Entries Tagged as 'Must Read Posts'

I didn’t want to own a gym

December 18th, 2014, by · No comments

SPANDEX. Growing up, I never said, "I want to own a gym some day". I think I told people that I wanted to be a doctor. Or a trapeze artist. Or whatever job it is where you get to wear tap shoes every day. I was going to either wear a white lab coat, or bedazzled spandex with a tutu. But I never, ever thought about owning my own gym.

TIME. As I sit here in my kitchen answering emails, responding to voicemails, mailing gift certificates, planning events and capturing my random thoughts for the blog, I realize how much I love owning a gym. For other small business owners, I don't have to tell you how much hard work you have to put into your business. It becomes like a baby. "Hey, want to start your own business? Or maybe you should adopt 12 infants." Either way, it would be the same time commitment.

BABY. But it's not just time that your business requires, it's love. It's nurturing. It's patience. You take this tiny idea and help it grow. You feed it with your heart and soul, and it starts to get bigger. Suddenly, you have a 4' long iguana living in a fish bowl, and you need to get yourself an aquarium. But what I've found, is that no matter how big this thing gets, it's still my baby.

SMILE. I still get excited every time I drive to the gym. I smile as I sing along with Taylor Swift on the radio, because I know I'm going to the best place in the world. My gym. The place that is uniquely mine - an extension of myself and all the things about the world that I love. All the hard work, all the heart ache, all the time invested...it's all worth it.

SHARE. So while I don't get to wear a tutu or tap shoes to work, I do get the immeasurable pleasure of watching my baby grow, and sharing it with all of you. I love sharing pictures and stories about the gym, and my friends there, just as much as parents love sharing stories and pictures of their children. I fill my Facebook page with videos of amazing feats of strength, and pictures of people who inspire me. People who also love my baby. The very people who I had in mind when I conceived this gym-baby.

LOVE. Thank you for loving my gym-baby, and for making it what it is today. You guys are the reason I've been nurturing this baby since 2008. Without such amazing people to share my gym with, it would just be a lonely, hollow shell. Thank you for filling the gym with love, laughter, triumph and extraordinary effort.

I love you guys! 

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Acting Strong or Being Strong. You Choose

September 29th, 2014, by · 1 Comment

Acting strong needs mirrors to workout, being strong needs a destination.
Acting strong needs friends to tell them how great they are, being strong needs friends they can help become great.
Acting strong looks around after a PR to see who’s watching, being strong puts more weight on.
Acting strong storms off when things don’t go as planned, being strong plans for tomorrow.
Acting strong is hurtfully honest, being strong is honestly helpful.
Acting strong is there for whomever is there for them, being strong is always there.
Acting strong waits to see the outcome, being strong makes the outcome.
Acting strong needs an entourage, being strong builds a community.
Acting strong needs applause, being strong needs to make others feel like they are applauded.
Acting strong is the loudest coward, being strong is the quietest fighter.
Acting strong waits for a better day, being strong lives everyday like it is their last.
Acting strong will pray as a last resort, being strong will pray as a first step.
Acting strong will display trophies of themselves, being strong will display trophies of others.
Acting strong has unending pride, being strong can’t be humble enough.
Acting strong joins a team so they can play, being strong joins a team so it can win.
Acting strong sets standards that value themselves, being strong sets standards that show value in others.
Acting strong is a burden, being strong carries them.
Acting strong fears the strong, being strong fears their own strength.
Acting strong will do anything to be accepted, being strong searches for those in need of acceptance.
Acting strong needs proof to believe, being strong is the proof others believe in.
Acting strong has no weakness, being strong overcomes weakness.

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You Are Going to Fail

September 1st, 2014, by · Comments Off

FAIL. Nobody likes to hear this, but I'm all about the hard truth. You are going to fail. It's part of life. It's part of CrossFit. It's just what happens when you challenge yourself.

LOSE. You are going to miss a rep. Drop your bar. Feel your fingers slowly losing their grip even though you're begging them to hang on. You will feel your feet grow heavy and your lungs start to burn. And then...you will fail.

JOY. But then the most amazing thing will happen. After the failure, you are going to succeed. Shake off the funk of that failed rep. Wipe away your tears from missing a PR. Just suck it up, chalk up, and try harder.

GOALS. The highs and lows, ups and downs...they are all just part of life in the gym. You have goals. And if nobody had to fail along the way, everyone would reach their goals on the first try. And what would be the fun in that? Instead of a list of goals, it would just be your "list of stuff that's easy". See how boring that sounds?

EXPECTATIONS. This is all about setting your expectations. So much of our lives is filled with instant gratification and easy-buttons. But in the gym there is no easy button, just hard work. And if along your path to achieving your goals you are okay with a few stumbles, it will make your journey a lot more magnificent.

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Being a Beginner at CrossFit

August 18th, 2014, by · Comments Off

Everyone is nervous about starting CrossFit. Everyone. I had someone tell me years ago that she would get nauseous every time she drove past our building. Walking through the door for the first time is the hardest thing you'll ever do. I would know, I've been a beginner 3 times.

DNF. I started CrossFit abruptly back in January of 2008. (this picture is me with Annie Sakamoto) My first time attempting a workout was at my Level 1 certification. I was the only girl there who couldn't do pull-ups. I was the only person without visible abs. Hell, I didn't finish a single workout they gave us. And...I cried. CrossFit was hard, and I was embarrassed to be so out of shape.

OUCH. For about a week after we returned from the certification, my body ached. Actually, ached is the wrong word. It throbbed and screamed. Every muscle in my body was sore. But somewhere inside me I knew CrossFit was exactly the thing I had been looking for. Sure, it would have been nice  to be able to sit to pee without wincing, or walk down the stairs forwards again, but I was hooked.

DOSE. Fortunately for all of you, you're not starting your CrossFit journey at a level 1 certification. You get to start it at the Fort, surrounded by other people of all fitness levels. And we're not going to give you such a potent dose of CrossFit that you can't raise your arms to blow dry your hair. Our team of coaches is here to help you adjust the workout so that it matches your current level of fitness.

BEGIN. I'm telling you that if there's anywhere to be a beginner, it's CrossFit Fire. We'll help you get started the right way to ensure you keep coming back for more! Just remember this - the first 6 workouts are the hardest, and then it gets better from there!

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Last Place

August 11th, 2014, by · Comments Off

SPORT. CrossFit is, without a doubt, a professional sport. There are competitions. Judges. Prizes. Sponsorship deals. Winners and losers. Spectators fill the stands showing support for their favorite athletes and to cheer their hearts out.

BEST. When I was watching the North Central Regional, it dawned on me that CrossFit isn't just a sport, it's the sport with the best spectators ever. EV-ER.

CHEER. Not only will spectators cheer for their favorite athlete, or the athlete in first place, they're also going to cheer for the guy in last place. The guy who could only complete one successful rep at a heavy weight. The guy who stands no possible chance of winning. And you know what else? CrossFit is the only sport where the guy in last place is going to get the loudest cheering.

STAND. During a particularly brutal workout at Regionals, the front squats were just too much for one of the male competitors. He only had 1 rep left, but he just couldn't stand it up. Over and over he tried to squat that barbell as the minutes ticked away. Everyone in his entire heat was finished and he was out there struggling. And then an amazing thing happened. Every other competitor in his heat came back out, flanked him on either side, and stood there with him. They could have been half way to a massage and an ice bath, but instead they were on the floor with their competition cheering and coaching him through. And every spectator was on their feet.

SUCCESS. And that rep, that last rep, was never caught on camera or video. The entire place was so loud with excitement for this competitor, that even the camera guy was cheering! One of our members turned to me and said, "Only in CrossFit would last place get the loudest cheers." (thank you Heather) And it's so true. Nobody was boo-ing. Nobody was feeling sorry for him. Instead the whole community stood with him in spirit and cheered him through his final rep.

YOU. And this camaraderie isn't just for the top athletes at competitions - it's for all of you. It's one of the things we have spent the last 6-1/2 years fostering and nurturing within our community. This special experience happens all around us every single day. And THAT......is what makes CrossFit so unique. THAT.....is why people come through our doors.

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You are CrossFit Beautiful

July 15th, 2014, by · 3 Comments

This post was originally published in September of 2010, and again in March of 2012 but it is too good to keep hidden in the archives. Enjoy.

It just dawned on me that you might not hear often enough that you're beautiful. You are. You really, really are. When you look in the mirror I hope you see the same things I see. I see  amazing people who are going against the "norm". I see people who are courageous and giving. I see people who are strong both mentally and physically, and THAT makes you beautiful to me.

Maybe the things I see as beautiful, aren't beautiful to other people. Maybe my definition of beauty doesn't conform with what you see on the cover of a magazine. Don't blame the magazines, it's not their fault. They don't realize that the pictures they're printing aren't always beautiful....they just haven't seen things my way yet. I'd love to see a women's magazine run an article on how to get visible hamstrings instead of their crap about "how to lose 14lbs in 14 days".

It's our responsibility to remind each other what REAL beauty is. It's our duty to ensure that our girls aren't striving to be "magazine beautiful". Real beauty isn't about being skinny. Real beauty isn't about a number on the scale, or about having a collar bone that could double as an M&M dish. Real beauty is CrossFit beauty. It's getting your first pull-up, doing your first WOD as prescribed, pulling a deadlift PR, cheering for someone else even though you want to collapse on the floor. It's accomplishing things you never thought possible, and building up enough self confidence to fill Soldier Field.

Real beauty is YOU GUYS and the things you do each and every day. Thank you for showing me how beautiful you are.

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My Barbell

July 8th, 2014, by · 1 Comment

My Barbell. Its cold steel and rough knurling are smooth, fast and fair. My barbell is my training partner. My barbell never tells me it’s having a bad day, it just isn’t feeling it, or that it has sore hamstrings and a tight lower back or that it drank too much last night. Without fail, my barbell is there every day in the gym waiting for me. Its whole purpose is dedicated to helping me succeed. When I succeed, my barbell succeeds. When I fail, my barbell fails.

My barbell is like math; it’s very black and white. Right or wrong. Lift or no lift. There is no middle ground with my barbell like English or Science. My barbell isn’t open to interpretation like a piece of Art. There is no barbell multiple choice, or essay answers. Lock it out, squat it below parallel, take if from the floor in one motion, look through at the top, stand it all the way up. My barbell can’t be cheated. I take comfort in that.

My barbell is smarter than I am. Before I know something went wrong, my barbell already knows. It knows if I pulled early, landed steady, drove through my heels, dipped forward, gave it too much knee bend or kept the bar close to my body. The system for telling me something went wrong is flawless: a failed rep.

Thank you, Barbell. Thank you for the time you put in at the gym with me. Thank you for the strength you give, the lessons you teach, and the consistency with which you help me train.

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