CrossFit Mudtown is excited to announce a new program offering! CFM Sweat is 45 minutes per day of fun, no-fuss-fitness for all levels. If you’re looking to WORK HARD and get your heart pumping, CFM Sweat is for you! No progressions on skills or movement techniques-just a workout to help you build CONSISTENCY in daily movement. This is programmed by the HWPO (Hard Work Pays Off) team including Mat Fraser and Sammy Moniz. CFM Sweat will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30am and 11am and on Thursdays at 4pm. Sweat programming is also available Saturday mornings! Ask a coach for more details!
“Ric” joined CrossFit Mudtown as a member in 2016. In 2018, he moved to Nebraska and was the general manager for a brewery and family restaurant in North Platte. He returned to Birmingham in 2020 and started coaching. He enjoys college football, college basketball, and the Emmy-winning television show Dateline, which has just entered its 30th season.
Ric’s real name is Casey Sturgill.
- CrossFit Level 2
Being a high school and college athlete taught Kate “OATIE” the value of being part of a team. Several years after college, trying out various types of fitness, Oatie realized she missed the team/family atmosphere.. she missed community fitness. In 2012 her journey with CrossFit started when she joined Carport CrossFit in Irondale, AL. As her fitness journey progressed so did her love of CF methodology. In 2018 Oatie’s desire to help others with their fitness goals led her to obtain her CF-L1 and she began coaching at her home gym. Oatie looks forward to more training opportunities and sharing her knowledge and zest with her new home gym, CrossFit Mudtown. She is married (Jen) and they have 2 dog kids, Olive and Ojai.
Alison joined CrossFit Mudtown in 2021 when she and her husband moved to Birmingham, AL. She has been part of the CrossFit community since 2009 and really enjoys helping people improve their lives through fitness, especially strength training.
Julianna grew up training in gymnastics, dance, cheer, and track. The first time she ever picked up a barbell was at CrossFit Mudtown in 2021. CrossFit exposed her to a multitude of new skills and movements, so coaching was a natural progression. Julianna started coaching girls gymnastics at the age of sixteen in her hometown: Louisville, KY. She has coached preschool to level-ten girls, and she even had a stint coaching level-one boys! Because of her love for pushing others to be the best version of themselves, Julianna decided to get her CrossFit L1 certification in December of 2022.
Outside of the gym, Julianna is pursuing her master’s and doctorate degrees, and she likes to constantly grow her cheer skills and techniques. You might see her cheering on the sideline of your favorite professional team 😉 She and her fiancé are avid Tennessee fans, and they will never miss an opportunity to wear orange.
Serena moved to Birmingham from Rochester, NY in July of 2022 for her husband’s job. The day after moving in, she dropped in at Mudtown and instantly got a great feel for the community. Serena found CrossFit in January of 2020 and instantly enjoyed how there is always something to work towards and a new skill to learn as it reminds her of her years as a competitive gymnast. She really enjoys the community atmosphere and having others who support your growth and achievements.
Written by Coach Nick Irvin
Many of you may be aware that I started my CrossFit journey as an (extremely) overweight, middle-aged engineer in 2014. I walked in to that first workout half skeptical, half scared of getting hurt, and fully knowing that something had to change.
A year earlier, my wife and I welcomed a new baby girl into our lives. As I held her one of those first nights in the hospital, I did the math – as I am prone to do – on how old I would need to be to hold her children. It didn’t add up. It wasn’t going to happen. I was struck. I spent a year wandering in the wilderness, making no progress, before that first workout.
The rest, as they say, is history. I’m a believer. I found motivation, a renewed belief in myself, and ultimately health. I’m proud to say that I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been and am still getting better. I’m 40 and it’s my best year yet.
All that said, the scientist in me wonders – is this sustainable? Am I trading health late in life for “looking good naked” now? Will I meet those grandchildren?
If you know me, you know how I respond to these type of questions. I dig in – read papers, listen to podcasts, and ask the most obscure and specific questions imaginable to anyone who will listen.
That process led me to a TED talk by Dr. Peter Attia. Best I can tell, Dr. Attia is a real life superhero. Engineering at Stanford, medicine and surgical residency at Johns Hopkins, an incredible athlete in his own right (he’s swam from Catalina to Long Beach – ~25 miles – twice), and an avid self-experimenter. His medical practice focuses on longevity and he caters to high profile clients in New York and San Diego.
I’m obsessed with this guy. I’ve basically consumed every bit of content he has to offer. The engineers in us see the world the same way – he just has all the medical background to boot. When it comes to longevity, he uses a couple of great mental models to lay out a strategy.
The first is the idea of healthspan. The basic gist here is that for most people, their quality of life peaks in middle age and begins a slow decline until you eventually become this shadow of yourself late in life. We all have people in our lives who exhibit this. None of us want to spend our retirement this way.
Alternatively, if we can figure out a way to do it right, we could all go out in a blaze of glory. Something like fall over on your 101st birthday after that last surf session, when the previous day you played 18 at Torrey Pines with the grandkids.
This idea of maximizing healthspan is coupled to a more imaginative thought experiment – Dr. Attia asks – “what if I were training today for the centenarian olympics (olympics only for those who are 100 or older)?” Sounds silly, but follow me. The first question you have to ask is – what would that competition look like? What do I want to be able to do at 100? Self locomotion is a must. Get up after I fall down, for sure. Carry my groceries up a flight of stairs, yes! You get the picture. It’s a fun list to think about, I encourage you to give it a try.
Now for the hard part. What should I be doing now to train for that future? Dr. Attia is writing a book on this, but from what I can tell his prescription looks something like the following:
- Eat a diet that keeps blood glucose (and therefore insulin) low and with low variability.
- Train functional movements that preserve healthy joint function and promote an active lifestyle *read: get outside, do sports, play*
- When you train, prioritize resistance training (to maintain and build muscle mass and bone density) and HIIT (for metabolic conditioning). Not to mention, the mental health benefits *read: hormonal* of these types of training are unparalleled.
- Prioritize recovery. Sleep is very important. Rest days to let your body repair are a must.
- Be a part of a community that shares your lifestyle, goals, and dreams. Lean on them when life hits.
So if you are still reading at this point, let me first say thanks. Second, does any of this sound familiar? Does this help?
I know – right!?! This real life superhero Dr. to the elite is basically prescribing CrossFit as the tool to get you to the centenarian Olympics. Is it really that simple? One can never be sure, but I’ve got to tell you – I think it is.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Some of us have a tendency to get a little excited in the gym – like on deadlift day and you want to load all the colors or when you’re rowing and Jacki tells you to “bruise your sternum!”. The challenge is to, even in those moments, remember that the games we are training for won’t be here for another few decades. We’ve got plenty of time, and the worst thing that we can do is jeopardize that future by doing something silly *read: dangerous*. Coach Danny wrote a great blog on that last month. I’d encourage you to give it a look.
The great news is that we’re all really lucky. We’ve got a great coaching staff and member community with a ton of experience, knowledge, and passion for keeping us healthy. Lean on them. Learn from them.
I’ll see you in 2079.
In the most basic form, scaling/modifying (scaling from now on) a workout means you are doing it right. I know that sounds backwards, but scaling workouts is essential to proper training in any form. Scaling helps in many ways and below we will look at how it affects safety, proper progression and protection of our bodies.
Greg Glassman said it best in an article posted in the CF Journal, “Ahead of efficacy is safety.” Efficacy is defined as: the ability to produce a desired or intended result. Safety is our number one goal at CrossFit Mudtown. If you blow out your back deadlifting 500 pounds, separate a shoulder doing butterfly pull-ups, or get rhabdo from doing Murph RX, what have you gained? The answer is pretty straightforward – an injury that will set you back for days, weeks, months or even years.
Properly scaling workouts or movements is paramount to safety and your overall fitness. Coach Jacki has been preaching recently that we need to work on strict movements before we add any sort of kip. Strict pull-ups and handstand push-ups (HSPU) are both great examples. We need to work on the proper strength to execute the pull-up and HSPU before adding high rep volume work with kipping. The reason for that is safety. If we don’t have the strength to perform these movements strict, then what are we doing to our body when we do them with a kip? We are adding undue stress to joints and muscles because we don’t have the strength to properly protect them, which could lead to a preventable injury.
Too many times we see people walk into the gym, walk straight to the whiteboard, and start strategizing what they need to do for the workout in order to compete with someone else. Yes, the whiteboard is there as motivation to push you, but the person you need to be pushed by is yourself. The programming at any gym should be written for the best athletes, to push the limits of their capacity. Everyone else, including myself, NEED to scale when appropriate. If we are not getting the intended stimulus from a workout because we didn’t scale, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Doing Fran RX in over 6 minutes takes us out of the correct energy pathway for that workout, which means we won’t achieve the desired outcome. Fran is meant to be done very fast, at a high intensity and with relatively light weights. If we fail to appropriately scale Fran and take 6+ minutes to complete it, then we are telling our bodies to utilize a different energy pathway, which is reserved for lower intensity, longer duration activity.
The last point I want to hit on is appropriately scaling for yourself. We as coaches will always do our best to get you set up for success, but only you know how you are actually feeling that day. Long days of work, stress, illness and the amount of sleep you got the night before are all things that we as coaches can’t see/know unless you let us know. Even at that point we can’t really know how you are feeling.
Age, nagging injuries and the amount of days you have worked out that week are also factors that come into scaling. There is a reason the CrossFit Games starts changing the RX workouts for groups of people over a certain age. If they did not scale the workout appropriately, then the intention of the workout would not be met by those groups of people. As we get older, it takes us longer to recover, our joints are a little more beat up, and scaling is essential in reaching our overall goal – to lead a fit and healthy life. Remember we are all choosing to do CrossFit for a specific reason. Those reasons may differ, person to person, but some commonly shared reasons include being able to play with kids/grandkids, being able to stand up and sit down independently at an old age, and reducing the likelihood of developing several chronic diseases. To accomplish your goals, it is important to make sure you are scaling to the right movements.
So remember, scaling a workout doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong, in fact it means you are doing it right. Our goal is to have everyone do this for a very long time and scaling is a part of it. Just remember, sometimes that also means scaling up from your comfort level.
Presenting to you, Danny and Jacki Rodgers. Owners of CrossFit Mudtown, but also who Kaidyn, Kinsley and Nash Rodgers call mom and dad and who we call coach and friend. Here are some fun facts about Danny and Jacki! Enjoy!
- In what city/state did you spend most of your childhood?
- Danny: Plymouth, MN
- Jacki: Pittsburgh, PA
- How did you hear about CrossFit and when did you start?
- Danny: Heard about it from Billy and started in late 2007 with my mom at CrossFit MN
- Jacki: Training for the Pittsburgh marathon I would run by Crossfit Pittsburgh just as they were opening. They invited me in for a workout and the rest is history!
- What was your first CrossFit workout?
- Danny: Angie (100 Pullups, 100 situps, 100 air squats, 100 pushups)
- Jacki: Back Squats and Cindy
- Favorite CrossFit movement/workout?
- Danny: Jerk/Grace
- Jacki: I love it all!! Seriously, there is nothing I hate. We all know how much I love burpees and Snatches are a close second.
- What was your profession before you started CrossFit Mudtown?
- Danny: Event Manager
- Jacki: Teacher/School Director
- What triggered the idea to open a CrossFit Gym?
- Danny: Finally in the right town, at the right time, with the right people and we saw that impact CrossFit had on people and wanted to provide that for our future members
- Jacki: It was always a dream of mine to open a gym. After being part of several different gyms we knew it was time to open our own gym! Like Danny said we found the right town and the right people and pulled the trigger.
- What motivates you inside the gym (as an athlete)?
- Danny: Being a better father/husband and wanting the ability to horse around with my kids as we get older.
- Jacki: Our members. Cheesy I know, but watching you all do things you never thought possible pushes me in workouts. You don’t give up, so I can’t give up!
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- Danny: My family, Framework Events, CrossFit Mudtown, 2006 Conference Championship
- Jacki: My family and children. I am so proud of the family Danny and I have built together. We have been so blessed with 3 beautiful and healthy children! The gym is a close second;)
- What is the best advice you have ever received?
- Jacki: You don’t have to do this, you get to do this!
- What is your favorite way to spend an off day?
- Danny: Playing with the kids and introducing them to new things
- Jacki: Being with my family and friends. This is usually at a brewery because I love beer!!
- What is your favorite meal?
- Danny: Pizza
- Jacki: I don’t have a favorite meal but I LOVE pickles and popcorn!!
- Top 3 words that would describe how you like to spend your time?
- Danny: Fun, exciting, on the edge
- Jacki: Family/Friends, coaching, working out
- What is one goal that you are currently working on outside of the gym?
- Danny: Selling our house and moving to CH!
- Jacki: Becoming a better coach and moving our family to CH!
- One fun/interesting fact not many people know about you.
- Danny: I can lift my pinky toe it over the toe next to it. (try it)
- Jacki: I did not find out I was pregnant with Kaidyn until I was 7 months (31 weeks) along
- Fun fact:
- Danny: Once, I ate nothing but chocolate chip cookies during a holiday meal/day. (I did not feel good the next day)
- Jacki: I have just as much energy when I go to bed as I do when I wake up!
- What is one thing you couldn’t live without (excluding people)?
- Danny: Pizza (see question 11)
- Jacki: Crossfit Duh!!!!
- Do you have a hidden talent?
- Danny: See question 14
- Jacki: Nope, you have seen them all!
- Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?
- Danny: Falling of the rig at Mayhem on the Mountain doing T2B
- Jacki: I would say peeing my pants in almost every workout but I’m not embarrassed by that anymore;) Watching Danny fall off that rig was pretty darn funny!!!
- Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout?
- Danny: Fran/running
- Jacki: Love them all!!!
Billy, Lainey, Quinn, Billy IV Rodgers
Each of our lives have been elevated in some capacity by Billy and Lainey Rodgers. Whether for you it has been feedback received on your lifting form and technique leading to your next PR, or dedicated time and care toward education on your fitness and health through nutrition. We are better today because of the coachable moments, listening ears and words of encouragement shared by Billy and Lainey. The development, the growth, the love and the friendship gained in this season are what has helped shape who we are as athletes and individuals. Thank you, Billy and Lainey.
We will see them off in a short two weeks, so let’s embrace them while we can. There are some fun facts that over the course of the last three years, you may have missed about this incredible family. Enjoy a little insider on Billy, Lainey, Quinn and Billy IV.
As one chapter is closed and the page is turned to begin the next, we wish two of our CrossFit Mudtown leaders the best.
In what city/state did you spend most of your childhood?
Billy: Adrian, MI; Dumfries, Virginia; Pittsburgh, PA; Parkersburg, WV; Winchester, Ky; Plymouth, MN; Fargo, ND; Bemidji, MN; Des Moines, IA; Seattle, WA; Indianapolis, IN …..
Lainey: Born and raised in the same house in Berwick, IA (small town outside of Des Moines).
How did you hear about CrossFit and when did you start?
Billy: Spring of 2006. When I worked for the Timberwolves, the guy in the cube next to me introduced me to his brother who was doing CrossFit in North Carolina. We talked on the phone for about an hour and then he directed me to crossfit.com. From there I talked a few buddies into working out with me, and we did it in a Lifetime Fitness. We did Cindy at least twice a week with assisted pull-ups.
Lainey: Spring of 2008 was my first taste. Billy had been doing this new exercise craze at CrossFit Iowa which was right next door to our office. He finally talked me into joining him one day. I did a few more classes, but stopped after I moved to Indiana later that year. I started back up again for good after I moved the following year (Fall of 2009) to Seattle to be with Billy. That’s when I tell people I actually started CrossFit.
What was your first CrossFit workout?
Billy: I guess Cindy
Lainey: Cindy. And I think I only did 5 rounds in 20 minutes and had to scale all of it.
Favorite CrossFit movement/workout?
Billy: Squat Clean
Lainey: Clean and wallballs are my favorite movements. My favorite workout is a chipper of any variety. My favorite hero wod is Murph believe it or not. It’s the first hero wod I completed and have done it once a year for the past 7-8 years.
What was your profession before you started CrossFit Mudtown?
Billy: Event Management. Bruno Event Team & Framework Events… The CrossFit Games, USA Weightlifting, Heavyweight Title Fights, PGA Tour, SEC & NCAA Championships…all kinds of fun stuff.
Lainey: Sport/event management positions with Bruno Event Team (that’s where Billy and I met), 5k charity event, USA Football among other odd jobs.
What triggered the idea to open a CrossFit Gym?
We had moved around a bunch and had the opportunity to see a bunch of really great CrossFit Gyms (Eastside Strength & Conditioning), and also some bad ones. We also had the chance to help build a gym (CrossFit Carmel). Once we moved to Birmingham we tried quite a few gyms and none of them really fit the bill. Once Danny & Jacki committed to moving down we knew the 4 of us could make a pretty great team. We were in Cahaba Heights which happened to be a great location, and even though we almost opened up in West Homewood, we found the perfect spot in Cahaba Heights and ran with it. We all have some entrepreneurial spirit, and these seemed to line up well to take the leap.
What motivates you inside the gym?
Billy: You have to walk the walk as a gym owner/coach. In my opinion you can’t advise people to live one way and then do the opposite. If I’m telling someone to squat lower, my squats better be below parallel. If I tell someone to eat cleanier, I better be eating pretty clean. I’m sure I don’t hit each all of my recommendations exactly, but that is what motivates me.
Lainey: From a coach/owner perspective it’s imperative to set a good example. My focus is on quality of movement and making everyone feel welcome in the community. I try very hard to be exceptional in those areas. As an athlete I’m motivated from the knowledge of how I’ll feel after the work is done. It’s hard. All of it. Getting to the gym takes planning. The movements are challenging. The intensity is painful. But how I feel after a workout is pure awesome and worth the ‘hard’.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Lainey: Outside the gym I’m proud of my marriage. It’s a constant work in progress, but such a meaningful way to spend my life; with someone I truly love and care the most for. That’s what it’s all about, growing and figuring it out together. And I’m proud of my kids, they show me everyday what unconditional love really means. I’m not worthy of their love and acceptance some days, but they still give it to me. Inside the gym I’m proud of my growth as a coach. When CFM first opened I had the least amount of coaching experience out of the four Rodgers’. Achieving my personal level of fitness has been exciting and I continue to get better even after almost 9 years of CrossFit, but to take it to another level and teach CrossFit to others has been very rewarding.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Billy: There are graveyards full of irreplaceable people. (Actually, advice my dad got and he shared with me.) One of my favorite Quotes: “There is no need for me continuing unless I’m able to improve” – Knute Rockney
Lainey: “The only thing constant in life is change.” I’ve become somewhat addicted to change actually. In my mid-twenties a couple big changes happened simultaneously which spurred the most amazing growth of my life (and hasn’t stopped!). Because of that, I associate change with opportunity, adventure and self-betterment. I’m grateful for the people in my life then who helped me with those changes and supported me when life was in an upheaval.
What is your favorite way to spend an off day?
Billy: Morning with the kids & some dance music, day drinking, nap, day drinking, big dinner
Lainey: With pre-school age children there is no such thing, but in the rare instance this does happen I enjoy being outside or exploring new parts of our city or attending a fun event.
What is your favorite meal?
Billy: Thanksgiving, must include my mom’s meat stuffing.
Lainey: Breakfast. And pork belly.
Top 3 words that would describe how you like to spend your time?
Billy: People, Learning, Sharing
Lainey: Travel, food, family/friends
What is one goal that you are currently working on outside of the gym?
Billy: Read 1 book per month in 2018 (4 ½ down)
Lainey: Figuring out what my next adventure will be regarding my career. A new city and new opportunities await!
One fun/interesting fact not many people know about you.
Billy: I was a bagger at my local grocery store growing up. I won a tournament and was designated the Best Bagger at Lund’s Wayzata. I have the trophy proudly displayed in our living room.
Lainey: In college I worked for Redbull and drove the car with be big can on top handing out free cans. Best college job ever.
How old are your kids?
Quinn: 5 ½
Billy: 3 ¾
What is a fun fact about Quinn and Billy IV?
Quinn: She was born with very, very dark hair, almost black. It turned blonde a few months later.
Billy: Billy is the 4th William Rodgers in the family.
Billy: In 2009 I was part of a workout video on CrossFit.com doing the following workout.
21 back squats at 136 kilos (300#) , 15 power cleans at 100 kilos (220#), max rep pull-ups. https://www.crossfit.com/workout/2009/10/25#/comments Click on the Eastside Triple Workout
Lainey: I can balance a bowling ball on my head and have a pretty accurate horse impression.