All posts by Katie Norris

Always Improving: Why We Love This Gymnastics Course

Cullen working on kipping.

CrossFit, the technical definition: constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.

CrossFit, the regular people’s definition: do all the the things!

How do we do all the things? How do we do olympic lifting, running, gymnastics, balance, strongman, jumping, and more?

We have to keep learning.

The intricacies of how to do a movement more efficiently and safely are always evolving and in order to be good CrossFitters, we call on experts in each area to help us move better.

For the past six weeks, over ten of us from CrossFit Hale took a gymnastics course with Mark Freeman. Mark is an elite international gymnast, performer and coach from Manchester, England. He is also an assistant coach for the Cal Men’s Gymnastics team

His program is “a methodology based upon functional movement, injury prevention, gymnastics fundamentals, and acrobatic awareness.” His philosophy is a perfect match with Crossfit. It focuses on helping all of us to learn how to do gymnastics movements better, safer, and with more efficiency. In six weeks, Mark taught us the intricacies of handstands, kipping, muscleups, pushups, and more.

All of us loved the session so much, that Mark is coming back for another six-week session, and we want you to join us!

Why do we love Mark’s class?:

It “[went] back to the basics and made them hard again. Humbling and inspiring at the same time. A reminder that there’s always room for improvement.” – Larry

“I think the gymnastics course was amazing… It’s a course that caters to everyone- all skill levels. I think that it is helpful in not only teaching proper form but giving helpful exercises to learn each step of that form in a controlled manner. Lastly it has been incredibly helpful for someone like me who doesn’t have as much mobility, to learn and find more avenues to gain that mobility I am lacking.” – Cullen

Marks “Warmup is worth it’s weight in gold! Plus, being able to compare your own movement patterns vs. a near “gold quality” standard (Mark’s movement) — big aha moments of ‘So that’s how it’s supposed to look!’”- Mike

Coach Heidi learns technique for kipping on the rings.

“I don’t have handstands or kipping, but Mark still helped me improve. I was actually able to kick up to my first spotted handstand ever! Everyone should take this course.” – Katie

Check out Mark’s website, the Freeman Technique, and sign up for his next class at the front desk or email Ashley. The course starts this Wednesday!!! (10/18)

See you in the box,

Coach Katie

What Do You Mean, “No Excuses?”


What does that mean to you?

When you see it on social media, it’s laced with bravado:



Life should not be so hard that you have to FIGHT it all the time!

The truth is…”no excuses” means that you get to OWN your choices, and own your life.

It acknowledges that life is difficult. Really difficult. There are often circumstances outside of your control that make many of our goals, or even our daily needs, pretty impossible.

When we say “no excuses” we mean that we want to help you put your self-care and life goals at the forefront, because you matter!

“No excuses” really means- How can we help you get through this?

Carrie helps Jessica get ready for a CrossFit Open 2017 workout.

We happen to be at the beginning of a “No Excuses Challenge” right now, but, challenge or no challenge, all of us at Hale are trying to help each other fight through the difficulties in life. The coaches help you with this, but we see you helping each other every day!

Hale friends text each other in the evenings asking; “Did you see tomorrow’s WOD? Looks terrible! Want to meet me at 6:30??”

You cheer each other on when someone is struggling through a workout.

Notes of encouragement left throughout the box during the CrossFit Open 2017 workouts.

You have put together food brigades for Haler’s who have been in the hospital.

Haler’s pet sit for each other for vacations and family emergencies. You do each other’s laundry, and help clean each other’s homes when someone is sick, and you watch each other’s kids!

You have helped each other find new jobs, and get out of situations that were unhealthy.

You celebrate birthdays, new babies, new jobs, you even send off Haler’s who move out of state so that they know Hale will always be their home, no matter where they live.

You literally help each other fight through difficult things in life so that you can all have “no excuses” and take care of yourself and your families. You make life better for each other.

Hale Teens celebrating birthdays!

I don’t know what “no excuses” means to the rest of the world, but I like what it means at CrossFit Hale.

See you in the box,

Coach Katie

Out of the Box: Eat for Fuel

This post is part of our “Out of the Box” series which talks about what we need to do outside of the CrossFit box in order to improve inside the box.

If you are not getting the results you want in your workouts, you might need to look at your nutrition.

If you are dragging and slow during a Metcon with 400 meter runs in it and you tell me you only eat two meals a day, that is not enough food to support your workout.

If you are feeling sick during a workout and ate pizza and beer the night before, your nutrition is not supporting your workout.

If you can’t do a pullup even though you have the form down, you may need to increase muscle, which means changing your nutrition.

Teens from Hale Teens Camp 2017 learning about nutrition from Coach Heidi.

We have been taught a lot of inaccurate things about nutrition, but at Hale, we believe the purpose of nutrition is to help you feel and function better.

While I have been doing everything right in the box, I still was not getting the results I wanted. Over the past three months I focused on looking at my nutrition as fuel and I have seen great results.  My weights on lifts have increased, I can jump higher for box jumps and double unders, and I finally got toes-to-bar.

Eating enough food, eating foods that build muscle, and decreasing foods that cause inflammation in your body will help you perform to the best of your ability in the box, at work, and at home.

Our general recommendation for nutrition that fuels your body is to eat half your plate full of veggies, a palm sized portion of meat, some nuts and seeds, some fruit and some healthy fat, little starch, and no sugar. Eat enough to give you energy for your workouts and day, but not so much that you feel tired and sluggish.

Feel free to ask any of our coaches about your nutrition, set up a nutrition consultation with Coach Heidi, or join our No Excuses Challenge (6 weeks nutrition challenge with an accountability partner and lots of support).

Our next No Excuses Challenge starting up on September 18, 2017- sign up at the front desk today!

See you in the box,

Coach Katie

How I Learned to Love Partner WODs

I used to HATE partner workouts.

When you’re always the slowest, and you have to scale everything, they aren’t your favorite thing to do.

How do you partner with someone if you aren’t as good as them?

What if you hold them back?

What if they regret it?

All this goes through my head every time I see the words “In pairs” before the workout of the day.

I have found, with some experience, that they are not all bad.

In fact, I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons by working out with a friend.

Jessica and Lori finishing up a long partner WOD.

Here are the best things you can get from a partner wod:

  • You push past your “normal” pace. When that person is relying on you to get through something, you don’t give up quite as easily, or rest quite as much…AKA, you push past your limits, and find NEW limits.
  • You try new things! You’ll climb a little higher on the rope, or add just a little more weight to the bar. That extra push helps you reach just a little further than you would by yourself.
  • You gain some empathy. When you see your partner struggling, it reminds you how hard it is for EVERYONE (not just you). Sometimes, you’re even better than your partner, and you help lift them up!
  • We learn to be part of a community. In a community you help each other. For example, most runs on a partner workout are done together, and you do not run faster than your partner. You learn to stick together, no matter what. It is okay to run slower than you can, to support your partner, and it is also okay if your partner needs to slow down for you.
Candice and Gabby sharing Kettlebell Swings.

Ok, so I still don’t really LOVE partner workouts, but there are always ways for you to learn through them.

And the truth is, in the end, you still get a high five! 🙂

See you in the box,

Coach Katie