Women's Only


By: Jen Shaw

The weekend...A.K.A. killer of all diets, is more often than not where people break. What is it about "the weekend" that makes people jump off shit pier and ruin everything? Even if you are absolutely perfect Monday through Friday you will completely blow your goals if you food orgy pizza and beer for two days, or even one full day. 

So, in an effort to help you battle the weekend slip-ups, I want to share the rules that I abide by. They might seem dumb or maybe even minuscule....but you they're the keys to coming out of the weekend on top and in control.


1. There are no "cheat days" so stop. 

First, stop using the word "cheat." It's super negative and means you are doing something wrong which you are not, you are living. However, going on a sugar bender all day will absolutely ruin you. Yes, you can recover from it and move on for sure. However if you are involved in anything like "GET RIPPED" that only lasts six weeks you are really stunting your progress. 

2. NEVER ever treat yourself on Sunday night.

Sunday night is usually the night before you are back at the gym and lifting heavy. Treating yourself on Sunday night will sabotage your workout and possibly how you feel when you wake up Monday morning. Only good things Sunday night. 

3. If you MUST have a bad meal, do it at lunch - not dinner. 

It's much harder to recover from a treat if you have it at dinner. Eating bad and then going to sleep leaves you feeling like crap in the morning. So after your treat at lunch drink water, nap, eat a good dinner and have all the good things before you sleep. 

4. NEVER EVER drink after you eat your last meal of the day. 

I cannot stress this enough. Have you ever woken up anywhere between 2-4am sweating and your heart racing and beating out of your chest? That's drinking, and sugar. I suggest you have your cocktails before dinner, then eat, then water. Wine after meals, the worst. All of that sugar just sitting there waiting to crush your sleep at 2am. 

Try it and let me know how it works! 


It's that time again! Get Ripped is kicking off on New Year's Day at noon. At the kickoff all terms will be discussed, and all the questions will be answered. 

This year we will take six weeks to dial in and focus on sleeping, eating, and working out. These all seem so simple, but are extremely difficult to tackle alone. We all know how hard it is to break bad habits and replace with good ones.  You will have access to a group food log, weekend conditioning, and support from me and an amazing group of women who are in it with you. 

GR provides accountability, support, and education to reach goals in and outside of the gym. This program is open to anyone here in Austin, or not! You can easily do this program online.


Registration closes December 31st, midnight.
Kick off- January 1 at NOON. 
First official day- January 2nd
Last official day- February 12th



Oh Rachel...where do I start. She loves wine, animals, steak, food as a whole, dirty memes, other people's babies, and power cleans. Hates sandbags :) 

Rachel is married to one of Travis's long time clients, Ryan. They were married not long after we opened TCS. After the honeymoon Ryan said "hey my wife might want to start working out so I am sending her up here to you." These are my favorite- I never know if the dude is telling his wife to come, kindly suggesting to start working out, or who knows. But once I met Rachel- I knew for sure Ryan was not telling this chick anything! HA! LIFT was definitely her decision.

Rachel was working out and seeing zero results. Dealing with a long time injury and frustrated she decided it was time to make a move. 

We started out with a month of personal training sessions to get her going and used to the way things work. She is naturally mobile and when I said "squat" she just went ass to grass...and that's when every coach is like YESSSS. She picked up things pretty easily...minus the name of equipment/movements which was pretty entertaining.  Every move we did was new to her. A lot of women would have been pretty intimidated and not come back, but Rachel just kept coming back for more and results came quickly. 

Rachel started off squatting the barbell. That 35lb bar kicked her little ass all over the gym. Today her max is 125 and really that looked a bit easy. She has gotten incredibly strong, and just keeps improving on everything. 

There has only been a couple of workouts where I thought she might punch me. Usually that somehow involves a sandbag. But she has a great internal voice that tells her to keep going and she always finishes. That is a quality that sets her apart from others. 

I love seeing her name on the roster because I know she will be walking up with big sunglasses and a smile soon...and everyone else is happy too because she is a team player in class, and such a great happy person!


Allison has been with me for years. Hundreds of workouts, happy hours, events, job changes, everything.  Like many of the LIFT girls we see each other more times a week than friends or sometimes family. I notice hair changes, body changes, personality changes, stress, sadness and happiness. Allison and I have seen all of these with each other over the years. 

Recently she came to me after some major life changes wanting to start a new nutrition plan. I always suggest Renaissance Periodization first. If you are willing to count, measure and surrender to the process, RP is for you. After a short chat she was on board and ready to go!

Months later many people in the gym have noticed the changes. She is squatting more, pressing more, and overall a better athlete. Yes, a lot of this is contributed to making the nutrition change. The rest is your attitude, ambition, drive, and determination in the gym. It's all about the implementation. She took all the information and decided it was time to make a change. 

In the past Allison was okay being the smallest and lifting the lightest weights. That's how it went. Then she wanted more, and as a coach I was so excited to see her take this step. She shows up four to five times a week ready to rock. No complaining, just doing. 

Other people in the gym have noticed how strong she has gotten....because she is catching up with them! I could not be more proud of this chick. She decided she wanted to make progress. Goals, plan, workout, nutrition....SUCCESS. How can that be better planned out?


In our latest edition of "WHAT'S YOUR WHY?", we sit down with TCS athlete, Wendy Vaughan. Tattoos, stylin' chucks and moving heavy weight are just a snapshot of a much larger picture in regards to Wendy's reason for working hard in the gym and out.  


You can lift weights, sprint, and be as fit as you want...but do you know how to use your strength to protect yourself? Hopefully you never have to find out. But what would happen if someone came from behind you? From the front? What would you do? Would you have the skills - and confidence in those skills - needed to defend yourself? 

Statistics from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault:

  • 6.3 million Texans have experienced some form of sexual assault in their lifetime

  • 2 in 5 women in Texas have been sexually assaulted

  • 1 in 5 men in Texas has been sexually assaulted

  • 91% of sexual assault victims did not report to law enforcement

  • Studies confirm the undetected rapist is a serial hunter and serial offender – not the misunderstood drunk guy

  • Over 94% of rapists roam free with only 3% ever spending a day in jail

On April 10th from 9-11am, Daniel Jolly, a professional UFC fighter and Kuk Sool Won instructor, will be leading a SELF DEFENSE SEMINAR at Travis County Strength. This practical, hands-on seminar is open to any women in the Austin area. All ages are encouraged to come learn these vital real-life skills.

It should be clearly stated that this is not a women's self defense class. This seminar will cover scenarios and practical applications that are effective for anyone to use to defend themselves. You will not be learning silly shit like "grab, twist and pull", or to simply "place a brick in your purse". You will learn real skills from a trained professional in a women's-only environment.




I've been asked several times since the new year whether we (TCS) have seen a big spike in new members. Each time I explain that we don't see any extraordinary membership growth. I go on to explain that TCS is different in a couple ways:

1. We want our athletes to show up. Gyms that do in fact see spikes around this time of year don't give a shit about you or whether you actually show up. In fact, they've done the research to find that magic number that their "members" will pay and not feel bad about wasting each month when the membership is not used. They bank on you not coming in! Seems backwards, right?

Not here.

2. Our memberships are set at a higher price point and act as a filter for this kind of activity. Only people that see the value of the training they receive at TCS, as well as the sweat equity they put in to their time here are willing to invest in their monthly dues. To put this simply, you get what you pay for AND some!

We don't do half-assed, wishy-washy here. Our athletes see the value and understand there is a real-world benefit to their time at TCS. If prospective athletes are more concerned with paying the lowest price they can find, that's just fine with us. Rest assured, will never dilute our community just to get bodies in the door.


I hear the following statement A LOT and it drives me to the brink of insanity every time.

"I need to get in shape before I start working out."

WHAT THE.........?!

As much as this self-defeating mentality drives me f*cking bonkers.....I get it. Working out can be very intimidating. This is especially the case when you are starting from scratch, walk into a gym and see fit men and women throwing around atlas stones, sandbags, barbells and whatever else may be close at hand. I get it. 

In addition, through my years of coaching and just being a human - I've come to understand that humans do whatever they can to avoid pain(physical pain, embarrassment, feeling unaccepted, etc.) and experience pleasure(acceptance, achievement, growth, community, etc). Sometimes this basic human programming gets a little screwy, but at it's core, it makes perfect sense that people are very hesitant to just jump right into the type of shit we do here at TCS. This makes me sad. : (

So when awesome people say stuff like "I need to get in shape before I start working out", I hear their protection mechanism coming up with a way to avoid pain. You see, if they "get in shape" then they feel like they will have a better understanding of how to actually workout and won't look stupid to others(avoiding pain). They have the idea that they'll come back to the gym 10-20lbs lighter, looking hott as hell and look like they belong in this social group - and therefore be accepted(pleasure). 

Of course this is just one scenario of many, but I'm sure you can see yourself and/or someone you know in this example.

The trick for us humans to learn is how to utilize these powerful drivers - pain and pleasure - to our benefit. Think of it this way......look 10 years into the future. Assuming you don't change a damn thing.....how do you look, feel, move? Is it what you hoped for at that age? Can you play with your kids/grand kids/dogs? For those of you that continue to postpone initiating some form of consistent training program, I would imagine that the thought of you in 10 years may be a little painful......Yes? Use this pain as your motivation. Do the logical thing to avoid this pain and get started ASAP! I promise, once you get through the initial phase of starting this program you'll feel far more pleasure.

The key to successfully making this transformation happen occurs in the first couple weeks. This is when you really want to create a solid foundation of movement knowledge and competency. If you rush through this phase in an effort to catch up with everyone else, you'll find yourself too sore to move, frustrated with little or no progress, and/or injured - putting you back at square one. No good.

Be patient. Learn from a quality coach that pays attention to the details and pushes you to hold a higher standard for yourself and your movements. Do that, and the success (pleasure) will undoubtedly come.  

If this post lights a fire under your ass, and you're ready to take action, here are a couple options for you:


All long-lasting structures require a solid foundation. We take this law and apply it to each new athlete. In Foundations, we begin the development of confidence, comprehension, strength, conditioning and mental toughness. No matter your experience level, Foundation sessions are specifically designed to appropriately challenge you and start you on a successful path.
Contact travis@traviscountystrength.com to set up your Foundations.


This drop-in only($25) class is offered most Saturdays at 9am. We encourage new athletes - of any experience level - to give this class a shot because the class size and workout design lends itself well to introducing new athletes to working out. Register Here


Erin Miller: Sedentary to Athlete!

A recent post from TCS/LIFT Coach, Jen Shaw, has to be shared. As you will read, this is a story about one of Jen's LIFT athletes that has made an incredible transformation - both physically and mentally. Enjoy!

Erin Miller is fun to coach. She's one of those clients that when you see her on the roster, its going to be a great class. She is in a great mood even when she trips and falls over the rack. Loves herself enough to laugh at herself while doing it, and then shrugs it off and lifts heavy shit. She is definitely the girl I want to see in the morning! Recently she shared her background story with me, and I knew it had to be public. Here is her story from sedentary person to athlete: 

Around 2008 I gained about 75 lbs in a year and a half due to sedentary lifestyle and an undiagnosed thyroid issue. Once my disease was diagnosed and I started to feel better, I knew it was time to become healthy again. I started Weight Watchers and began jogging. I lost some weight and joined a gym and started using the weight machines. I was upset with my progress, though, I just didn't seem to be getting stronger, and had plateaued, no longer seeing results.

I joined Crossfit, which led to me to LIFT. Both were life changing. In total, I've dropped from a size 16-18 to a size 8. Once I started lifting, my weight actually steadied and though I lost 13% body fat and around 14 inches, I only lost 7 lbs because of all the muscle I gained.

Now I don't even look at the scale. My health and well being are based on how my body feels. If I'm not feeling well, it's usually because I haven't been eating clean or have missed workouts. Food is no longer an enemy. I enjoy eating, and I eat things that don't make me feel like crap (mostly). It's weird looking back at seeing how far I've come because it was a steady process with a lot of hard work. Now I'm ready to keep lifting more and reach new goals.

Miller's Stats since starting LIFT: 

  • Backsquat from 155# to 205#
  • Deadlift from 225# to 255#
  • Trapbar deadlift from 265# to 280# (just in the last month and a half)
  • Shoulder press from 85# to 100#
  • Floor press from 95# to 115#

Lead From The Front

If you've been with us for a while, you've undoubtedly seen or heard the phrase, "Lead From The Front".  This is a phrase that was first introduced to me by one of my mentors, Zach Even Esh.  He used it in several contexts, but it ended up being far more than just a phrase to me.  I adopted it as a mantra and applied it as a way of life.

I'm not going to sit here and spell it out for you.  It's such a simple and perfect idea that it deserves to be left untouched...un-f*cked with.  It would also be silly for me to inadvertently  influence your understanding of "Lead From The Front" with mine.

All you really need to understand is that this is part of what makes TCS such an awesome place to be a part of.  The people busting their ass on the floor day in, and day out, apply this idea - whether they know it or not.

In fact, the inspiration for this post was not some amazing act of athleticism or human performance, but something vastly more important and profound.  The inspiration for all of this is an image that was caught during the Women's Only Friday Night SWOD.  

Take a second to really look at this picture.  This is what "Lead From The Front" is all about.

A strong, powerful woman providing an amazing example for her daughter. LEAD FROM THE FRONT.

A strong, powerful woman providing an amazing example for her daughter. LEAD FROM THE FRONT.



Before we release the workouts for tonight's Women's Only Friday Night SWOD, let's hit a couple details:

Be sure that you show up EARLY.  I'm fairly confident in saying that showing up late and flustered will NOT help you perform better. Science.

Athletes are 100% for bringing any and all equipment and accessory shit.  We will have chalk.

Given the nature of the workouts you are about to see, you may or may not feel super confident performing some of the tasks.....That's OK, we will be running a brief "skill session" for anyone that may need some tips and tricks. 


3 Minute AMRAP:

  • Log Clean & Press @ Empty/65lbs

**Scaled Athletes will perform the following:

3 Minute AMRAP:

  • 3 Log Clean @ Empty/65lbs
  • 3 Right-Arm KB Shoulder-to-Overhead @ 16kg
  • 3 Left-Arm KB Shoulder-to-OVerhead @ 16kg

SWOD#2 @ AFAP -- 6min CAP:

  • Keg Shoulder
  • Goblet Squat

**Rx = 60lb Keg/24kg KB
**Scaled = 50lb Keg/20kg KB


8 Minutes to Establish:

  • 2-Rep Max Deadlift

**Lifts will be performed using a 45lb (Men's) Barbell

Women's Only Friday Night SWOD

The time is near.  Women from all over central Texas are coming to Travis County Strength to throw down at the 1st Women's Only Friday Night SWOD.  

During the registration process of our last FNSwod, it was very apparent that the women were on the edge of their seats waiting to sign up.  In fact, the women's registration sold out in 6 hours!  If that's not evidence enough that the women in this region want some fun, creative, challenging strength workouts thrown at them.....I don't know what is.

So....that's exactly what LIFT Coach, Jen Shaw is giving them.  This time, it's all about the chicas!  That being said, we would love to have anyone and everyone come spectate and motivate these badass chicks through the fast'n'nasty workouts that they'll tackle.


  • Athlete Check-in Starts at 5:15pm
    • You MUST be at TCS no later than 5:30pm
  • Judges and Volunteers arrive no later than 5:30pm
  • SWOD and Standards Briefing starts at 5:45pm
  • Athletes are responsible for bringing any and all equipment(water bottle included). 
    • We will provide chalk.  You're welcome ; )


The Addition of "The Power Hour".

New Class

This week at Travis County Strength, LIFT Coach, Jen Shaw kick-started her brand new "Power Hour" class! This class is specifically designed to help female athletes improve their power/slow lifts.  By doing so, athletes will also encounter auxiliary work such as core stabilization, mobility, and accessory muscle group training/isolation exercises.  STRENGTH is the name of the game!

Jen's been itching to do this for a long time and she's pumped to get it started!  This Wednesday night (6pm) class is only open to 5 women, so reserving your training slot will be very important!

Here we go!