yoda...there is no try

You Just Don’t Know…Until You Do!

I have worked with hundreds of athletes.  I have watched tens of thousands of lifts, successful and unsuccessful.  I have helped people trudge through their personal struggles and fears and have loved every minute of it.

I have watched as people have stared at me with that look in their eyes, telling me that they are going to fail and they are right.  They fail because they have told themselves that they will.  They do not believe that they can accomplish the lift, the task, or conquer the problem.

They look at it and say that it is just too much.

And I ask them, constantly, why are you afraid?

“Because I might fail.”

And there is that word.  That word that I am growing to hate more and more each day…might.  Might is five-letter word that defeats all of us far too often.

I might fail…but I might not.

And so we accept it.  We accept the failing, we accept the missed lift, the lost opportunity and the not so perfect day…all because of what might have happened.

Cue the Yoda memes and the Batman slapping Robin meme backup.  Might is not a result.  For my fellow Yoda fans, try is not a result.

I tried…is a cop out.  If you say you tried, you are probably really saying, I didn’t succeed.  The bigger question is not about success and failure, but did you stop?  Did you learn?  Did you grow?  Are you willing to fail again?  Is failure what is really holding you back?

What if success really has that grip of terror on you?  What if when I asked why are you afraid you answered me honestly…Because I might succeed.  Then the expectations go up.  Then people want to see me do it again.  If I get a PR, then the next time, I better at least match it.  I got a pull-up, a muscle-up, a handstand walk for 30 feet, a best selling book, a platinum record, start and sell a multi-million dollar company…and what happens that next time you try?

Will people expect more of you?  Want to see you fall from grace?  Will you let it get to you?  Will you get out of your own head and give yourself the right to succeed again?

So I ask again, “Why are you afraid?”

You’ll never know until you…do!

Own Your Successes!

I recently wrapped up a 6 week program on leadership.  It was an intense time of paradigms being broken and minds being expanded.  As we reached the conclusion of the training there was a graduation and chance to invite a couple people to celebrate.

I did not want to invite anyone.  I shy away from praise, spotlight, and more importantly success.  I feel guilty when I accomplish something.  I constantly feel like I need to hide the fact that I am growing, making progress and being successful.  Somehow, I feel like celebrating my success diminishes or limits someone else’s.

This happens in many areas of life as well as in the gym.  It happens.  It seems like when you make progress or get better, we can pull ourselves into a shell of silence or downplay the growth out of fear that someone else will feel inferior.  We downplay that we have lost 5 pounds because someone else might be struggling in that area.  We downplay a new personal best in our lifts because they are not as good as someone else’s or because we do not want to make someone else feel bad.

It’s time to stop!

We worked hard to be successful and we have a right to own that success and be proud of it.  We made decisions that allowed us to succeed and that might mean sacrifices were made (I’m looking at you cookie cake).  We deserve to be proud of ourselves and we should invite people into that moment.  Not because we are egotistical or gloating, but because we have accomplished something and we deserve to share that with people that want to celebrate us!

We are always told to learn from our failures and our faults.  It’s time to do the same thing from our successes.  Learn something, share what you learned and keep learning.  Share the sacrifices made to be successful and learn that you can continue on the path to success.  Learn how hard growth really is, and share the challenges with others, so they can know they are not alone.  Celebrate your success and share your success to others know that it is possible.

And once you have celebrated, file it away, set a new goal and repeat the process.  In the world, people want to be happy, they want to be asked to enter joyous moments just as much as they want to support you in the challenges and struggles.  Give them the opportunity and allow yourself to be happy with your own success…celebrate those moments…use them to motivate you for bigger and better things!


If You Aren’t Willing to Be First…

I was sitting at my desk today looking through emails, reading some training articles and seeing the same thing over and over again.  8 ways to guarantee six pack abs, 5 ways to lean up, 10 tips to better training, and the lists go on and on and on.  I don’t have a magic list that is the “Barbell Poet Miracle Success Plan”.

Sorry, doesn’t exist.  Why?  Because my training methods put a whole lot of emphasis on one thing and one thing only.  You leading You!  If you are not willing to put yourself first then don’t expect anyone to follow you!

This is one thing that is slowly growing on my pet peeve list.  People want to follow everyone else in this world and then wonder why no one wants to follow them or help them move up in the world.  You have got to be willing to be at the front of the line.  Take some risks, make some mistakes and learn about yourself and life.

If you train with me, you better have some goals.  You better at least know why you are walking in the front door of the gym.  If it is simply a matter of being healthy, then please work on having a definition of what healthy means to you.  If you cannot come in with the mentality that “I am in charge of how far I can go…” then I really cannot help you get anywhere at all.


Because you don’t want it.  You don’t know what you want!

You have to be willing to lead yourself to the goals that you want to achieve.  Then as you reach them others will want to follow you because you have a purpose and a passion for something.  You are not just one of the crowd, or one in a long line of followers.  People seldom say, I want to know what the guy who finished fifth did or even want to know what the guy who finished second did…they want to know what the guy or girl who finished first did.

Are you willing to be first and lead?  Are you willing to step outside of the comfort and conformity that is all those in the line?  Find a goal that you want to achieve and lead yourself there…you might be surprised at who comes along on the journey!

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.

Patch Adams and Training

I am a big fan of the movie “Patch Adams”.  That is my go to, having a bad day movie.  It inspires me to think outside the box, to focus on a solution and to always focus on the person.

But there is something else that we all need to take away from this show.  That is the simple ability to break free from the molds.  We don’t, and shouldn’t look like every other coach out there.



I sit back and look at everyone trying to mimic or be just like someone else.  We watch as someone else has been successful or implemented some other program, and you think that the easiest path to success is to copy them.  And I am here to say, don’t.

I love Patch Adams because he was true to himself.  He desired to help people and thought that being a doctor was the best path.  He wasn’t afraid to tell the psychologist that he sucks at listening to people and helping them.

I’m not encouraging all of you strength coaches to go out into the world, telling other coaches that they suck, but rather…stay true to who you are as a person and as a coach!  Sometimes that means that you will be on the outside of the norm…who cares?

Are you getting results?  Are your athletes (clients) happy with their progress and development?  Are you able to look at yourself in the mirror and night and be proud of that person?  And more importantly:

Will you be able to be that person again tomorrow, and the next day?

I appreciate Patch Adams because he was himself, he would not change and eventually, in spite of it all, people ended up needing to learn from him and wanting to know his methods.

Be yourself…Learn the facts, learn other methods, but implement them your way and own it!

What Does Your Certification Mean?

Let me get real with you.  I want to talk about the value of certifications to me as a coach.  They are just pieces of paper for the most part.  A wall full of them means that I spent a lot of time listening to someone talk about training.  It means that I spent some money and someone gave me an attendance award.  Maybe I passed an exam; that means I understood some concepts or memorized some information.

But for the most part, a certification does not equal a quality coach!

As a coach, I display a certificate because I am proud of attending, but know that deep down each certification that I have is a starting point for growth.  If I stop there and do not put anything into practice, then it is worthless.

So how do you decide what certification to get?  There are two things to take into consideration.  First, think about is it required for you to do what you want to do.  That is the primary reason that I have several of my CrossFit certifications.  The L1 is required to be on the floor of the gym I train at.  The additional ones that I have were solid starting points for development and growth.  These are what I classify as foundational certifications.  They are there because you have to have them.  That is their primary purposeIMG_1966USC-Cert-Logo2

The second type of certification is what I would refer to a value certification.  For me these are the one’s that you hang on the wall and are proud to do so.  These certifications talk to your character as a person and as a coach.  I recently completed Zach Even-Esh’s Underground Strength certification.  This is one that I would call a value certification and that is because much of what it talked about, is about who you need to be as a coach.  What we coach and what we teach people is secondary to being better people daily.

This second type of certification is one that hangs on the wall and you say I represent this brand or I represent ZEE and his brand.  I better keep up the standards that he has set and attack life the way that he does.  And in reverse to some degree, by putting this out ZEE represents me.  That means that we are accountable to each other.  His motto of “Live the Code” is a call to lead your life in a way that makes people take notice.  Those are value certifications.

So what do I recommend when you are trying to decide which certifications to get.  First and foremost get the ones that you must have to run your business, but then start looking for the one’s that best represent who you are and who you want to be.  Get the one’s that when someone sees it on your wall, they get a sense of exactly who you are.

But above all else, remember that the certifications do not make you a great coach…you do that!

Grain Brain By Dr. Perlmutter – Book Review

grain brain


It has been a while since I have put up a book review on the blog, so today is as good as any.  I am still on pace to hit reading a book a week, but I will admit that I have slacked a little on reporting on them.  If you are someone that is wanting to know more about why the current standards set out by the US government are off, than this book is a pretty decent starting point.  If you don’t mind a little science, then this is well worth your time and energy.  If you are not a huge reader, but still want the information, then get it on itunes or audible.  Pretty simple solutions.

The biggest thing that I can encourage people to take away from reading anything that has to do with nutrition or leading a healthy life is for you to be open to new ideas.  I appreciate this book because it emphasizes that point that fats are healthy.  That fats do not make you fat!  It talks about the importance of cholesterol in your diet as well as how the body reacts to sugar and gluten.

There has been more and more growing research to support the idea that gluten sensitivity is a very real problem and is a root cause to more than know.  I also appreciate that the author has a desire to find root causes for treatment and not focus on the symptoms.  Whether you choose to try a gluten free diet or not, one thing to remember is that we all must have an open mind to new research that is coming out.  We need to find a way to eat that helps us feel and perform our best.

For me personally, I will be working hard to get off of gluten and see how it affects some of the things that ail me, such as allergies as well as putting into effect some of his recommendations on supplements (Vitamin D, tumeric, and Omega 3) into my daily habits and see how it affects my focus among other things.

I enjoyed this book as it made me think a little more about what is going on with my body based on what I eat.  When you look at things from the perspective of this affecting my ability to think clearly and perform my job to the best of my abilities, things can become a little more real.  Many of us, can eat poorly and handle not feeling well or having an upset stomach.  When we start to think about it really affecting our performance…it can instigate change!

Until we meet again…tell me what you are currently reading and learning!

Treat the Problem Not the Symptoms

I am getting over being sick, so this one hits home for me.  I have a cough, I buy cough syrup.  My throat hurts, I get something for that.  My head hurts, I take tylenol or ibuprofen.  The list goes on and on and on.  So does that size of my bill to keep the old medicine cabinet stocked up.  And all the while, I am really doing nothing to remain healthy and stay there…why?

I am treating symptoms, and ignoring the root cause

As new symptoms pop up, I am taking care of those but really am not doing anything to treat the root problem.  Is it seasonal allergies or is it something I am eating?  Am I taking care of myself to the point that I should not be getting sick or am I letting life get the better of me?

There are three primary keys to remaining healthy that will help you with not having to treat the symptoms:

  1. Nutrition – Sorry but this is a biggie and probably the most overlooked when we get sick.  Are you eating the right foods and enough of them?  What about water?  Are you doing your best to minimize sugar intake?  Are you drinking more than a glass of wine a night?
  2. Exercise – Are you getting any?  Are you getting any activity in during your day?  Exercise combined with the proper nutrition is the key to staying healthy.  There are chemicals released during exercise that help aid in attention and retention of information so it is extremely beneficial for you to get your daily dose.
  3. Sleep and Recovery – If you are taking care of items 1 and 2, then you better be getting enough quality sleep and on a solid recovery protocol.  This is generally where I fail. I am pretty good about eating right and making sure I lift heavy things and lift light things fast.  But I am busy and I make a million excuses to stay up late and neglect a solid sleep and recovery routine.  And so here I am, today getting over something.
  4. BONUS – And here is a bonus item…STRESS!  What is your stress level like?  What weight (and I do not mean the good kind) are you carrying on your shoulders that you need to deal with.  Either you need to drop them and leave them where they are or deal with them.  Stress is a huge burden on getting quality sleep and weakens the immune system.

None of these are new things and most of us know this.  The reason that I am putting this out there is simply because we run from these simple truths.  We hide from the reality that just because we can take a pill to treat the symptoms we don’t need to worry about what it really underneath it all.

BUT today you are just battling a cough or a cold.  What are you going to do tomorrow when it is something that is much worse?  What happens when you are diagnosed with something, look back, and realize that making a few simply changes today could have prevented this?

Start small today and make simple gradual changes.  You will feel better and appreciate all the benefits as you move forward!

Need help get in touch with me and I will help you wherever you are at!




We all want results.  That is why we show up to the gym.  That is why we do our best to avoid the sweets and eat well.  We want to find those sometimes elusive things we call results and progress.  We are driven by what we see around us.  We are driven to not lose the ability to play with our kids or by the strong men and women we see competing at the higher levels.

Somewhere in that quest though, we quick focusing on our goal and started to focus on the person next to us.  We looked at their bar and the weight they are lifting.  We focused on their time on the board and were discouraged with ours.  Somewhere in the quest for our personal betterment, we lost sight of what we were really chasing.

Your results are not in their time on the whiteboard.  Your results are not in their barbell.  Your results are in your barbell.  Your results are in your time.  Your results can only come from within you.  Your results are hiding in the dark places of your soul where you have to go to get them out.

You results are not found in someone else’s barbell, but in the intensity with which you attack yours!

Please think about that.  Your results are never going to be found by focusing on anything that is not directly in front of you.  Your progress and growth is found in how hard you push yourself.   The results you want are not found in doing more, but are found in giving more to each and every workout.  It is not about more volume or doing more daily…it is about going as hard as possible for that workout on the board.  It is about giving 100% to eating the way that leads to the results you want.  It is not 6 workouts a day, but rather about 1 workout where you gave everything you had for that one day.  Then recovering smart.

Your results are found the one place so many of us do not want to look.  They are found within.  They are found by pushing past where the mind says stop and the heart takes over.  You might have the mind of a champion, but do you have that heart?  Results are found there!

Karen is Life…Life is Karen

Saturday morning, I had all my coaches in the gym early.  We were there to do a workout as a group.  During that time, the conversation turned to some of “The Girls” of CrossFit.  We talked about Fran, Grace, Diane and then we ended up on Karen.  Oh, how we love Karen…let me count the ways.

After we did our lifts and rowing (Ironic that we did not even touch one of the girls…), we hosted our bring-a-friend workout, and then I gave a mini-nutrition seminar for some of our curious members.  I headed home.  It was on the drive home, I had this internal conversation, we will call it…Karen is life!


Karen for those that may not know is 150 wall balls.  That is 150 times you take a weighted medicine ball into the bottom of a squat, accelerate it up and let it go to hit a target 9 or 10 feet tall.  That’s it.  It is brutal in its simplicity and the mind games that it can play.

So as I made the drive home to my family, I began to think in metaphor and reflect.  I do that on drives from time to time.

Our life is built on doing the same things day in and day out.  Every year we have 365 reps that we complete and for the most part there is not a whole lot of variation between each and every day.  Some days we are ready for the workout that we call life and other days we just have to survive.  That at times is the essence of what I think about when I see Karen on the whiteboard.

That is the beginning, but then we have our day to day lives and we all know the obvious truth that life is full of ups and downs.  But there is a deeper truth to our battle with Karen.  That is that some days we have the ability to throw our burdens into the air and watch them fly.  We throw our voice out into the world with a blog post, or we send out our resumé  looking for that new challenge.  We click send on the email asking to be published.  We do it with confidence and we watch as the ball hits that lofty target.

And we brace ourselves for the new challenge that we have accepted.  We receive the ball that somehow seems to weigh a lot more than 6, 12, 14, or 20 pounds.  We catch the weight of our burdens and life and we get to the bottom.  We hit the bottom and we have to choose…drop the ball or start going up in order to release the burden and hit another target.  It is a constant battle of accepting challenges, absorbing the blow, and fighting to reach our targets.  It wears on us.  Our shoulders burn from carrying the weight…our legs hurt from absorbing the blow…and then we succeed.

We finish all 150 reps (or 365) and we evaluate.  We find that some times we did not hit the target and had to redo that rep.  There will be times that we have to put the ball down and there will be times when we get through all the challenges and find ourselves standing victorious.

And in the end, we acknowledge that in the heat of the battle, the pain hurts, but we learn our lessons.

That is life…and we accept the challenge each and every day.