Stop programming competitions like The Games

I started CrossFit back in 2007 and to say it’s been a wild ride is an understatement.  One thing that has been crazy to watch is how much the elite level athletes have improved over those 10 years.  Hell…….. to look at the workouts in 2010 when I went to the CrossFit Games to the 2016 CrossFit Games…..they’re not on the same level.

I then step back and take a look at my affiliate, Coca CrossFit, and think about what I’ve observed in the last 6 years owning it.  My ‘average’ athlete in 2010 is very similar to my ‘average’ athlete in 2016.

Sooooooooo if the ‘average’ athlete has remained the same why have the local competitions followed the CrossFit Games trend in increasing the difficulty?  Because it’s cool and sexy……… but does it really make sense?  I say NO!unc02i

Can we push our ‘average’ athletes to be a little better each day…..HELL YEAH you bet we can.  Can I expect an ‘average’ athlete to reach the level of muscle ups, walking on their hands, running a sub 20min 5k, lifting 3x body weight deadlift…..sure….if that’s ALL they do!  But our ‘average’ athlete has a full-time job, kids, stress, homes to maintain etc.  To expect them to crush regional level workouts at a local competition is ridiculous.

Many of our athletes want to compete because it is fun to get out and be a part of the community, but they’re turned off because every event is trying to out program the previous one and it’s gotten out of control. What happened to the local competitions that were designed to challenge athletes withough expecting them to be at the regional level?  The Games are The Games and should be hard.  How’s about having more local competitions designed for the MAJORITY of CrossFit athletes….. ‘the average joe’?


Lead your class of ONE…..

With the wide variety of online membership tracking platforms available now a days many gyms require there members to sign on and RSVP for the class they plan on attending.  We at Coca CrossFit have never done that, but that’s mainly because we have 5,000 sq feet and have never run out of space or equipment to be able to run classes.personal_training_graphic

One thing I’ve heard from members of other facilities is ‘my class was cancelled’  their gym requires a minimum number of athletes to take the time to run the class.  I call bull sh*t…….. one, two or three people aren’t worth you time?

I love my classes of one when they happen because it’s a chance to really focus on one person. To really dig into their technique and their body for a full hour.  You have a full hour to get to know them as a person, their careers, their family etc.

My advice to gym owners…… instead of canceling a class that doesn’t reach your minimum requirement…..run the class and embrace the extra time, love and attention you can give the few members that took the time to show up and work.


Proudly a ‘soft’ gym…….

I have been criticized recently for have a ‘soft gym’….and of course not knowing what that meant I had to investigate further.  Apparently the ‘word on the street’ is that Coca CrossFit is a ‘soft gym….meaning that our programming isnt heavy enough, challenging enough or pushing people as had as it should.

At first I was HIGHLY offended and once my emotions came back down to ground earth I sat back and thought about where that could be coming from and I had to agree………in the evolution of our facility we have gotten ‘soft’, but is that a bad thing?cute-smiley-face-marshmallows-pink-white-heart-faces-2463

Reason 1 we’re a ‘soft gym’:  When we first opened I was coming off competing as an individual in the CrossFit Games with a contract with Reebok and I thought my sh*t didn’t stink.  I wrote programming that was geared towards athletes that wanted to compete and while I had 100 members in 2 months I focus on 12……why?  Because they were the most important……WRONG!  It created a gym with competitors and everyone else, and that wasn’t a community to me.

Reason 2 we’re a ‘soft gym’: I wrote the daily workout to be regional and games level weights and skills…….. we’ll guess what….. the average CrossFit athlete is FAR from Games athlete but wanting to please our coaching staff pushed, and pushed, and pushed until they broke…….WRONG!  Our job is to keep athletes safe while expecting the best out of them…….. giving people permission/even encouraging members to scale is our job!  Train to Train another day I say.

Reason 3 we’re a ‘soft gym’:  Over the 6 years my priorities have shifted tremendously.  My first few years I was known for pushing athletes to compete and taking them to a new level.  Our image to the surrounding world was CrossFit is scary and only for people that want to be monsters………WRONG! In the last two years I have worked really hard to bring CrossFit to the average person looking to take back control of their life.    The amount of joy I feel when someone thats never worked out a day in their life says ‘I missed a few days and I really cant wait to get back’  is unmeaserable.

So if being a ‘soft gym’ means we have ONE community where we keep people safe and accept ALL skill levels equally ……. than I’m PROUDLY A SOFT GYM!


It’s not about where you start……

……. it’s about you getting started.

I can’t count how many times I have faced giving up because it would be the easier option in the last decade. In 2010 and competing at the CrossFit Games and opening an affiliate I thought I have found my happiness and ‘easy street’…….. and stumble after stumble after stumble…..tumblr_n6mkxaywNU1s26j1mo1_500

Jan 2010: found out i broke a vertebra……. after 24 weeks in a back brace I had to start my journey all over again……

Dec 2011: ruptured my Achilles……after 6months of no weight on my foot I had to start again…….

May 2013: double micro fracture in my knee……one year later I was finally pain free in my knee and I had to start again……

January 2016:  I found I was pregnant and had to back off training…… and in June 2016 I lost baby Hope and I had to start again……

I may not be where I want to be physically but I refuse to stay down.  I will dust myself off, accept where I am, and fight to get to where I want to be


Power of vision boards

One thing that I have used successfully in the past to achieve my goals is a Vision Board.  What is a vision board?  It’s a visual representation of all the things you want to have come into your life.

When i first learned about a vision board I thought to myself that it was super hoaky and cheesy, but thought….. I’ll give a go and see what happens.  The year I did my first vision board I achieved 80% of the things I put on the board both personally and professionally.

I haven’t done one since, and that was 2012 so back on the vision board train 4 years later when I need to refocus and keep myself moving forward it seemed like a great option.  So I spent the evening sitting down and finding visual representations of things that are important for me to achieve by the end of 2016.  I have made it the back ground of my computer so every time I open my computer I am reminded of the behaviors I need to continue to do day after day in order to achieve my dreams.

They don’t have to make any sense to any one but me because I know what they mean. With this under my belt I feel confident that I am one step closer to all of my dreams.

2016 vision board


Bringing Home Baby Hope

When you think about bringing home your baby for the first time you think of all the joy, fear and excitement that come along with a tiny infant strapped into car seat that seams to engulf them.

In our case it was a VERY different experience.  We had to walk into a funeral home……. in a room on the side there was a tiny velvet bag wrapped around a container with our daughters ashes in it.  Candles burning and small wooden cross.  The director left my fiancé and our living daughter for a few moments with Hope.

It had been along time since I had cried that many heart felt tears, and for a good 5min there was no way to stop them.  The reality of our daughter being gone from this earth and the final step in the process had set in.

Two signatures later and we walked out carrying our daughter in a box.  As sad as it was, and as opposite from what we wanted it was, it was an important step for us.  Our family was finally whole, not in the way we had envisioned, but for the first time our family was complete and everyone was home.

My fiancé and I are not church goers by any means, but in extreme times we need to find things to give us peace, and in this case the tiny wooden cross was a great keep sake of the care and love our daughter had received while in her final moments before cremation. As a symbol of her, and the love and care we gave her, it seemed only appropriate to have her in our kitchen so that throughout the day everyday we can keep her alive and talk to her.

So while bringing baby Hope was a much different vision for us, at least she’s home with her parents and our family is together.



Hearing good news is hard…. and so is forgiving myself….

Today was the day we had to face our OBYN for our follow up appointment and it was with a mixed bag of emotions that sat in the waiting room.

Tears began flowing the instant a mom came out with an ultrasound for her teenage daughters newly conceived baby…..talking health and due dates…… knowing I was going in to talk about the death of our daughter I couldn’t hold them in.  Two families at the same doctor for two very different reasons.Good-News

The doc came in and began to explain my diagnosis – pre-prom…..not a miscarriage…. what’s the difference?

  • With a miscarriage something went wrong with the placenta or the uterus making it difficult to carry baby.


  • With pre-prom the water breaks and its so rare and such an anomaly that there isn’t enough research to even explain why it happens. The uterus and the placenta are healthy and theres no reason to think I can’t carry to full term.

So what does that mean moving forward?  That means that there is no physical reason to think that once my body is healed that we will have issues conceiving and even less issues thinking that under the super vision of a high-risk specialist that the baby will do anything but make it full term.

Hearing good news that we can have HOPE in our future and pregnancies to come ….. that my body didn’t do anything wrong or have any major issues…… that we have a 70=90% chance of having a successful second pregnancy….. that we can try to conceive again in as little as 6-8 weeks….  such a sense of relief and a moment of forgiving myself and letting go of so many fears and guilts.

As I sit talking to my mom I realize it was hard to hear good news….. I’ve been in such a dark sad place full of heavy bad news that I had forgotten how to get good news and how to be happy about it.  It’ll take a bit to process but today I am focusing on accepting good news and forgiving myself.


Learning to Laugh Again

One of the hardest things through all of this horror is moving forward.  There is so much pain and sadness it feels like there will never be a day of joy again.  You live for little moments of hope and happiness and they seem few and far between and fleeting.

And to compound it…… when you do find moments of joy and happiness they are accompanied with a feeling of guilt.  Guilt in a way of ‘how could you possibly be happy when your daughter just died?’time-quotes-life-is-mixture-of-sunshine-and-rain-teardrops-and-laughter-please-and-pain-just-remember-there-was-never-a-cloud-that-the-sun-wouldnt-shine-through

That is why the short over night Matt and I spent in Chicago was so critically important for me.  It was a chance to leave the house that’s so full of such heavy emotion.  Leave the house that’s full of all the baby things that won’t be used (at least not for now).  Leave the stress of mounting laundry, dishes and bills.

To get away from reality and just learn to laugh again.  To do stupid things like sip a cocktail with our fiancé at a corner bar and chat up the bartenders.  They don’t know what happened nor did they care.  The didn’t ask how we were doing or have an concern.  We got to pretend for a day that we were just Matt and Kate on a mini vacation.

Out of that I learned that I can laugh again…… I can smile……I can make it through this because as much as I would love to avoid this and put in a box and pretend it never happened…..that’s not a choice.  My only way through this…is to go right through the eye of the storm.  And while I still cry more than I laugh I am learning to do it again.



Just enough strength to cry

there is no one want to grieve or mourn when facing  loss….. there is also no way of predicting how you’re going to react or feel day to day – hell hour to hour and minute to minute.

Today was a day where my strength ran out.  It took everything I have had the last few days to not completely fall to pieces and today it showed.  The only thing I have had the strength to do is cry.2ec6a4b470b7aafc8c52bb1435ca682c

  • Cry for my broken heart
  • Cry for the emptiness
  • Cry for the loss
  • Cry for my finances pain
  • Cry for the sheer exhaustion
  • Cry for the old me that will forever be changed

I made a few attempts to get up and brush it off and they all led to tears…… so I stopped fighting it –   I turned off the lights, I closed the curtains, I put away my phones and I cried.

While I know I need to move forward, and do my best to smile and look for the positives I also need some times to fall apart and cry.  It’s a part of the process and one that while truly painful will make me stronger on the other side…….when I eventually get there.


Finding HOPE in despair

One of the hardest things I’ve ever faced is the loss of our daughter to a pre-term labor this past weekend. Through out the 3 days in the hospital Matt and I went to so many dark places…… and coming home to our quiet, still, dark house made it seem much darker.  When you’re in that place it seems next to impossible to ever make it back to the light.

Thankfully Matt and I have such an amazing support system around us that they made it impossible for us to stay there.  The greatest gift we have had is connecting with other parents that have dealt with similar situations.

A dear friend of mine shared her experience with loss and all the things they learned and gained from their tragedy…… through that we discovered our daughters purpose on this earth…… to give us HOPE……

  • HOPE in Matt and I being bonded for lifeshutterstock_137307233Hope-300x300
  • HOPE in our family
  • HOPE in our future
  • HOPE in our children to come
  • HOPE in being able to help others through this in the future

It seemed only appropriate that we named our daughter Hope Spinner as there is no greater word to describe what she gave us.  I am so impressed with Hope’s strength and ability to bring her parents so close in such a short period of time.  I’m so impressed with Hope’s sacrifice to assure her siblings parents will never part. She is truly the strongest little girl this world has ever seen and from this extreme despair we are walking away with HOPE.