Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Community: A Little Less Observation, A Little More Action

Community. It’s the foundation and launching pad for a project Jake, Chance, and myself have initiated called LivXFit. The defining characteristic of any thriving community is shared and active participation by its members. I think Elvis said it best when he sang, “A little less observation and a little more action.” Ok, ok, maybe he actually said “conversation” not “observation” but for the purposes of me making an awesome point, let’s all just pretend he said, “observation”. Thanks.

Not everyone requires being told they're doing a good job when they’ve, indeed, done a good job. I do. I require verbal affirmation along with some type of super secret best friend fist bump/hand shake combo and a toy- any toy will do. But I’m an anomaly of sorts. However, in all seriousness, if we were to be completely honest with ourselves, most all of us would admit our desire for some level of affirmation in life. Words of encouragement build us up, they motivate us, and they give us confidence. We typically establish trust and forge a sense of camaraderie with those who take the time and effort to speak words of encouragement into our lives because it shows they care. It is this very concept that has catalyzed the success of CrossFit as a training philosophy. As co-owner of a CrossFit affiliate, I see the willingness of our coaches and members to empathize, encourage, care for one another and build each other up as being directly responsible for our success. The very nature of CrossFit to be community-based has cultivated the opportunity for CrossFitters to take some form of action in each other’s lives, be it positive or negative action. No matter the size or type of business, organization or community, none has the potential to be viable unless a critical mass of its membership contribute something positive. If you think about it, this is true in every aspect of life and at every organizational level of relationships from an individual basis, to family, friends, and acquaintances. When we pour out positivity into the lives of those surrounding us, it starts a chain reaction similar to the effects of an earthquake; the effects may be most evident at the epicenter, but the shockwaves are capable of carrying a lofty punching power which can be felt for miles and miles.

Outside of having a mohawked Filipino dude conjure up some of the most creative, potent, effective, and dare I say (I do), ingenious WODs in the world, what originally drew most of us to CrossFit was the fact that, at some point, someone engaged us. At CrossFit, we became more than just another faceless name in a stack of signed auto-renewal gym contracts. We weren’t allowed to fall through the cracks, hide beneath a hat, or workout alone in the corner of the room. When we needed to be cheered on to the finish line; someone cheered, when we completely butchered the technique for a movement and needed coaching; someone coached us, and when we needed to know we weren’t the only ones struggling for air; we sat up and looked around only to discover everyone else lying flat-backed as well.

Here’s the bottom-line: Even a little bit of encouragement can go a long way in terms of helping to build a cummunity. The amount of effort required in learning a new members name or by offering someone a well deserved “Congrats!” or “Great job today, buddy!” when they establish a new PR is minimal compared to the substantial impact it may have in their lives. But don’t cut yourself off at the knees by ending your pursuit of taking action within the bay doors of your affiliate’s box. LivXFit’s challenge to you is to not only see what can happen when you intentionally and purposefully infuse nuggets of encouragement in CrossFit settings but to take the concept of pouring out positivity into all those you encounter outside of the box: Your family, your friends, co-workers and acquaintances. In this life, you’re either someone who always wishes things would happen, someone who always makes things happen, or one of those who always ends up asking, “What the heck happened?” Be proactive. Take action within your sphere of influence. Make an impact in your community, one friendly smile, one sincere showing of support, and one super secret best friend fist bump/hand shake combo at a time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes You Wear Stretchy Pants.

I rarely post Facebook status updates. Now I'll post links to CFS's site and to my blogsite on FB but that's about it. The thing is, I'm an all-or-none dude. I typically don't do status updates cuz I know if I started posting them all the time, everyone would get sick of hearing the play-by-play analysis of what I just ate and how big my resulting bowel movement was. Oh, but today...today, my friend, the spirit moved me. The spirit moved and I updated my FB account, yo. Maybe it was the hotsauce on my naked burrito from Qdoba. Or, maybe it was the low-pressure system that moved into the Ozarks today, dumping rain on us and then leaving us as cold and wet as a vampire's vajayjay. More than likely, it's all the CrossFit naysayers out there I've had to listen to over the past few years who led me today to post on FB:

To everyone who has ever asked the question: "CrossFit? What's that?"

I say, "Watch ESPN 2 tonight from 7pm-9pm Central."

To everyone who has known what CrossFit is and has said:

"CrossFit? Yeah, it'll be another workout fad that'll be a flash in the pan."

I say, "Watch ESPN 2 tonight from 7pm-9pm Central...then kiss my rock hard CrossFit glutes."

And then like a true CrossFitter I kicked back in my chair at Qdoba, smiled, and kept score as I PR'd on the number of "Likes" I've received off one post. Whew. It's alot to take in...This many FB "Likes" all at once from so many of my Facebook besties. Guess somebody's gotta do it...

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Pound PRs and HOA WOD Testing...

Great Monday at the box! Started out with a canceled client so Grant and I decided to Clean & Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1. I reached 276lb (because of kg, it made it a new PR...kind of) Here's the lift:

Wasn't a great lift but I was happy to reach my previous best. After monkeying around with Cleaning & Jerking, Grant and I took on WOD 1 from the 2009 CFG Southwest Regionals 1:
3 Rounds of 10 155lb Squat Clean & Jerk, Row 500m. My time at regionals 3 years ago was 13:05. Today I did it in 11:06 and felt every bit of the suck this WOD has to offer... big time. After grabbing lunch, training another client, and programming the CFS daily WOD for Tuesday, Grant, Melissa, and myself decided to test out one of the 2011 HOA WODs...I can now officially proclaim: That WOD is gonna be a beautiful, violent, suckfest. I'm confident of it. And it feels good:) Game ON!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Story Of CrossFit Springfield

Over the past few months, I've received numerous calls and emails from individuals asking questions about CrossFit Springfield's business model, our growth, and what has led to our success as an affiliate. As a result, I've been thinking a lot lately about CFS; about where we're at, where we've come from, and where we're going. I figured I'd write it down while it's all fresh on my mind...here it goes...

If you were to document the rise of CrossFit Springfield's growth and influence in southwest Missouri, you'd have to start at the VERY BEGINNING. Before the 12,500 sq ft facility within which we currently reside, before the office space on Lark Street. You'd even still have to look before the opening of The Next Level Fitness Academy at the strip mall behind the Ye Ole Buggy Bath Car Wash on Lark St. CrossFit Springfield's rise to be generally acknowledged as one of the largest CrossFit Affiliates in the Midwest began with a man by the name of Carl Jungers who, after identifying several well respected and talented fitness clinicians training and teaching classes at the Springfield Jones Family YMCA, decided to present an offer to them. An opportunity to start up their own business based on training individuals through multiple fitness related disciplines. Carl would foot the bill and the core group of trainers and clinicians would be responsible for making a business plan and executing it as best they could. Jessi Grove, with her management background, personal training and group training experience would primarily take the lead, while other training domains (eg Boxing, Capo-era, Selah, and bootcamps, hiphop dancing, and personal training) would fill in the gaps and ideally provide additional revenue. The biggest problem with this format was that it left the business with no true sense of direction or solid identity. Next Level Fitness was kind of like "jack of all trades and master of none".

In the winter of 2008, my involvement with NLFA came about basically by chance (and "by chance" I, of course, mean "by way of God's divine plan"). I was in a church life-group with Dr Jami and Rana Jones. At the time I was a full time student in school for sports medicine and athletic training. I had just left the globo gym circuit in Springfield where I had worked for a few different training facilities making peanuts and for the most part, doing my absolute best to provide the clients I was blessed to work with with a quality strength and conditioning experience despite the "fluff" my employers expected me to dole out to them. At this time I had already discovered CrossFit but wasn't yet fully committed to the CrossFit method (mainly because my knowledge base on CrossFit programming was very minimal). Rana and Jamie encouraged me to meet with Carl and Jessi to discuss whether or not I might be able to contribute to NLFA. So I met with them. We hit it off well. Our initial agreement was that I would bring in my established client base, be able to train them at NLFA and in exchange, I would assist in building up and coaching NLFA Team Bootcamp sessions. During this time, Jessi and I realized that we shared the same interest in pursuing the CrossFit method wholeheartedly. In May of 2008, we flew to San Diego and participated in a two day CrossFit Level 1 Coaches Course. It was a phenomenal experience and birthed in both of us the genuine desire to start a CrossFit Affiliate in Springfield, MO. When we returned home from our certification, Jessi immediately wrote to CrossFit HQ and acquired our affiliation. I immediately launched www.crossfit-springfield.com and began structuring and formatting our WOD times, programming CFS daily WODs, and established membership rates. We decided to throw an event; a CrossFit competition-we would throw a Fight Gone Bad WOD challenge and scheduled our CrossFit Springfield launch date for June 28th, 2008. We had over 100 athletes show up to participate. The event went very well and because we offered Charter Membership rates for anyone who joined us on that date, we ended up immediately getting around 30 new CrossFit Springfield members.

Now, at this time both Jessi and I were embedded in Nursing school (Jessi) and Sports Med School (Me). Because of my obligation to my clinical hours and a verbal offer I'd received to be hired by St. John's Sports Medicine after graduation, my concern about committing to the new direction kept me from pulling the trigger on dedicating myself to CrossFit Springfield as a Co-Owner. Looking back, I find it hard to understand why I didn't simply commit due to my wholehearted love for what we were building at CrossFit Springfield. My thoughts were that after having spent so much time, energy, and effort (not to mention, money) at establishing myself as an ATC, how could I just throw it all away to pursue something that was uncertain. It was an obvious risk. The problem for my heart and head was that I knew deep down that CFS was were I wanted to be. I also knew that never, EVER, would I be able to find another business partner as wonderful and skilled as Jessi. Carl told us once that, "You guys are like thunder and lightning. If you two ever decide to pool your talents and your passion for people, you're going to be an unbeatable team."

So, after taking a great deal of time to pray and seek God's will, after taking much time to talk with Jenny, and after ultimately feeling a complete peace in my heart about my decision, I approached Jessi and let her know of my desire to partner with her as co-owners of CrossFit Springfield. Over a long 400m lunge with "Sandy" she oblidged and we discussed our desire to build up something special. Something unique even within the unique world of CrossFit. We expressed our desire for CrossFit Springfield to be a strong community of athletes whose relationships would be forged in respect and love and encouragement. We resolved ourselves to be engaging to every person who stopped by to try out CrossFit Springfield. To learn names. To build people up. To take the time to listen to our members when they had concerns or ideas about how we might improve the service CrossFit Springfield provides.

Today, September 7th, 2011, over 3 years later, we're just as committed to these tasks as ever.
We've had many changes: New members (500+ now), we've had additional owners in Grant and Melissa Wistrom who share the same vision and core values as both Jessi and I, we've moved facilities 5 times in an effort to expand the amount of impact we might be able to have in the community. But the heart of CrossFit Springfield beats on with the same sincere intention to help people achieve more physically, mentally, relationally, and spiritually than they might not have ever been able to achieve on their own or elsewhere. How blessed we truly are to be a part of such a caring CrossFit affiliate that is motivated to take action in their community and in the lives of each other.

Thanks so much for 3 years of great memories, CrossFit Springfield! Here's to many, many more!!