CrossFit Open FAQ

  • What is the Open?

The Open is comprised of five workouts over five weeks. The workouts will be released every Thursday evening during the five weeks of the Open. You can watch the live announcement of the workout. It will be streamed on the CrossFit Games website.

The Open at  NELA Athletics is turned into a five week in house competition. There will be 3 levels:
Level 1 – Novice/Ignite
Level 2 – Intermediate
Level 3 – Rx

  • How do I sign up?

Click Me 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️

  • Can Ignite participate?

Yes! This year igniters can participate! The CrossFit Open workouts will be modified to fit Ignite standards. Ignite will be a shared division with Novice.

  • What if I can not make it to the 7:00pm Friday Night Lights?

You can come to your regular scheduled class during the day to complete the workout. You have until the following Monday to turn your score in so if you miss class you can come in on your own time to do it as long as you have a judge. Preferably a Coach.

  • What if I’m traveling?

If you are going to be out of town, contact the nearest CrossFit box and find out whether they are doing the Open WOD.  You can then check in with them about dropping in to a class to complete it. Be mindful that you may have to pay a drop in fee. Also if you are participating in the intermediate, novice or level 2 division, the scaling might be different at other boxes. Our scaling options will be available on zen planer if you are out of town.

  • What happens if I do not turn in my score?

If you miss a workout or you do not make it up in time, you will receive a 0 for that workout and it will affect your overall score

Omar Serrano

Have You Met Omar

  • How long have you been a member of Nela Athletics?

I have been a member of NELA athletics for 3 and a half years.

  • What’s your favorite CrossFit/Ignite achievement?

I joked with a coach when I first started that I’d throw a party when I got my first kipping pullup, so I’d have to go with my first unassisted kipping pullup.

  • How do you think you have benefited most from Nela Athletics?

I have definitely benefitted from NELA athletics the most by becoming a part of the community.

  • How has your life changed from when your first started to now. Can be physically, mentally, emotionally.

Joining NELA pushed me out of my comfort zone. Where in the past I would’ve been the type of person that popped in earbuds and worked out alone. I now have become more comfortable being with my group of friends.

  • What are your hobbies or activities you do enjoy outside of CrossFit?

I love doing things with music. I enjoy concerts, though I don’t go to as many as I used to, and I dj from time to time for fun.

  • What is one thing people don’t know about you?
I was a lead singer in a hip hop/metal band for about 5 years. A friend of mine asked me if I’d fill in as singer in a high school talent show in 11th grade, for some crazy reason I said yes though I’d never done anything like that in my life! We went on to play many local spots and even recorded a few tracks, this was way before SoundCloud lol.
  • If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you pick?

Impossible! I have different songs based on mood, or what emotions I’m trying to bring about or create.

Don’t Get Spoiled By Fresh Vegetables

Most people tend to rationalize their way through their nutritional decisions without much hard science (let’s face it usually no science) to back it up. When it comes to fruit and vegetable intake this is no exception. Many folks skip out on canned or frozen veggies counting them out as “nutritionally void”.


It turns out that may not be the case though. Foods that are frozen or canned may not be as pretty as the heirloom veggies you pick up at the farmers market, but don’t get it twisted. 

Research has shown these foods can actually contain higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals compared to their fresh cousins. Frozen veggies can be flash frozen and preserved the same day they are harvested. Fresh veggies on the other hand lose some of their nutritional value as soon as they are picked and experience a steady decline in vitamin and mineral content day after day. This isn’t a big deal if you buy local produce but if you rely on fruits and veggies from across the country then you might be missing out. 

Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, and E are less prone to oxidation when they are frozen or canned. This processing prevents the main oxidation factors of heat, light, and oxygen exposure.

Other areas to consider when it comes to fresh, frozen, or canned is that of cost and food waste. If you find yourself constantly buying fresh veggies and finding them spoiled in the back of your fridge then 1) you are not eating the vegetables and 2) you are wasting your money on them. Frozen and canned veggies will maintain their quality and are clearly set up for a longer shelf life than fresh produce. 

Don’t be afraid to change up your nutritional strategies. If your goal is to save money and eat more healthy food then it’s worth a shot!


5 Health Metrics That Are More Important Than Weight

For some strange reason American’s have chosen the scale as their favorite way to track progress around their health. People derive their sense of self worth based on the number facing up at them from between their feet. If you’re someone who draws any sort of emotional reaction, positive or negative, from the scale then you may want to self reflect and consider if there are better options out there. 



The funny part is that weight is such an inconsequential and ambiguous predictor of substance. Just consider this. If you have three avocados-one freshly picked and hard as a rock, one brown soft and ooze, and one firm ripe and tender-which one are you going to slice open to make your guacamole with? It shouldn’t matter if they all weigh 170 grams right…

What you are made of, how you feel, and what you are able to produce are all factors of way greater significance than your weight. 

What you weigh is going to constantly fluctuate. You may lose weight and be less healthy. You may be well hydrated one day and performing well then get totally thrown off because your weight went up a pound or two. This number doesn’t say who you are as a person or how healthy and fit you may be. It’s just an arbitrary number. Stop letting the pounds run your life and change the way you feel about yourself. Instead try one of these alternative ways that measure success off the scale!

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is an alternative way to track your progress and provides much more actionable information than just your weight in pounds. This takes into account your lean muscle mass. In this way you can actually gain weight in muscle which would consequently reduce your percentage of body fat. This is a clear example of how gaining weight would make you healthier. Plus as you add more muscle to your frame you will burn more calories at rest. The fat will disappear faster and faster on it’s own!


Taking specific measurements is a great way to achieve the goals around the way you want to look. Measuring neck, arm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf circumference can help you transform your body without ever worrying about the scale. Losing two inches off your waist will make you look and feel like a whole new person!

Habit Tracking

One of the best replacements for weighing yourself is to instead track daily health habits. If you track metrics like sleep, hydration, servings of veggies, daily walking, and other relevant habits you can focus on the right behaviors to make you look and feel great in the long run. This takes discipline but it is essential to long lasting transformation.

Performance Metrics

Switching your focus to the weight on the bar is a great alternative to the scale. People will often train harder and longer in pursuit of strength and performance goals than solely for aesthetic purposes. If you push yourself more in training the results will speak for themselves!


Paul Digs Up Some FIt

We all know Paul, but do we REALLY know Paul? In this episode we do a deep dive into Paul Austad’s past, his childhood in Minnesota, what brought him to LA, and the experiences that made him who he is. It’s one of the most refreshingly honest conversations we’ve had yet. Also, fill-in cohost Dayvora has another fitness tip for you.

Check out this episode!

Alexis Villarreal

Have you met Alexis

  • How long have you been a member of Nela Athletics?

6 years

  • What’s your favorite CrossFit/Ignite achievement?

The muscle up.

  • How do you think you have benefited most from Nela Athletics?

Establishing a regular fitness routine, and getting to workout with some pretty great people!

  • How has your life changed from when your first started to now. Can be physically, mentally, emotionally.

Physically I’m a lot more athletic all around.

  • What are your hobbies or activities you do enjoy outside of CrossFit?

Traveling, hiking, snorkeling, attempting to surf, spending time with my wife, dogs and my cat, binging Netflix.

  • What is one thing people don’t know about you?

I’m a nerd that likes video games.


Bobby Balsama

Have you met Bobby?


  • How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I have been doing CrossFit for 15 years now.

  • What’s your favorite CrossFit achievement?

Being part of SEAL-Fit and graduating Kokoro Camp 12.

  • How has your life changed from when your first started to now. Can be physically, mentally, emotionally.

CrossFit allows me to continually test my heart. After training for so long you learn to trust the training you’ve done, but it all comes down to how uncomfortable you’re willing to be. That’s why community is so important. Who you’re surrounded by matters. Coaches guide the culture of a gym but the members define it.

  • What are some hobbies or activities you are into besides CrossFit?

I am a professional guitar players.

  • One thing people don’t know about you?

I was in a Cure cover band called Another Emotion. My mom used to help me put eye liner on and paint my nails.

  • If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you pick?

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record – Sweetest Kill

  • If you could pick three famous people to be a part of your entourage, who would you pick?

Tommy Chong, Bruce Lee, Trever Noah.

Welcome to the Weight Buffet: How to Fuel Up for your Workout

If the weights ever feel heavy after your warmup sets or you find yourself coming out of the gate too hard during the would you’re not alone. Rather than crumple into a pile of gasps and sweat maybe you should consider fueling up DURING your workout. 

We all know how important fuel is to building muscle. The right nutrition can heavily impact your path towards your goals negatively or positively. In this article we’ll talk about the right way to approach your workout nutrition, depending on your fitness goals.

The body needs carbohydrates, proteins and fats in order to function. The body will use whatever fuel is available to keep functioning and get you through your workouts. As we talk about what to sip on during your workout, your goals on how and what you want your body to use as fuel is important. Before we dive into some ideas to help you towards your goals, be sure you’re getting your nutrition on track overall otherwise getting into the specific won’t really help you. Getting your nutrition right around your workouts has to be your first priority. If you’re not already eating well around your workouts, focus on the basics first before incorporating intra workout nutrition.

If performance or building muscle is your priority this one’s for you. In order to build muscle, your body needs enough calories for all of it’s normal daily functions and then some. For those interested in building muscle, incorporating carbohydrates and protein during your workouts will ensure your body isn’t breaking down your valuable muscle to keep your workouts fueled. Powders that are easily digestible will be easiest to take during your training sessions. There are many supplements out there with simple carbohydrates and protein. For protein sources look for whey protein isolates or hydroslates or even a high quality branched chain amino acids (BCAA) powder. Pair this with an easily digested carbohydrate source such as dextrose, maltodextrin, or glucose. A good rule of thumb is 30 grams of carbs per hour while strength training and 5-10 grams of protein or bcaa’s. Do your homework, stick to clean ingredients and avoid anything you can’t understand. If it sounds like a chemical it probably is.

If your primary goal is to lose fat, and hopefully maintain the muscle mass you’ve got, your best bet is going to be to sip on BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during your workout. You want your primary fuel source to come from your fat stores, so adding a simple carbohydrate supplement won’t benefit you until you’ve lost the fat you’re looking to lose. Taking BCAAs helps your body use those easily digested proteins for fuel before breaking down your muscles. Fat is hard to utilize during your workouts so your body will have a tendency to try to break down what’s readily available, which in this case are your muscles.

Please don’t try to guzzle a shake before you jump into Fran or another high intensity metcon that will have you running to the bathroom. Your may become extremely nauseous since the body is trying to push fresh blood flow to your working muscles and can’t effectively digest at the same time. Instead sip on your shake during your power lifts and Olympic lifts then finish it off AFTER the metcon. You’ll thank me later.

Above all, always sip on water throughout your workouts and get real about the kind of work you’re doing. Giving your body what it needs to perform is essential to your goals. Be smart and do what’s right for you!

Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Deadlifts

People tend to have polarized feelings about deadlifts. Either they love them or they hate them. If you love deadlifts this is usually for one of three potential reasons. 

You already pull heavy weight. You are considered “strong” or “really good at that” so you enjoy doing it more. Yay dopamine!

Maybe you are favorably built for deadlifts with relatively shorter legs, a relatively longer torso, and long arms. (Ape index off the charts!) You seem to PR every time you walk into the gym.

It’s also possible that you grew up on a farm and have been lugging hay bales and drinking raw milk your whole life. Lifting heavy sh*% is a walk in the park for you.

If you don’t fall into one of those categories then there is still hope. Let’s explore the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts!

  1. Ditch the Mixed Grip
  2. Dial in Your Setup Position
  3. Train Deadlift Variations

1.Ditch the Mixed Grip

One of the best ways to start improving your deadlift is to ditch the mixed grip. Many people worry that grip will be a limiting factor at their maximal percentage lifts but you can easily overcome this by implementing a hook grip. This takes some getting used to since you’ve probably never lifted a bar of this weight with a hook grip and the pressure can seem unreal. Try taping your thumbs the first few sessions to take some of the edge off. The benefits of a double overhand grip is better position on the bar, less torque on the hips and spine, and decreased strain on the bicep. Build up this strength in your training sessions and if you really need to resort to a mixed grip for a competition or 1RM attempt then you will be better for waiting.

2. Dial in Your Setup Position

One of the biggest issues you may be facing with deadlifts is the setup. That first pull off the ground never feels quite right. To overcome this you can practice rolling the bar into position. This may feel more comfortable and your body will naturally find the right position without you fidgeting around. If you are new to lifting or know that your mobility is lacking then you may find it beneficial to practice pulling off of blocks. The higher start position will make it easier for you to engage your posterior chain. Another good option here is to work from the top down with lighter loads. Take the loaded bar from a rack or higher blocks and start standing tall, hips fully extended. Keeping your back and core tight and start pushing your hips toward the wall behind you as the bar descends down your thighs. Keep the bar in contact with your legs and the weight in the middle of your foot and heels. Practice lowering down in a slow control fashion taking 4-5 seconds to lower for each rep. If you have a hard time finding the right position then you should take some one on one time to work with a coach who can provide the right cues to get you properly set up.

3. Train Deadlift Variations

Another way to build confidence in your deadlift is to explore different deadlift variations. Sumo deadlifts, single arm, single leg, trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, atlas stones, dballs and tire flips will all help you. Getting stronger is going to help even if it is non specific. There’s no shortage of heavy stuff to pick up off the ground! These variations will train your grip, stabilizers, and strengthen many smaller muscles of the glutes and hamstrings that may not get fully recruited in your normal deadlift style. 

There you go, the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts. Now go find a coach and pull some big numbers!