Take Inventory…Learn Something Everyday!

Here we go another round with the Barbell Poet, another opportunity to grow and learn something.  This past week, I have spent a lot of time turning down the noise and just listening for the nuggets of wisdom that I can hopefully pass along to you.  Get you the shorthand version to get your mind right and your training progressing on a trajectory that you want it to be and something that you can be happy with.

I have a couple challenges for you today.  As usual, I will give you the easy one first.  Learn something new every day.  This can be a fact, a skill, a training method, a movement.  Just learn something new each and everyday.  Learn a new stretch or a new way to move.  Learn some new fact or word.  But take the time to get out of your own world and bring something new into it.  It is important to grow.

Often in training sessions, we try to thrown new skills at people to work on or learn.  We try to present them with at least one thing that they need to focus on in their next session and why it is important.  That is the new thing.  The “why”.  I recently read a quote from Diane Fu where she said, and I paraphrase, I want build athletes that could be coaches.  That means that she does not simply tell them how to do something, there is an element of why to do it.  There is also the ability to break things down.

Which brings me to my second challenge.  And this one should be hard for you to accomplish.  If done right, you should learn something about yourself that you might not like.  But it will help you grow.

I want you to break yourself down.  I want you to take an inventory on yourself.  Really look at yourself and decide “What am I good at?” and “What am I NOT good at?”  Then evaluate that list and determine what on that list you are content not being good at and what on that list you want to improve or change.  The biggest part of that is also taking those pieces and determining what you are willing to give up and your level of commitment to change.  If you don’t have the time or the energy to change something that you are not good at, then you better start learning to accept the reality of who you are.  Own your shortcomings…understanding yourself will lead to less stress put on yourself.

This applies to our personalities (I am not the best as a friend, but I am a solid co-worker) as much as it does our training (I am lacking in absolute strength, but am a solid in my gymnastic movements…I am terrible at recovery protocol but consistent in getting 4 workouts in a week).  You do not have to share this shortcomings list with anyone.

When it comes to your training, you might want to share it with your coach and see how they can help you address the things you want to.  They will also be able to help you figure out how that will affect your current strengths and minimize losses.

Take the time to honestly assess yourself and see what you can learn about yourself.  Then take that and see how you can grow and learn something new everyday.  Start on your journey now!

Find Your Passion, Embrace the Mundane…

This post is a mix of everything out there.  You will have to apply it however you want to, to whatever item in your life you need to.  It might be your training, it might be your business, it can be anything, but it will affect how you approach your day-to-day tasks.

It is easy to get out of bed on Christmas, our birthday, the first day of school (for some or most).  It is easy to get excited on the first day of our job and the last day before we retire (I am guessing).  It is easy to put in the work when our motivation is high or when success keeps on rolling in.  It is easy when we know that we are in our element and are doing the good that we want to do.

But what about when we look up and realize that today is just another day at the office.  We may be doing what we love, but the motivation is just not there or maybe we hit that dry spell where everything we try seems to come up snake eyes.  We throw idea after idea after idea at the wall but nothing seems to stick.  What do we do then?

We must find a way to embrace the mundane.  We must see them as an obstacle, or something to get through in order to reach our bigger goal.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are far more mundane days that all look the same, than there are days where we jump out of bed on a motivational high…unless we learn to embrace the day to day and see them as the obstacles that we must overcome in order to achieve success.


It is not always going to be a huge paycheck, but you define it.  Make the mundane tasks, small opportunities to be successful.  If you replying to 50 emails, gets you closer to a major sponsor for your event or your business, then find excitement in each one.  Pour yourself into those 50 emails and try to make each contact see who you are and how you can help them as much as they can help you.

Maybe success to you is helping one person to lose 30 pounds.  They are your success story and you must find joy as they work through and only change one piece of their diet a month, and only show up to work out with you when you send them a text message a day.  Start to see the sending of the text message as your small success.

Every once in a while, let go of the forest and focus on each tree.  It is always good to see the big picture, but there is also beauty and majesty and awe in each and every tree.

In order for all of us to remain riding the highs of our passions, we have to find success and embrace the mundane steps it takes to get there.

If I can help in any way, please contact me!


Training, Nutrition and Deferred Gratification…Keys to Success

What I am sharing today is nothing new and I am not the first person to put these words on paper.  There are several others out there that understand this concept and probably understand it better than me.  I am throwing out the short hand version so that maybe today you can be motivated to put down whatever it is that is keeping you from reaching your goals…I heard most of this from Joe De Sena.  Go read his book to dive deeper into this philosophy.

Coke, candy, beer, wine, sugar, going out with friends until the wee hours of the morning…whatever it is, I ask you now…is it worth it?  Is this little taste that feeds your craving now worth giving up the bigger thing that you truly hunger for.  Is a slice of pizza now, worth giving up all the work that you did in the gym?  Is that glass of wine every night worth meaning you have to work an extra 2 hours tomorrow?  Is staying up and writing one more email worth the cost of not feeling refreshed and alive tomorrow.

In the words of Zach Even-Esh, “That shyt can wait!”

Give up the good for now, so that you can have something great later.  It’s called deferred (or delayed) gratification.  It started with an experiment back in the 1960’s and 1970’s with some kids.  They were brought into a room and given the choice between one treat now, and two treats if they could wait for 15 minutes.  The researchers left the room for the 15 minutes and returned to see how many were able to not give in.  There was no penalty for giving in, just no reward.

Some of the kids went a little crazy in order to hold off on eating the marshmallow.  Some pulled on their pigtails, others kicked the desk and others simply turned their back from the treat…out of site, out of mind.

Those that survived got two treats and all was well.

So what, you ask…well they went back and looked at these kids 20 – 30 years later.  And much to their surprise the kids that were able to delay gratification were much more successful in life.  They had better test scores on the SAT.

What in the world does that have to do with me and my training.  It really is quite simple.  If you want to reach your lifting and nutrition goals, you have to learn to have this mentality.  You must be able to delay gratification until you have reached a goal.  You have to give up your one cookie today for two tomorrow (or maybe you will lose the taste for cookies…and keep on your healthy path).  Give up the evening beverage now, so that when you reach your goals, it tastes that much sweeter (talking to you wine lovers).

It’s not easy, you will have to pull your own hair at times, or kick the desk.  But if you want to succeed in anything you have to give up the small taste of one successful moment for the grander goal of truly being successful.  You have to keep on delaying that urge to taste what is right in front of you now, for the promise of what is possible tomorrow.

This means sticking to your nutrition plan and your training plan.  It means committing to getting enough rest and recovery every night.  It means having realistic goals and being strong enough to walk away from something good for something better down the road.  It means get out of the mindset of “gotta have it now” and into the mindset of “If I really want it, it’s going to take some work!”

Let’s get started, let’s do some work!

Immerse Yourself in Greatness

We all have that dream to be better.  That is why we train.  We have something in us that makes us want to be better.  It might be a quest for better health or a journey for strength gains.  If you are like me, it was really just a quest to learn new things.  To challenge myself to see what I was capable of as I got older.

No matter what, there is a desire to be better.  I am here to say that the path to being better starts with who you surround yourself with.  Your coach and the program you are on, plays a role, but the people that you are around are the biggest piece of the puzzle.  You must train with and be around people that have surpassed where you want to be.  You learn a new language by immersing yourself in the language…the same is true in most any goal.

You must immerse yourself in a community of people that have mastered what you want to do.  You cannot simply get there by being the best in the room, you have to have someone to chase, someone to look up to and someone to get advice from.  Hopefully your coaches provide some of that, but there needs to be people in the trenches that give you this same challenge.

If you want to get stronger, work out with someone that was where you are at and has passed that…and chase them!  Keep the pressure on them to keep getting better and you stay motivated to get where they are.  Learn what they did and how you can use those tools.

Truly successful people want others to be successful as well.  People that excel in any area have knowledge they want to share to help others.  It is just a matter of asking.

So I throw this out to everyone.  If you have a goal, then start training with someone who has achieved it and ask them questions.  Tell them what you are doing and where your struggles are.  Once you get that piece, start busting your butt to get better every day.  Attack each day with a renewed mindset.  Do the little things, and do them right with passion…for yourself.

Change Something…Be Different

I read a lot about what is going on with affiliate owners in the CrossFit universe.  I want to know the struggles and successes that others are having as I work and manage my current affiliate.  Everyone asks the same questions and deals with the same things.  It is a good resource, but every once in a while you see that rare gem of a question that makes me sit back and say “I am glad that we are different…”

The question that prompts this is almost always around the notion of capping classes or membership.  I have x amount of space, and run y number of classes…should I cap my membership, raise my prices, etc.

I have a novel idea, how about you get rid of the current one hour structure all together.  Run your classes in heats if possible.  Yes, it does require you to put more coaches on the floor to consistently run a warmup, technique and workout.  But you can accommodate far more people being in your building.  You can accommodate far more people that are running late without making them do burpees.

And bigger than all of that, you are free to let your process take over an hour every once in a while.  It takes a lot more work, I will not lie, but the benefits are there.  In an evening class we still see 60+ people over the course of a 3 hour time period.  Instead of looking at that like running 3 20 person hour long sessions, we have heats that vary in size from 8 to 16 but they all are constantly supervised through the process.

We have three coaches on the floor minimum to help people through a warm-up, technique session, and workout.

Every once in a while, stop, step back and ask why am I doing it this way?  Am I doing it this way because everyone else is?  Also if you are the only one that does this in your area…you have created a valuable difference that sets you apart from others.

But that’s just my opinion.  Be different, be better, be great!

Hard Work Still Matters

This one is a little personal.  This one is a little more universal and does not just apply to training or fitness.  There is a growing trend of laziness in this world.  There is a trend that drives me nuts and that is that far too often people expect things to just happen.

In too many facets of life, it seems people expect things to just magically work the way they want them to and how they expect them to.  No matter what the job, it seems that people are afraid or allergic to working hard and being held responsible for even the simplest of tasks.

If you want to get anywhere worth being, hard work still matters.  Hard work is still the path to success.  You can try the shortcuts, but if you want to grow and learn, then put in the time and effort necessary to achieve the things you want.

No one is going to set you up for success better than you can.  AND WHY SHOULD THEY?  That my friends in the million dollar question.  Why are your dreams and your goals someone else’s responsibility?  Not even dreams and goals, but little day to day tasks.  Why do we walk around with this expectation that we don’t have to put in the time and energy necessary to make our wants into reality.

One of the best quotes that I heard recently that resonates with me is as follows:

If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs ~Tony Gaskins

It really is that simple.  If you are not going to work to build what you want, then you will help someone else build what they want.  If you are not willing to put in the time and effort to get where you want to be in life, then stop complaining.  This world is not out to crush your dream, but it isn’t going to hand it to you either.

When you are ready to start building, let’s get after it!   It’s your time…put in the time and work necessary for you to make that dream real!

More Business and Training

So here we go again.  This blog will talk a little about business, but a lot about character. The two go hand in hand.  And hopefully business and character plus hard work and hustle and you can find yourself tasting some success.

I am a member of several groups that deal with being a business owner.  In my case, these are primarily gym owners.  I look at the questions they have and I am a huge fan of sharing knowledge and ideas, but more and more seems to always turn into…tear someone down to make myself look better.  STOP!  That reveals your character or theirs if they are talking trash about you.

Analyze what they are saying…is there any (even a tiny bit) of truth to it?  If so, how are you going to fix it?  How are you going to fix it within the walls of your own business?

I do not know if it is the culture that we live in, the politics ruling the world, the he said- she said garbage or what, but we are obsessed with proving that we are better.  We are obsessed with slinging mud and talking trash to belittle someone else just to feel better.  We will destroy someone just so that we can stand on a pile of rubble and say we are better.

Who wants to be king of ruins?

Seriously, take a minute and think about it.  If all we do is try to destroy someone else and their kingdom or their business, we are standing on ruins.  Where is our business?  Is it getting any better if we spend all our time and energy making someone else look inferior or hurting them.

STOP!  Build your empire.  Build your business and focus on that.  You want to be the best, invest your time and energy into yourself and your people.  Don’t invest it into tearing someone else down…just keep getting better.  Gain knowledge, make more and better personal connections with the people you see each and every day, clients and employees.

How can you make their lives better?  How can you make a difference in building a better community around you.  Grow into a leader that others can say whatever they want to about them and no one will believe them.  Let your character respond for itself.

Put your head down and work!  Form your own path, carve it out of the mountain and get to the top by working hard.

The same philosophy hold true in training.  You do not get your gains by talking trash about someone else’s program or training methods.  I guarantee you someone following a “bad” training program will make more progress than someone spending all their time trashing it.

So start learning how to learn from your own mistakes, grow from them and then craft a business that is all you!  Focus on this business being an extension of who you are and stop caring about what everyone else is doing.  Stop thinking you have to cater to the same crowds or the same people.

Cater to the people who have the same values, goals and character as you.  They will come and success will find you.  Results will come if you put in the work…

Unless you want to rule the ruins!