The view from the top of an insanely tall tree at UC Santa Cruz
Happiness. Joy. Positivity. Beauty. All these things and everything good are always right there in front of you, it's your state of mind that allows you to see them all or not. Have you ever looked at something and just didn't give it the time of day, just walked on by, or even scoffed at it thinking how insignificant it is? Then, all of a sudden one day you see the same thing and you are blown away at how amazing it makes you feel? The thing itself did not change; it’s you that did.
I knew all along during my time of negative thoughts and extreme lack of motivation that I would find it all again. After all, I have always prided myself as being one who saw the bright side of life, and spent more time seeing the good in things than the bad. And it's just so funny to think that out of the blue you can see the world in a whole new light. I'm not about to say that I am ready to go skipping through the woods, rejoicing and singing songs or anything. All I am saying is that I have remembered what my purpose is in life and have re-focused my attention to what I like and what makes me feel alive and good. There are still bad things there, but I am systematically moving them away from me so that I can be the person I've known I wanted to be for so long.
It's incredibly powerful, and awesomely self-strengthening to realize that it's completely up to you to feel good or bad. If something is happening in your life, you ALWAYS have a choice to keep it, or get rid of it. I know that there are times when that legitimately feels impossible, but the fact of the matter is, you really do have the power to be in control.
When you see your life spiraling in the wrong direction. When you are getting sick, getting overly stressed, acting out, expressing anger, sorrow, fear, and you are becoming generally more angry for any reason at all. It could be your job, your family, your relationship, your living situation, literally anything. You need to take a moment here and there to assess whether or not some of the things in your life, or the choices you make on a daily basis are the right ones for you. Here's a bit of a light-hearted example. Over the past few months I have been watching a crap-ton of TV shows on my computer. No joke, I would probably spend an average of about 4 hours a day watching shows (honestly, it had to have been more than that!). I was doing this to avoid having to face the fact that I was acting like a little bitch and avoiding all the things I should be doing. I was feeling so down, sorry for myself, and so many other things that I overwhelmed my own brain and just decided I would do my best to check out. I didn’t go run around the woods, I didn't go climb a tree by the water. I didn't hit an extra workout, hell, half the time I didn't even hit ONE workout. I could watch an entire episode of Arrested Development without even cracking a smile. Now that is freaking bad! The things that made me happy were right next to me all along though. Sort of hanging out, waiting for me to give them attention because they knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid them forever. I guess my happiness is smarter than me.
And all it took was a little change of perspective. A little time where I could rip myself away from the negative things bringing me down, where I didn't have a computer and couldn't escape to my TV shows. When all of a sudden you have a handful of incredibly supportive people next to you, asking you to join them in things you know you love doing, rather than you having to find the motivation to do them yourself, your eyes will just flash open. For me it happened with three major things: running up the crazy sand hills at Baker Beach and looking over the Golden Gate Bridge while gasping for breath and dripping sweat. That was nice. Climbing a tree in Golden Gate Park, somewhere away from the cars and people. And walking a freezing, windy, empty beach at Ocean Beach. Just a couple days and all of a sudden I could not keep fooling myself into being a lazy, negative person. My natural personality reemerged and it was so unbelievably invigorating and exciting.
For me, it was simply putting myself in a situation where people that naturally supported me doing the things that make me feel good could surround me. And where I could not avoid doing things I liked to do. I was able to remove all negativity from my life for a couple days and that was all it took. Maybe all I needed was an hour, or perhaps I would have needed a week or a month. Either way, the simplest way to do it is to step away from things that bring you down, surround yourself with things that lift you up, and boom, you're good to go!
I know it's all way easier said than done, but saying it, or finding out what to do to make your life better is so simple. Age-old quotes and sayings are age-old for a reason; they work. Get rid of all the negative in your life, and surround yourself with the positive. If you choose to make excuses about why your life sucks, that’s on you, it’s your damn choice to make things better. If you know what you want out of life, pursue it with more passion and energy than anything else in the world. And if you don’t know what you want, constantly try new things so you can learn what it is you were built to do best. I am a rare case it seems. Rare in the fact that I have known what I wanted since I was pretty young. I wanted to play professional baseball. I mean, I REALLY wanted it. I never knew anything else besides that desire. And when baseball became a reality, that same passion and drive was found in wanting to inspire others to become healthier. I hope to inspire people, not just through writing and coaching, but through living my life the way I always talk about and share with others; you know, practicing what I preach. And I preach to be honest with yourself, wear your personality on your sleeve for everyone to see, good and bad, and do what makes you feel good and right (as long as you're not hurting others).
I still have plenty of things to work through, and I will always have negatives in my life. It is ridiculous to think or expect that everything will always be wonderful and perfect. But if you spend most of your days completely understanding what it is you are living for, it makes it so much clearer and easier to figure out how best to deal with the negative and the bad.
I am waking up each day now thinking about teaching and coaching. And right next to those exciting thoughts is an eagerness to spend my quality time with the barbell and the outdoors each and every day. And the people in my life that bring me warmth, and respect me for who I am will inspire me today. And the ones that question me, and bring me down with their negativity will not get my attention.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I can pinpoint the day things began to fall apart for me. It was a cruise I took on the third week of The Open, in Florida. I had been progressing so damn well, and for some reason, I just let loose a little, had a couple drinks, indulged in dessert, stayed as healthy as I could on the ship, but the food is far from high quality. But I'm not blaming the ship. From there I just never found my way back to the rhythm I had found before. I was blogging regularly, training with passion, eating cleanly and easily and living my life in a general position of happiness. Even as I write this I am opting out of working out because I feel my energy levels depleted and I cannot seem to comprehend the idea of trudging alone out to the garage to workout in the dark. I could go for a run, but then again, I haven't written anything in a while and at least I'm getting one thing in that I should. My goal with this post is not to be depressing; more to write an honest perspective I know many of you think I never have. One where I completely lack motivation to do all the things I pride myself in. I understand what it means to be a healthy, happy person. I coach it every single day. I write about it pretty often here. But I have valleys in my life just like everyone else, and while I do honesty believe I function at a level where my valleys are few and far between, I think that adds to the severity of them when I do find myself in one. I am just not used to feeling so unmotivated.
I have all the time in the world throughout my days, even when I am coaching 6 or more classes a day to workout. I have all the time in the world to cook my own food, prepare for the coming days' schedules with the proper balances and amounts. I have all the time in the world to warm up properly, program for my weaknesses, work mobility, foam roll and stretch. I have all the time in the world to do all this while still getting outside on a regular basis and enjoying the wilderness because it never fails to bring me peace and harmony. But having all the time in the world means almost nothing when you lack motivation.
A major positive in the time I spend in front of books and the computer is that I get to read a ton, soak up more and more knowledge about the world of health and fitness. I watch videos of training, read blogs, read articles, books, and studies. I read opinions and comments, and study pictures on snatch and clean form until my eyes burn. I can visualize myself, as clear as day pulling a bar loaded with 250# from the ground, and snapping under it in the perfect catch position; heavy weight strong over my head. But when I grab a bar to demonstrate for clients, my back is tight, my knees hurt, my shoulder pinches and I feel like a hopeless, fat old man trying to get through the day quickly so he can crash down on the coach for his third nap of the day.
But then there are those moments. No matter how bad I might think I am, I get under the bar and power through something stronger and faster then ever before. I have surges of energy where I remember exactly what it feels like to be on top of my game. In my "research" I have found an underlying theme and commonality between all the top-level performers in their specific fields: a never-ending commitment and passion to getting better. In the end, the ones who come thorough in the clutch, who perform day in and day out at the highest level, and have the least amount of weaknesses, are those who never get distracted by anything. Because my focus these past couple years has been CrossFit, I'll use that as my example (but you will find these statements to hold true with anything out there, sport, business, etc.). Over the past year I improved. I improved a metric shit ton. Every single one of my numbers not only went up, but also went WAY up, and this is despite gaining a crap load of weight. I was lifting more, and lifting it faster, my motor grew, my running was faster, my body weight movements became smoother and better, and everything just got so much better. But the thing that didn't click compared to those that did was that I had pockets of down time. When I was taking a week to just do nothing, others were getting ahead of me, getting better. Mind you, taking a week off is fine, but active recovery is a must. Working mobility, messing around with skills and so on. I would literally do nothing. It was like my brain would shut off. Then I would have "half-ass" weeks. These were when I would get my workouts in, but I would rush through them. I would not take the time to get extra weakness-focus work in. I would not warm up properly and stretch afterwards. My nutrition would slide just a little farther than I would have liked and while I still got tons of great work in, I would know in the back of my head that I wasn’t working as hard as I could have been.
“I will watch others laugh and fool around in the gym all day, while I am leashed to the platform.” – Jon North
This guy works hard. He has been committed to being an Olympic weightlifter and nothing will stand in his way. If he is feeling down one day, it doesn’t stop him. Every single day he is doing exactly what it takes to become BETTER. Every day is a step forward and there is never a step back. If you want something, if you want to be something, you need to commit to it and never falter in that commitment. The best CrossFitters in the world are like this. They workout because it's what they love, what they know, and what they want. They train hard, every single day, they eat well, they rest when they NEED and SHOULD. They are better because they wanted it more and dedicated their lives, inside and out, to being better than you and me. They are better because they function at a level where getting better is the ONLY option they have, the only thing they know how to do. Have you ever worked out, or performed with someone at such a level? I have many times and it is clear that all they want to do is beat you, to out perform you. The cool ones do this without being ass holes about it; the annoying ones make it clear they want to beat you. But when you pay attention to how they approach the workout, you know that they are working at a level that has one purpose: to win.
My steps back toward to finding my motivation, my drive, and my dedication look a little something like this: reestablish what it is I am working towards. Bring back to the front of my mind what I want out of life, then remove the things that do not support that. Lately I have found myself surrounded by things that assist in my not living my life the way I have always wanted. I need to put on my table (both literally and metaphorically) the things that I know make me who I want to be. Once those things are directly in front of me, and the "bad" things are removed from the table, my choices will be limited and clear. And once I have begun changing the way I live each day, I can then begin to look into the more detailed goals I might have for the next month, few months, and year. Do I want to pursue the CrossFit Games again? Do I want to get into something else? Whatever it is, I must make that choice with a clear, happy, excited, and eager mind. Then I will know that I can do anything I want. Then I will be able to clearly see how to be completely committed to something GOOD.
(I promise my next couple posts won’t be as depressing!)
Never Stop, GET FIT
It's been a few days now and the excitement of Regionals has passed. Now I am sitting around each day, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next with all my training. Wondering why the hell I was so close with so many different things over the years, yet just not good enough to really shine. Well folks, it's time for a really self-analytical post here. It may come across as a little negative, a little bitter, maybe a little whinny at times (we'll see how it goes...); but, I need to do this every now and again to gain a better view on what I am doing in life. I have talked very often about taking time here and there to take a serious look at yourself so that you can make the necessary changes in becoming a better person each and every day. And when you feel like you might be in a rut, or in a place you just don’t want to be, in any way, then it's time to take that moment. So, here are some of the thoughts I've had over the past week.
Damn it! CrossFit season is over for me! Just like that. All that hard work, all those extra hours of foam rolling, training, thinking and stressing about how far I could go and in three simple days it's over. At first I was a little relieved. I think that the mental stress got to me just a little as we got closer to Regionals and I was just happy to put my worries away for a while. What I mean by that is I was teetering on the edge of being burnt out. It's tough to be so one-track-minded about something for so long, especially if you're like me and have a mind that wanders off so easily. But that relief turned very quickly into restless confusion and frustration over what my next steps will be in training. I can now look back on everything I did and so clearly see where I went wrong. I got strong as hell, I put on a TON of weight, I somehow got a good deal better with my conditioning, and my body-weight and Olympic movements only slightly improved. My nutrition was streaky, as was my life in general which led to varying levels of motivation throughout the whole process. From a physical standpoint it's pretty obvious what I need to do to get to the level I hope to be with this Crossfit thing. I need to stop being such a wimp with my nutrition and just stop letting food consumption be so closely connected with my emotional state (yep, I am a stereotypical girl and eat sweets when I'm sad. Oh, and by the way, I'm a dude. Just in case any of you were confused by that sentence). When I lose control of the food, I lose control of my stress levels, my sleeping patterns and my overall positive outlook that I pride myself in having on a regular basis. Food does so much for me in terms of how I am as a person (it does for everyone, but this post is about me!), and when I eat like crap, I feel and act like crap. Simple really. Easier said than done of course. I'm also sure that eating better would have helped me stay around 220#, rather then the 230# I ended up getting to right before Regionals. And while I did get better at things like muscle ups, handstand push ups and running, I’m sure I would have gotten WAY better if I didn’t have to move such a massive amount of weight! I am not disappointed with my weight gain at all, hell, I put 40# on my squat, 30# on my deadlift, 35# on my clean and 25# on my snatch, not bad! I just know I could have controlled it a little more and that would have been that much more helpful.
I am not at all worried about where I am headed with my training. I have all the faith in the world with my coach, Rudy Nielsen for programming. I know that for the summer months my focus will be getting even stronger (I already have my weight goals on the board in my gym, and will post a summer goals post in the near future), but the main thing will be getting outside and doing my metcons in the woods and the great outdoors like I enjoy doing so much. I will probably either skip out on The Outlaw Way's conditioning sessions and do my own in the woods, or, find a modification of theirs to use in the woods. I will continue to train at Outlaw on a pretty regular basis so that I can get good coaching points from Rudy and the other athletes, especially on my Olympic lifts. I will also head into the city for a few sessions here and there with a couple different USAW lifting classes. I have high expectations for my Olympic lifts over the next six months. So, from a physical training standpoint, I am right on track with what I need to focus on.
Ok, enough about the physical, I am sure I'll get more into that soon enough, especially the food! On to the important stuff, the mental!
I feel like I’ve written before about the idea that one might hold oneself back by being scared of success. And while I definitely relate a little to that idea, I think that I am probably a little more scared of focusing only one thing. Sure sure, the beauty of CrossFit is that there is no specialty and you get to focus on a ton of different thing. But the fact is, you still are only focusing on CrossFit, and not all the other amazing things life has to offer. I love baseball, trail running, climbing, well, I could just go on a rant here, but you get the idea. I have some strange mental block from allowing me to commit, like, SERIOUSLY commit to any one thing. And this is where I begin to confuse myself. I say this because from an outside perspective I’m pretty sure I appear to be an over-committer. And if I were to compare myself to “the majority”, I’m sure that would be an accurate description of my personality. But the truth of the matter is, I will always find a way to mentally check out, even if it’s just a tiny little bit. I find something else that excites me and that little bit of distraction takes away from gains and successes I feel I really should have.
Sweet, Courage, you get distracted and you should be better. Well, what are you going to do about it? And at what point do you look at your life and say, well, maybe I can’t be better? Honestly, that’s a great question, one I have asked myself in many situations and take pride in being able to answer at almost any given moment. I stopped playing baseball because I lost the drive to play at the level I was at. I put everything I had into the game and got as far as my physical and mental self would allow. Now, with CrossFit, I am not yet there. I keep getting stronger, faster, better. I know that I could reach numbers that are far beyond what I have now. And I know that I can get even more mentally tough and competitive. Well, the question is pretty easy to answer in the end. I know I want to compete again next year at Regionals. And, I want to compete at a high level, as in, I want to give the other athletes a run for their money in getting to the Games. So, I need to take the next couple weeks, look over my training, and assess the best path to get there. I need to light a fire a little deeper in me that will never burn out. I can write here that I want it, and I can tell people I talk to that I want it. But in the end, I have to believe, with every ounce of my soul, that I truly want it. If I come up with that as a conclusion in the next couple weeks, then it’s going to happen. I’ll let you all know.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Tomorrow is the big day! Below I'll post up some info on the event, like where the hell it is, when heats are going, and of course, when I'll be going!The CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals - May 4th, 5th, 6th8001 Sheriff RoadLandover, MD 20785(Apparently it's right next to the Redskins stadium, so, should be pretty easy to find. Just look for the CrossFit signs that'll be all over the place!)Team Workout Start Times (in case any of you missed it, I am competing as part of Team Outlaw!):Friday - 10am and 1:20pm (I'll be doing the second workout, at 1:20pm)Saturday - 9am and 11:50am (Again I'll be on the second one)Sunday - 10am and 1pm (I'll be doing both)This is going to be n absolute blast all weekend people. If you plan to come out to show your support for yours truly, make sure to hang out there a few extra hours and just soak up the intensity and constant inspiration going on at all times. There is nothing like three days straight of elite exercisers doing their thing. It's so much fun!Hope to see you all out there! And of course, if you DO come, wear your Courage Performance shirt!!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
The past week was a pretty good one all around. I cleaned up my diet as Regionals are getting closer and the immediate effects were wonderfully rewarding. I trained hard, feeling pretty good all around. And, Lindsey and I went out to Catoctin for some hiking and camping. As we move on to another week here, I am feeling excited for the revved-up week Rudy at Outlaw has planned for us, and am looking forward to all the athletes that are coming in to train! Lots of good things all around it seems. So, let me share some of the highlights.Last weeks training was nothing to write home about; it was a de-load week of sorts, so nothing too intense except for a threshold training day. My body officially loves this style of workout for some reason, and this one was no different. It was 5 rounds of 250 meter row, 10 squat clean to thrusters with 95# and 15 burpees, with 3 minutes rest between rounds. And it was all done with a 20# vest. I felt like crap through it, wanting to quite after the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds. But I just kept on trucking and that night, when I posted my results, I found that I had the 2nd best time posted. Blew my mind. I think that I actually react much better to all out gassers then I originally thought, and it has shifting the way i think about my approach to most workouts. I need to stop getting so caught up in gaming each and every little thing, and just go all out. I react better to that perspective for the most part (exceptions would be for workouts with muscle ups, handstand push ups and things like that.I took Saturday off, even though it was a great collection of workouts, I had the opportunity to head out to the woods, and to be totally honest, I would say that most of the time being out in nature is going to win out over pretty much anything. With the big three-oh coming up in a couple weeks, Lindsey hooked up a trip to the Catoctin mountains. The idea of what they had out there was about as perfect as I could imagine: hike about 3 miles into the woods and find a ice little pre-built lean-to. Set up camp, hang out, and have some fun in the woods! In the end, the location was a bit of a let down, just nothing at all to do any where near the site. We hiked about 2 hours, then drove another 15 minutes the next day to get to some awesome hiking, bouldering, waterfall-ing and lake-chilling-next-to-ing that made the whole trip more than worth the time! I think the camping location would have been way better had there been a decent sized group with us, but with absolutely nothing around there at all, it led to some restlessness for sure. It inspired me to build something like that for people on a ridge with a view, or on some water somewhere. No that would be damn cool. Anyway, on our way home we stopped for dinner in Frederick, MD; absolutely lovely city if you've never been.So, this week coming up is supposed to be a crazy intense one for all us in the mid-Atlantic region. Next week is a taper week, and then it's only one week after that until our regional competition, pretty exciting all around. While I'm pumped up for the week of training, i already got off to a shaky start by using today (Tuesday) as my rest day. i ended up spending all day moving equipment from my temporary gym space (officially closing at the end of this month) to The Garage. It took some serious planning, but I was somehow able to cram almost double the equipment in the garage while opening space up. This summer is going to be absolutely EPIC with all the athletes coming into this place. My goal is to have the smallest location that has 65 members or more (and I am certain I'll have upwards to 100 athletes come through the 200 square foot space by the end of the summer!). While the mornings and afternoons are quickly being filled, I have begun taking classes out at outlaw CrossFit as well. With the success of Rudy and Laura's The Outlaw Way, they have been looking for some support at their gym, and I am super stoked to be able to help them out. It also allows be to be able to train with the group there on a more regular basis, and I am feeling the positive effects of training with others on an almost daily basis. Well, there's an update for you all, no PR's, no crazy, insane news, just a boring ol' update show. I have a few topics that I am itching to write about, so I expect to get to at least two of them by the end of the week. Oh, and Regional workouts are announced tomorrow!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
If you don't know what it means, look it up. What will you do? Can you survive in any potential situation that may present itself? This is such a fun (and sometimes scary) thought process to have, trying to figure out what could potentially go wrong in life. An easy way to get started with it is to just call back all those Armageddon movies out there and think about what the hell you'd do if anything like that ever happened.Nuclear attacks, tsunamis, meteors, hostile takeovers, terrorist attack, alien invasions, major economic crisis, floods, zombie epidemic (or more seriously, some form of major virus outbreak), etc. etc. What would you do? What if you get lost? In the woods, at sea, in the desert, hell, in a damn city (perhaps one where nobody speaks your language)? What kinds of experiences do you have physically, mentally, globally, nature-ly? Seriously, take a second and ask yourself if you'd survive in any given situation. It's really not all that far-fetched to think something pretty shitty could happen to us at any given moment. And, while I have no intention myself to live in fear of all things that could go wrong, I know it's worth a moment here and there to at least think about things and make sure I have the wherewithal to actually figure out what to do!I hope to live a life that opens my mind to being able to do anything and survive anywhere and in any situation. And I want to do all of this with a smile on my face because the whole time I'll be following my dreams. When the shit hits the fan, I have a feeling that I'll be totally fine. I won't panic, I won't freak out or have no clue what to do. And that is the best way to live a life in my opinion.Well, I've been reading up and following people who life their lives the way I am slowly figuring I want to live mine, and it's so incredibly motivating to see some of the things people do. Here's a list of a small collection of the stuff I've checked out over the past few weeks. I really recommend you take the time to check them all out. Share your thoughts!Nerd FitnessMake It CountBeast SkillsAnywehreFitTim FerrissMary Beth LaRueNever Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending an awesomely run and incredibly competitive CrossFit competition; the Charlottesville Superfit Games 2012. This was the third annual event and their first one was my first ever CrossFit competition. While I didn’t have the best of experiences then, it was actually my first meeting with now coach Rudy, and I am more than proud to have represented my Outlaws well! Late Friday night Lindsey and I drove through the brutal snow to get down to Charlottesville, VA. After a good dinner and some solid sleep, we got to the Boys and Girls club bright and early to get all registered and prepared. There were 80+ men, 50+ women, a full masters division and Open division (not prescribed weight basically). Oh, and another couple hundred spectators making this a massive event for sure! The energy was solid, and the feel in the air was that this was legitimately going to be the most epic event in the mid Atlantic region before Regionals hits us. Soon enough the workouts began (I will do a quick recap of each event, then a little more detail o my own personal thoughts at the end): Workout #1 – 1 minute AMRAP at each station with 15 seconds rest between of: power cleans 135#, ring pull ups, ground to overhead 155#, muscle ups. The last minute surprise was that the rings were basically ropes with some nylon lining around them. This made grip brutal for an already grip-dominant workout. Also, it made muscle ups for me personally, almost impossible. So, my strategy was to conserve energy for the ground to overheads, go all out with them and then just do whatever with my attempts at muscle ups. I got 25 power cleans, 12 pulls ups (they were uneven for all of us and it was next to impossible to string more than a few together), 10 ground to overheads and, obviously, 0 muscle ups. I was a little peeved at the measly 10 ground to overheads because I feel like I just dogged it on them. In the end, I finished in 10th overall on this one. Time to turn things on!
Showing complete control of my body...
Workout #2 – 9 minute AMRAP of: 15 wall balls, 3 widths court sprint, 5 burpee box jumps, 3 width court sprints. This is my style of workout, and the strategy was just find a good, tough pace and stick to it all the way through. This is exactly what I did. All reps were unbroken and I coasted the runs, using them as recovery. My internal goal was to pick it up with 3 minutes to go, but I only really took off on my last round. I finished 7 rounds of reps and felt like I had a good bit of gas left in the tank. This was enough for a tie at 2nd, but I knew I could have pushed harder. Still happy with that, but I wanted more! Workout #3 – 5 minute AMRAP of: 12 thruster, 12 hang power cleans at 95#. Balls to the wall! Rudy texted not to put the bar down at all. I decided to put it down after each full round and just go. Honestly, I never tired enough to really dump the bar, it was the grip that kept failing on the cleans during the last couple rounds that forced me to dump two or three times. Either way, I went all out on this one and got 5 full rounds plus 12 thrusters and 2 cleans. Got 1st on that one by a good amount. At the end of day one, I was sitting in 2nd place by only 2 points! I went home, got an ice bath and covered myself head to toe in 2XU recovery gear for the entire night. Hit up a massive dinner with a group and got to bed at 9:30!
Oh, that hair...
Workout #4 – 4 minute AMRAP of: 7 power snatches, 4 lateral over bar burpees.
I literally didn’t realize I was doing this workout until about halfway through the 2nd round. I was so not ready to go. I just went all out though and was able to finish 4 rounds plus 7+1. This tied me for 2nd and I was completely crushed. I was now in 2nd by 3 points and needed to destroy the final workout to get the W.
Workout #5 - 12 minute AMRAP w/ a buy in of: 800 meter weighted run (20# vest), 40 KB swings 70#, 20 handstand push ups. Then with the remainder of the time do AMRAP: 7 front squats 165#, 30 double unders.
I needed to win my heat and hope the guy in first come in 3rd or worse for this one. The run I paced, and I knew right off it was the best choice I made. The guys in front were racing each other and I could tell that they wasted way too much energy. Got the swings unbroken and was feeling good going into my arch nemesis: the HSPU. I focused on one at a time, and awesomely enough I was able to string 5 together on my best set! I finished with 5 singles, knowing only one other competitor was upstairs already doing the AMRAP. I got up there with just over 4 minutes and just flipped into high gear. Everything was unbroken and I paced my transitions, blowing by the guy up there on the first round! I finished with 4 full rounds, plus 1 rep. I ended up 6th on that event, but it was more than what I needed and I pretty much secured the victory right there (baring some extremely extreme situation). While it wasn’t the best score, I felt so good with my ability to get so many reps in such a little time. I have that gear, so clearly, I just need to figure out how to get to it on a regular basis.
All in all this was a very well-run event The guys and girls from CrossFit Charlottesville did an awesome job, the judging was some of the best I have seen overall inn a CrossFit event, and the competitors were tough as hell. Crazy props to everyone for putting on such a great event, you better believe I’ll be there next year. The only serous hiccup I was witness to was that my good friend Steve Opiyo got shafted an entire round on workout 3 (also missed a few reps on his first workout as well!). If they had gotten this score right, he would have been in the final workout. Even though he signed his name on his score (in a post-workout haze mind you), I feel as though having myself and a couple others who watched him the entire time vouch for him should have been enough for them to realize their mistake and switch it up. Steve did WAY better than his final score had him at. Besides that, it was incredibly impressive at how well the whole thing went!
From a personal standpoint, I am very, very happy with how this all turned out. My weaknesses are still there, clearly, but they are getting much better. My front squats and power snatches were messy and inefficient, but my body never broke down one bit. Becoming more proficient with those lifts, and working on the body-weight stuff is what will get me so, so, so much better. And one more thing: HIGH GEAR. I came into this competition with some crazy blood lust. I have never attempted the approach of going in to crush the competition, but I wanted to see what would happen if I took that approach. I wasn’t able to tap into it on a whim, but when I did, well, I really did. I feel as though if I can harness that energy I’ll be able to do some pretty cool things with CrossFit. It’s not something I want to do the rest of my life, I just have way too much fun to be so aggressive all the time. But, I dedicated this year to seeing just how far I could go. It’s pretty crazy what the human body and mind can do with focused dedication! I finished with a score of 27. Second place had 48, 3rd had 50, 4th had 51, 5th had 52. I feel freaking good about that!
One big shout out: OUTLAWS! Win Everything baby! Seriously people, Rudy Nielson is a good programmer. 'Nuff said. Having my fellow Outlaws there for support was huge! And, one of the coolest things was Corry Perry coming from 12th place after day one and finishing in 2nd! Absolutely bad ass! So, thanks to Corey, Tony Thomas, Steve and Courtney for tearing it up and being such awesome support. And the best support I had all along was Lindsey. She gets into this stuff man, it’s so awesome. Watching the videos of the workouts and hearing yelling, “come on, Josh, let’s go!” is hands down one of the coolest things to me on the face of this planet!
The Outlaws representing (sans Steve Opiyo)
The Open is coming!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Real quick, I have a good collection of posts ready to go, but I don;t have internet in both the gym, and mine and Lindsey's new digs, so, it's tough to get to a WiFi hotspot to get the posts up! Hopefully that will all change next week.
So, are you prepared? This can become a pretty loaded question when you get into it. What happens when all hell breaks loose in your world? What would you do? I’ve actually had this conversation with a few people over the past year or so and it’s so interesting to hear what people think they’d do. Look what has happened around the world over the past ten years; natural disasters, war, craziness all around! I am willing to bet that most of my readers have never been caught in anything like this, and probably have never even experienced it (myself included! The closest I have ever come was the beginning so Hurricane Irene hitting the Gulf Coast as I frantically drive north after a baseball season in Pensacola, FLA). But with all the logic in the world, you can not deny the fact that the way our world works nowadays, it should really not be all that surprising if something happened right here in our back yard.
A well-traveled buddy of mine once said that America is the only place he knows of where we expect good things to happen to us all the time, and get surprised and issued off when bad things happen. He said that almost everywhere else he has ever been expects crap to happen, and is joyously excited when good happens. Now I am not here to go into detail on that point, I like thinking positive at all times, but also don’t want to be that douchbag who gets all pissed off when the weather is “too crazy” to go outside (said in a whiny voice). So, I prepare myself both physically and mentally.
This does not mean that every day I wake up in a paranoid frenzy, collecting bread and water in a safe room and waiting out the apocalypse. This simply means that I allow myself the versatility of training, practice, thought and conversation to better understand and comprehend all that might happen. I train in the cold, in rain and snow, in water, in heat, in the woods, the beach, up on mountains and in canyons (obviously when I can with all this stuff). I don’t use weather as an excuse NOT to train, I use it as an exciting opportunity to got more comfortable with extreme situations. I lift awkward things, I climb, swing, crawl, throw and so much more. It’s as simple as all of sudden being caught inn a flash flood, would you be able to one, be in a non-panicked state of mind, and two, be able to physically do all the things demanded of you? What if you were kidnapped? What if you got seriously lost, anywhere? What if there was a nuclear war? This conversation could go in all sorts of directions, and all sorts of extremes. But in the end, the real question is: are you prepared?
Maybe it’s time to head out and expand your comfort zones a little. Imagine how great every day life would be without needing to worry about weather or not you can simply survive.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Without putting any thought into it, mine is freaking wonderful desserts. I feel like I have an emotional reliance on them sometimes and at one point, about a month ago, I honestly fed off them like crack, no joke. Upon further analysis, I would say actual “shtick” is something along the lines of this: I over-analyze to a point of being overwhelmed. Say something goes wrong in my life. When this happens, I tumble into a whirlpool of thoughts, break-downs, reasoning’s and theories, trying to figure out not just what happened, but how it all happened. That’s just how my brain works. When someone reacts a certain way towards me, I don’t simply respond, I break down their reaction and search for WHY they did each and every thing they did. I will go so far into this where I will break down my own childhood just to figure out why I only crave soda later at night. I view movies, books, music, training, and friends, pretty much everything, like this. And it tires me out so much. I do not have the ability to just chill out and let things simply happen. I need to know how and why. Imagine hearing a song, one that is catchy, that makes you bob your head and tap your feet and hope you hear it again soon. I hear that song and I am immediately breaking down the melody patterns, how the different instruments were orchestrated to pull an emotion out of the listener. How the lyrics interact with the melody and either harmonize or distort the instruments to add to that emotion and expression of the song. Simply put, I geek out on this sort of stuff, but its overwhelming to hear so much in something that most people simply use as minor entertainment. It sometimes takes the fun out of it. This is my shtick; this is what I deal with on a daily basis. The only time I have ever felt my brain NOT act like this is when I’m running around deep in nature; this is why most of you know me as a dude who would take any opportunity to escape to the woods and run around. It is the only place I know of where I can get any sort of extended escape from my own mind. Now I realize this sounds maybe a little crazy. But the fact is, everyone in the world has something that takes them to the point of being viewed as “crazy” by another person. Someone might be a hypochondriac, someone else might be an obsessive organizer, yet another person might desperately need to be around other people at all times. No matter what it is, everyone has something that causes them anxiety and/or distress. The real question I have here is: how do you react to it? Do you try to overcome it, suppress it? Do you fight it and claim you don’t have a problem? Do you defer to focusing on other people’s problems rather than focus on your own? Do you run or workout to relax your mind? Do you drink or do drugs? Does it make you depressed, overwhelmed, act out, or something else? I had a great conversation with a really good friend of mine about this today and we came to a sort of conclusion that accepting this thing, whatever it is, as who you are, is the quickest and healthiest way to deal with it. Think of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, the dude hallucinated other people for crying out loud. And in the end, he didn’t stop hallucinating, he simply accepted that his mind was different than others and he learned to deal with it. He stopped forcing a change, and in the end, when you think about it, he changed more than he ever imagined. I over-analyze. If I try to force myself to stop over-analyzing, I will drive myself insane. The best thing I can do is accept the fact that my mind functions like this, and learn the best ways to live my life so that it does not overwhelm me all the time. Embrace your crazy. Look at yourself in the mirror, I mean SERIOUSLY take a good look at yourself, and work on recognizing who you are, all the pros AND all the cons. Do NOT suppress them. Instead, acknowledge them, accept them, appreciate them and learn to react to them. When I find myself doing this healthy approach to what I view as my negative personality traits, I find I get so much done. I find myself having amazingly colorful conversations with my true friends about art, philosophy, fitness and fantasy. I find that my mind as also a beautiful thing in that fact that it is completely unique to me. And all if you are exactly the same. You are not me, you are not the person sitting next to you, or the person on TV, you are you. Accept that and you will become the greatest version of you you could ever imagine. Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage
About a month back I wrote out a list of cool gifts to give out as prep for a blog post. As most of you let me know, I fell off the table for that month and never got to the many posts I had written notes on, so, I have decided that it would be great for everyone to have a good new collection of gear for the New Year! Whatever goals you have made for yourself, it's always great to have the tools to support them, and if they are health and fitness goals, well, perhaps my list will come in handy! 1. 2XU Compression gear If you are serious about sport and athletics, you MUST be serious about recovery. These compression pieces are the best out there, hands down. It doesn’t matter what sport you play, they will help your aching muscles recover so quickly! Contact me if you want a special deal! 2. Core Warrior Bars Hands down, the best protein bars in the market, anywhere. Tough to find on the East Coast, but worth the search (online or through Courage Performance is the way to go. Plus you'll get a little discount of you get them through me!). 100% raw, and organic, and tastes incredible!3. A kettlebell Probably one of the most universal tools in the fitness industry; and, one of the oldest. If you want just one thing that can help build strength, stability and plenty of muscular and cardiovascular endurance, simply get one of these balls of steel!4. TRXI would argue this, along with the Kettlebell as another tool you MUST have. A suspension training system you can take literally anywhere and do practically anything with. I use it all the time for myself and with clients as the perfect functional, core strengthening tool. 5. Survival Straps Besides being one of the coolest things a weekend trail runner or adventurer could own (this is my personal opinion of course), these things are a really handy tool to have around. Wear then as a bracelet or belt, and if you’re ever in the need of some tough-as-nails chord, deploy it and you're good to go! 6. A CrossFit membership Most affiliates offer special deals around the holidays for new and existing members, so search around and find the perfect match (the beauty of CrossFit is that there are so many affiliates, you can probably find one near by that fits your demands).7. New Balance trail MinimusI have tried shoe after shoe over the years and in the end have settled on this one as the best. As most of you know, I am a huge barefoot guy, and these are super low profile, but have great lateral support for anything a god trail run or CrossFit workout might throw at you. Get them!8. Ice BathIf you are serious about gains, you have to be serious about recovery. this is one of the simplest ways to recover and also one of the most effective. Simply get yourself a huge trash bin (one that would cover you up past your waist), fill is mostly with water, then dump a couple bags of ice in there. You could also do this in a bath tub as well.9. A Small Video CameraThere are so many on the market today, so pick one that suits your style. This is not to video your latest "Fran" attempt with you ripping your shirt of and acting like a tool, it's to video your lifts so you can break things down and become a better coach to yourself. Being able to see yourself do technical things is the quickest and easiest way to get better.10. Jump RopeThe custom ropes from Rx Jump Ropes are the best I've ever used. And, if you don't believe that jumping rope is a great workout, go try to do 500 double unders for time! Take it on a run to add a little flair to it, use it is any workout as a supplemental conditioning tool, or, of you are a CrossFitter, you know how key these things are so make sure you have the best!there you have it folks, my top 10 list of things to get! Please share any of your good ideas!Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage