All right, right off the bat I need to admit the sad truth, I have no idea how to be cool. For some reason or another, this is something that’s passed through my head a bit over the summer. I think it has a lot to do with being around a ton of teenagers (what with coaching baseball and the majority of my athletes are in their teenage years) and this age group tends to have “coolness” as a primary concern on their minds. For me, the idea of coolness is a really great topic. Take the unprofessional word out and keep the context, and this is something we all think about at some point in our lives a good deal. We want to fit in, we want to stand out, we want to be impressive, we want to represent something, we want respect, call it want you like, but in the end, we just want to be cool!
This is why we do certain things in our life. Think about it, for us CrossFitters, it’s so damn cool to lock a heavy weight out over our heads. It’s cool to string together a bunch of kipping pull ups (it sure as hell isn’t healthy, so why else would we do it?!), it’s cool to collapse on the floor after giving our all on a workout. We embrace these aspects of our life just like the rapper embraces his “bling”, a hipster his/her vintage t-shirt, the Yogi his/her lululemon outfit. We have an idea of what gives us a bunch of confidence, and those things are cool to us. But how is it that some people can be all decked out in perfect gear, drive a sweet car, live in an awesome house, have a great partner and still somehow just not be cool? Well, it’s a matter of feeling comfortable.
I think that most people would say that confidence equals cool, but I disagree. I actually know a good deal of people who are pretty confident, who just aren’t all that cool. What I think is that it has more to do with just being comfortable in your own skin. That’s how people can seem so damn cool yet when you break down their life, it just doesn’t seem to add up. You see, so many of us get caught up in the idea of materiel things being the “cool-maker”, but in the end, it’s really just our ability to be comfortable with who we are and what we have. So this begs the question of course, how do we do that?
Well, again, I am sure as hell not an expert at cool, but I do know that being comfortable comes with understanding who you are and what you represent. If you are passionately pursuing the things you love in life, and if you are not wasting your time attempting to be a part of things that don’t fulfill you, you’re probably a pretty comfortable person. And if you’re comfortable, well, you’re probably pretty cool. Are you doing what you do because you love it, or because you think it’s what you should be doing? This is the simple question I recommend asking whenever you do anything in your life. If you are wearing something, or going places, or doing things for any reason besides loving it like crazy, you just might be involved for the wrong reasons and “forcing it”. And it’s pretty obvious all around that people who force things in life are totally not cool!
I need to point out something here, this does not mean that I’m opposed to enjoying materiel things! And in line with my wonderfully brutal honestly from time to time on this blog, I have decided to make a couple lists here: first, what I think is cool!
Locking out a heavy weight overhead alone in a dark gym
Running barefoot in the woods
Unkempt facial hair
Single speed bikes
1960’s and 70’s muscle cars
Holding a baseball bat
Plating a finished meal
Anything and everything Batman
Hanging out in outdoor stores (like REI and such)
Ha, well, as I write the list I realize that I could go on forever with that because it’s fun thinking about things that I like and think are cool. In fact, I throw out to all of you that you should make a list of what YOU think is cool. I’m reminded of the great monologue by Crash Davis in Bull Durham where he lists off all the things he believes in (if you haven’t seen the scene or the movie, get with the program and go watch it!). There’s something very freeing about announcing the things you like/love/believe in. And if it occurs on a whim, the truth comes out! Sometimes you might even begin your list, and all of a sudden realize that you are listing things off that don’t mean anything to you. And the second you do this, you can become aware that you are forcing things. Cool comes from deep within, what your true, inner personality honestly loves. Find out what’s deep down there and you’ll become the most comfortable, cool person in the world!
Thanks for letting me ramble! No go find yourself an be YOU!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
If you were to walk into my massive, spacious, cavernous, 200 square foot Garage Gym and ask any of my athletes what the number one focus of this past summer was, you would hear a resounding “body control” echoing from the rafters 8.5 feet above your head!
You see, one of the main things I have always been extremely focused on, in my own training and with training others is learning more about ones own body. The way I talk about it is body awareness, and body control. But in the fitness world, this is generally understood as proprioception. This is basically the idea of a sixth sense, which we all actually have, some more than others, but we all have the ability to be aware of things within us and around us without really knowing how. I am absolutely fascinated by this stuff and I found, through research and trial and error, that learning more about proprioception will very quickly help you become a fitter, healthier person.
Here’s a little bit about all this works. All your senses are pretty self-explanatory. When you touch something, you feel it, when you see something, your process it, same with hearing and tasting. I really don’t know the inner mechanics of all that, but I know it to be true because I can hear the tapping of my keyboard, I can feel the keys under my fingers, I can see the words appearing on the document and I can taste the bacon I just ate in my mouth! But what about this sense of awareness; how do I have the ability to put my arms, hands, fingers and head in the most effective position for this whole typing fun? Well, from what I can understand it goes a little something like this: your brain says, “arm, move to the computer”, your arm then moves to the computer, then your arm says, “hey brain, I just moved to the computer, give me another game to play!”. This sort of thing happens hundreds of thousands of times a day; think about it, just take a moment and try to comprehend how many movements you make each and every day and that there is a full-blown process for each and every one.
We just take this stuff for granted all the time, but when you take a moment to realize that this stuff can actually be improved, you all of a sudden realize just where you stand might stand athletically. I mean, look at like a pro football player: his ability to comprehend how to change direction not once, but twice, or three times even, all while catching a football, avoiding a couple massive dudes wanting to crush him and this all takes place while airborne. Yeah, that’s body control. The best athletes are the ones who can control their own bodies the best, I mean think about this: if you didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other, how would you be able to do anything athletically? That’s a bit of an extreme example, but you get what I’m trying to say here.
So how do you become more aware of yourself? Well, one of the quickest ways I have learned is to practice basic gymnastics. Do headstands, handstands, forwards and backwards rolls, cartwheels and on and on. The more you move your body through space, the more you’ll be able to understand HOW to move your body through space. If you spend the majority of your time moving other objects through space (as in: lifting weights…), sure you’ll get strong, but you will rarely allow your mind to connect to the body in an intimate way. I am not discounting the effects of connecting to the barbell, or anything else for that matter, I just think that getting your mind and body syncing is probably one of the most important things you can do for overall health. If that is way too tough to get to right now, start simply buy doing very basic body weight movements (squats, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, etc). To help out even more, do these in front of the mirror, and, place your hands on the portion of your body that you’re moving. What you’ll be doing is using your main senses to assist in understanding how you move. The more you move, and the more focused you are in each and every movement you make, the better you’ll be at those movements! Easy as that!
In the end, it’s my belief that while lifting heavy things is really cool and impressive, the most impressive thing in the world is being able to have full control of your body. Google any gymnast, or Parkour athlete or B-Boy and you’ll know instantly what I’m talking about.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
All right everyone, time to break it down for you all! After much deliberation I have decided to shift he way this thing is going to go down. I am stripping away a good deal for how it will be run so that it’ll be a good bit cheaper and a more accessible by a greater number of people. This does not mean you won’t be getting a crazy awesome experience! In fact, it may just turn out to be even more fun! The first thing to put out there is that I’m capping the whole adventure at 15 people. So, if you want in, get registered ASAP or you may not be able to get in!
Into The Wild Basic Facts:
Cost - $150
What you get:
· Into the wild t-shirt
· Free snack before first throwdown (Courage Bars, Core Bars)
· 3 separate organized throwdowns in three different outdoor locations
· Prizes from our awesome sponsors for winners, along with a few giveaways and other surprises throughout the weekend!
· Top of the line instruction throughout the weekend from world-class coaches and experts (Josh Courage, Brendon Mahony, Corey Rennell)
· Basics to survival instruction (how to start a fire, how to navigate, and so much more!)
· Organized, structured and discounted access to wooded workouts, exploration, beach camping and cookout, and of course, surfing the famous Pacifica ocean
· A good collection of food supplied for dinner and breakfast
Schedule (basic look here, a more detailed one, with times and such will be posted in the coming week):
· Meet at San Mateo Team Elite, Saturday Oct. 15th @ 11am
· Carpool to first location down Skyline in the woods!
· 2+ hours of instruction and training in the woods
· Break, food, nutrition talk with Corey Rennell, owner of CORE Foods
· First throwdown, “The Woods”
· Carpool/hike to the beach
· Set up camp, start fires for cook out
· Enjoy the evening, eating good food, drinking good drink, singing songs and more!
· Second throwdown, “Midnight Madness”
· Camp out
· Wake up for an early morning instruction and training session on the beach
· Third throwdown, “Storming The Beach”
· Carpool to Pacifica for some bad ass surfing
· Carpool over to Gorilla BBQ for a feast!
What To Bring:
Because this is turning into a little more of a bare-bones adventure, I am taking out the vans, the food and the hugely detailed guidebook. Everything else will stay the same! So, I’ll have some meat and veggies and water along for the weekend, if you want food, bring some, potluck style for the whole group. As stated before, alcohol is more than welcome, just bring a bunch! Be prepared to help out with driving, loading and unloading and so on. You will still be taken care of a TON, just toning it back a little to make it a little more accessible for the first run-through of it all.
· Food (bring anything and everything you want, be prepared to share!)
· Drink (same thing!)
· A couple changes of clothes
· A tent and any other camping gear you may want
· Money for surfing, BBQ and extra goodies (Courage Performance apparel, Courage Bars, Core Warrior Bars)
Again, I am capping this weekend adventure at 15 select people so, if you want in, get signed up STAT! This is the only adventure of its kind and you will be part of a prestigious group who get to experience the first ever! I am super stocked to get this rolling and have all the confidence in the world that this is going to end up being one of the most exciting weekends of the year. So jump on board and join the fun!
So, that’s what I got for you all, let me know if you have any questions of course! Also, I will rolling into town on Wednesday before this even, so if anyone wants to get some personal training in while I’m around, let me know ASAP (I’ve heard from a couple of you, we’ll get it set up soon!). And that’s that. I cannot wait to get back out West and hang with everyone, it’s gonna be a blast!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This weekend ended up being a pretty fun one all around. Late Friday morning my dad and I packed up some things and we began what would end up being the drive from hell, up to New York City. On a good day, driving from MD to NYC takes about 4.5 hours. But this time around it took us a wonderfully pleasant 9 hours! Brutal! And to top things off, we were planning on meeting up with my brother and heading out to the Red Sox/Yankees game, but, the damn thing got rained out!
Oh well. We had a tasty dinner and chatted each other up while hanging out in Times Square (not something we generally do in NYC, but my did got a hotel there…crazy, and also highly entertaining). I ended up headed off to sleep around 1am, just to get up again at 3am to pack up a bag and head out to Staten Island for the Spartan Race. I was initially scheduled to run the race at 1pm, but opted to try out a special heat they were offering called the “Hurricane Heat”. It was something they did for their last race because of Hurricane Irene, and had such a fun time they thought it would be cool to offer it as a regular event for their races. It had plenty of kinks, but I think the whole plan was really to just get a ton of people together to run through the course before the actual race started, just to make sure everything was in order. I personally chose to do this so that I’d have the rest of the day to spend with my dad and bro, and also be able to meet the founders of the race and network a little.
Well, my honest opinion was that it was both good and bad. The bad part was my own fault because I could feel my competitive side kept creeping in. This heat really had nothing to do with racing, more to do with just getting though the thing as a huge group. Bright and early at 5:30am we all split into groups of around 20 people and get our warm up in. We quickly got to the understanding the creator of this race was a little nutso. Our warm up included a couple rounds of 30 burpees, 30 push ups, 30 jumping jacks, 30 hops, 30 squat jumps and on, and on, and on. We then limped over to the start, and with happy, excited shrieks and yells we all took off! About 20 feet later we were met with our first surprise: about 25 yards of knee-deep, icy cold water! If that warm up didn’t wake everyone up, this sure as hell did!
We made our way to the beach, over a few walls/hurdles, had ourselves another 60+ burpees and jumping jacks…ugh…then back around through the woods to our first REAL obstacle: 50 meters or so of a mud crawl, under legit barbed wire. I found the trick to get through this was to stiffen up the whole body and just slide through the crazy deep mud and water. I totally got sliced up a couple times from the wire, but that’s the fun of it all! After people got through the mud, we all hung to re-group, and, did a crap-load more burpees!
Just to make the post a little easier, I would guesstimate that I got in well over 200 burpees on the day…
Things went slowly but smoothly through the woods and over a few more obstacles for the next hour or so until we got to the three high walls, the water and fire, and the super high cargo net. A few of our group blasted through them all, then waited at the end for the group. This was when I younger guy and myself saw a girl who was in our group but was waaay behind beginning to approach the first wall. We decide to head back and help her through the mess. It was fun to get through the obstacles again, and also fun to be able to hang back and help out a good collection of people get over those walls! Then it was off to the woods for a long stretch of trail running. The younger guy and myself hung back with this girl through the trials until we got to our creek/river portion and to the one portion of the course that actually got my heart racing a little. A 30-meter tunnel under a road that we all had to crawl through. It was dark, tiny, insanely muddy and the fact that we heard there were tons of rats in there the day before made it a little gross…
After we got through that fun, the younger guy and I decided it was high time to see if we could catch up with the group. So, we sprinted! About 10 minutes later we got to the front of the whole ordeal and I took off with about 4 other dudes to just keep on moving through the rest of the course. While it was an absolute blast to get rolling at a faster pace, being up in the front forced us to wait for the rest of the group at each obstacle. Generally not a problem at all, expect that we had to do burpees and jumping jacks until the whole group got together! Yeah, maybe it was more along the lines of 300+…
Anyways, there was plenty of mud, water, sand, and trails. I would say that if you are a good trail runner, you’d probably tear these things up. I personally feel as though I’d do somewhat well competing in one of these things, and if they made the challenges longer lasting (like running a long portion of the race with cinder blocks rather than just a little sprint with them) I would fair even better. But, in my honest opinion, I think the obstacles were a little too quick and easy enough to really hinder a good runner from winning these things on a regular basis. But, then again, I didn’t actually do the race, and it could be set up a little differently for them! In the end, I had a blast, met a few really awesome people, got nasty muddy and scraped up in the great outdoors, and was back in the city with the fam by 10:30am. Not too bad! I will totally be doing a few more of these races at some point over the next few years as they are right up my alley! And, I hope to go ahead and get that Death Race under my belt at some point!
So, the rest of the day was spent wandering the city with my dad and brother and doing our thing! It was fun, except fro when we thought it would be a good idea to get Captain America to watch at our hotel room…bad movie…
If you’ve never gone out to do one of these crazy races, I highly recommend checking one of them out. There’s the Warrior Dash, there’s the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Race series, the Urbanathalon, the Muddy Buddy and so on! There are so many of these things out there that it’s super easy to sign up and have some fun. In fact, there’s a really cool one coming up in a few weeks out in Northern California called Into The Wild! Yeah, you should totally go check that awesome thing out stat!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So far this week has been way easier than I expected. I don't mean that I had easy workouts. On the contrary, as I write this I am just wonderfully sore from head to toe! What I mean is that I was surprised at how seamlessly I feel back into a pattern of being very strict with workout times and nutrition. I thought I would have a much harder time getting back into the diet plan that allowed me so much positive change a month or so back. But, I guess I was able to form a pretty good habit when I did that whole program. And, inspired by a couple conversations today, and thinking about the whole process, I totally understand why.
Establish What Works For You:
When I was challenged about 3.5 months ago to follow a super strict nutrition plan, it clicked instantly with me. After a few weeks of following what was given to me, I made a couple modifications, and ultimately found a nutrition plan that just straight up worked. For me. And because it worked so well, my body responded accordingly. I lost fat, gained muscle, decreased my stress, had more energy and slept better. And because of all these positive changes, I psychologically became "hooked" on this lifestyle. My desire to stay up super late, to watch TV, to eat cookies, to skip workouts, all those things that I tended to do before, they all just went away. I learned first-hand that the body really, truly wants to be fit and healthy; and if you take the time and effort to allow it to be, it will crave those GOOD things instead of the bad. Now what works for me may not work for you. But the idea of cleaning everything out completely allows for your body and mind to have a cleaner slate so that you can honestly look at what works. For me, eating every 3 hours works wonders. Consuming the proper amounts of foods during those meals helps even more. I don't know what works for you, and a believe me, sometimes this can be really freaking hard. It took me about four years to find out how to literally melt body fat off me. And I am a fitness expert who has the time and wherewithal to try many different things. S be patient. There IS a process that works for you if you are willing to search for it. This brings me to my next point:
Don't Be A Wimp:
Yeah, I said it, you're going to have to be tough. One of my conversations today was with a lady who was feeling really lethargic, gaining weight, having skin issues, and struggling with sleep. I asked her about her eating habits and simply suggested she keep a food journal. A month later (today) I asked her how it was going and she said she only kept the journal for about a week and then just forgot about it. Interestingly enough though, upon my bringing it up she realized that the week she kept the journal was the most energetic and stress-free week in a long, long while. This made me think; not about the obvious, that having more control of your food makes you eat better, but of the effort she, and so many others put into change. Here's what I mean. It's crazy daunting to think that the way you live and eat is flat out hurting you, and that it is actually possible to change. this is the part that is NOT easy in any way. You have to change a habit. And usually, this is a habit that's been engrained in your brain and body for years and years.
So think logically through this one with me. If you've taken years to create a way of living/eating, do you really, honestly expect to change that habit in a week? Thinking of it this way, it should actually be a breath of fresh air to know that you can mostly change habits over the course of a short month! Either way, it's tough as hell to change like this (a "how to" on this is clearly a great topic); but, suffice to say that if you can find a way to dedicate a month to your program, things will inevitably become a LOT easier. Again, the body wants to be healthy, give it time to recognize the healthy things you are doing and it will react positively.
A concept that is really well described by Robb Wolf in his awesome book The Paleo Solution is that you can eat as much as you want. Totally, go to town! It’s just that when you are eating clean and living well, “as much as you want” tends to be healthy doses. This occurs because your mind and body are more closely connected. You finally stop eating emotionally and you eat to live.
Finally, Your Flow:
I think I’ve found my flow. I think this because even when I fall off for a month, it’s so much better than I’ve ever been my whole life. Sure, when things are down and I am more emotionally unstable I may have a cookie or ton; but I have formed the habit of eating regularly.
So the point to all this, the only way to really find that flow enough that it is engrained in you as a genuine part of you life. Give it all a fare shot. Take your time, trial and error, add things, take things away, chart EVERYTHING, be patient and be tough. You’ll have to go through hell before the simplicity of being healthy can actually occur. So don’t lie to yourself in thinking that you can figure it all out in a couple days. Trust me, it will not happen. If you want to be healthy, fit and happy, you need to commit to following a program for at least a month (preferably 2 or 3). And always remember: it took you years to become as unhealthy as you are now, you need to understand that true change may take a little time.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Man, this title is one of those things that could literally be left alone, nothing else stated besides those simple words. Or, it could be one of the most in-depth statements out there. Kind of like Michael Pollan’s statement of “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”, so simple but confusing enough to most people that an insanely successful book was based off it. So what do I mean then, when I say “Do Something You Suck At”? Well, I guess it’s my more childish way of stating o of the lines from the lululemon manifesto: “do one thing that scares you every day”. The idea is that if you stick to what you know, what you are comfortable with, and what you are good at, you’ll never really get all that much better.
I know someone who was scared out of their mind to do a box jump. The idea of leaving the ground was so overwhelming it caused complete paralysis. Well that was no excuse in my mind and I did everything in my power top help motivate this person through their fears and just, freaking, do it. And you know what happened? Well yes, they got the box jump, easily in fact. But more than that, they got an even higher box, then an even higher one. And from that day forward, little events that once seemed like a major life hindrances became nothing but minor speed bumps. When you overcome something, you become more confident, stronger, happier and healthier.
But I want to talk more specifically about something else. Overcoming fears is great, I write about it a good bit and I am constantly thinking and talking about it. Today I want to talk about doing things you suck at. I know, I know, when you think about it it’s kind of a blurry line between sucking at something and being scared of something. We are generally scared of things we suck at whether we will admit to it or not. But rather than getting all psychological on you, I’ll just keep it basic. I suck at snatches, I suck at handstand push ups, I suck at swimming, I suck at NOT eating cookies, I suck at warming up properly, yeah, this list could go on. When I’m down my response to sucking at these things is to just do them minimally, and when I do do them, I’ll put less intensity into getting better at them. Hell, there will be times when I totally “forget” about how much I suck at them all together because I just don’t work on them at all! But if I’m really good at box jumps and deadlifts, and I want to be a serious CrossFitter, doing box jumps and deadlifts all the time are NOT going to do very much for me. Sure, I’ll get damn good at those two things, but I won’t really get all that much better as a well-rounded person. What I generally tend to do, or, when I’m “on my game”, is to program these things in on a daily basis. So, each and every day I am making a point to do at least one thing I suck at. The goal being that I suck less and less at more and more. This then leads me towards truly becoming good at the things I really want to be good at. If I want to be a highly competitive CrossFitter, I have to NOT SUCK!
How many times have you been faced with something where you know you are going to do poorly? What did you do? Did you turn and walk away from it? Did you itch and moan about it and then just go through the motions? Did you bitch and moan about it, do it anyway, then make excuses as to why it didn’t go so well? Or did you sack up and give it your all?
Given the nature of this post, I am sure you can assume which of those I would say is the right choice.
Here’s food for thought: you are standing on a cliff. 40 feet below there’s a body of water, dark, still, waiting for you to jump in. From this insane vantage point you can’t tell how far the water is. You blink and it seems like it’s ten feet away, another blink and its miles. You have no clue what’s underneath, could be rocks, damn, could be a gator for all you know. You just know that you’ve seen a couple other people jump in and they came out fine. Do you:
A. Holler in sheer joy as you pounce off the rock
B. Shimmy your feet to the edge, pause, then leap
C. Pace back and forth for about 10 minutes before cautiously jumping
D. Turn back, and climb down
What you do here says a ton about your personality and how you approach life in general. But the best thing you can do as you read this is be honest with yourself, pick the answer that best suits you, then ask yourself why. If you care to share, post away and share. If you’d rather keep it to yourself, that’s fine too. All I ask is you take the time to figure out what kind of person you are. When you have a second, take out a paper and pen and write down 10 things that you suck at. Anything. They don’t have to be fitness related at all, just 10 things you know you are not good at doing. Now try to do the first one tomorrow, the second the next day, third the next and so on. Feel free to share your experience!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I am sitting at Lindsey and my “home” for the time being; and, along with making about 10 pounds of Courage Bars (they are settling in the fridge as we speak!), I have been bearing down on the focus that begins tomorrow for me. There has been so much going on over the past couple months: gym space search, house hunting, shifting of programming in the gym, bringing on tons of new clients, two of my best friends moving away, prepping for the “Into The Wild” adventure, and that is just skimming the surface. All of this stuff I’ve decided to take on has taken away from the focus I decided I needed towards training for next years CrossFit Games. So, while enjoying the wedding of my good ol” host sister from my baseball playing days, I have hit that point where it is time to re-focus my attention. This blog has been a really good recourse for me in terms of getting my thoughts out there, and it’s time to make myself accountable as publicly as I know how.
Food. As most of my readers probably know, I have been delving a little deeper as of late into nutrition. But, over the past couple weeks, my own ability to follow all of my incredibly intriguing findings has slipped away like crazy! I need to get back on track! So, tomorrow it happens. I am back on my eating every 3 hours kick that had such a great effect on my body fat, mood and energy. I am back on eating 100% clean. To make sense of this, if you’ve ever heard of Whole9, it’s basically like that. I am eating chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and TONS of veggies. I will be consuming ZERO sugar (in any form at all), dairy, and oil and I will be having a bowl of oatmeal almost every day which will be the only grains I’ll consume. Eating like this did so much for me and I want to find that again.
Sleep. I have been having a harder and harder time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and I am re-committing to getting into bed by 11pm every night. If I fall asleep then or not, doesn’t matter, I want to form the habit of getting in there and letting my body begin to relax at an earlier hour than the 1am or worse I have been using.
Training. Here is where it gets fun! My training has actually been really good, but with the crap nutrition and lack of sleep, my gains have been slipping a bit. Also, I feel as through the program I’ve been on has been so open to modifications by myself, that I end up taking advantage of that situation. What I mean by this is that it feels like each day I’m sort of just winging the whole thing. I need more structure if I want to get to where I want to get. So, I did what I would suggest to anyone who wants to get their training in order, I hired up a coach. Rudy Nielson is the owner and head coach out of Outlaw CorssFit in Alexandria, VA. I met him a couple years back and he has proven himself over and over again as a coach who produces top level CrossFitters. All of his athletes are such beasts, so, I figured I’d get in touch with him and see what he could put together for me. Now, this is going to be an interesting process as I am a bit of a programming geek. Let’s put it this way, Rudy can expect my open and honest critic on this process along the way! I expect nothing but great things from this, and I am so excited to have a program put together for me for pretty much the first time in my life! It’s time to see what happens!
I’m not done with my program though. All last week I was realizing how sporadic my actual training is. I would workout in the mornings sometimes, sometimes later on in the day. Sometimes I would go ahead and do 3 workouts in a day, just kind of depended on how I felt and the time I had. I have always known that for me, to get really, really good at something, I need to get on a schedule and stick to it. So, I put together a plan where my workouts are added into this schedule as well. I am not going to hold myself to it like crazy, as I think that leads to a sort of obsessive behavior. I just want to have more structure. So again, starting tomorrow I will be weight training on Rudy’s program, 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off. I will be getting 2 times per week of ashtanga yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Center DC and swimming at Wilson Aquatic Center. I will also most likely be getting back into my old Jiu-Jitsu training twice per week at Ultimate Heights MMA (I will be writing about this a bit later…). All of this is set in a schedule in terms of what days and times as my sleep and fueling schedule will work with it all.
Whew! I am so damn excited to get started! This whole scheduling concept is also going to be set a little towards my blog/article writing as well. So expect to see some new patterns in posts. This one, the update on my training with some insight into why and so on, can be expecting early each and every week. You’ll see what’s to come the rest of the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well folks, REGISTRATION IS UP AND RUNNING which makes this event officially ON! So, along with that I wanted to post up a bunch more info for everyone, hopefully answering as many questions as I can. Of course, if you have any other questions, please do ask!
The entire weekend will be $350. This includes:
· Detailed fitness instruction from two world-class coaches, Josh Courage and Brendon Mahony
· Presentation/seminar from Core Foods founder Corey Rennell
· Information packet with notes and resources for everything you will learn all weekend
· Three local, organic, very high quality meals from food picked up at a local farm and prepared on site
· An entertaining evening on the beach!
· Surfing instruction from one of Pacifica’s longest running surfing schools
· A bad ass t-shirt!
· And a few other surprises…
As this is the first event like this I will have put on, I have decided to let people pick and choose how much of this they want to attend. If you want the whole weekend, sweet! But if you only want to camp and surf, or just camp, or just workout in the woods, you can do that as well. All of these options are up on the registration site, so, sign up for what you’d like!
Two events - $275
One event - $150
What I cannot stress enough is that whatever you sign up for, you will not be able to change. I am working tirelessly to make sure we have the proper mount of food and gear for everyone coming. So, if you sign up for just the woods training but then decide you really want to join the camping, it will NOT be allowed (as much as I wish I could allow anyone and everyone do whatever they want!). Also, I cannot offer any refunds.
I am working right now on getting a spot for people to crash on Friday night if people want to travel to Norcal for this event. No matter what, if you plan to travel to this thing, let me know and I will offer either good hotels to stay at, or contacts for people who will lend you a couch for the night!
Meet up will be at San Mateo Team Elite in downtown San Mateo at 11am on Saturday morning. We will all get together there, go over the itinerary for the weekend, pack up all the gear and head out around noon o’ clock for the woods!
This is a fitness adventure, so you can expect to work your butt off the entire weekend. Of course we will have plenty of rest and down time, but if you feel your fitness level is extremely low, this may not be the thing for you. That being said, it is not only for super-athletes as well. Everything we will do all weekend will be doable for anyone with a base level of fitness. We are not weight lifting, we are learning to move in nature. You will learn how to run, walk, crawl, climb, throw, and on and on. You can expect to get out of breath, sweaty and most likely very dirty. And, I will pretty much guarantee that you’ll be smiling most of the time.
The first portion of Into The Wild will be in the woods. We will learn how to move fluidly though trails, over rocks and stumps, around trees and through water. We’ll learn how to climb trees, boulders and hills, we’ll learn how to use what can be found out there to your advantage in movement and in training (who needs barbells when you have massive branches!?!) . The second portion of the Woods will be a friendly, but I am sure highly competitive Throwdown/competition. I’ll put together a multi-workout challenge that everyone will take place in, and winners will get some extra goodies!
From there we will all pack up and begin a relatively less intense hike through the woods to get to our next location.
Our next workout will be Portion Three of the adventure (Portion Two is just camping and will be talked about below). We will wake up and everyone will be led on an early morning beach workout. You can expect to run a lot and do all sorts of fun crazy things in the sand! Again, the nature of these workouts will allow all to be a part of it, no matter what your fitness level. It’s not going to be a run for distance; there will be nomonotonous activities this weekend!!
The final “workout” will take place after breakfast when we all head to the ocean for a couple hours of surfing. I put this in quotations because there won’t really be any form of structured workout, it’ll just be getting out and learning to catch waves. For anyone who has done this before (and I’ve only don’t it once…) this is sneaky tiring, so, expect to work up an appetite!
After our Throwdown/Competition in the woods, we’ll hike on down to the beach for a chilled out night. We will cook our awesome food together over an open flame (details on that below), tell stories, sing some songs, and I am sure there will be a collection of “skills” being shown off throughout the evening. Handstand, rolls, flips and so on.
I highly recommend everyone sleeps under the stars for this one, but we will have a few tents for people to crash in, and some tarps set up as well. You will be more than welcome to bring your own camping gear if you’d like, as we will only be supplying a very base amount of gear for people. A full list of what will be supplied and what you might want to bring will be coming in a few days.
The idea for the evening will be to chill, enjoy each other’s company and just have a good time in the California air! While we are not supplying any alcohol at all (we’ll have plenty of water for people) I am not opposed to people bringing along a drink or two. We’ll have a couple large coolers at the start of the whole thing where people can put food and drinks they want to bring along. Of course, if you plan to bring a drink, you should expect to share with others! So yeah, anyone who knows a good local vineyard or something, get the hook up and bring it along! Just remember, we’ll be waking up pretty early to run around the beach, so keep it toned down if you know what I mean!
Yours truly of course will be leading this whole thing, and if you want my credentials, just ask away (or check out the About section of this website). All I’ll share with you about me here is that I basically spent as much time as physically possible outside and have established a pretty close relationship and understanding with the great outdoors. It’s my goal in general to inspire as many people as possible to utilize nature to their advantage to become healthier, fitter and happier, so, this adventure is just about the most perfect thing I could ever imagine!
Brendon Mahony is basically a running genius. The dude has run at the highest of levels and still competes at high levels today. I have learned a ton from him and am proud to have him as a friend and fitness consultant in my life. He also owns and runs San Mateo Team Elite (formally CrossFit San Mateo). He’ll be helping out all weekend, and will be giving everyone a crash course in advanced trail running!
Corey Rennell is the owner of Core Foods, hands down the BEST meal bar in the market I have ever found (and believe me, I have searched like crazy). Everyone will get the pleasure of feasting on his creation throughout the weekend, but you’ll also be getting a little something extra. In the process of getting his company up and running, Corey traveled around the globe learning nutrition from tribes and indigenous people who have been eating their way for hundreds, if not thousands of years. He’ll be sharing what he’s learned with everyone! The information this guy has in his brain is invaluable. So pumped for this!
Pacifica Surf School is owned and operated by a family that I am so proud to know. I met the Gubsers when I began to train Justin, and beast of a football and baseball player looking to tear it up next year in college after a hugely successful High School career. It took way too long, but eventually I went out with him and got my very first surfing lesson. I can’t say much more than: it freaking rocked! You all will be in such good hands out there. Whether you’re an avid surfer, or have never touched a board, it’s going to be crazy fun!
I am working right now to secure the perfect farm(s) to get all the food we’ll be eating from. We’ll be feasting on the highest quality meats, veggies and fruit; along with Core Bar, Courage Bars and plenty of liquids. While this is not a “Paleo”-specific weekend by any means, you can expect the majority of the food supplied to be as follows:
· Red meat
· Chicken and/or turkey
· Core Bars
· Courage Bars
If you have any specific concerns for food, please let me know ASAP. If you sign up for the whole weekend, you will be getting three LARGE meals. Trust me, I will not let anyone go hungry here! That being said, if you feel like you want to bring more, perhaps you have an awesome dish you really think should be enjoyed by everyone, please bring it! And a mentioned before, if you want drinks other than water, you’ll have to bring it yourself. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be getting an email with details about the food and gear. Basically you’ll receive what can best be described as a menu and you’ll be asked to let me know what you want so that I can purchase the right amounts of everything.
As only I do, you can expect the weekend will be filled with all sorts of extra little tidbits (think, random challenges thrown at everyone without notice with fun little rewards, one-on-one throwdown challenges and so on. Be prepared for anything at any time!). Again, a very comprehensive list of what will be supplied, along with a list of what you should bring will be coming in a few days or so. But the main thing to prepare for is that the whole concept is to connect with nature, I discourage bringing tons and tons of gear. But if you feel like you might need something in particular that is not on the list I supply, bring it to my attention and I’ll let you know what I think!
Right on everyone! That’s it for this one. Please let me know if you have any questions and/or concerns and of course, get yourself a spot NOW! If you know f anyone who might be interested in this, please do share it with them. The info is about to go out to a large amount of people in the Bay Area, and I fully expect all spots to be filled up pretty quickly, so get yours ASAP!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Updates before I get into this post: An “Into The Wild” detailed post will be coming out tomorrow, along with registration. The main thing I want to get out there is that I’ll be capping the weekend at 30 people, so make sure to register early! Also, I will post here and will be posting it over and over again; there will be NO REFUNDS! There is a lot of planning going into this thing and the second you commit to this, I will have no choice but to assume you will be there. So, set your weekend aside, and be there!!
Respect, humility, thoughts and prayers go out today as we all remember the incredible tragedy and inspirational stories of this day 10 years ago. I is true, we will never forget.
On to todays post! I woke up insanely early today (4:30am) to walk 2+ miles to the Potomac River to join about 4000 other athletes in the 2011 Nations Triathlon (the swim was cancelled thanks to the crazy flooding from the storms over the last couple weeks). I finished the 40k bike and 10k run in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I struggled with being passed by so many at the start of the bike, but after looking into my prep for this thing, I chose to just enjoy being out there, sweating alongside so many others on such a wonderfully sunny day. But my struggles, and my complete lack of interest in taking the even as seriously as I know I should have got me thinking about who I am as an athlete. You see, in the past 3 months I have biked a total of zero times (besides commuting, which I guess is a pretty good amount…), I ran no more than 4 miles at any time, and I swam twice. I then drove out to the Virgin Music Festival where I hung outside rocking out to music for about 8 hours, got home at 12:30 am, got to sleep at 1am and promptly woke up for this race.
Now, there’s a little part of me that thinks, “oh man, I am so cool, I can just do whatever I want and show up to fitness events and do a respectable job”. This is the elitist, bad ass CrossFitter in me… But then, the actual intelligent side of me comes out and asks: what the hell are you doing man, why don’t you take anything seriously?”
I struggled with this all day today, and I have decided to just let the floodgates open here on my blog about my confused relationship with sports.
For my entire life I have been pretty damn good at anything active. I could play pretty much any sport at a highly competitive level, I adapted so well to exploring and just being human. As I grew up I found that the one sport I loved the most, baseball, was all I really wanted to do so I focused all my attention on it. No joke, I carried a handwritten note in my wallet everywhere I went, written by my mother, that read “what did you do to make yourself a better baseball player today?”. I would commit to do something every single day of my life that I though would make me better at the sport I loved so damn much. This incredibly focused attention to baseball led to my general success at two division 1 colleges and then 1 year of pro ball in Europe and two in America. It also led to me viewing baseball as the mist important thing in my life. Over girls, school, and sometimes even family.
When baseball was over for me, it only took me about 4 or 5 months to find something new to dedicate myself to completely, marathon. I trained for my first like it was nobodies business; I never missed a training run, even if it meant running at 1 in the morning. My goal was to run a sub-4, and that’s what I did. Then, I was challenged to run another one and that is exactly when the Josh Courage so many of you know became the Josh Courage I am. I fee as though I sometimes define myself buy trying to figure out what I can and can’t do physically. I ran 10 more marathons that year, along with a 50-mile ultra, along with continued powerlifting, basic CrossFit training and for 4 months out of that year, and extreme diet that I would NEVER recommend to someone running a marathon every month. Since then I have done like 4 triathlon, 5 or 6 CrossFit competitions, got into jiu-jitsu, yoga, climbing and exploring. Shoot, if two weeks ago you challenged me to try stand up paddle boarding, I would probably be out racing by the weekend!
I am really good at all these things, but I do not excel at any. And the crazy thing in my mind is that I am really good at all these things while never really putting the attention and effort I put into baseball or that first marathon. I have created such a psychological need to do freaking everything that I don’t allow myself the ability to ever see how good I could be at any one thing. And every time I tell myself that I am going to focus in on a program, it lasts about a month and then you’ll find me out giving something else a try. And if you’re super close with me, you’ll probably hear me talking about this new challenge in my life and all the crazy ideas I have for incorporating it into my life. I swear, I must challenge myself to some crazy event (pre-existing or invented by me) every 4-5 days.
So why can’t I focus on just one? Why, if I am supposed to be some sort of expert at health and fitness, do I have such a hard time committing myself to any sot of program? Well, I think it’s two things: curiosity and fear. The curiosity speaks for itself I think. I mean, I LOVE fitness. So, if I’m on the Internet and read about SealFit, I want to do it! Or, if a buddy of mine tells me about a triathlon coming up next weekend, I want to do it! And when I try out surfing for the first time and I feel really good, and have a blast, I want to do it every weekend and see how far I could go! I have a never-ending curiosity about what I am capable of doing. Fear on the other hand is a little more confusing. What the hell could I be scared of if all I ever do is attack any challenge with no fear? Well, as strange as it sounds, I might be afraid of success, afraid of failure, afraid of commitment, and/or afraid of losing my curiosity and drive to continue to challenge myself. Being afraid of success just doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s not the most far-fetched idea that I wouldn’t know what to do if I all of a sudden was at the top of my field at a specific sport. Would that mean I wouldn’t have the time or ability to do and try other things? This actually ties onto my last point there: if I am so successful at a sport that all I can do is focus on that, would I not only lose my ability to try new things, but also the desire? Yeah man, I am scared of that.
Fear of failure is pretty common. On the surface I am in no way at all scared of failing. I actually love it as it itself is the strongest challenge out there. Failure challenges you to keep going, get back up and try again. But I think this goes a little deeper I think. Perhaps the idea of getting myself to be at the highest level of a sport brings out a fear failing at that level. If I finish in the top 20 at the CrossFit Games Regionals, I don’t have to deal with making it to the actual Games, stressing out about wanting to win the whole thing, and then dealing with potentially failing there.
This idea is SO damn hard for me to even write about as just an idea. I passionately hate that this exists in me. I hope it’s just a little because the idea of excelling at something is so appealing to me.
To be honest, I don’t really know what else to write about with this one. Just writing that idea above has left me completely lost in thought about how to figure out if this is actually going on in my head. I wanted to write about the idea of being scared of commitment, because I think there is a pretty decent part of me that is with all this fitness stuff. But I can’t seem to organize my thoughts enough to get those points down on paper. So, that being said, I hope this little stream of consciousness inspires some serious self-thought about what and why you are doing what you are doing. If you want to truly be successful at anything in life, you NEED to understand exactly what it is you’re doing. Take the time and think about these things, be honest, be BRUTALLY honest and see what happens.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today I got an email with an attachment about a little Q and A with my brother as he trains for the New York City Marathon! Add this to the the excitement I have for the last weekend of the month when I'll be up in NYC for the Spartan Race and spending a dude's weekend with my bro and my dad! So, I figured I'd share a little about this guy who I've looked up to my entire life.
Growing up I always felt like I lived in my brother's shadow. The guy was insane at pretty much every sport (I may be remembering this wrong but I think he dunked a damn basketball in 9th grade!). He dressed in a way I thought I'd never be able to pull off (the dude wore a leather jacket in High School, god that was cool!), and he had such a comfortable personality with everyone. To add to the versatility that inspired me so much, he headed off to a great school where he excelled at diving, and, for fun, played on the baseball team. Why not right? Then graduated and just like that began a damn impressive post-school life. Started his own web-design company, worked online marketing for some HUGE names in publishing and magazines, even started a now-pretty successful film festival!
Over the years we have have had our basic brotherly ups and downs, but every time we get together it seems like we just sort of feed off of each others pretty distinct energy. We have gone in very different directions with our lives; he is what I would call a stereotypical New Yorker: works online marketing, rides a "fixie" to work across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning, works out at totally ghetto YMCA, walks his albino pit pull around his relatively sketchy neighborhood while chain smoking some form of "hipster" cigarette. I of course am a fitness junkie who would go WAY out of his way to avoid being in a major city, I practically gag at the smell of cigarette smoke and have never sat at a desk for work besides a couple internships between baseball games in college. And despite our differences I still look up to this guy with never-ending respect for what he has achieved in his life.
He has basically taken control of his life from the second he had the freedom to do so. He has fallen over so many times, and yet he seems to have no problem finding his way back up to an even higher level (a Courage Family trait I am finding out...). And now he's done it again! I would easily say that about 6 months ago I could probably be seen picking fun at him in a back-handed way for being so damn unhealthy and out of shape. But now the guy is cooking all sorts of incredible foods (he has given me some AWESOME ideas for how to keep my fueling fun and exciting whole staying simple) whole training for a marathon. And to top it off, he is committed to raising at least $3,000 for a YMCA kids program (helping kids into health and fitness programs that they can't afford).
So, while I continue to look up to the guy, and aspire to to be as cool as I see him, I ask you all to give him your well wishes with his training, and perhaps donate a buck or two (or more...?). And while your at it, take a moment to think about someone in your family and the positive things they have inspired in you. No matter how you've grown, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to remember something positive (hopefully lots of things!) in each and every one of your family members. Feel free to share if you'd like!
Good luck brother! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!
Check out the article here
Donate to the cause here
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!