises, battered shins, and sorer traps in the past 3 months than I ever have in my life. But I did it. I still have a LONG way to go but I’m further than I would be if I didn’t practice.  I submitted to the difficult routine and made progress. My lifts are much better because of it and more importantly, my outlook is much better because of it.


Now that I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with Crossfit, I can look back and see that it wasn’t those great sessions that made me better – it was the ones where I struggled. The sessions where I got so frustrated I wanted to cry, scream, and punch something but picked up the bar instead. That STRUGGLE is what taught me to focus, pop my hips, and make the bar fly. The STRUGGLE is what continues to drive me to get better and conquer my weaknesses. The STRUGGLE is ultimately, what propelled me to progress. Each day, I train hard and get better than I was the day before. Some days are great, some aren’t. But ultimately, it’s the journey of progress that matters, not perfection.

Is there anything you are struggling with? How can you embrace the journey?


What I Learned from CrossFit {Guest Post}

Hi Journey of a Dreamer readers! Katelyn from Chef Katelyn here. I’m not a chef, so let’s get that out of the way, but I do cook up some other things. Let’s get to know each other.

CrossFit Reebok outfit

That’s me. Doing what I do best: Wearing CrossFit clothes. And this is me at my very first CrossFit competition.

Yup, surprise! We’re going to talk about CrossFit. Not because it’s awesome, but because it changed my life. In many more ways than I never could have imagined.

I’ve been a blogger for over two and a half years now (that’s a nice chunk of time, I do say), and only for the last six months have I been doing this CrossFit thing. So I’m technically still a newbie but I like to spread the love. People will tell you about CrossFit and it usually either makes you crap your pants or makes you really excited. I’m hoping it’s the latter. However, I’m hoping that you’ve heard enough wonderful things about CrossFit through Courtney that I can go on my merry way and tell you about all of the funny and important things I’ve learned through this crazy “sport” we play.

Let’s break it down.

1. The importance of biting off more than you can chew, just to see what happens. This approach to life is fun and exciting and sometimes terribly frightening. That’s fine. Try a weight that scares you, and keep going after goals. Then after you do this, take a step back and honor your limits.

2. The importance of knowing: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. In order to maintain the intensity we do every day, whether it be work, family, or exercise-related, honor your limits and know when enough is enough. As in sports, so in life, there is a time to take a step back and honor your boundaries. Hold your tongue as you should, and hold that extra gusto that tells you to lift your 1-RM in a workout. Self-preservation is the rule, but #1 is the exception.

3. Taking chances is important. Register for that competition. Make a new friend. Ask for that raise, and above all, listen to your heart.

4. Ball jokes are funny.

They are.

5. Reward yourself. Know when something is exciting enough to take hold of. Make goals, and when you reach them, reward yourself. For example, I like to create a Pavlov’s Dog-type reward system for myself. If I consistently give my all into my workouts, stretch, and recover as I should, I have my dang cheat meal at the end of the week, thank you very much. When it comes to business and blogging, I make a to-do list for myself every day, and if I cross off everything on my list, then I get to indulge in a little something at the end of the day. Usually, this involves Fifty Shades of Grey or Downton Abbey. It really works, I just don’t use dog treats.

Personally, I reward myself with shoes and chocolate.

6. Supporting others is just as important, if not more important, as believing in yourself. In CrossFit, we have this policy that you cheer on everyone, always. They are not your enemy. Yes, you may be mentally competing with them, but they are your teammate. As you support the successes and aid others as they struggle, you will become more appreciative of yourself and your own accomplishments, as others begin to recognize you as an asset and a true team player. This is the reality in teams, relationships, and even more prominently, at work. This habit will forge a healthy relationship with others and with yourself.

Stand by me? These are two of the best coaches I’ve ever had. CrossFit 315 representin’.

And last, but not least,

7. Dig deep and light a fire of passion in everything that you do. Everything. Every second counts. Every rep counts. You slack on one, you lose that moment and you sacrifice a good rep. Don’t lose the moment. Don’t spend time on something where you’re not giving your all. Many sports induce what we call an exercise-induced “high”. A surge of endorphins. A rush of complete and utter submission into whatever it is you’re doing and channeling everything you have into just that. Nothing else. In exercise, we call this channeling your energy. Focus. Runner’s high. Endorphins. In creativity and productivity settings, we call this flow. Find flow. Find your space and let yourself into it.

And that, my friends, is a snippet of what CrossFit has taught me. And these very things, I know you could learn from relationships, good times, hard times, yoga, ultra-marathon running, being a high-power executive and from waitressing. But what’s most important, is that you use it to your advantage.

Share a lesson you’ve learned from an experience or hobby!



Starting CrossFit and Laughing In the Face of Excuses

Hey Guys! Hopefully as you’re reading this I’m laying by the pool getting a tan or repelling down a waterfall in Costa Rica. While I’m gone I have some awesome bloggers sharing with you. Be sure to show them the love! Today’s Guest Blogger is Kacie. She gets cool points in my book for being from Texas. Hope you enjoy! – Courtney



Howdy y’all!


Oops, I gave away my Southern roots in the first line, huh? Anywho—I am more than ecstatic to be guest blogging for Courtney!  If we haven’t “met” yet, my name is Kacie Phillips.  On my blog, Savvy Sassy Me, I share my journey to optimal health.  I am a 19-year-old college student at Texas Tech University; and I am currently finding my way to happy, healthy, and strong!

First things first, I want you take a moment and ponder this question: Do you have any fitness “goals” or aspirations in the back of your mind?  Is there anything you have wanted to try, but haven’t yet?

Until about a month ago, I had one simple answer to that very question: CrossFit.

Ever since this past summer, I have been intrigued by the intensity and nature of the sport.  I like to describe this past summer as the moment I unearthed a serious passion for healthy living.  I began experimenting with exercises, seeking challenges, and gasp—started my blog.

Perhaps my initial interest in CrossFit stemmed from its reputation as intense, demanding, and difficult.  CALL ME CRAZY—those adjectives are serious what intrigued my from the start.  Before I lose you completely, you have to understand my personality—there is NOTHING I love more than a challenge.  If it’s hard, I’ll show you I can do it.  If it’s impossible, I’ll make it happen.  It’s just the nature of who I am.

During my “finding my way” stage this past summer, I discovered an initial passion for running.  Sure enough, simply running wasn’t enough.  Remember this challenge thing?  I just always need to take things to the “next level”.  Ergo, I signed up for a half-marathon and began a training regiment.  A few months into training, I suffered a stress fracture.  I continued to run on the undiagnosed injury for an entire month.  When I finally saw a doctor, the damage was done.  I had to wear a boot for six weeks, and running was out of the question for the foreseeable future.

Cue: Devastation.

Luckily, the injury was a blessing in disguise.  My time off of running allowed me to look within myself and I eventually found a NEW passion—weight-lifting.


I finally started to venture into the weight rooms—where I had ALWAYS been to intimidated to be.  I felt like it was full of macho, chauvinistic men who couldn’t say anything but: “I pick up heavy objects and put them down” in their best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.  Stereotypical assumption, much?

Regardless, I continued to lift and I was truly in love.  Building muscle and noting progress happied my soul.  I was seriously on Cloud 9.

But this CrossFit business was always in the back of my mind. 

As the Fall semester progressed, I began seeing Groupons and Living Social deals for CrossFit boxes.  At the end of November, I stumbled upon a deal for the CrossFit box near my parent’s house.  Since I would be home for a month over break—this was my golden opportunity.  Since I would be on break, I knew I could devote all my attention to CrossFit…and blog all about it.

 I had been making excuses after excuses for far too long…

I finally took the leap of faith, bought a month’s membership, and signed myself up.  I was nervous, excited, and READY.  There was no looking back when it was already paid for.

After my first session, I was in love.  So this was what everyone had been obsessing over for so long.  In a few short weeks, I have learned so much.  I have learned proper form for Olympic lifts, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.  I have learned that I can and should lift heavy.  Not to mention, the lingo isn’t completely foreign anymore.


I have discovered that girls can be strong too.  In fact, strong and fabulous go hand-in-hand.  More than anything, I have discovered a sense of confidence and empowerment within myself.

Unfortunately, I also learned the hard way that accidents happen and you must train safely.  Read about my pull-up catastrophe here.  I won’t get into the details here, but this was yet another lesson: Train HARD, but train SAFE.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t be happier that I took the leap of faith to try CrossFit.  If it weren’t for this decision, I wouldn’t be starting 2013 with a renewed sense of confidence in my physical capabilities.

When I return to school, I may join another Box.  And I may not.  But regardless, I will go back knowing that I can do anything I set my mind to.  I can hang with the toughest of the tough.  And I am capable of whatever I set my mind to.

 CrossFit is no longer an aspiration; I am now a CrossFit-er.  And I love saying that.

Your fitness journey is all about variation and finding your passion.  Try new things; challenge yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

Back to my question: What fitness “goals” or aspirations are in the back of your mind?

Whether it is CrossFit, Pilates, a half-marathon, or something else entirely—GIVE IT A GO.  Whether you stick with or not, you’ll never know until you try.


Take a leap of faith.  Accept a challenge.  Push yourself.  Live empowered. 

Now, let’s connect!  You can find me on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or feel free to email me anytime at savvysassyme @ gmail dot com.

Have a fabulous and empowering day!


Guest Post: Counting Our Cupcakes

Hello lovelies! I’m Allie from Counting Our Cupcakes— where I like to blog about running, weight  loss, my infertility, and beauty products! I am so grateful that Courtney is allowing me to high jack her blog today while she basks away in the sunshine! ((jealous))


Today I want to blog about how I am adding in weight training, and piggy back on Courtney’s word for 2013, INTENTIONAL.

Weight loss and getting to a healthier life style doesn’t happen over night. It requires planning and being INTENTIONAL.

You have to be INTENTIONAL about your eating, whether that’s counting calories, meal planning, and stocking the house with healthy things. ((for me, I have to be very intentional about all of the above))


You have to be INTENTIONAL about your workouts too!! My workouts of choice are running and yoga. However, I know that muscle burns more fat, and even though I know running and yoga are great, I need to do more weight training to build muscle. BUT I HATE WEIGHT TRAINING!!

 Ok, maybe I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it. The reasons are pretty dumb, because they’re the same reasons I used to not like to run or workout period.

It’s HARD! I’m NOT good at it!

Heard that before?? Yea, most of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy, but when we step up, and do what we’re afraid todo (whatever the reason)  we end up feeling GREAT about ourselves! WE DID IT!


I never would have thought a year ago that I would enjoy running, or yoga for that matter, but I DO!! Because I challenged myself and I stuck with it.

I tell you this because it spills over into how I’m adding in weight training. Right now, I’m trying to weight train twice a week. My plan is to get it in before yoga, since I’ll already be at the gym, and I do yoga twice a week. I’m actually writing down my workouts to keep myself accountable and keep track ((PS It’s incomplete)).

For starters I’m just using the machines at my lil gym. I’ll do all the machines for legs one day, and then all the machines for arms the next day. Right now, that’s where I’m comfortable and feel like I can find success. Legs are really my favorite to workout ((bc they are stronger, and easier…. And bc I’m a runner)).

photo 1

Arms are a different story. Oh, my upper body is weak! Gotta start somewhere though folks! Building my upper body will help me with yoga too. ((I haven’t quite figured out what my plan is for my core, but it gets a good work out in yoga.))

Everything works together folks!! Little changes add up to big changes!!!

photo 3

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Allie! Guys- Be sure to check out her blog, Counting Our Cupcakes. She is so inspiring and brave to share her journey with weight loss and struggles with infertility. You’ll love her. She is one of my most recent blog crushes 😉

How are you going to be intentional this year?