Full Circle Blog

The best damn Crossfit blog around.

The Journey to Becoming a CrossFitter

The Journey to Becoming a CrossFitter

By Ryan Burns It all starts one day when you’re doing your usual evening routine. You realize that something needs to change in your life. You invest in one of those trendy home workout programs. But, working out at home mostly doesn’t end well. So, one day you see a Groupon for a CrossFit gym. You sign up and tell a friend. He/She explains that if you do CrossFit your kidneys will explode. You ignore your friend. You show up for your intro class. The coaches tells you that they’re gonna show you how to clean and jerk. After that, they say they’ll work on your snatch. You complete your intro classes and get to start participating in the regular WODs. Then you actually do your first real WOD. While it isn’t always easy, you keep showing up and working hard. Now that you’re working out more, you notice your appetite is increasing. You learn about macros. Your deadlift is getting pretty heavy and you’re feeling good. Then you see someone snatch it. You get your first CrossFit injury. (Probably from trying to snatch your deadlift.) You get better. You get back in the gym. You set new PRs. And then, finally, your big day arrives… Your crush a WOD you get your name on the whiteboard.   Ryan started his journey to being a CrossFitter at CrossFit Full Circle 2 years ago. When not writing here, he blogs at...
Reflecting on the RVA Open and Why I Compete at Weightlifting

Reflecting on the RVA Open and Why I Compete at Weightlifting

By Erin Potter I was fortunate enough to compete at the RVA Open Sanctioned Meet a few weeks ago, along with some fellow gymmates. First,I feel I need to state what a great event it was — well run, full of friendly folks, organized, close to home. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to compete. I recently read this article, and it really resonated with me. It includes a list of reasons why you should compete in weightlifting. After finishing the RVA Open (my fourth meet) and feeling a little underwhelmed at my lift results, I took a look back through the article, pulled out my notebooks that track my workouts and PRs, tallied my meet scores, and checked myself. It became clear that I actually hit different goals than I was expecting when I signed up. Why do I compete in Olympic weightlifting? It certainly isn’t because I’m lifting the best numbers around. I’m not at all, but there is something about it that keeps me coming back and motivates me. So, in rereading the article I mentioned, I found some clarity and reassurance. Competing gives me something to train and prepare for. I need motivation or I’ll get lost in the slow increments of upping PRs. In looking back at meets, my total (snatch + clean and jerk) has gone up by 4 kilos in 8 months. While my PRs in the gym are a little better than that, it just didn’t feel that great when I did the math. So, I didn’t meet my lift goals, but realized that I totally hit my body weight...
Being an Intern at CrossFit Full Circle

Being an Intern at CrossFit Full Circle

By Carson Fralin, CFFC Intern My internship experience so far has been packed full of information and a lot of learning about the culture of this CrossFit gym, which is not like other gyms. This gym has a very friendly and family-oriented community that ranges from 20-year-olds who like CrossFit to middle-aged mothers training for Strongman. I am both observing and participating in the Barbell class in the mornings to get a feeling of what it is like to go through my supervisor’s program. While I do some general intern work here and there, I am mostly helping coaches guide members through the CrossFit workouts and helping to correct technique and demonstrate exercises when the coach is reviewing an exercise with the class. Observing the weightlifting classes, which are referred to as Barbell classes, has given me an insight into how a coach manages and coaches upwards of eight-to-10 weightlifters at a time, some of which are not doing the same weightlifting program as others, which can become confusing since the coach also has to keep the lifters moving at an efficient pace. The majority of the members taking the barbell class are between 30 and 50 years of age which was taken into great consideration when my supervisor wrote his eight-week cycles. Understanding an appropriate amount of volume in balance with intensity with a given population age requires a little more creativity in the overall programming, so as to allow for enough stimulus, but not too much. I’ve developed some SMART goals for my internship – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Develop an effective warm-up specific to weightlifters using relevant mobility and...
Ragnar Trail Richmond – CrossFit Full Circle’s Team WhipSip

Ragnar Trail Richmond – CrossFit Full Circle’s Team WhipSip

By Team WhipSip   A super cool, fun group of endurance athletes from Full Circle participated in an awesome event called Ragnar Trail at Pocohontas Park a few weeks ago. This race (let’s be honest, it’s a running party) involved teams of eight, running relay-style on three different single-track trail loops that start and finish at Ragnar Village (“Tent City”). Teams run day and night until each member has completed all three trail loops. Each participant runs at least 16 miles in 21 hours. Our team had a blast from start to finish. The organizational process in itself was exhilarating. We named ourselves Team WhipSip (for “What Happens in Pocohontas Stays in Pocohontas”), we had T-shirts and flags, and here’s how it went down. Jody: Ragnar has been on my bucket list for a long time, so I was stoked to be part of the inaugural year at Pocahontas. As team captain, all the work that went into the event felt like I was getting ready for a big party… checking things off the list, communicating, and getting organized, thanks in no small part to my co-captain Megan. But, when I got there, I was nervous as hell. A riled up basket case. I couldn’t sit, couldn’t relax, couldn’t really have a conversation with anyone. Waiting for my heat was torture; I just wanted to run. As soon as my feet strode out onto the trail all those nerves melted, and I was practically alone in the woods. The silence of the trail was a counterpoint; opposite of the noise and activity of the bustling tent city, filled with 250 teams of...
So here I am, signed up for Strongman.

So here I am, signed up for Strongman.

By Mary Carbonneau A few years ago, I started training with kettlebells. My husband found a deal for a local club, and after we went together, I became hooked. We mainly worked with kettlebells and a lot of body weight and mobility exercises. I remember one night in 2013, we had a deadlift challenge at the club and that was a thrill (I pulled a 200# DL that night.) It was then that I had my first glimpse of this desire to find out what I am capable of. It’s an amazing feeling to feel “strong.” Strength training has taught me to care less about my weight on the scale, and more about the weight I can lift. Recently, my neighbor decided to start training for Strongman events. She suggested that I come to a Saturday class at CrossFit Full Circle to try out some of the implements they lift. I simultaneously thought she was insane and was intrigued, and in my usual style, when a friend comes to me and just suggests that we try some new adventure, I provided my usual response of “OKAY!” (It’s both a blessing and a curse.) I came to the Saturday strongman class at Full Circle last fall and I lifted more than some, and I lifted less than others. And It was fun. I surprised some people, and I surprised myself. It was a good feeling. I got bruises because of the awkward, pinchy items that we lifted, like kegs over a bar. I came back for a second Saturday, and ultimately, the voices in my head (some my own and some belonging to other coaches of...
CrossFit’s Unexpected Impact on my Professional Life

CrossFit’s Unexpected Impact on my Professional Life

By Pient Tran I’ve had a number of experiences that have shaped my career. The standard stuff, like graduating from college,  missing a deadline, dealing with my first combative stakeholder, and experiencing the Great Recession have all contributed to my success in the professional world. They’ve taught me balance, humility, healthy skepticism, and how to be a great listener and the art of empathy in the business setting. They’ve taught me about mistakes never to make again. However, I would say that one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had, and what I can attribute my most recent success to, is a bit unconventional. Yes, I’m talking about CrossFit. I’ve been part of the Full Circle community since 2013. I work in financial services and was generally a fit guy. I, like many others, saw a Groupon and thought this would be a good opportunity to learn how to pick up something heavy. My fitness routine had no real experience with any type of bell, be it dumb, bar, or kettle, opting to run for miles on end. I ran 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, on the road and trails, but the weight room was not my place. My first experiences at Full Circle were tough but exciting. I came in and excelled in the endurance-related instruction but what I started to really enjoy was the challenge of the strength training. I was hooked on getting better, faster and stronger. After fundamentals, the experience shifted, in a major way. The WODs were grueling, mountain-sized obstacles to me getting back home to my family, or to dinner with my wife, or...
Who is Virginia’s Strongest Athlete?

Who is Virginia’s Strongest Athlete?

By Jason Struck On June 25, CrossFit Full Circle will host our second sanctioned Strongman contest. This contest will be sanctioned by United States Strongman (USS), of which Jason Struck is the state chair for Virginia. That means the weight classes are a little different, but other than that, things will look pretty similar! The national chair of USS will be present to confirm any and all record attempts. This will be THE premier USS event in Virginia this year, and we hope to build on our prior success and the success of this show for future events! At our last show, The Beer City Brawl, we had about 50 athletes compete on the day of the show. By all accounts, that went pretty well (see this review). As of today, we already have 45 registered athletes with over 6 weeks left to register. If you know anything at all about Strongman shows, you’ve probably observed that about 25% of the athletes sign up at the last minute, so we are looking forward to maybe 20-30 more before we start to cap divisions. And in order to run the best, most well-organized and smooth-running show, we just might have to. For example, there are some stacked classes already: Middleweight Women: 7 registered  Novice Men: 10 already signed up Middleweight Men: 9 committed and ready Heavyweight Men: 7 (or more) will compete for the title! With as many as 60-70 athletes, we can also reasonably expect to see 100-200 spectators over the course of the day. That means there’s going to be a great crowd cheering on these men and women...
Come On, Ride the Full Circle Endurance Train

Come On, Ride the Full Circle Endurance Train

By Megan Connolly Edwards I am a 4-plus-year member of Full Circle who began coaching endurance classes and personal training clients about a year ago. Fitness, especially endurance, is my passion, and I have come into my own through coaching. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am on a crazy happy train ride. I am incredibly grateful to Coach Matt and Coach Rachel for urging me in and to our amazing athletes who make each program and each session so fun and fulfilling. I want to tell you about what Full Circle Endurance has been up to and all the awesome stuff we have coming up. I WANT YOU ON OUR CRAZY HAPPY TRAIN!!! The Full Circle Endurance program just wrapped up its 10-week Monument 10K training program, in which 19 athletes attended three sessions per week. We focused on pose running form with lots of drills before each session. Each week included one short interval (sprints) workout, one long interval workout (sets of 800’s and above), and one longer weekend tempo run or time trial. We also did mobility after each session and had four yoga classes by the fabulous Michael Steeves. Just like with everything else at our gym, our endurance workouts were meticulously programmed based on percentages of prior maxes. The science behind it, the work ethic of our athletes, and our dedicated coaching yielded some awesome results: Twelve of the 16 athletes who competed (75%) PR’d their 10K times. Of those 12, seven PR’d by over a minute and three PR’d by over seven minutes! Our athletes have had a lot of great things to say about...
Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

By Megan Parker Hey y’all! If you’ve seen me in the gym, there is a good chance you have no idea what I am training for. To be honest, if you ask, I’ll give you a pretty long list spanning a lot of things. In the past year, I’ve trained for and completed a CrossFit partner competition, a Strongma’am competition, two 12-hour endurance events, two half marathons, and an Olympic weightlifting competition. You may be wondering why I can’t seem to make a decision on what exactly I want to do, and while training, ADHD might have a little something to do with it. The truth is, I don’t ever want to get comfortable again. I’ve written a post before on finding CrossFit Full Circle at a low point in my life – overweight, in an unhealthy relationship and emotionally stunting job, and having no idea what I wanted. I was very comfortable being comfortable, and that had gotten me in a hole. The first thing I did was sign up and keep showing up to Full Circle for the intro program. I saw a lot of changes physically and emotionally. I lost about 45 pounds and started making significant decisions outside of the gym. I left the unhealthy relationship, I transferred jobs, and I started making gym goals. I met with Matt about specific gym issues that made me uncomfortable, which at the time were the Olympic lifts during a WOD. Being an awesome coach, he pushed me to sign up for a competition. I got really uncomfortable really quickly. I came out stronger both physically and emotionally, and that’s where the crazy...
CrossFit as an Adaptive Athlete

CrossFit as an Adaptive Athlete

By James Shea After my first CrossFit experience, I thought it would be my last. At the time, I lived in Tennessee with my wife. Several friends had drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid and raved about their strength and fitness gains. I was a little bit nervous to join the movement. For me, CrossFit is a little different. Well, a lot different really. I was born with one arm. I have exercised throughout my life. I biked. I hiked. I ran. I snowboarded. I have done a lot of weight lifting, but it’s been with dumbbells and Nautilus-type equipment. CrossFit was a very foreign concept for me. The CrossFit gym in Tennessee was located in a large warehouse. I signed up for the free introductory class, and when I walked into the gym, the owner/trainer looked at me, realizing unexpectedly that I have adaptive needs. He asked several awkward questions, and then put me through a workout. It was difficult, and I couldn’t walk down stairs for several days. Something, however, left a bad taste in my mouth. It was not the first time that had happened. People often don’t challenge me enough or know how to approach me. He obviously felt uncomfortable about my disability and was unable to think in an adaptive manner. Last summer, I visited home on the west coast to see my family. I got beers with a childhood friend and his wife who are huge CrossFit advocates. They praised the CrossFit culture and said everyone at their gym was positive and understanding. I talked about my disability, they encouraged me to try CrossFit again, and so I did. My wife and I...