I absolutely LOVE this picture of Arnold. The confidence, the achievement, the dedication to ridiculous dreams and the success that comes from hard work, that's what this represents. Whatever your thoughts about this man, he is GREAT. He came from nothing, out on the middle of nowhere, and he revolutionized a movement, became a celebrity and a political figure, wrote a book, and was pretty much an all around cool freaking dude. He embodies the journey, and the pride of making it, in this picture. It's inspiring.
So what does it mean to be great? Must you star in movies? Win awards year after year? Climb corporate or government ladders and achieve financial success? Heck no man, all you have to do is stay committed to your goals, whatever they might be, and get there! Arnold set some insanely lofty goals, and what made him great was that he achieved all of them; yep, ALL of them. You might not want to be a movie star, or a politician, but whatever it is you do want to do, commit to it. This obviously is the tough part. Most people out there have no clue how to stay committed, and because of this end up never reaching there potential. I would say most people have a damn hard time being great.
Now everyone has great qualities: you are a great parent, great at your job, great in conversation and on and on. If you really think about it, every single person in the world has something great about them. But the real question is: what does it take to be a great person, to have a complete and GREAT life. Side note: At this point I feel like if i say "great" one more time my brain is going to turn to jelly or something! OK, back to it. All I know is that I've been thinking so much about how to take all the things I am good at, completely confident about, and make them more and more a part of my life. If I am constantly striving to succeed at the things I most desire on life, it will be very difficult to live an UN-great life.
What I mean by this (and this is the "committed" part), is that taking time to pursue things that I really don't want to do, take away from true greatness. If I want to create a health and fitness movement based off the idea of understanding yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually, but spend most of my time working a 9-5 and playing on Facebook, I am destined for an average or below average life. If I really want to make a change in the world, have specific goals for myself in my life, and achieve as many of the crazy daydreams I have in my head, I need to take some time each and every day to take a step in those directions. If I am truly committed, I'll take more than just one step each day. You see, while some people might sit back on their couch and talk about how lucky those incredibly successful people are, they are just lying to themselves. Sure there is probably a ton of luck found by great people, but they found it because they were constantly searching for better. And when you put yourself out there, good things are bound to come your way.
This is kind of an interesting post for me. I literally was staring at this picture of Arnold and decided to put it up on my blog. I then just started writing whatever came to me thanks to the thoughts that image inspired. Now sitting back for a couple minutes I find myself coming back to something I have always used when trying to get and stay committed to something. Just ask. Go look in the mirror at yourself (most people can't actually do this, it's crazy) and ask yourself what you want. Then ask yourself how you can get it. Then tell yourself to go do it. If you can't do this with complete seriousness, you have some decent demons and emotional issues you might want to deal with. And you may have a tough time staying committed to all things GREAT! I'm not saying you won't be successful, I'm just saying you might not live the life that is perfect for you. Most people are pretty good at telling when someone close to them is lying. Go see if you can tell if YOU are lying to yourself. You'll know, deep down. Try it.
Then go be great.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
The other day, one of my best friends Brendon Mahoney of CrossFit San Mateo sent me an article posted by a favorite author of mine, Tim Ferriss. Check out the article HERE, but the gist of it was getting one of the founders of a show on MTV of all places called The Buried Life. The idea was that three friends would take some time off and travel around crossing as many things off their 100-things Bucket List (things they hopped to do before they die) as they could. And to add to it, every time they crossed one off their list, they would help someone they did not know achieve something off their list. Awesome! The article itself is about how these guys figured out how easy it actually was to get things done f you really want to. Highly motivating for sure, and it left me inspired to make a list of my own, along with apparently thousands of others who found these guys to be great muses. Mahoney had sent out this article to a few people, and asked us all to post up a few things we wanted, but I wanted to take it one step further, so, that’s what I’m doing here! I am creating a 50-article Bucket List for myself that I will share with all of you at the end of this post. My goal will be to complete at least half of them in the next three years, and the ultimate goal would be to complete at least 100 of these wonderful, mostly lofty goals by the end of my life. I have no intention of challenging all of you to anything super grandiose, but I would like to get you all involved in some way. So, I ask all my readers to post 10 items you have always wanted to do at some point in your life. I don’t care if you think it’ll never happen, if you’re too busy or you can’t wrap your head around actually achieving it. Just write it down and post it up. You’ll see that on my list, there are a few things that seem pretty easy for me to achieve at some point, while others would either be extremely complicated, or extremely time consuming. But that’s the goal of these things. It is a list of all the things I’ve really wanted to do, no matter how big or small. So, how do you write a Bucket List? It’s actually pretty easy if you are good at being honest with yourself, and have a decent sense of what you like and don’t like. Also, a key aspect to writing one of these lists is knowing that there are no real limits. If you’ve never hiked a trail before but want to climb Everest, put it on the list! If you really want to do something before you die, it does not matter if it seems impossible! This is the whole point of these things. What are you going to do with your life? Will you just succumb to whatever rules you have learned; settle with a life that is just “ok”? Or, will you step up and pursue the things you’ve always wanted? I know these questions can lead to tons of debate, and I would love to have that debate with all of you at any time. But right here, all I want is for all of you to take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, whatever, to create a 10-item list! Here’s mine: · Compete in the CrossFit Games · Finish an Ironman Triathlon · Finish a 100-mile ultra-marathon · Act in a decent-budget movie · Host/star in my on TV show · Spend 2+ weeks backpacking in Alaska and/or New Zealand · Live at least 1 month with only nature as support · Lift weights with Louie Simmons · Climb Kilimanjaro · Learn Spanish · Build a house (cabin, legit tree house, etc.) · Write a “best selling” book · Get at least one gig as a fitness model · Finish riding my bike across America · Ride a motorcycle to the Southern tip of South America · Base jump off one of the highest cliffs in the world · Base jump/repel off one of the tallest building in the world · Go skydiving · Start a non-profit helping kids and their families get fit · Get through Navy SEAL BUDS training · Go 1+ week in complete silence, meditating with monks out in Tibet · Run with the bulls in Spain · Hang at a café in Cain, Spain · Pilot a plane · Ski and surf in the same day · Hunt, catch, kill, prepare and eat a large animal · Cook and prepare a meal for 100+ people · Stop a major criminal from committing a major crime · Squat 500, deadlift 600, snatch 275, clean and jerk 315 · Hold a legit 5-second Iron Cross · Play drums on stage with a major band · Have a drink with Johnny Depp · Create a protein bar that sells over 1,000,000 in a year · Get married to the girl of my dreams · Hit a home run in a major league baseball stadium · Swim the English Channel · Roll with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, in Brazil · Get my ass kicked · Spend the night sleeping on the streets of NYC · Wrestle an alligator · Sing the National Anthem at a Major League game · Learn how to break dance · Shoot a bull’s-eye with a bow and arrow from100 meters · Tour the country visiting gyms, promoting fitness and inspiring people · Brand the name COURAGE · Make my own baseball bat · Drive a car over 150 MPH · Raise $1,000,000 for charity · Hang out with Seth Macfarlane · Re-build and drive a 1967 Mustang So, there are mine. What are yours? Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage
To all you who have been pestering me about my lack of blogging, I apologize, I know, sorry, I am back with a seemingly endless list of things to write about!
First off I want to make sure everyone is aware of the slight new design change to the website. I have decided to take down the posting of a daily workout for my gym for the time being as I feel like it is not utilized in the manner it should be. If you have interest in my programming, just shoot me an email and we can get something figured out! The “Workout” blog is now dedicated to my own adventures in training and will see a daily post on the details of my own training towards this coming years CrossFit Games season. This blog right here is now completely dedicated to my wonderfully exciting rants on all things health, fitness and so on that you all have grown to love so much!
So, on to the ranting! It is the end of December, and with this time comes all the empty dedications to crazy big changes in the New Year. Well, I have posted time and time again about goal setting and so on, so I don’t really see the point in doing something like that now. This time around, I want to talk a little about being realistic. Now, this is not meant to be some sort of downer, if you haven’t got from me, MOST of the time I am a pretty optimistic person. What I mean to touch on is how so many people tend to do a combination of a couple things when wanting to achieve goals that pretty much screw them from the start. First, the obvious one, are your goals even attainable? I mean, if I write out a list of like 20 things I want to have accomplished in 6 months, it seems like I’d be setting myself up to fail pretty big time if I have yet to achieve anything even close to that in my entire life. It’d probably be a good bit smarter of me to just pick 1-3 of those goals to focus on so I do not overwhelm myself, and I can really focus in.
The second point is a little more psychological. It was inspired by a baseball client of mine who was getting very caught up in wanting to add more and more weight to his lift. His form was falling apart, he was having trouble doing the lift how I had prescribed it that day, but he knew that back at school he had done this lift with a good 30-40 more pounds than what he was doing on this day. I saw him going to the plate stacks and asked what he was doing. He said he was adding more weight. I said no. As I do (because I am not a “crap coach” and just tell people what to do with no explanation and then wonder why nobody ever learns anything…cough, cough…), I took him aside and had a little conversation about why. His goal was to lift more weight, because more weight = strong. My argument was that his goal should be to get better at baseball; that was why he came to me in the first place after all. Yes, more weight generally leads to more strength, but if your back is ripping to shreds and you can barely hold on to the bar, I can assure you, there is very little in terms of gains going on there. To get into a little more detail, we talked about the following:
Work on your body’s weaknesses; focus on the supplemental lifts, even if you have perfect form. If your core muscles suck, focus on those. If your knees are weak, focus on those (all this is simplified for this blog as writing details on how to supplement for a weak core is completely and totally dependent on the individual training and how their body works). Then, when you are working properly and completely in unison, your heavy lifts will skyrocket and you’ll get really freaking strong. If you just add weight every day and keep trying to lift it in the sloppy way you always have been , you’ll make very small to no gains, and you’ll probably just end up with a pretty major injury sooner or later.
The point to this story was that your approach to achieving goals must make sense. If I write out that I want to snatch 250# by the end of spring, then go in the gym every day and just keep trying to add more weight without ever actually perfecting my form and working through my imbalances, it would take a miracle for me to reach my goal. Yet this is what people do! People claim they want to lose weight, get stronger, do so many impressive and grand things, but then fail to plan accordingly. If you want to lose 10# in fat, stop eating like you have been, because the way you have been eating got you to where you are today. If you want to get stronger, like MUCH stronger, you MUST change your program to accommodate to path you now want to take.
To you use me as an example. I suck at handstand push ups (most body weight movements where my feet are not on the floor I suck at). So, if I want to make it to the CrossFit games, I would assume I can’t really suck at these things; so I need to get better. Should I wake up every morning and just try to do handstand push ups expecting all of a sudden one morning to do 30 straight? No, that would be INSANE! I can’t do them, how would doing them all the time really help me if I, uh, can’t? Like the story above, it probably won’t hurt me, yet, I mean, I may be able to get 2 or 3 after a few months of bashing my head into the floor. But, if I want real gains, I need to focus on the why, design a path for who, then follow that path so that I can actually achieve this goal.
Things will generally not just happen for you if you simply right them down and then go about doing what you’ve always been doing. You need to think a little but more deeply.
Well, that’s all I got for you today folks. Hope you all enjoy the last day of 2011. Hope you all can look back at this year with a smile on your face and know that the next will be even brighter and better!
Happy New Year!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well yeah, it’s been a while, I know.
This past weekend was a great learning experience for me. First and foremost it showed that I am improving as a CrossFitter. To be able to head into such a well-respected CrossFit competition as The Hopper, and do so well says a good bit about my level of fitness. Ok, cool. Now that the positive comments are out of the way, it's time to get on to the critique!
I found out two major things over the weekend that are the primary sources holding me back from being the competitor I truly want to be. But before I go into them, I want to be sure to let you, the reader, know that the goal with this post is two-fold: to articulate an analysis of myself so that I can help myself get better; and, to inspire you all to do the same with yourself in the process of making YOU better. I am willing to bet that the two issues I detail here are two EXTRAORDINARILY common issues with most people as they drive towards their goals. Next point to be made is what my goals actually are. Well, when I moved back to the East coast I decided that I would make an attempt to calm my absolutely out of control mind by focusing on only a few things for a while. I've written about this a bit before, and if you know me, you know that I come up with a new idea to "change the world" pretty much every few hours. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes, drawings, scribbles, phrases and more, collected over the years, it's crazy. I am very aware that to actually get anything done, I need to pick a few of them and just focus. So, when I moved back I picked two: open a gym, and, make it to the CrossFit Games.
So, back to this weekend. Well, it wasn't really the weekend that showed these issues to me, it really was just the straw that broke the camels back if you will. I know that I am a very good CrossFitter. But, I also know that I am not at the level of those at the very top. If you take the top numbers of all those elite CrossFitters, I would be on the bottom of the charts for pretty much everything. But that's not what I am concerned about. I have faith in my training program and my determination that my numbers will creep up there come Games season and I'll be able to hang with any of those guys. It's my weaknesses. Just like anyone, I have a collection of weaknesses. Except mine are VERY weak. I can not do more than 3 strict handstand push ups. I can not walk on my hands for more than 6 meters. I can not do more than 5 muscle ups. While an elite CrossFitter will show strengths and weaknesses, the differential of ability is nowhere near as great as mine. That is why I placed 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th, and 3rd on this past weekends events. Clearly I need to "kill my goats". So, upping the body weight work and incorporating that intelligently into my programming is an absolute must.
The second thing I found was that I don't have as strong a fire as the top level competitors. Perhaps it's my baseball background (that's a reference to the fact that baseball by nature is a much more passive game than most sports, and I have learned to approach my athletic endeavors a bit more "chilled" out than others), perhaps it's the marathoning (10 in a year will slow you down a bit). Or, it could be that I legitimately LOVE CrossFitting. I enjoy the struggle of getting through a workout so much, that sometimes I feel as though I just lose myself in the middle of it just to ride the wave. All those top beasts I have met have this intensity before, during, and even after a workout that I just do not share. I don't really compete with the person next to me, or to someone elses' time, I just feed off their energy and then spend what attention I put into each workout seeing what I am personally capable of. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a highly competitive person; just not at the level of most other elite CrossFitters. I feel like those guys want to seek and destroy at all times!
Now here's where the fun begins. From this weekend on I have committed myself 100% to the effort of being a "Serious CrossFitter". This means that everything I do is going to be based around achieving my goals. I will not miss workouts. I will not go on a binge week with food, or sacrifice a portion of my program to go hang with friends. I am lighting that fire as bright as it can be lit and going all out. I am making CrossFit "My Sport", and doing what it takes to get to the next level.
I can see a lot of my friends rolling their eyes at me right now. And to that I respond: everyone knows me as someone who likes a challenge and is willing to experiment with pretty much anything in the activity/fitness/sports/nutrition fields. So, I am experimenting with the idea that if I actually commit myself 100% to something, I could actually be really freaking good at it. This does not mean I am going to spend the rest of my life walking around with a cooler of steamed broccoli, grilled chicken and protein powder. This does not mean I will never again indulge in a brownie or 15, or have a drink or two, or three. It just means that from now until the Games I am going to be "that guy" I am going to be a little more one-track-minded about my priorities in life and I am going to see what I am TRULY capable of doing.
This is going to be a really fun and interesting adventure.
The fire has been lit.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, yet again I have failed in the posting-blog-posts-at-specific-times-to-give-a-little-more-order-to-my-life. But, so be it. I'll get there some day. Perhaps when I post up five straight without any grammatical mistakes I can actually call myself a real blogger...! Anyway, I think it's about time I do a little update write-up as a handful of things have gone down in the past week that should be great to share! So, here goes!
I ended up taking last Saturday off from training because my body was beyond beat up. in fact, I was so fatigued that I actually DNF'd my metcon from Friday. Yeah. I am pretty sure that's the first time I have ever done that on a workout that didn't have a time limit. I just had nothing left physically and mentally and I had to call it quits or I probably would have gone crazy. Then, As I began to get in my work on Monday, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was just no physically there. I needed to take a couple more days off and eat about 50 pounds of meat. I think the crazy awesome amount of heavy lifting and technical lifting has just taken it's toll on me. So, took the rest of the workout off yesterday, took toady off (except for a great yoga session and an hour of touch football!), ate a lot of good food and am itching to get back in the gym. I will play it by ear as to whether or not I get back after it tomorrow, or wait until Thursday. The ultimate goal is to be making constant and great progress!
Now, the food thing. Last week, after getting fed up with the amount of sugar I'd been consuming for about a month or so, I just up and stopped. As of last Thursday I am winging the program called Whole 30. This isn't all that tough for me as I realize i was basically doing exactly that program except for the sugar. As motivation, and to get a little support for the whole thing, I started a month-long challenge where I set up a "private" site for a group of people where we can all hold each other accountable. I chose to not start some sort of strict "paleo challnege" thing, just wanted a group of people to submit a collection of nutrition goals, then post up their food intake each and every day. By the way, if you want in for this, anyone is more than welcome to join. Just let me know and I'll get you all the info you need! It's super easy, you don't have to do my program, you just have to commit to a better nutritional lifestyle through specific goals, then use all of us to stick with it as your life changes for the better!
Finally, I'd like to utilize this blog as a place to bitch and moan briefly about the speed-bumps I have hit in trying to open up a larger gym space. Bureaucracy sucks big time!! 'Nuff said. I will share however, I am well on the way to securing an absolutely AWESOME space, not gonna say where, not gonna say when, not gonna say how, just that Courage Performance is about to blow, up! Pumped!
So, ready to get to sleep, get some good work done tomorrow, and, oh, thanks to my food goals, I'll be cooking a good deal more, expect the return of Courageous Meals super soon!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So after a week of not-so-regular postings, I am back into the swing of things and ready to go with tons of new material. First off, the host site of this site you are reading now seems to be having some major issues with editing and it lead me to search around for another host/blog/site to get my info across. Below I have a link to what I have created and to what every well may be my new site in the coming days. Please let me know your honest feedback on it, and which one you like best and why. Thanks so much!! NEW SITE TEST
Next on the list is a mention on the pause between when I said Courageous Meals #7 would be up and now. The meal was created by my sister Deb, with a little of my help, and it turns out I d not remember the exact process for some of it. So, in my efforts to get a hold of her with enough time to recall and write it all down, it has taken a couple extra days. Expect that to come up shortly.
Now on to the fun stuff! Tomorrow marks the start of my official programming
for the 2011 CrossFit Games. While I have been very focused on getting better and better each day, I have not really taken the time to sit down and chart out the months building up to the crazy event. Last year, kind of on a whim, I decided I would sign up for the sectionals competition. Having it occur only three days before my bike attempt across the country, I was not really all that focused on it; or at least, not as focused as I would have liked to be! I ended up finishing 10th (8th because 2 competitors had already qualified) out of some 60+ male competitors. This placed me in the regionals competition which I had to give up my spot thanks to my broken hand. This year is a different story though. I plan on focusing everything on this event in July. Sectionals will be sometime in late March or so, regionals will happen in May sometime, so, I have a very specific program to put together. Here is how I put it together: Goal Setting:
I began by designing a list of goals that I will test over the first week of March. I set the test date as that to break down my overall training, and to give myself about two or so weeks before tapering to really sit back and see exactly where I may be lacking. Here they are: Strength:
Pull up/dip - 100#
Strict Press - 190#
Bench Press - 300#
Front Squat - 335#
Back Squat - 435#
Deadlift - 500#
Clean and Jerk - 275#
Snatch - 210# Speed/Conditioning:
Sub-20 minute 5k run
Sub-25 minute 800 meter swim Skills:
8 unbroken palms out muscle ups
5 unbroken full HSPU
All these goals are very realistic in my eyes. I kept them a little less lofty as I know I want to also increase my metcon and overall "CrossFit capacity". This usually is to the detriment to dramatic strength gains in more experienced CrossFitters, so I intend to time my training accordingly. I have been focusing on my strength lately, so now it's time to train my mental and metcon-ing conditioning a little more. I will head back into a strength bias in January for a bit. This is the biggest dilemma/debate I see in the CrossFit community: how does one balance all domains in programming to see gains across the board?
Well, from my experience there is not a cookie-cutter type of response to this. It totally depends the type of person approaching the training. I have personally found that I adapt extremely quickly to metcons and can see gains in these within a week or two of focus. Strength on the other hand is a little more slow-moving for me. I see gains, but they are not as dramatic. So what works best for me is to bias my programming around strength, mixing in very deliberate metcons to assist improvement on my weaknesses. My gains become more balanced this way. Here is what my programming will look like over the next three months: Month 1:
3 on, 1 off, 2 on 1 off schedule where Mondays are Olympic lifts and support work, Wednesdays are Max Effort deadlifts and Fridays are Max Effort Strict presses. Metcons will be every work day and ill increase in time and workload through the week (early in the week will be more body-weight focused and/or shorter in total time, while later in the week I will move to heavier weights and more chipper style). Tuesdays will be dedicated to speed work (generally track work or hill running). And Thursdays will generally include an easy conditioning session (IE: long run or bike ride or swim). The third week will introduce two-a-days on two training days, as well as a 4 on, 1 off, 2 on schedule. And the final week will be a lighter, recovery focused week. Months 2 and 3:
4 on, 1 off, 3 on 1 off schedule. This will introduce a more "random" mentality to my program. I'm implementing this to allow my body to NOT adapt to training on specific days. I tend to shut down a little on Sundays out of habit, so I want to get out of that routine. This tough phase will follow a three-ish week on, one-ish week recovery as well. The mentality of what I will do on training days will stay the same as before though. Olympic lifting will generally be practiced on the first day back after a rest day, with Max Effort power lifting on the second days after that. Metcons will all be focused the same way as well, with increasing demand towards rest days. Month 4:
The first week will be a complete commitment to testing all my goals. Following that, I will program accordingly, dependent on when my sectional will happen and where my strengths and weaknesses are.
Needless to say, the demand I am putting on myself is going to be wonderfully challenging and I can't wait! And to top it all off, I'll be sending out contacts to as many Bay Area CrossFit affiliates as I can find to commit to what i did last January, but for the entire month! CrossFit Community Month will occur from 1/1 - 1/31, and i will be traveling about the greater San Francisco region to visit affiliates, talk to owners, coaches and athletes, get a tough workout in, video and write about the whole thing! The goals are two-fold: to spread the awesome word of CrossFit to as many people as possible (you know, to share the connectivity of all CrossFit around!), and to meet more people and train with more people like me! I can not wait.
I will also be introducing a new aspect of my blog. At least once a week I will be posting up a video blog (similar to what I did during my bike ride across the country). I think it adds a little more personality to the site and it helps me to get even more involved in sharing info, which I clearly love to do! Further additions, like the goals page and more nutrition info are on hold for the time being while I look into the shift of my site. Again, please let me know what you think of the new one, either by posting here, or shooting me an email, text or call. Thanks so much!
Never Stop, GET FIT.