A couple weeks ago I drove down to one of the most incredible places within an hour of my house, Castle Rock. This place reminds me of some of the rockiest areas of Great Falls, MD, except it’s up in the mountains (great views) and the rocks and trees to climb range from the pretty easy and basic (kids and people in flip flops climb them) to really damn hard (I got stuck in one spot for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get down or up, and serious rock climbers come out to train here).
I love getting outside and exploring. Sometimes I just wander around and find things to climb while I totally relax by connecting to nature. Other times I search for whatever adventures I can get in to. For me, challenging myself is what it's all about. Not only because it's fun, but because I think its important. So, I had three separate scenarios where I got myself pretty nervous, and that is what I want to get into here.
There is this massive redwood that fell against a huge rock-face and it seriously looked like it was deliberately put there to climb. You can start right at the base and sort of spiderman crawl up the tree about 50 yards while using those awesome branches for support. Most of the way up this thing you realize that you are a good 20-40 feet above the ground until you reach the “safety” of the rocks being about 5-10 feet under you near the top. Now I’ve done enough climbing around the woods to not really get too concerned for my well-being on something like this. But it had been a long enough time for me to feel that heightened sense of excitement as I climbed. My heart raced, and my senses got super focused. My breathing quickened and I made myself pause in the middle of the tree to appreciate the feeling. I hadn’t felt that way in a while
This is the one I mentioned in the opening paragraph. It was this sort of crack between two large rocks and I decided it would be a fun challenge to shimmy up between the two of them to the top. The best way I am able to do this is to press my back against one rock while pushing my feet against the other one and slowly leveraging myself upwards. Well, this rock decided to be weirdly angles making that strategy not possible. So, I just found my way up. This worked really well until the halfway point. Here I found myself sort of stuck in a game-of-twister style position, wedged between two rocks about 30 feet above the ground. Yes, it took me a solid 10 minutes of slight body weight shifts and risky hold changes to finally get myself through the top and to safety. That got me pretty scared for a few minutes, along with extremely dirty, sweaty, and scraped up pretty good too
This is the one that got me thinking about fear and how important it is for us humans to experience it. I climbed up an absolutely awesome tree. This huge one about 50 yards off the trail with two massive branches stretching out into the silent forest. One was about 15 feet high, the other about 20 feet. To get up to the first branch I had to do a bit of a trust jump going from a knob near the base of the tree to what I hoped to be a decent hand-hold on one side of the lower branch. Lucky for me it was a solid hold, and then I used what little muscle up skill I have to maneuver my way up onto the branch (again, even dirtier, sweatier, and more scraped up). But the reward was a huge natural mezzanine of sorts that I could actually lay down and spread out, listening to the forest and really connecting with nature. The tree was covered in moss too, so it felt like a super comfy natural bed. I hung out there for a while, it was really, really nice.
But eventually I had to get down. And getting down the way I came up was risky enough that it was out of the question. So, my only option at that point was to jump off the 15 foot branch into a very sloped and branch-and-rock-filled earth below. No problem, I tossed my bag down first (it proceeded to roll over itself about three times showing me just how sloped the ground was there), then stood up and got ready to jump. I froze. Damn. I was so scared!
What if I tripped and fell? What if I landed wrong? What if I got hurt, or worse, what if I crashed to the ground and got empaled by a huge branch?!
This fear very quickly gave way to sheer excitement. I immediately remembered why I love being out in nature so much. And why I insist on climbing things, and jumping off things, and exploring, and getting lost. I crave this fear. I know tons of people out there can relate. Climbers, adventurers, explorers, race car drivers, divers, motorcyclists, surfers, the list can go on and on. The fear we feel in these situations makes us feel alive. It gives us purpose. It trains us to understand our emotions and learn how to control ourselves in extreme situations. Putting yourself at risk, getting so far out of your comfort zone you genuinely don’t know what to do for a period of time, those times are when you learn the most about yourself. Those times are when you become a better version of you because you HAVE to. When you walk to a ledge and the only way down is to jump, you learn to trust yourself, to trust nature, and have faith. Faith is one of the greatest things we can have. It is how we overcome fears. It might be faith in God, or something spiritual. it might be faith in yourself, or just in an idea that things will work out. Allowing yourself to disconnect from all those fears you have learned to have is such a unique and incredible skill. You must believe in the fact that whatever happens in the moments after your leave your feet, you are ready for it, good or bad.
Yes, this is a metaphor for life. It doesn’t have to be jumping from a tree, it could be starting a new job, trying out a gym that uses barbells and atlas stones, traveling to a new country, telling someone you love them, anything that takes you out of your little world of comfort. Sure, you can always measure your risk levels and assess that joining a gym is a little less risky than climbing Mount Everest, but you see my point. For some people, unfortunately, stepping out of the house in the morning is as much a scary situation as it is for others to climb a 100’ foot cliff. It’s all relative. And my message holds true to anyone and everyone out there: these fears are good, and NECESSARY for you to grow and improve as a human being. Embrace them for all their scariness and appreciate every single thing in your life that you’ve had to take a risk to achieve. Those things are so worth it! Most of the greatest achievements come from great risks. So damn it, JUMP!
Back in that tree. I actually laughed out laud. It felt so good to fear in nature. It was a rush of excitement and I missed it so much. I looked around the woods, felt the cool California dusk wave over me and heard the birds chirping as the sun went down. The trees rustled, the giant rocks loomed all around me, and there was not a single sound of another human being, car, or plane, It was perfect. I took a deep breath and jumped.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
All you followers have probably put together that I kind of like to spend time in the kitchen. I don't really sit in front of the food network for hours a day, or read up on cooking books and magazines. What I generally do is come up with some idea, or take someone else's idea, and then just try to figure it out. For the longest time cooking was something I did for just myself, then for myself and my girl, and while I always wanted to eat good tasting food, I knew it wasn't the end of the world if the dish came out a little wonky. And I've had pretty good success! I am a keep-it-simple type of cook who looks to very slight touches and additions to a classic ingredient to make it new.
I know at some point in my life that I will "retire" to a small restaurant or something of the sort. I just love creating things way too much to have it not be a part of my life. With that in mind, I have actually written up about 4 different ways to involve cooking as part of my life in a greater way than just cooking for me and the ones closest to me. And this weekend was the first step in breaking into that world! A couple weeks back my housemate Cullen proposed we whip up a dish and enjoy dinner together. He suggested stuffed peppers and my mind went wild with all the options of how to do this. A seasoned up some grass-fed ground beef, mixed in chopped bacon, and then cracked an egg over it at the end. Placed it all on top of a bed of sautéed spinach and some avocado and came up with this:
When Cullen posted it to Facebook and someone commented that they wish we would cook for them, it hit me that we should begin a little project. Cullen and I could host a fine-dining experience in the comfort of your own home with a group of your closest friends. We would cook up a 3-course, Paleo-friendly meal, pair each course with hand-selected wine, and ther you have it; the perfect evening! We needed to test it out.
So we invited our closest friends for a trial run. Dress to impress, bring nothing else but your hungry stomachs and the excitement of feasting on incredibly healthy, wonderfully tasting food! Yep, we really talked it up. Now all we had to do was follow through and not suck. We actually thought it'd be funny just to heat up a crappy pizza or something and play it like we really took the time to figure out the perfect meal, but that joke ran its course and we really did prepare something interesting.
Bacon-wrapped scallops with a kick of cayenne and an avocado-lime-tequilla paste
Broiled sirloin over cinnamon and spice mashed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with a jalepeno glaze
(for our non-red meat eater I offered: pan-cooked chicken breast in coconut oil w/ specially prepared Brussels sprouts)
Warm almond butter-stuffed dates with a chilled strawberry and coconut oil topping
I cannot express how well all this went. To be totally honest, I would have spiced the sweet potatoes a tad more, but besides that, everything turned out freaking perfect. The wines were paired wonderfully. The guests had a night filled with awesome conversation and story-telling at the table. Cullen and I worked seamlessly in the kitchen together and everyone ate their fill and enjoyed each bite. I went to bed afterwards feeling this immense sense of accomplishment that I found something that I am truly passionate about in life. As you all know, I love to do things and share them with people with the hopes that I can motivate and inspire. I love health and learning all about new, fun ways to be healthy while living an exciting life. I love food and the effects it has on your life, inside and out. And I was able to share a passion of mine with a group of people, show them that extremely healthy food can taste wonderful, and walk away feeling like made some form of positive impact.
Cullen and I will be officially starting our journey into at-home fine-dining very, very soon. So if you live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, are interested in the best ingredients and having a formal night with friends and/or family in the comfort of your own home; there is a new option in town for you!
Here's to following your passions!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Well, I woke up today ready to write a rant post on some issues I've been seeing with approach to fitness. I had some complaints I needed to get out and share. But, with the temperature on the mid-60's, and no clients from late morning all the way until tonight, I could not avoid the great outdoors. And what happens to me when I get outside, away from all things man-made? I don’t have anything to complain about anymore. So, I've decided to write something a bit more positive, and leave the ranting to another day.
If you take a few moments and browse through Mark Sisson's awesome blog, Mark's Daily Apple, you'll find article after article about the benefits of being outside. From returning to our primal roots of connecting to nature, to the incredible benefits of vitamin D. Basically, being outside is impossible to argue against. I have read countless articles and studies on the positive effects of the wild, but I have no interest in getting into the science of it all. I simply want to share my experience and hope that it might inspire you to either get out more, or get out in some way at all if you never do.
To me, getting outside could be looked at in two ways: an escape, and a return. I am escaping the world that us humans have created. This is a world of responsibilities, technology, negativity, processed goods, concrete and metal and on and on. In my mind, almost everything we experience in the man-made world is some form of stressor. Even if you think it's relaxing to have a bag of chips and watch a couple TV shows, in reality, you're not doing anything to help yourself. You're slowly "poisoning" yourself with things your body and mind were not born to experience. I am not about to sit here and tell you you should toss all that out. Hell man, I love watching a good TV show or movie, and I love having a good snack here and there! But if these things become your definition of relaxation, I am sorry, you are doing a good bit of damage to your overall well being. So, when I head out to the wilderness, I am escaping the “trap” that is all this craziness we have created for ourselves. I don’t have pressure; I don’t have my senses being overloaded with lights and technology. I don’t have people bustling by me with too much to do to enjoy a moment with themselves. I am totally free to naturally do what I want.
Sometimes there tends to be a negative connotation with escaping. Like drinking alcohol or working out too much. This is why I also have found that getting outdoors is a return as well. It’s a return to what is naturally there for us to survive in. Nature is the only thing that we can experience that we did not create. And because of that, there is something incredibly unique about experiencing it. In my experience (and I feel like it’s a pretty good deal of it), the only people I have met who do not enjoy being out in nature are very, very inactive people and very, very depressed people. Aside from those guys, I have never seen anyone spend time in the wild and not enjoy themselves. This is more than enough proof to me that we are meant to be out there on a somewhat regular basis. Shoot, the people I know who spend a ton (I mean, at least 8+ hours a week) out in the wild are some of the happiest, chilliest, most enjoyable people I know.
Now mind you, when I refer to outdoors, I don’t mean going for a walk around your neighborhood. If that’s all you can do, do it as much as possible of course, but I'm talking about more. I am really referring to getting out to the woods, the mountains, the ocean, a hidden lake somewhere, The Wild! Spending time in a place where the only sign of mankind is a trodden path and/or a friend or two that join you is what I'm talking about. Outside, to me means, the wilderness. If you want the full effects of reconnecting with nature, get into TRUE nature and soak it all in!
Today I found a large slab of rock stretching out into the Potomac River out in Great Falls, Maryland. I navigated my way out there, laid down in the sun, closed my eyes and just chilled. I could hear birds chirping, crickets and frogs buzzing through the woods, snaps of tree branches from deer and random splashes of water from the fish in the river. No cars, no people, no hum of a generator or anything. As cheesy as it sounds, I had an uncontrollable smile on my face within 10 minutes. All I could think about was climbing rocks, scaling trees and wading through water. When I left my nap area, I found a collection of about 8 deer feeding in the woods by a little rain-pond. I just perched myself on a fallen tree and watched them for a few minutes. They heard me and sat there watching me. I then moved along and when I turned back around, they were back to grazing.
I know I can be a little fanatic about nature. Most of my California friends know me as someone who would rather spend my life frolicking naked through the woods then doing pretty much anything else. I don’t expect my view of nature to be that of everyone else in the world. But I do believe, with all my heart, that every single one of us would be happier, more at peace, more relaxed and healthier if we just got out into Real World on a somewhat regular basis. If you agree, go outside and do it! If you don't agree, just go try, see what happens...
I hope you can find your way out there soon. If you want some company, I am never one to turn down an adventure in the wild!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I was out in the Bay Area visiting old friends, training a few people, workout out like crazy and enjoying the absolutely incredible California wilderness! here is a little rundown of the 5 days I spent out there:
Showed up mid morning on Wednesday, grabbed some food with CrossFit San Mateo's owner and head coach Brendon Mahony, then stocked up on some food, Courage Bar ingredients and soon enough hit the gym for a good workout. Thursday and Friday were much of the same, with Lindsey getting in Friday, and one of the toughest workouts I have ever done crushing me so badly that I am still feeling the effects of it as I write this post today! It was a descending ladder of rope climbs and DB squat clean to thrusters, and that damn rope climb beat me down like nobody's business! I took my time on the climbs as I knew my technique was not spotless and I wanted to conserve the grip strength. But, no matter what the approach, by the third round my grip was so far gone, I basically had to take almost a full minute to recover between each one to be able to get back up. The crazy part of this whole thing was that I never had the ability to cardiovascularly recover. i think I was so worked up by the whole thing that my heart rate just never came down. 19 and a half minutes later I finally finished, and it took me close to three hours ot actually feel like i was somewhat normal again! And to top it all off, I ripped my ankle up so much I was having a tough time walking! The one positive takeaway from the workout was my 345# back squat for 13 resp, AWESOME!
Anyways, Saturday morning brought even more fun. Core Foods owner Corey and his girl met up with me and Lindsey and we all got workouts in at the gym. Mine was a 5-workouts-within-one-hour mes that left me craving 10 pounds of meat and a 6-hour nap! But, we all geared up and drove down the Peninsula for a few hours of trekking though the woods! this turned out to be such a a blast. We explored the different paths, talked about all sorts of different things, interacted with a buck within 15 yards or so (so much fun to see wildlife that close up!) and stayed out there as the fog and darkness began to cover us completely.
We then wandered back to our cars and drove down to Half Moon Bay to see if we could find some camping at the beach. Seeing how it was the famous Pumpkin Festival weekend, the known camp-site was totally booked up; but, with a couple phone calls we were directed a couple miles south to Cameron's Pub. This was one of those placers that causes sensory overload with the amount of crummy, hoarded items they keep hanging on walls and tucked into corners. The place was like a haunted museum of beer cans and tin signs; and in the back, a huge field set aside for RV's and campers to hang out for a night or two (or weeks or months as it seemed some were doing). We found our way to the very far end of the field, just outside a spooky abandoned greenhouse and set up shop. Corey got a great fire going and we enjoyed flank steak, asparagus and grilled bananas before catching a few eukaryote songs at the pub and then crashing for the remainder of the night.
After meeting up up another friend Lisa (check out here awesome blog here) for breakfast, we connected with Justin Gubser and his buddies to hit the Pacifica surf for a couple hours. This was an all around blast! And the best part: our last wave had Lindsey and myself riding all the way to the beach, literally side by side, pretty freaking sweet! The cold water and the entertaining crashes and here-and-there wave catches worked our appetites up enough to feast at Guerrilla BBQ and it was off on our separate ways after that. Lindsey and I hot up our favorite burger joint, Roam Burger, in the city before catching our red eye back East. Man what a trip!
I must admit, it'd been a real long while since I've been able to just spend some good quality time with a small group of awesome people, and while I was a little bummed out that the Into The Wild weekend didn't take off like I had planned, and that a few people never showed up for the weekend that had said they would, it turned out to be a weekend I will never forget. Sharing that deep connection to the great outdoors with Lindsey and another couple;e that clearly appreciated being out there just as much as me was so energizing. It inspired the need to do this sort of thing WAY more often! Oh, and yet again, surfing is one of the most fun things to do in the world! Yet another reason to head back out to our second home-town on a regular basis!
Miss all my West Coaster already, but I'm excited to get back to training in The Garage with all my awesome athletes and friends here in the DC area! This is going to be a crazy brutal week of training for everyone, so let's all keep up the support and get after it!!
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.
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.
About a month ago I was brainstorming ways to justify a trip back to California when an idea hit me. What was the number one thing I enjoyed about being out there? Well, it was getting outside and exploring all the great natural areas, the mountains, the parks, and the beaches. Sometimes I would hike, other times run, or bike, or swim or whatever. There is always just so much to do out there! This got me thinking about how so many people miss out on experiencing the great outdoors because of so many different things: The simplicity of life in a climate-controlled office and house; the ease of finding food at restaurants. I wanted to find a fun and exciting way to re-introduce people to their roots.
It never fails, every time someone heads out into the wilderness, even if it’s just to sit around and do nothing, they become a little happier. There is something innately human about connecting with nature and it is this something that I hope to harness and allow people to experience. It’s not some extreme primal workshop or anything like that; just an organized weekend to show everyone just what is in his or her backyard. That living healthily and happily is as easy as playing around in nature and eating real, good food. And because so many of us have forgotten how to do all this thanks to cars, sidewalks, big houses, stores and on and on and on; I though I’d open up the doors for everyone to re-learn it all. It’s time to become HUMAN again!
Here’s what it’s going to look like:
Saturday, late morning we’ll meet we’ll all meet at a soon-to-be-announced location. Our minimal luggage will be stored in vans, extra food and drink in coolers and we’ll go over the weekend’s events. The early afternoon will consist of learning how to move throughout the wilderness. Now, this may seem a little childish at first thought, but have you ever tried to run through the actual woods? The athleticism needed to react to your surroundings is that of a professional football player trying to avoid getting crushed by multiple opponents. With that in mind, you’ll learn how to walk, run, crawl, climb, push, pull, jump, skip, and so much more. The idea is to feel completely comfortable in the most natural of settings.
After a couple hours of organized play, we’ll all break for some fuel and to relax for a bit. This is where the first of a few wonderful surprises will be offered out! We will be partnering up with one or more local farms to supply you all with the best of the best in terms of food. We’ll have top of the line, grass-fed meat, completely organic and free-range chicken and eggs, fresh, organic produce and fruit, and of course plenty of water. My close friends at Core Warrior will be around as well with the best protein bars on the planet for everyone to indulge in.
After our break, we’ll all get set up for a wooded throwdown of epic proportions! Using all the skills everyone just learned, we’ll set up for a friendly competition using tools only the greatest gym in the world: the great outdoors, can provide. Trails, hills, streams, rocks, logs, the list is only as long as your imagination, so, you’ll have to be prepared for anything!
With our bodies wonderfully burned out, we’ll pack up all the gear and begin to make our way to the evening location. We will either be on the beach for this, or at a campsite, depending on what I am able to secure in the coming weeks. Either way, we will most likely be hiking to this location with our gear. Once there, we’ll set up camp, start the fires and let the nighttime festivities begin. We’ll cut loose on another feast of wonderfully local food while we tell stories, sing songs and just enjoy the night air and good company. As the evening winds to an end, you’ll have your choice to sleep in a tent or, as will be strongly recommended depending on the weather, under the stars.
We’ll all be up bright and early the next morning to head out to the hazy beaches to hit a wake-you-up workout before yet another scrumptious feast for breakfast. After the gear is packed up, and all that bacon grease is licked of our fingers, we’ll then head to the waters edge for a couple hours of surfing the famous waves of Pacifica.
Right on. Now, if this does not sound the like the most perfect weekend in the world, I personally think there’s a little something wrong with you…! That being said, I am sure there are a ton of questions you would-be adventurers might have. If this is the case, ask away! I’ll be posting up all sorts of details on this thing in the coming weeks so most of them hopefully will be answered, but in any event, I am here to assist in any way. This is an event I am super crazy excited to host so I will be putting all my energy into making it the best possible experience for anyone and everyone! Registration is not open yet, but will be very shortly, so, until then, go on to Facebook and “Like” the page so you can constantly see all the new updates. I’ll also be throwing things up on the blog on a pretty regular basis as well.
Before you all bombard me with 100’s of crazy questions though, let me throw this out there: In the next couple days I will be posting the dates, times, meeting places, all locations, more details of the specific events and a whole bunch more. Also, things like what to bring and so on will be sent to anyone who signs up. This initial announcement/post is merely to get everyone pumped up for the idea! I know that the date is the most important thing for pretty much everyone, and I can tell you that it will either be the second or third weekend of October. I’ll post that up on the Facebook page tonight so you all can make sure that weekend is not double-booked!
Well there you have it folks! Stay closely tuned if you are interested in all this and please let me know if you have any questions at all!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Video will be up soon!
Lately I have been struggling quite a bit with the idea of moving away from California. Amongst many, many other things, the scenery is just one of those things that leaves be breathless at least once a day. Even being so close to a massive city, I am still greeted each time I leave the house with some sort of mountain range or water, it's awesome! And when I head a little further away from the house, it just gets better. Realizing that sometimes the mind acts irrationally when it's in a slightly darker state, I vocalized that I've been struggling with the idea that I would not be able to explore what this awesome area has to offer. But Lindsey reminded me that I have no reason to NOT go and see the wilderness, I have tons of time on my hands and nothing holding me back! Well, hearing it from her hit home and I decided I would take advantage of every waking minute I have left here. And yes sir, After today, my mind has been completely refreshed!
I got Lindsey to the airport bright and early, then headed out. My plan was to head up north, but after stopping at Whole Foods for a few snacks, I found a promising park that was down in the southern most point of East Bay. So, I drove down. I parked on the south side of the grandiose Sunol Park around 9am and began my exploration. Things began tough, just straight up for a good 3 miles or so. The trails were wide and not too technical at all, but the recent rains had left a handful of pretty decent creek crossings and muddy areas; nothing my VFF Treks couldn't handle (for those of you who don't know, those are the Vibram Five Finger shoes, or "toe shoes" made for trails)! I trudged along building up a damn good sweat and stopping every now and again to soak in the spectacular views. Onward and upward went until I reached the Rock Cave trail. This led me to the highlight of the day!
Basically this was a HUGE rock structure, slabs and boulders layered on top of each other creating this pretty awesome caves and crevasse's. I'll let the video speak for most of this, but I think the level of panic I was experiencing while grasping for hand-holds without any form of footing and being stuck in a tiny 2x2 opening gets a bit lost through the lens. Yep, as usual, I threw risk out the window and jumped on the opportunity to see if I could do something I wasn't totally sure I could actually do. It was so freaking fun! I soaked in the views and let the adrenaline subside while enjoying a small lunch; then it was back to the trail!
The next bit of excitement occurred when I all of a sudden peaked! I was jogging (right, I had these random bursts of energy and just went along and ran for a while) along this super narrow trail with an absolutely incredible view and boom, I was on the top of the mountain. It was almost cheesy how perfect it was: someone had built a bit of a bench beneath this crooked tree that perfectly contrasted the the plush green mountain side. In the distance you could see a reservoir, nestled perfectly between picturesque slopes. The colors were overwhelming: greens, browns, grays, reds, oranges, yellows and more; absolutely stunning! I soaked it in for a bit, then hit the wide cow trail that wove down between two peaks.
I walked, ran, strolled, snapped pictures and found myself smiling quite a bit. And as things began to level out past an old abandoned farm house, I noticed something totally out of place throughout the park. Tucked in a little canyon of sorts was a tiny forest of, um, cactus. What the heck? Yeah, I walked over to it, around it, for the life of me, I can not figure out what a random collection of cacti would be doing out in the middle of a mountain range. I'm sure I could look it up, but I enjoyed the randomness of it. I kept on down the mountain another couple hundred yards and was met with flock of wild turkey feeding along the edge of the trail, and an impressive amount of cows grazing not too far off. I was able to sneak close enough to grab a few pictures, but they caught my sent quick and ran like crazy. The cows on the other hand just stood there and stared. As creepy as it was to have all these animals just watching me, I wasn't all that concerned until I noticed that a herd of them were grazing ON the trail just around the next turn. My worry increased a little when I also realized it wasn't just cows, there were totally a handful of bulls chilling there as well!
Again, I'll let the video do most of the describing here, but I must add, as harmless as cows are understood to be, when your strolling through a pack of like 30 or more of them, out in the middle of nowhere, you realize how damn big these guys are. And for the most part I never felt threatened until that last dude by the gate. I mean come on! Did you see him lunge at me right after I pass him? Yeah man, in retrospect I think I may have gotten through a situation easier then it really could have been.
The final bit of excitement occurred about a 1/2 mile from returning to the car. My trail met up with another trail where a couple (and their 2 HUGE dogs) were finishing up their outing. Given the nature of my adventure, I was wanting to avoid needing to chat with anyone, but they just suddenly stopped. As I approached the woman yelled to me to move slowly as there was a bobcat on the trail just ahead. So, having never seen a bobcat I got all sorts of excited! And these things do not disappoint. They are sneaky big! In the end, I'm pretty sure the dogs scared the thing away and he slipped into the bush. I finished off the trail at a comfortable jog, and yes, my eyes were darting left and right just waiting for the bobcat or any of his friends to pounce!
In the end, after 5 hours of just moving through nature, my mind was completely and totally at ease. I remembered just what it is that I love about life: it's completely and totally filled with beauty and opportunity. When the stresses that sneak up on you begin to take over, things can seem to gt out of control. And I have no clue if it would work for everyone, but for me, the second I leave it all behind and escape into the wilderness I return to the state of mind I aspire to have for the rest of my life. I love mountains, rocks, grass, trees, animals, endless sky and sun. It does something to me that has only been replicated when I see Lindsey. And in my mind, if there are two things in this world that make me feel genuinely free, good and happy, it would make sense to surround myself with those things as often as possible. So you can expect that in the final two weeks of me being in California, I'll be spending a whole hell of a lot of time out and about exploring, and as little time as possible refreshing the CrossFit Games website and obsessing over things that ultimately just don't matter all that much!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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