NOVEMBER 2016- WHAT ARE YOUR SMCF TRAINERS THANKFUL FOR?
- Family – Both my blood relatives and the family I have bled next to within the walls of SMCF. SO much laughter, learning, & accomplishments have happened in my life thanks to the great people who I surround myself within and outside of the gym
- Health – I have been lucky enough to not have any major health issues or complications. An obvious contributor is my love of exercise and clean eating!
- My daughter Olivia – My one true inspiration to be the best person I can be in every possible aspect on a daily basis. It’s scary to think where I’d be if I wasn’t blessed with her in my life.
- My family
- The service men and women who fight for our country
- The fellowship and friendship that I receive through mutual interest, SMCF, despite differences in race, religious views, political views, age, sex, and occupations.
- Leah liking tacos as much as me.
- SMCF giving me another chance to be an athlete and coach.
- I don’t think I could be more thankful or love anything more in this world than my adorable students.
- I’m thankful that South Mountain Crossfit helped me improve my physical well-being but more importantly my mental well-being.
- My Sexy Ass Roommate
- My health and the health of my family, which I owe in part to SMCF.
- My wife’s booty which I owe in part to SMCF.
- That I don’t need Viagra, yet. Which has nothing to do with SMCF.
- HEALTH- In world full of disease & unfortunate circumstances, never take your health for granted. You only have one life, take care of it & be active!
- FAMILY & FRIENDS- I enjoy nothing more than being surrounded by people that you love & love you back in a positive light.
- TEACHING & COACHING- The satisfaction of being granted the ability & privilege to help people on a daily basis is something I treasure. During the day in the classroom, at night at the gym, wherever possible I gain pleasure seeing someone accomplish something that they never thought possible.
- I’m thankful that SMCF CrossFit gives me an environment where people are as serious about their fitness as I am; however, I find their opinions of my musical choices odd #deathgrips
- I’m also thankful that SMCF is literally open all the time, virtually every day (at least in my mind) to allow me to fitness–this is probably and overstatement, but you know
- And I am most thankful for my incredible wife, extraordinary children, and an overly supportive extended family
- The SMCF community
- Competitive support and motivation
- The willingness to help others/ give back to the community.
- Nature: woods, sunsets, sunrise, mountains, trees, leaves, streams, water….Oh em gee all of it
- Laughing: I love to laugh. I’m thankful I have so many people in my life that help make my face hurt from laughing and smiling so much
- SMCF in general: for welcoming me just a short year ago as a stranger to now a place I happily call ‘home’
- The Future
- My wife, Elena
- SMCF coaches who help me improve every day
- Pizza, no explanation required
COACH DAN (MOODY):
- Friends and family… and the fact that the distinction between the two is often blurry.
- My job, and the fact that for the first time in my adult life, I don’t hate going to work. My worst day working in fitness is infinitely better than my best day doing anything else.
- My dogs. They are better than your dogs, or any other dogs that ever dogged.
- Having a job that I love– teaching kindergarten
- My nieces– who are the BEST!
- For SMCFbranching out to other modes of fitness and starting the Maximum Effort Barbell Club
- Dan Carlson’s a$$
- Family & friends
- I have 2 jobs that allow me to help people live healthier lives
- The invention of the strict press which made handstand push-ups totally unnecessary
- I have jobs that challenge me and push me every day as a professional, business owner, and human being.
- Candy, coffee, & kale. No explanations needed.
- Family who accepts & supports me & lifelong friends who keep me grounded and laughing through just about anything!
Phoenix from Ashes
Written by Coach Kurt “Kutty” Miller
“Holy shit Keith I’m in 4th place?!?!”
These are actual words I said to my coach and good friend Keith Bussom from CrossFit Apex. I was in 4th place heading into the final at the Garden State Open in October 2011.
It was the first time I had ever broken the top 10 in a competition outside of my own box. The level of excitement was something I had not experienced up until that point. I had been doing CrossFit for over 3 years and had never done well at competitions. Just ask my wife about my very first one…it’s laughable to say the least. I admit I was a pretty good athlete by nature, but I was NOT a great CrossFitter.
I had to work extra hard, much harder than others around me. But all my extra work, late hours in the gym, agonizing negative self talk, so many plate chucks across the gym and more F bombs then I care to admit, finally felt like it was paying off. I didn’t win that competition or make the podium, but that day sparked something inside me and I knew my drive to be better at this competitive sport of fitness would be a relentless pursuit.
While I knew that day did not define me as a man, it has helped define me as a CrossFit athlete. In the past I had been overly concerned with what everyone was doing that I didn’t focus on myself. It broke me down, often.
It was ME destroying ME. I worried about everything but what I was doing. Who’s beating me? Who’s lifting heavier? Who’s got this skill? Who’s got that skill? Who’s who and why is it not ME?
Then, that one day in Jersey, the lightbulb finally clicked. I put my blinders on and thought about nothing, nobody, nada that day except ME and my tasks at hand. I had finally learned how to compete in this sport.
Truthfully, the South Mountain CrossFit moto “Respect Is Earned” was created that day, even though SMCF wasn’t even a thought. I realized that I needed to respect and believe in myself before anyone else around me could. I had to work for it. I had to earn it.
Fast forward over 5 years later and no one would believe how bad I used to suck. All anyone sees is where I’m at now. They don’t see the blood, sweat, tears, fights, and sacrifices I’ve made over the years. In fact, all anyone sees from most other CrossFit competitors is a filtered façade on Instagram and Facebook highlighting all of the amazing PRs and triple training sessions they’ve accomplished while they are fueled by their favorite supplements and wearing their newest sponsors’ gear.
When you’re constantly surrounded by these perfectly painted pictures on social media, the lines of reality become blurred and it’s hard to keep your personal mindset in check.
My challenge to all of you reading this is to embrace your struggle, learn from it, grow, and never settle. Put down your phones and stop taking selfies of yourself doing some really awesome stuff you are good at. Work your weaknesses until your hands are bleeding. Push through a workout that you want to quit or didn’t want to do in the first place. Every failure you encounter will only make you stronger. If you never struggle, you’ll never be prepared when you fail, and the worst feeling in this sport is when a workout comes up that has one of your weaknesses in it. It causes inner turmoil, anxiety, anger, frustration, and hits you hard, like scolding hot coffee (insert expletives.)
Don’t do things you are comfortable with.
Don’t expect anything you have not earned.
Learn how to lose.
And from those ashes of failure and loss will grow a Phoenix that will never fade. “So how did it all end up pal?” – Keith “Well I made it into finals but ran into brick wall.” “What time does the gym open Monday afternoon because I got a lot of work to do.” – Kurt “Atta Boy!” – Keith
“Perspective” By: Chris Contino
Perspective can be defined as many different things, but for today’s purpose we are going to call it, “true understanding of the relative importance of things.” (You’ll find out why at the end of this blog – Yes, now you have to read the entire thing. )
When I was playing soccer my coach had a saying: “It only takes a second.” It only takes a second to change the game, to make a difference, for something great or maybe not so great to happen. The picture above shows the ladder of these possibilities, the “not so great.” It was taken immediately following my missed third clean and jerk attempt at my most recent meet, which I needed to make to stay in the competition. In one second I went from holding a personal record lift on my shoulders in a room full of supportive spectators cheering me on, to being curled up over the barbell feeling like I was alone on an island, and that I had just let them all down. In this moment I felt disappointment, frustration, and anger. I felt like I hadn’t just let those spectators down but also myself, my coach, my team, and my athletes. Like the countless hours I had put in weren’t good enough because I failed. Simply put, I felt down right awful.
This was all from my perspective as an athlete walking off the platform and I could have let this ruin my day or days to come but luckily, I have a great coach. (Shout out to Ernie) He made me take a step back and really helped me put things in perspective. I am no longer just an athlete; I am a coach as well. Since May, I have been one of the head coaches at Maximum Effort Barbell. I now spend more of my time helping my athletes succeed than myself because I love doing it. I have people who trust me to teach them, who want my guidance (and if you’ve never felt that, it’s amazing). So as just an athlete, the meet would have been a disaster. As a coach and an athlete having to focus on not only myself, but 20+ other people every week… The meet was a success. It was a great day with my girlfriend, my team, the weightlifting community, and it was the heaviest I’ve been able to lift in over 6 months.
At this point you are probably saying to yourself, “Okay, great. You just told a story about yourself…What does that have to do with me?” Well, I’m about to tell you.
Whether you realized it or not the moment you stepped foot into South Mountain Crossfit (or your respective gym) you became an athlete, a competitor; maybe not in the traditional sense that you’re going out and participating in competitions, but you are competing against yourself, your friends, your family, and those names on the whiteboard. (Some that you may not even know…“Who is this Dan B. guy who keeps beating me at 5:30am?)
This is human nature. Everyone wants to be better, a better parent, employee, coach, husband, wife, friend, etc. No one strives to be mediocre. In my opinion this is where perspectives start to get blurred. Once you have taken those steps in making a change and have spent some time working towards it we begin to forget all the moments that have led up to it.
That is what I am here to remind you of.
It is truly incredible what the body and mind is capable of and how much emotion it can fit into the blink of an eye. So take that into consideration the next time you look at the whiteboard and think your time isn’t as fast as you want it to be, the scale jumps up a pound, you eat something that you are feeling guilty about, or you don’t PR a lift. This is just one moment. Take a step back; think about everything that has led up to where you are, and really to put it into perspective… Take a minute to truly understand the relative importance of things. (Told you we’d come back to it.)
- Is it more important that someone’s time on the board was faster than yours or that now you can keep up with your children when they want to go play outside?
- Is it more important that the scale read a pound higher than yesterday, or that you’ve lost 30lbs in the last year?
- Is it more important that you had had ice cream for dessert or that this time last year you were eating it for dinner?
- Is it more important that you PR a lift or that 6 months ago you couldn’t even lift 50% of what you were attempting?
Progress is all in your perspective. I’ve included some pictures below to help you give a better understanding of what I mean.
These depict what my journey has looked up to this point. The changes and experience I have gained in the process have helped me grow significantly. With that being said, it hasn’t been easy, nothing ever is but it was has most certainly been worth it and this is the perspective I choose.
So the next time you are going to let a single second ruin the thousands that have led up to it or the thousands to follow, whether it’s in sports, work, relationships, or just life, take a step back and think about it.
Is it really worth it?
“Cutting Out Comparison” Author – Coach Krystal Cole
People have many different reasons for deciding to walk into a CrossFit gym for the first time. The majority of us are searching for a new and more exciting way to practice physical fitness, while others are looking to find a community of strong and empowering individuals. Whatever your reasons may be for trying CrossFit, I believe we all gain something very similar after joining a CrossFit gym, that being a major boost to our confidence and self-esteem.
CrossFit will be very beneficial for anyone who undertakes it with the appropriate attitude. In my case, it was a new and exciting workout regimen but eventually I developed a negative attitude in regard to my workouts because I stopped be proud of what I was personally accomplishing in the gym on a daily basis and instead I began to compare myself to what other athletes were accomplishing.
I fell in love with Crossfit the minute I started doing it. Initially I only attended classes three days a week and really only had the goal of fitting into my bridesmaids dresses. (#basicgirlproblems) I never really thought of entering in a CrossFit competition and I honestly didn’t even really understand how a competition worked. I entered into my first two competitions essentially by default due to the inability of other athletes being able to attend. I can tell you, I was extremely proud of myself for just showing up and attempting those competitions. I was very shy and hardly talked to anyone, I didn’t think I could handle it and couldn’t even remember all of the movements. (For real, I couldn’t remember the difference between a Snatch and a Clean and Jerk) But due to the fact that I completed those competitions, I was not only proud but I started to feel confident in myself again.
The first summer after I began my CrossFit adventure, I started going to classes five days a week with even more drive and determination then I had had originally. I stopped caring so much about what my body looked like but rather what it could do. (The biggest win!)
So where did I go wrong?
I started to let an old habit run its course. I started to compare myself to other athletes. I began to think things like, her time was faster, she is lifting so much more than me, she can do muscle ups and I still can’t get one. I forgot about how much I was progressing and only cared about beating other athlete’s scores. This not only led me to completing sloppy repetitions during workouts and creating bad habits, but it started to take away that self-confidence I had worked so hard to bring back into my life.
I started feeling down on myself every time I left the gym rather than being empowered and strong like I was feeling before. I started feeling like I used to when I would leave a dance audition after being “cut ”. I had once before taken a passion and love in my life (dance) and turned it into something negative because I began to focus on comparisons to other people.
I will never regret giving up on my dance performance career because it led me to teaching and doing choreography, which I love. However, I will not lie and say I don’t think about how I could have tried harder and perhaps shouldn’t have quit auditioning so soon. I promised myself I would never give up on anything in my life again out of my frustration from comparing myself to other people and their successes rather than focusing on my own achievements.
Thankfully thinking about the mistakes I had made in the past helped me realize what mistakes I was making in the gym. The mistakes in question were not physical but rather mental. I stopped worrying about the records of accomplishments written on the whiteboard in the gym and instead just concentrated on working hard every day. I made it a personal goal to never walk out of the gym with my head down again. Whether it was a good or bad day, I was going to chalk it up as a day of improvement as long as I did my best.
Why are we really all here?
We are here to improve ourselves mentally and physically. We are here to figure out the amazing things that our bodies are capable of doing and also to encourage and empower the amazing community that is held within the walls of South Mountain CrossFit. We don’t walk into that gym every day to “beat” someone else.
We walk into the gym to improve and gain confidence within ourselves.
The Coaches Roundtable – “Coachable VS Uncoachable”
Author – Coach Scott Ribarchik, CF – L2 Trainer
More times than not, an individual that takes on the role as a coach has a divine interest in the betterment of an athlete. Often they will show a genuine interest in one’s life and display a compassionate attitude. A coach will express passion and enthusiasm for the sport and attempt to broaden their knowledge base through advanced certifications. A coach is tirelessly committed to doing their “homework” off hours so it will reflect in their performance at the gym. A good coach that is.
I have been lucky enough to teach high school students and also coach CrossFit & specialty courses for several years at two different gyms, through which I have come across many different personalities. Coaches want nothing more than to see his or her athletes achieve tasks they never thought possible, and most of the coaches I know would bend over backward to make that happen for any of their athletes. That said, you must remember the coach/athlete relationship is a two way street. A coach can motivate and instruct, but the athlete needs to be able to accept the guidance, listen to the advice, and attempt to repetitively apply that tutelage in the gym.
If a coach ever tells you to arch your back when you’re deadlifting, or drive your knees out while squatting and you reply with, “I know” or “it’s fine”, you should smack yourself in your own face……. really hard.
Actually no, it’s not fine, that’s exactly why you’re using a weightlifting belt for those 95 pound deadlifts. Oh really you know? Then how about you keep your chest up on those back squats if you know so much, before you herniate a disc in your back.
If you want to get better, you want to see results; you’re going to get there a lot faster and injury free if you’re a coachable athlete. I can’t recall exactly where I saw it, but I remember seeing a quote written somewhere: “Be a learn it all VS a know it all”. I Love it. The minute you think you know it all is the moment you stop learning and becoming better.
A coachable athlete is okay with slowing down a movement or putting a lighter weight on the barbell to practice proper form when instructed by their coach. They won’t worry about having the top score at the 4:30 pm class on March 12th, 2015 at CrossFit WhoGivesAShit (see, when you write it out like that you can see how ridiculous it sounds). They’re more worried about the long-term benefits they will gain from moving more efficiently with the barbell.
A coachable athlete is humble. Though humble, a coachable athlete will still have a fire and passion for the sport, but moreover will be more competitive with themselves and their progress then with other athletes. A coachable athlete is respectful. A coachable athlete will ask for help. A coachable athlete has courage and is willing to take risks under the guidance of their coach without fear of looking weak. A coachable athlete can adapt and change when necessary to become a better athlete.
When I look back at how I progressed as a teacher, athlete and coach, I remember times when I may have been “uncoachable” or acted like I knew everything. For that I know it took me much longer to get to where I wanted to be then it should have. I’ve seen many people go through this when they start to get a little “good” at something and gain a little confidence, it’s downright irritating, and if I could go back to those days I would indeed smack myself in my own face….. really hard. Don’t be that guy or girl.
The challenge you face is, can you step back, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I doing everything in my power to be as good as I can be? My approach? My attitude? Am I coachable?”. If you can honestly answer yes to those questions you’re well on your way to achieve those goals you set out for yourself.
June 2016- JIMI WYNN
“Coping with injuries”
Hello everyone. My name is Jimi Wynn, I’m 32 years old, from Chattanooga, TN, and I am one of the trainers at South Mountain CrossFit.
My journey with CrossFit started back in 2012. Prior to joining my first CrossFit gym in Nashville, TN, I was very active in pick-up basketball, tennis, biking, swimming, and ultimate Frisbee. I slowed down on most of the recreational sports once I started CrossFit. I still played pick-up basketball here and there, but decided to hang it up once me and Sarah moved to Allentown in the fall of 2014. So what did I decide to do after taking a 3-year hiatus from basketball? I decided to go play at a random pick up game on a Sunday morning, and Sarah just happened to be out of town with our daughter Millie. I was feeling great the first game, and really excited to be doing something competitive and active outside of CrossFit again. That all changed at the start of the second game. I was running back on defense, when all of the sudden I felt like someone kicked me in the back of the right heel. I turned around, and the guy said “sorry man, my bad” (I later on found out that I was not kicked, and that was the feeling my tendon popping). The next step I took felt like my foot was melting into the ground. It was totally numb and I couldn’t come up on my toes if my life depended on it. I had no idea what just happened, but I hobbled off the court, and drove home to go ice it. I’ve sprained my ankles many times in my life, and always got right back in to full speed after a few weeks, so that is what my mind set was.
I decided to go the doctor the next morning, still feeling like this thing would go away. After about 8 seconds of examination, the doctor starting telling me “Well the surgical approach here is probably the best way to go.” I was like “uhh, wait, like surgery? Cutting in to me with a knife, where I’m asleep surgery?” I’ve only truly been shocked to where I couldn’t think straight twice in my life. First was when Sarah told me she was pregnant when we weren’t even trying, and then this was second. I would have much rather Sarah told me she was pregnant again instead of this news. I was diagnosed with a fully ruptured Achilles tendon. I opted for the surgery of course. They said I would have a full recovery and be able to do everything I could before. This gave me confidence again, until they said that the time frame is around 8-12 months. Pretty devastating news to hear. This was also my right foot, and my primary job function is driving around meeting with customers. So I was out of work for almost 45 days, and laid up at home not able to drive. Sarah was super sweet and caring, and she did a really great job handling me and Millie at the same time. Millie had just started crawling too, so I was unable to play with her, change diapers, or carry her from one place to another. This was probably the most depressing part of the injury. I was on crutches for about a month, and was able to put light weight on my ankle after about 2 and half weeks. I went to physical therapy a couple times a week, and slowly but surely started to see some progress.
I was finally able to get back into the gym after a few weeks, but only able to do really really light movements. I could do the rower with one leg strapped in, and the other on a skateboard. I could do pushups. I was still scared of pullups since I wasn’t supposed to put any weight on my ankle, and just too afraid that I would land on it. Of course Kurt was trying to get me to do muscle ups on my first day back at the gym. I opted not do those. I was truly just happy to be back in the gym being active again, and most importantly being around my friends. I came to grips with the fact that I would have a long recovery, and that doing anything at the speed and capacity of my previous accomplishments was probably over. I did the benchmark workout “Fran” a couple weeks ago and clocked in just at 6:00. I did this workout in 2:50 not too long before my injury, so going backwards in progress was something that was hard to take in. It wasn’t just this workout that got me down, it was seeing everyone smoke me on workouts that I would normally crush that got me down.
This whole experience really taught me a lot about being grateful for what I have. The things we do to our bodies in CrossFit is truly amazing. If you haven’t realized it yet, the body is an unbelievable tool, and there is so much untapped strength inside each individual. Take advantage of the tools God gave you, and don’t ever take them for granted.
There are plenty of ways to improve yourself doing CrossFit. Whether it be using your legs more on the rower, understanding the power of your hips on Olympic lifts, engaging your core, or just perfecting form on anything. All of that stuff is powerful and useful, but the strongest part of one’s body is the mind. There haven’t been many times that I can recall during an absolute brutal WOD where my body totally just shut off. It is typically the mind that breaks down and convinces your body that you can’t go anymore. Finding a way to increase your mental fortitude is where you will see the most improvements in CrossFit. I don’t quite know the secret to that yet, but I can tell you that I have had to battle my mental state of mind every time I walk in to the gym and see Dom and George H. destroying my times. I tell myself that it doesn’t matter what their times are, all that matters is that I’m healthy and I’ve been given the strength to participate in the workouts. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be in the gym and using my body to its full current capacity. If you are someone who gets down on yourself because others are getting stronger and faster than you at a quicker pace, don’t worry about that at all. Have fun with it, but don’t let it get you down. Just be grateful for what you can do, and thankful you’re not cooped up on a couch playing playstation 3 pretending to eat healthy (that was me for 2 weeks).
I’m 5 months post operation now, and the best part is that I can drive, run, do muscle ups, and most importantly be the dad to Millie that I’ve always wanted to be. South Mountain Crossfit has such an amazing community to keep me motivated during my healing process, and my recovery would have never been the same without another place to call home. My plan is to come back stronger than ever, and compete in Rally in the Valley 2016.