Zachary Uzzell Thiel Fitness

CrossFit Coach & Specialist in training Olympic Lifting athletes
Recent Tweets @Zutfit

Friends and family, most of you who know me know I don’t post on Facebook very often, but I wanted to share some things that have been happening in my life over the last few months with one major thing that happened this past Monday.

After years of physical inactivity and being thoroughly disgusted with myself in how I felt, how much I weighed, and how tired I was all the time I decided to do something about it. My lovely wife Amy Boozer Franklin had been encouraging me for several months to try out CrossFit and do so at CrossFit Central because several of her friends and co-workers go to that gym and really like it. At the end of September I made the decision to check out CrossFit Central and enroll in their Elements Class which is comprised of three 1 hour sessions to go over exercises performed in class and assess the individuals fitness level. Well to say the least I was very unfit and couldn’t even complete the introductory Elements class…I showed up all 3 days but was physically unable to finish. Still I decided to enroll in the regular CrossFit classes. In the beginning I often asked myself, “What did you get yourself into and why did you sign up for this?”. But I kept pushing and kept showing up on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. CrossFit Central also holds monthly nutritional meetings and I decided to attend one where I was introduced to the Paleo Diet. I decided to give it a try since I knew my current eating habits were not good, not good at all (lots of eating out, eating too much, and drinking too many sodas). My CrossFit Central coach, Zachary Thiel, is awesome and always encouraging, but also pushes us to do our best and keep moving. He also introduced me to Advocare, which is a supplement company based in Plano, TX. I started on AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge. The combination of switching to a Paleo diet, taking the 24 day AdvoCare challenge and 2 days a week of CrossFit classes enabled me to lose between 10-15 pounds in the first month or so. I continue to take several Advocare supplements to aid in recovery from the workouts, provide an energy boost, and help with my weight loss. I now attend the 5:30am T/Th class. You read that right people, that’s AM not PM. You can pick yourselves up off the floor after passing out from the shock of me getting up that early. I actually get up between 4-4:30am so I can get ready and make the drive to the gym and stretch before class. Since mid-January I’ve added a 3rd day of CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting by joining a small group that my coach leads at noon on Fridays.

Well since the last week of September, 2013 I’ve managed to lose 35 pounds, drop 2 pants sizes, and on Monday, March 3rd my doctor took me off blood pressure medication that I’ve been taking for the past 4 years. Getting off the blood pressure medication was one of the big motivations I had when I began this journey. My lovely, supportive wife and two cute, wonderful, and sweet children are the other huge motivators for me to keep headed down this life transformation. And lastly I really wanted to make this change for myself. I think it would be even more difficult than it is to make these changes and keep at it if I was only doing this for others and not myself too. I feel better than I have in a long time. I have more energy now than I did 6 months ago (helps me keep up with the kids) and am at a weight that I haven’t seen in over 20 years.

I really enjoy the sport of CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting and would encourage anyone who’s thought about checking it out to find a good CrossFit gym and try it for yourself. And you don’t have to be in shape to try it…everything can be scaled to help you perform the exercises. For those of you who live in Austin, I highly recommend CrossFit Central. All of the coaches are great and are there to help you succeed in meeting your goals. I want to give a big shout out to Zachary Thiel at CrossFit Central…thanks coach! And thank you to Amy Franklin for being so supportive; and encouraging me to get off my lazy butt and try this out in the first place. I love you!

CrossFit + Paleo + Advocare = BIG RESULTS

I am incredibly proud to coach Jason and love his dedications and drive. Goes to show when you have a purpose anything is possible! 

Way to go Jason!!


“I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person.” -Og Mandino


If I don’t read this from time to time I feel like I might explode with rage and reckless abandon. I have a burning desire in my heart to be great and spread light in the world, I just sometimes let the world get in my way…….. I WILL ACT NOW!

And the first meet of 2014 is in the books! I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be but I hit the numbers I wanted to hit. The final Clean & Jerk I attempted was actually a meet Clean PR and would have been a meet Clean & Jerk PR. Most of the strength I’ve lost has been in the overhead snatch position, but the strength seems to be coming back.

With my tender old age of thirty six I have had to train smarter and have learned that I do my best lifting after taking two days off before going for max lifts. I have also had to focus more on small technical glitches I have in the snatch and really need to focus on clean foot work. But I’m pumped to be competing again and I have laser focus for what I want to accomplish. Big thanks to Steve Galvan of 210 Crossfit for his support, hosting, coaching and warming me up. He is a good coach and guy.

Training for my first weightlifting meet since May of 2013. Had hurt my shoulder pretty good training this past July and it has taken until now to feel good. Didn’t start snatching again until January so I have lost strength but it seems to be coming back. I am going to open with 100kg so, here is my open snatch attempt. The meet is this Saturday at 210 Crossfit in S.A. Getting excited!

First ever video blog! It should get better the more I do them…… I cover the hook grip here in hopes that more of you are willing to put it to use.

So when I’m just focused on my weightlifting I’m real consistent and everything feels real strong. But when I do it an AMRAP it all falls apart….. Why? Aww, my favorite question. It’s probably been discussed thousands and thousands of times on FaceBook, Twitter, blogs and social media. And it comes up even now with CrossFit Centrals competitive athletes. Why when the work is focused on two reps at a time I can hit it, when I go for speed at the same weight and movement it goes to crap?! I’d say the answer is your mentality and approach.

When you are training your Olympic lifts for strength and at a high percentage you are focused on that single lift at that moment. You don’t rush it and you have to be on point in order to make that lift at that high percentage. If it’s for doubles you slow it down and do the second lift with purpose….the same way you did the first. And most of the time you are going to have a good chance to hit the lifts. Well why would you change that mentality if the AMRAMP calls for the same movement. I’m here to propose that even if you are going to do a workout for max reps at say the snatch, with the same mentality as the doubles, you will actually do more reps with less misses. 

Why you ask? Because your focus is on the movement and not getting more work done. When you rush a lift doing singles and doubles the same mistakes are going to happen when you are doing the same movement for max reps for time. There is no difference in technique. Well I say that. If you are sufficient in the snatch, consistent with the movement at all loads then there can be some modifications made for lighter loads in an AMRAMP setting. But that’s for the experienced. For the average CrossFitter, I would say a focus on technique for strength work and your workout must be the same. I promise in the long run it will pay in loads made and strength gained. AMRAP or not……

Just in case you weren’t aware I created Barbell Sport a little over a year ago. I wanted to expand the world of Olympic Weightlifting in CrossFit and do it with a brand I was proud of and expand with. Barbell Sport has never  been about me, and I wanted it to be a separate thing in and of it’s self. I am proud of what it has become and the service it provides to CrossFiters and weightlifters alike.

One of the things to come out of Barbell Sport is Barbell 101. It was created to take your everyday CrossFiter who has never had formal instruction in the snatch or clean & jerk and teach them progression and drills to improve the lifts. Since Barbell 101s creation it has attracted non Crossfiters and people looking to become stronger and better weightlifters in general. 

The video above is just one example of the things that are taught in Barbell 101. Pride in technique and attention to detail is one of the main focuses taught to new lifters or people looking to hone their lifting skills. Everyone’s ability and experience is taken in to consideration so the class can be taken by individuals from beginner to novice and is limited to eight athletes for quality. 

Barbell Sport is something I am very proud of and Barbell 101 is just and extension of that. New classes start up next Friday Oct. 18th and last 8 weeks. If you are looking to become a better CrossFiter and the Olympic lifts are holding you back this is the place for you. If you are curious about the Olympic lifts and have never done them with any instruction this is the class for you. Time to get Registered!

Man I gotta start posting more on my page! So before last week my training has been spotty due to injury. A little over a month ago I was doing heavy clean & jerks and on a jerk the weight crashed down on me. My shoulder felt like it rolled around in the joint and only now does it feel decent. And I mean just decent. There is still soreness around the joint but I am able to move through it. I started new programming last week leading up to the American Open in December and I am WEAK! Good thing the percentages are low. Look for more videos to come. 

It’s crazy to think, I haven’t had a good training day in a little over a month. As a weightlifter you occasionally go through dry spells, slumps, droughts, call it whatever you want. Well, since my last weightlifting meet that has been me. As some of you know, I tweaked my hamstring last meet and training has been spotty at best since.

This past Saturday my weightlifting team met up for our monthly team training, and low and behold, I snatch a new PR. Now granted, it was only a 1kg PR but, considering how my training has been going it was a big PR for my confidence. And sometime confidence is the deal breaker when you are a competitive lifter.

My programming has me in a holding pattern right now where I am to maintain my strength and after nationals a new program will begin. So right now for the next three weeks I will be training in the 80 to 90% range and I am going to try and heal up some nagging injuries so I can go into the next training cycle healthy . Enjoy the video and notice the bar slam at the end. Bringing out my inner Jon North! 

This may be one of the worst lifting days I have ever had…… The very last jerk attempt off the blocks pretty much sums it all up. I guess I can take some solace in the fact that I haven’t lifted heavy in a month but this was all pretty much pathetic. I’m glad I have a short memory and get over things really quick and easy. I think I posted this for myself to get me fired up! The more I see it the more it’s working. I also think it’s good for people to see that little mistakes make a huge difference and will make or break a lift. On the snatches I am pulling my shoulders back to soon and that’s why everything is out in front of me. I need to be more patient and stay over the bar longer. As far as the jerks are concerned I was pushing the bar out in front of me and I was being a BIG P**SY! Can’t wait to train again and get this taste out of my mouth.