Why you need a "Weight Belt" and why you shouldn't wear it!

Nothing says Im about to go hard in the paint, like ratcheting down the "Ol-Belt"! Am I right?? Its downright sanctimonious. It says, "Im here to party, but I also like to be responsible". It also wears like a badge of honor "Hell yeah I lift heavy shit, hold my beer". Its also freaking useless! Don't get me wrong, Im not asking you to be reckless. Quite the opposite really. What Im saying is the belt is a bandaid, on a giant gaping wound. The belt is lazy mans path to ego. Its a lot like racing tires on a prius. Certainly they will give you more grip, but you're never gonna get them up to temp, and honestly ever truly need them. 

Honest admission; this is little to do with just a belt, and more to do with all gear. 100% they have a purpose, and they were designed for just that. In fact they can be quite advantageous in the right circumstance. That circumstance is not training. Let me be direct, If you need a belt, wraps, shoes, gloves, sleeves, diapers, or duct tape to get through a workout, you have perhaps overlooked the glaring principle of functional fitness, and perhaps skewed the view to high intensity a bit too much. This is where it gets tricky. Over and over again you've heard me preach that Intensity is the most variable in athletic adaptation. It is. How you get to this intensity is not race tires on a prius. How you get to this intensity is by building the race car. Meticulously engineering its geometry, power, weight, distribution etc, so that on race day, tires matter! This is the case of gear. It will help you win, if you've built the car. You need to understand why you need your belt, to understand why you don't need it in training, but also how it will help you on race day. 

Lets start with how a belt works. In summation it works via compression. Cinching down your midline, giving you the ability to brace into it, and essentially trussing the bridge of the midline. Awesome! Except that A) theres no weight belts in the wild B) thats not exactly how your midline works C) If you need gear to complete it, is it really your record? All philosophy aside, lets discuss b. Your midline is a complex series of musculature. Midline stability is your ability to wed hip to trunk in one neutral and stable lever. It also goes much further into the concept that your entire midline (Spine, hip, abdomen, etc) is one large isometric group. Its development is dependent upon development of tension, not exactly flexion. Read: Hollow hold vs Sit ups. Therefore to get stronger, and even more defined abs (bonus) we must learn to brace and hold. In fact this theorem plays out across the gambit of common CrossFit movements; clean, front squat, snatch, ohs, deadlift, back squat, hollow, pressing, Etc.. See, in CrossFit, we don't really do abs, we do Midline stability, except you, you do fashion..

I respect that right now you're liking saying that this all makes sense, but you need the belt to lift heavy, and to do it safely. This is probably true, and if Im being honest, its going to get more dependent. Its a symbiotic-parasitic relationship. Your reliance on any gear, is a weakness in your physical preparation. To address this, you're likely going to need to table the ego, and get back to the basics. Assuming of course you want to do this for a long time, and you are actually doing this for functionality. Ive been teaching this for quite a few years now, and I see the natural evolution to the belt. Injury, poor-recovery, whatever the fault may be, the belt becomes the common sense solution. Except that in not one case Im aware of has the belt fixed the problem, more commonly I see it actually lead to weaker anatomy and stronger exogenous dependence.

"In my day" in CrossFit any gear was laughable. God forbid you got out gloves, or a belt, you'd be likely laughed right out of the gym. Then we pushed human performance to its limits, let more kids in the pool, and this combination lead to this misunderstanding. Gear is for competitive advantage, it is not for training advantage. Sure practice with it all so that you're comfortable, but reliance is not practice. I want to see you all better, not traveling with a blankey. This requires you to develop you, your anatomy, your physiology, your weakness, your end ranges, your capacity. Continue to work around them, and assuredly you will be back at the basics, whether its sooner or later! This isn't to embarrass any of you who love your belt, some of them are real pretty! This is just to help you understand what is actually going on, that you're likely not paying attention to. This is also not my first rant on the subject, and it likely won't be my last, but until you understand that what you involve in your athletic development will at some point have to be uninvolved to progress. We will continue to have this conversation. 

-Tony

10 Ways to save your summer!

The increase of the thermometer may bring the increased awareness that you haven't likely had a great off season. Your midline has hibernated, and it is showing no interest in coming out for Spring. For the last two months you swore to yourself that you would start your workout regimen, and like the masses you're scrambling at the reality that boat season is coming. Now you're thinking about all the potential Instagram tags and those bathing suits you hid because you didn't need that kind of negativity in your life. Well it's here now, well almost. 

I'm not saying you gotta be a slave to the life. I get it. The winter comes so you throw on a few extra layers, and it's dark outside so even when you really hate yourself, you can still hide in the darkness. Depression leads to more binging, and the cycle repeats, so the waist line increases. Fear not, you're not the only one. Take a drive down Park Ave at any given day and someone is #grindin. Trudging uncomfortably block after block swearing to run off all the poor decisions, step by painful step.

[rant]Why people choose to do this on Park Ave is beyond me. For one, there's more stops, streets,  and cars than anywhere else. If you want to get in shape, take your pain face to a more private, less obstructed street. [/end rant]

You guys all like lists, so lets start with the 5 things you're likely doing, and are doing wrong. Unfortunately you've probably been completely uninformed. So I'll follow this up with 10 things you can do right now to save your summer! 

PLEASE NOT THIS:

  1. Cutting Calories. This is likely more so whatever diet you came across, and perhaps unknowingly calorie restrictive. Or largely just uninformed and misanthropic. However if calories are bad, you just gotta eat less of them right? So Salads it is! NO, just no. Food and the right food, quantity and maybe even timing is what stands between you and mirror solace. 
  2. Forrest Gump. If running is hard, running must be good. I sweat, I breathe hard, it hurts, I shall do more, I shall succeed. Wrong again. Unless you're trying to render yourself soft and doughy, steady state cardio (read long runs to nowhere) are an excessive way to achieve your end game. "Look better naked" Running is a lot of stress, and as you get better you double your durations which doubles your stress. This increases your stress response mainly, and for the record, that response will do everything you seek not to do. Like gain weight, lose muscle, and decrease coordination. So stop.
  3. Double time! This is a lot like 2. You've wasted your time the last few months, so if you just double your time now it will pay off. Were hardwired as humans to equivocate struggle with success, and while this is not categorically untrue, its not as clear an algorithm. More work out is not better. 
  4. Be like Mike! Here is a hard one. You see someone, they look good, they look like you want to look, you should do what they do. Like spark notes for your abs. Except here's the trick, fitness and health is not so simply one size fits all. What works for mutant x may not work at all for you. In fact, you have no idea what works for you. Except that one time you didn't eat all summer and weighed the least you ever have. You were just unsure at all about your body fat percentage, and getting out of bed was as close to fitness as you could achieve then. You have to know yourself, your metabolism, your energy systems, your goals, and your paths. Or you'll spend the summer lost, and the next 10 until you find yourself. 
  5. You're doing it alone. Maybe you tagged a buddy in to do steps 1-4 with you, and that would actually be better than doing it alone. At least you have some accountability. What you need is a team. Sounds excessive, but ill get to that now. 

Show of hands, how many of those were you? 1,3, all five? We're a peculiar race. We scramble and procrastinate, and most of all we love to over complicate things. So I'll list 10 concise things that will save your sanity, and maybe even your sex life. 

  1. Hire a coach! Not a trainer, not a personal trainer, or even a Groupon. Hire this person. That means interview them, project your needs and goals on them and measure their responses. A coach is someone who will see you through it all, not just your hour. They will set you up for success far outside of a few grueling workouts. Coaches always have a great referral camp. See if they fit a few criteria like: 
    1. Understand individuality, or do they push their dogma on you.
    2. Understand movement, I respect you may not yet, but give them an ailment and see if they can help. Or just divert. 
    3. Do they care about your goals, or just their fees.
    4. What do people say about them
    5. This list can go on, but you get the point. 
  2. Consult a dietician, or nutritionist. There is more armchair experts than ever before. However to truly understand yourself, you're going to need someone who specializes in this. They can help with allergies you may be unaware of, macro nutrient prescriptions for health, and most importantly educate you. Find someone who has proven success, and not someone who's just got someone ready for the stage, because I can assure you, that you're not about that life, and that is not life at all. What you need is to understand, not just a blind prescription. 
  3. Harder, not longer. You don't need more work, you need to simply work harder. Like less than an hour believe it or not, and in that hour, you need to find the darkness! Silly as it may seem, intensity is the most important variable in physical adaptation. That thing youre trying to do. The hours post workout will burn an excess amount of calories in recovery. Without going into a bunch of sciency jargon, this is what you need. 
  4. Lift heavy, and lift often. Girls I know you think if you touch a barbell you're going to get bulky. You're just simply not. Not to mention this is the one thing you need to get all they instagram followers you want. Muscle is the key to burning all those calories you want to burn, and the way to do so by doing nothing. Thats right, do more work, so you have to do less work. Not only that but muscle looks good, bone, not so much. 
  5. Learn to move. As in the complete way your body was designed to. Gymnastics, and not in the upside down sort of way. Compound, and functional. Stop isolating on machines and start using your body. Identify your lack of range of motion and improve that. I repeat get off the machines!!! They were designed more to babysit you than to help you. 
  6. Sprint! STOP RUNNING. Well aimlessly anyway. Drop the duration, increase the intensity. Intervals are key, keep the distances short enough to elicit 110% intensity, rest and repeat up to ten rounds. 
  7. Variation is the spice of life. (this does not apply to advice for your love life) Routine is the enemy, consistency is not. Don't confuse the two. Most make this mistake and consider doing the same things over and over is consistency. Thats not. Consistency just means the frequency and regularity of which you train. Which for the record should be 3-5x a week, with enough intensity to elicit a recovery response, and enough recovery to elicit peak intensity. 3 days on 1 off will always be our default prescription. 
  8. Address your lifestyle. You cannot make a change when everything around you is set up for your old life. If you want to move forward, you have to address the other 22-23hrs outside of training. Sure working out is key, but its a fraction of a fraction of your day, be conscious every hour of the day. Cut unhealthy relationships, avoid unhealthy social settings, Just take an honest look at your life and ask is this going to help me with my goal. The gym will take the rest. 
  9. Change your life. This seems a lot like number 8. However this is the personal stuff. This is working on you, not the world around you. Seek a setting that will educate you not just train you. The more you know, the better and easier your life will be to move the needle forward. Read, learn, listen, and even meditate. 
  10. Join Paradigm. 1-9 are all the staples of what makes Paradigm paradigm. We're a community designed to move everyone forward together, utilizing fitness as the medium. Fitness is defined as constantly varied high intensity functional movement. We lift weights in enough volume to support muscle growth, practice and develop gymnastics enough to redistribute strength across all range of motion, and we keep duration short to elicit intensity and recovery. Honestly if you do one thing, do 10. It will change your life. 

Don't despair, no work is bad work. If you're reading this, your life is not over. The summer isn't even here yet. You have some time. Its just crunch time. No pun intended.. You need to spend the right time, doing the right things is all. So find a community that will support you, develop you, and grow with you. Even if its not Paradigm, community changes everything. Seek this first! 

-Tony

P.S. If you want to keep in touch with what we're doing, follow our Facebook page, and if you want to check out a class at CrossFit Paradigm Performance, visit paradigmperforance.members.pushpress.com to take a look at our class schedule!

10 tips for 10 rounds that stand between you and done.

The final countdow.... err up? This is it! This marks the end of the beloved 2017 Open. Taking with it your bumps, bruises, and broken egos. Well, after this weekend anyway... One more workout, or more specifically 10 more rounds. Im going to go on record and say that this isn't the worst possible ending to the Open. Dave could have made it worse, like blood letting with a dull knife? It's a bit of a cruel joke to keep us all locked here in a workout forever. Couldn't he have at least let the clock save us in an AMRAP? Guess not. So I assume if you're reading this, you want some advice. You should have been practicing your Double Unders. Goodnight! JK

This workout has a multitude of considerations, and I will admit I don't think its really that bad. Is it going to suck? Yes. Is it going to ask you to step into the dark place? Yes. Is it still CrossFit? Absolutely, and you know how this feels. We have coupled these two movements together in endless arrays, and in some circumstance with even more volume than this and you survived. Now that the pressure is on, your brain is going to make it so much harder on you. So that's step one. Tell yourself a different story. This is only bad if you think it's bad. Treat this more like a 5k and you'll be much better off. Steady and consistent effort.

This plays a little differently depending on your aptitude with Double unders. How you attack them is going to be important. Unlike the other workouts you can't just will your way through this. With the exception of the Snatches and Bar muscle ups, you've been able to just close your eyes and dig. The Double unders are going to require you to focus. Unlike the BMU, and Snatches which were placed strategically to allow for a score, and most importantly for the clock to run out, these double unders require you to finish them. All 350. This will take focus and confidence. As before I will refrain from pacing strategy, and provide simply a few actionable tips that will hopefully make this a lot less than 40 mins. 

  1. Be Diligent, not frantic. The first few rounds shouldn't be to awful for an average level CrossFitter. However, because the work isn't exactly heavy or hard its really easy to get away from yourself. Jacking up your heart rate, missing reps, moving around wildly, and not methodically. You need to move smooth, not fast. Don't waste effort, and don't lose focus. A good recommendation is breaking the DU's from the first round even if you're great at them, just to keep you in cadence. 
  2. Relax! Here are some tips for double unders. I respect that you're excited. I am too! But keep your shoulders soft, your wrists quick. Keep your midline engaged, but no dolphins! Be long in the Double unders. Keep your body tall and engaged. This will also let you do that crazy thing called breathing. 
  3. Get wide. Take a wide yet strong grip position on the Barbell. Spacing your hands out will keep your chest un-impinged and make it much easier to breathe. Just be mindful to not be so wide you cannot press. 
  4. Its all in the hips. Settle down Shakira.. I mean thrusters. You need to use the legs. Don't get caught using the arms early on, this will haunt you. Set your heels, torso up, quick from the bottom, only chasing the bar with your hands. Try not pressing as much as possible. 
  5. Run your race. You know how the last round of fran feels? Prepare for that for several rounds. This means break early. If you have never gone ub on the 9's of Fran lets just agree you're going to go 5-4 from the beginning. For the Dubs, 20-15 would be my recommendation. The only deviation person to person is the amount of breath you take in the breaks.
  6. If you have a +25 min 5k you're not likely Prefontaine (read:aerobic). Take this opportunity to EMOM it, or actually every :90 Second aim for a round. This will keep you anaerobic a bit longer and allow for a solid work:rest ratio. The slower you are at DU, longer the rounds. The key here is resting when you need to, but not because you have to because you're blown up and down to singles and doubles. If you're sub 25 though, aim to take slightly longer yet metered transitions. The aim here to be consistently working at a dedicated pace. No work:rest. Your coaches should help you with this. 
  7. Build your fort! Its up to you whether girls are allowed. But keep your equipment close, and tidy. This means setting your rope down each round. Not releasing it like the steer roping world finals. (Is that a thing?) This also means setting your bar down, ghost rider. 
  8. Neutral wrist. Try to avoid the ever present flexed wrist thruster concoction. The more neutral and stable the wrist the faster they will stay in DU. 
  9. Heels. The most basic of cue, but if you let that bar pull you forward, you tax your quads substantially. If you would like to jump efficiently, let's not let that happen. 
  10. Have fun. Seriously. This has been a long 5 weeks. On you and everyone. Competition gets the best of us, we let ourselves get down. Disappointed, frustrated, even burnt out. That's not the point of all this. It's semi natural sure. However use this for what it is. A chance to workout with 300k people! To see how far you've come. To remember you are doing something that so many could only dream of. You're alive, you're healthy and your f***ing fit! Don't forget where you came from, even if you're not where you want to be yet. You're doing this thing, and at the end of this, you get to say you did it! 

Admittedly theres not a lot ground breaking in those ten steps to greatness. I know. Why? Because this is basic CrossFit. A couplet to remind you how elegant, and simple fitness can be and still break you down. This is nothing you haven't practiced over and over. Im sure some of you are stressing over not having your Dubs down yet. Relax, the world isn't going to come off its axis. The more calm you stay, the better the chance of success I can promise you that. 

Lets all agree to give this workout everything we have left, but also to not take ourselves to serious. Have fun with it, black out, do it again if you have to. Jk, don't do that. 350 Double under are going to leave a healthy mark on that CNS. Repeats will be feeble. Lets get it right the first time and put this thing out of its misery. 

Happy close of the open everyone, its been fun. 

-Tony

I am: Tenacious!

A funny thing when taking a chance becomes a chance. This is the experience not only of Millie, but of us with her. Every member here has a unique story and existence to us. In some ways a little bit of each of their process has become us, developed us, and taught us. This our process, the process of our people. The evolution of Paradigm is analog with the development of each person who walks through this door. Cliche as it may seem, its written into our Core focus, its our DNA. 

When Millie walked in (timidly I might add) she brought a unique sense of humor. However you could hear the defeat and doubt in her punchlines. Often making herself seem like the butt of the joke, at least defensively. This does not make her unique at all. In fact, this is pretty much the exact same reaction as most people who start CrossFit. What makes her different was what she picked up on right away. From day one, Millie was inherently attracted to the ideology. The concept that progress doesn't need to be monumental to count, that one degree better each day moves the needle. This made her the Coach's dream. Not her capacity, her talent, her athleticism. What made her captivating was her willingness to improve and her respect of the process. 

My experience at Paradigm and my path to a better Millie.
From the time I learned about CrossFit’s existence through the Crossfit Games on TV, I was intimidated by it. Those girls look so muscular and strong; I wish I could be like that. Being one who loves challenges, this one became a burning desire through the months ahead that I started searching for a box to see if I could actually handle such workouts. My search brought me to Paradigm because of its unique hours, the only one in my area with midday hours. So August 2016, I stepped into the box and one of the memories I have of that day is how welcoming everyone was. Even thou I was thinking to myself “I can’t do this, this is too tough, everyone looked so fitted,” I was ready to find out.
My experience at Paradigm has been great. This is the first time in my life that I have stuck to a workout regimen and still to this day is excited to go 4-5 times a week. I am addicted! I can actually understand now what people always say, which I thought it was not true, on how your body can do more than what you think. My most amazing moment thus far, was when I did 1 real push up. One of the many things I love about Paradigm is when other crossfiters, that have been there longer, give me positive criticism. Not having correct form can lead to injuries, and I appreciate so much that others care enough to help you succeed. Coaches keep you motivated by sending you cheerful emails, encouraging words when they see you, and always making sure you are making progress. After 7 months of crossfit, people are noticing my body taking a stronger shape, and I can only thank Paradigm for the new Me ☺
Another thing I love is the “What are your Goals” wall… Writing your goals on that wall keeps you grounded and accountable. I am not intimidated anymore; I’m am hungry to learn/lift/endure more and reach new levels because I have experienced the rewards of hard and consistent work. I know I can get stronger even if it takes me months or years; this is my own race, each person/body is different. The coaches make it fun, even the warm ups which are as tough as the WODs. No one makes me feel inferior because I am not as strong as they are, in the contrary, they keep me motivated. The family-like atmosphere of this place is incredible; it keeps me wanting to come back.

She represents the masses, and ambassador for hope and progress. So many are rattled at the notion of intensity, and doubt, that they never walk in the door. Millie's experience is the fiber of our existence. The step up to the challenge, the staring down fear, the constant personal assessment and accountability. No one here moves the needle quickly. Its relative to each single person. As humans we judge by only what we see, and were so likely to forget our path. Millie exemplifies her respect for her path and self development. She literally glows in each class. She brings up the energy 5 fold, and that's a lot to do as a regular at the 10am... 

Millie has not only improved herself, she's made us all better. Especially her coaches. Being intimately involved in her process makes it so apparent and reminds us daily of our own path. She's a constant reminder to slow down and respect the path. To take it all in, and to just love the process. Most importantly she reminds us to to do it with a smile, because you will never not see her smiling! 

Congrats Millie, you're incredible, and we're lucky to have you here! 

How to fill out white shorts... Or just 5 tips for 17.4!

YOU'RE ALMOST DONE!! Although you're probably going to hear that at least 30x by some disingenuous bystander who's simply shouting while they scroll their phone, you, my friend, are actually almost done. 1 more week to go after this. Unfortunately we gotta get through this chipper. It's ok, we're in this together, and I'm gonna try to help. If nothing else, I'll keep you from screen-shotting Brooke all night. 

First noteworthy point is that if you've been here a while, and you've done this before. If you've been here at Paradigm you've done it 3x to be exact. So, nothing should be a huge surprise here. This will perhaps be a refresher for you, maybe an aha moment or two. The rest of you, this might be your first rodeo. No worries, we got you! 

13 minutes... Here we go again playing on that anaerobic switch. Depending on who, and "how" you are will depend on whether you go glycolytic or oxidative. But given the opposition, yet similarity of patterns, you can pull this off to your advantage. Like every other week, I'll let you stick to your trends when learning your paces from the masses. I will remain clear in that this is still just CrossFit, and while there's considerations for skill, the pace is, as always as fast as f***ing possible. You're a CrossFitter, you are ready for this. Just be intelligent and don't blow up, making mashed potatoes in the first 55 reps... 

So here's what we got: 

  1. Don't be a hero, run your own race. I said it above. Be intelligent. This means knowing yourself, and as such your capacity. No one should be going for UB on the DL, or 2 sets, or even 3 really. If you're going for UB you're either beyond help, or way to damn fit to be reading this ramble. The goal should be 10's or less. 225 is heavy, like real heavy, and 55 reps is 12,000 lbs of work. Go 5's and rest less. More importantly, rest strategically, and not because you left your spine in turn 3 on rep 27. It should go without saying the point of 5's is to keep your position intact. Bigger sets, bigger deviation. If 225 is less that 50% and your motor is 100% go bigger, but don't blame me when the pain train steals your p-chain. 
  2. Your heels! Use them. In everything. Down in the DL, Down in the WB, Down in the row, Dow... err uhh flexed in the HSPU. This is a more common problem than you likely think. The more you sit and drive in your heels, the more the larger motors will work. Glutes and hams baby, Brooke didn't buy that on eBay. As the bar strays out in front because you didn't listen to #1, you will drive your toes, and blow out your quads and QL (low back). Heading over to your happy dance feet thing you do in wall balls all up on your toes as the ball pulls you forward.. Then you'll get on the erg and lift your heels on each stroke as you reach for the gate, assuring your quads are gone. Its okay, because you don't need them for HSPU. Till you get upside down and realize you have no drive in your kip.... Or you could just set your heels and focus on them from the beginning and crush this thing. 
  3. Wall-balls.. you're screwed.. Just kidding, its 55, get through them. This is not a deal breaker. If you're not gifted at the misery ball, stay in small sets with small rest, just do not get caught staring at the ball! Girls you're going to be in smaller sets, its ok, the field is even really. The key here is to not blow up. So if 55 is a death defying number for you, male or female, take your max UB set, and go with sets 20-30%. Don't worry, 10's are safe. If you love Karen, go bigger.  It's really that easy. 
  4. The row. You're not going to win here, don't try. The one who wins comes off this machine steady, and able. Blow it out to catch up or chase the clock and you're gonna struggle. Keep your stroke rate low. 23-26 depending on your height. Keep your watts high. That means more force per stroke, less strokes. Remember your pulling cals. This means the machine is calculating force on the flywheel. Letting the Wheel slow more between strokes, means you can apply more force on it. The exact opposite of rowing for distance. This will also allow you a solid 1:1 work/rest. 
  5. Do not be Brooke! As much as we can all appreciate her wardrobe. Her efficacy upside down was a lot less to be desired. This is not a testament to her strength. It is a by-product of a failed focus on the integrity of the midline in HSPU training. She was broken at the hip, sitting her butt on the wall. Not only did this cost her the body length needed for a rep. It also requires a lot more kip to overcome a relaxed position. Stay strong, stay long. Focus on glute and ab tension through the kip. This will require less drive, and assure easier standards. 

Outside of that, remember to practice, set your workspace effectively, address your mobility, and conserve your posterior chain. Especially if you're going to have another crack at this on Monday. This chipper is a blast, and I can't wait to watch you all work through this. Lets start closing this thing out!! 

-Tony

10 tips for 17.3 - If you read this, the bar will be lighter...

Just kiddinnnnng... Look, I really can't help you there. At least not in a few quick thoughts that for the record comes from a brain dump within minutes of the conclusion of the announcement. 17.3 is a lot of things, and honestly, whether it's heavy or not is more dependent on you than what's written.  

There's a couple of checkpoints in this workout. Most people call them time caps, but let's stay positive, and think pole position, not final destination. (If you got that reference you're old like me) The first big consideration of this workout is the algorithm you will need to decipher, and remember. I think the hardest part will be remembering the reps, sets, and various time caps. So please study. No, like really study. It will be imperative to your success to not only pace yourself, but know where you're at in space, and this will require you to be very aware of the various rounds. 

The next big "elephant in the room" is the time domain here. It’s the long-con. If you don't know what a long-con is, it is a long-term patient investment with a distant payout. This example is just a tad more legal. What this means is A) if you’re good, you gotta go the distance, and not trip up in the early stages B) you need to know your limitations. Some of you the early bars are maximal, this plays into strategy. For some the later bars are maximal, and this plays as well. For others, it’s about the pull ups, and this also plays. You gotta know where your current limitations are because that will decide your pace. C) Set yourself up for success early.

Let’s freely assume were all making it out of the first rounds. If you're not, you're probably not reading this for tips on how to get to Regionals. The issue at hand here is 107,000+ people watch the "boys" go at it live, and they my friends are what we call “curve breakers!” Chase their pace, and you're going to need a friend to resuscitate you. Unless you're capable, then you, like the rookies need no advice either. This is for the rest of us. The ones who are good enough to be a danger to ourselves. Yeah you. So now that we've defined our audience....

You've got 8 minutes to get through the first rounds. These rounds are vital, and deceptive. There is a lot of work, but also a lot of time. The general notion will likely get it over with, to get a head start. This will handicap you. I will suggest even going 3's in the first round. Take the time now. There’s little value that carrying a 180bpm heart rate into the second round just to have a few extra minutes. In fact, there’s a lot of considerations. So, like each other week, here’s our tips of the week: 

  1. Break early, work late. We’re not going to catch Fraser, and honestly that would hurt to try, so let’s agree to pace this together. Friends? In all honesty trust me, it will pay off. 
  2. Fast athletes who lack raw strength, you're going to want to utilize your stretch reflex. While I’ll recommend singles from the beginning for strong and aerobic, the faster and less strong, take bigger sets in the snatch. Others take singles. Simply because you strong guys will get to the heavier bar if you can keep your motor running. For you fast guys, getting to those later bars isn't going to go well anyway, but overcoming the static bar for every rep is going to burn you out more than doubles and triples at the lighter bars. 
  3. Use your thumbs, you have them for a reason. Save your hands, keep your grip, and be safe. Did you count the number of reps it is in this workout yet???
  4. DON'T MISS A REP! Duh, right? Well if I don't at least remind you, you're likely going to get excited and blow at least one rep. Focus, and then focus longer. Don't rush a rep. Both the snatch and Pull up aren't savable reps. Which means a lot of work, and time to make them up.
  5. Set your bars up early. Or grab some friends if you don't have multiples. Don't get into this workout and realize that changing your own plates sucks. No really, don't do it. 
  6. Practice! Feel the rounds and how the combo feels. Get a concept for how fast you can do round 1 and the round with your heaviest bar. Depending on what that is for you, will dictate your pace through each round. Do not get capped, because you forgot the workout either. 
  7. Work like Sager, not like Fraser! Ok ok, Fraser won. I’m talking about work commute, set your workspace up close and clean. 
  8. Chest to bar considerations.
    1. Focus on Contact on the way down, not up! 
    2. Keep your hands on top of the bar, not hanging below. This will let your wrist be the primary joint, not your over extended sternum. 
    3. Eyes neutral, this keeps the spine in alignment and keeps you from convulsing at the bar. 
    4. Longer levers work more efficiently. Focus on length of the body, not trying to kick yourself in the back of the head. 
    5. Last draw big circles, not straight lines. Get behind the bar, come down at it. 
  9. Snatch Considerations:
    1. Too late. I’m just kidding. But let’s be honest you all snatch all the time, you know where your number is. 
    2. Keep the bar close. Both in the rep, but also between reps. Don't walk away. 
    3. You must squat snatch, you cannot power snatch and then overhead squat. So, you better get some practice in if this is you, and you've been blanking every time your coach has tried helping you. 
    4. Hook Grip. I’m sad I even had to say that. Just do it please, or I heard god kills a kitten. 
  10. Run your own race. There will be so many disparities from person to person. Pullups, snatches, engines, etc. Stay focused only on you. 

There is so much to such a seemingly simple couplet. The good news is, it’s just CrossFit. Yeah, it’s heavy, yeah, your chest must contact the pull up bar, yeah, and yeah, it’s long. These are all awesome things. This a chance to prove yourself better. To defy your own odds, and to PR. Step up. I love this time of year. The energy is palpable. So, lace up kids, it’s time for you to hit a new PR and most importantly do it in front of the crowd or friends in your gym!! 

Go be great! 

-Tony

17.2 ... "OMG! I don't have a Bar MU... #help" 7 tips just for you!

So, Dumbbells huh? See ya later. Castro has let it be known that we will be bound to these creations of mass destruction, at least for the next 12 minutes. At this rate, perhaps we'll be bound to them for the next 3 workouts as well. So, on a 12 minute clock I'm going to give you 7 quick tips that will, if understood, make your 12 minutes a little less frustrating. 

Unlike last week, skill will pay the bill. Last week, you needed to just hold on, and the leaderboard showed just how many had this unlikely ability. It was only logical, and fitting, that this workout have a "separator", and as always it's Gymnastics. Gymnastics is, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the final frontier of Competitive CrossFit. The bar will always be the bar, your proficiency in Gymnastics will be your key determinant. (Shameless plug: Take our upcoming CrossFit Gymnastics Seminar and be better prepared for the future {Click}). So if you're looking for advice, I've got some below, but the best advice I can give you is that you should have taken our workshops, seminars, or gymnastics class. But have no fear, there is some luck to be had!

The workout is going to be determined by your ability to not only do a bar muscle up, but quite a few of them. As volume goes, they are a bit less demanding than ring muscle ups, so at least we have that silver lining. However, as technique goes, they are a bit more advanced. Catch 22 I suppose. For this reason, I will allocate the bulk of my advice on the skill you guys care about. The bar muscle up. (Pro-Tip: CFGymnastics on IG just reposted all of our tips)

12:00 mins of work. Two similar, but different, workouts. Multiple rounds of each. Like last week, I'll let the other countless strategy videos dictate your pacing. I will tell you that 12:00 is a long time if you're good, and a long time if you're not. If Bar MU's are in your wheelhouse, you will earn a lot more work. If they are not, you will earn a lot of frustration. In both instances, the strategy from energy will be to stay clear and collected. There's no purpose in blowing out the first two rounds to get to bar mu's gassed. If you have them, you will need your energy. If you don't, you will need your energy. Get comfortable in 1 and 2, grind 3 and 4. As for detailed recommendations lets try this: 

  1. General: Prep your body and prep your mind. First and foremost, proactively address your hands. A rip here will not afford a successful do-over. Open your lats, seratus, psoas/hip, hamstrings, and chest. More as needed. You need to be clear in this workout, not blacked out like last week, so visualize. See every round and rep before you attempt. Know your capacity. Rest when you're supposed to, not when you need to. 
  2. Get comfortable with your DB. Sure, it's basically a bicep curl for the cleans, but there is some technique to consider. Stay in your heels, use your hamstrings, and don't fold in half like Kari. She can, but you can't. The most important DB advice will come in the lunge. Open up your rack and mobilize etc. Most importantly, leave yourself room. By that, I mean keep the elbows up and out, and don't close in your chest. You need to be able to breath, so don't handicap yourself. Also, remember to keep the chest up in lunges. Any degree your chest drops, the work gets way harder! 
  3. Break the TTB. I get it, you're Gumby, or maybe it's your time to shine in this workout. Don't. Take them in 2 or even 3 sets. There isn't a lot, and while that might seem like a good idea to blow them out, it isn't. There is just enough to make sure the rest of this workout is terrible if you do. That seemingly simple movement has reciprocity in every other movement in this workout. Move well, not fast. 
  4. It's not a pull up!!! The #1 error we see in Bar Muscle up, is trying to convert a pull up into support. It's just not the same. Granted if your pull up is correct, which 97% of the time they aren't, then it would be a similar movement just larger. However let's just be honest with each other. Stay long, as long as you can, let your swing bring you up behind the bar. Do not pull yourself at it. This will eliminate the chicken wing. Use your swing and focus on force down on the bar, not doing a pull up. Keep arms straight as long as you can. Believe it or not they are attached to your body and will actually arrive at your hips without bending them...
  5. Backswing. Both the TTB and the BMU are absolutely and solely driven by the backswing. However most of us like to do the work in the front swing. Tighten your backswing and maintain it throughout the workout. This means body long, feet together, high tension. Do not try to break tension in the back only to have to do work in the front. Your front swing should float from the effort exerted in the back swing. That being said, Arch-kick-hollow should be the bulk of your focus in the Bar MU. 
  6. Patience! Its so important Ill drill it again. Do not rush to the bar. Arch-kick-hollow, create an arcing grace behind the bar, not a death spiral at it! This movement is elegant, not aggressive. 
  7. Keep the sets small. Unless of course you have 20 or so unbroken Bar Muscle ups, I will assert that small sets with little rest will conserve your grip, skin, and energy more than blowing out large sets. I would suggest singles if 3-5 are your max sets.
  8. Notable mention: Set your grip atop the bar for more force and focus down on the bar! 

These are tips, and not drills to get your first rep. As coaches, we can help with that, or you can follow us on CFGymnastics or P2Gymnastics on Instagram for more demos and progressions. You've got four days, don't beat yourself up. It can be done!! 

For those of you with the skill this is a fun workout. A relatively new arrangement, and an especially new Open workout. This will be good for those of you looking to separate yourselves on the leaderboard, and fun for the rest of us to see who has the skills to pay the bills. 

I'm super excited for this workout, but maybe I'm just biased. Just throwing it out there, you're all welcome here! 

-Tony

 

Why fitness is stupid.

Ok, lets clarify; "Why the Fitness industry is stupid". At the core of the whole debate, or notion. Fitness is so simple. It requires some consistency, consciousness, and intent. Theres really little else. Except, everywhere you look theres misinformation. However the intent to confuse, or mislead isn't there for everyone, so I won't call them all criminal.  Just suspect.. The industry, is an industry, and like all industry, it needs to make money. Lots of it. At a quick goog, the global health club and fitness industry is approximately 80 BILLION dollars. Thats a lot of money, and all of that is prefaced on "information" and "guidance". See the industry needs you to get fat, and then confuse you from success, so that you stay in the whirlpool longer.

[Enter the CrossFit era] 

Along came a micro-gym.. Want to know how CrossFit truly changed the world? It capitalized, promoted, and idolized the Micro-gym. An existence that has been around as long as the Industry has existed. It however sat in the shadows of the Globo-gym. With their shake bars, tanning beds, towel service, and various other amenities to attract your dollar, and nothing to do with real success, but they sure were comfy. Suddenly these small warehouse gyms did something unique. They banded everyone together, (thanks Greg Glassman) and along came staggering success, and most importantly a place to belong, not just be a member of. Success as a commodity? Who would have thought?... Im not saying that people didn't succeed in the conventional setting, and there wasn't some thought leaders in those facilities. It just is not the norm, and as gym owner I can tell you that the business model for a conventional gym is not built upon success. Its built on pay now, never come back. Most gyms exist on an acronym called a "PIF" it stands for paid in full. The golds, la's, planets, worlds, etc all prey on the paid in full contract, and a sincere hope you never return. Because you are just wear and tear on the equipment, toilet paper, water, and customer service they won't need to handle if you just never walk back in and sign your contract like a good boy or girl. 

Factor this concept with the notion of 80-bn dollars and you can see why no one wants you to know what you're doing. Follow that money, and even more alarmingly will you see where it flows. Into lobbies that are the complete antithesis of health. Things like lobbying to license trainers, big sugar, big agri, etc. Why? Because the industry needs you fat and lost, and if you're fat, you're a great consumer. Luckily you have us. Our core focus from day one has always been "to educate you to not need us, but to provide so that you want us" This is completely backwards from the industry, and why were a threat. We intend to teach you how to change your life, not just change it, we intend to educate you on movement, not just stick you on a machine, we intend to improve your quality of life by teaching you clarity, not obfuscating it. We are open source, and that terrifies the industry. 

This would be frustrating if it were the only problem. It however is not, and it may not even be the biggest problem. What is the biggest issue facing the Fitness industry today? Cognitive bias. If you're unfamiliar. This is the systemic deviation from "norm" based on self constructed social realities. Not unlike your FB timeline that feeds you only what your political agenda would like. When your healthy, you receive more healthy feedback. This isn't bad, except over time, you forget what its like to be lost. For all of you, this is awesome, and frankly one of the reasons Paradigm is so successful. In your pursuit, we surround you with hundreds of like minded people, that slowly begin to cater your feedback loop positively. Where this goes bad is from the information side, aka, my side. 

As a trainer it is so incredibly easy to become detached from the reality of your clients. Yes you hear the same stories, and struggles over and over. However you could not be any further from sympathizing with them. Most trainers have absolutely no idea what its like to struggle with food, addiction, metabolic derangement, lack of enthusiasm or drive, goal setting etc, etc. In fact 90% of the trainers I know, arrive in this industry because they've "always worked out" or because they look good and someone thinks thats surely the reason to hire a trainer... Im not saying that trainers aren't just. They are all well meaning, and intentioned for the most part. They however are completely detached. 

Im 100% speaking from experience. I as some of you may know, did not come from a health background. Fitness wasn't fun or easy for me, or something I really ever did. I didn't eat "well". I ate for fun. I wasn't a textbook athlete, I struggled to make school teams. I never looked great naked, and I, as much as any of you was incredibly insecure. Yet despite all of this, this still isn't what lead me to fitness. I much like most, wrote "fit" off as unrealistic, or simply not in my genes. I did however arrive here on accident, by caring. I accidentally and enthusiastically got into coaching gymnastics. This taught me what it was like to be of service to a human. This naturally evolved into developing their strength and health, which also meant I had to get myself under control. Except I used myself as a walking experiment. With little hope of success I was the perfect opportunity to try things on. If it worked awesome, if not, who cares, I had nothing to lose. I tried everything. Vegan, vegetarian, high carb, low carb, paleo, bodybuilding, running, even p90x. I needed data! I also found CrossFit, thats when it all clicked. That was 11 years ago. 

This isn't about my journey though. This is about what Ive forgot along the way, and how I risked losing the thing that made me so valuable in this industry. My struggle. As I got healthier and fitter, faster, stronger, leaner. Everything started getting easier. If I need to lean out, I just tweak this real quick, 3 weeks later boom. I need to increase my squat, tweak this and boom. Lungs lacking, tweak, click boom. This is slightly sensational, but not that far from reality. It is however miles from where I began. When weight wouldn't come off, getting stronger seemed like death was easier, eating healthy was like a religion. All things that you all still struggle with. 

This is where the industry suffers. The best coaches, naturally lose touch with reality. That reality, as sad as it is, is the norm. Our world is far less healthy than it is healthy, and there is very little in place to change that from industries perspective. The foods were pushed, the lifestyles, the information etc. Its all unnavigable. Intentionally. Don't despair! Theres hope. I have navigated these waters, and this process is what sets my soul on fire. This is what Paradigm is built upon. We understand the every day struggle, we weren't just born this way. We developed it just like you, in the exact same ways we teach to you. We believe in what we do, because it is what changed our lives too. 

Don't worry, Paradigm will always have your back. 

-Tony

5 Tips for 17.1!!

[EDIT] Retesting because the first round didn't go well, isn't the same as practice. I respect that much of your psyche isn't prepared to understand how you didn't beat Froning. I regret to inform you that unless you had a catastrophic mishap in round one, the metabolic demands of this workout, aren't going to likely do you any favors on round two. However if you're not going to listen, here are the tips and edited tips for 17.1:

Here it is. We're officially in the 2017 CrossFit games season. Castro just dropped his bomb from Paris, and sent the world fittingly into a Dumbbell snatching frenzy! I'll do my best to hastily get you some quick tips and insight from a post workout consideration. The first thing worth mentioning is that all of this could very well change by Monday. So rather than give you all piece by piece strategy and theory, I'll simply give you quick Coaching tips that will, if implemented in your workout, save you from some suffering. The first piece of advice is to find yourself a Delorean, get it up to 88mph. Go back, start this year over, and do what you know you should have done from the beginning. However, I just sold my flux-capacitor on eBay, so we're all in this together. 

As always, a multitude of factors will play into your success, and or failure, inside this workout. The first thing worth focusing on is that the first open workout is "unusually" for time. This does offer you the solace of knowing you only need to get out the other side alive, and not the groundhog misery of an AMRAP. Even better is that the Clock can save you. 20 minutes to finish the work is a lot of time. It is also a beacon that serves as a life raft to reassure you that you won't die out here. However, it is greater than 10 minutes, so conversation will be the key focus of tonight's tips. 

  1. Practice! I said it in the last blog, but if you do not practice these movements, standards, and transitions, you will lose seconds per rep. After 200+ reps, you get the picture. Each artist has their own style, and while I'm going to give some recommendations, time out a few rounds in different variations to see what works for you. To be more clear, attempt to turn on the box, try staying lower, try switching hands on the way down. There are a lot of tricks in this workout. The constant will be your heart rate. 
  2. Be consistent. You're going to be working for 10-20 mins regardless. This means you need to set yourself up for success from the first rep. That means be the tortoise and not the hare. This means think 5k, not intervals. Pick a pace, albeit perhaps slower than you think at first, and stick with it. This means a lot slower than most of you realize in the beginning. Set a breathing cadence, especially in the burpees, and stick to it no matter how painful! Do not hold your breath for the DB snatches. Try to stay as connected as possible but also as elastic. Exhale at the top and bottom of each rep. 
  3. Hook Grip. Defy your need for creature comforts early on, and be grateful your forearms hold out the entire workout. I would assume this is common sense but the number of people who traditional grip a dumbbell out of habit is immense. We're not doing curls or presses. You will be ripping this from the floor repeatedly. Secure your grip! This is only advisable to those of you not switching on the way down. For the record; changing hands on the way down is our default recommendation.
  4. Play your cards close, and your fitness. The closer you stay to each apparatus, the more time you will save naturally, but you will also significantly decrease the work. Things like placing the DB in line with your heels each time will help you set your back easier, and also keep the DB path tighter to the body. Do not let it get out front. Stay low on the box. How low is dependent on your mobility, and also your tempo. Resting and extending atop the box is not something I would recommend. 
  5. Set your back, and stretch your Hamstrings each rep. This may seem like it slows you down in your frantic early paces. However, I can assure you that you will not get out of this workout unscathed if you go full Mortis the Tortoise from rep one. Set your back, square your shoulders, drive through your heels, extend the hips, and finish over your center mass. Then do it again.  This went so wrong over and over again, and I suspect most of your weekend went to shit because of it. If you're retesting and want to workout at all this week, please get this right. In fact if you attempt to do better, the tighter you stay in the back the better your score. Even though it feels like you're moving slower. 

There will be countless people who will come out with pacing, theory, etc. Feel free to indulge. I will likely throw an edit or two in here for your consideration after my athletes have thrown themselves into the gauntlet and we have some more data. These 5 points of focus will assure you success, but strategy is a whole other consideration at this point. The bottom line is this is CrossFit. You've done it. You know how it feels, and you're going to be fine! Move well, and finish fast. Move too fast though, and you risk a finish at all. Be diligent, be confident, be virtuous. 

-Tony

5 things to help your Open performance

The time is upon us, and if you're reading this you threw your hat into the ring, or maybe just thinking about it. For 98% of us the open is just for "fun". But lets be honest with each other the main motivator here is; Scoreboard. Its ok, its intrinsic. We really can't help ourselves. Our need for quantification for anything is pretty much irresistible. Even if we don't intend to share the results with the world, and plan to hide among the masses registered. If this is you, or even if youre one of the 2% every bit of help counts. This is 5 weeks of testing and it has its caveats. 

The subtle truth, or unfortunate reality is that at this point much of the physical work really needs to be done. Meaning, you should have spent your offseason preparing for the unknown and rigourous demands of this challenge. The good news is, that if you followed the program here, you're in pretty good hands. If not, and you still followed a good CrossFit program, you're still doing fine as well. There are still a few things that you can do to help, and Im going to list them here: 

  1. Clean up your Diet, but don't Diet! "huh?" We all know that we could eat a little better, a little more often. Whole foods are absolutely vital to performance, and while this could be an entire blog itself, I am going to paraphrase for the sake of "lists". Meats, Vegetables, nuts and seeds, keep intake to levels that will support intensity, and not body fat. So strip the processed foods, but lets not strip the calories. Now isn't the time to "lean out" although being lighter seems logical in these workouts, The caloric deficit will come with energy deficiencies even if small. So lets remove the garbage and replace with more micronutrients like leafy greens. Lets clean up the Protein sources to quality Organic cuts. Lastly satiate yourself. Its important to fuel, not to starve. 5 weeks is a long time. 
  2. Take care of yourself. Obviously this is a life note, however over the course of the next few weeks, and increased focus in stretching, mobility, activation, and therapy will go a long way. This perhaps would have been best implemented a few months ago, but all of these have relatively immediate rewards so its not entirely too late. So how? ROMWOD every day, Cool down for at least 40% of the time the workout took you (bike, row, walk), tighten up your mobility routine pre-workout to improve movement quality (grab your coach and ask).  Buckle up! 
  3. Recover! This may sound a little like #2 to you, but its more. #2 is a mindful approach to time spent in the gym. #3 is a mindful approach to moments spent outside the gym. You spend 1hour in the gym a day, unless youre Rob.. What you do the other 23 far outweighs your time in our doors. The first of which is sleep!! I get it, life is hard, kids, work, netflix, internets whatever is making it "impossible" for you. Stop, you're an adult. Fix your schedule, its your health were talking about, You can binge your shows  on the weekend. Remain consistently active. This means stay moving through your day. If your job has you desk bound, every hour take a small walk through the office or more. I don't mean exercise more either, in fact, in closing, do that less. More intensity in each workout for the next 5 weeks, and less overall volume. 
  4. Practice. This is kind of a no-brainer, but after 6 years of watching this unfold it usually goes like this. "wow this is going to be hard, 3-2-1 go!, I suck, lets do it again, lets do it one more, I think I can shave some time here, lets do it again" While retests are a whole different barrel of monkeys, practice is simpler. This means taking the movements pulled from the chipper and drilling them. Break them down, drill them some more, then couple them with the others till your comfortable with the combination. This is simple, yet rarely done. Theres an immense value in the mental preparation of this. Knowing how youre supposed to feel in the middle will be wildly comforting, as opposed to the "what the hell Im dying out here" moment. Lastly retests. No-one is ever happy with their score. No-one! We always can look back and see where we can pick up time etc. But, lets be direct, theres a reason you didn't do it then, you're not going to add the 100 reps you think. Will you pick up a few? Yes, likely. However if this few isn't going to jump you up the leaderboard, and may only move you a few spots if any. Its important to factor the investment, vs the return. Prepare, and give more to your first attempt, this feels way better than 3 retests. 
  5. Play with your friends! If were being honest, the open is a brutal self reflecting time of the year. All those sundays on the boat drinking till sunset, the cheat meals, the vacations, and really all the things you feel guilty about, they all will haunt you not so subtly. Its ok, you're human, were trying to improve your life, not make you a robot. Those things didn't exactly help you but they didn't hurt that much. (assuming they were occasional...) If you did those things, you must have friends, if you're lucky they are CrossFitters too, get together for the workouts. Like our Friday night lights! You see, community and environment often outweigh the most advanced and strict program and implementation. Plain and simple, men will die for points! In the presence of our peers, were way more likely to leave it all out there, than we are just worrying about the clock and scoreboard by ourselves. The next 5 weeks are long, buckle down, and enlist the help of your community to drive you forward. I can promise, this # will pay larger dividends than most of the other 4.

There you have it. 5 quick actionable things that I guarantee will improve your performance. Next year we can take what we learned from this years performance. For now, its management. The open is incredibly fun, and even more valuable. Its a great way to see where you're at outside of the gym, a bigger leaderboard. Often more telling, than the one or two names you know you chase every day. Fitness is relative, and that relativity is bound solely to the community you conduct this pursuit in. For these next 5 weeks we have the opportunity to workout in the biggest gym ever created. Yourself stacked against thousand, hundreds of thousands actually. While this many seem daunting, its an incredible opportunity I hope you all take advantage of. You will absolutely be better because of it! 

An unofficial #6 honorable mention, subscribe. Because each week we will bring you 5 tips to help with each workout.

Happy Open season!

-Tony 

The sum of all parts.

Assuming somehow I still have your interest after all this time, I must be touching on something of interest to you. I hope... The purpose of these blogs and words is to create thought, to spark an actionable introspection or curiosity. Do I expect you take all of these words seriously? No. Do I think they're of value? Yes. I struggle a bit with the lack of content I put forth in terms of exercise and science, and I promise we will get there. Its just that what can be gleaned from between your ears, far exceeds the capability of a barbell. To be honest we can address, cover, and develop all of the science, programming, theory, and fitness in our hour together each day. The mindset, and paradigm shift is much harder, and it takes constant focus. At the end of it all, all I really hope to do is help create opportunities for all of you. That is my purpose. 

Im not sure exactly how many words Ive written on mindset. Imploring you to just get moving. Start, appreciate the process. Constant action, always forward. You must simply just chase the things that excite you, and ignore the things that simply just require your time. You will not ever get it back. 

Assuming you've started to embrace these mantras. You're starting to see the value in simplicity, in stoicism, and in process over goals. Theres one unfortunate truth we can not circumnavigate. You're the sum of those you surround yourself with. Frankly there is no bigger deference to forward momentum than the company you keep. There is no easier call to limiting beliefs than the presence of your peers. Unfortunately we cannot pick our family, our bosses, our co-workers. You can however define your 5. Its long been believed, even studied, that the 5 people you spend the bulk of your time with will either empower, or limit you. Hopefully greatness exists in those we cannot choose, but lets just assume it doesn't. Im not saying get a divorce, quit your job, leave your family. Lets be realistic, and even slightly responsible.. 

You do have a choice where you express yourself, where you spend your time. Even if its only marginal at first. The first key here is simply defining, or maybe redefining your top 5. Identify your goals and values, your core focus and then, align yourself. This process may of course take a while, but even just the addition of one positive influence in your circle can make an incredible difference. This usually leads organically to number 2, 3, and 4. The operative part here though is you need to define yourself first. Your values, and your focus. Until you have that, you will not cover much ground. Likely just trying to align yourself with "successful" people. Heres a secret, not everyone who is "successful" is worth a second of your time. Not even because they are poor examples, but perhaps because your values and focus does not align. Honestly, you will see what I mean as soon as you find a #1. 

The beauty of this is that you already have chosen to change your circle when you Chose Paradigm. Inside here the circle is much bigger than 5, but the focus is all the same. Improvement of health, happiness, and humanity. Truth be told much of what happens here isn't because of science or the program.. Most of it is what happens between your ears, because of your peers. This is how we have staked our place in changing the world, and leaving it better than we found it. Maybe, (likely) key members of your 5 are in here too. If you want my advice, Id look here first. We didn't all end up here on accident with the copious amount of other gyms in the city. Were likely all here because our values and focus align. 

Find your 5, change your 5, shuffle your 5. Just prioritize your time, and your passion. To do so you're gonna need some key people to lean on. When you take action here, you will, I guarantee see immediate benefits. 

Constant action, Always forward, Despite fear. 

-Tony

The price of the pursuit, and gift of humanity. Happy Holidays!

The greatest things in life can not be purchased.  A thought provoking opening statement right? I know you all, and you're all trying to populate a list or narrative that proves it wrong. Except you really can't. Naturally you can purchase some things that will help, or provide a priceless experience. However anything you can purchase only has the value upon which you place it. That most often is quite superficial, and borderline pretentious. Its not your fault, look at the consumer world we live in. Were basically told each day how worthless our life is, until we can afford something thats actually worthless. Interesting paradox we've got ourselves into. Pursue what cannot be purchased. Health, happiness, and humanity. 

There is something intrinsically fascinating about physical training, CrossFit, fitness. It simply can only be earned, achieved, pursued. It cannot be purchased, gifted, transferred or faked. Your pursuit is quite gilded. Sure you pay a gym membership, coaches, you could even pay for drugs to help you I guess. Except, you still gotta do the work. Theres no way around it. The pursuit of fitness to me used to just be an analog to performance and capacity. After a decade with it, and hundreds of success stories, fitness to me is now about the complete evolution of the human. 

Incredible things happen within these walls, most of which are predicated on performance based efforts and success's. Its the lesser known, or seen growth that is more incredible. In your pursuit of physical goals, you acquire and amass notable experiences that apply to much more than just how fast your time was. The tedious, integral, and unavoidable reality of self in these physical efforts leads to equal efforts outside the gym eventually. I have watched you guys lose countless pounds, but also go on to crush life outside the gym too. This is what I live for. I hope to leave this world better than I found it, I hope to leave each of you better than I found you as well. If even just a little bit. This, also cannot be purchased, I must earn it. 

Life is incredible, and its all about where you look to see that. You can absolutely look to the pretentious and populate your list of possessions and material distractions. Or you can slow down and realize each breath is a gift, every sunrise and sunset, each laugh among family members. You're all a gift. I write this ironically as Im about to head to the mall on Christmas eve, and face the hordes who like myself will be purchasing a material object to convey my gratitude for someones place in my life. This is the Christmas we've created, how much you spend and are able to spend demonstrates your love? If you're able to gift, gift, if your able to love, love, if you can laugh, laugh. Just be sure to find the moments that cannot be purchased. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, abundant laughter, communion, and gratitude. 

We can all be a little bit better humans each day, and no amount of money will afford you this capability. This is within each of you, a simple decision to do the things no one will likely ever notice or thank you for, in an effort to make the world a little bit better. The holidays are a tremendous opportunity for us all to slow down and reflect on these moments. Embrace your success and journey. No matter how much money you have, you can always afford to care, love, and help. A unique human purpose is simply to be of service, to help, and to interact. This is what makes the Holidays so special, because if even for a day it slows us down to let us appreciate each other, hopefully more than ourselves. 

Enjoy your families, friends, and memories! Ill see you in the gym. 

-Tony

Speedbump...

I have had a terrible week. Yes, it happens, even to me. The author of all these motivating, mindset, ever forward blogs. Set backs happen, and sometimes they're huge. To be honest Its been one rolling thunderstorm since I returned home from vacation. Perhaps this is the norm? Im not sure, and honestly all of me wants to see the lesson here as no more vacations. I just refuse to correspond the magnificence of Hawaii with any negativity. More so I consider it fair game for the opportunity for having been able to view paradise. 

Waking up each morning with the weight of uncertainty and stress on my chest, the dreary winter, and the ever quickly approaching holiday makes it really hard to find the outlook I preach. Stress, and problems have a funny way of fixating you on the past and future. How'd I get here, what am I going to do? The thing is, like anything, its only moments. There are no problems larger than your mortality and you face that every day. This too, shall pass. Bad days happen, mistakes happen, regrets, failures, stress it all happens. To even the best of them. Its the moments that bring the sunshine. During moments of stress and chaos, the only reprieve is the moments. The only clarity comes in the simplicity and elegance of a single breath. Much the same as you will take another breath, you will if you choose, begin to better this situation. In each moment, or even millisecond it can all be distilled down to one singular concept. Happiness, or Sadness. In that question, who would ever choose sadness? Focus on the distance though and the horizon is dismal. Sadness all of a sudden seems a certainty. Focus on the past, and you surely will be saddened by the events that brought you here. Focus on this second, not forward not back, and you will always choose happiness. No one truly wants to be sad. This takes a lot of work though, its a skill, a talent to be honed and a mantra to me uttered every day. Being able to black out the past and future, to "ignore the reality" and simply make a frivolous decision to just smile is hard. In fact, its unlike what the vast majority of everyone around you does, and will tell you to do. 

Ive been asked a lot what I think my one experience, talent, lesson, etc that has lead to my success of mindset is? The "one thing", if I had one. Ironically this took me years to accept, but the one gift I was given was to be broke, poor, financially depleted. Theres a clarity that comes along with this opportunity of poverty, a sort of survival based mechanism, an any means necessary approach to everything. Simply because it all was any-means-necessary. This gift, for years haunted me as a secret. A blemish, a period of regret and embarrassment. I thought it defined me, and in a negative way. Suggesting any future success was fraud because I once got it all wrong.. Its not till I started to understand this idea of momentous living that I truly understood the lessons of poverty. I am in no way recommending poverty either.. Its awful. Terrible. Taking back spare change to find gas and food, returning pop cans, eating canned potatoes for several days on end. I know what its like to be hungry, scared, uncertain, and depressed. I have been to the bottom, and it made me who I am. I didn't realize it then, but I made choices. Every single day, to just enjoy my life. That meant at the time to live in the moment, because forward and backward were simply terrifying. Honestly it was probably Hera and Hades who got me through it most. My dogs taught me unconditional happiness in the most dire of times. I wasn't poor because of some extenuating circumstance, I arrived there by focusing on the future and losing who I was. I arrived there slowly, little by little, ironically chasing money, and ignoring passion and purpose. Being poor in many ways taught me how to find value in the things that were free. 

A lot of success stories have come from people of low means. I am in no way a success story though. I am just a person who has lived his life. Explored the nooks, crannies, corners, and drained the batteries. Ive lived highs, and lived lows. Zigged when I should have zagged. Knocked down when I thought I was getting up. Every terrible situation offers you a chance to be better. No situation ever defines you, they create you, temper you, and mold you. The strength of that mold and the character that comes out lies in the secret of one decision. Happy or Sad. Cliche as you want it to be, its true. In this life you own nothing except your health and your happiness. The rest is just borrowed time, a lie, or a distraction. 

So Ive had a bad week, it cost me thousands, it hurt, it angered me, and it distracted me. It also made me better. I made some corrections, righted the ships at sea, reviewed some process's and ultimately have come out a little smarter, and more motivated. I just needed the moments, constant action. Everything you're going through does not define you, it does not limit you, except for the attention and energy you give to it. Theres always a chance to smile, a chance to take even a half step, a chance to begin to improve. Im with you in each of those steps. Trying to be better each day, I wear your same badges and scars. Embrace your community, tighten your circle, pick up a good book. Just smile. 

And yes, these blogs are as much for me as they are for you. 

Constant Action, Always forward, Despite Fear

-Tony

Start now, but prepare to start again...

One of the biggest tragedies of humanity that I have ever had the displeasure of observing is apprehension. Interestingly enough we are one of only a few species who are capable of scaring ourselves. Make no mistake, fear is an absolutely vital part of survival. Like "no honey, don't pet the saber-tooth tiger" sort of survival. Its just that fear has continued to evolve, warp and control us. In fact its the mechanism that most marketing actually feeds on. Ironic as that may seem, most of what we do or consume happens out of fear. Fear of missing out, fear of rejections, fear of death of course, fear of ridicule, or most commonly fear of failure. 

The most perplexing struggle of humanity is our inability to realize our own true potential. I often ponder what this world would be like if somehow, without limitation, every human was living to and realizing their potential. Could you imagine? Instead we live in a world where its more vital to actually control or diminish others potential. When you stop to critically think about all the natural "mechanisms" in place that we just accept as reality, you truly start to live. That however is a very long conversation, and one we cannot address in today mindset blog. It is, however, something you can begin doing. Question everything, and I don't necessarily mean in a defiance sort of way. 

Upon questioning, you should likely, if only by assumption, find some semblance of an answer. These answers offer enlightenment, perspective, and a change in perception usually. Much of what we consider reality, obstacle, or fear is simply just a byproduct of the mechanisms put in place. Im not offering you to become a cynic of society. That would be dismal, and I want you vibrant. I am offering the truth that as humans we tend to focus a little too much on the negative, and unfortunately we have created a world as such. That which stands in your way, is very often, if not always, the way. Tell yourself a different story, see it differently, achieve it. 

Understandably this is a long term mindset change, and it takes countless hours of diligence and fascination. Much of which I assume you as busy people have already resigned to "not having time for". Except its a lot simpler than you may think. In fact, anything you want, takes one moment of consciousness, decisiveness, and then just forward action. Then the trick is to do so even minimally every day. This isn't about success, or greatness, because Im not a success guy, Im a process guy. I love pursuits more than arrivals, moments, more than dreams. There is some necessity in this paradigm shift for all of you. 

We are sold success's. Cars, houses, incomes, dreams, vacations, happiness is even sold to us. All of which is sold as an endpoint. An acquisition if you just do the right things. Except no one tells you what those right things are, because process and progress is largely unmarketable. You're sold systems, and beliefs, and tools, and certifications, and countless other perhaps semi-necessary, or perhaps completely arbitrary distractions. The first vital part to your success is truly understanding what that looks like, and not what you have been sold. Strip it down, groom your goal down to the purpose, and that purpose is to add value to your life. Once you have clarity, start. Start small. Expect that its likely going to fail or be encumbered a few times, and you will inevitably need to start again. If its valuable, and its clear, and its passion driven you will maintain forward action. If its superfluous, vain, narcissistic, this does not work. 

Success chases passion, passion is bred by purpose, purpose is necessitated by excellence. Compile all the successful people you know, and you will find one infallible truth. They have always prioritized excellence of their purpose over everything else. Every great restaurant, every tech CEO, every great gym etc.. They all have an underlying truth, they love what they do, more than they love money or accomplishment. We unfortunately know them for their success's, acquisitions and powers likely. However these people found one thing they loved, and they did it every day, to the best of their ability, for excellence, never to be overachieved. Find the thing that excites you, and start, but also prepare to start again. 

Constant action, always forward, despite fear.

-Tony

I Am: Developing!

I grew up a little rowdy,  I remember one time my mother told me that my first enemy would more likely become my best friend, than he would be my enemy for too long. Honestly I never understood that statement then, I also never forgot it. Funny part is she was right and my childhood best friend was also the first person "I hated" (except I had no idea what hate meant at that age lol). Her statement in many ways stated something more in depth that Id come to learn later. That which you give your energy too will consume you, and those who come into your life, do so for a reason. Often times to challenge us, and if we choose, always to improve us. 

Tim Dougherty was this person to me. I in complete and utter honesty disliked him at first. For ultimately no reason. He was a threat and I categorized him unfairly that way. Tim bounced in and out casually a few years ago, and I resigned him to one of my coaches to "deal with" and was he ever high maintenance. Not only did he move like a rock, but ironically you also couldn't slow him down. He was like a runaway freight train.. Little did I know how impressive this capacity would prove to be for him later on. I judged him, and I was wrong, and this was only the first lesson he unknowingly taught me. 

Fast forward a year or two, and Tim created this service. A seemingly simple, basic nutritional delivery service. I watched like I do most things, until finally I needed to be involved. Lesson two was hubris, humility, and humbling. I picked up my phone and made contact, and also apologized for what he was truthfully unaware of. Tim in just his presence in my life had already made me better because he was challenging me. This would catapult him to a position of utmost importance to me. 

Lesson three was disposition. You see Tim and I were a lot alike. Similar past, outlook, energy, and competitive drive as well. So seeing myself in him was always quite simple. In many ways he was like a lesser haired looking glass, and admittedly way less body fat too.. However upon developing our friendship I was also granted a front row seat to one of the most empowering, impressive, and captivating personal evolutions I would ever see. Tim has had a huge influence in my life and he's someone I call a true friend, which is something of extreme value to me. However Tim isn't being highlighted here because of his role in my life. Tim is being highlighted here because of his own life. 

I am Developing.

Paradigm goes way beyond fitness for me. Previously I focused on the mirror and what song was in my iPod. Now I focus on movement and giving and receiving encouragement from others. Previously the gym was an escape and now its where I go to connect. The greatest value is my wife and Children are also there working out. For the first time we all have a common ground to talk about at the dinner table.

Paradigm is developing my movement, my friendships, and most importantly my Family, Paradigm strengthens my life in all ways.

-Tim Dougherty

In just a few short years, Tim has taken the world by storm. To do so, he simply opened his heart, embraced vulnerability, and his reach compounded. Many people know the Tim they see today, and that man deserves incredible respect. I know the Tim it took to get there, and that deserves even more. His compassion is infectious, his enthusiasm is motivating, and his disposition is life changing. Tim is one of the most incredible success stories I have ever seen, and I am honored to know that Paradigm has had a small part in that role. As one of the more inspiring stories in todays world I personally utilize his development as a measuring stick for myself. This is lesson #4 and all of which he never knew. 

Fast forward to today and our companies are completely intertwined, our families as well, and even our fitness. Not surprising, as our Core values align seamlessly. Tim and his family and the rest of Project Lean Nation are a breathing testament to the foundational value of growth from struggle, and that struggle is systemically administered here. We all get up together! Tim's success in life, family, health, and business is a snapshot of Paradigms Core Focus and Values, Health, Humanity, and Happiness. Theres no one better story to tell it. 

All of us here at Paradigm are endlessly proud of you sir, and I only hope I can do this incredible story just a little bit of justice. Heres to a thousand more WOD's, and endless personal growth good sir. You truly are "Developing" 

-Tony

If its mind over matter, whats it really matter?

Confession, its very easy to sit here and write a Blog about mindset with the sounds and views of waves crashing on the shore of Oahu. Theres little that could probably dissuade you from happiness here. (With the exception of everyone from home asking me if its actually snowing here. No! It isn't snowing) The ocean and location have more to do with this than you might understand. Travel changes you. Travel changed me. 

When I say travel, Im not exactly referring to a week in a different location, or a trip down the shore. Although they are still travel, the lessons are usually harder to see in these instances. Taking a trip to escape reality, oddly gives power to the reality you are trying to escape, dramatically limiting your capacity to truly surrender to the experience of a cultural change. I was one of these travelers, and ironically business travel was what made me learn this lesson. Perhaps it was being stuck with the locals, or maybe the frequency, or more likely because what I was doing in these locations was what I was doing at home. This made me look for the other moments, as this wasn't an escape from reality. The power of travel lies in its juxtaposition of your norms and perils, against the staunch reality that the world is bigger than your independent struggles. What you are going through simply does not matter in the grand scope of humanity. We have things we take for granted, others have things they do, we have luxuries others would dream of, and they have pleasantries that we will travel the world for. The reality is that no where, not even paradise will ever be perfect, and as such home is also not so bad. This is a powerful realization because it brings clarity to your wanton desires. What you seek is always within your grasp. Its the question of perspective and what you will do to achieve it. 

Clearly mindset fascinates me. Why can two people see the same problem, art, view, opportunity etc and have very different reactions? Where do we begin to venture differently, how does it happen, why? The human mind is an incredible tool, and gift. It can however be your biggest curse. Mine always was. I never believed that mindset had much to do with success, just hard work, some luck, and perseverance. In my travels I was challenged. Through various avenues, but mostly my existence, my position, and my outlook. This may be hard to understand, but it took numerous cultures, experiences, friendships, and opportunities for me to learn that obstacles are literally the way. (a great book that will, if you let it, change your views) Respectfully we don't all have the opportunity to embrace change in the face of frequent travels. So I attempt to write, and communicate, and explain this modicum via this medium. 

We as humanity have a tendency to view our circumstance as dire. Whatever it is, its the end. Maybe its age for me now, but Ive lived through a lot of ends. This may also lend to my inner calm now. Or maybe its just my impetuous nature has led me to more holy shit moments than most, so I have learned a few more lessons. Either way, my struggles have been growth. In order to grow in any respect we must face struggle, and do so willingly, intensely, and even vulnerably. (That last one took me years to learn) This is a lesson that Paradigm has been teaching you without necessarily ever saying it. Conditioning you for the growth of extreme struggles. 

Pre-Paradigm, most of us probably pursued fitness in some mediocre, or relatively intense manner. Some of us may have had success, some none. Regardless, we ended up here because we knew intrinsically that struggle and intensity creates change. We needed more. Thats why you're here. Facing your fears in workouts everyday you have no choice but to complete, and then do so with a score youre proud of on the board. Facing the reality that you struggle with a skill and that you will not proceed till you have mastered it. Realizing that even something as simple as fitness requires a comprehensive assessment of all life. Most of all though, by getting back up, you get up better. 

We have all gotten very good at this in CrossFit, in WOD's, in classes. What we need to do now though is start to see the correlations, see the value of your struggles and success in here and apply these lessons to the world out there. Every day is no different than reading that whiteboard. There are countless things, and moments you won't want to do that you will have to, to move to tomorrow. Or you can put them off, move around them, and ignore them, and be stuck metaphorically in the third of five rounds. Your willingness to keep moving despite feeling like death is creeping up your heels mid workout, is no different than embracing the obstacle and maintaining forward momentum.

After all these mindset blogs, you should, I hope start to see that the only thing that ever matters is how you view anything. The only thing that we ever have true control over is our mindset and perspective. Find opportunity and lesson in every moment, especially the ones you want the least. Your mind determines what matters, what matters doesn't determine your mind. What you seek to achieve is within your ability to see. Move toward what you want, and straight through what stands in your way. You'll appreciate the moments more. 

Constant action, always forward, despite fear. 

-Tony

Run into the Fire

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. 
-Buddha

A life without passion is probably the scariest, but realest thing I have stumbled upon. Now, as always i have a disclaimer. I don't actually want anyone running into fires. Unless of course that is what you're passionate about, then do the shit out of it, and please tell me all about it. What this is about, is doing what excites you, what drives you, and most importantly also what scares you. 

The successful run into the fire, the complacent merely get burned. Passion draws them in, excitement determines them, and faith fortifies their launch. The calling and need to feel the flames lick their skin and they rush through feeling the exhilaration of chasing the unknown. The others simply get close enough to feel the heat and the potential for burn and they turn back. 

This is another blog on mindset. The only thing, every day, that you, and only you have complete control over. Fear controls us. Logic reassures us this is a good thing. Frankly its thousands of years of evolution, trying to not be eaten by sabertooth tigers that is probably responsible for this. No-where did the the universe expect us to become the lifeless herds we have become. Perpetuating someone else's dreams, passion less, and no fire inside. We do whats easy, and we do it every day till its all over. This is a thousand deaths, I would like to die but once. A life unimagined is no life at all. This applies everywhere but also to your pursuit of health and fitness. 

Im not sure there are many places, or industries with more cautions, snake oils, rationale, and blatant f***ing lies. I have a confession, I could absolutely create a thriving business catering to and manipulating your fears. Making you believe you need us, or that we know everything, and that we have the answers. We don't, you do. Your health lies within you, and that is a simple decision to do what others won't so you can have the life that others do not want you to have. Simply because they would not run into that fire. Some of course mean well, some of course are simply resentful. Regardless of their intention, greatness lies just outside their comprehension. We've maybe just built you a really great arena to fan your fires.

Im not saying that in every fear lies a golden egg. It doesn't. Some, like running from a tiger are simply about making it to next Christmas. (But I bet that is super exhilarating. Ill just take someones word for that) On a more metaphorical level though the tiger is also the seemingly unattainable. Perhaps you will never make a billion dollars, but you could try. Perhaps you will never run a sub 5:00 mile, but you could try. Perhaps you won't own that successful restaurant you've dreamt of, but you could try. Its never the achievement. You have to realize this. That goal, that fire, that dream is never the accomplishment. It seems it the entire time. Its never till you arrive that you realize that a) the road goes on b) the path to here was the true accomplishment. The success lies in each step, because I can promise you once you attain whatever you are looking for, you will go for more. You will also be able to do so from what you've learned along the way. 

This is the irony of how fear kills us, instead of keeping us alive. Prevents us from learning, failing, succeeding, and evolving. Keeping us in one place, one state, one purgatory for the rest of our moments. I don't care what it is that excites you. Do it, do it big, do it little, just do it now, in some fashion. I cannot tell you enough the power of perpetual motion. I also cannot warn you enough of the power of fear, and doubt. Each of you reading this, including the successful are powerful beyond measure, even more so than you have already realized. You simply need to change the story you tell yourself. You deserve nothing, you earn everything, cherish each moment, do not kill time, drain your battery, and do it, doing what excites you. 

I write a lot of abstract philosophical pieces for you all, and I honestly have no idea who, if any relates to it. I am simply telling my story. The lessons I have learned about how I, myself, was always my biggest obstacle. No one will stand in your way more than yourself, change the story. If I can get only one of you to relate to these messages, I will have ran into my fire and catered to my purpose. All I need and want is to see you all fail, this is limits of our exposure, this is where we grow and evolve, and this is where I know you have run into your fire. 

Constant action, always forward, despite fear. 

-Tony 

Does it really matter?

If you've read a couple or, or any of, the blogs I have "written" you're pretty aware of my poor sentence structure, bad grammar, and hopefully my honesty. Most of everything I write comes from my personal perspective, but also serves as a way to be directly honest. 

For example; I struggle all the time. Every day in fact with the meaning of all of this. As abstract as that may seem, what Im referring to is why put in all this work? You, not me. Why keep pushing them, why keep testing them, why do I care so much about the details, the form, the nutrition, all these seeming restrictions? Why can't I just let them live their life a little simpler? Is it all necessary?

Ill be brutally honest and tell you I perhaps don't know. To be clear there is one million plus ways you can still get a good workout. Want an example? Scroll through your popular feed on instagram, and you will have no shortage of what the f*** moments. People actually think thats a workout? Wheres the rest of that rep, its called a squat for christ sake, not just a dip? Its so bad, that at one point I actually banned myself from the popular tab for 30 days. Besides being a literal collection of everything you do not have, I just couldn't help the stupid. 

Fitness is relative. Everything hurts. Don't believe me? Go step by step up 3-4 flights of stairs and tell me that you're not a "little winded" or feel a little tingle in the legs. You see, most people feel this and think "Yes I just got a good workout in, that was pretty hard". Except my stairway isn't full of people selling themselves lies. Simply because theres even less people who actually bother to feel that relative intensity. We have an Elevator.. This happens on a more peculiar level inside "globo-gyms", anything that happens under those roofs can be deemed fitness, upon the fact that it happened in a gym. Like a one hour walk on an elliptical.. 

Fitness and subsequent suffering is second nature to us, we have realized a gear and intensity that 95% of the world will be completely unaware they are capable of. To them, were masochists. They don't understand why we would, or how we can do that to ourselves. Except, they don't realize, or make the effort to realize that they are human too. Our needs all differ only by degree not by kind. This is when I start to remember our why. Make no mistake, any small effort to improve oneself is admirable. I make no judgements on anyone who does any thing to improve themselves in even the smallest of steps. Change is not quick, and large, its strategic, systematic, constant small steps. Most just don't have a path, so they confuse these steps with wandering aimlessly around the graveyard till they hope to stumble upon the stone.

Don't confuse walking in circles, with forward momentum. 

Here is where the range of motion starts to matter, the heart rate, the respiratory rate, the fatigue, the neurological conditioning, the fuel, and the organization begins to matter. Perhaps all roads to lead to Rome. (Rome is fitness in case you missed that) The most direct might just have the most obstacles, challenges, and fears. Unfortunately most would veer from that road just based on perception. We know that in all of those obstacles and challenges there are distinct opportunities to improve. I guess we could take the long easier path, but we would arrive later, less prepared, and far less experienced. Turns out were not all that equal in Roman, despite all being considered Romans. 

I always want to talk about science, and theory in these blogs. However after 11 years of CrossFit and 6 years of Paradigm, its not the science thats ever mattered. Its always the mindset. The mind leads the body. The science changes the body. The body leads the life. How you do anything, is how you do everything, and this also applies to how you view it. See obstacles, you turn away. See opportunities you move forward. The trick here has always been turning what seems like obstacles to so many people into opportunities for you all.

The world will hand you all the reasons why you don't need to do any of this. I will give you one reason why you do. You get one life, and its getting shorter with every second. Its up to you, 1/4 squat your way to believing your fit, or exhaust every fiber of your being? This is exactly how I want to look back at my story. Every stone turned, every corner explored, every smile had, every battery drained, a life completely lived. Here is when I remember our purpose in all of this. We create, health, humanity, and happiness here. This is our passion, this is our purpose. Those three things are our reason for breathing. Those three things demand the details. So, yeah, I guess it is all necessary. Its just that only you guys under this roof will truly ever understand that, and were 100% ok with that. Were happy you're here! 

-Tony

Meditate on your Mortality

Although that title may sound a bit morbid, I can explain. I don't want you fixated on death, or in some way stressing or fearing it. What I would like is a paradigm shift again. The Romans called this Memento Mori, "remember that you must die". Although this has ironically little to do with the reality of death, but more so the opportunities of life. I realize were approaching halloween, but Im not fixated on death and skeletons don't worry. While keeping with this them of mindsets and perceptions its important to be avidly present in every moment. To embrace struggle and obstacle, to always be moving forward, to take action, we need to embrace one stark reality. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. 

What if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, that you had some rare terminal disease and it was all coming to an end. What would you do with your final moments? The interesting thing here is those moments are identified as our most important, the activities, ideas, or plans are perhaps our most coveted. However you're not likely dying, not soon anyway. This opposing reality creates a lot of problems. More along the lines of "Ill get to it eventually" or similar type time insensitive motivations. You are absolutely going to die, and there is literally no way to stop it. Do not put off for tomorrow, what can be done today. 

By meditating or being mindful of this reality, you actually free yourself from it. By turning this massive unavoidable obstacle that would be the end of your life into an opportunity to motivate you, and bring some clarity. I respect this is a very hard read, morbid, insensitive, and dark. This is the world we live in, and avoidance of the capricious nature of life. Our worlds are built around us on these opportunities, and shiny things. Things that allow our focus to be lost. Our attentions distracted, if even for a moment. We live in an instant society, which gives a false narrative of time. Its the one thing that we are constantly losing, but we are always ignoring. 

So now we know were not going to live forever.. Lets stop living like we have all the time in the world. Every moment is as important as the last and next. In each of these moments are opportunities to be present, resolute, and otherwise happy. By changing your focus to your past, the future, or anywhere other than the moment, you lose a distinct clarity that only this mindfulness of mortality can provide. So why am I discussing this in a fitness blog? Well lets be clear, this is a wellness blog, and that includes mindfulness, mindset, health, performance, and happiness etc. This is also because the biggest deterrent to daily locomotion is presumption of time. "Ill start monday" "I need to be in shape first" "I can't because__" Those are all false precepts of a narrative that assumes time is guaranteed. It is not, lets be assertive here. This also suggests or posits that success can be lumped into one time sensitive activity, as opposed to the constant incremental forward focus and action. 

Time is not guaranteed, it is a gift, you don't have to do anything, you get to. Things do not need to be put off to later, but addressed simply, deliberately and incrementally. Your life, your goals, your success's are within each moment. Learn to appreciate the capriciousness of life, not ignore it, you will find a sense of urgency, calm, and motivation that only mortality can truly provide and remind. 

Constant Action, Always forward, Despite Fear! 

-Tony

 

I am: Strong!

Lets start with a story shall we? Once upon a time... Ok, maybe not that extreme. Few people know the background story to Paradigm, and in order to tell this story, Im going to need to start there. As an 11 year CrossFitter, I was approaching my 5th year in CrossFit, my 9th year as a Gymnastics Coach, and Gym owner. Naturally the two had a perfect segue into each other. My athletes were doing CrossFit, I was inspired by them, so I was doing more CrossFit and ultimately that landed us at an impasse. They needed more so they could continue their athletic progress, and I had the space. So I put down all the money I could come up with and created this Paradigm Idea. The original intention, and where we are now couldn't be any different. Much of this responsibility lies in one interaction. 

After assembly of the equipment, Paradigms model was to develop athletes. As an aside I thought it would be of value to train a couple of athlete-parents to help offset some of the cost. This mostly happened when I was approached for help and knowing what I knew about CrossFit I knew I could help. 

Amy Papke was one of those core parents. (literally) She is my longest standing member, and has been here since the beginning. This story is about what she did for me, the business model, and in exchange herself. She will likely kill me for this post but here goes. Amy was not some success story waiting to happen. She wasn't morbidly obese, de-conditioned, or otherwise decrepit. No, she in many ways was a perfect depiction of the masses, easily identifiable as attractive. What Amy was perhaps was more inspiring to me. She was a pretty woman, in her prime, seemingly fit, and otherwise happy. However it wasn't until she found CrossFit I saw her truly light up. Those things on the outside were honestly only a glimmer of what I saw come alive in her. She found passion, youthfulness, health, happiness and a place she called home. This to me was earth shattering. I knew I could teach fitness and movement, I wasn't so sure I could create humanity, community, or relative happiness besides goals though. Amy showed me a different path, an opportunity I couldn't Ignore. Amy has and will always serve as my Icon of Community. What I saw Amy accomplish in her personal growth crushed her physical goals, and my expectations for her. I was never going to look back. Paradigm was for the people from this day forward, not just the athletes. We were going to change lives, not just trophies. I owe to this to Amy. 

I don't want to sell Amys success's short either. In her 6 years here, she's accrued over 1500 classes, she's smashed quantifiable fitness goals, and to be honest looks way better having done so. She's squatted almost twice her bodyweight, Deadlifted more tonnage than some forklifts, decreased her mile time, has muscle ups, strict pull ups, perfect push ups, Hand-stand push ups, and Clean and Jerks like a boss. All while smiling and looking incredible doing it. I clearly am very proud of her, maybe I don't tell her enough, but thats because I think she's still just beginning.. Amy is an Icon at Paradigm, and our first 1500 member. Lets let her tell us what Paradigm means to her: 

PARADIGM………

Friends, Fitness, Support, Fitness, Motivation, Confidence, Healthy

 

These are all words that describe Crossfit Paradigm Performance. The last month for me personally has been very strange and unreal to me, I never could have imagined this situation. Spending two weeks of the month in the hospital, having two unrelated surgeries in a week and not being able to work out has been very frustrating and stressful. The support myself and my family received from my friends at P2 during this time has been unbelievable, without them this month would have been even more stressful. From my friends texting me asking me how I am doing to them asking if I need anything to them just letting me vent about how stressed I was and at one point how scared I was.  Jen Ignizio starting a meal train, all the people who provided dinners for us for a week, I’m still in awe, these people are true friends. If I had not been fittish while going through all this, my recovery time would have been much longer. We are a family, there is no judging, only encouragement no matter what.  Because of P2 being a family I had the confidence to come back even though I’m not where I was a month ago, I’ll get back there and beyond. Every day I was on face book looking to see what the workouts were and no matter what they were, I wished every day I could be there for every one of them. I thought about the normal everyday discussions we always had the gym standing in front of the white board about how bad the workout was going to be for some reason or another.  Every day I laid in that hospital bed I realized how lucky we are to have the ability to work out, no matter how hard or how easy we are lucky to be able to do it.  I also realized how different it is when you choose not to work out for one or two or three days or however many it may be than when you have no choice. There were days I cried because I just wanted to get up and get to the gym but could not and not by choice. As you can tell P2 means a lot to me for multiple reasons, the friendships old and new, the coaches and the support, encouragement and motivation that is given by all at the gym.  I cannot thank everyone enough for everything they have done and the support they have given me and my family.

This is what Paradigm is really about. The community, the friendship and the support. None of this would have been possible if Amy wasn't one of the first ones to ever ask for my help. Amy chose Strong as her word for "I am __" To most they would assume that just meant physical, to her, to us, we know it relates specifically to every aspect of her life now, not just her performance.