Coaching is about the EXPERIENCE

NOT YOURS……. your clients.  If you’re coaching means coming in, running through the technical side and leaving you’re leaving so much on the table.  how-to-create-experiences-customers-would-crawl-over-hot-coals-to-have-1-638

At Coca CrossFit we do our best to create an experience….. the whole experience.  It may be my 5th or 9th class but it’s the first class for your clients.  It’s important my energy level reflects how I feel about being able to serve each member each day. From a warm felt welcome, to asking how their interview went or how the kids are doing, but engaging in my clients lives and what’s going on in their world.  Hell the simple fact that I know every members name is critically important to me.

It’s important you get members to engage with other members.  There’s nothing worse than someone feeling left out or even worse, no one talking to each other.  Doesn’t happen at Coca.  I could care less how different someone is from the person next to them I’ll find something they can connect on.

It’s important you ask them what they want to hear…..yes I could rock the music I want to hear all day, but it’s not my class, it’s theirs.  And honestly more often then not it’s ‘Rap’ or ’90’s Hip Hop’ that I have requested.

It’s important your members know you’re proud of them.  While they may not be ready to wear your logo on the floor of the Reebok CrossFit Games giving your ego a boost because you’re such an awesome coach……. putting 5lbs more on the bar, hell not adding weight but moving better is a WIN!  You should be able to find one thing a day to celebrate each athlete.

It’s important people leave the gym feeling loved, important, validated and more importantly that the work their putting in is working.


NEWS FLASH….pushing someone down does NOT pull you up

I wish I could keep track of the number times a day I hear someone push someone down…… as if it will some how pull themselves up.  It’s simple comments like:

  • ‘who do they think they are?’
  • ‘what the hell is she wearing?’
  • ‘she’s a complete moron, how did she get a raise?’
  • ‘that’s not even full range, how is that a PR?’

If we all spent 1/2 the time we spent pushing others down investing in pulling ourselves up what a world we’d have.news-flash

This is something I have personally battled with, and working with life coaches and counselors since opening up my business I have done a ton and i mean a TON of soul searching.  And what I realized is that I pushed people down.  Why?  Because I had to justify why I wasn’t living up to my true potential.

Instead I have started seeing my own self worth, value and ability to live to my potential.  No excuses, just plan old hard work.  I want something I have to roll up my damn sleeves and put in the work.


What I learned dating a woman…..

I’m not sure I’ll ever truly be able to capture all the things I learned about myself, my family and the world around me….good, bad, indifferent in the year I dated and lived with a woman.


Let’s get the eye opening (aka the bad) out of the way:
*I learned that those closest to me were the FIRST to turn on me because they were ‘god loving and righteous’…and I was immediately cut out (after 2 years of ‘being family’)
*I learned that those that worked for me were the FIRST to tell me to be careful how I presented myself because working for me was an ‘iffy’ thing now because it was a reflection on them (talk about being self focused)
*I learned coaches were calling telling people to GET OUT because Coca had now become an morally corrupt place (keep in mind this was over night)
*I learned that families can tolerate others life choices as long as they don’t come home
*I learned that fear shapes a lot of lives

*I learned that I could run a business that accepted people EXACTLY as they are (ZERO EXPECTATIONS)
*I learned that the community of Coca CrossFit flourished under my strength to be ME….if I was confident enough to stand for what I wanted they too could stand for something they may have hesitated to in the past
*I learned that my family can hit ROCK BOTTOM and survive (to the point there were silent relationships, that were screaming at each other relationships, that blossomed into truly UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING relationships)
*I learned that I will do ME regardless of how difficult or how many people don’t understand
*I learned that more than a dozen other CrossFit affiliate owners who had kept their same-sex relationships out of the gym integrated into the gym and were embraced and strengthened their community as a result
*I learned that those that truly love you will always love you even when they don’t understand or accept you
*I learned that I can forgive even when I felt like I was the one that was wronged
*I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew
*I learned that I will share my struggles and story and all its ups and downs without fear of judgement…..

Because if I can not only survive being called a disgrace as a human being by a friend and come close to losing my mothers love to only have the strongest friendships I’ve ever had and a relationship with my mother that is 100% unconditional….nothing can hold me down. I will stumble….I will fall…. but i will never stop licking my wounds and moving forward.


Why you won’t see me on the arena floor….

Yesterday on my ‘mental health’ day aka working out in the middle of the afternoon in an empty gym I realized how much I love training, and I’m probably one of the few that likes doing it alone.  It’s calm and peaceful and the go go go pace that happens when you’re working with others is removed.

Today as I tackled a what seemed like a ‘death by Diane’ after an hour of gymnastics and and hour of lifting I had a true ‘AHA moment’idea-qisur-flickr

The gym was all but empty with just Russ and I.  As I set up all the weight changes and deficit increases for the HSPU and was getting ready to go.  I found P!nk radio and Russ asked ‘do you want me to start the clock?” I almost said no I don’t care, but felt like if he’s asking I should do accept.

As I finished my Diane (21-15-9 Deadlift/hand stand pushup), increased weights and headed into the heavy Diane, I felt relaxed and at ease.  Until I looked up and could see Russ onlooking.  I started an internal battle with I should GO and put up a solid performance, but then I really wasn’t concerned about the clock and I held strong with my original plan.  Move at a steady pace and finish the workout.

It was also the moment I realized that I KNOW what keeps me off the arena floor….. my drive to push to the dark place, my drive to race the clock.  I truly enjoy working on my gymnastics and all the conjugate lifting and WOD because I feel like I have to and it is good for me.  I used to have a fire that all I cared about was WODing and running the clock down.

My AHA moment….. realizing that I am in a place of truly enjoying the process, chipping thorough workouts, without the pressure of chasing other or the clock.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy working out with others, its just that I add pressure to myself to ‘perform’ when I’m with others.  I truly love the lifting and challenging my body.  The WOD portion….eh….

I am not saying this is how I’ll feel for ever, but its the evolution of my athletic career right now.


My version of a mental health day……

One thing that is lacking when you own your business is set aside paid vacation days, sick days and the often over looked ‘mental health day’.

Out of Order Sticker Funny Quote

Out of Order Sticker Funny Quote

Today it was 75 and sunny in november in Cleveland….. UNHEARD OF!!!  I had my usual start to the day for a Thursday;

  • 6:00am wake up
  • 6:30am breakfast
  • 6:45am-8:45am admin work
  • 9:00-10:15am LCCC college class
  • 10:15-10:30am take dog to vet for surgery
  • 10:30am-12:30pm  Workout……… well at least that was my plan….
  • 12:30 turned into 1:30 turned into 2:30pm

As the time ticked away I became more and more relaxed where as I usually would have become more and more stressed because I have so much to accomplish.  But as I mentioned it was 75 and sunny…. the bay door was open….the jams were pumping AND the gym was empty.  It was such a state of peace and calm that all I could think is ‘I think this is my version of a mental health day’.  And in that moment I made the decision that was just what it would be. Of course I couldn’t help but laugh that my version of a ‘mental health day’ was being in the place that causes me my stress (irony).

No Admin work between training and coaching. Just enjoy the weather, my life, reflect and breath.  4:30-7:30pm coaching was truly enjoyable because I wasn’t franticly running around all day returning phone calls, emails, making meetings etc.  I was calm and zen and was able to be in that moment each class.



My #wcw goes out to me….

today…… i take the time to celebrate me….and all that I have found the last few months….. MYSELF!

As motivators and coaches we spend our days celebrating others we often forget to celebrate ourselves and all we have done to get where we are and the impact sharing that struggle can have on others.

so today…. my #wcw (woman crush wednesday) goes out to Kate ‘killer’ Rawlings….. 2010 Kate ‘killer’ Rawlings… the girl that looked fear in the face and leaped.  Lead to competing at the 2010 CrossFit Games, getting picked up by sponsors and opening an affiliate.  Since then it’s been a wild ride of injuries layered on top of learning how to run a business.


3 months ago I finally said ‘enough’…. enough putting myself last, enough trying to be all things to all people, enough of feeling not enough!  I decided to set aside the time I needed to train, and I mean really train, and enjoy the process.  I’m not talking I”m going to give myself 60min and I’ve got to get in and out and back to the grind. I mean really relax, and enjoy training again even if it takes 2-3 hours.

Fast forward 3 months and holy hell……I’m down 16lbs, feeling a lot less stressed, I”m getting more done productivity wise, my nutrition is on point allowing me to run 14-16 hours a day day after day.  It’s a beautiful transformation.

I was down at CrossFit Conjugate two weeks ago and it clicked…… I FOUND ME AGAIN!!! and the craziest part…. I didn’t even know I was lost.

So it’s been a crazy 5 years and I can say I have never felt this alive!  I love what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and those around me.  I’m truly blessed and doing me….. allows me the energy to help others do them to!



conjugate logo and tattooHONOR- RESPECT – GRATITUDE – CONJUGATE

(image on left is in Slovak, I’m 50% Slovakian, and might just be my new ink)

I’m not even sure what happened but as I was reaping 255lbs stiff legged deadliest for sets of 6 after also managing to;
– hit 30 burpee muslce ups in a workout
– squatted without a box pre-workout ( and in a workout- hasn’t happened in 4+months)
– hit a bar muscle up, strict pull-up, kipping complex
– hit strict chest to bar pull-up
– lost 14lbs
– hit 8″ deficit hspu……50 of them….
all within the last week……IT’S ALL STARTING TO CLICK!!!!!

Then walks in Laura Phelps Sweatt…. and I couldn’t hold it in…. tears welled up. why? Because since competing at the CrossFit Games as an individual athlete it has been a rough go. Injury…. recover….. to an injury….to recover to another injury……

3 years ago I hosted the CrossFit Powerlifting certification where I first met Shane and Laura, and we discussed working together. They wanted to see if they could get me to be a better fitter faster athlete than I was before the string of injuries. I reluctantly agreed because I have always had that ‘bug’ to be the best I can be.

Layer in meeting Sean Lind last year at a seminar put on by CrossFit Conjugate and I began to realize just how difficult moving my own body weight was…..layer in conjugate gymnastics programming……

3 months ago I made an all chips in full commitment…..commit to doing conjugate gymnastics programming everyday on top of the conjugate nation programming……no excuses….and man oh man was it frustrating. I was tired, and moving my own weight made me feel like a hippo on the rings.

2 months ago I finally reached out to Jason Ackerman about macros and I decided…. time to clean up my diet….

I was then committed to conjugate nation, conjugate gymnastics and macros……It seems to be the perfect trifecta…I am getting leaner, lighter, moving my own weight easier and getting stronger!!!!!

it seems like I have finally found myself and holy moly does it feel amazing. Laura walked by as I was working stiff legged deadliest at 255lbs and it hit me and my eyes welled up with tears….. this 3 year journey helped me find myself and the crazy part – I didn’t even know I was lost. It’s not often we find people that are genuinely just looking to do good by you, support you and encourage you without any expectation in return. I could never repay them for all they have given back to me! Conjugate for life!


CrossFit is the Starbucks of Fitness


Anyone that CrossFit’s and is asked ‘what is CrossFit’ immediately thinks ‘oh f*ck…how am I going to explain this?”

well maybe not everyone but most certainly me.

I typically end up using the phrase ‘CrossFit is like the Starbucks of Fitness’…….think about it….. CrossFit didn’t invent working out, the movements or even the equipment.  It did however give it a name, a language, a culture and a way to describe what we’re doing.

Much like Starbucks, they didn’t invent coffee, they did how ever give it a name, a language, a culture and a way to describe what it is.


Man I was a crappy coach….

ok… that’s a bit of an over statement (kind of)

5 years ago when I opened Coca CrossFit I was coming of my individual trip to the Reebok CrossFit Games, signed a contract with Reebok, Rogue and AtLargeNutrtion and I didn’t think I was touchable.

My number 1 priority was being awesome, lifting all the weights and I thought everyone else should be focused on the same things………. fast forward 5 years……

  • I attended multiple certifications
  • I interned with the Level One Seminar staff
  • I picked up some great mentor coaches
  • I survived 3 major injuries

To be healthy!  LEARNPAST

I started looking at the gym, the programming the culture and I didn’t like what I saw.  Over the last two years I have really worked on shifting our culture to REAL people doing REAL work.  What does that mean?  that means that our average member isn’t worried about going to the games….. competing…. or even being bad ass.  They want to be healthy in the gym to have a better quality of life outside the gym.

In that time we’ve added multiple layers to what we do;

  1. CrossFit WOD; we offer a traditional CrossFit style workout of the day, heavy, high skill, be bad ass
  2. Capacity: A daily version of the crossfit workout that focuses on health – a little lighter, a little more volume a little more endurance
  3. Vir(agos); 30 plus minute workouts daily to focus more on total body bootcamp style workouts
  4. IR; a daily email from ME to individual athletes fighting and injury so they  know exactly how to work around an injury vs pushing through or not coming at all
  5. Hit list; a personal text from me to get your ass into the gym and hold you accountable to showing up

sooooo to say I was a crappy coach is an over statement…… but to say I know wayyyyy more now and am a much more informed, humble and smarter coach would be an understatement.

I’m not afraid to say I’m better now that I was 5 years ago, and I’m not afraid to look back and think ‘what the fuck was I thinking?’   I was the best I could be at the time with where I was at and what I knew, but damn I feel confident in myself and what I’m doing now.  I took some punches along the way and it only made me tougher and want it more.  Coaching and owning a gym isn’t an easy lifestyle but that’s the best part of the journey (at least to me).


Guess what… you’re a bully….

yes YOU!

We’ve all done it. We’ve all said negative things about someone, a situation what ever it is.  Negativity is bullying especially when it’s directed at another person.

For a long time I thought my shit didn’t stink, and those that ‘hated me’ were just jealous.

Fast forward 5 years and man oh man did I realize I was a bully.  Putting others down made me right and better.  Guess what…. we’re all fucked up.  Mentally, emotionally, mentally, physically…. what ever it is. No one is perfect!

Now  layer in that we’re all motivated by different things, raised with different values, live with different scenarios….. no one is better than any other. It’s about what we value that makes things important.

What’s important across the board:bully_free

  • We all feel valued
  • We all feel validated
  • We all feel heard
  • We all feel loved

Its basic human psychology…… we’re all motivated by different things, we all value different things etc.  we don’t have to value the same things to have value.  We just have to love and understand others and love them where they’re at.

If you focus on others differences….. be little whats important to them….. be little how they live their life…. YOURE A BULLY!!!!  Pulling others down to validate why you are better or right = BULLY!!!

instead of pull down, listen and learn and tell them….. I don’t agree with you’re approach, but if it fuels you and you’re happy I support you.