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  I am not sure how much longer I can sit here and stare at a blank screen getting all emotional and upset.  I guess – like ripping off a band aid – the only thing to do is come right out and address it.
   At the end of this month I will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to begin a new adventure running the CrossFit facilities at Attitude Nation Gym with Jon and Jessica North.
   Yes, that Jon North.  The same Jon North I became a huge fan of a little less than a year ago. 
   And now, I will be working with him.  
   Amazing how life can change.

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Hardest... blog..... ever....

  I am not sure how much longer I can sit here and stare at a blank screen getting all emotional and upset.  I guess – like ripping off a band aid – the only thing to do is come right out and address it.
   At the end of this month I will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to begin a new adventure running the CrossFit facilities at Attitude Nation Gym with Jon and Jessica North.
   Yes, that Jon North.  The same Jon North I became a huge fan of a little less than a year ago. 
   And now, I will be working with him.  
   Amazing how life can change.
   It is a dream come true… an opportunity that I once would have never thought possible.  I will be a part of the Attitude Nation; I will have a chance to be on “Weightlifting Talk” representing this community and sport of CrossFit we love so damn much.  I will have a huge platform to share with people what we here at CrossFit Koa have come to just know is true: we can change more than your weight, more than your waste size, and more than your 1 rep max back squat… we can change your whole life.
   But as I sit here typing these words, I can feel – literally feel – my heart breaking.  CrossFit Koa has been my life.  Since meeting Josh in his garage back in the summer of 2010, my entire life changed.  His offer to join him, Steve and Tom as a trainer in this new CrossFit gym was just as exciting and exhilarating to me then as moving to Charlotte is for me now.  They opened the door for me to pursue something I was sincerely and deeply passionate about.  I had been training CrossFit for a while and had truly come to love it.  But it wasn’t just about getting people fit that motivated me and it definitely wasn’t money.  To me, it was all about bringing people into CrossFit Koa and helping them become something they never knew they could be.  It was about connecting with people and letting them know that I would do whatever I had to so that they could meet their goals, and letting them know my investment in them was real and unconditional.  It was about being more than a coach, a trainer, an instructor… it was about being a motivator, a mentor, and most importantly a friend. 
   CrossFit Koa allowed me to do all of these things and it has been nothing short of magical.  The people I have met along the way have made me feel like I truly am the luckiest man in the world with the greatest job in the world.  Some have stayed, some have gone, but every single person in one way or another has made an impact on me during their time at CrossFit Koa.  The memories, the experiences, the relationships… how on earth could I possibly put into words how valuable those things are to me?  How they have shaped my life and provided me with a sense of value and self-worth that wasn’t always there for me?  How could I thank Josh, Steve and Tom and every single one of you enough for what you have done for me?  Anything I could write or say just seems so inadequate but you have to know it… I need all of you to know how much I care about you and appreciate every single day I was able to be with you.  I know non-CrossFit Koa members might be reading this and think “This guy is nuts!  It’s just a gym!” but for all the members of CrossFit Koa, you know exactly what I am talking about.  And that is fine because this blog is and always has been for all of you and nobody else. 
   Phew.  I have got to wrap this up because sitting at the Clark Public Library sniffling and fighting back tears in front of two librarians and an old guy reading what appears to be a dictionary (strange…) is just not a good look.  Seriously what must I look like right now… tattoos, backwards hat, rippling muscles (hahahahaha) bottle of Spark by my side, and snot and tears on my face.  Ridiculous. 
   This is not a good-bye because I will never ever separate from CrossFit Koa.  I will never miss a chance to come back and visit and I will never stop being friends with all of you (Facebook and Twitter WHAT WHAT #gettwitterifyoudonthaveit).  I hope that you will not forget about me although I am sure that will be unavoidable once I am replaced… but I do not want to even think about it.  Right now, the thought of someone taking my place is like thinking about seeing your significant other kissing someone else… just aint right!!  But I digress…
   I want to thank each and every one of you at CrossFit Koa for changing my life for the better.  Thank you Josh, Steve and Tom for never acting like bosses but always being my friends.  Thank you to all of the members for laughing at my stupid jokes and bearing with me when I ran out of Spark and got a little cranky.  Thank you to the police guy who wrote me all of those parking tickets for being a few minutes over… actually, there really is no need to thank you. 
   I can leave at peace knowing that I am leaving you all in good hands.  Josh - the Godfather of it all - will still be running the show.  John, Mike, Joe, Megan, Paula, Marissa and Brie are all outstanding coaches and are going to continue to do an amazing job. 
   Time to go out like ROCK STARS!  Let’s have as much fun training as possible in the next two weeks.  I promise to give you all everything I have right up until the very last day.  And I expect you guys to do the same!!  For now, I will leave you with this one quote.  I think it sums things up perfectly…
“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Attention KOA Nation - we need to mobilize and not with bands and foam rollers this time. We need to join together and Walk 4 Will. A few members of CrossFit KOA are friends with the family and we have offered to volunteer at the event and walk.

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Walk for Will

Attention KOA Nation - we need to mobilize and not with bands and foam rollers this time. We need to join together and Walk 4 Will. A few members of CrossFit KOA are friends with the family and we have offered to volunteer at the event and walk. Details are to come on how we can volunteer etc. Below you will find more info on Will, the event and a link to register and commit to a number of laps. Let's help them get to their goal of 1,000 laps, Right now they need about 200 more laps to get to the goal. 

The Walk for Will event will take place on May 18th at David Brearley High School in Kenilworth.

Will is four years old. He lives in Cranford. He likes pirates, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, dinosaurs, and the New York Giants. 

Will also has a rare form of cancer called Adrenal cortical Carcinoma.

Will is a hero. He has committed to fighting cancer. Join us by committing to walk laps on the track for him. Our goal is to walk a total of 1000 laps for Will! 

http://www.practicehard.com/EventView.asp?eid=1041

 

May 18, 2013 from 9-12 come walk for Will! In addition to the walk there will be activities for the kids, snacks and entertainment. The walk will be held at David Brearley High School in Kenilworth NJ.
Description
Here is some background information from his CaringBridge page posted by his mom:

In July, Will and I went to his pediatrician for a routine physical with, among other things, a concern about his belly looking a bit distended. His trusted pediatrician, with a look of concern, said to get blood work, an ultrasound, and make an appointment with an endocrinologist. Two of the three appointments were made when I received a call the next morning. Dr. Luke couldn't sleep bc he just couldn't figure out Will's prognosis and suggested we head to the ER. We went and immediately had bloodwork and a CAT scan. The results were that Will's distention was due to a large tumor growing in that little belly of his. We were transported to Morristown Memorial and the many specialists in pediatric oncology, endocrinology, radiology, and surgery were in and out monitoring Will, and helping us feel secure in their hands. Will was operated on July 27th by Dr. Jacir and he removed the entire mass and the adrenal gland it was growing from too.

Will bounced back from surgery like it was nobody's business! He was such a rock star! 

Will's tumor was Adrenalcortical Carcinoma stage 2 and malignant, however at that time it was still unclear whether chemotherapy was needed. Numerous pathology labs looked over his labs, including CHOP, and had the same determination. The lymph nodes did not have any of the disease which was great news. 

After visiting CHOP for a 2nd opinion to meet Dr. Mustafi (the oncologist/endocrinologist), and meeting back at Morristown with Dr. Jacir (Will's surgeon), Dr. Halpern (his oncologist) and Dr. Silverman (his endocrinologist) in mid August it was determined that Will did NOT need another surgery. His blood levels were already where they needed to be just 7 days after surgery, so they will continue to monitor him every month. This is what helped to make the decision not to do the surgery, amongst other things.

Over the weekend, Will had another visit at CHOP and an MRI scheduled at Morristown. We learned that Will has abnormal cell growth on his lungs and liver. Chemotherapy will begin Nov 13th.

Thanks for the love and support!! Will is a fighter and the most determined little boy I know!!

Come help support Will!

 

CrossFit KOA will be sponsoring two upcoming 5k races. One is the NJ Miles with Moms 5k and Fun Run on Saturday, May 4th. Here is the link if anyone from KOA Nation wants to register or learn more.

http://cnj.motherscenter.org/5k/

 

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Upcoming 5k's Sponsored by CrossFit KOA

CrossFit KOA will be sponsoring two upcoming 5k races. One is the NJ Miles with Moms 5k and Fun Run on Saturday, May 4th. Here is the link if anyone from KOA Nation wants to register or learn more.

http://cnj.motherscenter.org/5k/

 

The other is the Bloomingdale Ave. School/Orange Ave. School 5k. This will take place in Cranford on Sunday, April 21st. This was originally scheduled for November 4th, 2012 but had to be rescheduled because of Hurricane Sandy. KOA Nation this is perfect for an active recovery Sunday. Below is the link to register.

http://www.bestrace.com/Bloomingdale5k

 

 I have a direct order for every single member of CrossFit Koa:
   STOP UNDERESTIMATING YOURSELF.
   Right at this very minute I want you to stop underestimating yourself and get rid of all those negative thoughts in your mind. 

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Negativity....? Aint Nobody Got Time For That!

 I have a direct order for every single member of CrossFit Koa:
   STOP UNDERESTIMATING YOURSELF.
   Right at this very minute I want you to stop underestimating yourself and get rid of all those negative thoughts in your mind. 
      I understand it is human nature to compare ourselves to others, and to be disappointed when we feel that progress is not coming as quickly as we would like. Whether its about our performance in a workout, our physical appearance, or something going on outside of the gym, its human nature to let our negative thoughts pile up like dirty laundry in a hamper and eventually overwhelm us.   But the truth is our lives are too short, our time on this earth too brief to waste one second feeling bad about ourselves and spend our time living with this negative frame of mind. 
   I have seen the most amazing transformations in our gym, and not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.  I have seen people lose some weight and add lean muscle… but more importantly I have seen so many of you change the way you think.  That to me is more important than a few pounds or an inch or two off your waistline.  And I don’t want us to ever lose sight of that.
   When we do forget about this transformation, we begin to doubt.  We begin to question.  We begin to UNDERESTIMATE ourselves.  That should be criminal because the truth is none of you have a clue just how vast your true potential is. Maybe think of it like this…
   Look at Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb.  When asked if it was true that he failed 1,000 times before being successful in creating the light bulb, he responded “I have not failed 1,000 times.  I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways how not to make a light bulb work.”  That change in perspective, his ability to see positivity in something the world defines as "failure", altered the history of Thomas Edison and the world as we know it.   Imagine if after failing once, twice, even a few hundred times, Edison would have said, “Forget it I am not good I quit.”?  No light bulb.  At least not then… and someone else who wouldn’t give up and who wouldn’t UNDERESTIMATE themselves would have come along and figured out a way to make that light bulb work. 
   And then your son or daughter would never have had that chance to attend Thomas Alva Edison Middle School… but I digress.
   I am once again challenging all of you to clean out the negativity clogging up your mind and make room for serious positivity.  The world is full of challenges, some much more serious than others.  I will not pretend to understand what each and every one of you goes through outside our gym… but I sure as hell know what you are enduring INSIDE our gym.  Let’s start making changes inside CrossFit Koa and lets start making the impossible possible.  Do this and let it be a catalyst to changing your life outside the gym as well.  (Seriously if you can even ATTEMPT 150 wall balls and survive, the world cant throw ANYTHING at you that you cant handle!!!!!)
   And this is how we will do it:

  • Stop saying you can’t because the truth is you can.
  •  Stop thinking you aren’t good enough when the truth is you are great.
  • Stop worrying about what others saying and start hearing the voice inside you that knows exactly what you are capable of.
  • Stop letting negativity influence your thoughts and emotions and realize positivity is nothing more than a shift in focus. 
  •  Stop wondering what your future could be like and start planning and working towards what it WILL be like. 

 
TIP OF THE WEEK!
   Are you keeping a journal / log of all of your workouts?  No?? Well then this tip will be step #2 for you… step #1 is get yourself a journal to record your training numbers!  For those of us who already have a journal, start writing notes in your journal along with your workouts and corresponding numbers.  If you received a useful cue from a coach on a particular day, write that cue down and remind yourself of it the next time that movement comes up.  If you struggled with a particular movement write down what exactly it was that you were struggling with.  If you felt a weight was too light or too heavy that you chose for a particular conditioning workout, write that down in the journal and write what you should have used instead so you know for next time.  This little bit of extra writing will go a looooong way in helping you improve and achieve your goals.

Attention all runners or anyone interested in running:  Next Thursday, March 28th at 8:15pm Coach Ryan will be holding a short and fun running clinic and a brief session on CrossFit Endurance and the implementation of CrossFit Endurance classes for the gym.  The session is free.  All skill levels are welcome. Come learn something new and have some fun!

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CrossFit KOA Endurance Program

Attention all runners or anyone interested in running:  Next Thursday, March 28th at 8:15pm Coach Ryan will be holding a short and fun running clinic and a brief session on CrossFit Endurance and the implementation of CrossFit Endurance classes for the gym.  The session is free.  All skill levels are welcome. Come learn something new and have some fun!

 Walk into CrossFit Koa and you will notice a lot of things.  Great people eager to make your acquaintance, clean and tidy equipment (or Josh will make us do burpees), bad ass graffiti on both gym walls, gnarly looking ropes hanging from the ceiling reminding you this isn’t an ordinary gym, and of course weightlifting shoes. 
   Lots and lots of weightlifting shoes. 

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Shoe Shopping

 Walk into CrossFit Koa and you will notice a lot of things.  Great people eager to make your acquaintance, clean and tidy equipment (or Josh will make us do burpees), bad ass graffiti on both gym walls, gnarly looking ropes hanging from the ceiling reminding you this isn’t an ordinary gym, and of course weightlifting shoes. 
   Lots and lots of weightlifting shoes. 
   I have never addressed this issue but I think it is time.  As your head coach, I would like to assist all of you in every way I possibly can when it comes to your health and fitness.  These shoes can cost anywhere from $90 to $220 dollars, which in my book means it’s a substantial enough investment to really think, “Do I need these things?”
   Here is my take and my advice to you on whether purchasing a pair of weightlifting shoes is appropriate for you:

  • Weightlifting shoes are NOT a crutch to solve your mobility, stability and strength issues.  This is clearly the number one issue I have with many people who buy these shoes.  You cannot overhead squat a piece of PVC in regular shoes but you can in your Romaleos so VOILA… problem solved.  WRONG!!  You need to be able to move well and develop a baseline of strength without the shoes first. 
  • Identify your goals.  Are you someone who primarily wants to focus on improving your snatch and clean and jerk?  Have you been working at these movements for months and seem to have hit a plateau?  Have you dedicated ample time to learning the intricacies of the movements in AND out of the gym?  If so, then perhaps it’s time to shop around for shoes.  If not, you have a lot of work to do BEFORE you should even consider the idea. 
  • Weightlifters ALWAYS wear weightlifting shoes.  Because they are WEIGHTLIFTERS.   They also cannot run 800m without becoming winded.  Endurance is not their goal.  Lifting a heavy object and establishing it over their head is their SOLE mission.  Therefore shoes are necessary.  Can you say the same?  We are CrossFitters who are concerned with general physical preparedness and a broad based approach to fitness.  We want to run fast and run far, pull ourselves up on a bar or rope, AND lift some weights.  Our goals are quite varied.  How integral are a pair of specialized shoes to helping you reach these broad and varied goals? 
  • When and if you buy shoes, it also imperative that you do not become dependent on them.  Josh and I always joked with each other once we purchased weightlifting shoes that every WOD that came up the first question we asked ourselves was “Can I wear the shoes??” Who wouldn’t love the extra stability at the bottom of an overhead squat or clean during a WOD?  But what if that workout requires me to also run 400m?  Then what?  (Cue Coach Glassman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is04CcxYBGs)

   Weightlifting shoes are a great tool and are beneficial for most, but not all people.  Instead of using shoes as shortcut, spend an extra 20 minutes each day at home to work on mobility.  Instead of wearing weightlifting shoes, perhaps take some weight off the bar and work on doing the movements correctly in regular, flat shoes.  Maybe take your eyes off the clock and stop worrying about how fast you move and take your time to perform the movements accurately and safely without your shoes.  Work on just YOU before you work on you with your shoes. 
*** NEW SEGMENT IN MY BLOGS***
   A few members gave me the great idea to do a “Tip of the Week”!  Most of the time it will pertain to movement and improving your health… sometimes it will pertain to miscellaneous stuff.  Today I will give you an example of both:
TIP OF THE WEEK:
-      Are you taking fish oil right now?  YOU NEED TO BE.  Read this.
   http://crossfitimpulse.com/why-fish-oil

  •  Just because you aren’t the last class of the day doesn’t mean you can leave equipment, cups, chalked up bars and whatever else you want lying around so that I can run around and clean it all up when we close late at night.  As much as I love staying in the gym till 10:00pm, I would rather get home to eat dinner and watch the last few minutes of either the Knicks or Rangers breaking my heart with yet another loss.  Thank you!

   Here is what is fascinating about the CrossFit Games and more importantly the Open: as coaches we are always pushing and motivating all of you to throw your hat in the ring and enjoy what we believe is a unique, challenging and rewarding experience.
   But what sometimes unfortunately happens is we look at the workout and think, “Oh man I can’t do that I’m no good.” Or after completing a workout the thought process almost immediately goes to “I totally could have done better” and instead of pride and excitement some of us feel dejected and frustrated.

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A Note About the CrossFit Open

   Here is what is fascinating about the CrossFit Games and more importantly the Open: as coaches we are always pushing and motivating all of you to throw your hat in the ring and enjoy what we believe is a unique, challenging and rewarding experience.
   But what sometimes unfortunately happens is we look at the workout and think, “Oh man I can’t do that I’m no good.” Or after completing a workout the thought process almost immediately goes to “I totally could have done better” and instead of pride and excitement some of us feel dejected and frustrated.
   That should NEVER be the case!!!
   I want to share what I believe the CrossFit Open is supposed to mean to all of us.  These 5 individual workouts are NOT any indication of whether you are “fit” or not.  That probably sounds crazy but it’s true.  We all know many people we would consider “fit” that have not yet developed the skill to perform a muscle up; therefore if muscle ups come up in one of the five workouts, they may not post a great score.  Is that an indication of the level of their fitness?  Are they not fit because they post a relatively low score? 
   Absolutely NOT.
   Well then if it is not a measurement of how fit we are, then what the hell did I go around pushing all of you to sign up for then?!?!?  Glad you asked…
   The CrossFit Open is a test.  It is a test that reveals the truth about what you have been doing the previous 6-9 months. The Open reveals fitness that was created in the days and weeks and months leading up to this event.   Have you been getting to the gym and hitting every workout with the requisite amount of intensity to create change and progress?  Or have you been skipping those days that look “too tough”?  Have you been listening to our cues and instructions and trying to improve your skills?  Or have you been ignoring us and taking the “I’ll just do it my way” approach?  Have you been attempting to clean up your nutrition and fuel your body with what it needs?  Or have you made ice cream and pizza a staple of your weekly diet?
   Also, where has your focus been?  Has it been on strength?  Endurance?  Running?  Gymnastics?  Have you favored one particular area over another?  Have you truly worked on your weaknesses? 
   This is what the Open is about.  It is a chance to look back at your training and see how it has prepared you for the sport of fitness that CrossFit has become.  It can be a reality check, telling you that you have not been working as hard as you thought you were.  Or maybe a wakeup call to stop focusing on your strengths and start getting better at some of your weaknesses.   Remember: the Open isn’t just about where you are at this moment; it’s also about where you want to be in the future. 
   Example: Bill Lord.  Last year in the Snatch ladder – with NO burpees – I believe he got a handful of snatches at 165 lbs. 
   This year – ONE YEAR LATER – with 90 burpees mixed in between, Bill snatched 165 lbs. twenty times.  That ladies and gentlemen, is what we call progress. 
   So do not waste one second wondering if you should have or could have done better.  Instead look back at your last 6-9 months of training and see how that has or has not prepared you for these workouts.  Are you disappointed in your results?  Then map out your next 6-9 months to assure you are exactly where you want to be.  Are you content with your performance?  Then maintain the positive attributes you have established in the months leading up to this Open and make sure you continue them in the future. 
   You do not become “fit” or “unfit” from one workout.  It takes a long time to get to that point.  Use the Open not as a competition against 140,000 people, but instead as a personal test to determine if you are where you want to be and if you have done what you needed to get there.
   And then, after all this analyzing crap is over, sit back and smile and realize just how bad ass you are for even attempting the Open.  Most people will go a lifetime without EVER snatching a barbell over their head once, let alone 30 plus times!!!  In the end, ALWAYS be proud of your effort and your dedication to your goals to improve.  See yourself like I see each and every one of you: as the best damn CrossFitters any gym could ever possibly ask for!!

   As many of you know, a group of us including myself took a road trip out to the 2013 Arnold Fitness Expo, primarily to see the weightlifting competition and one of my favorite athletes Jon North lift and hopefully break the American snatch record.  While the expo is a spectacle for ALL areas of fitness – including everything from figure models to fencing – our main objective was to watch the weightlifting competition, especially Jon North. 

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CrossFit, Weightlifting, and More Life Lessons

   As many of you know, a group of us including myself took a road trip out to the 2013 Arnold Fitness Expo, primarily to see the weightlifting competition and one of my favorite athletes Jon North lift and hopefully break the American snatch record.  While the expo is a spectacle for ALL areas of fitness – including everything from figure models to fencing – our main objective was to watch the weightlifting competition, especially Jon North. 
   With a start time around 6:15pm, we sat down in the back of the room far away from the stage at around 2:00pm.  We watched other lifters, all the while leapfrogging our way to the front as people got up to leave.  Eventually we made our way to the front row.  Only the three judges responsible for determining a “good” lift were closer than us. 
   As the time approached, it occurred to me that instead of only getting to see Jon lift a total of 6 times – 3 clean and jerk and 3 snatch attempts – why not head to the back and sneak a peak of his warm up lifts as well?  So Chris and I took a walk around back and found the door way leading into the practice area, where we leant up against the wall, acted like we belonged there, and got ready to watch Jon and all these beasts go to work. 
   Finally Jon was about to lift on the far platform.  I was giddy with excitement, and couldn’t wait to see that patented technique that has become so familiar to all of us be put on display right in front of my eyes. 
   But that isn’t what I saw.
   Instead, I saw Jon begin to initiate his first pull, and then drop as if he was shot in the kidneys.  He rolled around on the ground holding his lower back in obvious pain.  Chris and I turned and exchanged a stunned look, silently saying to each other, “Did that just really happen????”  As Jon continued to writhe in what certainly appeared to be serious pain, Chris and I headed back to our seats to share the terrible news with the rest of the guys.
   In time, we would learn (told to us by Jon himself) that he strained his back and would not be able to compete.  He came directly to me and apologized for disappointing, even offering to pay for our gas used on our road trip.  I said that was completely unnecessary and the two of us talked for about 15 minutes before having to leave. 
   The whole situation was definitely unfortunate – obviously for Jon as well as for those of us who travelled from a far way to see him lift.  And as time passed I thought about how I felt about the whole ordeal, and was immediately reminded of a quote that impacted me more than any other quote I have ever heard:
 
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
 
   This quote from Charles R. Swindoll changed my life profoundly when I first heard it and once again I was thinking of it and how it applies to this situation.  Injuries are a part of sports, a part of competition and virtually all human activity.  It is not the injury that will define Jon North.  It is not his absence on the stage that night that will define my opinion of him.  It is, however, how he reacts to this setback that will largely shape my opinion towards him.  Will he heal and return to training even harder and more aggressive than ever?  Or will he allow this injury to linger and use it as an excuse?  I believe I know the answer to that question, but I will let time tell the story.
   As for us, we are not world class weightlifters.  I don’t think anyone travels halfway across the country to see us do our job.  However, we can and should relate very closely to this scenario in our CrossFit gym AND in our lives outside the gym.  So many things will happen to us, some our own fault and some completely undeserving.  Circumstances will arise that will seem unfair and we will have to deal with them.  An injury, an argument with a loved one, a car accident… so many curveballs life loves to throw at us.  But as the quote explains, that is merely 10% of what life is about.  That means that the other 90% - the most important part – is completely up to us.  We have FULL control on how we decide to react and deal with life’s crazy ups and downs.  No one or nothing has control over how you react to situations; that part is entirely up to you.
   Therefore as you continue on your journey in CrossFit, and you encounter roadblocks and barriers along the way, remember it us up to you whether you get frustrated and quit or get motivated and push through.  Whether it is a struggle with weight loss or learning a new movement or a failed PR attempt, you are the only person who can determine what happens next.  You and you alone control your emotions, your thoughts and your ability to make a change in your life… both for the better or for the worse. 

   My intention was to write a blog post on some additional things you can do to supplement your fitness on days or times you can’t make it in to Koa.  It had been suggested by a member and I thought it was a terrific idea.  Unfortunately that post will have to be pushed back till next week as there are some more pressing issues I would like to address in the gym. 
   Several topics that I want to address so I will try to be as succinct as possible:

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Gym Talk

   My intention was to write a blog post on some additional things you can do to supplement your fitness on days or times you can’t make it in to Koa.  It had been suggested by a member and I thought it was a terrific idea.  Unfortunately that post will have to be pushed back till next week as there are some more pressing issues I would like to address in the gym. 
   Several topics that I want to address so I will try to be as succinct as possible:

  1. I have jokingly said before that “Members member, coaches coach.”  The line is silly but the message is true.  It is not spoken out of arrogance or pride, but out of a deep rooted love for what I do for a living and a heartfelt concern for the health, fitness, and happiness of ALL of your gym members.  I have spent years upon years watching and studying human movement, always trying to improve my ability to train individuals on how to move better and as a result become a healthier person.  I have learned that EACH PERSON learns differently and it is essential to address each position with a specific – not general – approach.  Josh and I have developed a training style that has worked, one where we are able to complement each other’s strengths and improve on our weaknesses.  We have implemented various training programs, including our own programming, the 5-3-1 Wendler strength program, and the Outlaw Way.  We are constantly trying to find the optimal way to bring results to all of you. 

As our gym grows we are now training new coaches to follow in the path we have started.  We have specific plans and instructions we want to use to help bring the best experience possible to our gym members.  This means when I or another coach is working with a member, we are trying to accomplish a specific goal.  We are trying to focus on a particular aspect of a movement for that person to master.  If another member – with the best intentions at heart – comes to try and help this same individual with a different message, it will serve to do nothing more than further confuse the member and prevent ANY progress for that class.
Please give us a chance to do our jobs.  If someone is lost encourage them to address the coach in that particular class to give them assistance.  If a coach is occupied please be patient as the nature of group classes requires a coach to be in many places at once. 

  1. Full range of motion and technique are not suggestions, they are requirements.  If you are unable to complete a movement with full range of motion, it is your responsibility to work on mobility to obtain the necessary flexibility to hit these positions.  If the weight on the bar is preventing you from hitting the right positions, then please lower the weight to something you can handle.  If you are not sure of your technique, ask your coaches for help and again, make sure you are using a manageable weight… that means scaling people. 

We are concerned with all of you being healthy and fit.  We are NOT concerned with your “Fran” time or how many times you finished 1st in a WOD.  Health and fitness comes from full range of motion and proper technique, not finishing 1st. 

  1. Respect the whiteboard please.  We have been getting lax with our taking care of the whiteboard and now, pretty much anything goes up there.  The letters “Rx” aren’t two random letters that we haphazardly throw up next to your times.  It is one of many indications of your progress and hard work paying off.  It is also an indication of your character and integrity, as putting an Rx next to your name also means that you have counted EVERY rep and completed EVERY SINGLE REP as required by your coach.  We cannot count every single rep or monitor every single squat and pull up so we rely on you all as individuals to be honest with us.  If you tell us the workout was done “As Prescribed” we will take your word for it.  Our programming is quite advanced and it is certainly no shame to scale workouts on a regular basis (go back and read #2!) We understand the occasional miscount, but we have very little tolerance for outright cheating.  Our members work their butts off to post a time on our whiteboard they can be proud of, and it’s not fair to them to put up false numbers on this same whiteboard. 

   Our number one goal is to make sure that every single one of you walks out of our gym – EVERY SINGLE DAY – feeling more than satisfied with your workout for that day.  We want to bring to each one of you the best experience possible, and addressing some of these above issues will certainly help us accomplish that.  Please keep an open dialogue with me and the rest of the coaches here at CrossFit Koa and share with us any of your thoughts and concerns so that we can constantly work to improve things.  This is your gym and I want to make it as great a place as I possibly can for every single one of you. 

Ok I am going to take everyone back (much like Way Back Wednesdays) and make a Super Mario Brothers reference.  All you young people who are thinking “Oh yea Nintendo 64 I remember that!” you are WRONG.  I am talking about the original Nintendo gaming system… the one you had to blow into the game cartridge and into the machine to get it to work sometimes.  The one that came with “Duck Hunt".  OLD SCHOOL.

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Shortcuts - Just Say No

Ok I am going to take everyone back (much like Way Back Wednesdays) and make a Super Mario Brothers reference.  All you young people who are thinking “Oh yea Nintendo 64 I remember that!” you are WRONG.  I am talking about the original Nintendo gaming system… the one you had to blow into the game cartridge and into the machine to get it to work sometimes.  The one that came with “Duck Hunt".  OLD SCHOOL.
   Anyways, Super Mario Brothers was the first legitimate video game that had a plot and many levels that I remember playing as a kid.  I seemed to be able to get pretty far, but there was always this one part that I could not get by.  For the life of me, I could not beat the bad guy at the end of this one level.  Friends were beating the game and moving onto bigger and better things like “Tecmo Bowl” and “Excitebike” but not me… I was still trying to beat Super Mario Brothers. 
   Then one day a friend showed me a way to “warp” right to the final level.  Finally I could skip past that one sticking point and join the ranks of badass kids that beat this classic game.  Soon I would be playing as Lawrence Taylor and crushing QBs in my next gaming adventure after finally beating this stupid game. 
   But alas, I couldn’t beat it… still. I was right there at the final level and merely needed to run, jump and fireball my way to victory, but I couldn’t do it.  I realized if I wasn’t good enough to beat the bad guys on level 5, what sense did it make that I would somehow be able to beat the monsters on level 8?!?  Frustration soon settled in and in time I just said “SCREW IT” and buried that game deep in my toy box never to be seen again. 
   Till this very day it drives me nuts that I never beat that stupid game. 
   So what the hell does this all have to do with CrossFit?  After all this is a CrossFit blog.  Well people, it has everything to do with CrossFit.  So many of you want to learn how to properly snatch, clean and jerk, perform muscles ups, do unassisted pullups, learn to kip, master double unders… and some of you – like me and my adventures in Super Mario Brothers – want to just skip past the hard part and get right to the good stuff.  But as I learned many, many years ago it just doesn’t work that way.
   There are no shortcuts in CrossFit.  Everything you want, you have to be willing to put in the time and earn.  That is one of the things that makes what we do so special.  When you finally do get that first pull up or you complete your first half marathon, you know just how much hard work and effort you put into achieving that goal and it feels amazing to know that you completed it. 
   Understand that Rich Froning did not come out of the womb cleaning and jerking 335 lbs.  Bill Lord just last year had a hard time doing one muscle up.  But both of them put in the time, the effort and the dedication and the results came.  Failure after failure sometimes has to be endured before enjoying success.  Remember that.  Heaven knows those of you who walk out the door with whip marks from all those missed double unders certainly understand that!
   Stop looking for a short cut or instant gratification inside our gym.  Master your air squat before trying to snatch your body weight.  Perform proper strict pull ups for reps before learning the muscle up.  Become proficient doing high rep perfectly executed push ups before even contemplating flipping upside down on a wall in a handstand.  Put in the requisite time in order to obtain the abilities you seek.
   Take my advice and learn from mine and Mario’s mistake.  I would hate to see any of you get frustrated and throw your health and fitness away in a toy box.  Trust me… you will live to regret it.

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