Embracing the Struggle…

Originally written for The BodyLab CrossFit

Last Friday, the workout of the day was the following:



This was meant to be a challenge and not an “easy” three rounds.  Did you embrace the struggle?  Did you step up to the bar that is to challenge yourself to do more than what you knew you could?

This workout is designed to challenge you across both physical and mental boundaries.  It is meant to push you into that territory where we have to silence the critic that is our mind and push through.  When picking the weight to complete in this workout, you should have picked something that allowed rounds one and two to be hard and failure should have been a very real option on round three.

I commend all that people that had to start at least 4 rounds of this workout in order to finish three.  I watched with pride as people refused to drop weight but chose to attempt the challenge several times before succeeding.  They embraced the struggle and the fight.

Do you embrace the struggle that is present in every workout?  Do you play it safe?  Do you challenge yourself to move correctly and complete every rep or is finishing first what matters?

This week, commit to embracing the struggle…commit to accepting nothing less than your best!

Coming later this week, some tips on how to always push yourself in my next podcast!  Get ready for that one…and for your viewing pleasure, here is me failing at my first attempt doing this workout at bodyweight!  #itSucked


School, Skills and Forgiveness

I have been away from the blogosphere for a while.  I apologize for that, but I am back tonight to share a little something that is weighing on me, literally.

But first a little tale…don’t worry it is relevant.

My little girl started school this week.  She is starting kindergarten and she will, good Lord willing, be a person that never loses a passion for learning.  She is starting on a journey of growing into the woman that she is meant to be.  She will learn many lessons from books and many more lessons from the people and places that she will come in contact with.  She will grow and she will fall down.  She will succeed and she will fail.  And I want her to.  That is how we all learn.  We experience life, we do not read about it.  And we have to learn what consequences are.  And her mother and I, as parents, want to support her on this journey.

And here we come to today and the weight we all carry on our shoulders.  It is the weight that we must be perfect in order to be successful.  It is the weight that keeps us from seeing progress and only allows to see ourselves through the lens of failure.  That is to say that when we start on this journey to a healthy lifestyle, we had a magical goal that defined what would be success.  And every time we look in the mirror, eat that bad meal, or have a bad day at the gym or cannot learn a lift, we can only see it as failure.  We cannot see beyond the failure.  We cannot see past the mistake to see that we are “in process”.  We cannot simply see that we are still in school and still learning what it means to live a completely new way that is against what we are used to.

And I say we, because I am guilty.  I cuss myself and the failures that I have.  I had a terrible day at the gym today…and I could not even congratulate myself for showing up and giving a solid effort.  I could not even say proudly that I learned some things that I need to focus on technique wise.  I just saw failure.  I just saw every non-perfect meal and the fact that I was not where I WANTED to be!

And so I hung those feelings on the door and got ready to coach.  And I watched as the people that I train, gave it their all.  They pushed.  Some succeeded and some faltered.  They had things limiting their abilities and so we made changes.  But they worked hard.  And I was proud to be their coach.  They gave 100% and gave me their best.  But I know some of them are still struggling with the same things that I do.  They still see that they are not to their goals and they dwell on that.

It is time to return to school…it is time that all of us, give ourselves the right to admit that we are on a journey and we are allowed to fail.  We are allowed to learn from our mistakes and learn what helps us and what hurts us.  We are going to have to deal with people who are brutally honest with us that say the things that we don’t want to hear, but NEED to hear.  We are allowed to fail as long as that does not mean we are done.  We are allowed to continue to learn what it means to be successful.  Just as my little girl has to be allowed to learn about life and consequences, we have to give ourselves the same freedom.

We all have to learn the consequences for our actions.  But more importantly than that, we have to learn to take responsibility for them and not be too hard on ourselves when we falter.  We have to not add weight to our lives, unless it is on a barbell.  We cannot put the added burden and scars on ourselves that we so often do when we are not progressing as quickly as we think we should be.

I love my athletes because they trust me.  They have learned how to be vulnerable with me and let me into their struggles.  I love that they give me an opportunity to speak to them and be honest with them.  We talk and then they choose what they want to do.  They recognize that we are on a journey and they inspire me daily.

Control What You Can! -Repost

I just got back from vacation.  It was a much needed break from everything.  As I was driving back, my mind wandered…9.5 hours in a car will do that to you.  I thought about many things, but one of the prevailing themes on the return drive was that:

We do not control success…all we control is our preparation.  But in 99% of cases we do control failure!

As coaches and as a training facility, we cannot guarantee you anything outside of our best.  We will take all of our skills and talents and tools and put them to use for you.  We will provide advice on technique, nutrition, sleep, and anything under the sun.  But we cannot control you and what you do.

You can take the advice, you can discard the advice.  Either way, it does not guarantee success.  On any given day when you walk into the gym, you might be successful…you might not.  You cannot control the outcome.  You can control your effort, your preparation and your mindset.  That is all.

You cannot guarantee yourself a sub-five minute mile time on any given day, but you can train to have one.  And continue to work towards and then maybe one day, you have it.  Any coach cannot guarantee that you will be able to deadlift 500 pounds, but they can give you the tools and programs to help you achieve it.  But ultimately the outcome is a matter of not giving up.

Success as an outcome is a process of smaller steps.  The only guarantee that we have in life is that there will always be another step to take.  We control ourselves and that is it.  We control how we react to a great day of lifting and how we react to a terrible day in the gym.  We control what happens between our ears and in our hearts, but that is about it.  We control when we give up and when we continue to fight.

Control what you can…let the chips fall where they fall and move on.  Take the next step, your journey starts now!