I just finished reading Jim Afremow’s Champion’s Comeback which Shorty lent me.  It is a good read with many great inspiring athletic comeback stories and a lot of worthwhile lessons for those of us struggling to come back from life’s inevitable setbacks.  The biggest takeaway is that in athletics, like life, setbacks aren’t the exception, they’re the rule.  They are going to happen to everyone.  Exceptional people are the ones who learn how to fight their way back.  I bet you know a few Empower members who fit this bill!  You might even be one;)

Here’s a few other latter chapter takeaways that resonated with me:

1) Let go of all those negative mental bricks that are weighing you down or as I prefer, use them to build a champion’s castle.  I use all the discouraging comments from naysayers as fuel to keep me driving forward.  It gets me through the hard times.

2) Love the game.  Play with passion and purpose.  I enjoy winning but win or lose I consider myself blessed to be able to play.  So many people watch life pass by from the sidelines, afraid to participate.  In defeat or in victory there is a thrill of joy to be actively in the game.

3) I win or I learn.  There is no downside.  Every loss teaches me something and makes me better for next time.  Each failure or loss is a step closer to triumph.

4) Keep working at it.  There are no shortcuts.  And that’s why so many never succeed, they cannot bear the hard work or they are busy seeking short cuts.  Work hard. Work smart.  The stone cutter may need to hammer that rock 100 times before the first crack appears.  It’s hammer strike 101 that gets the job done.  Like the stone cutter, the fruits of your labour may not be immediately apparent but keep pounding that rock!

5) Believe in yourself.  This life is your story and you are the author.  You get to say how it goes.  Use every obstacle to advance the plot forward and help make your protagonist stronger and better.

6) Sharpen your mental game.  Determination, focus, grit, resilience.  Know that you have the mental toughness to get through everything and the focus to not be distracted.  Don’t let anything throw you off your game in training or in competition. 

I recommend this book to any athlete who is struggling through a comeback.  Shorty has generously invited us to keep it in our gym library so that you may borrow it.  Just ask your coach.  Thanks Shorty!

Next up on my reading list is 40 Years with a Whistle by legendary strength and track & field Coach/athlete Dan John, a delightful Christmas gift from champion gift-giver Shades.  As I am a big Dan John fan and he is one of the most respected coaches in his field, I am very excited to dive into this.

After that I plan a second tour – this time armed with a highlighter – through my favourite non-fiction book of 2020, Ben Bergeron’s Chasing Excellence.  This one impressed me so much I bought my own copy so I could read it again right away highlighting all the great takeaways from CrossFit’s most renowned affiliate owner and coach.

How about you?  What reads do you have lined up to start off the New Year?

Friday WOD
This one is all about developing strict pull up strength.  Please preview our 29 pull up alternatives video in order to select the most appropriate pull up alternative for you.  Kipping will not be an option in the gym.

To remain COVID compliant we ask in-gym attendees not to do this workout on a timer and to not run at the same time.  Members nearest the door who can access it without crossing through adjacent stations are welcome to run on their own time but those at stations further from the door are asked to substitute the row, air bike or ski erg instead.

Warm Up
1 min Scap Rock
1 min Bar Hang
1 min Calf Raises
1 min Lat Pull Ups
1 min Cross Crawl
1 min Ring Rows
1 min Up and Aways

Run and alternatives
Strict Pull Ups and Alternatives

Mins 0-7
AMRAP 400m Run + Max Strict Pull Ups
Mins 7-14
AMRAP 200m Run + Max Strict Pull Ups
Mins 14-21
AMRAP 100m Run + Max Strict Pull Ups

Score: total pull ups performed.  Every time you let go of the pull up bar you must go out for another run.

Cool Down
Calf Stretch
Lat Stretch
Quad Stretch