15.3 …. I’m the freak…

Ok- maybe freak is not the correct word, but I definitely have the opposite problem as most people.

Sitting on Thursday evening at Coca Crossfit as the announcement of 15.3 was being announced i was DREADING the workout.  Not because it had muscle ups (like 99.9 percent of people) but because it has wall balls AND double unders.

The last 2 months I have been in a battle with my ‘good knee’ fighting inflammation and instability.  I had our staff PT’s look at it and their guess was ‘it may or may not be a torn meniscus, but there’s too much swelling to really tell’ts-freak.lg

Me being stubborn I’m hell bent if I”m going to have yet another surgery – 3 in 3 years is enough.  So I’ve been able to keep chipping at workouts and lifting as long as I don’t crease below parallel with my knees or do any jumping.  Great….. two movements that  are below parallel and jumping, and both with speed.

Friday I skipped training to do some serious soul searching.  I committed a year ago to do everything I could to help get a team to regionals.  Last week I heavily medicated, wrapped my knee in a million braces, slathered it in icy hot and gutted through 15.2 in tears so I could help the team out.  Only to not walk yet alone be able to train or demo the entire week.  NOT WORTH IT!  So after doing my own personal soul searching and talking with my parents it was decided…… I would do my muscle ups as they didn’t hurt my knee, and walk away from the workout.

Come 10am this morning thats just what i did – 7 muscle ups – and walked away.  I immediately feel into my teammates arms in tears because the muscle ups were so easy I know if my knee were in a better place I could really help the team.  But she quickly reminded me thats exactly what a team is for….. to pick up when you have given your all.

So while it’s the hard thing to do because the competitor in me wants to grind through it and put up a bigger score no matter how much it hurts.  But once i check my ego and look at all the amazing things I’m doing with Coca and with I Am Stronger I know that there is more in my life than this one workout and I want a healthy body so I can give my communities my all.

Balancing act

One thing I have realized that I can not be all things to all people, but yet that doesn’t stop me from trying. (it’s a fault and my greatest asset)balancing-act

So what do I balance on a daily basis:
Coca CrossFit
I Am Stronger
Continuing Education
Lorain County Health Day
Networking Groups
Lawn Care…..to name a few

We ALL have a million things on our plates.  We ALL have the same 24 hours in a day.  How we decide to spend them is our choice.  We some how manage to find time for what we find truly important.  Often the first thing we cut is training and nutrition.  We’re too busy to workout or eat right.

I call BULLSHIT!!!  There’s no way you can convince me that you don’t have 1 hour in 24 to spend on yourself and your health.  Hell – only have 30min – google body weight WOD and smash something quickly in your living room, hotel room, office – where ever.

And for food – if you don’t have time to cook or just don’t enjoy it.  Get to the local whole foods/heinenes/ giant eagle etc – they all have preprepared counters with healthy options so all you have to do is decide what you’re in the mood for and buy it.  It’s really that simple.

Take a step back….. evaluate what you say is important vs what your actions are showing…… balance sometimes in imbalance – but without your health nothing else is possible.

Damn you Whole 30

Ever since I had knee surgery a year and a half ago I have struggled with the pain in my knees.  One knee has left me bone on bone while I have arthritis in both.  My mind wants to keep pushing, but some days my body has the exact opposite plan.

Can I have a pity party and make excuses for why I can’t train……. yup….. I’ve done it!

No more…..I want to do all the things in my power to control the pain in my joints.  one thing I can control is my weight.  There is a ton of research showing that for every pound you can take off of body weight theres a percentage of pressure taken off the joints.  Imagine how good my knees will feel if I can lose 10lbs.

Enter the Whole 30…… I’m only on day 3 and the demons are already coming out of the closet.  What skeleton…. the eating disorder one.doing-the-w30-IG

In my life I have gone as extreme as running 7-10miles a day living on tuna and peanut butter in college.  If I could just lose one more pound I would be prettier, more popular, more whatever it was I thought I was chasing.  In 2009/2010 I ate a PERFECT zone for so long I was neurotic about every piece of every food I put in my mouth.  To the point I yelled at my brother for eating a grape….. really a grape….. its just a grape.

Eating disorders don’t mean you’re throwing up after every meal.  It can also mean you worry about every piece of every food you eat.  Even if done in a healthy way.

On day 3 of the Whole 30 I am so worried about every food I put in my body.  Does it have sugar? Is it processed?  Feeling so restricted is bringing back all those feelings of when I restricted myself before.  This time I am doing it for a healthy reason…. my knees…. but it doesn’t change how it’s making me feel.

I immediately want to abort the mission and say screw it….. its too uncomfortable…. I don’t want to deal with the feelings, I want to just bury them.  Instead I am admitting my fears and facing them head on.  It’s not easy and I feel like a total loser for letting food control my feelings so much, but admitting fear is only going to help me get stronger.

So instead of running  away I will take it one meal at time and when I feel the skeletons coming back I will face them head on, invite them into the light and deal with the feelings.  Wish me luck….. only 27.5 days to go….

Why I’m not the athlete I used to be

One thing that has become harshly obvious to me…..I’m not nearly the athlete I could be.  why?

Because it’s not my number one priority.  These days I am running Coca CrossFit and building my non-profit I Am Stronger.

If I look back at my history as a CrossFit athlete it makes so much sense to me why I was so successful……. training was my number one priority.  I was so focused on myself and my own goals.  My training was hard, my nutrition was spot on and my social life was non-existent.  At that point in my life it wasn’t a sacrifice as it was fun and that made it easy.  http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-image33631518

Fast forward to 2014 and my affiliate is growing steadily every month and I have a membership base to help.  Layer on top of that my non-profit blossoming and the hours are booked with growing two businesses.  I will always put myself after either business as I would much rather impact other peoples lives than my own.  I have had the glory, the title, the sponsors.  I know how cool that is, and if I can help just one person feel that I will take the back seat every time.

I was selfish when I was training, it was about me……. coaching is about others, and my life right now is full of joy watching others blossom.  It’s a battle because those around me see my potential and want me to pursue it, and I understand why they feel that way.  I work my ass off and am continuously making gains.  Of course I love competing and want to continue to train to be ready to compete.

The reality is that my gym and my non-profit are my priority and my battle becomes becoming the best athlete I can be with the time that’s left over. These days I am working on getting more organized so that I can dedicate more time to training.  I will never be the athlete I was because my priorities have shifted, and thats half the fun in seeing what’s possible.

‘Why pay when they’ll work for free?’

This sentence actually came out of the mouth of an affiliate owner this week on an idea sharing phone call, and I was floooooooored!!!!  He could afford to pay his staff, but never has because they haven’t pushed for it, so why bother?  (was his thought process)

I often look to bounce around ideas with other affiliate owners, best practices, trends, ideas you name it.  If there’s one thing I know for sure, I don’t know it all.  I am far from the best and have a ton to learn all things life and business related.

One thing I can not wrap my head around is; coaches working for free or membership?????

What for profit business is run by volunteers?  Could you imagine BP Oil saying we’ll give you free gas for your time?

Its one thing if you’re new and getting your affiliate off the ground and there is barely enough money to pay rent yet alone employees.  But buying a house….. going on vacation…..getting a new truck…… what ever it is that you’re doing while your coaching staff is volunteering their time????  Money doesn’t grow on trees – it grows from coaches working their asses off to build an affiliate owners dream.  Why should the affiliate owner be the only one to benefit from it.money-tree

At Coca my coaches receive;

  • A free membership
  • A paycheck
  • Coaching staff gear
  • Monthly dinners/drinks with me to help me grow/improve Coca & stay connected to how I can help them improve as a coach/provide the resources they need to improve Coca
  • Yearly holiday dinner for all the coaches and their wives/significant others

I know personally I would not be able to sleep at night knowing how hard my coaches work to build Coca knowing I wasn’t paying them.  Hell…. I lived at home the first two years of Coca so I could afford to pay coaches while building the business.  I never want people to feel like I”m using them or taking advantage of them.

Are you an affiliate owner that has volunteering coaches?  How does that work?  Do you ever feel guilty knowing you’re making money while they work for free?

I’m not asking these questions to make anyone feel bad.  I’m just trying to understand the thought process.  I truly just don’t understand how for profit businesses would expect their coaches to volunteer, they’re working their ass off for you, why would you not want to pay them?

I don’t know…. maybe I’m the silly one for not banking that cash…… just my personal opinion.

Why is trying to create a Regional team a ‘dirty’ thing?


When talking about building a Regional team (in regards to the Reebok CrossFit Games)…… how are they built?

By INDIVIDUAL athletes with a similar goal living in a similar geographical area coming together to achieve a shared goal.   For these individuals their goal is to build a team of 3 men and 3 women that will qualify as a unit.  Sometimes it’s a year out from the season, sometimes its months out and sometimes it’s the day of the deadline, January 1, 2015.  The wouldn’t have a deadline if it weren’t acceptable for athletes to move gyms – after all it’s THEIR journey not the owners.

In the past a gym could build a team of specialists and then mix and match who would compete based on the workouts.  LONG GONE are those days.  The trend heading into 2015 everyone of the individual competitors has to be well rounded.  Able to deadlift 2.5x their body weight AND do muscle ups.  Able to over head squat their body weight AND walk on their hands.  Able to complete a sub 4min Fran AND a sub 45min Murph.  Athletes on a team have to themselves be well-rounded and able to RX every main site wod.

Finding 6 individuals that have ALL of the below;
1- want to compete
2- want to compete on a team
3- can rx every main site wod
4- attend the same gym

Finding a gym that has 6+ athlete that match all of above is a rarity.  And when you do find 6+ individuals at the same facility you have to wonder how did they get there…… THEY TALKED ABOUT IT, about creating a team and working for each other.  Most teams I’ve seen on the regional floor took years to create and athletes from different gyms coming together for a shared vision. It wasn’t about the flag they would wave or banner they would hang.  It was about 6 individuals having a goal and committing to work for each other to achieve it.

I’ve been accused of  ‘recruiting’ or  ‘creating super team’. I call it trying to get 6 individuals that have a goal and a dream of wearing a competitor shirt on the regional floor together so they can achieve their goal.  I personally would rather see a team built from several NEO gyms qualify allowing us all to rally behind with Cleveland pride.  As a community at large I would rather see a Cleveland team  in Minnesota or what ever odd state it is being held at this year vs a few gyms having ok teams that keep their athletes from achieving their dream.

They have a dream and I want to do what ever it takes to help them achieve it.  Being criticized for trying to help athletes achieve their dream is something I’m totally ok with it. Business second- dreams first!



Why do I make you mad?


This is often a question I ask myself when I hear all the things floating around being said about me……

This is often a question I ask myself when I hear another gym is marketing to my members…..

This is often  question I ask myself when I get an email from a fake address tearing me apart…..

Why is it that I make you soooooooo mad????

I can only go off what I know about myself and how I react.  Often when I get upset it is because I am jealous or envious of something someone has.  It’s only natural to have the knee jerk reaction of ‘why don’t I ……(fill in the blank)?

It’s really sad that we’re raised in culture of wanting what everyone else has vs loving what we have.  Instead of being genuinely happy for the successes of others we get envious and angry.  We belittle each other and lash out.

I single handedly am working to turn this around.  I acknowledge when I have a negative thought and spin it into a positive.  It took a little bit of time to get used to doing because at first I didn’t feel like I was being honest with myself.  After about a year of practice I can honestly say I am genuinely happy for others success.

It’s not even task I have to do anymore because it has become second nature.  My goal now is to pass that on to others.  Celebrating people for who they are and the goals they achieve.  Even when the same people you’re trying to build celebrate and build up are the ones trying to tear you down.


OK……….. so for 4 maybe even 5 months now I’ve been fighting swelling in my knee, my good knee.  I tired resting it, that didn’t help, so two weeks ago I got a cortisone shot.  That put me on a 2 week – nothing but light rowing and mobility time out.

While it was beyond difficult and frustrating to have to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else have fun, I tried to focus on the positive and doing what I could to improve, which was follow the rules.  Rest and recover.

Today was my third day of working on getting back after it.  While I was putting weights away I had the worst painful pop in my knee and I thought ‘shit, I’m done for’  It hurt so bad, like pain rumbled through my body kind of pain.  I gathered my bearings and took a step……..PAIN FREE……WHHHHHHAAATT?????

Bent it……PAIN FREE????

Looked for the fluid that had been sticking out of my knee every time I bent it……GONE!!!

I have NO CLUE what happened, and I’m actually quite weirded out by it, but all I know is the sweeling is gone and I’m pain free.  The clouds have parted and the angles are singing.  So to night I CELEBRATE!  After 5 months I am pain free for the first time.


You don’t have to be Michael Phelps but for good god put the suit on

I had to share a post based on this quote because it’s just soooooo damn funny and it’s pretty point on.

While reading ‘The Thank You Economy’ by Gary Vanerchuk today the quote ‘you don’t have to be Michael Phelps but for good got put the suit on’ and it was so honest and so true. (in referring to you’ll never learn to swim if you don’t put the suit on)

One thing we ALL do is talk about what we want or wish we had.  But when the rubber has to hit the road what do we do?  We tell our selves ‘we’re not that person’  ‘we’re not smart enough’ ‘we’re not good enough’  Those of us that are confident always doubt our skills, it’s only human.  (unless you’re an arrogant asshole and truly believe you’re better than people)

Why did I love this quote?  Because I truly believe you don’t have to be or have anything to BE SOMETHING GREAT!  You just have to be willing to work for it.  So my challenge to you is……. don’t worry about where you are……. what you need…… think about what you want and put the damn suit on!


I have accepted defeat

As many of you know I have been struggling to get my ass back on the competition floor for 3 years now.  First the broken back, then the ruptured Achilles and then the double microfacture in my knee. Not exactly the resume I ever thought I’d be building.

After a near scar last week of going to the ortho with the thought process of yet another surgery I thought I was done for.  Tests done…. cortisone shot given and I’m on a rest week and the PT says with a smart recovery plan I should be able to stay surgery free.  I’ll tell you what it was like the clouds parted and the angels sand…….NO SURGERY!!!

I quickly realized that I have NO CHOICE and I have accepted defeat.  I am not 100% healthy.  I am not young.  I am not just going to bounce back.  I have put myself on a no leg usage for 10 days to fully let the shot settle in and come up with a solid strategy.  Even if that’s training 4 days a week and mobilizing a recovering 3.

End of day I want longevity in my joints and I have accepted defeat of the ego that keeps saying ‘but you’re a games athlete you should be better’  If I don’t listen to what the universe is telling me (which is slow the fuck down) I’ll work myself right into another surgery.  And who knows.  With the right training and recovery plan I could come back stronger than ever.  Who knows.  What I do know is that I still have fight, I’ll always be an athlete, and I have to do the best with the body I’ve got…. not the body I wish I had.