Strong. Powerful. Beautiful.

In 2008 CrossFit was a fairly new method of fitness, it was also intimidating to many people. You have to think back to a time that was pre-Reebok CrossFit partnership, pre-Netflix CrossFit documentaries, pre-Instagram filters . . . and even pre-Lululemon. The only images of CrossFit that most people had access to were grungy garage gyms, ripped and blistered hands, pukie the clown, and t-shirts proudly displaying slogans like “CrossFit, Mess You Up” and “WOD Killa” (and were likely printed on 100% cotton).

At that same time our team was busy building something in Austin, Texas that respected these original CrossFit depictions, but added a strong sense of local community, a mission to serve people and welcomed anyone that desired to improve their fitness. We were serious about clean restrooms, clean floors, holding social gatherings and getting people in the best shape of their lives.

Regardless, “CrossFit” was still intimidating. It was also particularly intimidating to women that were new to functional fitness or had never touched a barbell. So, we created the CrossFit Central Women’s Only Program. It served as a way to welcome women of all ages and experience levels into a class time that was supportive, encouraging, less intimidating - and for women only. This class time did the same workout as the regular class times, but there was an immediate connection through the attendee’s shared female experience.

What began as a program designed to be “less intimidating” in the early CrossFit days has turned into a flourishing community of strong, powerful and beautiful women. If you were to drop by the gym during a women’s only class you will find women of all ages and fitness levels working hard, pushing each other, and usually laughing. Everyone has different goals - some women are pregnant, some are postpartum, some are retired, some are executives, some are stay at home Moms - but they all want to lead healthy and abundant lives.

Below are the stories of just a few of the women in this program. Scroll down to take a look inside the CrossFit Central Women’s Only Program.


Julia S.
Age: 67
Occupation: Masters degree in sculpture. Currently a full-time freelance illustrator
Number of Years CrossFitting: 1
Other Sports/Activity You Enjoy: Multi-day backpacking, Rowing on water, team competitions (2 years), Indoor rowing (erging), Hiking the greenbelt, Cycling. Previous: Marathon running (6 years) and Tennis (10 years)

How CrossFit has impacted your life, health and overall wellness?
CrossFit has convinced me that at my age I can push myself to limits that surprise me; it's a terrific confidence builder. I now sleep better; am far less achey than when I'm doing one sport alone. I have far more energy and mental focus than before CrossFit. CrossFit has improved my strength, stamina, and agility--the three things I'd developed as a younger woman doing sculpture, long-distance running, and tennis.

What do you love about the women’s only class?
I've been in the women's only class from day one. The 9:30 time start is perfect for me. The workouts are tough and exhilarating. The smaller group--less than 10 usually--means more personalized attention and more space to move.

Megan and Lisa are patient, stellar coaches who watch everyone's form with eagle eye and explain technique in clear language. The women in the class vary in age, experience, body-type, etc. Everyone is smart, nice, and a beast in-the-making. No matter how tough the workouts, we always have a lot of fun!


Kate A.
Age: 39
Number of Years CrossFitting: 7
Other Sports/Activity You Enjoy: Running, spin, yoga, chasing and carrying kids
How CrossFit has impacted your life, health and overall wellness?
I was always a cardio rat before I found CrossFit. I would run, spin, barre but always cardio and I had no idea what to do with weights. I love CrossFit because it’s still all that cardio high but I don’t have to do just that. Plus now I can pick up all three of my kids, carry and move heavy stuff, and generally feel better all because I starter lifting heavy weights.

What do you love about the women’s only class?
The women’s class is such an awesome community. I started coming when I was pregnant with my second and felt really supported even though I was having to modify more and more. I brought Liv to meet the ladies in that class right after she was born because they were my support through my whole pregnancy. I now love coming to a multigenerational class where everyone knows each other and is quick with a pat on the back or a small push to be better 💙


Kate W.
Age: 38
Occupation: Engineer
How long have you been CrossFitting: 8 months
Other Sports/Activity You Enjoy: Running

How CrossFit has impacted your life, health and overall wellness?
CrossFit has improved my self confidence big time. Knocking out a tough WOD in the morning makes me feel like I can take on the world! It has enhanced my work life balance tremendously. Unless I’m traveling, or stuck in meetings, there’s no way I’m going to miss a WOD.

What do you love about the women’s only class?
The first CrossFit class I ever attended was the women’s only class at CrossFit Central. I was hooked! The environment was very inviting, which was great because I was super nervous and had no idea what to expect. The women’s only class has challenging workouts, excellent equipment, and everyone supports each other. We get lots of individual focus from the coaches. During my time at CrossFit Central, they have challenged me to lift bigger, but more importantly, lift better. I highly recommend this class to any woman thinking about getting into CrossFit.


Mary Helen
Age: 62
Number of Years CrossFitting: 5

How CrossFit has impacted your life, health and overall wellness?
This summer marks 5 years of CrossFit for me (2 other gyms before this one). This gym is my favorite by far. The programming, the energy, and the quality of coaching set it miles apart. Plus, it’s an impressive facility. I have exercised in some form or fashion for decades - Jazzercise 😂, Pilates, free weights, yoga, barre..... I never really saw any results — until CrossFit! I love the energy and positive attitude it gives me, not to mention the muscle definition 😉. I am probably the fittest I have been in 20 years. A

What do you love about the women’s only class?
And the Women’s Only class is the best. It’s not often that you get to participate in something with such a wide range of ages. And, truly, age doesn’t matter in class because we are all striving to do a little better, reach a little further to be better than we were yesterday. The encouragement and motivation is very special! Top that off with two exceptional coaches and I am a fan for life.”


Age: 40 “years of experience”
Number of Years CrossFitting: Since of June of 2018 after moving back to Austin from Hawaii.
Other Sports/Activity You Enjoy: Yoga, jogging Town Lake with my dog, travel with my husband

How CrossFit has impacted your life/health/etc?
I love the feeling from coming to CrossFit Central. The coaches and other athletes inspire me beyond words. It’s not just the endorphins from the WOD that make me feel good after coming to class. It’s the good vibes from working out with encouraging, strong, and kind people that make you a better human for the rest of daily life. I’ve learned so much this year about how to move and fuel better. I’m stronger mentally and physically and can show up for life in a more helpful and confident way.

What you love about or a statement about the women’s only class?
I’m grateful to be part of such an amazing community at CC and look forward to seeing what’s possible.


Nina T
Occupation: Jeweler and a personal assistant.
Years CrossFitting: About 7 months.
Other Sports/Activities You Enjoy: Biking and swimming

How CrossFit has impacted your life/health/etc?
I feel strong again and motivated to keep going.

What do you love about the women’s only class?
I love the feeling of community and support that the women's only class has. From the masterful leadership of our amazing trainers to the fact that everyone is always ready to jump in and help when needed, or just cheer you on. It is so wonderfully empowering and fun to workout with such a badass group of ladies!

A note from Coach Lisa Bender Thiel

“I love coaching the Women’s Only program at CrossFit Central Downtown! It is a unique blend of strength, support, “push” and friendship. We literally have women from their early 20’s to their late 60’s all working out together!

There is something very special about coaching an all women’s class — helping women break through preconceived ideas of what they thought was possible mentally and physically, it’s exciting! It may be the same WOD as the other class times, but it’s a totally different experience. Why? Because women naturally connect, bond and mentor one another...and we laugh a lot. 😊 This program is full of fierce women committed to getting stronger, staying healthy, aging gracefully and having fun doing it!” Coach Lisa Bender Thiel

The CrossFit Women’s Only program is available at both CrossFit Central Downtown and CrossFit Central Burnet Road. Interested in checking it out? Send an email to to receive a class for free.

Nicole Hughes