My student teaching experience was both awful and amazing at the same time. I had a lot of growing to do and I had a lot of pain during that semester. All of my classes had a lot to teach me and I want to express how thankful I am for their understanding and some of the great times that we had while we tried to get through the material at hand. All of my seniors I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had a different group, you were great people and I hope that as you take on your Freshman year of college you are all doing well. What would our semester have been without the jokes and funny videos, I don’t know but I can tell you that it definitely would not have been as good of a semester. Juniors you guys pushed me in many ways. I doubted myself many times because I couldn’t seem to figure you out for so long. But in the end we did figure it out, and I hope that you guys got something from me more than just a few notes and some funny stories. Have a great senior year and go SHS. I wish both groups the best and I want you to know that even if none of you see this, I appreciate all of the time that we had best of luck.
Former students that have kept in touch
For those of you that have kept in touch since I left your classrooms almost a year ago, thank you for keeping me posted on how your life was going. Our conversations, some normal, some rather ridiculous have been a source of laughter this summer and I hope that someday we meet up again. Proofs that teachers and former students can be friends are found in our tweets back and forth. You are all amazing people, and I’m proud of what you are doing. Keep it up, and finish this semester strong, you can do it.
Well I’m registering for my first local competition this week. I need to figure out if I’m going Rx or Scaled so I haven’t filled out the form yet.I really want to jump in Rx because let’s face it, you need to Go Big or Go Home.If there’s one lesson that I can take from my Outlaw brothers and sistersit is that I need to dominate everything.So I’ll likely put on my big boy pants, jump into the deep end and see if I can swim.So far the first two events are announced.First is Bombs Away, sounds awesome right? Well it is, have you ever been so frustrated you want to throw your kettlebell across the room, well now you can, except it’s not across the room but rather in a field event style outdoor area.Stand in a 4x4ft box, and throw your kettlebell for distance into the cone shaped area.Longest throw wins, as a former field athlete I kind of think this might be something I’m good at.But I don’t have a place to practice throwing kettlebells right now so I’ll have to figure that one out.I don’t think I’ll be shotputing it, but I’m thinking the double handed over the back launch might be the key.Here’s the demo video:
Second event was just announces yesterday, thanks to Zack and his Strongman Sunday programming I’ve got some experience with heavy Farmer’s Carry. Zack’s determination to make me better at picking up heavy stuff off the ground is going to go a long way in this one.Rx for men is 112lbs in each hand, so 224lbs total.One attempt, walk as far as you can.I need to get in some practice with this in the next couple weeks, but I don’t see this being a problem for me.Here’s the demo video for this one:
The last three events are, The Big Move, Sled Dog, and X + Y those will be released in the next few weeks and I’m interested to see what they are, but I’m really excited to take this on. And let’s be honest, who will bring better facial hair than me to this thing, nobody.The Red Sea will be in full effect on December 8 when I bring my Outlaw mandate to Crossfit Bloomington Normal and show those midstate kids what’s up.
I’ve been following Outlaw for my six months out here and there are still things that I just can’t do yet. I’m working hard on getting the different required movements down but it has been a long road and it is difficult to keep in mind that I’m still pretty new at a lot of these things. In some ways I expected that by now I wouldn’t have much to learn but I’m humbled day in and day out at the areas that I can still improve greatly. It’s been a great year but as I get closer and closer to the end of this one I’m confronted by a set of goals that I haven’t yet achieved. I think that maybe things this year were a bit to ambitious in some areas and in others the move, and a change in priorities in my training may have limited my chances to achieve them. But I have learned so many things in this past year I’m trying to stay positive and focus on that. Also I’m looking at my progress in the things that I have learned. Today I hit 21 ub Double Unders which is the most that I’ve ever done. They felt really good too, more and more practice and I’ll be getting longer strings of them I’m sure. I’m excited to get back into a more normal mode of training as well. I love following Outlaw but I’m not sure that I’ll keep it going when I get back to Illinois. The programming there takes a lot of elements of Rudy’s training and scales them down to a more normal level. That would allow me to go back to doing most of my work Rx, and it would let me do the work that the classes are doing. And working out with others always feels better. So I can improve by adding in extra training on those things that I need help in. Getting better at my Doubles, getting Handstand Pushups, Handstand Walks, and Muscle Ups down. And I can focus on doing more competitions over the winter. The road from where I started to here has been a long one, but the road from here to where I want to end up is a long one as well.
My interview is up on Crossfit Radio. It was great talking to Justin and then to top that off I got a PR on my box jump. Another 5 inches and I’m so close to hitting a 40″ jump. Can’t wait to break into the 40s. Take a listen to the interview and hear a bit about my story.
Back in September I started to tighten up my intake and I discussed a few reasons why I was doing it. It has now been two months of eating this way, some things have changed but most has stayed the same. I feel that it has really helped me in a few ways but there are definitely some drawbacks to being this strict sometimes. Before getting into all that though I wanted to cover what I’ve kept and what I’ve changed. Since starting month two on October 1 I have allowed myself more coffee during my day. I’m not back to the levels I was earlier in the summer, but I’m not limited to just one cup in the morning and on in the afternoon anymore. Typically this means that I have an extra cup in the evening after my workout either with dinner or as a post dinner drink. I think that the idea of post dinner coffee is something that has kind of come to me from my mother. I can remember her having a cup after a meal as a kid, and she still does today. Also I’ve allowed myself a little bit of snaking here and there. I generally grab something on the way to the gym after work since it will be a few more hours till dinner. After getting done with my Outlaw programming then I’d come home and make dinner eating sometime around 8 usually. My general guidelines for the project haven’t changed, I’m still taking in large amounts of water, I have also excluded iced tea from my drinks so it’s just coffee and water now. Also I’m not taking in sweeteners with the exception of a celebratory So Delicious ice cream that I got when I was given rehire status to come back next spring. And I’m trying to make sure that I’m leaning out by keeping an eye on getting enough veggies and not getting crazy with the carbs. Overall the project this far has been a success, all the extra that I had at the beginning seems to have gone away and I’m pretty lean while keeping the muscle that I have worked to put on this summer. I feel like body composition wise I’m in a pretty good place and I’m ready to take on the challenges of the holidays that will be in front of me. I’m not entirely sure how things are going to go for the next two months. I’m still on the job hunt and while I’m headed back to Illinois that’s not a guaranteed final destination as a park could hire me for the winter still and I would have to relocate again. Otherwise I’m looking forward to a winter with the family, working somewhere, getting my L1 and trying to do a little coaching. Sometime over the next week I’m going to put together some comparison pictures of beginning of the summer, mid-summer, and the project to see just how much I have changed during this whole thing. I bet it will be eye opening to see how different I look.
What is it that makes a gym feel like home? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, trying to put my finger on what it is about a place that can make it the place that you belong, rather than just a place that you show up to. I’ve been blessed that I’ve found multiple places over the past year that have really felt right to me. Capital City Crossfit, the place where I started this crazy journey and the place that I still think of as my home affiliate. When I traveled to see the family I visited Crossfit DNA and one visit was all it took to see that there is a great group of people there, and that I would be coming back to see them over and over again. When I get back in a month I’ll be officially putting my name down as a full-time member there. As my life transitions back to me being a Chicago area resident I can’t wait to be a part of this group and see them day in and day out again. Coming out here to PA I met the guys from Crossfit Iron City, and more than once I’ve made the trip back to Pittsburgh to work out with them. They are a great group of people there as well, and spending time with them I’ve been lucky that such a great group of people would welcome this Midwestern kid to be a part of their group. Last but definitely not the least in this list is my newest group of people, Sports Evolution Crossfit. This group transformed my experience in the gym here from a single pursuit to get in and get the work done, to a place where I look forward to going in everyday. And a group that I’ll put off dinner for an extra hour so that I can stick around and cheer them on through a WOD, even one as fun as tonight’s, burpees and Kettlebell swings. I’m sure they loved that one.
So what is it that has made me love each of these places, defiantly I’ve been blessed in this group that they are all led by great trainers, Brian, Zack, Jake, Blake, Jerod, and Allen you are all amazingly talented people, you know your stuff and you know how to communicate it well. Your determination to get the best out of everyone that walks through the door, and accept no excuses for slacking off has driven me forward. Having all of you in my corner has been a huge help to me and I owe a lot of my success over almost the last year and a half to your hard work. The atmosphere that coaches like these have created also goes a long way to making the place feel like home. I’ve been to each of these affiliates multiple times, and every time I show up I feel welcome, sometimes I recognize people from previous visits sometimes most of the people are new to me. But always I hop right in and get to work, and spending time with the people there. Everybody at these workouts have welcomed me into the group, even if it was my first time and we got down to work together as a group, not the group and that guy from out-of-town. The last part of transforming an owner, group of people and a facility into a place that feels like home has to come from you. I believe that it has a large part to do with you and how much of yourself you’re willing to put out there for others to see when you show up. Embracing the people and tearing down any walls that you may have develops that sense of family and home, Crossfit is great for that. The workouts we do are really good at breaking you down to your core and it’s in that moment where you’re struggling and exposed that those people around you see the person that you are, and you see who they are, and together you push forward to finish closer to one another than you could have ever become any other way.
Lately I’ve come to a realization about myself that I need to confess. Well it’s a realization about myself and how I view you. To put it simply chances are that I’m judging you. I don’t consciously do it, but it is a solid bet that when you turn into McDonalds I’m judging, when I see your cart as we walk past one another in the grocery store, and if I see you taking the elevator between floors 1 & 2 I’m still judging. It’s hard after the last year of my life and all that I have overcome not to judge, these days my tolerance for excuses is very low because I felt like I had them all. When you’ve walked that road and then completely changed your life it becomes hard to see others falling into the same traps that you did. So I’m judging all those little unhealthy choices that I see around me. I’ll catch myself doing it and remind myself that I shouldn’t be that way towards people. That I was there once, and that there are days that I’m feeling lazy and take the elevator for one or two floors instead of the stairs. There are days that I have foods that aren’t the healthiest choices for my body and that I have my own issues that I should work on. The hardest changes in life are internal. It’s far too easy to judge you, I shouldn’t do it. The act comes from pride, look at how far I have come; you wouldn’t see me at a McDonalds. Look at me I don’t buy that kind of crap from the store, and I’m not lazy I walk up the stairs. That kind of attitude is not the way that I should feel towards the people around me. It’s far too easy to take a mental boost off of comparing ourselves to others. But the people I should be comparing myself to are not the general American public. I have left that lifestyle behind; my comparisons should be against myself. How far have I come in the last year, am I getting better every day? Do I constantly work to make sure that I’m giving my best towards the challenges that confront me? And if I must compare myself why set the bar low, I should be comparing myself to people that are exceptional? How do my strength numbers match up with the likes of Marshall White? Can I do Crossfit workouts with the kind of never give up attitude of Chris Spealler? Looking to people that are exceptional should be the goal, trying to become more like those that are better than me. So I confess, all those times I’ve seen you doing something that I think is a poor choice mentally I’ve been shaking my head at you. I shouldn’t judge you and I’m sorry, because before last July I was right there with you.
This is going to be the last section of the rambling thoughts that I’ve split up into the two other posts. Just like the other two I’m just going to put them up here because I thought some of them might be worth sharing.
-When I open up to people it’s good for me and them, I should do it more often.
-No matter what the park you’re going to get some interesting visitors.
-I should really start working on a “bucket list” to start tackling new goals.
-Spending time alone has been good for my personal growth, I’m more well rounded today because of it.
-I believe that I’m a more thankful person today because of this summer.
-The pace of life in Illinois was more my style.
-This summer I have self motivated, not gained the weight back, and learned a lot about myself from doing Outlaw.
-Going back home I have a new set of shortcomings to take on.
That’s it for the list I don’t know how that reflects on my time sitting at the desk on slow days. It’s great to be able to have time to think about where I am, Wonder what the next six weeks will show me.
Starting this week I have been pushing up the volume of the work that I put in when working out. That works out to doubling up some days, and instead of just doing mobility of Thursdays I’ll be taking on the WOD that day as well. This volume increase is to push myself past the barriers that I feel are holding me back some lately. By doing the extra three workouts a week I’m going to make my body adapt to being ready for that level of output. Also it’s going to help me to get more practice in on things that I don’t do very much of when I’m just doing Outlaw. I think I’ve done sit ups once in the last two months for example. By doing these workouts I’ll do more movements, get more conditioning, and be better prepared for doing more competitions in 2013. I can’t wait to do some competiting and show off the hard work that I’m putting in here in PA. All this work reminds me of just how far I have come.
It’s weird for me to think about where I was a year ago. This time last fall I was coming up on the wedding that had sparked this transformation. I had gotten remeasured for the tux that I was to wear and saw just how much my body had changed already. I was down over fifty pounds and was feeling better every day. But there was still a long way to go. I had yet to get my first pull up without a band, and I was still struggling to do many of the workouts with a decent amount of scaling but I was getting better. Here I am almost exactly one year ago, October 8, 2011
Me and the Rev
That’s a 2xl shirt that I’m wearing, and I’m in 42in jeans. Still that’s a huge change from the summer and I was happy to be where I was. I think that at this point I really didn’t expect to get too much smaller. But I was wrong and the next few months would see me continue to progress at a pace that was amazing. Life would change in major ways, I’d leave my ranger job, graduate college, get certified as a teacher and take a job at Starbucks to pay the bills till I found a new ranger job. All that change pushed me to grow as a person. Taking the new job brought me here and that has promoted even more growth, and more chances for me to push beyond where I think that I am going to end up. That’s what all this is about. Proving to myself that there’s no boundaries for me, I am not limited by what I think, there’s more trimming to be done, better lifts to do, heavier weights to lift, and new challenges to conquer. I hope that next year I’m writing about how I couldn’t believe that I was here in October of 2012 and how my life has changed since today. I’m a firm believer today that life is all about personal growth and pushing yourself to be the best everyday. I know that’s been my story since I walked into Capital City in July 2011, and it will continue to be more story for many more years to come. Now I also hope to pass that determination on to those around me.