Bright Spots – Help us Make the World a Better Place!

The crazy world we are living in right now seems very focused on negativity and darkness. But we at CrossFit Odyssey want to focus on the Bright Spots so we are hosting a Fun Family Fitness Fundraiser!

At Home Family Fitness Fundraiser Competition

100% of profits go to Hope Cottage.


With the Covid-19 pandemic, job loss, depression, nationwide tensions, and unrest, our country and our city are seeing child abuse and neglect at an all-time high. Also due to the financial fears caused by the pandemic, donations have declined for many non-profits, making it more difficult for them to serve the people in need. Hope Cottage Foster Care Services Program finds loving foster homes that provide safety and stability to children in need. With over 102 years of service, Hope Cottage has focused on its mission of nurturing and building families through education, counseling and adoption services.Your participation in this fun event for the whole family will provide resources to support children’s emotional and physical needs while at the same time helping YOU and your family be healthier.


  • 1 workout per day for 4 days
  • beginning at 5pm on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
  • A new workout will be released each night at 5 pm.
  • You will have until 5pm on Sunday, October 4th, 2020 to submit all 4 scores.
  • You can choose between weighted (one Dumbbell or Kettlebell) or non-weighted
  • A list of requirements and standards for each workout will be released with each workout. Athletes may compete as:
    • Individual
    • Team (a Family)
    • Both (however if they want to compete as both then they will have to pay for the two seperate registrations).
  • Athletes may also enter as:
    • Bodyweight Competition (meaning no equipment will be needed)
    • Weighted Competition (Dumbbells and Kettlebells only)
  • The Divisions will be as follows:
    • Kids bodyweight Competition
    • Kids weighted Competition
    • Adult bodyweight Competition
    • Adult weighted Competition
    • Family bodyweight Competition
    • Family weighted Competition


There will be something for EVERYONE so even the grandparents can participate!! If you have someone who does NOT want to do the workouts, but wants to contribute to fundraise to Hope Cottage to help these children in need, please feel free to donate!


#fundraiser #crossfit #dallas @hopecottage #fitness #health #maketheworldabetterplace

Sunday Story…Right or Connected?

by Ellie McKenzie | Jun 14, 2020 | Ellie’s Monthly BlogJohn’s Sunday StoryMember’s Message | 0 comments

All in or all out. Take it or leave it. If you aren’t with us you’re against us. The cancel culture.I get it. There are times that call for action, not talk. There are things that are so egregious that they cry out for taking a stand, putting your foot down and crying, “No More, Never again.”Here’s a bit of a sticky wicket, if you will…if I get mad and cut all ties with the offending organization, turn my back on the offender, or refuse any and all attempts at reconciliation there is no way I am going to have a say in the necessary reforms or rehabilitations. If I walk away I can’t participate in making things better and seeing a real and meaningful change take place.Leaving in disgust, throwing my hands in the air, and walking righteously out of the room is certainly one strategy. I will be right. I will be on the correct side. But I won’t be connected to any strategy to fix the problem or make it better.I could just grin and bear it, live with it or hope and pray it magically gets better. Unfortunately doing that rarely results in anything happening other than the status quo remaining the status quo.I am part of the problem if I just grin and bear it. If I want things to change I am going to have to dig in, stay connected in the face of being unhappy, and do what it takes to find and implement solutions.I can always walk away if I need to. I can always put my head back in the sand and hope it goes away if I just ignore it.Complaining about a problem doesn’t really move anything forward. Find a solution; try to get a coalition of like-minded people together to work on it, spend your time implementing some strategy to make things better. You will find it way more satisfying to solve the problem then you will bitching about it.“There is a field beyond right and wrong…I will meet you there.” RumiJohn Mariotti

Father Arthur Unachukwu

by Ellie McKenzie | Jun 4, 2020 | Ellie’s Monthly Blog | 0 comments

This is my dear, DEAR FRIEND, Father Arthur Unachukwu. He is a Catholic priest, a devout CrossFitter a dear friend and he shares my birthday. Arthur has been in charge of Catholic services at SMU for the past six or seven years. He is originally from Nigeria and found himself getting involved with the wrong people as a teenager, and he turned to the Catholic Church to find his true calling. And now here he is in our little gym in Dallas, TX.

When all of the racial rioting began, Father Arthur was the only person I could think of. If this had happened to him I would have been broken. He is not just a friend, but he has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life I ever imagined I would have. He held my hands in his as I cried and we prayed together. Because of him I made it through and I am a better person for it today. I have also watched him help so many others through their life problems.

Yesterday, As I was scrolling through IG trying to figure out why everything was “broken” my daughter called me out and asked why I hadn’t posted more than my “opinions” on current circumstances. I will admit, I don’t watch the news and as much as I post on social media, I often don’t read it. I didn’t even know anything was happening until late Saturday afternoon.  So, for the record, Black Lives Matter. And perhaps I was naive to think that was obvious.

What happened to George Floyd (and countless others) NEVER should have happened. Again, I was naive to think that was obvious.

That said, I like to think a long time before posting certain things so that I’m sure I say what I mean. Even then, things do get misconstrued.

Since this began I have spent most of my time watching, thinking and talking to friends and clients of different races and backgrounds discussing what we can DO to make the situation better, because as much as we all hate to admit it, the world is all up in arms right now, but soon life will get busy again and we will forget to address and fix the REAL problems unless someone (but who???) does what is really needed to create change.

As we talked, we talked specifically about many facets including “the abuse of power” and “finding the loose cannons early” and “post traumatic stress syndrome” (all of these as related to race and police) and anything we could think of that could lead an officer to police brutality.

That led to conversations about police department budget issues and lawyers, and hiring more and paying more and more counseling of officers and a host of things that desperately need to be done to fix the problem – and yet no one wants to pay the taxes to get it done. And it takes FOREVER to get stuff done through government. And a whole lot of people believe that the corruption is so high up in the government that even if you increase taxes, that money will never eventually flow toward getting done what needs to get done.

You can see the never ending trail here…

Getting mad is important because it makes people aware. But finding a solution is a whole different ballgame.

So I guess my question is, what DO we DO?

Then I found out that Father Arthur is being moved to his own parish in South Dallas. It is an impoverished, mostly African-American neighborhood and they are in great need of a young, vibrant soul to lead them. I can tell you that ANY group who gets Father Arthur is the luckiest group in the world. And I can’t tell you how RELIEVED I was that he is only moving to South Dallas and not across the world. But it kind of took my breath away…

So my pledge and our pledge at CrossFit Odyssey right now – is to help him the way that he has always helped us. We want to start a fund to help his new church and his new community. We might even be starting a CrossFit gym out there!! If you are interested in donating, building, coaching, volunteering or helping in any way, please let us know and we will forward the information to Father Arthur. And we will be there to support him and help him build, as well.

It may not be the answer, but it’s a start. It is one small step in the right direction, which, at least feels like we are doing something productive. And at the very least, we know we are supporting something wonderful that can become even more wonderful, and that is…….  well, it is wonderful!

If you are interested in helping, email us at

The New Normal

by Ellie McKenzie | Apr 9, 2020 | Ellie’s Monthly BlogUncategorized | 0 comments

A few years ago I was talking to a young woman – one of my newer clients about lifting weights and she said, “I’ll never be able to do that”. And that very moment I had a flashback to myself when I first started CrossFit … I was in a gym in Reno, NV and I saw a young, strong, beautiful girl back squatting what I would now guess was about 125 lbs and I said, “I could never do that”. I remember thinking it looked amazingly heavy and I couldn’t even imagine what it took to be able to do that. I thought I was too old and I thought I was not the “kind” of person who could do something like that.

As I sat in what was now MY gym with my client remembering that moment, I realized that the weight I saw on that strong girl’s back on that day in Reno was now the weight I used to warm up … before getting heavy. I can’t explain how it happened because it happened so slowly. Day by day I became a tiny bit stronger. Day by day as I practiced and worked I gained tiny bits of confidence – strength of muscle and strength of mind. Over time those baby steps added up. I remember the first time I squatted 125 because that was my body weight and I thought that was pretty cool. I celebrated by doing a squat with my oldest daughter on my back. I celebrated regularly the tiny improvements, and boy was I excited for each tiny step!

But what’s funny is that you forget the LONG haul. You forget who you were in the beginning when you thought you couldn’t. It becomes a distant memory because THIS is the new normal. THIS is the GIRL who CAN.

The truth is, this has happened to you many many times throughout your life. You never thought you would understand math or have children or own your own business or get a divorce or recover from injury. It seemed monumental and impossible, yet here you are, living your new normal as if the previous normal never existed.

Now that we are here in the midst of this Covid-19 Quarantine we are in that beginning phase and we hear people saying,  “I can’t Zoom, because I don’t know how to work Zoom. I can’t get myself to go workout because I don’t have the motivation. I keep going to the kitchen and eating crap because it’s right there to eat. I’m sleeping late and I haven’t showered and I haven’t worn pants in days because I just can’t make myself do it.” But the truth is we’ve already started taking the steps. Work is getting done from home and we are learning how to use Zoom. We have learned how to sanitize and disinfect and sometimes we even put our pants on. Baby steps.

Our lives may, in fact, be altered forever. Businesses are discovering that perhaps they don’t have to pay exorbitant rent prices if they can have their employees work from home. Zoom is much cheaper than rent! People are learning how to manage their schedules better, motivate themselves better and enjoy their families and loved ones more.

We are each becoming Someone Who CAN.

And someday when you look back upon this time, you might just be amazed at the life you lived before Quarantine.

Fall Fitness Challenge WINNER!

by Ellie McKenzie | Nov 26, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly BlogExtraordinary Athletes | 0 comments

Congratulations to Jana Nobles for winning our 2019 Fall Fitness Challenge! I can tell you all that this was a VERY close competition between Jana and Shanna Fowler.  Several other men and women entered, but both of these ladies completed pretty much every single daily challenge, they both completed their daily food logs and workouts and STUCK TO THEIR NUMBERS. They both worked incredibly hard and both lost a lot of weight and inches. And while Jana is raising 5 year old TRIPLETS, Shanna is raising 9 year old TWINS and they both are working moms!

The deciding factor for me was that Jana has been consistently doing this for several months now and she kicked it up another notch for this competition. She had PRed pretty much every major lift by a lot AND she dropped SIX MINUTES off of her 1 mile run!!!!! That is just plain amazing! It also leaves Shanna wide open to run away with it when we begin the NEW YEAR FITNESS CHALLENGE on January 13th. (This date leaves you plenty of time to get the kids back in school and get organized and back to a regular schedule before starting – so NO EXCUSES ANYONE!)

Jana has won a free month of CrossFit as well as the right to challenge anyone in the gym to anything she wants to challenge them to! Haha! I dare you to take her on!

When you don’t have school or a sitter it’s time for Ken and Barbie to CrossFit!

THIS is 50

by Ellie McKenzie | Sep 19, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly Blog | 2 comments

It’s official, I am 50 years old. Hopefully, I am about halfway through this incredible journey called life. If I’m anything like my grandmother, who will turn 103 years old in January, I am not even halfway there yet. About a year ago this milestone seemed like a distant fantasy and I was ready to accomplish so much by the time the big day arrived. I wanted to achieve a backflip, go skydiving, expand my business and more. However, the closer I got, the more I realized how little I was actually getting done and I began to worry about all of the things I hadn’t yet accomplished in life. That was when I decided to make a change.

I talk a lot about stinking thinking. It’s when you talk yourself into a “funk” because you are focusing on the negative. The negative thoughts were clouding my brain. “I should be more financially stable and I should own my own home. I should be spending more time with my kids, my business should be bigger and better, and I should have traveled more of the world. I should have taken better care of my skin and I should be in better shape and ready to compete at the CrossFit Games with the Fittest on Earth and I should be in a strong, loving relationship with the man of my dreams.”

The thoughts were dragging me down.

But life happens. Stuff gets in the way and then suddenly we realize we are running out of time. Time is not something that I can control. However, I can control certain things, like my thought pattern and how I react to what goes on around me and to me. So, I decided to start counting my blessings. Here is what I came to realize: Fifty is pretty damn cool.

Y’all, THIS is Fifty:

  • I don’t need to prove myself to ANYONE but myself.
  • I do not EVER need to chase ANYONE or convince them to like me or love me. Either they like me for who I am or they don’t.
  • When someone does something really rotten to me, it is NOT my fault and I am not responsible for their actions in any way, shape or form.
  • And NO one is responsible for my personal shit-storm but me. No one can make me be an asshole – that’s on me.
  • I am not responsible for making anyone in this world happy, but me – not my partner, not my kids, not my parents and not my friends or clients.
  • And NO ONE can make me happy – no one can fill a void and no one can be my hero. That’s my job.
  • I have learned to set boundaries. You do you. I’m totally good with that. UNTIL it crosses my boundary. You will know what my boundaries are.
  • I can be vulnerable without getting destroyed.
  • I can be kind without allowing people to take advantage of me.
  • I don’t do drama.
  • I feel more competent than ever before
  • I can conquer my fears and accomplish my dreams – one at a time!
  • I feel more compassionate, kind, forgiving and loving than ever before.
  • I am stronger than I have ever been before in my life. Not necessarily only physically stronger, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually stronger.
  • I get to be the MOST AWESOME version of me – just for me.
  • MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL – I am SURROUNDED by the MOST AWESOME people I could imagine in my life. Seriously -THE MOST AWESOME. I can make a list, but it wouldn’t matter because you all didn’t do it to be recognized. You did it because you are awesome. Some of you are family, some are friends, some are clients. I was AMAZED at how many are clients.
  • When I created this business, CrossFit Odyssey, it was based on helping people become their best. But what I really did was create a crazy-ass army of people who are actually helping ME be my best. All of this I have mentioned – I learned this through all of YOU. You see, everyone tells you that you get back what you put out in the world. I didn’t really get it – but it’s true.

So there will be no stinking thinking about what I don’t have or about what I haven’t done before turning 50. Because I AM GRATEFUL. I am grateful to all of you who have entrusted me with your time, your bodies, your hearts, and your spirits. I am grateful for your smiles when you walk in the door and the hard work you put in. I am grateful for your immeasurable kindness not only to me but to all of us coaches and to each other.

So thank you. Thank you for the wonderful birthday gifts (I spent last weekend with my son in Nevada) and for being such a wonderful part of my life. You guys are THE BEST and my life would be less without each and every one of you in it!

With Deepest Gratitude,


John Kerr ~ Living the Dream

by Ellie McKenzie | Jun 27, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly BlogExtraordinary Athletes | 0 comments

This is John Kerr.
John has been CrossFitting with us for about 4 years now. He trains to do the things outside of CrossFit that “spark his fire”. Last weekend he competed in The Spartan Race at ATT Stadium and finished 2nd Place in his age group (55-59) and 106th overall out of 564 men! John was ahead at the half way point, then had 30 burpees worth of penalties from missing the spear throw and fell slightly behind. The 3rd place competitor was more than 10 minutes behind them.

John also just competed in The National Speleological Society Rope Climbing Championship in Tennessee where he competed in 5 out of 6 events and won five awards:

  • First place in knots, 120 meters (only competitor this year, goal is to set age group record next year)
  • Second in mechanical, 30 meters
  • Second in mechanical, 120 meters
  • First in sit-stand, 30 meters (lowered his own age group record);
  • First in sit-stand, 120 meters (lowered his age group record from last year, still holds tied World Record for overall in this event).
  • Still holds some younger age group records in sit/stand.

At 57 years old John is still out being active and participating in what “sparks his fire”. What sparks YOUR fire? It is different for each of us. Are you training for a sport or to keep up with your children or to be able to walk around Europe and see the sights? No matter what your goal is CrossFit can help you live the Dream life you want to live!

Congratulations John on your Journey to Extraordinary!!

Healthy vs. Happy?

by Ellie McKenzie | Feb 8, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly Blog | 0 comments

“I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine
than be a size zero.” ~Sophia Loren 1965

Recently I posted this picture on social media along with this quote, “I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.” (~Sophia Loren 1965) and asked if anybody had any thoughts. A few of the women responded with a slightly oppositional view quoting Kate Moss’s “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, even though many admitted that although they held that belief, they didn’t always hold themselves to that rule. Some of the women responded that they wish our society still considered this look beautiful, stating that  “She is gorgeous and feminine and we should stop asking society to define what ‘Beautiful and sexy’ is”. Interestingly, the men almost unanimously said she was gorgeous, hot, beautiful and sexy. Helping people find “health” for a living I find this very interesting because whether we admit it or not, what we find beautiful and sexy is usually “healthy”. And there is definitely a line between healthy and unhealthy, although it is different for everyone. It’s all in our genes so that our species can survive.

So exactly where is the line? How healthy do you have to be to be healthy? After all, we know that once an athlete becomes competitive they enter a zone that is actually somewhat UNhealthy because the risk for injury becomes so much greater. Not to mention, BMI actually DOES matter even if you are hugely musclebound because your heart still has to work harder to pump the blood to more of your body and your skeleton still has to support that weight. So if the “Fittest On Earth” aren’t actually the healthiest, then who is? Do you need to have a certain percentage of body fat? Do you need 6 pack abs? We know that doctors often use BMI as well as markers such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. But is there such a thing as “healthiest”?

About a year ago I was about 10 lbs lighter than I am now. I was by all measurements the healthiest I have ever been in my life. However, I didn’t get to have much fun. I was even told by a date that he didn’t want to go out with me because my lifestyle was so strict that I wouldn’t be any fun. Now, to be honest I have to question that person’s definition of fun because I can hike and bike and go skydiving with the best. What I couldn’t do was skip my workout and go have brunch and a beer. But it actually got in my head and I had to wonder, what exactly do I want out of all of this fitness stuff? Do I want to live ultra-strict for the rest of my life? I imagined vacations to wineries and Italy and beaches where everyone else was relaxed and eating and drinking what they wanted and enjoying the moment while I watched with my cute bikini and 6-pack abs. Was this really what I wanted? Is this healthy?

Not long after that I injured my shoulder and was hit with a bad case of plantar fasciitis. For a long time, it was fine, but diet wasn’t perfect at that time and after about 6 months the weight started coming back. I was fine being a little bit heavier, but now my excellent habits had gone to Hell in a handbasket and due to the combination I was snowballing and I started to feel uncomfortable about the way I looked and felt. And let me be clear about this… I felt fine with how I look – I was still relatively small and could fit into my clothes, but I felt a bit “fluffy” and a bit jiggly and heavier – and I definitely felt encumbered – like the weight was pulling me down and I couldn’t move and perform as well as I could when I was lighter. And there, like the light of day gently awakening me, was my answer. I need to be light and healthy enough to move as well as I want to move and FEEL awesome. I want to be able to enjoy a beer on the beach and still go waterskiing and do pullups and run like the wind. There IS a balance.

A lot of people ask me when they begin a CrossFit or nutrition regimen how much they should lose. When I posted the picture of Sophia Loren a few people said beauty is an inner quality and that her confidence made her sexy. So here is my answer… lose an amount that makes you FEEL strong and capable and sexy and then freaking ENJOY it! Life is way too short to waste your time worrying about whether or not your abs are popping, BUT I can tell you that when I’m light and I can run fast and feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and lift heavy stuff and hike and bike and do all of the things I love to do with ease – then, I am a sexy freaking BEAST!

Write Your Story

by Ellie McKenzie | Aug 1, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly Blog | 0 comme

What will your story be?

You are the ultimate writer of your story. Not fate, not luck and certainly not anyone else. You decide the ultimate outcome.

Life happens – to all of us. Back in 2014 I was sent to the hospital with an epidural abscess, an infection on my spine which was a fraction of a millimeter away from paralyzing me and possibly killing me. I was newly divorced with 3 kids and a new business and no insurance and I was terrified. But in the end I survived. What I learned was to be grateful for every moment we have because it can all be taken away at any moment.

But I could have said “Why me, poor me?” I could have been resentful and angry. I could have been distraught about my health and my hospital bills. I could have quit. I could have said, I can’t anymore.

But I remembered what one of my girl friends had said to me once ~ Everybody has a Story. She had just lost her husband to skin cancer and she was crying to her doctor, wondering, “Why me, why him, why us?” The doctor told her those words, “Everybody has a Story” and she realized she was not the only one going through this hard time life had to offer. Since then I have seen it again and again. I have clients who have survived horrible car wrecks that told them they would never walk again, illnesses that told them they may never be able to workout again, heart attacks, cancer and death. I even have a coach who completely turned his life around after being addicted to heroin and spending 10 years in prison. Now he has devoted his life to fitness and helping others turn their lives around free of addiction.

2018 May – After tearing my shoulder muscle.

Life WILL throw you curve balls. What will you do with them? Will you turn it into your own personal “Rocky Story” and be “The Comeback Kid”? Or will you be the victim? The person who was beaten down by everything life has thrown at them.

Here is a Challenge for you: Sit down right now and write your perfect day. Where will you wake up? What does the space around you look like? Are you in a house or high rise or cabana on the beach? What are the smells and what do you see? What do you do all day and what fills your passion? Who surrounds you and how do you interact? Be as detailed as you can possibly be and when you are done start thinking about a plan for how you achieve that perfect day.

Write your story.

Nutrition for 2019 – Part 1

by Ellie McKenzie | Jan 2, 2019 | Ellie’s Monthly Blog | 0 comments

Hi there! A lot of you are interested in getting your diet in geat for 2019 and I am here to help! I am going to be posting a lot of videos about what to do and what NOT to do – they will be on YouTube and shared on Facebook and I will try to send some of them to you. There is a LOT of information, so take notes! I am also available for counseling if you are ready to take the big plunge. It can change your life! Here is the link to the first video – it’s too long and the camera is too close to my face, but I’ll get better with time.

The Basics of this program is Macronutrients. Macros, as we often call them, are the three components of all caloric intake. That means that everything that goes into your body and provides sustenance belongs to one of these categories. The three macronutrients are: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.

Proteins are your meats, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and legumes and protein is essential because it is made of amino acids that help develop muscle, regulate bodily functions, and aid in immune system health and hormone regulation.

Carbohydrates are starches (rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, oats), vegetables, fruits and dairy and carbohydrates are essential because they are our bodies main source of fuel. It spares the use of protein for energy and helps with the breakdown of fat.

Fats are meats, dairy, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, oils, butter, and cream and fats are essential because they are a major component of our brains and nervous system and it aids in the absorption of certain vitamins and can be used as a source of energy.

A lot of diets out there will attempt to remove one or more of these macros from your diet. Vegetarians remove most proteins, Keto diets remove carbohydrates and low-fat diets remove fats. The problem with all of these is that we need all 3 macros in our bodies to function the way we are meant to function. Generally, your diet should consist of 30%protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates.