Tearful Moment #1: Returning home Wednesday night I felt happy having coached 3 very well attended group classes through the day.  Experts warned that ZWOD attendance in gyms worldwide dropped by 30% in week two of lock down but our attendance hasn’t dropped but has actually picked up slightly as we added more available classes.  I am so moved by your dedication to staying fit and staying active and staying together through turbulent times.  And then I saw this video and got positively teary eyed:

Let’s be honest, the transition to Zoom WODs has been personally painful, stressful, anxiety-inducing and draining, the only thing that kept me going was all your positive emails and texts telling me that the Zoom WOD was the best part of your day.  And then I see this video of CrossFit trainers around the world all dedicated to their members and all going through the same adjustments as us.  And I see their great, loyal communities of CrossFitters participating and supporting one another and I think what a great movement we are a part of!  What extraordinary people choose CrossFit.  I am so proud of all of you.  I am so proud of our CrossFit family all over the world.  The strength I’ve seen in this community over 15 years has been truly touching.  I’ve been a member of other terrific worldwide organizations but none quite compares to CrossFit!

Tearful Moment #2: Reading Leon’s blog post the other day brought up some powerful emotions for me.  I’m touched that he remembers where and how I started.  He reminded me that this is not the first time I’ve had to improvise without equipment or a gym. I realized there is a huge archive of hundreds of YouTube videos of my early coaching and training and that sharing some of those early improvised WODs might provide you some inspiration or, at the very least, entertainment.  But as I looked back through them all for some worth sharing, I was reminded of the long, challenging road that has brought us to today.  I don’t spend a lot of time looking backward.  I don’t spend time going through old videos or photo albums.  I prefer to keep my energy firmly focused on the present and the future.  Perhaps it’s just me but I feel that the flower garden of nostalgia is planted too close to the quicksand of melancholy.  As admiral Ackbar warns: “It’s a trap!”

My life has been pretty blessed.  Good fortune has smiled upon me from day one and I’ve lived a happy life full of love and fulfillment.  But there have been challenges as there are for you and everyone else in the world.  In life, in athletics, in business, in coaching, in love and in friendship there have been heart breaks, setbacks, road blocks, detours, disappointments and failures.  As Queen put it: “I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face but I’ve come through.”  These are the choppy waters of life that we all navigate.  And in the moment of despair, at each significant setback I’ve had to do a gut check and ask myself if this was the one that was going to stop me in my tracks and make me finally quit.  If the answer is no, then the next question is always: “How do I use this experience to make myself stronger and better?”

I can relate to excuses.  And I have no regard for them.  Because at some moment in my life I have made them all: not enough time, not enough money, it’s too hard, it’s not fair, I’m too injured, no one supports me, I’m not talented enough, I’m not genetically gifted, the weather is bad and on and on.  Looking back at those early videos I see Bambi on wobbly legs navigating the frozen surface of the lake for the first time.  I was starting out my journey of putting excuses behind me.  And I wasn’t always successful.  I did let life get in my way from time to time but as you’ll see, I was learning the skill of transforming brick walls into speed bumps and speed bumps into spring boards.  I was learning to disregard the whiney voice inside my head that wanted me to quit every time the going got tough.  I wasn’t born with grit.  My life was too soft to require it.  It was something I had to learn through practice, by intentionally chasing challenges instead of avoiding them.  I no longer do something despite it being hard, I do it because it is hard.  It’s a critical distinction.  There’s a long way to go yet, in fact, the road of self-improvement does not end, but reviewing those early videos I’m also reminded just how much progress I’ve made.  And if I overcame my excuses, so can you.  But be warned: to your ears, your own excuses sound deceptively like reason.   As Dr. Feynman cautions: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

This reflection reminded me of one more thing: what an amazing person Leon is.  He was not the most naturally gifted Judo athlete I ever coached but no amount of beating ever could deter him as he always came back for another round that sh!t-eating smile on his face until one day beating him was just not going to be possible.  He was the kind of person who refused to allow where he started to limit how far he could go.  So when he started CrossFit, I knew that exactly nothing would stand in his way of being successful.  I remember fondly the early days when he would struggle (and fail) to keep up with me.  Just look at his first muscle up video.  Challenges?  He had some major challenges like a complete lack of overhead mobility.  But there is no quit in that guy and look at him now.  I’ve seen him rip out 10 consecutive muscle ups and overhead squat in the mid 200’s and he’s even beginning to handstand walk!  Today there are few WODs where I can keep pace with him.  And it’s not because he’s an especially gifted athlete, it’s because he is an especially gifted human being, gifted with determination, a no-quit attitude and an appetite for hardship.  Leon is not a guy willing to sit around and make excuses for himself.  He’s not a person willing to let the things he can’t do get in the way of doing everything that he can.  Watching his success I’m inspired to work harder and become better!  He’s the kind of people I want to always surround myself with.

Challenges will arise.  And we’re all cowards sometimes.  We all have moments when we shrink in the face of adversity.  That’s okay.  Take a breath and ask yourself if you’re going to let this obstacle be the one to finally make you quit?  If not, how will you use this setback to become stronger and better than before?

Friday: SLIPS & Mile
Warm Up: 30 mins SLIPS

1 min OS Push Up
1 min OS Full Body Warm Up
1 min Hindu Squats
1 min Judo Push Ups
1 min OS Rock to Run R
1 min OS Rock to Run L

2 min L seated on floor
2 mins L-Raises over target
2 mins L-Sit Off the floor

3 Rounds:
1 min Lowering
1 min Hold

2 Rounds:
1 min Plank K2E
1 min Side Plank R
1 min Side Plank L

Running Options: roughly 10 minute duration.  Cycling, rowing, swimming, running in place, skipping, jumping jacks, KB swings, any movement you can continue unbroken for the 10 minute duration.

1 Mile Run

Cool Down:
Calf stretch
Quad stretch
Walk the dog
Pigeon Pose

Following CrossFit’s constantly varied principle, we like to mix it up a bit with our SLIPS to keep it interesting.  You’ll see in our video that we played around with a few different skills.  The scales we simply did standing on a different surface, it was wet, slippery and on a tilt creating additional challenge for our stabilizers.  For our mile run we did 4 laps of the Almond Park stair loop giving us 4 opportunities top sprint those stairs.