Lets be honest

I will be honest- it’s been a while! A long while since I posted or worked out at all. I have repeatedly talked about getting back at it but lacked the motivation. If you know me, then you know there is very little gray area with me. I’m either all in or all out with whatever I’m doing. I got sucked back into the every day grind of life. That’s not an excuse- that’s just what happened. I have decided not to make idle statements about what i will do tomorrow or next week. I just want to do something every day even if it’s only for 5 minutes and see where it takes me.
I took a step back to look where I am now and where my life is going. I have a lot going on and I know a lot of you can fully understand me when I say that. I have two jobs, two amazing kids that just moved in with me full-time, and a beautiful Fiancee who I’m marrying in May and a few other projects that are on my docket for later this year. As amazing as all that is, I have let my body go downhill. To be fair, I have had some ups and downs since I started CrossFit a couple of years ago. Back then, I was 235 lbs and couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without breathing heavy. I opened my eyes, saw where I was and did something about it. I continually got stronger and healthier. At my best during that period I got down to 195 pounds and I felt great.
Now i’m back up to 220 lbs and creeping closer to my pre-CrossFit weight. The cardio that I built up is gone. I do still have most of the strength, but my mobility has decreased as the weight increased. I can point at a lot of things as to why I got to this point but the root of the problem is lack of motivation. Lets be honest we all go through it! So the question now is how do I get that back?? For me, I have given myself several things to prepare for.
The first thing is that I just made myself get back in the gym. As soon as I went in, I looked at the board and saw the workout and I got excited because it was probably the perfect workout for my first day back! Five 5-minute EMOMs of snatches with increasing weight. It was roughly 30 mins of my favorite movement! It probably sounds like thirty minutes of hell to some people but I love throwing around heavy stuff, so it was perfect for me!
The second is that I decided to just bite the bullet and register for the CrossFit Open. Believe it or not, I did it in the hopes that my results would piss me off to the point that it would motivate me to keep pushing and get better than I ever have been.
The third is that I am signed up for the CF Level one course at the end of the month. I want to continue to learn and re-energize myself. One thing that motivates me more than my personal accomplishments is helping others do things that they never thought they could do. I also get motivation by visiting different gyms and and seeing what other people are able to accomplish and how the do it.
The fourth and most important and most motivating is that in May, I get to marry the love of my life. I am definitely marrying up so I better get to work so I can keep up with her!!
The key to all this is knowing yourself and what motivates you and also what drains you. I am a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way! If you want it bad enough and are willing to put in the work you can make anything happen! So what do you guys want to make happen and what are you willing to do to make it happen??

Box Spotlight 008: CrossFit 611

CF611 logo2

One of the things I love most about CrossFit is that when you walk in that box, you’re immediately surrounded with dedicated people who have similar goals. They encourage you, offer tidbits of advice and hold you accountable. Often, they are like-minded people who believe in the same causes as you. This is why the community aspect of CrossFit is so powerful. The strength of the community within the box also allows them to reach out and give back to the greater community around them.

I love participating in charity events at different boxes because it really showcases all the best of CF My home gym hosted a Barbells for Boobs event in October that I participated in. While I was completing Grace, I was lucky enough to have Cam Langly, one of the owners of CrossFit 611 as my judge. After my heat, I got the chance to talk to Cam and his partner, Sean Dooley. They invited me to visit their box.

As soon as I got out of my car, I could see a thriving box full of members working hard toward their goals, which was a stark contrast to the empty building next door that used to house a commercial gym. Once I got inside, I was immediately greeted by Cam and given a tour of their facility. The workout for the day and the coaching were excellent, just as I expected from the high-quality group of people that run CrossFit 611. A great group of coaches and staff joins Cam and Sean. The vision and passion that they have for their members will propel them to a great future. Cam shared some of what they have in the works and they truly have a very bright future planed for their business and their members.

Now the thing I love most about this box is that when you walk in to CrossFit 611 one of the first things you will see on the wall is “Put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11). This is a very fitting quote because CrossFit 611 uses CF to fully arm and prepare their members for life and to give them the ability to reach their goals. They have recently begun a full armor training camp, a hybrid boot camp-style program and fat burn challenge for people who may be new to CF or who are not quite ready to take the leap into a CF class. They also have a CF kids program and are currently in the process of standing up their barbell club and CF Teens programs. This is just the short list of great things that Cam and Sean have in store for their community. They have big plans for the future, I can’t wait to see where they go from here and I plan on keeping you all updated!


To find out more about CrossFit 611

Click HERE to find them on Facebook

Click HERE to check out their website

CrossFit Chapel Hill

Today I’m taking a look back at another great box that i have visited. If you haven’t checked out CrossFit Chapel Hill and the awesome things they have going on you really should!

Two things struck me most about my experience at CrossFit Chapel Hill First is the location: inside a specialty mall, University Mall in Chapel Hill, NC. At first, I thought I was lost. After double-checking with the owner, I entered the mall. As elderly mallwalkers sped by me, and toddlers threw sippy cups out of their strollers, I seriously debated: how well does the upscale boutique-style mall tolerated the loud music, clanking of weight plates and reverberating thud of weights being dropped? Apparently, no one minds. Once you walk in the doors of CFCH it is just like walking in to any other very well equipped CrossFit gym. The music and sounds of athletes cheering each other on does a great job of completely drowning out the elevator music playing in the mall.

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Jason Garrard is the owner of this very unique facility. With a background in personal training at conventional gyms he discovered CrossFit in 2008 after reading an article in Mens Health magazine. Jason stated that CrossFit utilized all the movements that he loved, but upping the ante and doing them for time changed everything. After months of hard work, he went to the CrossFit games sectionals in 2010. In 2010 and 2011 he competed in the team competition at the CrossFit games. He also won the title of Washington DC’s fittest man in 2010 & 2011. The resume alone is impressive but the unique approach he brings to the training at CF Chapel Hill is what really caught my attention.


Here’s the second thing that really makes CrossFit Chapel Hill stand out from legions of boxes: they combine a system called Z Health and the CrossFit methodology into what they call Z Fit. This system is a neurological re-education system that is designed to help maximize the body’s functionality by Improving the small parts and systems which will in turn increase the performance of the body as a whole.


The body is comprised of multiple muscles, joints and systems. If some of them don’t work as well as they should they will create compensation patterns, which reduce our athletic ability. Our brain is trying to protect the dysfunction from an injury. By eliminating the disconnect, you can fix the movement, which will increase your performance.


Okay, let’s step back. That was pretty heavy reading. And it is, but it’s really cool to watch. There’s nothing extravagant, it’s performing little exercises, as directed by your coach. Maybe some toe touches to fix shoulder mobility, or something similar. I saw this first hand when Jason worked with me on my current shoulder issues. I saw an immediate improvement from just a few short minutes of work, after doing what seemed like unrelated stretches, done in a sequence. There’s so much cool science and neurology at hand here that I can’t begin to explain it all in one short blog. Let me tell you: it seems crazy, but it works!


CrossFit Chapel Hill was based on the idea of bringing Z Fit to the masses via the CrossFit setting. This allows Jason to help multiple people improve in one group session, instead of just working with one person at a time. Since the box has grown, Jason has brought in more coaches allowing this system to effect and improve more and more people more effectively.  Bringing in more coaches also allows Jason to fine tune individuals’ movements while the other coaches concentrate on the group.

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Another really cool thing CFCH does is that they have also found a way to individualize the group workouts by utilizing a programming system that they call “The Standard.” They identify individual weakness across three different domains: strength, weight lifting skill and endurance.  Then, variation options are programmed into the WOD to allow for progress in the weaker domain, but working towards bringing the three more into balance.

What’s that look like? Let me break it down a bit more. If the WOD involves dead lifts, you may see someone who needs to build strength doing a lower rep scheme that will allow them to lift heavier to build muscle. Someone who needs to work on weight lifting skills would be doing snatch grip dead lifts. The person that needs to work on their endurance may do 40 double unders prior to doing their set of dead lifts to get their heart rate up. This allows coaches to best elevate your experience, while still keeping one streamlined WOD.


As a side note, in case you were wondering, each box is an affiliate of CrossFit HQ, and not a franchise full of stipulations. This allows each gym owner the liberty to take the CrossFit methodology and adapt it as they see fit. Each box is its own unique business with its own unique community and Crossfit HQ does not mandate how each owner and coach is allowed to operate and the members of the CrossFit community reaps the benefits of each boxes individuality. That’s the cool thing, the wide diversity makes for so many different experiences. In fact, that’s what got me started writing this blog! CrossFit Chapel Hill is an excellent example of how an owner can put their own twist on things to help their clients achieve their goals and even more.


Want to learn why Z Fit works?

Connect with CFCH on FB

Check out CFCH’s website.


Many people that know me also know that I have a couple podcasts I am absolutely hooked on. I listen to these podcasts in my car, the fire station bunk room and even in the shower because of the amazing content that they put out. This past week one of my favorite podcasts posted a new video to a series that they call “Nuggets and Pearls”  

a Q&A style session where they offer advice and expertise, literally nuggets and pearls of wisdom. In this installment of their series, they have Bill Phillips, the author of  Body For Life, join them.

When the question posed is “How do I transform my body?” the answer comes back as much more than just a physical transformation.

There are 5 questions that you should ask yourself in order to begin your path to transformation.

  1.    Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. When am I going to do it?
  4. Why am I doing it?
  5. How am I going to do it

In the video they suggest that to answer the first question you take a “before” image of what you’re looking to change. If you want to do better in school, your report card can be your before picture. If you want to do better at work, shoot your quarterly evaluations. If you want to clean up your diet, take a photo of your body. Your before picture can be anything that shows where you are starting, it just needs to be a documentation of a beginning.

Answering the second question is where you set your goals. Whether it’s wanting to lose twenty pounds or making A’s instead of B’s you need to state your goal. While developing your goals you also need to make it attainable. You are not going to lose 100 pounds in thirty days. If you do I can promise you that it was not in a healthy sustainable way. If you lose 5 pounds a month for an entire year you will have lost 60 pounds and you will have done it in a healthy and sustainable manner.

The third step is an important one! When are you going to start?  Don’t procrastinate, Don’t say I’m going to start on Monday because you will use up a whole year of Monday’s before you get moving on your goals.

Step number four is probably the most important on the list. Why am I doing it? This is your motivation. The people with the best motivation are usually the ones with the best success.

The Last question is just a matter of making a plan and consistently working toward your goals. If you want to get healthier or stronger pick a training and nutrition plan and stick to it. Most people ask this question first when the other four are what is really important. How you are going to accomplish your goal is just a matter of following the plan.

My before picture: I am a firefighter and two years ago I responded to a house fire. After going in the house for 20 minutes or so I was completely spent and exhausted. I am 5’6” and I weighed 235 pounds. I was in the worst shape of my life. That was my before picture. I looked at myself and decided that I had to do something.

My goal: My goals were simple. I wasn’t worried about a specific number on the scale. I wanted to feel better, perform better and be healthier.

When did I start?: I started that night by posting a question on Facebook asking my friends which gyms I should check out.

My motivation: I have pictures of my two amazing kids in my helmet at work. As a firefighter, I know that the number one cause of firefighter deaths is heart attacks. I wanted to be healthier so that I could perform better at work but more importantly so that I would be healthy and around longer for my kids

How I did it: I took that first step. I walked in to CrossFit Sanford and immediately signed up and the rest is history.

Now it’s your turn! What are your answers to the 5 questions?

Sunday Motivation #2

Last week i shared on of my favorite movie speeches and one of my favorite pod casts. This week i have another youtube video. This one has several amazing motivational moments.

In life we all go through trials and tribulations. As we go through struggles and hard times we still have to keep sight of our goals and understand that even though life is hard we often don’t understand the power of that struggle until it is over. In our weakest moments we have a choice. We can give in or we can fight through it. The struggles we face not only effect us but it also effects those around us. The examples we leave behind can be an inspiration to our families, our friends, even a stranger that just happened to read a blog or face book post. I know it doesn’t feel like that when you are in the middle of the struggle but if you take a moment to step back and take a breath you might see that it can always be worse. You could give up and quite but you won’t because you are better than that, you are stronger than that! Enjoy your day of rest and go after your goals tomorrow!