Feel better

We all want to, all the time.

We want to feel happier. We want to feel more hopeful. We want to feel more energy. We want to feel more attractive. We want to feel more strength. We want to feel more connected. We want to feel more in control.

It’s hardly ever about being those things, just about the feeling. I know this because I see people achieve those things. They get skinnier, they get stronger, they get more energy, they get happy… and regardless of how long it took to get there… regardless of the work they put in… the improvement may stay but the feeling it brought fades. Presence in success is short lived and quickly replaced by the desire to feel more.

Being happy (feeling better) isn’t a destination. Being happy is a feeling. Feelings are impermanent.

Hopefully, this isn’t news to you, but it’s another one of those ideas that you deserve to be reminded of.

Two paths forward…

Feel better more often. Seek the easy road, lower your standards, dismantle your expectations, avoid discomfort, steer clear of struggle and the appeal of distant horizons. Learn to accept the quality of life that comes with being ill prepared and addicted to input. The world is pretty well suited for this route. Victim.

Feel bad more often. Push into discomfort, embrace the pains and gains of friction, welcome the endless pursuit of constant investment, failure, and reflection. Learn to accept the quality of life that comes with being well prepared and addicted to output. You will be a pillar of change, often standing alone. Opportunist.

Either way… frequency trumps intensity.

(if you don’t decide, you picked the former)

Workout 4

Workout 3

The next workout is actually 2 workouts! Double the fitness!

and 18.2A

Crossfit Open aka Fittest In Dansville!

At least it wasn’t 21 minutes


Here it is! The first workout of the 2018 season. This is a free competition anyone can throw their hat in. There are 5 workouts to be completed in 5 weeks (released every Thursday).  Millions of dollars of respect on the line. I even hear Trump is signed up!

Sorry for the boobs and butts


In the military my job was managing a firewall (preventing hackers and porn) and now ironically, my website got hacked (probably by north Korea) and there was some pornographic content inserted. We’re mostly all adults here, so I’m sorry for any unsavory images you may have been exposed to. I think I fixed it, but website sterilization isn’t something I’m well versed in, so let me know if you uncover any nasty stuff. Be sure to clear your cache first as you may have some stored content. And now, back to your regularly scheduled fitness gospel…

Human “beans” are truly remarkable creatures. We have these inborn tendencies to follow dopamine to the most extreme ends. Anorexia, obesity, marriage, divorce, economic prosperity, financial ruin,  extreme fitness, injury and even death can all be achieved in the pursuit of minuet amounts of chemicals in your skull.

Think about the most natural behaviors that humans are required to engage in to survive. Eating, acquiring shelter, and procreating. If we don’t do these things, we die… and the species dies… so we come with an insurance policy called dopamine. It’s a chemical that makes us feel good when do these things (among others). We feel good, to increase the likelihood that we’ll do it again, and again, and again. It’s an incredibly successful feedback system that has been integral in our dominance of the world. There are some costs though… that are fascinating to observe. Take each one of those essential behaviors and what you’ll find is a progression that unfolds something like this…


Level 1: I did it, I like it, I want to do it again

Level 2: I did it again, I liked it again… but not as much

Level 3: I did it again, this time more, I liked it more, but it hurt

Level 4: I did it more, and more, until I set a world record, got arrested, or died.


Now, level 1 and 2 is where most of us remain. Level 3 (the introduction of negative consequences) resets most people’s enthusiasm back to a level 1 or 2. Level 4 is for the especially stubborn ones. This isn’t the case for everyone, every time, I know. But it is the case for a regular percentage of the population. Evidenced by the following world records…


The most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes with a bun… 73.5

The most toilet seats broken over the head in one minute… 46

The heaviest raw deadlift (no technology added)… 1,014 pounds

The longest time spent texting… 4 days straight (5 minute break every hour, no sleep)

The most t-shirts worn at once… 218

The most pushups in one hour… 2,682

The most coconuts smashed by the hand in one minute… 122

The tallest building… 2,716 feet

The largest orgy… 500 people (thank you japan for that stunning display of human potential)

The number of hackers that have posted porn on DFC’s website… 1


People don’t stumble into world records. They are driven by an insatiable appetite for chemicals in their brain. The point of this is partly to marvel at the world we live in, but also to point out that everything you do is driven by these chemicals too. You aren’t special. You’re just addicted to dopamine in your own unique way. Appreciate the benefits and be aware of the cost. If there is a behavior in your life that is creating pain, consider joining our Change Challenge. Instead of our typical January food fix challenge, our goal is to help you plan and execute the change process. Big changes or small, there are some common fundamentals that can increase the likelihood of long term success if implemented, or these fundamentals can put you back to square one if they are ignored. Check out the video series for more info and contact us if you’re interested.



Flex your brain

Fuck off, I’m relaxing


Cortisol is a hormone you produce in your pancreas. It’s part of a suite of hormones you make whenever you encounter stress. You make it, because it has benefits. During emotionally charged situations (life or death) you need a faster heart rate, you need some more glucose in your blood, and your brain needs to be prepared to memorize how you got in this situation so you can avoid it next time. Cortisol does this to help. It also turns down some of the resource heavy systems that aren’t helpful during hazardous encounters, like digestion and your immune system. Cortisol does this to help, when you ask it to.


Wait… I don’t speak pancreas. How do I ask it to?


Same way you squeeze your ass cheeks… you just think about it. Go ahead… squeeze your butt right now. The brain communicates with your glutes and your pancreas in the same way. At first you have to think really hard, keep it tight, keep it turned on. With enough practice you can eventually just squat and use the maximum strength in those ass cheeks without even thinking about engaging them. It gets wired into your reflexes. Did you ever think to flex your cortisol muscle? You know, just pump a little more of that stress hormone out. Come on, you can do it. Just think about your flabby arms, your fat ass, your frustrating person, job, or life. Think about all that is wrong. It’s better if it’s out of your control too so you can maximize the victim mindset. A lion isn’t scary until it’s in front of you. Your problems aren’t scary until you put them in front of you. Now, with enough practice you can eventually just wake up and use the maximum strength of your pancreas without even trying. Chronically elevated cortisol (focusing on thorns, instead of roses) increases your risk for…


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment


Meditation is the reset. Disconnecting thoughts from emotional (chemical) responses.


Whoa! Haha, not for me. I can’t meditate… I can’t sit still. I can’t quiet my mind. I can’t stop thinking. My brain is different. My brain is too scary. I don’t have time for that shit. I tried it before and it didn’t work. I just fall asleep… yep, I’m a special snowflake. No meditation for me.  


This is a muscle that requires building. Why do you always write with the same hand? Because you haven’t tried to use your other one. Go ahead and try to write your name with your non-dominant hand. Now do it 28 times every day for a year (5 minutes) and agree with me that it wouldn’t be very awkward after those 10,000 attempts. You get out what you put in. You will struggle and feel the most lost in the beginning. Eventually, it will feel comfortable and in time, intuitive. You can learn new movement patterns.


Meditation is a language that requires learning. Why don’t you speak French? Seriously, give me your best attempt at describing the room you’re in using only French. Uhhh… we!? Now look up 28 french words a day, speak and write them out (5 minutes) every day for a year and agree with me that it wouldn’t be very awkward after those 10,000 attempts. You get out what you put in. You will struggle and feel the most lost in the beginning. Eventually, it will feel comfortable and in time, intuitive. You can learn new language patterns.


Meditation is the movement pattern of your focus.

Meditation is the language pattern of your internal dialogue.


You already use them both, every second of every waking minute.


If you’re resistant to the idea, take 5 minutes a day and attempt to focus on a neutral sensation like breathing. Sit or stand, eyes closed or open, you will figure out what works best for you.


Watch your chest rise and fall. Feel the air moving in and out. When you notice that you started thinking about anything other than your breath, start again. The average thoughts per minute is 35-48 so you aren’t special or broken if you can’t focus on your breath for more than 2 seconds. You are normal. You don’t speak French or write with both hands, but you could if you practiced. If you can notice 27 of those non-breath thoughts each minute and return your focus muscle to the neutral breathing then you will collect 10,000 reps in a year. 5 minutes a day, watch your breath. Learn to speak the language of presence.


If you’re not resistant, do 30 minutes, but keep in mind that 5 minutes will still get you 10,000. Everyone learns new languages and new movement patterns at different speeds. Stick to yours. We also have different levels of environmental support or lack. If your life is too chaotic to meditate, you need it most. Even two intentional breaths an hour will get you 28 a day. So focus on your breath while you’re straggling it out of someone else.  


If the stick up your ass remains fully intact and you will promptly dismiss all of the above. You can also workout, laugh, listen to music, get a massage, and increase your vitamin C to decrease your Cortisol. They are effective distractions, not sustainable solutions. Ignore your mind and you are swimming upstream… best keep those arms pumping or you’ll get swept away. 


Grateful is as Grateful does.

Life is like a crossfit workout



I find myself once again feeling humbled, by you. This community, which you are an integral part of, regularly sheds light onto the roots and fruits of human dynamics. You are a constant reminder of lessons I need to hear.


Last month we energetically themed “Face your Fear” in honor of Halloween and the cultural focus on costumes and candy. We proceeded to dose you with opportunities to turn out the pockets of your insecurity for the room (and yourself) to see. We asked you what you were scared of. What followed was your basic pullup progression, in all of it’s simplistic, intriguing glory.


You see… pullups are fucking hard. If you don’t know that, you obviously haven’t made any recent attempts to get over a bar. Pullups also look really badass. This is entirely because of their relative difficulty. When you tie your shoes in front of a 6 year old, they’re impressed as hell. To them, it’s daunting. Pullups are the same way for adults. Stupid hard.


When someone crosses the cognitive gap from “Pullups are impossible” to “Pullups are something I might kinda want to be able to do someday” it’s a simple shift in phrasing but a profound shift in possibility. If you never try, you’ll never grow. We all know this… but we know it so far down that we all need to be reminded it, often. This is the first step towards getting a pullup… and it’s completely fucking useless.


Well, by itself.


Thinking about pullups is necessary, but it’s not thinking about pullups that makes your arms stronger. It’s putting your hands on the bar day after day. It’s pulling yourself to and through the current limits of your muscle fibers. You won’t get pullups without copious amounts of effort, failure, calluses, soreness, doubt, plateaus, and probably a little help from friends. The same is true of any physical progression. If you want to run 5k’s or marathons, you won’t develop the capacity for it by running laps in your head. You need to lace up your shoes and run. If you want to overcome the limiting power of fear, you won’t do it simply by naming it. You have to marry mindset to action. You have to flex a muscle to strengthen it… physical and emotional.


Fear is a muscle. It only develops with consistent stimulation. If you’re held back by fear it’s because you haven’t exposed yourself to enough of it. Last month you reminded me of this… not simply by sharing your fear, but by actively engaging with it. Appreciate the grind.


This month, we’ll focus on the emotional muscle of gratitude. Generically driven by a meal on the 23rd, gratitude is the lifeblood of fulfillment. Build it not by simply thinking grateful thoughts (I can do pullups, I can do pullups… I’m grateful for her, I’m grateful for her), it’s not enough to simply think. It’s a necessary first step, but it won’t get you anywhere by itself. You need to actively engage with it. You need to speak it. Show it. Share the feeling. Get your hands on the bar of gratitude until you have calluses…


So let’s start. October was a pretty cool month, not only did we have the Face your Fears challenge, we also had 5 teams of gym members embrace it by signing up for a Crossfit competition. One of the richest flavors of fear, comparing yourself to others in a public domain is something we can all appreciate. These WOD warriors are not the only ones who deserve celebration.


Tom Tim. I can’t share his age but I can tell you this, he gave me a different answer to the question each time I asked and I didn’t know the truth until his surprise birthday last year. In fact, this is one of the things I enjoy most about the man and I’m keeping his legend alive, let’s just say he’s no spring chicken. But man does he have a spring in his step. Last month he did a Double Under, planked for over 5 minutes, and developed the range of motion akin to someone the age he says he is through merciless mobility!


Our New Members. This tribe is… well, for once words elude me, but let’s just start with awesome, end with unique and agree there’s a whole lot more to it in the in between. We have a few new members this month and they are folding right into the flock. I’m impressed by the good nature at which they let me torture them, but I’m also thankful for my long time members. I’m impressed but not surprised each time one of you step up to lead a puzzled expression in the right direction or provide a coaching cue to a new athlete. Without you the culture of the gym wouldn’t exist.


Patty Moonen. She coaches. She works out. She smiles. She tears up. She picks on everyone. She inspires all of us. We wouldn’t be The Scary Gym without her (not because she’s scary, even when she’s making fun of someone she does it to their face and can’t help but being as sweet as her Patty bars in the process). Patty has been here since the good ol’ garage days, along with some other youthful Old Faithfuls. Through more ups and downs than I can recount, you define longevity.


The Cleaning Crew. Doug and Jen are behind the scenes busting their butts. You might not see them unless you work out late at night because they work full time, get fit and clean up our place of fitness. It isn’t just them though, they enlist their whole crew of children to move the kettlebells to dust, climb on the rig and wipe off our dead skin and red blood cells from the bars, vacuum, mop, and disinfect. Doug’s OCD keeps the place arranged and the GHD machines in ever-changing positions.


Coaches. The gym is life. Life happens at the gym, and coaching allows me to be a part of it. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to help my members grow athletically and individually. That and for the ability to wear sweatpants and leave the house without brushing my hair ;). Getting an eye into your core values while you grapple with difficult movements, running out of breath and sweating profusely inspires the shit out of me. You are full of grit, integrity and a boat load of persistence. It is what fires me up each and everyday. Yet at the end of the day I also love my family and spending time outside of the gym. My crew of coaches are the ones who make this possible and they’re the best around. I couldn’t do it without them.


The term Grateful begins with the root of praise and ends with the suffix ful – meaning “the amount or volume contained.” It can best be explained by the reason for the season, Thanksgiving. You know how at the end of the meal you’re stuffed up to the top of your gullet and can practically feel the last bite of turkey resting at the bottom of your throat? That’s my level of gratitude. I am full of thanks to the brim of my existence. I am grateful for each and every one of you and the energy you bring to DFC. You are what makes it my favorite place to be.


And since grateful is as grateful does, this month I encourage you to express your gratitude. It isn’t about just the feeling, but the action of honoring it. The best way to be grateful is to practice gratitude. Make a commitment to notice good things that happen. I will do the same. No this doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell you to get your weight in your heels or your knees out in the squat, you still need coaching that isn’t sugar coated compliments. It just means I’m going to continue to celebrate the good that you do each and every day.


You can start practicing gratitude by celebrating your own accomplishments too. Add yours to the new “Full of Great” whiteboard (yes there’s another one – I just can’t resist dry erase markers and schpeals,  you know this and I’m thankful you put up with it).