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#

September Member Spotlight

Brent Boyd

Brent has a heart of gold.  He is always willing to lend a hand, a listening ear, or a story to make your day a little better.

Whether Brent is crushing a 20 rep back squat or schlepping bike rack at the CF Games, he has earned our respect by always carrying a smile and a can do attitude.  At the CrossFit Games, Brent earned the name B-EZ because of his laid back attitude to any challenge you threw his direction.  In the gym, we throw out challenges and B-EZ meets them head on.  This makes him really easy and really fun to coach.Brent snatch

3 things you probably don’t know about Brent 🙂

  1. If you asked Brent who are the 3 celebrities he would invite to dinner, he would likely answer with Mattie Rogers, Mattie Rogers, and Mattie Rogers.
  2. Brent is an expert on the sport of laser tag
  3. Brent will back squat 500#’s someday – he’s just built for it.  (challenge extended)

Member since: 2015 (Not sure the month)

What do you do for a living? I am the director of marketing services for a digital marketing group.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I heard about Crossfit from a co-worker, my senior year of college. My first workout was “Deck of Cards”. (Hearts= Burpees, Diamonds= Kb Swings, Spades= Squats, Clubs= Sit-ups, Aces= 400m Run)brent fence pushup

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I usually make it to 3-4 classes per week, and I typically go to the 6pm class.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? KB Swings, and any type of chipper. Specifically, Open workout 14.4.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Hand. Stand. Pushups…. Which makes it fitting for me to hate Diane.


What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? As cliché and unoriginal as it is, I have to say the community. We’re close enough to one another to be able to support each other, trash talk, and drink a beer together all in the same afternoon.

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? At one of my previous gyms, they encouraged guys to use a girl’s bar during 14.3, which involved adding weights to a deadlift each round, to provide an easier grip. Well, the bar was not designed to fit that many plates…I was uneven on a rep, which caused the clip to pop off, followed by a plate, followed by another plate…I pretty much dumped most of the weights and had to stop the workout and redo it.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? Anyone that hangs out with me for a few minutes knows the answer to this is food.

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Outside of the gym would have to be “doing life” as they say. My mom worked very hard to make sure I had everyIMG_4838 opportunity that I have, and I have tried my best to take advantage of those and not let them go to waste. So far, I feel like I am doing that.
Inside the gym, is finally getting over my fear of dropping under the bar on a squat snatch.

What is your favorite meal? I could eat a burger or steak for every meal.

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? I like to dabble in graphic design and photography.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? I want to get back to a place where I feel I am more efficient in body weight movements, and where HSPU aren’t an immediate thorn in my side when they show up in WODs.

August Member Spotlight

Julie McMakin

If it’s 6am at CrossFit Mudtown, you’ll probably find Julie there. She’s putting in a lot of hard work right now making her way to ‘100 Classes Stronger’. She only has 33 more to go! Let’s get to know Julie…

Member since: December 2015

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first experience/WOD? I heard about CrossFit from my high school friend, Jane Brooks. She joined a gym in Huntsville and raved about it and the results that she was seeing. After a lot of convincing I joined a 101 class at Iron Tribe Fitness in Homewood (I know the ITF name is blasphemous) about 4 months before my 30th Birthday. My first WOD was the baseline test that they do and I thought I was going to die.

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? My goal is to go 4 days a week. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. I’m a 6am girl.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? I like rowing and the movements in the press family (strict press, push press and jerks)Julie skiing

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Does running count as a CrossFit movement? If so, I choose running. If not, I choose all movements that include squatting with a front rack.

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? The people and my goal to reach 100 classes.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? My whole family lives here now, and I’m a huge family person.

What accomplishment are you the most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Inside of the gym, my greatest accomplishment is finishing the WOD. I always underestimate myself so I’m proud every time I finish the workout. Outside the gym, my greatest accomplishment is probably my career. I started at a big civil firm doing civil defense work in South Alabama. I knew it wasn’t for me, and that I wanted do something that I felt like made a difference. It was a huge decision to take a big pay cut and start a government job, but I trusted the Lord and did it. Five and a half years later and still no regrets.

What is your favorite meal? French Fries. Yes, I can make a meal out of them.

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? I love college football (Roll Tide), cooking, reading, playing with my dog Lola, good wine, cold beer, the beach in summer, the mountains in winter, and spending time with my niece and nephews.

What do you do for a living? I am a prosecutor for Jefferson County (Basically, I keep Birmingham safe… you’re welcome). It’s a tough job psychologically because I see the worst of the worst every single day. People can be really awful, and my job is to hold them accountable for their actions. It’s a tough balance, but I strive to do my job with grace and compassion

What is one goal that you are currently working on? I really want to get one single pull up.

July Member Spotlight

Caleb Crosby

Caleb started working out with us soon after our doors opened and has been a consistent member ever since. Alwayscrosby family positive and encouraging Caleb is a fellow gym member people look up too (literally though, he’s 6’5″). As a former professional athlete, Caleb thrives on competition and the competitive side of CrossFit keeps him coming back. He gets the opportunity to push himself and have fun doing it.  All the hours he has put in has not gone unnoticed. Caleb recently completed is 200th class at CrossFit Mudtown! Let’s get to know him better…

Member since: May 2015

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first experience/WOD? I began to hear about it when the movie 300 came out but did not try it till sometime in 2012 it a guys garage. The first WOD I did was a partner one where one partner lunged 100 feet with a 25 pound plate while the other one did burpees in the grass till they returned for 5 rounds.

Caleb squat
Caleb performing the low bar back squat. That’s how we roll every Monday.

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I shoot for 4 days a week. Normally the 6am.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Overhead squat

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Burpee

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? I like the competition with myself and energy that it gives.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? The restaurants

What accomplishment are you the most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Being a Dad.

Caleb tuff love comp
Caleb competing at the Tuff Love competition in February 2016.

What is your favorite meal? Any type of fresh fish cooked well.

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? Anything outdoors, hunting, fishing, dirt bikes, fourwheelers, coaching kids sports.

What do you do for a living? Run the Alabama Policy Institute. Have a business that does accounting and compliance work for political organizations. I also tinker with a few other ventures as well.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? 3X5 squats at 350.

Ab Mat Sit-up

Strong core, simple as that. The AbMat, when placed under the lumbar spine with the higher portion towards your hips creates this beautiful environment for the abdominal muscles to move through their full and available range of motion.

AbMat Sit-Up Setup

  1. Sit on the floor with the AbMat placed beneath your lower back, higher part under your lumbar.
  2. Legs are bent with feet on the floor.
  3. Sit tall.

Performing the sit-up

  1. Lay back over the ab mat reaching hands over head
  2. Reach to touch the floor overhead, extending your core over the ab mat
  3. Drive up leading with your arms, engaging your core.
  4. Touch your heels or the floor by your feet.
CrossFit Mudtown AbMat Sit Up

100 (then 200 and beyond) Classes Stronger!

There’s some new signage at CrossFit Mudtown that many of you have seen. To recognize the hard work and dedication members put in day in and day out we’ve added two signs that showcase those who have reached 100 classes attended and 200 classes attended since they became members at CrossFit Mudtown. You’ll find the signs upstairs above the shoe cubbies. This is a HUGE honor and we are so proud of the members (and future members) who have achieved this status!! These people have made their fitness a priority and worked hard to get where they are.

Here’s the current list of athletes at the 100 classes stronger level:

Brad Castro
Clay Childressclay signing poster
Jennifer Childress
Caleb Crosby
Alisha Crossley
Patrick Crossley
Tyler Destefano
Josh Fisher
Heather Harris
Nick Irvin
Jennifer Kimble
Julie Macon
Scott Patterson
Kristen Skinner
Will Slappey
Nicholas Smith
Heather Warwick

And Jennifer Kimble has reached the 200 classes stronger level! Scott Patterson and Nick Irvin are not far behind her.

We can say with all honesty that each and every one of those members have improved or reached a goal in some way. Whether it was hitting a strength PR, a weight loss goal, doing a pull-up or muscle-up, or just feeling better after a workout. They put in the time and marked something off their goal list.

We stress the importance of showing up, putting in the work, and allowing yourself to be a coachable athlete. Setting goals is a great start but you need to put in the time to achieve those goals. We all have things we would like to get better at, but if we do not invest the time we are not likely to get the results we are seeking. The road to fitness is endless, it’s all about journey. Making time to get to the gym is hard. Life is hectic and when you throw in family, work and extracurricular activities, it can seem impossible to find the time. Exercise has an amazing effect of improving your self-worth and more importantly your health. We encourage you to “make the time” and have pride when you enter the 100 (or 200) class club!!

Good luck on all your goals, and remember goals are achieved when you invest the time!!

A year in review

As we wrap up our 1-year anniversary celebration of CrossFit Mudtown there is so much to reflect on! We have not only grown as a gym and community but each of you have grown in some way through CFM. So many new friends, new PRs, new adventures, and more. We can’t wait to see what year two holds for us all. To remind you of all your greatness and achievements I wanted to recap the year month by month, event by event, PR by PR. Hopefully after looking over all you have done it will inspire you to go bigger this year!! Thank you for allowing us to do what we love and for being a part of our community!
Year in Review 2015-2016Jacki with equipment

– We sign CrossFit affiliate papers. Snag a building in Cahaba Heights. Order a ton of equipment. The gym is coming to fruition!
– The doors of CrossFit Mudtown officially opened! So many people helped make this gym a reality! From painting, stopping in to help move things in, watching our children, and just 12916809_1083710945025936_1588528137596754785_obeing there to say ‘it looks good!” we appreciated the support.
– We ran our first official workout that was open to the public at CFM. Everyone did Cindy.
– CrossFit Mudtown continues to grow its members and classes are starting to fill up!
– Conducted our first OnRamp beginners class.
– We held our official grand opening party that included a workout to anyone who wanted to join in on the fun! We did Fight Gone Bad and had support from family (who all traveled), old members, new members, and (old and new) friends.IMG_1076
– Jacki also competed in the Wodlife Summer games and it was her first competition as a Muddy!!
– We continue to grow and new members are joining almost daily!
– The Vestavia Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony welcoming us as a new business in Vestavia Hills.
– Nine athletes competed at the local competition Mayhem in the Mountain at Oak Mountain State Park. We had 3 teams, and 1 individual compete. Lainey, Alisha, Kelly, and Melinda led the ladies of CFM in a team. Danny, Nick I, Patrick, and Nick S were on a RX team and Clay, Leroy, Evan, Brian were on a scaled team. I was our RX individual athlete. Despite the heat we had more support than we could ever ask for! We had a tent set up and it was packed with friends and family throughout the day.
– We ran a kids workout for Kaidyn’s birthday and the coaches set up an obstacle course in the main work out area! The course included box (plate jumps) jumps, zig-zag sprints, tumbling, burpees, and much more!
– The gym sponsored a fun family event in Cahaba Heights called Back 2 School in the Hills. We had people try out equipment and chat more about CrossFit.
– A group of us participated in a service day hosted by the Vestavia Chamber. We picked up trash along Cahaba Heights Rd.
– The push up challenge left everyone at CFM with sore shoulders and better push up form! We challenged the members to do 3 ,000 push-ups this month. These push-ups could be done in any number amount anywhere you wanted! The winner of the challenge was Brian Warwick, but everyone that signed up completed the challenge!!
– Halloween was fun with a costume and pumpkin wod! After the workout we continued the fun upstairs with a party and pumpkin painting for kids.
– Jacki and a member of CrossFit Irondale competed in the Grid Iron games hosted by CrossFit Gardendale. They placed first in the competition.IMG_3539
– CrossFit held its first annual Lift Off event focusing on a 1 Rep Snatch, 1 Rep Clean and Jerk, and 1 Workout. This was set up like the CF open and we had many of our athletes register and participate.
– While the kids were on Christmas break we held a Mudtown kids class again! This workout included sled pushes and DL. The kids learned about healthy food choices using They enjoyed heathy fruit and cheese snack after the lesson.
– Coach Billy rowed 1 million meters in 2015!!! With the help of some friends he finished up his year-long goal at CFM!
– Kristen Skinner and Nick Smith competed in their first Olympic Lifting competition in Georgia. Nick placed 1st and Kristen 2nd in their respective weight classes.
– There was also something in the water at CFM because Jacki and Melinda announced they were pregnant and Nick Irvin announced he was going to be a daddy! (again)12646955_1037560482974316_7262504215491174071_n
– We had several athletes compete in the Wodlife Winter games this year. Jacki was on a team with a few girls from CrossFit Chelsea and CFM had 1 team of 4 compete. Danny, Clay, Brian, and Tyler did an awesome job representing CFM! Once again the CFM crew traveled and we were supported very well!
– We also had several athletes compete in the Tuff Love competition hosted by CrossFit Irondale with proceeds benefiting Christfit. Jacki and Sloan (from The Farm) Competed on an RX team as did Coach12745635_1045400088857022_4786589160218959246_n Danny and Coach Billy. Danny and Billy both hit huge PRs on the hang snatch and hang clean. Tyler and Brian did an awesome job battling through the WODs as did Clay and Nick! How can we all forget Clays “trip” that lead him to the scare of a lifetime!!
– The OPEN!!!! CrossFit Mudtown had over 35 members register and complete the Open this year and we could not be prouder! For 5 weeks we excitedly (some) waited for Dave Castro to dish out our poison. So many of you reached PR’s or completed movements you had never done before! There was lots of screaming, tears, and more high fives and hugs than we can count!!
-While the kids were on spring break we held another Mudtown kids class! The kids enjoyed a fun workout and healthy snack!
– The Assault Bike Gang was formed. Ride hard and fast my friends!!
– Mudtown Barbell was formed (hoping to get this on the regular schedule soon)
– Member appreciation week was April 25-30th. It was fun to see all our members being treated special and participating in everything we had going on that week.
– We hosted our 1st anniversary party and 1st Annual Muddy Awards. This was such a fun night and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

Wow! What a year. Looking at the goal board so many people have improved or were able to check something off their goal list this year! From getting a HSPU, PU, or DU, to hitting a new Clean and and Jerk PR, or a new FGB score, big goals were met.

We hope you all have had as much fun as we have and will continue on this crazy awesome ride we call functional fitness! Cheers!!

May Featured Member: Nick Irvin

Nick gets it. He shows up, works hard, encourages others. Basically just helps make the gym community thrive. We’re so proud of how far he’s come, even before his time at CrossFit Mudtown. He set out on a journey three years ago to become a better version of himself. He started doing CrossFit, cleaned up his eating and decided to surround himself with people who encourage and believe in him. He lost 80 pounds. He lifts like a beast. And he’s got an amazing goal of rowing 1 million meters in 2016. Keep up the amazing work you do Nick!

Member since: June 2015

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first experience/WOD? In the spring of 2014 I was attending a HIIT class offered after work.  I started reading about it and stumbled across this CrossFit thing.  I dropped in to another gym in Birmingham on a Thursday afternoon and was hooked. I don’t remember the WOD, except it had pull-ups. I flailed away on a band and spent the weekend trying to extend my arms again.

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? I try to get in the gym 5 days a week. Mostly 6 a.m. but I like to drop in to an afternoon every once in a while.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Just about anything with a barbell. Even thrusters.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? Toes to Bar.

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? Quality. Coaching, community, programming. I believe in surrounding yourself with people who bring a positive energy to life.  I found it in spades here.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? It’s home. I was born and raised here.

What accomplishment are you the most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? Three years ago Amanda and I jumped in to this thing called clean eating, which was the beginning of a radical change for our family’s health. Outside of the gym, I’m proud to say we eat clean, we talk about nutrition, and our kids are more educated about food than I was as an adult. That movement in health and nutrition opened my eyes to the possibility that I could still be active and fit, and ultimately brought me to the gym, where I’ve been able to lose close to 80 pounds, pull my chin over the bar, and pick up heavy things. Fast.Nick Irvin muddy awards

What is your favorite meal? Ribeye- medium rare.  Probably something green to go with it. And a chocolate chip cookie (or several).  You’ve got to live, right?!?

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? I love being a husband and father, so I try to spend as much free time as possible with Amanda and the kids.  So lazy days around the house, coaching kids soccer, and the occasional game of CandyLand in the living room floor make for a pretty cool weekend.

What do you do for a living? By degree I’m a Chemical Engineer. I manage an R&D function at Southern Company responsible for developing new ways to power the world.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? 500 lb deadlift is next up, but I can’t leave out the million-meter club.