It’s true, I resisted The Rock & Bruiser’s insistence that I watch Cobra Kai when it was only on Youtube but when it came to Netflix I caved in and got hooked.  The show resonated for me because I grew up training in a traditional style Judo dojo from the age of 8 years old (1980) and was involved in the Japanese martial arts until my retirement 8 years ago at age 40.  But Bushido, the warrior code, will always be a part of my training philosophy.  And my coaching style was developed in the dojo when I started teaching Judo from 1998 until selling my shares of Delta Kaigan Judo to my partners in 2012.  I still believe there are many great mindset pieces that I developed through my Judo training that carry over into my CrossFit practice and life in general: discipline, respect, resilience, mental toughness, focus, continuous improvement, efficiency, efficacy, mutual benefit, work ethic, overcoming fear, inner calm in the face of adversity and many other valuable lessons but maybe foremost among them community.

Unlike a mirror-lined commercial fitness centre, the dojo and the CrossFit box are places where we come together to help one another pursue self-betterment.  These places are not about “Me” but about “We”.  Though I trained for decades in commercial gyms and community centres, stepping into a CrossFit gym for my first time was like returning home.  It was a training facility with a soul.  There was a higher purpose than just my individual pursuit of fitness.  There were gains to be celebrated besides my own.  As with Judo, I became part of a worldwide community with shared values and similar goals working together for the mutual benefit of all.

Like most people I came to CrossFit focused on what it could do for me but I quickly found it so much more enriching to be a part of other peoples’ journey that I was called to coaching.  As competitive as I am, as much as I love setting new personal bests, there is nothing so satisfying to me as helping someone else achieve their personal best.  CrossFit is something bigger than me!

I am so grateful for the wonderful community of like minded people at Empower committed to helping and celebrating each other.  This weekend’s barbell cleaning party was another great example of community members contributing for the sake of all.  During the shut down we lent out our barbells to members but garages and basements are often damper than conditions in our gym so many came back rusty.  Months of spraying all our equipment before and after use has only added to the problem making several barbells close to unusable.  Saturday we took action.

First a big thanks to Fierce who did a top notch job of organizing the whole thing.  From preparing supplies, ordering sushi to feed our helpers, coordinating stations, researching and teaching us barbell maintenance and recruiting our cleaning crew, Fierce made sure everything got done!

Thanks to The Truth whose technical expertise and very particular high standards made sure that we got the best results from our efforts.  The barbells, collars and plates are almost as good as new and only one barbell was found to be beyond repair.

Thanks to Thorn whose Paleo Chicken Pie was the highlight of our lunch, forget sushi, this was everyone’s favourite dish!  In case you did not know it, Thorn is seriously talented!

And thanks to all our helpers who gave up a portion of their Saturday afternoon from 12pm to well past 4pm in order to help make the gym a better place to train for all of us.  Thanks The Truth, Fierce, The Touch, Big Cat, HeeHee, Shades, Sprite, KMT, DT, Iron Man & Pepper for all your hard work!  Thank you for putting the community above self.

We are grateful everyday for all the great Empower members who tirelessly contribute to making Empower a better place to be.  There are little things that go unmentioned almost everyday but that doesn’t mean they are unnoticed.  So in case we haven’t said it enough: THANK YOU!!!

Monday WOD: Double Benchmark!
Monday you will get a shot, competition-style, to set two new personal bests in two key benchmarks:

Workout A
You will be given 20 minutes to work up to a Front Squat 1 rep max.  This time will include your warm, up and you working sets.  There will be 6 lifting stations available.  If you are registered for the class you will begin with the front squat.

Workout B
If you are on the waitlist for Monday’s group classes you will begin with the 1000m Row.  20 minutes will provide plenty of time for you to set up your rower, warm up and hit your best row (3-6 minutes for most of you) and recover in time for the Front Squat which you will be doing in the second half of the class.

In this way we will be able to get as many as 12 members per class through both benchmark workouts while maintaining safe social distancing.  Good luck and have fun!