Functions Check COMPLETE

For the past week, I have been challenging myself with what GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy called a Functions Check.  Molly and Bo from the gym joined me in this challenge.  It was short, just 7 days, and very specific in nature.  Stop doing things that distract you from real life, and start doing things more that get you outside and moving in nature.  I really enjoyed it, learned a little bit about myself and about new topics (since I spent more time reading, more to come there), and came out of it feeling energized.  In short, I recommend it.

The specific challenge was as follows, paraphrased from Jason’s description:

For 7 days:

  • No alcohol or caffeine
  • No social media
  • At least 10,000 steps per day
  • At least 3 outside workouts over the course of the week, 30 minutes each

Pretty simple, right?  But right off the bat, I knew I was going to have a hard time.  Over the course of a week, I can kick alcohol to the curb, and of course that feels great in the morning not to be foggy at all.  But on Saturday, watching college football, I kept staring at the fridge.  Growing up in a college football family, it just feels natural to crack a beer at noon when Penn State kicks off.  But then the rest of Saturday is a waste!  As we watched football together as a family and then I was able to do some productive activities later in the day, it felt like a great day and I was glad at the end to have stuck to my guns.

Caffeine…  Coffee… wow.  I drink coffee every morning.  I don’t drink it because I LOOOVE the taste of it, I drink it because I want to wake up and feel like my morning is energized and I can go from my 5am morning practice right into some more mental training, or get right into work.  There were two days during this challenge that I got up at 5am, did my morning practice (breathing, journaling, visualization), and then went back to bed and slept for another hour.  I suppose I could have just delayed getting up until my body was ready, but I would rather stick to my daily schedule and complete my morning practice as an important part of my day.  So, the lack of coffee for me was a constant source of frustration.  However, even though I was so happy to drink a cup or three of coffee this morning, I was very glad I completed the Functions Check and had the experience of a caffeine-free week.

Social media.  What a blessing for business marketing, and what a curse for… everything else.  I very much enjoyed the time away from my phone, which I had definitely been using as an “I’m bored and my phone is right here, let me just see if anyone posted anything totally sweet,” which of course turns into 15 minutes of scrolling incessantly through Instagram.  I found that I completed my “gotta get it done today” tasks much sooner during the day during this Functions Check, and had time to do other things, like read!  I finished reading The Comfort Crisis, and started into a new book that I heard about on a podcast, By Water Beneath The Walls, The Rise of the Navy SEALs.  Most excellent so far if you like history, especially WWII or Vietnam era.
What I’ve learned from my social media hiatus is that I enjoy not being connected and feeding the machine, but I also understand that being present on social media is necessary for business these days.  So, I am committing myself to be MORE active than before in posting new material and highlights from the gym, and LESS active in following what everyone else in the netherworld is doing.

10,000 steps, and working out outside.  If you work at a desk job and don’t actively think about walking a lot during the day, you’re screwed.  But being active throughout the day is so necessary for staying mobile (able to move properly when you get to the gym, let’s say), and it also provides you with “sleep pressure” – basically feeling tired at the end of the day and ready to sleep soundly.  I am lucky that my job is relatively active, but even 4 hours in the gym, working out and coaching, does not provide me with my 10K.  I would ruck with my dog Luna for a couple miles to make that up, or on the days that I was going for an outdoor 30 minute workout, I would take her on the trail for a longer one.  Either way, I felt more alive and aware being outside more, and Luna was more tired throughout the day, leading to less barking “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M A DOG AND I WANT TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT YOU’RE DOING”.

In the end, this is something that I will add to my yearly calendar, at least a couple times.  Call it a Functions Check, or just a Stop Being a Slug and Start Being a Human reset.  I loved it, you’ll love it, let me know if you want to take it on and I’ll jump back in with you.  I just need to load up on a lot of coffee first.


The Comfort Crisis

My favorite podcast at the moment is Glorious Professionals, from the leaders of GORUCK.  They interview people with a service focus – often current or former members of the military, but also service-based leaders that are trying to make a difference like Kelly Starrett (The Supple Leopard himself!), Ryan Manion from the Travis Manion Foundation, and Melissa Urban, founder of Whole30.
One of their latest interviews was with Michael Easter, journalist and author of the new book, The Comfort Crisis.  After the podcast which covers main points of the book, I was hooked and had to get it.  I’ve spent the past week or so poring over this very exciting and thought-provoking work of non-fiction (you don’t hear that too often!), and wanted to share some highlights in case it seems up your alley – which I think it will.  SPOILER ALERT – the chapter named “11 hours, 6 minutes” is all about how much time we spend daily using digital media.  It will want to make you throw your phone into your TV in a double-murder style protest against their theft of most of our waking hours.

If I had to summarize The Comfort Crisis, middle-school-book-report-style, I would say it’s about the fact that as early humans we evolved to seek comfort whenever we could, because most of life was not very comfortable.  From having to search and hunt for food to feed our families, to dealing with weather and predators hunting for us, whenever we could eat our fill we did – and we usually ate more than we needed to make sure we could live another week.  If we were near a warm fire we stayed there until we HAD TO move.
Fast forward to present day, in a first-world society like ours, and our brains still crave that comfort and will reinforce us staying comfortable by releasing dopamine when we overeat.  Our comfortable couches and over-stimulating phones keep us sedentary.  And doing physically hard things has become the exception, garnering huge praise and bewilderment from modern society, rather than being the norm that it used to be.

The book is separated into big sections with titles that read as challenges to the comfortable status quo.
The first, “Rule 1: Make it really hard. Rule 2: Don’t die,” centers around Easter’s research into people that do take on ridiculous challenges, and why they do it.  The Japanese concept of misogi, a word that doesn’t have an English counterpart but could be defined as “doing hard things for the sake of growth,” is deeply explored, and we learn the drawback of not challenging ourselves with crazy adventures once in a while – we’ll never really know our true potential.  A guideline for a misogi challenge is that there should be a 50/50 chance that you’ll fail.  But guess what?  You’ll learn.

The throughline of the book also begins here, as Easter begins a 33-day elk hunt in backcountry Alaska with a stoic guide who spends much of each year hunting and surviving off the land.  In each section of the book, Easter returns to this hunt and the tremendous lessons he learns about the values of being uncomfortable, hungry, carrying heavy shit, and of being outside.

The second section titled “Rediscover boredom, ideally outside, for minutes, hours, days,” is really just that – the author imploring us, using research and his own experiences, to put down the phone and get outside.  Being disconnected from the modern world and being in nature can have profound effects on our mental health, to the point where if you spend 3 straight days in nature you have achieved the same baseline brain function as an experienced meditator.

In the third section called “Feel hunger,” Easter explains that most of us have never really felt hunger, and actually the impetus to do all the hard things – like long-range hunting – was hunger!  Now, most of us in the modern world don’t experience the “lean times” that create seasonal weight loss and make gorging on food when we can the right thing to do.  A discussion about restricting foods and fad diets contrasted against understanding the basics of food science and also WHY we eat was very insightful for me.

Easter wraps up the book discussing our human physical evolution, and what we are designed to do.  In “Carry the load,” he meets with anthropologists and Special Forces soldiers like the aforementioned Jason McCarthy to discuss rucking as the closest that we have come in modern day to zeroing in on what our bodies naturally do very well:  move at relatively slow speeds, carrying stuff.  Compared to other mammals, we’re horribly slow runners, hitting a top speed of 23 miles per hour at the Olympic level, for about 10 seconds.  A poodle can do 30 mph, for minutes at a time.  But while we can’t go fast, we can go far, and especially in hot weather where our bodies do very well cooling us down.  On long-range hunts, our ancestors would basically follow their prey until the animal collapsed from exhaustion, and then we’d finish the job.  Then we’d have to ruck that meat out of there!  Humans are also great at carrying heavy loads – even compared to our close relatives the apes, that are much less efficient at walking upright and tend to regularly move on all fours, eliminating their hands as carrying tools.
Shameless plug here for our Kent Island Ruckers group that meets Sunday mornings to get out on the trails (and sometimes forge our own trails!)  It’s easier on the joints than running, and you’re getting some strength work in too by loading up your ruck as much as you’d like.  Come check it out sometime!

I’ll finish with a quote from Jason that wraps this whole topic up for me, and motivates me to keep getting out there and challenging myself in different ways.  I hope you all go get this book and pass it on to a friend when you’re done.  We need to set the example and turn our society away from staying comfortable and soft, and back outside doing hard things!

“Doing physically hard things is an enormous life hack.  Do hard things and the rest of life gets easier and you appreciate it all the more.  Not doing physically hard things gets us all out of whack.  The data is overwhelming in terms of our need to sweat, to be outside, to be part of a community.”
 — Jason McCarthy, US Army Special Forces, Founder of GORUCK

Step Up to the Challenge

You may have noticed that since we started our new CrossFit Affiliate Programming workout plan this week, we have posted the full week of workouts on the gym whiteboard for everyone to see.  This week’s workout schedule is also available in your Wodify app – if you change the date to a future date (in this week) you should now be able to look ahead.

This is a bit of a departure from our previous policy of releasing the workouts one at a time, at 8pm the night before.  Why did we do it?  The simple answer is that we want you to be able to see all the good stuff coming to you throughout the week, to get a sense for the overall scope of the week.  As a side note, you can plan out any extra work you’re going to do, for all you firebreathers that like to push beyond the daily prescribed CrossFit workout.

The more nuanced answer is that this is a question to each of you.  You don’t need to respond to a survey for this one, or reply to this email by a certain time.  You just need to contemplate this question, and respond with your actions.  “How do I react to a challenge?”

In basketball, “cherry-picking” is when you don’t play defense but just hang out at the opponent’s basket, waiting to get an easy pass from a teammate for a easy lay-up (or huge dunk if you have hops).  It’s not a good look.
In CrossFit, we talk about people cherry-picking workouts in a very similar way.  These are the folks that hang back and wait for the workout that seems easiest to them and then show up on that day with a clever grin, waiting to crush everyone because the movements play to their strengths.  Then when the workout that exposes their weakness comes up, they conveniently can’t make it.

CrossFit, and especially being a member of CrossFit Kent Island, is about constantly developing yourself to be the most complete athlete – and person – you can be.  Does “cherry-picking” meet that standard?  I would say no, and I have myself as proof.
When I first started CrossFit, I came at it from an endurance background, running and swimming for distance every week with my buddy.  I was tired and ready for a change, and decided that I would start doing the CrossFit workout-of-the-day every day, no matter what it was.  Good plan!  Bad execution:  the first WOD was a 10K run.  Thinking I was already a strong runner, I subbed in a heavy power clean workout that had come up earlier in the week.  No big deal, right?  Once again, I was tired of running, so every time running – or a long workout for that matter – came up, I was keen to sub in some heavy weightlifting.  What I was doing was the worst version of cherry-picking there is – trading out movements I didn’t want to do for ones I did.
What happened over a year was that I became a very strong lifter… and my endurance completely tanked.  Whereas I used to be able to run forever, a 5K run was now trashing my lungs.  I actually turned a strength into a weakness, and while I was telling people I was doing CrossFit, I really wasn’t!  It wasn’t until I joined a CrossFit gym and recommitted myself to following a constantly varied program of real CrossFit that I became a well-rounded athlete again, which is where I now always want to be.  I’ll always enjoy certain things more than others (still don’t like to run!), but I need to lean into those workouts that I don’t want to do, because that’s where I’ll improve.

Step up to the challenge.  You know the workout schedule of the week.  Don’t let the workout dictate when you show up.  If anything, LEAN IN to your weaknesses and improve them just a little bit.  Not going to be near the top of the leaderboard?  GOOD.  We all love to see people posting scores that reflect honest effort when it was really hard.  We cheer for and admire and look up to the athletes that are GRINDING on a running workout when weight loss is their major goal.  People that add another 10 lbs to the barbell even though they know it will slow them down in a long conditioning workout because they want to STEP UP to the challenge of the day, and GET STRONGER.

So, now you know what tomorrow’s workout is, and Friday’s.  Next week you’ll know the whole schedule as soon as you want to.  What are you going to do with that information?  What fork in the road will you take?  The one with sunshine and lollipops lining the downhill path?  Or the uphill route that looks rough and overgrown, that you’ll have to use every tool in your belt to get through?  Which one will create more personal growth?

Will you step up to the challenge?


Be Present. Stay Humble

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
– Heraclitus

Giannis Antetokounmpo, often referred to as the Greek Freak due to his size and athleticism, won the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks last week.  He was the NBA Finals MVP.  The two previous NBA seasons he was the regular season MVP.  He also won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020.  The only other player to accomplish all of those feats:  Michael Jordan.  Giannis is 26.

The Bucks started off the series in an 0-2 hole to the Suns, but managed to fight back to even the series 2-2 and eventually win four straight to take the title.  Following the pivotal Game 4 win, a reporter asked Giannis about looking ahead to Game 5 in Phoenix and possibly winning the title in Game 6 at their home arena in Milwaukee.

Here is his reply:

“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. ‘I did this. We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past.’ And when I focus on the future, it’s my pride. ‘Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking.  I try to focus in the moment, in the present.  And that’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting expectations. That’s going out there and enjoying the game.”

Each day when we walk into the gym, we are not the same person we were yesterday and the same will be true tomorrow.  You might not be well rested.  Your nutrition may be a bit off.  You might be incredibly sore from a workout earlier in the week.  You could have some extra stress at work or something personal going on at home.  And, let’s face it, we’re all getting older.  On the flip side, you might be feeling the best you’ve felt in years.  The point is there are so many factors that go into performance its not really fair to judge yourself against your previous self.  Sure, we want to track our scores and weights to measure our performance but we shouldn’t consider ourselves failures just because we don’t see a gold star in Wodify.

When you walk into the gym, you should just focus on bringing your best effort for that day.  Focus on what you can control.  In CrossFit, there is a lot of talk about approaching a workout with “intensity.”  I propose using the approach of a similar word: intent.  Approach each run, each lift, each pull-up with intent.  With the purpose of being the best version of you in that moment.

I gave you the Giannis example because as the only player in NBA history to have won 2 league MVPs and an NBA championship by the age of 26, he has every reason not to be humble, but yet he chooses to.  We can all learn something from this.  Walk into the gym, know you might not be at the top of the leader board, but you’re giving your best effort for that day and having a little fun along the way.

Coach Jason

What is your Why?

One of the questions that I’m most often asked about CrossFit, once someone understands all the hard work and dedication to our craft that it entails, is, “Why?”.  Why do you do CrossFit?  Sometimes this question is rhetorical – the person asking doesn’t really expect an answer.  But if they’re really interested, I’ll tell them.

When I started CrossFit (back in 2006), my “why” was to be a part of an elite community of athletes that would push themselves to the brink with nasty workouts and post their times in the comments on for everyone else to see.  I felt like I was really part of something special, and that pushed me to get better so I could post better times for all the CrossFit community to see!
My “why” since opening CrossFit Kent Island has dramatically shifted from being a part of the larger CrossFit community, which I still very much enjoy, to being a part of this amazing, tight-knit community that we have at CFKI.  I love what we have created and the special bond that we share from laying our souls bare in hero workouts that shouldn’t be attempted by “normal people”.  And I push myself to constantly get better so that I can earn your respect every day and drive you to get better along with me.
Finally, as I became a dad to two amazing boys, my “why” has again morphed, transitioning from a “leader” mentality to a “teacher” mentality.  I want to teach my boys how to work hard, and how to lead a strong team to great heights of accomplishment.  And I want to teach my community how to lead, because then we can affect the most people through our efforts.

Call it my 30-second elevator speech about why the person asking should do CrossFit, but it’s more than that.  It has to be.  Your “why” must be deeply personal, something that will motivate you to keep going through a rough workout, or a rough patch of your life when you just don’t want to even walk in the gym.  We all have those times, but if we can remember – even write down – our “why”, we can remain committed to it when the going gets roughest.

So, what’s your “Why”?  Why do you do CrossFit, subjecting yourself to tough, sometimes downright miserable workouts, the aches and pains of recovering from 100 lunges one day and 30 heavy snatches the next?  Why do you compete with yourself and others, constantly putting your skills, strength and endurance to the test?  This stuff takes dedication, and we all have a reason we do it.  Do you know what yours is?
Maybe one of these “why” responses from my CrossFit experience resonates with you or helps you find your Why.  When you know it, come in and write it on our “Why Wall” at the gym!  I hope it will inspire you to push harder when you run back into the gym after a mid-WOD 400M sprint, and maybe it will inspire others as well!


When Showing Weakness is a Strength

There’s a saying that goes, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”  The intention here is that if you want to get something done quickly, you have to work smoothly, efficiently.  And in order to work smoothly, you must take each step slowly, carefully.  In the end, it can be boiled down to, “If you don’t make any mistakes, you’ll be done faster than if you rush and screw up.”

I’d like to propose a new saying, “Admitting Weakness shows Courage, living with Courage builds Strength.”  It might need some work, but you get the idea.  Weakness = Courage.  Courage = Strength.

A friend of mine sent me a video to watch a couple weeks ago, about vulnerability and courage.  I put off watching it for a while because I was nervous about learning about how to be more vulnerable.  I don’t want anyone to know I’m vulnerable, right?  Doesn’t that show weakness?
The video is by Dr. Brene Brown, a world-renowned author and researcher in human emotion, especially dealing with the emotions we tend not to want to talk about.  Shame.  Fear.  Feeling unworthy.

In the video, Dr. Brown talks for just a minute about the difference between courage and bravery, but this part stuck with me – maybe because my friend had pointed it out to me, but also because the way Dr. Brown described courage was so powerful.  Courage comes from the Latin root “cor”, meaning “heart”.  And “courage”, then, means “living from the heart”, or the way Dr. Brown explained it, “telling your story with your whole heart.”  This is very similar to the Japanese word “kokoro”, which means “merging the heart and mind into action.”

Telling your story with your whole heart.  Merging the heart and mind into action.  Courage.  Kokoro.  Still very positive connotations.  So, where does weakness come into play?  As Dr. Brown explains, the people in this world that show the most emotional control, the most mental Strength, also understand and deal with their own Vulnerability.  They know that in order to be strong for ourselves and for others in our lives, we have to be vulnerable.  We have to be open with our weaknesses, and asking for help.  If we bottle up these very tough emotions, we will be closed off, hiding our truest selves.  In order to grow Stronger, into the best version of ourselves possible, we must be vulnerable.  We must be alright with being Weak.

Believe it or not this did start off as a fitness blog about admitting where you are weak so that you can target your work in the gym to become stronger.  But it quickly became more to me, and I hope you can excuse the one-week foray into the abyss of human emotion.  There is so much out there to learn, and practice.  It’s OK to talk about it.  If you’re around family or friends or at your local CrossFit gym, you’re among some pretty strong people.  And they got there by first knowing that they are weak.


Nutrition: If It Works, It Works

This week’s blog comes to us from Coach Jason, who has always been very interested and knowledgeable on the topic of nutrition, and has recently started to dive even deeper.  Jason opens a conversation around nutrition today with this simple message:  If It Works, It Works!

If you watch enough TV or scroll through your news feed long enough, you’ll inevitably see a fad diet or some new age discovery on how you should start eating.  While intermittent fasting, Atkins, the Zone, carnivore diet, RP, Pineapple Only Diet (it’s a real thing), etc. can all make you lose weight if you go into a calorie deficit, they might not suit your lifestyle.  Basically, if it looks difficult going in, it’s probably not sustainable.  How you eat should fit with how you live.  If you like to follow strict guidelines so you know exactly how much carbs, protein and fat you’re consuming, then weighing and measuring your food might work best for you.  If that strikes you as too time consuming and burdensome, then failure is inevitable.  Your diet shouldn’t feel like “a diet”.  Your diet should simply be how you eat.

In order for your diet to be sustainable in the long term, it shouldn’t stress you out.  As a matter of fact, the stress you feel about food you consume can actually change the way your body processes it.  It’s important to remember that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods – only varying degrees of nutritional content – and we encourage you to try and find a balance. Fitting in foods you love in reasonable quantities while adhering to any sort of diet plan is so important because restriction only breeds obsession. You might find that you’re much more successful in the long run if you’re 80% compliant while fitting in your favorite foods than trying to be 100% perfect all the time.

Making small adjustments (like keeping tempting foods out of the house or swapping out processed foods for whole foods) are how real dietary changes should take place.  Maybe you start by just making sure to have a fruit or vegetable with every meal?  Maybe you establish a daily protein goal for yourself and just try to hit that? (We recommend 0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound of body weight)  The point is, if steak is one of your favorite foods, then becoming a vegetarian probably isn’t the best idea.  If you need help with making some minor changes, please ask a coach.  That’s why we’re here.

– Jason

Win First In Your Mind

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war and then seek to win.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, ~ 500 BC

I took on a workout the other day that totally ate my lunch, and midway through I felt the nagging negativity creep into my head, “maybe you should stop, maybe this is too much…”  I persevered, blocking out the negative chatter by telling myself to just do one more round, and then one more round, and then one more round.  Then it was over, and as we all do after a 35-minute gut check I felt like crap and it took me a few minutes to be able to get up and walk around.  But the workout was 7 rounds long, and I felt like that midway through round 2.
So, what happened?  What torpedoed my effort so early on?  My lack of preparation, specifically mental preparation, for what I was about to do.  I started the first round, a 400M run, 15 power cleans and 15 burpees, like it was the only round, at a full sprint.  Not surprisingly, my next run felt like a slow jog, the next 15 power cleans were singles, and I paused after my first 4 burpees for a really long time listening to that negative voice.
What I should have done before the workout even started is take a minute to visualize completing the workout, noting where my strengths and weaknesses are likely to show themselves, how long the workout will take to complete, and with those two things in mind what my pace and mindset should be in the beginning, middle, and end of the workout.  Starting a 5-round workout at a sprint is a real rookie mistake and shows a lack of preparation, but sprinting at the end of the workout because you know you have a little bit left in the tank — now that’s where you want to be!

Mentally preparing, or more specifically visualizing what success will look and feel like before you take on a challenge, is an accepted and even mandatory practice at work and school — we put together project plans, including what success will look like at each critical juncture.  In preparing for a debate or a difficult conversation, you might visualize how you will respond if various topics are brought up or your opponent makes a certain statement.  Even when preparing for a fight (or a war, in the context of Sun Tzu’s quote above), the smallest bit of mental preparation — internalizing the fact that you’re going to win and here’s how — will decide the outcome.

Visualizing success before the challenge begins is the mark of a victorious warrior, both in battle and in life.  So why not practice this before your next workout?  Read through the workout explanation, and get a feel for the flow of how it will go down.  What is your goal for the workout outcome and how can you break that up into micro-goals?  What parts are your relative strengths that you can move through quickly?  Where will you plan to take breaks?  At what point are you going to have to just grind it out, and what will you tell yourself to keep going?  Now put everything back together and play the workout through in your head.  Imagine finishing the workout with a smile on your face, and high-fiving your teammates as they cross the line.  You got this.  Here we go, 3-2-1…

See you at the box,

Trust Your Body

Like all businesses, we need to be able to recruit new members based on how we’ve done and how that could happen for overs.  We’ve asked a lot of folks to write us a story that would use showcase our results — a special anecdote that really describes what we do and how it works.    In our time over 9+ years, we’ve gotten a lot of stories, and they’re all great.  But none are greater than the ones that are unprovoked and unannounced like this one, from an amazing athlete named Irish (last name redacted – if you know her, you know her).

When I started at CFKI in August 2018, I didn’t trust my body. It had let me down on a couple of major occasions making my mental limitations for what I could or would do physically very restricted. This was not me. I used to throw discusses, hammers, and javelins over 100 feet.  I would cartwheel and do handstands randomly just because I could. 

During my initial training sessions or “on-ramp” at the Box with Coach Ryan, I had trouble jumping onto a platform about a foot high. I was scared. Would I trip and fall? If I did, would I hurt my arms trying to catch myself and/or twist my back in the process? Ryan could see my potential but was very patient with my lack of confidence. 

For a few months, I scaled the jumping movements. Instead of jumping into the 20” box, I did step ups. Then, we did a workout that tested how high we could jump. Coach Alicia suggested that instead of jumping onto boxes, if we felt more comfortable doing so, we could pile up mats. We started at 20” and worked our way up. By the end of the session, I found my actual limit for that day, 30”. Well, that changed my mind about the 20” box… it looked way shorter than it used to and I started practicing and completing workouts jumping instead of stepping on the box.

Then, this past Friday, our workout included a “high” box jump of 24”. It looked super tall when I started my warmup. I reverted back to step ups but then I just took a step and jumped. Both feet landed together and I stepped off the back of the box. After a few more, my confidence caught up to my abilities and I completed the workout 9-6-3 (reps) of 105lb snatches and 24” burpee box jump overs (where you have to do a burpee then jump onto and over the box) for time. Before the second round of burpee-box jump-overs, I was tired, out of breath, and my legs were flagging. I had to take a deep breath, center myself, and just start with one.

Irish’s story is not uncommon, we work with people that are unsure of themselves every day.  But Irish’s story is motivational in that she stuck with it, has achieved results, and is still going!!

This post goes out to Irish, Ryan, Floyd, and everyone that is fighting hard to keep a life of fitness, family, and faith alive in our communities.



Leave No Doubt

The CrossFit Open is officially over, and the concluding workout 21.3 left a lot of us with a bad taste in our mouths.  We were force-fed the bitter pill that we couldn’t do a legitimate pull-up, or toes-to-bar, or muscle-up, whatever it was, it was highlighted in full force, in front of all of our friends.  Ouch.

This workout is always in the Open – maybe not in that exact format or with those movements – but one of the tests will always feature increasingly difficult movements that allow us to showcase our strength and skill, or lack thereof.  This is the workout that really separates those with a strong engine from those with the engine and the skillset to compete at a higher level.

If it did not go as you had hoped, know that you are not alone, most of the Open participants experienced the same failure and frustration.  But you can do something about it.  While this painful experience is fresh in your mind, I want you to commit to LEAVE NO DOUBT next year.  You will have that movement down.  It will not be a weakness anymore in one year, it will be a strength.  Work with a coach to identify a training plan to get yourself there.  And then put in the patient, persistent work that it takes to accomplish an audacious goal like YOUR FIRST PULL-UP.  It might seem like a long climb to get there, and maybe it is, but the mountain doesn’t bow down and get any smaller because you want it to.  You get closer to the peak by taking the first step, and then the next, and the next, and all of a sudden it’s within sight.

Your goal has been chosen for you.  Commit to a training plan that makes sense for where you are now and where you want to be in a year.  It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen if you stay focused and keep climbing, one step at a time.  And when that test comes next year, you’ll know that you put in the work and you’re ready.  LEAVE NO DOUBT.