Leadership: Be a Copycat

Last Sunday a few of us completed a GORUCK Challenge event, one of many that I have done over the past few years.  In trying to count them all, I’m coming up with 10 GORUCK events that I’ve been a part of, although there may be more.  It started when someone at GORUCK HQ called me not long after we opened our doors at CFKI in 2012, looking to partner with CrossFit gyms on this new “Challenge” event they had come up with.  I asked them what it was all about, they said basically to bring a backpack full of bricks and you’ll find out when you get there.  And bring as many friends as possible, this is going to be a team event.  12 hours overnight in Baltimore, getting wet in the Inner Harbor and then sandy at the base of Federal Hill, carrying a giant telephone pole through East Baltimore, and bringing 15 individuals together as a team through shared suffering, and I was hooked.  Well, maybe not immediately — if you would have asked me right after the event I would have told you that was the hardest thing I had done to that point in my life and I should probably settle back into 15-minute AMRAPs.

But I was hooked, apparently, and not because I enjoy pain (I don’t) or even rucking long distances (I don’t think anyone really enjoys that).  It was the leadership lessons that I learned from being temporarily in charge of the group (the instructor would make people the Team Leader for a while, and then rain down criticism and a chance to try again when you messed up), and also the leadership qualities I admired in the instructor, Cadre Chris Sanchez, a Recon Marine veteran.  Chris taught me, and all of us, the value of tenacity in getting things done — he had to ask several Inner Harbor-stationed police officers before he found one that would allow us to get in the water.  He reinforced in me the value of humor when you’re going through a difficult situation, shouting “how are those kipping pull-ups helping you now, CrossFit?” when I was struggling under the log.

Overall, the instructors at GORUCK all have different leadership lessons that they are hoping to impart on their crews during a Challenge event, and I have benefited greatly from those direct lessons.  But it is really their individual characters and their personal leadership qualities that I have become drawn to, and what keeps me signing up to learn more.

There are a few other leaders that I have stuck close to over the years, and although they may not know it, have become my mentors.
One is Jason McCarthy, the founder of GORUCK.  A Special Forces soldier turned backpack designer, he started GORUCK with the idea that everyone should have a “go-bag” or “go-ruck” with essential supplies in case of an emergency.  And he wanted to bring the quality gear that he enjoyed in the military to the civilian world, in the process bridging the gap between the two communities.  From Jason, mostly through his writing but also in the few personal interactions I’ve had, I have learned how to communicate clearly and directly, and how to be transparent about what is really going on.  GORUCK, like every company in the world, has had its share of up’s and down’s, and the transparency with which he shares bad news just as readily as good, without complaining but just out of a sense of “honesty is the best policy”, has kept his community super tight-knit and growing all the time.

Another is Jocko Willink, former Navy SEAL Commander and now leader of the management consulting group Echelon Front.  One of the scariest dudes you can imagine, not only because of his accomplishments in the military but because of his intimidating presence and the constant scowl on his face.  I can just imagine his grade school pictures.  From Jocko I’ve learned a couple things.  The first is something also intrinsic in my own personality but he takes it to a whole new level — he is a man of few words.  Listening to one of his 3-hour long podcasts, you may “hear” him pausing for effect… for 10 seconds.  When a few of us saw him speak live in DC, he started his on-stage presentation by just sitting at a desk and reading letters.  To himself.  Eventually he spoke about those letters from WWI soldiers home to their wives, but for a solid 5 minutes there was no sound.  I’m not saying I’m going to coach a CrossFit class like that, but damn!  That was powerful.
The other lesson I continuously learn from reading and listening to Jocko is that you have to take ownership of everything that is happening in your organization.  If something goes wrong, and you’re in charge, it was your fault.  Someone was not properly trained, or was not given clear instructions on what to do in that situation, which falls back on the leader.  A leader that understands this and truly embodies it will grow other leaders in the organization with the same mindset.  I’m still working on this one, but I’m lucky to have many other leaders at CFKI that step up and take ownership when I drop the ball.

Finally, Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT, has shown me that it’s OK to be vulnerable and admit your mistakes, especially to help others not fall down the same way.  In small group settings and even in his latest book, Staring Down The Wolf, he talks a lot about how his life experiences have shaped him — through failure.  And sometimes failure is not a bad thing, if we’re really going for something hard.  Fail Forward Fast is his mantra around developing new ideas and service offerings, and it’s apparent in how much different material the SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind organizations have put out, and how they continually evolve to get it better and better with each iteration.

When you’re a leader of an organization, especially a young leader with a lot to learn, don’t be afraid to try on some of the leadership qualities that you admire in others.  Straight up copy them!  There’s a reason you admire those qualities — because they are effective and inspiring.  When you’re faced with a complex situation, put yourself in your mentor’s shoes.  What would they do?  How would they step up as a leader here?  Embody their strong qualities, and then go out and lead!

Your Values in Action – A Personal Ethos

A friend recently told me that one of the things she values the most, and enjoys making part of her life, is HARD WORK.  That’s awesome, I thought, and I agreed that it was one of mine as well.  Indeed we’ve made it one of the core values of the CFKI community, along with growth, service, and fun.  But why, then, do I feel like I have some of those days when I don’t feel like working hard?  Listing my core values and reviewing them as part of my morning practice is helpful, but in order to make my values come alive I decided to revisit an exercise I had done as part of my introduction back in the day to SEALFIT/Unbeatable Mind training – creating a personal ethos.

If values are single words or phrases that represent characteristics that you feel are most important in your life, an ethos is a longer description that includes those values in a way that paints a picture of how you want to show up in the world.  It’s how you describe your ideal character, with respect to your actions and your interactions with others.  You might also hear it called a creed or a code of conduct.

A good place to start is to spend some time thinking about what your values are.  There are many websites out there that list a bunch of potential values that you might find resonate with you.  I like this one that walks you through a quick exercise to select some potential values, then group them and narrow them down to a small list (3-5 is great).
The values that I keep coming back to when I run through this exercise are personal development, discipline, perseverance, humility, and service.  All of these give me a positive charge of energy, and I feel that when I am truly embodying these values I feel most alive.

Once you have identified your values (and it doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s a good idea to revisit these once in a while to reflect on if you are actually living them, or if they seem like someone else’s values), begin to craft them into action-oriented statements.  See if you can elaborate on each of these values in a way that instructs you how to live that quality each day.
For the value of Perseverance, the phrases I came up with were:
 – Never quit
 – Thrive in adverse situations
 – Create physical and mental toughness

Putting it all together, you will create your personal ethos.  Checking in with this each morning is a great way to remind yourself what your mindset should be when making key decisions, and how you want to “show up” with your family, friends, and teammates.

Here is mine (after many iterations!):

Each day I will strive to master myself so that I can I humbly serve my family and my community.

In order to succeed, I must be disciplined and innovative. The success of our CFKI mission depends on me — my coaching skill, leadership, and business acumen. My training is never complete.

I step up to challenges, and I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My community expects me to be an example of physical and mental toughness. I must earn their respect every day.

Creating an ethos, or code of conduct, will not be a quick one-and-done endeavor, but if you invest some time in it and create a statement that you want to truly live by, it can be a powerful daily tool to keep you on mission.  Enjoy the process!

Ryan

Move More to Sleep Better

I’m a very slow adopter of technology, interesting for someone who majored in Information Systems in college.  I guess sometimes I’m just stuck in my ways.  But recently I have begun to listen to more podcasts, under the constant pressure of friends asking “have you listened to this one yet?”  No!  I’ve never even heard of that guy!  But pretty much everyone has a podcast now (should I have one?), and I do like understanding how people I look up to in the fitness, mental toughness, or business world think.

Recently Jason McCarthy, founder of GORUCK, started a podcast called Glorious Professionals, a nod to the US Special Forces start as “glorious amateurs” and their current moniker, the “quiet professionals”.  His latest guest was none other than the Supple Leopard himself, Dr. Kelly Starrett.  Kelly is the godfather of “mobility” within the CrossFit community, as he is a practicing physical therapist as well as owner of CrossFit San Francisco.

I encourage you all to listen to the entire episode (there I go — “have you listened to this one yet???”), but in case your lack of commute-to-work time is knocking out your podcasting capacity, I wanted to drop a knowledge bomb that I got from this episode.

According to Dr. Starrett, humans are evolutionarily designed to do just a few things.  Sit on the ground (not chairs), walk with heavy things, and maybe throw things.  We have the capacity to walk (or run) long distances, and if we don’t do that, or especially if we don’t move very much at all during the day, it throws our basic physiology out of wack.  And that might affect your sleep!  Just going to a CrossFit class and moving with intensity for 30-45 minutes is not going to cut it.  That goal that many people have floated around of getting 10,000 steps per day is a great one, because in addition to keeping your metabolism fired up, getting that amount of movement in per day creates what Kelly called “sleep pressure”.  At the end of a really active day, you want to go to sleep!
Think about what happens on the opposite side of the spectrum — you have a standard weekday, especially in the time of COVID, where you don’t leave the house.  Again, maybe you go to the store or you get up and do a workout, but the rest of the day, little to no movement.  At the end of the day, you’re not tired and can’t fall asleep so you park in front of the TV until midnight, maybe self-medicate with alcohol to reduce your stress.  When you struggle out of bed in the morning and have to launch yourself toward the coffee pot, the cycle continues.  What we’re doing is relying on chemicals to put ourselves to (bad) sleep, and then chemicals again to wake up and make it through our day.  All the while, we kind of feel like crap, have little energy, feel sore, get sick.

I have recently been having a hard time sleeping, and have chalked it up to stress, getting older, or the inevitable scapegoat, COVID!  I’ve never been infected with the microscopic monster, but the coronavirus is preventing me from sleeping?  No, it’s because other than pacing around the gym for a few hours each day, the rest of the day I’m not very active and I haven’t created the need, the “pressure” for my body to want to sleep when it’s time to get some Z’s!

Movement and sleep are such critical parts of our human lives, and in general we’re screwing both of them up.  The good news is that they are very closely linked!  Let’s commit to moving more, and sleeping better!

To your health,

Ryan

Consistency is Key, Right Now

Have you ever heard from a (well-meaning) friend or coach that the secret to achieving your fitness goals, or the key to a successful nutrition plan, is consistency?  And when they just stop their super-motivating pep talk there without elaborating further, have you ever felt like giving them a few consistent punches to the face?

Well, because I have the luxury of preaching from my keyboard and I’m out of harm’s way, I’ll quickly tell you… they’re right.  But consistency is really hard!  Think of the long haul of doing the same thing every day, FOREVER!  So don’t think that way.  It’s a recipe for failure, especially within the context of the pandemic we are going through when unwanted restrictions seem to be lasting longer than any of us would have guessed.

If the long haul of consistency seems like a bad word, let’s fall back to a single decision point:  NOW.  When you start to feel overwhelmed with having to be perfect all the time, understand that this is not a reasonable goal – nobody is perfect!  But what you can do is narrow your focus and just try to make a decision right NOW that will move you toward your goal, and not away from it.  Remind yourself of what your goal is and WHY you want to achieve it.

That word WHY is a crucial one as well.  “My goal is to lose 20 pounds.”  Why?  Unless you are clear on this answer, your goal will not motivate you to keep going and to make a good decision right NOW and then in the next NOW down the road.
Some positive answers would be to be the healthiest version of yourself possible, to motivate your kids to achieve their own goals, or because it will advance you toward another, loftier goal like coming off of blood pressure medication.
Some not-so-strong answers because they are more on the negative motivation side would be because someone else (Mom) wants me to do it, or because I will love myself more if I look different.  But you can flip those reasons around and charge them positively!  I want to show my mom and everyone that I am strong and I can achieve my goals.  I love myself and I want to become the image that I have in my mind when I picture my “future self”.

And when you take a quick break from your consistent good decisions and treat yourself with dessert or take an unplanned day off from going to the gym to go do something fun, don’t sweat it!  Coach Alex Ray talked to us a few months ago about planning a great nutrition strategy, and one of his major points that stuck with me was to stop attaching guilt and shame to our decision to do something “off-plan”.  There will be plenty more NOW moments for you to come back strong.  Enjoy yourself, and understand that you’re not going to ruin all the progress that you’ve made with one glass of wine.  Then the next time you’re at a NOW decision point, remind yourself of your goal and your WHY, and keep forging ahead.

Ryan

Work Your Weakness

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
– Tim Duncan

If you try to describe an athlete that we would consider to be best in their respective sport, one adjective you might use to describe them is “well-rounded”.  This is not a judgment of their body type, but instead of their lack of ugly sharp edges in their skillset.  A baseball player who is considered one of the greats will have demonstrated an ability to crush the ball out of the park, but also can throw you out at home from centerfield.  A soccer superstar is not only an amazingly talented goal scorer, but they never come off the field – they have extreme endurance and durability (as soccer players go, anyway…)

How would we apply this model to a CrossFit athlete, or just someone who strives to achieve a supreme level of fitness?  Well-rounded in this case would mean they are strong, fast, coordinated, agile, flexible, durable and endurable.  In general, they don’t have any holes in their game.  This does not mean that they are necessarily naturally talented — indeed they probably have great genetic potential in at least one of these fitness domains — but more likely they have worked their butt off to identify and fix any weaknesses.  They are hard workers, and also very honest and self-aware about the things that are holding them back.

Moving away from the theoretical view of an ultimate fitness machine, and bringing us back to today, let’s be honest about where we all are in terms of our fitness.  Many of us have developed significant holes in our game from our fitness and nutrition habits degrading during the COVID lockdown.  And that’s alright, that’s where we are and we just have to acknowledge it and deal with it in a positive way by turning back toward a more disciplined life (eat healthy foods, get back to training in the gym or outside).

Others came through the lockdown period with not as many chinks in their armor, as they remained focused and did what they could to maintain their fitness.  But… what about all those heavy weights that were sitting at the gym, not being lifted?  Many of us, even if we were consistent with our conditioning work and were throwing dumbbells around like there was no tomorrow, have developed a bit of a strength imbalance (I know I have!)

So, we’ve identified it, and we’re going to fix it!  Beginning next week, we will start a consistent schedule of strength training in our group classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  For our first 7-week cycle, each Monday we will work on Power Cleans, each Wednesday we will train with Presses, and each Friday we will get after some Front Squats.  We will start and end the cycle by testing our 1-rep max in each of these lifts.  After this initial 7-week cycle, we will switch gears to three more lifts and follow the same protocol.
We will be introducing a strength bias to our CrossFit program, which will be noticeably different from our group CrossFit class experience for at least the past couple years.  We’ll have to stay focused on our conditioning workouts as well, especially on the days that we are not training strength at all, to make sure that this aspect of our fitness does not fall off.

I’m pretty excited to have everyone set a new post-lockdown strength baseline, and then test again after 7 weeks of progressive strength work.  Let’s all work hard and lean into this opportunity to work on our weaknesses!

Ryan

Are You Holding Your Shield?

This week I’d like to share an email I received from The Daily Stoic, which is a great daily email service that routinely reminds us to think, to hold true to our values, and to do what is right not just for ourselves but in service to others.  The overall message of the ancient Stoic philosophers was to pursue wisdom and self-mastery, and to persevere through tough times.  Very relatable to what we’re all facing right now!

Wearing a mask in public has been a contentious subject, especially in the last month or so as we’ve all gotten a bit tired of “the new normal” and we want to get back to our old lives.  I’m right there with you all — I’m frustrated and tired of having to change my daily routine.  But, I feel that it’s important to think about the potential impact of discontinuing the recommendations put forth by the CDC and other health professionals.  If we stop wearing masks now, in some sort of Rage Against the Machine revolt against the government, or just because we’re tired of it, we risk extending the pandemic situation for longer than it has to go on.  Granted, I’m not a doctor, and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so in the absence of my own medical expertise, I choose to trust in the health professionals who are urging us to stay the course to stop the spread.  I hope if you’re reading this and realize you’ve become a little relaxed on your personal mask-wearing in public, you’ll reconsider — for the greater good and for a quicker resolution of this crappy situation.

————————————————

From Ryan Holiday and The Daily Stoic:

The world has asked a lot of us over the last few months. We had to stop traveling. We had to shut down our businesses. We had to take our kids out of school.

It asked even more of some of us. The doctors who had to work round-the-clock shifts. The nurses who did the same. There are those among us whose businesses will never reopen or whose jobs will never come back. There are some of us who didn’t get to say goodbye to people we loved, who had to watch funerals over the internet.

In a beautiful article a few weeks ago, Steven Pressfield (who we interviewed here) spoke about how the Spartans—the ancient Greeks who the Stoics admired so much—would have responded to this kind of collective sacrifice. He quotes Plutarch, who explained why the Spartans punished with death the soldier who dropped his shield but not his other protective gear, “Because helmet and breastplate are worn to protect the individual alone but the shield is borne to protect the whole line.”

“Why are we asked to wear surgical or face masks in public, to practice social distancing, and to observe self-quarantining?” Steven asked. “Answer: Because these practices are not for the individual alone but for the protection of the whole line.”

This moment we are in is a test. It’s a test of your character. It’s a test of your Stoicism. It’s asking whether you just pay lip service to sympatheia, or whether you actually believe it—whether you can embody your philosophy as Epictetus said. We talked about this with John Brownstein: The mask is not for you. Social distancing is not for you. It’s for the grandmother of the person you never met. It’s for the chemo patient. It’s because you might be a carrier and not know it, and so in wearing a mask, you protect the strangers you see and the strangers they see too. In deciding to eat the deposit on your family vacation, to pay for extra sick leave for your workers, to donate to a food bank, you are not helping yourself—you are doing something far more important and more noble.

You are protecting the whole line. And as a Stoic, as a Spartan, as a Citizen of the world, that is your job.

Goal-Oriented Tunnel Vision

“What it comes down to is that success demands singleness of purpose. Some call it mental toughness; I think it is singleness of purpose and, once you have agreed upon the price that you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to forget that price. It enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure and the temporary failures.”
– Vince Lombardi

I’ve been thinking about and talking about using “micro-goals” a lot lately, both for myself and for those that I coach.  We’re all constantly dealing with problems in our lives, and now we have the overarching concern of staying healthy and away from a potentially lethal disease sweeping the world.  That’s a lot to manage, and if we look at it all together, it can be very easy to get flustered and turn away from the problem and toward self-destructive behavior.
A great strategy to use when a big problem or obstacle is in front of us is to break it up into smaller, more manageable problems.  Instead of trying to achieve a goal of getting a new job, break it into micro-goals of updating your resume, getting a first interview, studying the company, crushing the interview.  Don’t look ahead until you have accomplished your micro-goal, and then review your overall plan again, and get to work.  Instead of staying so focused on the overall goal of losing 30 pounds, focus on the very specific micro-goal of eating a healthy meal.  Check that box, and move on to the next meal.  If you mess up one time, don’t throw out the whole goal for the rest of the day or the week, just refocus again on your next micro-goal.  You can get back on track! 

Luckily, as CrossFitters we have many opportunities to practice this in the gym!  Below is a blog post that I wrote BACK IN THE DAY, in 2017.  It has to do with a (not so) favorite workout of mine, something we might be doing tomorrow…

“Karen”:  150 Wallballs for time

Singleness of purpose.  When Coach Lombardi equated that with mental toughness, a more widely-used term, I thought of the other way that I’ve heard this put before — Tunnel Vision.  Having Tunnel Vision in some situations might be seen as a bad thing — in a team meeting or conversation with several people, for example.  But in the face of an old-fashioned Stamina workout like this, where you know it’s going to hurt and you have to get through a tremendous amount of work to make the pain stop, I can’t think of a better mindset.

Let’s also add Goal-setting to the mix, and call the best mindset for a long grinder “Goal-Oriented Tunnel Vision”.  You know the task at hand — your amazing CFKI coach has briefed the workout and you’ve internalized the workout.  Rather than taking a trip to Negative Town like Sally Sobstory who is literally spewing negative emotions out of her mouth, you use Goal-Oriented Tunnel Vision to chop-up the 150 Wallballs into 15 sets of 10.  At “3-2-1-GO!”, focused on your first micro-goal of 10 Wallballs, you get to work.  Easy day!  But when the negative thoughts of “I’m so tired”, “There’s no way I’m getting through this”,  “Look at David, he’s crushing me!” inevitably pop into your head, you acknowledge that these are unhelpful, negative thoughts, and instead snap your focus back with “I got this!” “Only 10 reps, I can do it!”  

You mark your progress with a mark on your whiteboard, stand back up, and continue setting and meeting your goals until your trip through the Tunnel is over, and you emerge stronger, both physically and mentally, having practiced positivity and Goal-Oriented Tunnel Vision, and achieved success, cementing the process in your mind for next time!

It’s important to note that this mindset is not just applicable to long workouts, but can be relevant to anything in life that seems insurmountable — a huge work project, or even a massive pile of dishes in the sink.  Set your goal at one dish, and get going!

Ryan

The Sale of CrossFit, Inc.

About three weeks ago, CrossFit’s owner and CEO, Greg Glassman, made some inappropriate comments on Twitter, relating the government’s response to COVID-19 to the government’s response to racism.  He also responded to an affiliate owner’s request to disaffiliate with profanity and disrespect.  Finally, it came out that his treatment of women had been consistently disrespectful and inappropriate.  These actions are inexcusable, and two days later, as the CrossFit community insisted through direct communications and by promising to disaffiliate themselves, Glassman stepped down and made longtime CrossFit Training and CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro the new CEO.

Coach Glassman created CrossFit.  That whole 21-15-9 thing?  As many rounds as possible?  That’s him.  And he gave it up, because he knew that the CrossFit community had become so strong, and is so much more powerful than just him, just one man.  Greg Glassman let CrossFit go because he knew that what he did was reprehensible, and there was no other way to save the brand and the community that has become one of the most positive influences in my life.

But Greg Glassman still owned the brand, and although the changes that had been made were a good start, he could not remain affiliated.  The groundswell of the CrossFit community continued to show their support for each other and their disgust with Glassman.  Many prominent CrossFit athletes began to boycott the 2020 CrossFit Games, demanding more change and for Greg to completely disaffiliate himself from CrossFit.

Today we learned that Eric Roza will be buying CrossFit, Inc at the end of June.  Discussions about the sale of CrossFit had begun more than a week ago, and upon finalizing the deal, Dave Castro, made it public today.

Three weeks.  They seemed like a long three weeks, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a very short time to make big changes, and CrossFit HQ and the community of affiliates and athletes got it done.  What a powerful metaphor for other changes we need to see in our own lives.  Commit to pushing toward the next big step, and we can get it done!

I don’t know much about Eric Roza, other than what Castro mentioned in his announcement, but he seemed excited: Eric is one of us. He’s a 10-year CrossFitt athlete and founder of CrossFit Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado. He opened boxes at his tech company, Datalogix, and at Oracle after it purchased his company. You can see his passion in every line of this New York Times story.”  Eric and Dave just hosted a Zoom call for all affiliates to watch and respond to, and both of them seemed very excited and energized.  Eric is a passionate and intelligent speaker, and I personally feel very good about his chances of success.

Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about this change.  I’d like to extend an open invitation to all of you to pick my brain about the future of CrossFit and of CrossFit Kent Island at any time.  You, our community of athletes and friends, are what makes us who we are.

Ryan

What Do You Stand For?

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
 — Winston Churchill

What do you STAND for?  Quite literally, what would make you stand up out of your chair and say, “That’s not right!”  What personal set of guidelines can you fall back on when an important decision needs to be made?

We’re living a very important part of history right now in many ways, and most recently because of the social unrest of the past week.  Millions of people throughout the world are standing up and shouting, “That’s not right!” and demanding change.  They are taking action, because it is that important to them.

I encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about the questions, “What do I stand for?”  “What is my line in the sand, that if crossed, would impel me immediately into action?”  “What will I hold my ground on, and not waver even if I am pushed?”

I review my Stand, along with my Purpose and Mission each morning, and remind myself of it so that it can help guide my daily actions.  My Stand, which has developed over the years, is:

“I stand for living a life of continuous improvement.  I stand for integrity in my thoughts, words, and actions.  I stand for protecting and supporting my family.”

I have never thought specifically about standing up against racial discrimination, and that bothered me as I thought about it more.  Why hadn’t I thought to include this, as it absolutely goes against my personal values?  I thought more about why I always think about protecting and supporting my family as part of my daily ritual.  I have a strong bond with my family, and I would do anything to protect the people that I love.  I feel that a strong bond is growing throughout humanity again, especially since this year has brought about such global crises that affect all of us, but absolutely some more than others.  And so now I’d like to revise my Stand to include, “I stand for protecting and supporting anyone that is calling out for help.”

The black community is calling out for our help now.  They need all of our support if change is to be made to not tolerate discrimination.  The law enforcement community is calling out for our help now.  They too need our support and encouragement to continue their mission of protecting and serving the public, and to drive home change that may be painful for them but will be best for society.

Think about what you stand for.  Is helping others when they are in distress part of it?  If so, we’ve got some work to do.  For now, let’s listen and learn, and then stand up and ask how we can help.

Ryan

CFKI Mythbusters: “CrossFit is not for me”

“I don’t think CrossFit is for me.”
 – My mom

What is CrossFit?  CrossFit is a super-intense exercise program to be done with your shirt off, in a large group, with barbells so heavy they could snap your neck if you look at them wrong.  You have to be able to jump on a box that’s up to your waist and do 10 pull-ups, or don’t even bother showing up.  That is one definition of CrossFit, usually reserved for people that have never walked into a CrossFit affiliate gym, or even more specifically my mom, or your grandpa, or anyone that sees a CrossFitter looking lean and mean and thinks to themselves, “I can’t do that.”

So, if that’s not the best definition of CrossFit, what is?  Greg Glassman (the founder, “Coach”) describes it as constantly varied, functional movement, executed at high intensity.  Sounds a little more tame, and a lot more broad.  Maybe those broad terms can apply to anyone that wants to become a bit more fit, no matter where they are coming from in the spectrum of fitness and health?  We’re still using that INTENSITY word, but it’s important to note that intensity is relative to everyone’s current capacity.  What is intense for an experienced athlete would be foolish, if not impossible for someone first starting out, and so we scale intensity to each of our members, starting almost insultingly easy and building as we get to know your skills and your tolerance for more intensity.

CrossFit is also not necessarily defined as group classes.  There are many people that are not motivated working out in a group — it might actually make them uncomfortable.  Totally fine, and actually this is how CrossFit started!  The first “CrossFitters” were Coach Glassman’s personal training clients at a standard gym with lots of fancy machines, but he had them focus on “functional movements” – things that make sense for the real world.  Pick something up off the ground.  Put it over your head.  Makes a lot more sense than using a machine that focuses only on your groin muscles opening and closing your legs.  Maybe.
The only reason that CrossFit became associated with group classes is so more people that had a similar goal could join in the fun!  But having a trainer that is fully versed in CrossFit training methods design a program for you, and coach you through your own personal workouts?  That is probably the ultimate expression of fitness training, as you will achieve YOUR goals in the quickest possible manner.  I asked a CrossFit Kent Island member that has been doing personal training with one of our coaches for a few months for some feedback, and he said, “It’s going great — only negative thing is I should have started PT a couple years ago.  The workouts are definitely more in tune for me and I feel I’m getting through longer workouts with less breaks.  Plus I’m down 25 lbs since this {expletive deleted} started in March.”

If you are motivated by working out in a group, as many of us are, then our group classes may be right up your alley.  Again, we focus on constantly varied, functional movements – so there is not very many workouts that you will experience multiple times.  If you focus on doing the same thing all the time in your fitness regimen, you will become very good at that thing… and very bad at everything else.  Our goal in group classes is to give everyone a chance to work on their weaknesses by including all kinds of movements and workout formats, so that everyone will be especially challenged at some time (and everyone will get a chance to do things they are good at too!)

Wherever you are starting from, CrossFit is the right program for you.  You get to pick the delivery method.  Reach out to us today to get started.  If you can promise hard work and a willingness to learn new things, we can promise results, and fun!