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. 

 

Magic is in the Movement

Show of hands, who's got a "mobility" issue? I suspect that was more unanimous than this semblance of an election, but we won't get into politics here. We will get into making you all better, and starting with improving movement! Coming on the tail end of a conversation with the 10am class about restoring some lost range of motion, I thought it was worthy to hit broadcast to the rest of us on this misunderstood concept. 

The key to restoring all movement is and always will be simply movement. It need not be as complicated as we, or the industry makes it. The question, or obstacle comes in, when we are so physically limited that we are not capable of getting ourselves into position. A position of potential. It might be a notable question to you why were always putting lacrosse balls in painful places etc. I promise its not just so we can see your private face! 

Addressing everyones deficiencies is a bit cumbersome and tedious. So we compile data, averages, and generalities and come up with our list of most effective, and common practices. Because above all else restoring movement takes consistency. When administering soft tissue correction which is what you use the balls for, were freeing up a short term range of motion. Without getting into lengthy and boring anatomy, we are essentially tricking the muscle or area into thinking its under load and to release tension to protect itself. This window of increased flexibility only really lasts on the high side of 3-15 mins respectively. Its what we do in this time that is so important. Compound, functional movement. 

Theres two considerations to be made, or standards of excellence needed with this approach. The first of which is to work through the problem area, not around it. In a lot of these drills, I see you all soften an elbow here, release some weight there, or move the joint in the path of least resistance. Most importantly is understanding the integrity of the movement of the joint/limb, etc. and working at your end range, not around it. By doing this were able to stretch the tissue, pin it down, and subsequently release it. Softening your elbow etc, does not allow for the loading of the tissue and in some cases negates even addressing the problem. The second consideration is on quality of movement post mobility. We typically mobilize before skill work, this is to allow you to focus on mechanics, and consistency, and not intensity. If you're going to just do the mobility work and then go slog through some movement, there is literally no help for you there. 

Assuming you tensioned the system, and optimized your position, and then moved virtuously, the sad part is that upon concluding this extravaganza you're going to lose it all in a short window of time. However before you get sad, or mad, the answer to this is simply consistency. If were addressing this frequently, as in daily, and moving virtuously as much as possible you have a recipe for a very healthy pursuit of fitness. This is why were constantly addressing the drills we use. Simply for consistency. There are countless other things you can and should be doing, these are just the ones who pay the largest, broadest dividends for us. Improving human movement will always be a personal pursuit. As always, the key is always on quality. Strive every day in everything to do it the best and you will succeed. 

-Tony

Take Action!

In the most capable of times, we have the most reluctance. It would be almost laughable if it weren't so perplexing. In no time in history have we had such access to information, culture, mentors, and countless other means of self assistance. Yet, despite this reality, we find ourselves stuck. Steadfast in a swamp of reasons why not, instead of reasons why. Too old, to fat, too young, too old, too poor, too busy. Maybe this is a timeless human characteristic, I just find this behavior to be increasing. Maybe with the excess availability of the world around us, some don't see opportunity, but constant reminders of the fast pace, unforgiving nature of the world. This is perspective, your perception of the world around you. Why choose oppression, when opportunity is so apparent? For whatever reason, we do though. 

The power of compound interest is undeniable. Im not referring to your non existent savings account either. I am referring to the result of constant action. In one blog Im not going to change your view of the world, and perhaps not even your view of yourself. I can however tell you how to right the ship in port. To take the first step, to take action against all the insurmountable odds you have calculated. We keep score, its in our nature. We calculate, add, and compile lists of why things aren't in our favor, and all the while giving them more power over us, than a list of reasons why this might just work. To get that wall to fall, you simply just need to start. To build a home, it takes but one board at a time. An object set in motion will remain in motion, just as well as an object at rest will stay there, both until acted upon. Your goal is clear the obstacles one at a time from the path. Not to divert from the path and obstacles. Unfortunately we tend to see the sum of all obstacles at first glance, and therefore lose all hope. Find me a handful of your most respected, successful people. Your list will likely not be made of a group of people who do one thing extremely well, but multiple things well. Choosing to do something the best is an undeniable accolade if accomplished. The interesting paradox is the amount of things that cannot be done well by the same person. Doing 2 or 3 things you just become busy. Choosing to do 5 or 6 things and interestingly all of them seem to get better. One would always assume the opposite. This is the power of compound interest, steadfast action, concurrent progress. 

Here you have a pile of goals, things you want to achieve. Fixated on the end goal. What you have is several paths, and a pile of obstacles. Each obstacle a milestone and opportunity to learn and be better than you were before it. When you do arrive at that goal it is rarely ever the destination that matters, but the lessons and experiences along the way. You just need to take action. Theres no real justification of chasing one task at a time, at the expense of the other learned opportunities. Decide now, this moment who you want to be, where, even what. Then act. Stop giving me the list of reasons why not. Move with cadence and confidence toward each of those reasons, address them, learn from them, move to the next one. 

Before you right this off as philosophical bullshit, I will concede, it is. This is one hundred percent philosophy. Except philosophy is ironically demonstrated by talking about thinking and action. However Philosophy is nothing more than action in reality. A belief, a resilience, and resounding persistence to how you perceive the world and opportunities in it. Take action, move, keep moving, it doesn't need to be quickly, effortlessly, or unimpeded. 

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." 
-Marcus Aurelius

-Tony

Whats in a Name?

When I launched the new site, I hit a button. This button although simple took me almost a year to hit.. Im not afraid of change. I actually love it. I was afraid of upsetting the status quo though. Upon considering how Id feel about you guys letting discomfort manage your decisions I went for it. Upon doing so lost 400+ Blogs I had written. Should I be mad? At first I was pretty sad, then I realized like most obstacles, that this is just an opportunity to get better. Now I can update all the old content, practice writing some more, add new insight to outdated information etc. Is it gone? Yes. Is it a problem? No, its an opportunity. 

This type of perspective plays out every day, multiple times a day for you. Perception, and perspective have always fascinated me. What makes two people, in seemingly identical situations look at something, and act completely independently of each other? Why do I see opportunity, when you see failure? Why do you see promise, and I may see struggle? Im not entirely sure when this observation took place for me. Or if it was even a moment at all. It was more likely a culmination of events that made me acutely aware of the disparity of perspective. I obviously didn't take a conventional route in life. I perhaps took the most complicated route. Choosing to be a staunch contrarian, anti-establishment, autodidact punk really. I didn't set out this way because It seemed like a good idea. To be honest I did it because I didn't care about anything. This would take me years to come back from.. 

In many ways the first steps of my recovery from egotism was the consciousness of Paradigms. Being able to see things from completely different or fresh perspectives. This 100% is a product of my struggles. I whole heartedly believe that had I taken a conventional route, I wouldn't have become so keenly aware of this "fresh perspective" phenomenon. Largely because I would have just kept trudging on in my linear path, and unlikely that I would have noticed so many different ways "to skin a cat". If you asked me one thing thats paramount to any one persons success, its the value of a Paradigm Shift. The ability to understand that anything can be solved in a number of ways, not just one, and that every obstacle and its subsequent solution is simply about how you choose to look at it. This principle is so important in my life I named the whole gym after it! 

Paradigm was chosen, not just because it sounds cool. (I'm biased) It was chosen because as you all take foray into personal development your paradigm will become your guiding principle. As you approach new tasks, obstacles and events, how you look at them-yourself-training, and the space around you will be key to your developmental success. On day one you will see immovable barbells, complex gymnastics elements, insurmountable running distances, and a multitude of other life metaphors played out in fitness equipment. However as the days strip away we as coaches will begin to break these monumentous tasks into singular thought. Delineating a symphony of movement down to one key note before another. 

Its this metaphor I hoped to drive home over and over again in your pursuit of fitness. Simplifying lecture, and coaching into digestible focus. Assisting in achieving goals that you should have once likely thought impossible. Even more so, I was hoping this conditioning of the mind would play itself into the hours and moments outside of the gym. Into work, family, relationships, success and problems. Placing you under adversity and complexity daily, yet simplifying equally, wasn't just about making you stronger, leaner, and faster. I hoped to make you more successful, positive, optimistic, and clear headed as well. Seeing things from a different point of view, should help you see from others point of view. It should help you see simplicity in complexity. It should help you see promise in adversity. The value of an obstacle as an opportunity to improve, rather than a reason to turn back. 

This is why we are named Paradigm. Lets start seeing the world differently. 

-Tony

"You want me to do how many reps?"

Its that time of the year again... 20RM season! This for most of you will be wretched, some may even have PTSD from the last time, and some of you may even enjoy it. Regardless of how you feel about it, I can promise you, you will be stronger by the end of it. It is just so bad in process, that its deserving of explanation. 

We spend a great deal of the year, upwards of 70% probably in the pursuit of absolute strength. This can be more commonly identified as your PR's or 1RM's. While these numbers are telling or suggestive of your fitness, they don't often have a direct correlation to your work capacity. What I mean is, life will certainly ask you to pick up something heavy, its a lot more common to need to pick it up or do it repeatedly though. Think yard work, helping a friend move, stacking wood etc. As fun as that analog is, its only part of the story. In your development, were absolutely trying to make you stronger, and subsequently fitter. To simply increase your max output, without also increasing your repeatability would be simply foolish, and unfortunately common. This is why you you saw a heavy squat cycle lead to a heavy maintenance cycle, and now to a volume density cycle. 

The 20rm despite being terrible has some unique benefits. The first of which is breathing. The reason these are often called "Breathing Squats". Being at a low percentage of your max, one of the big limitations here is simply your breathing. Not only your breathing, but the prolonged time under tension with limited breathing leads to a severe degradation of midline stability. This is often felt on rep 15 and your low back wants to simply separate itself. The next unique attribute builds off the last in that it demands form. Spending that much time under tension, with a large load, and such a compound multi joint movement, requires that each rep be as fundamentally sound as possible. Have a squat asymmetry or fault? Rep 11-20 will be a great learning experience for you. The last attribute of value is in increased work capacity. By spending the majority of the year building up your raw strength, the most important number in your measurement of fitness is how high a percentage of that raw strength you can move more than once, and frankly more than a handful. CrossFit athletes will be unique to most strength athletes in that their absolute strength will be respectably high, but even more notably, their ability to move 90% for large sets rather efficiently. This cycle is how we build that efficacy. 

Assuming this is your first exploration into the cave of 20RM, let me translate some of the cave drawings you will see. First of all the difference in you from day 1-week 1, to day 2-week 4, will look something more like Tom Hanks in Castaway, please don't bring your own Wilson. Its ok to keep up your hygiene, although I assure you, you will be feeling very barbaric. The voices in your head become a cast of characters from reps 1-20, and none of them after rep 7 have anything nice to say. After reps 15 they likely are even insulting your mother for your creation. Rep 1 you will feel like anything is possible, the world is now your oyster. Rep 5, you should find some comfort in your strengths, "Im strong like Bull". Rep 7, Ive now reverted to my pre-pubescent strength levels, "Anyone seen my hammies??" Rep 10, "Ive made a bad choice" Rep 15, "God is that you?" Rep 17, "Quick someone prepend 911". Rep 18, "Hey Jesus, nice sandals, I can't bare to look you in the eyes because failure is imminent" Rep 19, "please no... Who put more weight on my bar" Rep 20, "Yes its ove..... [guttural yell], I am all that is... Fuck this get this thing off me" 

This in all of its enjoyable traits is by far one of the most productive squat cycles you can partake in. If your fitness goals are increased work capacity across broad times and modal domains. I promise this has nothing to do with trying to kill you. The last most important part is its simple, not easy. Its 20 Reps and its over. Next time you add a little bit of weight and do it again. Simple as that.  

I want you to fail!

What if I told you that all of your failures, were worth more than any one achievement. You'll either stop reading right here and think Im crazy, ponder this concept, or argue it vehemently. So before you pass your judgement let me explain. Naturally, you likely have filed all of your successes as crowning achievements or moments. As you should. While filing the failures along the way as garbage. Except, they are what brought you to that moment, not a magic lamp. Sure there will be a few key moments of luck in your life if you're "lucky" but lets be real, everything else you've accomplished is nothing more than a culmination of all of your mistakes. 

As a Coach I have a unique opportunity to see growth. Its a terribly empowering thing to watch and admire, and honestly it changes you. Watching someone grow is very motivating, and I don't just mean in size. A conversation that Ive had a few times lately has been whats your favorite part of your day? I live my dream so its all pretty fun, but the highlight, or the moments I more often than not go to bed thinking about is seeing you guys fail. Seeing athlete x come in and fail over and over in an attempt at a bar muscle up. This has nothing to do with me thinking its funny. Even though some times it is. It has everything to do with seeing someone find hope, excitement, faith, eagerness, and confidence. Seeing someone say "I think I can do that" is absolutely incredible. Simply because I don't work with all sorts of alpha males, and high level athletes. Were all normal, run of the mill, humans. Most of which, before walking in here, had written their life off as terminal, or matter of fact. Upon entering, everything changed. They found faith in themselves, belief in the future, hope, excitement, all the things that they thought age stole from them. This is how I go to bed with a smile. 

In our pursuits, we measure our milestones by our successes. However I implore you to find solace and excitement in your failures. Your willingness to try new things will almost certainly be met with failure, and likely the next few times. Its the fact you're trying that matters. Don't get me wrong no one wants to see your success story like I do. I just love seeing all the chapters in that story just as much. You are a collection of your failures, its up to you what they are going to say about you. 

The space between you, and success.

If your looking for financial tips, its not here. What is here is some advice regarding your Gymnastics. Except let me delineate that term. Were simply defining Gymnastics as your ability to move your bodyweight, with efficacy, and efficiency, then and only then intensity. 

With respect to the term Gymnastics, and your respective goals in Gymnastics, I completely understand its not likely you said "I just want to move better", you more likely aspire for something sexy like a Muscle up, or HSPU, or maybe even a Lever. Whatever party trick you're chasing the devil is in the details. While any of the above sex symbols are absolutely demonstrations of your fitness, they're also demonstrations of your foundations. That, at its core is why they are demonstrations of fitness. Human nature draws us to complexity, and vanity, both of which are alway seeded in the background work. With the exception of maybe vanity, your born with that, or maybe its maybelline. 

Thing is, I want you all to achieve those big goals. Those large scale multi-joint, complex demonstrations of coordination. Except, even more so, I want you demonstrate basic human movement with virtuosity. Theres always a fast road, or left lane, and some people will be blessed with the opportunity to jump the shark and hodgepodge the skill together. Thats cool, just not very efficient. Some of us will be able to do the components independently, but not in entirety, not much efficacy there. The missing link is the linear progression of mechanics, consistency, intensity, or foundations, progression, virtuosity. 

We've set you all up for success here, we drill the foundations of Gymnastics regularly. We don't often drill the larger skills though, and some of you maybe asking why, or may even be frustrated and assume thats why you're not progressing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Were just laying the foundation. We haven't gotten to the rafters. However if the foundation is laid correctly, everything goes up easier, but stands for much longer. Im not trying to falsely validate our process or justify it. Im simply conveying the experience that hundreds of hours coaching, teaching, traveling, and learning have shown me. 

Everyday I try to make you better, and at the same time try to slow you down. If you do this right you have the rest of your life to keep practicing. I completely respect the urgency of which you want to be better. Understand though, that we often see much further ahead of you than you are capable of. So when we drill you on something you are so sick of drilling, lose the frustration, embrace the element, strive for perfection, utilize every second of each rep, this is the distance between you and your success. This is where lives are changed. We don't just arrive at our goals. 

See you for the long road,

-Tony

Education for Inspiration.

Lots of roads lead to fitness and accomplishment. The "many ways to skin a cat" adage is accurate. Although I really hope no cats were ever skinned. Interesting, that statement.. Anyway the point here is the process, and the path chosen. I seem to have had an increasing number of conversations lately regarding the open source of CrossFit and knowledge. This theorem creates an phenomena where Ive never seen such a large group of individuals with collective knowledge, sharing and working together to move everyone forward. 

Coaches, Trainers, etc fall into in my opinion; new and old method. The old method of training, coaching, and developing was an otherwise closed field in which you protected your knowledge because that is how you derived your value. What you knew made you special, and the degree of which made you valuable over the competition. The new method is quite the opposite. An open source model that I think many of you are unaware of. This, no matter what you do for fitness is unarguably the result of CrossFit, 100%. 

Many will find success in simply training an individual. I can absolutely help you arrive at your goals with you being none the wiser as to how we did it. Except for some sweat, and personal breakdowns. The other option is to lead with education first, a why to every how. An explanation before declaration. This is how we do things, this is the CrossFit Model, this is the Paradigm Shift. This is not the norm outside these walls. Something I often forget or take for granted. Having met hundreds, or thousands of coaches from varying backgrounds serves as a reminder. The industry is changing, albeit slowly, but changing none the less. Some are trying to clone, copy, or emulate, others are changing themselves. The later creating far more success. This however isn't about other people. Its about what we think makes us different, what we think makes us Coaches and not Trainers. 

A Confession, I've never been good at much, great at nothing. Ive failed at a lot of things, learned some lessons sure, but Ive never been "the guy". I certainly was not your definitive athlete growing up, I was just plain awkward. I never had abs, a muscular build, or any respectable amount of athleticism. Enter my 20's and that got worse. Bad habits went worse, and so did my health. Somewhere at rock bottom I found this website, CrossFit.com. Tried a workout, admittedly nearly died, got written up by my globo gym, and never looked back. That was 11 years ago. Obviously you're reading this on my website, clearly CrossFit changed my life. Just how it did that is the unique part. 

Ive never been good at much, because I have the willpower of an addict, and attention span of dog. I love the beginnings, and never saw the ends. Big eyes and a weak heart I guess. I always fell in love with ideas, without the strength to follow through. ON EVERYTHING! Little did I know what a bunch of short miserable workouts would do for my character, my work ethic, my mental fortitude, and perseverance. This might sound "hokey" but its as real as I can get. 

CrossFit first worked by breaking me. No, not injury, but Emotionally, mentally, egotistically. Growing up quite insecure, those insecurities created a false wall of arrogance. I hated myself so I never could bare hearing anyone else tell me what I did wrong. The funny thing about CrossFit is somewhere in those 5 rounds of something, no one needs to yell at you to tell you you need to be better. You become hyper aware.. Through years of struggle, came progress. Facing your weakness everyday will change a man. I often forget how easy the world makes it to avoid your weakness. Having faced myself for 11 years now, I have become a much better man. This is thanks to CrossFit. 

CrossFit next worked by teaching me commitment. Easily one of the things I struggled with most in any goal. I never could stick something out. If it wasn't boredom that beat me, it was frustration, or arrogance. Showing up everyday was once the hardest thing I had ever done, soon it became harder not to show up. Not at all because it was fun, but because I began to learn that struggles and obstacles are the way. Any day I didn't show up, I made a decision to be closer to the old me, and I had done too much work to let that happen. This came as a physical reminder every time I let one rest day turn to two, then three and maybe throw a weekend in. Id walk in on monday, and by the end vow to never take time off again. Except I still did. Sometimes for months. Old habits die hard. I wanted to Hate CrossFit, I couldn't break it. Instead it broke me, taught me the hard way, the only way to accomplish anything is to work my ass off, and do it every damn day. 

CrossFit next taught me patience. Id be lying if I said I didn't think I could do this for a month or two, get jacked and go back to being a slug. I wanted to do the minimum, absolutely. I deplored that no matter what the goal I set, CrossFit showed me that theres only one road to it. Virtuosity, and that road takes a long time. The hardest part was realizing how much of my life I spent trying to cheat the pursuit, hoping Id just arrive without the struggle. Every knew skill I learned quickly in CrossFit, I inevitably have had to relearn the "right way". Some skills still elude me. I am ok with that though, Im on the right road. Sounds kind of like "Life" huh?

CrossFit most importantly taught me. Not only was it changing me as a person physically, psychologically, emotionally, and aspirationally. It was also teaching me. Without an expanse of physical experience in my background I had to learn everything. Without being an athlete I had to learn everything. Without a coach, I had to learn everything. I didn't have the luxury of a CrossFit Gym 11 years ago, not like you guys do now. I only had the website CrossFit.com, the journal, and the Forum. Yes, a forum. This forum was for all intents and purposes my gym. This was my community that drove me forward when I just wanted to quit. This was my first exposure to an open source model of information. 

At the time I was already a Gymnastics coach, and a self taught one. Trying to be an autodidact in the Gymnastics world, is all but impossible. No one ever wanted to teach me anything. I just didn't have a choice, I had to learn. The struggle was real. Then when I found CrossFit, one of the most surprising parts to me was just how forthright not only Coach Glassman was, but all the coaches I came in contact with. Everyone wanted to help. I needed to be a part of this community more! This is where my transition started. Much of what you all know of the Tony you know now, is largely due to the years of exposure to this CrossFit model. People like Jeff Tucker were instrumental in my success, development, and subsequently my transformation. This is when I learned one lesson, that formed the mission statement of Paradigm. Education before presentation. 

Whether its aware to you or not what we do here physically isn't ground breaking. Its not "new" by anatomical, or physiological standards. It is however different in that we want you to not need us. Yes, I want you to not need to be here to continue your growth. I do however want you to want to be here because you respect your personal growth within these walls. My only goal is to educate as to why we do what we do, not just how to do it. If this all ended tomorrow, I enjoy knowing that you all are irreversibly better people for your time youve spent here. This is the Community we have built. A co-op of experience and education all assembled with the infallible goal of moving forward together. This is, at its core, the CrossFit method. 

I hope you too can gain control over this feeble thing called life, understand your health is a choice, not a set of bio-markers, and that your goals are within you capacity whether current or future. In 11 years I haven't accomplished much in competitive standards of CrossFit, my time invested didn't earn me a spot to the CrossFit games, nothing here is given, its earned. This includes my health, for the first time in my life I have control of my health and happiness, this is all I can ever wish for for everyone of you! 

-Tony

Fitness, Luck, Health -CrossFit

Adapted from CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman’s Level 1 Certificate Course lectures Feb. 27, 2016, in San Jose, California; March 27, 2016, in Aromas, California; and April 24, 2016, in Oakland, California.

In 2002, we observed that almost any health parameter sits well ordered on a continuum of values that ranged from sick to well to fit. Take high-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol), for instance: At less than 35 mg/dL you have a problem, 50 mg/dL is nice, and 75 mg/dL is a whole lot better. Blood pressure: 195/115 mm Hg you have a problem, 120/70 mm Hg is healthy, and 105/50 mm Hg looks more like an athlete. Triglycerides, bone density, muscle mass, body fat, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, aka glycated hemoglobin) — all can be plotted relative to these three values.

The significance is that these are the predictors, the cause and the manifestation of chronic disease. Chronic diseases include obesity, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer (to include breast, colon and lung, but my theory is this will include all the positron-emission-tomography-positive cancers eventually, which is 95 percent of all cancers), Alzheimer’s, peripheral artery disease, advanced biological aging, drug addiction, among others.

It is very likely that if you have any chronic disease, you have deranged markers. If you have Alzheimer’s, you would see your HDL suppressed, your blood pressure up, your triglycerides up, your body fat up, your muscle mass down, your bone density down, your HbA1c high, etc. The same is true with diabetes. The same is true with most cancers.

 

The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum. (Credit: CrossFit Inc./CrossFit Journal)

Medicine has no effective treatment for chronic disease: It is symptomatic only. The doctor gives you a drug to bring your cholesterol down, a different drug to raise your bone density. You might need bariatric surgery if you have morbid obesity. If you have paved-over coronary arteries, they can do bypass surgery. If you become glucose intolerant, the doctor can put you on insulin. But all of these are not fixes. They are masking the problem. If you have persistent malignant hypertension, you should take an antihypertensive if you cannot get your blood pressure down otherwise. But how would you get it down otherwise?

CrossFit Inc. holds a uniquely elegant solution to the greatest problem facing the world today. It is not global warming or climate change. It is not the worst two choices imaginable for president. It is chronic disease. The CrossFit stimulus — which is constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar — can give you a pass on chronic disease. It is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. It is so simple.

The CrossFit stimulus — which is constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar — can give you a pass on chronic disease. (Credit: James Saverio Stewart)

Seventy percent of deaths in the United States are attributable to chronic disease. Of the 2.6 million people who died in the United States in 2014, about 1.8 million died from chronic disease. This pattern of increasing deaths due to chronic diseases also holds in countries that are ravaged by infectious disease. The numbers are rising, and when we finally add the positron-emission-tomography-positive cancers in, the number might be 80–85 percent in the United States. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that the United States could have up to a hundred million diabetics in 2050. That will affect everyone. You will not go into the emergency room for something as simple as a broken arm: You will be seeing heart attacks on every corner. Medicine has no solution; you do. CrossFit — with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar — will help you avoid all of this.

The other 30 percent are dying from accidents that come in four “-ic” variants: kinetic, genetic, toxic and microbic. Kinetic: physical trauma, car crash, hit on a bike. Toxic: environmental toxins, such as lead poisoning. Genetic: genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis, you are born with it. Microbic: virus, bacteria, prions.

This is where treatment can be symptomatic. This is where the miracles of medicine are. If you have got a genetic disorder that is making you sick, you need a doctor. If you have been poisoned, you need a doctor. If you caught a nasty virus or a flesh-eating bacteria, you need a doctor. You do not need to go to the gym, and you do not need burpees.

Doctors are like lifeguards; CrossFit trainers are like swim coaches. When you are drowning, you do not need a swim coach. You needed one, and you did not get one. What you need is a lifeguard. We will teach people how to swim, and when they do not pay attention and they go under, the doctors take care of it.

In CrossFit gyms around the world, trainers act as “swim coaches” who show clients how to avoid risks and live longer. (Credit: Adam Bow)

Accidents are largely stuff you can do nothing about, but there is one exception. Be fit. Kinetic: We hear stories from war of CrossFitters who survive things that people have not survived previously. Toxicity: Someone who is fitter is more likely to survive the same poisoning than someone who is not. Genetic: There are genes you have inherited that will or will not express because of your behavior through diet and exercise. Microbic: Who is most vulnerable to viral pneumonia? The frail, the feeble. So fitness offers a protection here.

But assume there is no protection from fitness because what you need in terms of preventing accidents largely is luck. Luck — there is no “good luck” versus “bad luck” — looks like not having these things happen to you. Seventy percent of what kills people can be addressed by what CrossFit trainers do, and the other 30 percent of deaths occur based on luck, so get fit and do not think about luck. If you stand around worried about germs, worried about the tire that is going to come through the windshield, worried about breathing toxic air and worried about your genes, you are wasting your time. It will not make you happy. It will not make you better. It will not make you safer. You are not going to live any longer.

Make it to the gym, eat like we tell you, and enjoy yourself.

This sums to my “kinetic theory of health.” The singular focus on kinematics — increasing work capacity, increasing your fitness — is how to avoid chronic disease. Just get a better Fran time, better deadlift, better Diane time, and do all the things that would support a better Fran time — like eating meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar; getting plenty of sleep; and maybe taking some fish oil. After that, we are out of stuff that matters.

With that singular focus on work capacity, we can avoid chronic disease and there is nothing really to worry about. You have the lifestyle answer. Make it to the gym, eat like we tell you, and enjoy yourself.

We have hacked health. Here is the magic formula for you:

Fitness + Luck (bad) = Health

It is the part you can do something about plus the part you can do nothing about that sums to your outcome. So make the most out of fitness and you will not be part of the seven out of 10 who die unnecessarily due to lifestyle. In the end, chronic disease is a deficiency syndrome. It is sedentation with malnutrition.

The cost of chronic disease is that our annual medical expenditure is about $4 trillion a year. Two-thirds of your premium goes to the health insurance company for its overhead and profits. One-third gets spent on the sick. Of that one-third, 86 percent goes to treating the chronically diseased ineffectively. Fourteen percent of the one-third goes to the stuff that medicine can actually do something about. That means five percent of your health insurance premium is not wasted. The amount spent on chronic disease is a waste.

What CrossFit trainers are providing is non-medical health care. When doctors treat those affected by accidents (the 30 percent), that is medical health care. If you are confused about the two, it is easy to distinguish by methods and tools. If someone is cut open, given radiation, prescribed pills, injected with syringes, it is medicine. It is treatment by a doctor.

On our side, it looks like CrossFit. We have rings, dumbbells, pull-up bars, our own bodies — and the prescription is universal. It is not to treat disease. It does not matter where you fall on this continuum: You get put on the same program. If the prescription is universal, it cannot be medicine. If it is something everyone needs — like air or oxygen — that is not medicine.

CrossFit trainers provide non-medical health care: By focusing on work capacity, clients can avoid chronic disease. (Credit: James Saverio Stewart)

Without vitamin C, you can get scurvy. Should physicians control orange and lemon groves, onion and kale production because they have vitamin C that you cannot live without? We do not want them doing that to food. We cannot let them do that to exercise, and there is a powerful movement with a lot of funding afoot to do exactly that. Millions of dollars are being spent to bring exercise into the purview of the medical arena so that it falls under the Affordable Care Act.

We have 13,000 gyms with 2 to 4 million people safe from chronic disease right now. This community is doing a lot of good things on a lot of fronts. Yet our gyms are thriving not because of our impact on chronic disease. They are thriving because the end users, the customers, are extremely happy with the transformation. And it is part physical, part emotional, part health markers, part relationships.

That is the miracle of CrossFit: People are getting something that they did not even know they wanted or needed.

Updated Aug. 18 to correct stats for chronic disease in the United States and worldwide, 2014 stats for deaths in the United States due to chronic disease, and CDC estimates on the number of diabetics in 2020.

Originally posted by CrossFit Inc, in partnership with Medium on August 16, 2016 all rights and credits reserved for CrossFit Inc. 

The struggle is real!

The modern world sucks! Ok, ok, Ill take that back. We have accomplished so many unreal things, the human life has catapulted so much further than even just our grandparents could expect. The issue is with progress often comes change, and change albeit a good thing, creates some ripples. What we have now is a pond that was once relatively flat, and because of these ripples a tsunami is approaching. Momentum is a funny thing. 

Let me be clear, I do not have it all figured out. I wouldn't even call my successful. I would however give myself the credit of being a Metacognitive autodidact. Two fancy words to say, I screw things up, and I try them again differently, and ponder the smallest of actions. So in all the the things Ive done right, and the things Ive done wrong, the relative success and experience Ive learned is that all progress is simply momentum. Maintaining a steady state of Momentum is really the key to all success.  Without getting philosophical, achievement and life are liquid. Capable of standing still, or adversely formidable-momentum. The mass of liquid, or you, largely stays the same, the action which you put forth on this mass, changes its capability immensely. The key? It takes only a breeze or tremor to enact change. We are always trying to create a tidal wave of success, when we need just create a ripple. 

This works in both ways though. Two waves converging in the ocean create a cataclysmic effect. [Enter the Rogue wave, Go research the Agulhas Current and its impact with the westerlies] Obviously were not talking about the climate, fluid dynamics, or maritime dangers. What Im trying to draw here is a correlation of the fluidity of life and the ubiquitous rogue wave. Rogue waves interestingly enough happen in all matter; gases, sound waves, liquids, even solids (resonation). Therefore momentum is everywhere.  What is important here is control of current, and conservation of momentum forward. When our optimism is hit from the outside world, lets say social medias reminder of our inequity. We tend to subduct, let that wave crash over us and let its momentum carry us under while it builds on its negative momentum. The only trick here is the conservation of energy. This simply requires constant ripples. So that when faced with the impending tides of terror, they subduct. 

Ok enough about fluids. All I'm saying is baby steps. Were so constantly focused on what we don't have we set goals for precisely that. Instead of looking at a goal as a series of very small tasks. We only simply see the car, home, wife/husband, and dreams others experience. While we trudge about in our daily life gaining no traction. A ripple is all thats needed. In almost all the examples of defeat I have encountered both personally and with you, its the times when the inbound current crushed your momentum. Every wave is gonna hit the shore! The secret to any goal is to set the steps so clear and small that momentum is unwavering. 

Our world is 100% now at odds with your success. Social media is not your friend. Sure its sold to us as such. "keep in contact with friends family, see what so-and-so is up to". No. For clearer example. Head to your Instagram and click the magnifying glass. How awesome, an entire feed custom designed to my interests! Not exactly, this is actually more like your Den of Inequity. A reminder of everything you don't have, photo after photo. The body, the car, the girl, the parties, the travel, the job, the clothes. Whats worse is that this doesn't just apply to you, it applies to your significant other, friends, and family too. Helping to create false hope and expectations of a relationship and life. To top that? Its never going to end. Social media is here to stay. 

Momentum. Ripples. Once in action, the key is to stay in action. Surround yourself with the people who support your mission. Focus on your ripples, not the intended wave. Celebrate the excitement that comes from moving just a fraction forward every day. You've all experienced it at least once, something that starts rolling and you just feel unstoppable. It could have just been the first time you rode a bike, or it could have been a project at work. That energy is contagious. This is why a community is so important. This is why Paradigm works, we're the pond, you're the ripples, and we make some massive waves! For your next task, you need to keep it moving. In a closed system all energy remains constant. It can absolutely be converted from one form to another though. The Conservation of energy on the positive pursuit is the absolute focus. Let it run wild and it can just as easily convert to the self defeating negative. Ripples. 

Take today not in strides, take today in steps, tomorrow too. Wait a few weeks, and look back, you won't even see where you started from. Just keep moving. 

~Tony

Paradigm and the Magic Pill

The relentless pursuit of excellence, if only it weren't so tumultuous. The truth is the pursuit of fitness is very much at odds with two very real things. Reality, and expectation. Like debutantes to the coming of age of fitness. Reality and expectation set us up for many a success, and even more a failure. Perhaps thats just because our egotistical nature assumes a lot more than our physical existence can endure. Whether it be because we someone else of similar capacity accomplish it, or because patience is not our virtue, either way we seem to always be at odds with the space between our ears. 

The story line goes a lot like; double unders, how hard can it be? Jump once, spin twice and repeat. For those of you who've accomplished the skill, Im sure you just laughed out loud right? Those in pursuit are doing anything but laughing. If they haven't bought every jump rope on the market yet, or watched every tutorial, or bought liters of snake oil, they surely think these are designed by the devil. Ill be honest, I'm not certain they aren't. My pursuit wasn't any less angry. I don't know how I never lasso'd and innocent bystander. So when trying to have a rational conversation or logical progression, athlete x wants to hear anything but, "practice, it takes practice". This story line plays out every day here. 

Im old school, I've been kicking this CrossFit thing for a decade now, and when I had to learn things, there was only trial and error. Today theres information, suggestion, and "coaching" coming at you from everywhere. With so much information, surely skills must come faster now. They do, no doubt. My linear progressions were more akin to a stock ticker, than a bell curve. Today you all have great coaches. The constant though is practice. We can help a lot more, but we can't buy you time. 10,000 hours, thats the supposed rule of mastery. Most of you get 5 hours in and expect greatness. Saddle up punkin, its gonna be a longer ride! 

Maybe your mind is still on Double Unders, but this happens with so much more. Pull ups, Muscle ups, Snatching, Hand Stand work, even running. Skill is everything here, mastery is the goal. The intention is simple, and thats to teach you virtuosity of a skill, and develop the conditioning to allow for endless repetition. Except, most of us come at this backward. Conditioning hard, and a little bit of skill. Efficiency is key. 

Much of my life as a coach, both within these walls currently, my past, and when I travel is a war. Two worlds at odds. What you want, and what you need. More specifically, the easy road to a skill, or the long road. Ive always had the option to jump start a lot of you, rush you to a skill, (except maybe double unders.. you gotta pray for those) and let you bask in the immediate glory. However in my decade here, I've seen the truth. Easy come, easy go.. The long road has countless more value to you. If fitness is your goal. I mean if you just want a party trick, we can do that. If you truly want to increase work capacity, and do so over the long haul? Then we have to cover the basics. The foundations. Luckily, most of everything big and sexy, shares the same foundations. This is what the program is built upon. Developing these lead to a linear path to excellence. The last thing I want is for you to somehow arrive at pseudo excellence with a handful of glaring weakness. Trust me though, I too feel the guilt, and pain of your struggle. I want you to succeed just as fast as you want to. I also want you go even further than you think possible right now. This requires building the foundation! 

The point here isn't defeat though. Its to take a step back and look at what you have done, what you have accomplished, and stop the fickle nature of only looking at what you don't have. This is a recipe for failure. Embrace your struggles, worship your victories, and welcome the pursuit. 

You're better than you know, you'll see. 

~Tony

What Lies Within!

CrossFit, its clearly a strength and conditioning program. Its clearly a physical training program. However at the heart of CrossFit, and at the core of what we do here at Paradigm is an often overlooked principle of CrossFit. Its mental development. The value in CrossFit comes not from the development of strength, but from the exploration of what lies within each of us, our true capacity. Many of us find ourselves capable of so much more than we thought possible. This isn't because we double your strength. We free you from your mind, the perceptions and self doubts that have kept you in your comfort zone, the status quo, the easy. By pushing the limits of your exposure, we have found Athletes within you, within people who thought just getting off the couch was a feat, people who had condemned themselves, those of us who lost hope in the inevitable aging.

Without ever calling attention to it we made you stronger between the ears. Time has made it possible for you to face even the most daunting of physical requests with even a glimmer of confidence. However I think its time we do talk about it. Explain what its like to be a mental athlete. Because although you've all gotten stronger mentally, theres so much more to give. You have confidence in yourselves now. You know you're becoming capable, but to believe is always the difference.

We have all been there mid workout, feeling like death and still three rounds left. Or in that competition when the whole field has passed you and knowing you've already redlined, you don't have another gear. Going full mashed potatoes because you're CNS can't keep up. Its in these moments a victory waits. We all have a choice every day in every workout, to push through, to back off, to quit, or to forge on. That choice goes deeper still, addressing the voices in your head as the dark place closes in. Those voices telling you its over, just ride it out, surrender. But is it? What if the only thing that stands between you and defeat is a choice. A choice to see the outcome you want, to visualize, and attack.

Before you write me off and think that Im crazy. We have all had at least one moment where we've thought we couldn't and assuredly we proved we couldn't, adversely we've thought maybe theres a chance and we've landed that PR. You cannot do 100% of the things you cannot do, but that rule isn't true for optimism, the possibility is always there. This idea is especially important when you're staring at a WOD that scares you to death, or that you've considered impossible. Outside of a bar that is too heavy, or a skill that you don't have, nothing is outside the realm of possible. Seeing the outcome you want, not the outcome you think you deserve, or a false reality you've conjured can be 100% of the difference between simply surviving a workout, or being just a little bit better every day.

My challenge to you for the week ahead is to take a moment of clarity. See the workout, visualize the workout, see the outcome, achieve your goal. Quiet the voices by visualizing and preparing yourself for the task ahead mentally. Stay calm, stay focused, and stay the course.