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Rockwall fitness team nearly qualifies for national CrossFit Games in L.A.

By J.J. Smith. A six-person team from the CrossFit Rockwall fitness center recently finished in ninth place in the Southwest Regional CrossFit Games in Ft. Worth, barely missing qualifying for the national CrossFit games in Los Angeles.

Although only the top eight teams made it to Los Angeles, and the team was disappointed, CrossFit Rockwall owners Mike and Mary Woodruff said they were thrilled that the growth of their workout facility located on N. Goliad just outside The Shores subdivision, enabled them to hold tryouts to determine the members of the team.

Team members were the Woodruffs and local residents Lisa Alves, Amy Hadsell, Mark Khamboonphet and Michael Zobeck.

Mike Woodruff explained their team worked very hard to prepare for the Regional event.

“We held tryouts in late January to establish our team so we could start working together to prepare for Regionals,” he said.

“After the tryouts, we got together most weekends to do team workouts, some days doing multiple workouts to prepare for the expected workload the weekend of Regionals.”

“During the week, we worked as individuals on weaknesses. We felt one of our weaknesses was our strength, so we worked hard on that. We did strength work, we did workouts with heavy loads, and we coached each other on the skill-based movements (like the Olympic lifts).”

“The entire team showed huge improvements in strength, so the weights used in the competition were manageable, and we were not surprised by anything.”

“Our workout programming prepared us well for the workouts that showed up during the competition, as we had performed all of the movements (deadlift, double-unders, thrusters, push-ups, hang power cleans, ring dips, overhead squats, and rowing) many times in preparation, even though we did not know the workouts until we got there.”

At the regional event, team members competed in three different events.

Woodruff said the first was accumulating as many reps as possible in seven minutes of Deadlift and Double-Unders, after an initial buy-in of 100 Double-Unders and 25 Deadlift.

The second workout was completing the following workload as quickly as possible:

100 Thrusters
100 Push-ups
100 Hang Power Cleans
100 Ring Dips
100 Overhead Squats

The final workout involved a relay on the Rowing machine, trying to row as far as possible in 24 minutes.

Mary Woodruff said the judges told the team multiple times how good their form was on everything.

“Our coaches emphasize form with our athletes during every class, so to hear this from the judges at a competition was a tremendous compliment to our athletes and coaches.” she said.

Team member Alves explained the events were a “major eye opener” for her.

“Being on the CrossFit Rockwall team was such a cool experience and a major eye opener for me,” she said.

“I had been working out there for about six months when the challenge to try out for the team came up. I was curious to see how I would perform, so I decided to give it a go. I knew I was nowhere near the level of Mike or Mary but I knew what kind of motivators and excellent coaches they are that they would get me to where I needed to be to compete.”

“Meeting with the team every week and getting to really know everyone was a very fun experience. We shared our aches and pains from pushing our bodies to the ultimate limit. Seeing how much progress everyone was making on each lift or skill was motivation to keep me working harder and harder.”

She added that the athletes at the Games were “impressively strong.”

“CrossFit athletes are so impressively strong. I started to realize I have a long way to go to really compete on their level.”

“I hope I did well, even though we didn’t make it to the CrossFit Games in California. The experience was still very worth the challenge. I’m ready to do it again.”

According to Mary Woodruff, a nationally-certified fitness coach who first opened the CrossFit Rockwall in 2006 in her garage, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning fitness methodology that promotes total body fitness by combining weightlifting, sprinting and gymnastics into a series of events.

She said that many athletes have been attracted to CrossFit because it’s so much more challenging and fun working out with a group than the typical weightlifting or running alone on a treadmill. She said the methodology has also become very popular with the military and law enforcement nationwide.

She became acquainted with CrossFit when she completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA. Although her commission into the Marine Corps did not go through, she said she really benefited from the structure and discipline that the military offered her.

After graduating with a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Florida, she worked at L-3 in Greenville for two years before opening the gym now located just outside The Shores subdivision in The Shops at Ridge Creek, at 3045 N. Goliad in Rockwall.

CrossFit Rockwall also offers diet and nutrition counseling, seminars and programs for kids.

For a free workout or more info, call 972-454-XFIT (9348), visit CrossFitRockwall.com, or see their Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/CrossFitRockwall.

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