April Member Spotlight

Amanda Smith

Yesterday we had a little fun with Amanda for a hilarious April Fools joke. Check it out of if you missed it (so funny!). The mediocre member spotlight idea started months ago. Amanda wondered if she would ever get picked for member spotlight. “Can I be picked for mediocre member?” she asked. Of course it was all in good fun. Amanda’s cool like that, she’s comfortable poking fun of herself.

In reality, Amanda does love to crack jokes and is friendly to everyone she meets at the gym. The fan hogging and water dumping does happen, but she cleans up after herself! Amanda is coming up on two years as a Mudtown member and we’re so glad to have her as part of our community.

Member since: June 2015.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I started CrossFit in February 2011. My husband started a few months before me and was coming home everyday excited and motivated. It made me want to be apart of what he was doing. My first workout was 4 rounds of 800 meter row with 35 body squats following.
How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I try to make it 3 to 4 times a week, depending on my schedule. I am a wild card. Different times for different days. That way I am not limiting myself to making friends all throughout the gym.
Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? My favorite crossfit movements are body movements. Squats, sit ups, and burpees. These movements make some people miserable, but when you are short, the distance is not far and I can move pretty quickly through these. As for my favorite workout, it would have to be anything involving these movements, but not mixed with any of my least favorite movements. See question below.
Least favorite crossfit movement/workout? My least favorite movements consist of handstand pushups, GHD sit-ups, double-unders, snatches, and bar muscle ups. Oh, you asked for one movement and I just kept typing. Well, I can only excel from here! My least favorite workout is 75 snatches for time.
What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? I can not overemphasize how incredible the group of individuals that own or workout in this gym are. It is an amazing community that I am proud to be apart of.
Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? Really? I can not keep up with the ridiculous thoughts that actually make it out of my mouth, but there have been multiple times I say something that I am positive will cause an uproar in laughter and we will all exchange glances and high fives because it was so epic. That is not the way it happened. Most people do not want to laugh in the middle of Helen.
Favorite thing about Birmingham? Food and Freedom (insert deep south voice)
What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? I am most proud of my endurance. Being a mother changes your perspective on life. Quitting is not an option. Being able to do CrossFit empowers me and ironically gives me more energy. It is my attitude that has changed that I am proud of. And all of this is a reflection of me outside of the gym as well. I am proud of my overall confidence in myself and my relationships because of crossfit.
What is your favorite meal? Sushi. Any time. Any day.
What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? You know, my previous interests from the last interview are not all that different. We have become so close to the people here. When I take my daughter out to do stuff around the city, most likely it is alongside our crossfit friends and their children.
What is one goal that you are currently working on? My goal for this year is a pull up. If I set a goal, I am more inclined to pursue it. It will push me to change my diet and anything else that obscures my path to it.
Do you have a hidden talent? Writing. Is that a talent? Over the years my brother and I have written chapters to a book we eventually want to publish.
Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you. As much as I loathe running I signed up for my first 10k in November 2011 at Oak Mountain and finished 3rd in my age division. I also competed that year in what was known as an endurance camp. It was 10 crossfit workouts throughout the night, on the hour, every hour. We finished the last workout at 6am as the sun was coming up.

Mediocre Member Spotlight

Amanda Smith – 

We really need to get some new members, the options are getting slim for Member Spotlight.  Since we are in a little bit of a lull, we have selected Amanda Smith as our Mediocre Member of the Month. 

Why so mediocre?

Need someone to demo a movement?  Amanda’s conveniently in the bathroom.  Trying to keep the gym clean for the next class?  Amanda is dumping all the water in Alabama down her shirt.  Want to try and set up the fans for even air distribution? Don’t bother, Amanda has created a path of fans from the gym all the way back to her house.  Have a social event?  Make a place for Amanda to be sleeping by 9pm. 

If you do happen to see Amanda at the gym, she will be wearing all black and always have an object between you and her.  Its impossible to get within talking range.  She may be mute, we will never know.  We think she came from Trussville, mediocre.

I’m tired… here it is… Amanda’s interview.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I first heard about CrossFit through my husband. He had been coming home for a week in weighted vests telling me about flipping tires and carrying sand bags through the snow. Literal snow. My initial response was, ” all of that sounds like the most fun I am uninterested in having.” My first workout was a lot of tabatta movements. We had a game at the end of the workout to see who could hold a plank position the longest. I, unfortunately, had to leave 15 seconds in because I had been re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix that week and I was 2 episodes away from the series finale.

How many days do you CrossFit? I usually sign up for all classes during the week, but slowly as the hours creep by, the unsettling anxiety kicks in. That is when my name casually disappears. It’s not uncommon then for the text messages from everyone to start coming in. For example, “I was really looking forward to seeing you,” “Why aren’t you coming?” or my favorite, “I saw that.”

What classes do you normally attend? I try to attend the 5pm, but there are not enough fans to share in that class. So I brought my own. You know, to overemphasize to my buddies gathering around it, that I, in fact, need this fan or I will die.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? My favorite crossfit movement is stretching. There is plenty of time to gossip with the locals when we are all manipulating our bodies in to the number 4. My favorite workout is when they set a time on the clock to start the workout and the clock says that time is over.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? My least favorite movement would be running when it is the actual temperature of hell outside. Everyone tends to run like we are doing this for time or something. I have convinced myself that once everyone has run away, I will black out on the pavement and they will not find me. As for my least favorite workout, sometimes I think I can change the numbers of a set or amount of time given by continuously repeating it. For example, the workout could have 10 power cleans in it. “But does it really have 10? or does it say 4? It looks like there is 4 on the board. Are you sure? So 4 right?” The question was what is my least favorite workout? Following directions.

What are some of your interests outside of Crossfit? My interests include incorporating myself into all the lives of the gym members with little to no exercise involved. Just sitting in the air conditioning. Talking to each of them. The people from Crossfit Mudtown were all magically made to be my best friends. Some of them just don’t know it yet.

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? I feel most accomplished in the gym when the words “No” “Oh gah” or “I am running home” do not come out of my mouth. And in my day to day I am most proud of when the words “No” “Oh gah” or “I am running home” do not come out of my mouth. Those statements tend to filter outside of the gym. So I leave you all with this….”Don’t ever, for any reason, do anything to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what. No matter…..where. Or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or….where you have been…ever. For any reason, whatsoever.” -Michael Scott


Hopefully everyone has had an opportunity to review the CFM Goals program and think a bit about what things they may want to include in their goals for 2017. As we continue to discuss goal setting and improvement, we’ve had some great conversations around what it means to develop goals, the most efficient way to implement them, and how to make progress. This post, however, is to address a more basic and profound question. For many people, the key question is not how we achieve goals, but why do we need to set them in the first place?

Why do I need to get better, or stronger, or faster?

Why should I want to be able to back squat 315 pounds 15 times?

What possible direct benefit can I expect to see from a 500 pound deadlift?

In Crossfit, one of the benefits we tout is functional fitness, meaning that we want to be fitter in order to execute the tasks that our daily lives demand. But what is functional about being able to jerk a weight that is equivalent to a medium-sized adult male? While there may occasionally be the need to SDHP a cooler into the back of a truck, unless that cooler is filled with gold bullion, this is a moderate lift at best. I don’t think I’ve ever had a suitcase so heavy that I felt the need to full-snatch it into the overhead compartment on a plane. So, maybe I don’t really need massive strength or endurance at my disposal to execute the tasks that life brings me on a daily basis. If this is true, then it begs the question: why do we need to push our limits?

The answer to this question is not always obvious. In business, we can see how working harder directly yields results that make us more fruitful in that area of life. We work our tails off at the office and people notice. We typically accumulate more hours, more skill, and more promotions. Over time, our investment directly pays off in terms of measurable rewards for our actions. In home and social life, if we work on our relationships with others, we often see the direct results that our efforts have. The investment is returned with deeper trust, stronger emotional connections, and better understanding of each other. But what about in fitness? It’s easy to understand how those who are bed-ridden or otherwise restricted could clearly benefit from more strength or improved cardio-vascular conditioning, but it is not as clear to someone who enjoys an “average” level of fitness. If you are fit enough to participate in life’s normal activities, what is the return on investment in pursuing fitness improvement?

When you think about the areas of your life that are the most important to you, it may not even seem like fitness compares to the others on the list. Let’s face it, I’m not going to the CrossFit Games (gasp!). I know, right? Hard to believe, but the peak of my achievement in CrossFit may be more along the lines of finishing in the top 10 in the master’s division of a local competition. I’m not a professional athlete, and there is not really any athleticism required in my business or personal life, other than keeping up with small children (they are tiny and relatively easy to catch). So what are the things in life that are really important to me? I want to be an amazing husband. I want my wife to feel treasured and cared for and pursued. I want to be the best father on the planet. I want my children to know that they are loved and important. I want to teach them hard work, integrity, and how to care about other people. I want to change the world through my work. I want to help develop new and exciting technologies that will impact the planet for decades after I’m gone. Will a 195 pound strict press really make me better at any of that?

The answer is yes. It absolutely and unequivocally will. While improving my strict press may not directly make me a better husband or dad or engineer, it will make me better at fitness, which makes me better at everything. I have had the benefit in life of experiencing a high level of fitness as well as a lack thereof. I’ve been the athlete who had an injury, fell off the wagon, got fat, and got depressed. In fact, I was that guy for several years. I struggled to do my work because I lacked discipline. I struggled to be energetic for my family because I was always tired. I struggled to be enthusiastic about life because I constantly felt bad about myself. You might even say I felt sick. Coach Glassman has written in great detail about the relationship between sickness, wellness, and fitness. Without reiterating the entirety of this subject, the argument is that the opposite of being sick is not being well, but rather the opposite of sickness is fitness.


Coach states that fitness is not just a separate condition that you experience in addition to being well, but rather a continuation and advanced state of wellness.

(You can find the full CF Journal Article Here http://journal.crossfit.com/2002/10/what-is-fitness-by-greg-glassm.tpl)
(Coach giving a talk on this here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl6ANK8CN5w)

This is why I want that 195 pound strict press. Not because I need to strict press heavy things as a part of normal daily life, but because doing so makes me fitter. It addresses a weakness and elevates my capacity. It makes me better at everything. Fitness energizes and ignites us in a way few things can. I’m going to make a series of bold statements here:

· Being fitter will make you a better spouse
· Being fitter will make you a better parent
· Being fitter will make you a better employee
· Being fitter will make you a better friend
· Being fitter will improve the quality, longevity, and energy in your entire life

Bold, but as far as I’m concerned, the evidence is undeniable.

“…Regarding the gain to moral power which comes of bodily exercises and physical condition, it should be self-evident that the process which builds the muscle must also train and alert the mind. How could it be otherwise?
Every physical act must have as its origin a mental impulse, conscious or unconscious. Thus, in training a man to master his muscles, we also help him to master his brain.”

– Armed Forces Officer: Edition of 1950, U.S. Department of Defense

Pushing as far to the right in this continuum towards fitness is critical in making us better in every area. It’s also critical for those times in life that will inevitably come when our levels of fitness will slide backwards. Life is not always predictable and sustainable in every area. You may have a long vacation that stalls your fitness routine. Perhaps a difficult and busy period comes along at work that compromises your normal workout time. Maybe you have an injury or a car wreck or cancer and lifting weights takes a back seat to other things. The benefit of coming from a strong foundation during these times is that strong people are harder to kill. When our fitness level is at the far right end of the continuum, even if we slide backwards, we slide into wellness. We may have a setback, but the setback just puts us back to a normal healthy lifestyle. If you live your life with only a slightly-above-average level of fitness (as I did prior to the injury that I mentioned earlier) you have no safety margin. There are no guardrails to protect you from going completely off the track. Any setback in your fitness journey can result in some of the things that I experienced like depression and chronic fatigue.

Simply put, the answer to the question of why we need to be fitter is not one of vanity or the specific pursuit of a fitness accomplishment, but rather because it has the capability to improve and preserve the overall quality of our lives each and every day.

Get after it.

February Member Spotlight

Maggie Rowland (aka Magatron)

Maggie has a smile and personality that light up the gym. She doesn’t know a stranger and has a way of making everyone feel welcome. Over the past 16 months since Maggie has joined Mudtown, we’ve witnessed her do some pretty amazing things (deadlifting 300 lbs like nobody’s business is one of them). Most recently she won our month long healthy eating challenge and is fast approaching 200 Classes Stronger (2 more classes to go!). To see her confidence grow along with her strength has truly been a joy to watch.

Member since: October 2015


What do you do for a living? I promote an IndyCar race.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? A co-worker all but forced me to try it. I don’t remember what the first workout was, but I remember it being awful.  I bet if I did the same workout today it would almost be easy, but I seriously considered dying to get out of it.

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I try to get 3-4 workouts a week, mostly 6pm.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Deadlift fo dayz. It’s the only thing I’m good at.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Anything that isn’t a deadlift.  Jk. But I’m allergic to wall balls. And that stupid bike.

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown?  The community that the Maggie reaches her goal of a 300# deadlift.coaches at CFM have built keeps me coming back every time.  I feel so loved and supported at the gym. As far as the motivation, I have never felt better about myself than I do when I complete a workout.  I love that everything is scalable.  When someone learns that I do CrossFit and their response is “I could never do that.” I always tell them I can’t even do it.  I take the workout and scale it into something that I can do.  It’s not cheating, it’s not taking the easy way out, it’s kicking your own butt in a way that works for you.

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? Oh boy.  There are so many.  I’d say the 2016 CrossFit Open.  I had never competed in the Open before and didn’t really understand how hard it would require me to push myself.  Danny was judging/coaching me through a terrible workout that included lots of wall balls. I was crying and kept saying, “Danny I can’t breathe” while I’m working out.  Clearly I’m able to breathe because 1. I can talk 2. I’m still working out.  YMaggie reaches 100 classes strongerou probably had to be there, but he kept laughing and laughing because clearly I could do it.  It was all mental.

Favorite thing about Birmingham?  I love the people and the food.

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)?  I am most proud of my family outside of the gym.  I have the coolest family.  They make me proud every day.  You know when you meet someone and they’re just a good person.  That’s my crew.  Inside the gym I’m most proud of my strength.  I’m not fast and I’m not flexible, but I can pick heavy things up and put them back down that’s for sure.

What is your favorite meal?  I cannot answer this without incriminating myself, but I will say I went to Chipotle the other day during the healthy eating challenge and I was worried about getting something I would like that wasn’t covered in cheese and sour cream and the salad I got was better than my normal order.  Seriously.Maggies submission for most creative push-up during our 3,000 push-up challenge.

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit?  Who has time for a life outside of CrossFit? I have always loved music. I’m the band nerd of CFM.

What is one goal that you are currently working on?  I will do a dang pull-up if it kills me.

Do you have a hidden talent?  I think CrossFit is my hidden talent.  I have never IN MY LIFE been athletic so when people who have known me for a long time find out I do CrossFit they kind look shocked and then giggle.

Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you.  I once entered a beauty pageant to make my family laugh.  I won.  Miss Dogwood 2008 representtttttt.

CFM Goals Program

comfort-zoneBy now, you have hopefully seen the CFM Goals Program Introduction email and may have started giving some thought to what initiatives you may roll into your 2017 goals.  If you’re like most people, your previous goals have probably come about by a rather unstructured process.  They likely have involved little thought on what the right goals are, a lack of clarity regarding why you selected the goals, and committing to them without consideration of what is required to truly make a change.  Perhaps it goes something like this:

“It’s January. I guess a need a new goal for this year.

I like snatches…..snatches are awesome.

Wouldn’t it be super cool if I could, like, snatch a whole lot?

Let’s go for a 75# snatch PR this year.  This is going to be awesome.

I will be a snatch monster.”

In the back of your mind, you probably had some vague notion that to reach this goal, you would do some extra snatch work at some time.  Maybe you plan to get pointers on technique.  Maybe you plan to do accessory work.  Buuuuuuttttt…..You probably won’t do it after the WOD, because you’re super tired then.  You also can’t come early before the WOD; there’s just not time for that.  No barbell at home.  Oh well, you’ll plan to get some extra work in sometime.  As the year goes on, snatch days come and no progress is made.  You realize there should be some concerted effort on your part, but now that the initial excitement has faded you realize you really don’t even have the motivation to pursue this goal.  Who needs to have a monster snatch anyway?

The scenario above has played out for me more times than I can count.  That’s because I used to rely on motivation to reach goals.  I usually expected to arrive at my goals without really having a plan on how I wanted to get there.  The CFM Goals Program is designed to help you break out of this pattern and develop a devotion to getting better every day.  Your coaches at Mudtown have a passion for seeing daily improvements in your fitness that result in daily improvements in the quality of your life.  This passion is the reason that promoting a goal-focused mindset is so important.  The program is more than writing a goal on the white board and never thinking about it again.  It’s about critically thinking about your goals, determining what an appropriate goal is, and putting a plan in place to reach it.  If you don’t intentionally pursue your goals, you are depending on reaching them by accident.

We all have a ton of things to focus on.  We can pursue countless efforts.  Let’s be honest, you likely have goals for your career, your family, your finances, and other areas of your self-improvement outside of CrossFit.  That’s why setting quality goals and prioritizing is so important.  As we all have limited time to pursue our fitness goals, we have to make sure the goals are the right one and that we have selected the top priority.

So why only one?  In our daily lives we have many obligations.  At work, it’s not uncommon for me to hear people talk about the top 5 or 10 priorities.  The fact is, until the 1950’s the word “priorities” was basically non-existent.  The only word that existed was “priority,” in the singular form.  Before the current pace of life took over, people seemed to understand that there could only be one highest-level devotion.  There could only be one priority in which you invested all your effort and focus.  Now, it is common for us to chase tons of things we consider priorities, and make a millimeter of progress in a thousand directions.  It’s time to stop.  Do less but better.  Focus on the critical few rather than the trivial many.  Select the single goal that will produce maximum impact on your fitness.  Your coaches and fellow athletes will be there to support you.  We will be there to remind you to put in the extra work.  We will be there to remind you why you’re doing this.


Get after it.

January Member Spotlight

Josh Fisher

Consistency and determination define Josh. One of our early OnRamp graduates, Josh has been the perfect examplejosh-200-classes of slow and steady wins the race. He doesn’t get frustrated and is patient knowing that hard work each day will pay off in the long run. Like most he started CrossFit not knowing what to expect, but soon learned it could help change his life. From overcoming hard things, like quitting smoking, to succeeding with a chest-to-bar pull-up. His approach to CrossFit training will set him up for a long life of functional living. We’re proud of you Josh, keep progressing!

Member since: ? (he doesn’t remember, but it was July 2015)

What do you do for a living? I’m a Realtor for ARC Realty.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I first heard about CrossFit almost 2 years before I started. I got a gift card to a local CrossFit and never went because I didn’t want to go alone. Two years later people from ARC were trying to get a group together and I jumped in! The first workout I did in On Ramp was something with deadlifts.josh-press

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend?  I typically attend the 5pm class 3 times a week.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? My favorite movements are the over head movements like snatch and overhead squat. I’m not sure I have a favorite workout but I definitely prefer a short spicy workout over the long enduring ones.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Is running a CrossFit movement? If not, I also hate shoulder to overhead movements.

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? The progress I see in myself is my main motivation to keep coming back but a close second is the community and the friendships I’ve made

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?  My most embarrassing gym moment was probably when I unloaded one side of a racked barbell and the weights on the other side tipped the bar and threw it into the middle of the room.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? One thing I really like about Birmingham is that you can be right in the center of life downtown and you’re only a 10-15 min drive to be in the middle of nowhere. A big plus is our expanding food scene too!

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? The accomplishments in the gym I’m most proud of are still my “firsts” like my first pull-up, my first Rx workout, my first double under etc. img_6280Outside of the gym I’m most proud of quitting smoking. I’ve been smoke/tobacco free for a little over a year now. I know without a doubt that Mudtown played a major role in that process and I might not have been able to do it without them.

What is your favorite meal? Is Macaroni and Cheese a meal?

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? Other than CrossFit I enjoy going hiking and recently discovered rock climbing!

What is one goal that you are currently working on? I haven’t written out any official goals but triple unders look interesting and maybe I’ll get a muscle up one day!

Do you have a hidden talent? If I do, then it’s hidden from me too.

Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you. One thing not a lot of people know about me is that I did not learn to ride a bike until I was 12 or 13.

December Member Spotlight

Nicolle De Leon Telladonicolle-and-gian

Nicolle moved to Birmingham from Puerto Rico about six months ago for a fellowship at UAB. An avid CrossFitter already she knew she needed to find a gym-home away from home. We’re so glad she discovered CrossFit Mudtown. She has a fierce work ethic in the gym all while juggling work and life as a mother to Gian Mateo.

Member since: You probably know better than me, but I’m pretty sure it was the end of June 2016.

What do you do for a living? I’m a radiologist born and raised in the beautiful island of PR, and I’m currently doing a one year fellowship (sub-specialty) in abdominal imaging at UAB.nicolles-wod

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I was a gym freak, until Carlos, my boyfriend, who had been doing CrossFit for almost a year convinced me to go and give it a try. Since then, I’ve never gone back to the gym!! My first WOD was:

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? My goal is to go 4 to 5 times a week, including Saturdays. If I’m not there a Saturday, it is because I’m working! I usually go to the 6 pm class.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? I like everything with a barbell, except thrusters, but lately I’ve been developing a special love for overhead squats.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? I’m assuming running doesn’t count as a movement/workout, so Double Unders!!! I dislike any WOD with DU’s in them since I have not mastered them yet….and of course any WOD with thrusters. (shhh, and running!!)

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? Going to CFM is my therapy. My life is a pretty boring routine that can be summarized as follows: waking up, getting Gian Mateo ready for school, going to work, picking up my kid from school and going back home to get ready for the next day. Doing CrossFit is the only single hour in the whole day that is just for me, that I don’t have to think about anything else, and what better place to do it that CFM? Here I’ve found my outlet and really good people that make me feel just as good as being home.

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? Have you seen me do DUs?!?! There’s nothing funnier, unless nicolleyou’ve seen me trying to do butterfly pull-ups. Actually, I don’t know which one is funnier.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? Besides getting to know all of you people at CFM, I love the willingness of people to help one another, the good food and the multiple local breweries. Who doesn’t love a good beer!?

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Inside the gym, I was finally able to RXed a WOD with DUs in it (took me forever but I did it), squatted more than #135 and DL more than #200. Outside the gym, I can say that after many, many years of studying I’m a little over 6 months away of completing my medical training, which will allow me to finally work and be able to provide for my son and family.

What is your favorite meal? A perfectly medium cooked filet mignon!

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? Anything that involves family, specially anything that involves my son, Gian Mateo.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? Mastering those Double Unders, and keep improving my back squat weight.

Do you have a hidden talent? Don’t think so! What you see is what you get!

Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you:
1. They say I’m a bully, which I’m totally not!! It’s not bullying what I do, it’s character building.
2. I got pregnant while on the pill, so don’t trust it!!

November Member Spotlight

Julie Macon

Julie is the strong silent type. She’s not loud, but brings the intensity when it’s needed and can clean (the barbell kind not the Cinderella kind) like nobody’s business. She found her way to CFM one year ago and we’re so glad she did. This Disney loving woman is a joy to have in our community.

Member since: October 2015julie-macon-lifting

What do you do for a living? I’m the Human Resources Manager for my family’s companies. So mostly payroll, work comp injuries, insurance, etc. for about 100+ employees. But I get to work from home and it’s the best!

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? My mom and I started CF together in Mobile December 2012 just for fun I guess. And the first workout I did had burpees, running, and bear crawls…and the next day was a 5k row!

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I usually try to get in 4-5 days a week and am normally at the 8:15 class or 5 pm class.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? CLEANS! Hang cleans, squat cleans, power cleans…cleans are my jam.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Wallballs and rowing. And I’m horrible at presses.julie-macon-competing

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? Everyone is so nice and encouraging and the coaches are very knowledgeable/helpful with everything! And the programming is awesome! I’ve improved so much this year!

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? My old gym in Mobile hangs their barbells on the wall horizontally and one time I knocked the whole wall of them down on myself during a warm up.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? It’s the perfect size city! And the food is amazing, there’s a lululemon, and the weather is seasonal (though not so much this year)

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Inside the gym I finally snatched 100# and deadlifted 200# and I’ve never been so excited! And outside the gym, I’m most proud of my husband for graduating law school and passing the AL bar.

What is your favorite meal? Popcorn is my absolute favorite food in the world and in a perfect life, I would eat it as a meal every single dayjulie-macon-family

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? My dog is my life so anything involving him! And Disney, obviously.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? Butterfly pullups! That would be a total game changer!
Do you have a hidden talent? Haha, not a single one. I even just asked my husband and he agreed…so there’s that.

Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you. I’ve ran 4 half-marathons and I’m signed up for 2 more in 2017! (PS I don’t love running at all)

Intro to Rowing

Also called an Indoor Rower or Ergometer, it simulates the act of water-sport rowing. Rowing is an exceptional cardiovascular exercise and engages multiple muscle groups to provide a full-body strength and endurance movement.

Key components of the rowing machine:

Rowing Machine Form Crossfit


  1. Sit centered on the seat. Place feet under the foot straps on the foot rest. The top of your shoe should come about ½ inch over the foot ramp. The foot rests are adjustable and numbered to make setting up your feet simple each time you row. Pull the foot straps tight.
  2. Turn on the display and set it to the desired data measurement (meters, calories or watts) and view.
  3. Set the damper to desired number – typically 3-5 for beginners. Higher damper settings allow more air into the flywheel housing. The more air, the more work it takes to spin the flywheel against the air. More air also slows the flywheel down faster on the recovery, requiring more work to accelerate it on the next stroke. Lower damper settings allow less air into the flywheel housing, making it easier to spin the flywheel.
  4. Pull the handle out of the handle hook and set your grip. Hands should be even on each side. Extend your arms straight toward the flywheel, and keep your wrists flat.
  5. Spine should be neutral and tilted forward slightly at the hips. Shins vertical and feet firmly planted in the foot rests.

Performing the Row:


Row Catch
  • Extend your arms straight toward the flywheel and keep your wrists flat.
  • Slide forward on the seat until your shins are vertical.
  • Lean forward slightly at the hips.
  • You are ready to take the first/next stroke.


Row DriveDrive

  • Begin the drive by extending your legs and pushing off against the foot pads.
  • Keep your core tight, arms straight and back firm as you transfer power to the handles.
  • As your knees straighten, gradually bend your arms and lean your upper body back.

FinishFinish Row

  • Bend your elbows and pull the handle into your sternum.
  • Extend your legs.
  • Lean back slightly at the hips.
Row Recovery


  • Extend your arms by straightening your elbows and returning the handle toward the flywheel.
  • Lean your upper body forward at the hips to follow the arms.
  • Gradually bend your knees and slide forward on the seat to the start (or catch) position.



Focus on consistent steady movement – You are the master of the numbers on the display, not the victim of them. Steady consistent movement will be more efficient. Remember you are on the “water” – smooth movement is rewarded. Smooth movement is fast and efficient. Jerky movements make waves and flip boats.

Common Rowing Mistakes

Finish handle position too high or lowFinish handle position too high or low

Pulling the handle too high or low doesn’t allow for optimum muscle engagement therefore losing efficiency and power in the pull.



row shooting the hips

Shooting the hips

If your legs are pushing quickly and causing your rear to shoot out ahead of the rest of you, your upper body will have to awkwardly catch up. Doing extra work to jerk your top half around will make your stroke less efficient, and can cause injury.


Hunching over during the drive

Hunching over during the drive

You want to sit tall with a stacked posture. Focus on “turning on” your abdominal muscles, or engaging your core, and relaxing your shoulders so they are pulled back and down. Your spine should always be in neutral.



wrong arm leg sequence in recovery

Wrong arm/leg sequence in Recovery

Legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs. This is the sequence to remember when rowing. Getting out of sequence makes you lose momentum and power.

October Member Spotlight

Tyler DeStefano

Member since: August 201512487183_10103690002467545_3674656746458423387_o

What do you do for a living? Owner of Blackwell’s Pub & Eatery

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I first heard about CrossFit from a couple Friends, Fran!

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I try and come 4-6 days a week usually at 5pm, and come on Saturday and bring my wife.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Deadlifts, Back Squats anything with heavy legs.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Handstand pushups, Kettlebell Snatches

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? All of my friends, family. The relationships I have developed, drive my passion. Having a family of people that continuously push each other towards a common goal.

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? Probably the time Brad Castro and I did an entire WTyler-Class ClownOD, dead at the end. And we had loaded our bars 5# less than RX on accident. I was pissed!!

Favorite thing about Birmingham? The FOOD

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Owning my own business. My son, he’s the best kid ever.

What is your favorite meal? Steak, any cut of red meat. Beef, Venison, Lamb you name it!

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? I love to be outdoors, hunting, fishing. Spending time with my wife Jennifer and my son Barrett. I love to cook, and try and become a better chef slinging healthier paleo food.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? MUSCLE UPS!! and a Power Lifting Total 1000#