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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).

 

Fear, Courage, and F-Bombs

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” C. JoyBell C.

Fears. We all have them. And they’re fucking scary! But they keep us on track and let us know we’re still alive. Life is ugly, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful, worthwhile, fragile or magnificent. It is our very fears that add to this dynamic and make life worth living. This post is about facing fear, and in some ways it may generate fear because it is raw like the images and words it uses to relay its message.

 

Embrace it. Then get the hell off of your phone, computer, tablet, whatever it is you’re reading this on, and embrace your life by doing something that terrifies you.

 

Which, while we are in the vein of abrasive vernacular, I’m just going to warn you: this post is full of ugly language and graphic images, but they are part of the experience and journey: an experience that begins with one person, yet relates to us all.

 

Brady Dean. If you know the name you know the man. He is one who grabs life by the balls, gives it one of his characteristic can’t-let-go,-who-knows-what-my-hand-will-do twists and then sets them free with a smile. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if he enjoys it, or just laughs off his quirks to hide how frustrated they make him. Brady, like all of us, is dynamic. Brady, like all of us should, lives his life to the fullest.

 

I had to remind myself of that last week while I was cleaning copious amounts of blood off of the rubber mats after he left the gym on a gurney.

 

Thumb’s down

It all started with an ambitious, barrier breaking workout. Brady decided to sign up for the Wodapalooza online qualifier in the adaptive standing scaled division. This is a division that was introduced in the event’s inception. Their mission is to be the:

 

“…first competition of its kind in the “fitness” world, to include an Adaptive-Athlete division. We are putting as much emphasis on being inclusive as we do on our elite-level athletes. This is a profound step in providing opportunities for all athletes to compete in CrossFit inspired competitions, and we intend to make this a part of WZA’s identity. We hope others will follow suit, and that we can inspire more to provide opportunities to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.”

 

Brady is WZA’s identity. He is an athlete. He is attracted to extreme sports that scare most able-bodied folk, and attacks them with as much intensity as he can muster (which by the way is quite a bit!). He isn’t satisfied with reaching for his limits and testing them out, he reaches up past them and pulls himself through them as if they were a gateway to success. He pushes beyond his limitations and guides his athletic self with a “what if” mindset. Like any athlete he is never satisfied. The same is true for all who love sport – whether you’re a weekend warrior, a part-time player, or full-time fanatic, all athletes share a zest for testing themselves out. Are you wondering if you’re an athlete? Have you ever said yes to any of these questions?

 

This is going to be scary and challenging, do you still want to do it?

Wow that looks hard, I wonder if I should do it?

Can I practice more to get better?

I’ve never done ____ before, but it looks fun, should I?

Do you want to know what you have to do to get the next level; it’s not pretty, but I can tell you?

 

If so you’re an athlete and you understand inherently that it is at the edges of our experience we grow the most. We learn about ourselves and get to test our mettle most when we are in uncertain territory. Finding out what you’re made of is both terrifying and freeing all at once. In this way we are all the same, but in other ways we are different.

 

Due to his differences Brady was nervous to enter the arena and compete. He knew that Cerebral Palsy (CP) is more uncommon than a missing limb or paralysis in the realm of competitive crossfit; they are the more typical limitations programmed for in the workouts. It is scary as hell to put yourself out there knowing you’re beginning behind the starting line, but he still did it. Not only for himself, but to help show the world that limitations both begin and end with your mindset. This is something Brady knows all too well. His mind is not affected by his disability like his body is. At times he feels frustrated that his body won’t cooperate because he knows and feels all that he is capable of. Yet, in those times when Brady is at his best, he reaches up to do more, to be more, to experience more, rather than letting it bring him down. Let that be a reminder to him and all that face challenges: we are our best selves when we overcome the odds and refuse to succumb to sorrow.

 

With this attitude, he did the qualifier workouts. They were extremely difficult, and despite struggling he finished the first two full of positivity, pride in his effort, and hope for the next one. Workout 18.3  was a long one with challenging overhead dumbbell carries. In the two days before he was able to set a personal record by getting 45lbs off of the ground and to his shoulder a few times. Although he wasn’t able to get it overhead, I beamed with pride as he hoisted it up there. The man has no quit in him!

 

During 18.3 it was equally impressive and nerve wracking to see him complete his jumping pullups and then trudge 25 feet with a 35lb dumbbell over his head. This weight is one that he wasn’t sure he could even pick up two days prior. Brady gave it everything he got and made four laps for a total of 100 feet. In  what wasn’t meant to be a finale, at the finish line, just five feet from finishing, his balance betrayed him as it often does. Rather than stop, he did the opposite… HE SPED UP. You can watch the video here. But be forewarned, Brady did fall. He lunged towards the finish line, crashed through it and landed on the floor in a pile. At first I thought he was just exhausted, but when I got there he screamed and held up his thumb. It looked like a pop-open hot dog: the skin was split and the flesh on the tip of it was white and pallid. It sat in contrast with the deep maroon blood that was gushing out on the floor.

After we got him wrapped up and put pressure on it, before he caught his breath, while he was in shock, Brady was focused on one thing: his workout. His first words were, “FUCK. Now I can’t compete.” He said it over and over again, “Now I can’t compete. Now I can’t compete.” In the moment I understood how natural of a response that was, but upon reflection I was upset. After he left on a gurney and the reality of life with severe CP and a damaged good hand sunk in, I questioned everything. Why did I let him do that workout? Should I have made him slow down? I could have made him stop when I saw how difficult it was, but I didn’t…

 

Those thoughts are dangerous.

 

My feeling of remorse couldn’t last long even if I did decide to entertain it. Brady returned to the gym that night with his mom. He had a thumb bandage bigger than a melon, but he seemed to be in good spirits. There I met his mother who explained the whole ER experience with a few F-bombs herself. I smiled, not only because I particularly enjoy 4-letter vernacular, but also because it all made so much sense. He is where he comes from – a family that supports his desire to push his limits and be bigger than himself, and a community that embraces for who he is, not his CP.

 

Brady’s mission is bigger than a workout. It’s bigger than his family relationship; it’s bigger than the gym and the community at large. Brady’s mission is to help people understand that ALL of us are no different in our ability to be comfortable pushing to the extremes of our limits, and ALL of us are capable if we are willing to ask for the support we need from our family, friends and community. He uses his difference to bring us all together and to truly show that there are no excuses.

 

This is what it is about. If I had told Brady to take it easy or slow down, those words would have carried a different message: you can’t do it. If I had stopped him from even attempting the workout I would have gone against his very being; Brady is driven by a relentless curiosity for “what if?” He embraces the ugliness of his disease, being trapped in a body that doesn’t cooperate, but he also embraces the beauty of it. He knows that his mission in life is to inspire others of all types to get off their asses and get moving on their hopes and dreams. He says if he can do it, anybody can, you just might need to modify your expectations and that’s okay.

 

Be like Brady: realize life is ugly, but it’s also beautiful, worthwhile, fragile and magnificent. Put down your distractions and push your limits. What will you do to embrace fear today?

 

There are no excuses.

 

Crossfit Webster Masters Throwdown

Here is the link to the sign up page!

https://flowercitycrossfit.sites.zenplanner.com/event.cfm?eventId=A3AE742A-1106-42FE-842C-37A632DD0511

mmmm… smells like suffering!

Do your job

 

Imagine if you couldn’t get fired from your job…

 

Really, take a second to let your mind wander down that rabbit hole. If nothing you did could get you fired, what would you do? You can come in late, not come in at all, dress how you want, unleash a flurry of expletives on your boss…

 

So what would you do?

 

Would you neglect your duties, your morals, maybe even some state and federal laws?

 

You’ve actually already got a job that you can’t get fired from. We all do. It’s called “Your Body Incorporated” and you are the lifetime CEO. You have been in charge of Your Body since the day you were born, and no one checked your references. You had no experience, no qualifications, and regardless of your conduct and the direction you take the company… you can’t get fired.

 

So how are you doing at the job?

 

Is it fun, or is it an inconvenience? Are you excited to get to work or content just dreaming of another job?

 

Well you can’t quit, so maybe get them some training? Get an accountant (food log) to help keep track of your spending. Bring in a consultant (doctor or trainer) to offer some perspective and direction. Hire a secretary (time spent focused on yourself) to develop an itinerary for your day.

 

Being too busy to take care of yourself is an excuse. It results in having less of yourself to be busy with.

 

Taking care of yourself is your job. If you aren’t good at that job, it’s your job to get better.

 

Make time for yourself, and you’ll have more of yourself to work with.  

New year, new you… or not

 

How to get what you want…

 

We are all creations. The source of which can be debated, but the fact is that if you are reading this, then you were created. Brought into existence. The odds of that happening by the way, are staggering, so consider yourself lucky. In very short order however, you graduated from creation and assumed the role of creator. Your first creations were meager… poops, gas, and tears. You remained unaware of the immense joy that you created in the hearts and minds of your audience. Fast forward a few years and your creations manifested with greater and greater sophistication. As a toddler you created limitless imagination, enthusiasm, wonder, and some exaggerated tantrums when your creations didn’t pan out. By the time you hit double digits you started creating patterns that potentially still exist today.

 

Patterns of focus (optimism, pessimism, unshakable investment in the future, past, or present)

Patterns of emotion (fear, anger, sadness, appreciation, excitement, love)

Patterns of language (slang, humor, vocabulary, syntax, profanity, context, utility, sarcasm)

Patterns of movement (play, work, sit, hard or easy, high or low volume, knees in or out)

Patterns of sleep (not enough… I think that’s it)

Patterns of eating (carb city bitch!, protein, convenience, confusion, low fat, surrender)

Patterns of needs (control, variety, significance, connection)

Patterns of expectations (what we think we need and want from the world)

 

From then until now… you been creating patterns of behaviors manifested from the framework above (which you created). With very little diversity, you tie your shoes the same way every day, you eat the same types of foods every week, you cycle between 2 different emotions with gusto. You fish from a small pond of words to describe your experiences. The sum of your creations from birth until now, is wholly represented by how you feel, right now (unless you’re drunk or numbing out some other way (also a pattern)). Chances are it aint purdy. If it is, you don’t need to hear this.

 

Why the hell did you create so many undesirable patterns??

 

We create without learning the machinery. (never read the instructions for this mind)

 

We create without knowing how to create. Hell… we even create without knowing that we are creating! We accumulate others creations, internalize them in our minds where they generate future generations of creations. We compound creations with mathematics that defy calculation. We create subconsciously while engaged in the patterns that we’ve already created. The process of creation is unstoppable. Take your hands of the wheel and the car keeps driving, often times increasing speed.  

 

As a result, we often get stuck trying to fix or avoid undesirable creations which we created (accidentally).

 

We get bogged down by all these undesirable patterns and at a certain threshold it’s tempting to blame the problems on… anything. Because I definitely didn’t do it on purpose, because it hurts so much, because it’s not what I want, because it’s unfathomably insurmountable…. It couldn’t be my creation. No way.

 

It’s not my fault…

It’s work…

It’s my boss…

It’s god…

It’s my husband…

It’s my schedule…

It’s those neighbors…

It’s too expensive

It’s too hard

There’s not enough time in the day

If I only had some help

I have too much responsibility

I tried, it didn’t work

It’s genetics…your parents for the record never got the same instructions you’re waiting on so give them a break. Maybe send them this letter so they can stop blaming theirs. 

  

When you blame anything else for YOUR lack of happiness, what you are saying is this…

 

“I will make changes in here when there are changes out there.”

 

You are saying that happiness comes from out there. You are letting the environment you live in, create your world. You have downgraded yourself back to a creation. You lost touch with your power to create. You are wasting your infinite potential. You have a glitch in your imagination. You are the worst kind of lost.

 

And it’s all your fault. Every single undesirable bit of it.

 

If you can muster the courage to choke that down. If you can put your name on every shit sandwich you’ve ever pulled out of your lunchbox. If you can own the entirety of your suffering… then you can start to create desirable outcomes. You can put your hand back on the wheel and start heading in the direction you want. Fear will prevent you from doing this. Accepting that every ounce of discontent you have ever experienced in your life, is your fault, is unequivocally difficult. Furthermore, once you take credit for past misery, you simultaneously take charge of your future. If you are really the one in charge… that means you’ve made all this pain… so clearly you are inept. You are just going to cause more suffering. That statement, is profoundly accurate, scary, and empowering.

 

See… it’s all your creation… but it’s not your fault. Without knowing you I can say with complete certainty, that you didn’t create a single undesirable pattern on purpose. We simply aren’t taught how to use the insanely complicated pattern producing chemical computer between our ears. We certainly get lots of advice, but chances are it’s coming from other people unknowingly suffocating under the mass of undesirable creations they unknowingly created for themselves.

 

“This is how you swim” says one well intended drowning child to the other…

 

Alan Watts suggested an idea to find the grace to accept your role… “You see… we are born in a double bind, because the person who needs improving is the person in charge of improving”

You are the creator of your existence.

If you aren’t intentional with your creations, the results will be haphazard…

If you are surrounded by haphazard creations, it will be tempting to blame something…

If you blame something outside for problems inside, you disempower your creativity

If you accept 100% responsibility for your patterns, you can create what you want

You will not be able to create a better relationship, a better body, a better life… until you organize your mind. If fear is holding you back, you created it. If anger is holding you back, you created it. If time is holding you back, you created your schedule. Whatever is holding you back, you created it.

To create what you want, you must simply accept your role as creator.

2016 Dirty Dogwood 5k

Are you ready!?

Are you ready!?

 

Registration is live for the 2016 Dirty Dogwood 5k. You can walk it, run it, or challenge yourself to the obstacle mud run. This unique event is appropriate for all ages and ability levels, with something for everyone. Get together with friends, family, and coworkers for a morning you’ll be sure to remember.

 

Online Registration can be found HERE.

Or print a copy HERE and mail or drop it off at 5 Ossian St, Dansville NY 14437

 

 

Fittest In Dansville Workout 1

Fittest in Dansville!
Workout 1
 
Regular Version
20 minutes, max rounds
25 Feet Front Rack Lunge 45men/35women
8 Bar Facing Burpees (empty barbell)
25 Feet Front Rack Lunge
8 Jumping Pullups (6” above your head)
 
Scaled Version
20 Minutes, max rounds
25 Feet Unweighted Lunges
8 Burpees
25 Feet Unweighted Lunges
8 Jumping Pullups (3” above your head)
 
This workout is open to the public for 1 week. You have until next friday (March 4th) to get it done.

Kids Class Cancellation (Sunday January 24)

Kids Class is cancelled just for tomorrow (Sunday, January 24th). Sorry for any inconvenience. There was a minor accident. Classes will resume on Tuesday (January 26th).