Entries Tagged as 'Must Read Posts'

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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Your Independence

July 3rd, 2014, by · Comments Off

OLD SCHOOL. It's too bad none of us were around in 1776 to experience what it was like. We'll never know what the original colonists went through and how horrible their lives became before declaring their independence. Nobody wants to be unfairly taxed, or executed without a trial....those seem like good reasons to break away. But do any of us really understand what being not-independent means?

RELATE. Since I don't know anyone 250 years old, Independence day seems so distant. I have a hard time relating any real feelings to the day. Sure, I love having the day off work and watching fireworks. I love the celebration. But I don't attach any feelings around my independence, because, well, I've only ever known independence.

SKILL. Independence isn't just something the colonists needed to escape England's treachery, it's something all of us need in our everyday lives. Being independent is a vital skill to reaching your own goals and taking control of your life. We all need to break free from our dependencies.

HAPPY. What's your dependency? What do you need to declare your independence from? Think about something in your life that is holding you back from reaching your goals and becoming truly happy. Is it food? Alcohol? Or maybe it's an over spending habit that's keeping you from reaching your retirement savings goal. Maybe just maybe, it's a Candy Crush addition that keeps you up late at night.

You get the idea.

NEW. So this Independence day, let's start a new tradition. We'll all choose something to break free from. We'll all find a cinder block in our lives that's dragging us to the bottom, and we'll cut it free. We'll blissfully float to the surface and breathe the fresh air of independence!


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2000 posts

July 1st, 2014, by · 5 Comments

WOW. I just opened up WordPress and it told me that I have made 2000 posts on this blog. Two thousand. I can't think of anything else in my life that I have made such a large contribution to other than this blog. The CrossFit Fire blog has been a part of my life since 2008, so it's kind of my baby. This picture was the very first image I posted to the blog, and I think it still represents our amazing Fort community.

SCARED. There's a small part of me that feels terrified about all those posts. I worry that my contribution to the internet isn't good enough. I flip back through old posts and wonder "are my words adding value to the internet?". If there's one thing the internet doesn't need, it's more useless words.

WORDS. I know they're just words on a computer screen, but I'd like to believe that somehow my words will have meaning. Will my words inspire? Will my posts reach out to someone when they need it most? Will my words resonate deeply with readers and draw them into our Fort Family? I sure hope so.

THANKS. So here it is, my 2,001st post on the Fire blog. And while I don't expect that anyone out there has read every post, I know there are people who have followed along since the beginning. With 25,000 unique visitors every month, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for watching my baby grow and being a part of our Fort Family, even from a distance.

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June 24th, 2014, by · Comments Off

TIME! It's what you call out when your workout is over. Once you have completed everything on the whiteboard, you have the satisfaction of yelling out in celebration.

Is there any greater feeling in the world? While the rest of the world is taking naps and hitting up the drive thru on their way home from work, you're at the gym. You're busting your ass. You're taking all the necessary steps to living a healthier, longer, more fulfilled life. GOOD FOR YOU.

Make a mental list of all the things that CrossFit has changed about your life. The changes go far beyond your trip to the Fort each day. The changes will slowly trickle into your life at home and at work. Pretty soon you're starting to see huge improvements in not only how you look and feel physically, but mentally as well.

So next time you call out, TIME!, just remember that it's not just the end of your workout...it's the start of something amazing.

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The Handful

April 30th, 2014, by · 6 Comments

THOSE DAYS. As athletes we've all had those days. The days when the weights are glued to the floor. Days when our double under rhythm is gone with the wind. Days where you want to scream and yell and kick the chalk bucket. We have also had days that are completely amazing. The barbells seem to have no weight at all. Our pull-ups have never been more fluid. You could quite possibly PR every single one of your lifts. It's almost like you got sprinkled with unicorn dust as you walked through the door.

HANDFUL. Unfortunately, those days aren't who you are as an athlete. There will only be a handful of days like that. The amazing days are there to help balance out the fantastically crappy ones...and nothing more. The rest of your days will just be mediocre.

FUN. Don't get me wrong - those mediocre days will still be fun! They are how you are going to spend the majority of your time at the Fort. All I'm asking is that you try not to put too much stock into the days that are few and far between - good or bad. Take a look at the meat and potatoes of your training. THAT is who you are as an athlete.

FOCUS. So just as you can't let yourself be defined by your crappy days, don't try and define yourself by your spectacular days either. If you are always waiting for the spectacular, you're going to miss all the great things you're accomplishing along the way. You'll be so blinded by your quest for unicorn dust that you forget how amazing it is to do a whole workout RX even if you have the slowest time of the day. Or how much fun it is to just lift heavy stuff with some like minded people. Next time, before you let a crappy day consume you take a deep breath - chances are there will be unicorn dust in your future to help balance out the universe.

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I want to qualify for the Games

April 22nd, 2014, by · Comments Off

GAMES. I love how excited you are and that you want to set demanding goals for yourself. The Sport of Fitness has been professionalized though. The days of someone being introduced to CrossFit and then making it to the Games a few months, or even a year, later are almost completely behind us now. The athletes you see at the Games are truly elite. Training is their full-time job and competing is their number one priority in life.

GOAL. I'm not saying you couldn't ever get to that level or get to a level where qualifying for the Games is a realistic goal; just not yet. Anyone who tells you different is doing you a disservice.

FOUNDATION. Your goal right now is to develop a sound base: not only in your training (strength as well as conditioning), but also in your nutrition. Your focus should be on creating a balance between living and training, not on performance...yet. Once you are comfortable with the lifts, comfortable with working hard, and have a consistent schedule, then you can move to the next step.

PLAN. It's at this next level that we begin to develop a plan. You'll begin to participate in events throughout the year. We focus more on areas in which you need specific work and teach you when to "kill it" and when to "shut it down". You'll develop a deep understanding of your abilities as well as your different "speeds". Your nutrition becomes performance based and sound recovery habits are learned. We will balance all of this to develop a base from which a fitness athlete can be built. Once one begins to master this level and has the resources, namely time, to take it to the next level, we will.

ATHLETE. It's at this 3rd level where professional fitness athletes live. Like I mentioned earlier, training and recovery become your full-time job. Sleep and nutrition aren't even discussed because those were perfected during the last level. Very few people actually move to this level.

BEGIN. That's the general template I begin everyone with. I can't emphasize enough the importance of developing a solid base. You can't just skip ahead to the competitions and the glory - you'll need to put in work. Hard work. Work that will make you sweat, cry and maybe even bleed. But once you've put in all the work, the glory will be waiting.

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