I want a ROCKSTAR Business to Promote

One of my favorite parts of marketing is finding the positive, unique or exciting aspects of a product or service to promote. Every marketer wants to work with a business that is already a rockstar.

The reason is obvious: A great product is way easier to market than one that sucks.

Customers are the Best Marketers

When trying to convince other people to take action, one of the most effective factors is being authentic. The most authentic spokesperson for your business is a satisfied customer. Not only will this person likely return to do business with you, but they will be likely to share their experience with their network of friends and peers.

Another perk of having your customers market your business is that people will be more likely to trust people they already know than to listen to your advertising.

So What Can Your Business Do?

I’d say a huge lesson here is when hiring marketing professionals, make sure this person is someone that could use your product and love it. If you’re selling fitness apparel, but your marketing team is made up of 300 pound obese men, the lack of authenticity will shine through your brand’s messaging.

If you’re running a large business, there are plenty of marketing people out there using your product or service. Find those people and get them to become your marketing team. Their favorite aspects of your business, will also be the most important to the people you want to do business with.

Each Niche Has Its ONE Problem

I’ve helped a number of different people, in a number of industries solve their marketing problems. As a freelancer, I’ve worked with financial advisors, real estate agents, restaurants, startups and other businesses. As a marketer, my goal is to increase people’s awareness of your brand, improve people’s opinions about your brand, drive people to take action, and as a result increase profit for your business.

Everyone Has a Unique Problem with Reaching Their Customers

Everyone is running into a different problem when trying to promote their brand, reach their customers, or sell their product. Understanding the customer journey and what is most important to each client is the most important part of solving their problem.

For example, a financial advisor at a boutique firm may find that they are having a hard time competing with the brand recognition of Edward Jones. A real estate agent may be incredible at connecting with people in person, but don’t know where to start reaching people on the internet.

Find The Weak Links and Fix Them

Marketers need to know how to take customers all the way through the buying process. If your client needs help at any point in their customers’ journey, you need to be able to shore up their process.

If you need more people to recognize your brand name and think of you when people discuss your industry, a marketer can help you get more awareness. I’d use social media and content marketing to improve your brand recognition, but there are a number of different tactics you could use.

If you need people who already know about your business to complete the buying journey, or to decide to make a purchase, I would focus on email marketing and social media ads to nurture those leads.

If you need people Googling your business to more easily find information about your business, I would optimize your Google My Business page and make sure your website is optimized for your customers to find the information they’re looking for.


A lot of businesses are killing it on 80 percent of their marketing. It’s that last 20 percent that they can’t quite figure out that can make a huge difference in driving customers to purchase. A marketing agency can help you with that last 20 percent and drive increased revenue for your business.

Building Momentum

I’ve noticed that the more I do, the more opportunities I’m presented with.

My primary focus is making content. I write blog posts, make YouTube videos, and create graphics for social media. When I consider this, my original statement seems pretty obvious. The more content I create, the more likely someone else is to see it and reach out to me about my post.

If you’re creating content, I think it’s super important to publish frequently. Quality content is great, but people often say that because their content isn’t perfect they shouldn’t publish yet.

Well guess what…when you first start publishing, nobody is going to watch your stuff anyway. Spending 10 hours editing a video that only 15 people are going to watch just isn’t worth it for me. I’m not a videographer. I’m not trying to build a portfolio of video work, so I’m not interested in honing my video editing skills.

At this point, I’m really just testing to see what works. I don’t have any huge followings on any platforms, so I’m really just throwing out as much content as possible and seeing what works and what people like.

It’s a Snowball Effect

  • Everytime you post it gets easier. So the more you post, the more you will post.
  • Everytime you get a new follower, that person is another person who will see your future content.

Once you start making progress, more progress comes much easier. I think it’s important to spread this message because the most important thing is JUST START.

Many people ask me how they can grow their social media following, or how they can grow their blog. My answer is always just do it. Everybody starts out not knowing how to do this. The only difference between you and them now is that they started trying stuff and you didn’t.

Your Salary Doesn’t Mean Shit

I have something I want to get off my chest.

I’ve been continually frustrated with how “salaries” are determined. I think that I’ve put too much emphasis on this number and have given it far more respect than it deserves.

My Stupid Assumption

My stupid assumption was that if someone earns a higher salary than me, they must be smarter than me. This was a super naive idea. Just because a company is willing to pay someone more than someone else doesn’t mean that that person is necessarily more intelligent than anyone else.

I’ve watched people making $200,000+ per year struggle to figure out how to turn on their computer, or how to make a minor change in an Excel workbook. This was frustrating for me. If a company deems someone worthy of earning $200,000 per year for a specific skill, shouldn’t they also be held to a higher standard for figuring out small problems too?

Skilled Workers Tend to Earn More

This makes sense. If someone is skilled, I think they should be paid more for using those skills. For example, someone with general “business” knowledge and experience will make less than someone with experience in chemical engineering.

If someone is a Senior Data Scientist or Senior Manager, they should obviously be compensated for their experience and the skills they’ve developed.

I think that someone who can solve any problem thrown at them is especially valuable and should be compensated accordingly.

I’ve worked with a few people who I’ve noticed really fit this description. Many of my bosses, along with just being more experienced than me, have been excellent at answering any question or problem anyone brings to them.

What is the value of solving problems?

How much is someone worth that can solve almost anything you bring to them? Early in my career I assumed that anyone could solve 90 percent of problems. A few years into working in a few different settings, I’ve noticed this just isn’t the case.

A lot of people aren’t willing to do the extra 10-20 percent of work that falls just outside of their job description. I don’t know if this is intentional or not. From my perspective, if someone can solve any problem I bring them, that person is invaluable and I’d want to have them in my organization.

Do people delegate tasks because they don’t know how to do them and aren’t willing to learn, or because it’s better for the organization they’re working for?

My YouTube Channel – It’s Just Talking

I created a new YouTube channel about 2 years ago. My original goal was to share videos about products my company was launching. I didn’t publish much, but the videos I published slowly racked up some views.

A few of my older videos have done really well, and have since gotten over 5000 views. While these videos continue to get views from some decent keywords, I’ve started posting videos more frequently on topics related to my original videos.

What Do I Post on YouTube?

I think that most people have this idea in their head of what it looks like to be a “YouTuber”. I’m very early in my journey, and I’m still posting very basic, simple videos. My videos are just recordings of me talking. I create a stunning thumbnail so that my videos look professional, but the videos themselves are very bare bones.

I don’t edit video clips together, and I don’t even add screenshots or pictures to my videos. At this point I don’t think it makes sense for me to spend much time on editing my videos. My videos don’t get that many views, so I don’t think it’s worth my time to spend hours editing a video that will only be seen 50-100 times. My competitors (people posting about similar topics) really don’t do much editing either. Most videos are just people talking, so I’m fine with that for now.

I want to educate people…

My videos are pretty niche. I focus mainly on internet privacy and tracking. I could talk for hours about how Google is collecting information from you and then about the alternative products that take your privacy seriously.

While I’m not SUPER passionate about internet privacy, I still think it’s important to educate people about how tools like Facebook and Google disguise themselves as a service, but are really just advertising companies.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training system, a workout style, and a “lifestyle”. I’ve started doing CrossFit and have really fallen in love with it. I want to share CrossFit with you and give you a better idea of what it is.

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little start and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean-and-jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climbs, push-ups, situps, presses to handstands, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc. hard and fast.

Five or six days per week, mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

Regularly learn and play new sports.

Greg Glassman, CrossFit: The Journal, Oct. 1, 2002.

What is a CrossFit Workout?

CrossFit workouts are HARD. Typically a CrossFit workout involves a brief warm-up, a strength/weightlifting session, and a Metcon. This structure is probably not followed at all CrossFit gyms, but most CrossFit workouts will fit into either strength training or metabolic conditioning (metcon).

Warm up

CrossFit puts a lot of emphasis on being “functional fitness” and so warm-ups aren’t really emphasized. Because the movements that CrossFit uses are replicated in everyday life, the idea is that you shouldn’t need to warm up for them. You wouldn’t warm up to unload groceries out of your car or pick up a child.

Strength Training

The weightlifting movements in CrossFit are a mixture of Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. The strength portion of the class is typically dedicated to a single lift on a given day.

Which Lifts are Included in CrossFit?

  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat
  • Overhead Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Press
  • Snatch
  • Clean
  • Clean and Jerk

There are plenty of other weightlifting movements, but they are variations or accessory lifts to these main movements.

The weightlifting movements included in CrossFit are mostly compound lifts that work large groups of muscles rather than targeting specific muscles. For example, you’ll probably never do bicep curls or tricep extensions as part of CrossFit programming. The idea is that by doing other compound lifts and workouts you will work the smaller muscles.

Metcon

Metabolic conditioning, or metcon, workouts are basically HIIT workouts. Metcon workouts stress your system to increase metabolic demand and increase your energy usage.

These workouts are typically structured with short periods of very high intensity work mixed with a small recovery period.

Sample WOD #1

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:

  • Body-weight power cleans
  • Strict handstand push-ups

Sample WOD #2

AMRAP 7 Min x 2*

  • 8 DB Hang Clusters (35/25lb.)
  • 8 Power Cleans (135/95lb.)
  • 16/12 Calorie Row

*Rest :90 between AMRAPs

Facets of CrossFit Training

One of the reasons I love CrossFit is that every day is different. I was so burnt out on just “going to the gym”. I was stuck in the rut of doing Chest & Triceps, Back & Biceps, and Legs. I’d mix in some cardio on the elliptical every once in a while but beyond that, I was just doing more of the same thing over and over again.

CrossFit mixes up the workouts by changing rep schemes, work/rest interval timing, and movements from day to day. One day the metcon may be 6 minutes long and the next day it may be 30 minutes. One day we may do heavy sets of 3 squats and the next day we’ll do power cleans for sets of 8-10.

One thing that makes CrossFit so interesting is that it really does focus on “fitness”. Unlike many other training styles, CrossFit isn’t focused on performance in a given sport or on a single aspect of fitness. Each aspect contributes to your performance in other parts of CrossFit. Snatching makes you stronger for that lift, but it also improves your explosiveness and proprioception for gymnastic movements like muscle-ups or handstand walks.

Weightlifting

Weightlifting’s role in CrossFit is pretty much the same as weightlifting’s role in any sport or training regimen: Gain strength. The inclusion of Olympic lifts like snatches and cleans also builds power and explosiveness, but generally, it’s all about strength.

Being stronger is beneficial in more than just fitness. For example, as you build muscle and strength you become more resilient and injury-resistant in everyday movements.

Something that is unique to lifting in CrossFit is the high-intensity. The intensity doesn’t just come from the weight, it also comes from high reps or short recovery times. One-rep maxes are great if your goal is to lift more, but if you want to become more fit using other ways to increase the intensity of your lifting is important.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics movements like muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, pull-ups, and ring dips are great ways to gain strength while also improving your coordination. If you want to be able to move your body more efficiently and smoothly, developing your gymnastics skills will pay off in a big way.

The gymnastics modality comprises of bodyweight elements or calisthenics, and its primary purpose is to improve body control by improving neurological components like coordination, balance, agility, and accuracy, and to improve functional upper body capacity and trunk strength.”

–The CrossFit Training Guide, 2006

As you develop your gymnastics skills and you’re able to understand where your body is and how it moves, you’ll be able to hone other athletic skills as well.

Many people struggle with gymnastics movements because they aren’t emphasized in traditional fitness. The learning curve for gymnastics is much steeper than for something like squatting or rowing. It’s harder to measure progress in your muscle up than it is to watch your one-rep max for squatting increase. As such, if you devote some of your training to gymnastics skills you can make some big leaps in progress pretty quickly.

Cardio

Long, slow cardio is pretty rare in CrossFit. You may do a little bit of easy running or rowing as part of your warmup, but generally cardio in CrossFit is fast and intense.

Cardio in CrossFit is mainly running, rowing on a Concept 2 Rower, or biking on an Assault Bike. If you’re doing these movements, it’s typically part of a Metcon. You’ll probably do one or two other movements, mixed with a short period of running, rowing or biking.

10 Domains of Fitness

I think every fitness program or training style aims to improve many of these, but most fall short in a few of these domains of fitness:

  • Cardio and Respiratory Endurance
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Accuracy

CrossFit does a good job of targeting all of these domains. You’ll likely see an improvement in many of these domains with just a few weeks of CrossFit training.

Benefits of CrossFit

I’m biased about whether CrossFit is good or bad. I go to CrossFit five or six days per week. I started going back in February and have really fallen in love with it. Here are the main benefits of CrossFit style training.

Improve Physical Strength

CrossFit workouts are designed to improve your physical strength. Even if CrossFit isn’t a dedicated “weightlifting” workout, many of the workouts will help you build muscle and get stronger. You’ll probably notice after doing CrossFit for a few weeks that you’re starting to feel stronger in your lifts and other movements.

Improve Aerobic Fitness

One of the coolest parts about CrossFit is that you can see noticeable changes in your aerobic fitness early on in your training. After you’ve done a few hard metcon workouts, you’ll see an increased ability to do longer, slower cardio workouts.

CrossFit actually works really well for making you feel “in shape” for just everyday activity. If you want to go for a 3 mile jog, CrossFit will do a good job of getting you in shape for that, without hours of monotonous cardio.

Improve Agility and Flexibility

CrossFit doesn’t directly focus on flexibility in the way that Yoga does, however, it certainly will make you more agile. CrossFit focuses on range-of-motion a lot, so if your squat is lacking depth or your shoulder mobility is poor, you’ll work on these issues as part of your training.

One of the most beneficial aspects of CrossFit for me was the constant challenge to try new movements and workouts. For example, I’d hardly ever done any handstand work at all and in my first week of CrossFit I think we did handstand push-ups twice. This helped me get comfortable with being upside down and standing on my hands.

Improve Your Fitness Level and Body Composition

I appreciate that CrossFit focuses on improving fitness and improving your body composition over just weight loss and aesthetics. CrossFit focuses on improving your fitness level and measures that with “benchmark workouts”. Every so often in your programming you will test your fitness through these specific benchmark workouts. You can easily track your improvement as your times improve.

Unlike running, in CrossFit you are not just training a single modality. So instead of improving a single workout, you are improving your overall fitness to complete a number of different exercises and movements.

Improve Your Weightlifting and Gymnastics Technique

If your goal is lifting the highest possible weight in Snatch or to be the best at gymnastic movements, you’d be better off doing training dedicated to olympic lifting or gymnastics. However, CrossFit is still a great way to get introduced to movements that personal trainers would probably never have you do.

In the few months since I’ve started CrossFit I’ve been able to improve my technique in olympic lifts and in gymnastics movements like pull-ups, ring dips and handstands. The learning aspect of CrossFit makes it fun if you’re feeling that your training is stuck in a rut. There is always room to improve your technique in lifting and gymnastics, regardless of your experience level.

Reduce Injury Risk

There are a couple ways that CrossFit actually reduces your risk for injury, the more you do it. CrossFit focuses on building strength through a full range of motion. This allows you to build muscle around your joints so you’ll be more resilient and balanced.

Because CrossFit constantly mixes up the stimulus you go through, you will address muscle imbalances and weak points in your strength. By focusing on compound lifting rather than isolating certain muscles, you will develop a stronger and more stable core.

Community of Health-minded Individuals

People who do CrossFit are definitely healthier than the general population. I’ve noticed that the people at my CrossFit box have a wealth of knowledge on topics related to fitness and nutrition. If you’re looking to improve your health and your lifestyle, CrossFit people are probably a good group of people to hang out with.

CrossFit is Scalable for All Fitness Levels

The cool thing about CrossFit is that it offers challenges for all fitness levels. Whether you’re working out for the first time or you’re a physical specimen, CrossFit workouts will have you flat on your back gasping for air.

Criticism of CrossFit

Even before getting into CrossFit, I’d heard people criticizing it. I think many people just hear snippets about CrossFit without getting a true understanding of what “CrossFit” actually means. Some of these criticisms may be baseless, but I think many of these criticisms are warranted.

CrossFit Promotes Overtraining

CrossFit is an intense training style, there’s no question about that. If you aren’t already pretty fit, doing CrossFit every day can easily lead to overtraining. But if you were getting into any new exercise program, this would likely be the case.

Rhabdo

I’ve heard people say that some CrossFit person they knew was laughing and saying that Rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis) was just part of CrossFit. Rhabdo occurs when your muscles break down so much that they start releasing toxins into your bloodstream.

Rhabdomyolysis doesn’t just come out of nowhere. You can prevent it by drinking plenty of fluids before and after working out. If you’re only drinking coffee and Mountain Dew, then I see how you could get really dehydrated by doing a CrossFit workout. However, I’d think you would be much more likely to get rhabdo from doing a repetitive exercise, like running, for a long time in hot weather.

Read More: How To Protect Yourself From Rhabdomyolysis

CrossFit Includes Max Effort Intervals

If you’re doing CrossFit every day, even if you’re sleeping enough, eating perfectly and focusing on recovery, you’re probably going to be overtraining. Traditionally CrossFit programming includes three consecutive training days followed by one day off. If you aren’t accustomed to high-intensity interval training, this may not give your body enough time to recover.

Doing high-intensity interval training too much is not going to be beneficial. As your body fatigues, you won’t be able to elevate your heart rate and your body won’t ever be able to adapt to the stress you’re putting it under.


If CrossFit is your first time working out, you should definitely slowly ramp up the intensity and duration of your training. This advice really applies to any workout or fitness routine though, so it’s not unique to CrossFit.

CrossFit is Dangerous

CrossFit’s founder Greg Glassman gave a great counter to this critique of the training style he developed. He explained how people have shifted towards the idea that exercise needs to be 100% safe.

However, we’ve made a mistake by adopting the idea that working out needs to be safe and comfortable. The elliptical trainer became the most popular piece of workout equipment, because people could “workout” with minimal effort.

CrossFit Doesn’t Promote Good Form and Technique

One of the first things that comes to mind when people think of CrossFit is butterfly pull-ups. These are the pull-ups where you flop around on the bar and use the momentum to pull your chin above the bar. Unlike strict pull-ups, which most people are familiar with, butterfly or kipping pull-ups are basically “cheating”.

Many of the breaks from perfect form in crossfit are done through kipping. These movements use momentum to help you complete the movement when the strict movement is too difficult. This compromise isn’t an issue, because most of this kipping is done for bodyweight movements and doesn’t increase injury risk.

Lifting Fast

One of the most understandable criticisms that CrossFit receives is that because weightlifting movements are included in AMRAPs (as many reps as possible) and other high-intensity workouts. Because of this, people are often rushing through their workouts. This can lead to people compromising form on lifts like snatch and clean and jerk.

This is an issue especially for beginner lifters or CrossFitters. There is definitely a risk of injury whenever you do any weightlifting. When rushed or fatigued it’s very easy to compromise on form.

The History of CrossFit Training

CrossFit began as “Cross-Fit” in 1996. It was founded by husband and wife duo of Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. The original CrossFit gym, or box, opened in 2000 in Santa Cruz, California. The first CrossFit affiliate, CrossFit North, opened in Seattle, Washington. By 2005 there were 13 CrossFit affiliates and now there are more than 15,000 CrossFit affiliates in over 150 countries.

What to Expect from Your First CrossFit Class

Typically, classes at CrossFit gyms include a warm-up, a skill development or weightlifting segment, and a high-intensity WOD (workout of the day).

If you’re first starting out, the gym’s coaches will typically walk you through each movement and make sure you’re doing it correctly. For your first few classes you will likely use lighter weights and scaled versions of workouts.


Who is CrossFit for?

CrossFit really is for anyone. If you are interested in going to a CrossFit gym for the first time, most gyms will give first time visitors a free class. CrossFit really doesn’t require any prior knowledge, as anything you don’t know how to do can be replaced by an easier exercise or taught by the class’ coach.

I will warn you that if you’re looking for an easy workout, CrossFit is probably not for you. You have to push yourself, and many of the workouts are incredibly intense. This shouldn’t scare you away, but CrossFit is no leisurely walk in the park.

According to a research report by Rally Fitness, CrossFit participants were split evenly between males and females. I’ve noticed this at my local box, which may even have more female members than males.

Is CrossFit for Beginners?

If you’re new to working out, you can absolutely do CrossFit. Every workout has progressions for people who can’t do the full movement. You don’t have to lift heavy weight or do complicated movements if you’re uncomfortable with them or want to focus on form.

CrossFit is also good for beginners because it allows you to try out many different movements and styles of workouts. You’ll get exposed to more workouts than if you get a personal trainer at a 24-Hour Fitness or other “globo-gym”.

What is Scaling?

In CrossFit, scaling is adjusting the movements in a workout to fit your fitness level. You don’t necessarily scale your workouts based on your ability to do a certain movement. You may also scale a workout to keep the intensity high, if you’re unable to do the full movement for the entire workout.

For example, if you’re doing an AMRAP workout with handstand pushups it can be difficult to sustain that movement for long periods of time. You’d get more benefit from doing wall walks or dumbbell shoulder press consistently than doing one rep every minute.

Read More: What is Scaling in CrossFit?


How Much Does CrossFit Cost?

The average CrossFit gym membership is around $120 per month. Depending on where you are on the country, you can expect to pay between $100 and $250 per month. Compared to a typical gym, this is much more expensive. However, most gyms you are really just paying for access to the equipment.

With CrossFit, you basically getting small group fitness classes every time you train. Most CrossFit classes are pretty small, typically less than 10 or 15 people. This means you get many of the benefits of a person trainer at a fraction of the price.

Can You Do CrossFit at Home?

During the stay-at-home period of the Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people got more comfortable training at home. CrossFit is a great way to workout at home if you don’t want to join a gym. Although you’ll miss out on certain movements because of lack of equipment or lack of space, you can still get a super intense workout using CrossFit programming.

Examples of Home CrossFit Workouts

Mini Murph

  • 1-mile Run
  • 100 Push-ups
  • 200 Air Squats
  • 1-Mile Run

Bodyweight WOD

8 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 Push-ups
  • 10 Air Squats
  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Air Squats

Read More: 20 CrossFit Workouts You Can Do at Home

Downsides of Training at Home

  1. No Coach: If you’re new to CrossFit, a coach can be super helpful for improving your form or fixing any issues. Luckily, if you’re working out at home you probably aren’t using heavy weights so you won’t injure yourself with a heavy load.
  2. No Competition: One of my favorite parts of CrossFit is the competitive aspect. When you’re at the gym you are trying to get one more rep than the person next to you. At home it’s too easy to quit a few reps early or skip your last set.
  3. No Community: CrossFit boxes are social places. Unlike a normal gym where everyone has headphones in, people talk to each other at CrossFit. The community aspect of a gym will keep you coming back and keep you working out consistently.

Glossary of CrossFit Terms

  • Affiliate: A CrossFit gym. Every CrossFit gym pays an “affiliate” fee to use the CrossFit name.
  • AMRAP: As many reps as possible.
  • Box: A CrossFit gym.
  • Bumper Plates: Rubber weight plates used on barbells so that you can safely drop the barbell without damaging the plates or the floor.
  • Burpees: A movement that involves doing a push-up and then jumping before repeating the movement, like this.
  • Girls: The CrossFit “Girls” are benchmark workouts used to track your fitness over time. See the workouts here.
  • HSPU: Handstand push-ups
  • Metcon: Metabolic conditioning. The term describes short bouts of higher-intensity training designed to increase metabolic demand and increase energy usage.
  • RX: RX is short for “prescription”. CrossFit workouts include prescribed weights for males and females. If you complete the workout at this weight you are doing the RX level of the workout.
  • WOD: Workout of the day.

My Journey from Fat Kid to Fitness Freak

My interests tend to drift, regularly hopping from one thing to another. One month it’s guitar, the next month it’s mountain biking, and the next month it’s reading classic fiction novels.

One thing that’s been consistent in my life since I was a teenager (at least my late teens) is fitness.

My Early Life as a Fat Kid

Running “THE MILE” Sucked

Prior to “getting in shape,” I had an aversion to working out. I distinctly remember dreading running “THE MILE” in gym class all through my childhood. I remember as a freshman in high school I ran an 8:30 mile and feeling so proud of myself for getting a “normal” time.

Probably every year since 1st grade I would get last place in my class when we ran a mile on the track in gym class. My time would be 11 or 12 minutes, more than double the time of the fastest kid in my class. So my decent time in freshman gym class was a big achievement for me.

Basketball Practice Was Fun, Until We Had to Run

Basketball was my sport as a kid. I thought I was going to go to KU and play for Roy Williams or Bill Self and then go to the NBA. I seriously believed that I was going to do this until I was 13 years old. (My AIM screen name was @NBASoon.) I was one of the better basketball players in my class, but I was no professional athlete.

I loved playing basketball. I loved basketball camp. I loved basketball games. I loved basketball practice, until the end when we had to run suicides. I was so out of shape that I had asthma attacks a few times during these sprints. I always dreaded this part of practice, and I always knew it was coming and was going to suck.

Getting in Shape

I remember when I was a sophomore in high school and I had to get a physical for some summer camp I was going to. I think I was 5’11”, and when I stepped on the scale the doctor said I weighed 192 pounds. The number scared me. I felt 200 pounds creeping up on me and I didn’t want to get there.

I don’t know what happened, but over the course of the next year I’d lose a lot of weight. I started going on runs occasionally. I remember listening to AC/DC on my iPod Nano and pushing myself to run a little farther or a little faster.

I started eating less. The biggest reason for me getting overweight in the first place was probably overeating. I remember after eating at restaurants I’d be so full that my stomach would hurt. Over the years of doing this I’d just come to think of that as normal. Just cutting down my portion sizes helped me lose weight pretty quickly.

I remember that I started drinking coffee around this time. Whenever I’d make a pot of coffee in the mornings or pick up a cup of coffee from the gas station on my way to school I wouldn’t get hungry until hours later.

Playing Tennis

During my freshman year of high school, my step-sister and I started going to tennis lessons a few times per week. I’d taken tennis lessons before when I was younger and I always enjoyed playing tennis with my dad or my brother. I loved playing tennis with my step-sister because we were pretty evenly matched.

Playing tennis was a fun way to stay active and during the summers, I’d play a lot. The tennis lessons that I went to were mostly girls, and maybe one other guy. But when we’d run at practice I found myself finishing ahead of everyone else. This was definitely the first time I’d ever finished first in any sort of running. It felt amazing.

Riding Bikes

At some point in middle school I started going on bike rides. My mom’s boyfriend was really into cycling, so we would load up our bikes and take them to the bike trails near my house. My mom, brother and I all really loved going on bike rides. We’d steadily increase the length of our rides starting at 8 miles or so, and working our way up to 20 miles.

Later, when I was in high school I got a road bike. As soon as I got a road bike and could ride faster and longer, I was hooked. We continued to go for rides as a family. We’d ride out in the country on roads with little traffic. Eventually we were going on long rides past farms and fields of corn.

After riding on our own for a few months, we signed up for a charity ride. These are bike rides with a marked course and “SAG” (support and gear) stops. There are trucks following to pick you up if you get a flat tire. My first charity ride was 32 miles, and this was my first time riding that distance. It was so fun riding with other people. I felt like I was a professional cyclist riding in the Tour de France. I remember that I averaged over 16mph for this ride. That was much faster than the 13 or 14mph I’d ride by myself.

Racing Bikes

Over the next few years I’d get really into cycling. I’d go on group rides a few nights a week and then ride by myself on other nights and on the weekends. I started racing bikes. I got a coach and trained a ton. I read every cycling book I could get my hands on. I watched every bike race I could on the internet.

I was in really good cycling shape. I participated in a few 70+ mile races. I rode 100 miles one time. However, that fitness hardly translated to anything else. My quads were strong as hell, but the rest of my body was atrophied into skin and bones. I was weak for anything besides cycling.

Cycling in colorado
Me in Colorado Riding Bikes

How Cycling Became Unhealthy For Me

I loved cycling and I still do. However, riding for hours and hours a week alone on the road grew incredibly monotonous. As cars passing me just a little too close became a more common occurance, I decided I’d had enough. I’ll go on a short bike ride every few weeks now, but it’s nothing like I used to do.

And the biggest problem I ran into when training for bike races was that I basically gave myself an eating disorder. I went from the 192 pounds that I mentioned above to 148 pounds. I recall a certain 6 month period when I basically lived on Golden Delicious apples and Clif bars.

As it turns out my problem was not unique to me at all. I wanted to be fit. I hated being the fat kid or the out of shape kid who couldn’t keep up with everyone else on the mile. And cycling glorifies being light and skinny. In a sport where going uphill fast is essential, and Watts/KG is a crucial measurement, every pound you lose is a performance benefit.

After seeing very little success in my racing, I decided I was done with bikes for awhile. I turned to another form of fitness that turned out to be much better for me: the gym.

Going To The Gym

In college, we had long winter breaks. During winter break of my sophomore year, I started going to the gym a lot. I was no longer worried about being as light as possible for bike racing, I wanted my body to look better. My upper body was super underdeveloped from the years of riding my bike. I started benching and working on my upper body.

When you first start lifting weights you’re likely to see gains very quickly as your body adapts to the new stimulus. The quick strength and muscle gains helped keep me motivated and excited about going to the gym.

Once school got started back up, my roommate and I would go to the gym all the time. It was fun having a workout partner and we both saw some good progress. For the next few years I went to the gym consistently and got a lot stronger and gained a lot of muscle. I actually got up to 207 pounds at one point.

I experimented with a number of different lifting programs and splits. I ended up doing some variation of push, pull and leg days. I enjoyed watching my lifts increase and improve over the years I went to the gym consistently.

One of my biggest issues with going to the gym is that it’s pretty isolating. Everyone has headphones on, and they rarely talk to each other. I would workout with a friend every so often, but the majority of my time at the gym was spent working out alone. When I worked out alone, it was much easier to skip the last set, or not push myself to use a heavier weight.

I needed a place to workout with other fit people who enjoyed pushing themselves. That’s where CrossFit came in.

CrossFit

I decided to go to CrossFit a few months ago (before COVID-19 hit and I had to stay at home). I immediately knew I was in the right place. At a traditional gym, there are a few people going hard, most people are just going through the motions, and then some people are walking on the treadmill at 1.5 miles per hour.

Read More: Starting CrossFit

At CrossFit, people show up expecting to go hard. This was something I loved about cycling. When you showed up for a group ride, everyone knew that they were about to crush themselves trying to go faster than the person next to them.

CrossFit combined the competitiveness of cycling, that I loved, with the strength and weightlifting movements I worked on in the gym.

Both cycling and basic weightlifting left big holes in my overall fitness. Cycling left me in great cardiovascular shape, but weak and injury prone. Weightlifting made me strong and allowed me to build muscle, but it lacked intensity and functional movement.

So I’m excited to get more CrossFit training in and see how much progress I can make. In a year or two I may completely change my training style and workouts again, but for now I’m sticking with CrossFit.

Training for Longevity

At some point I think it’s important to consider why I’m training. For cycling I had a clear goal: win races. For strength training my goal was: get stronger. Now my main goals are to keep my body fat low, increase my strength and maintain my fitness.

When I’m 65, 75, or 95 years old I want to be able to move well and to live an active life. Most training methods fail to consider this, even though longevity is probably the most important thing to train.


Thanks for reading. This really rambled on and jumped around from topic to topic, but I appreciate you taking the time to read!

My next post will be about sharing my passion for fitness and how I can help you improve your life through working out and eating healthy.

I’m SUPER Close to Hitting my Clean and Jerk Goal…

Today at CrossFit, the metcon was an AMRAP with 8 dumbbell thrusters, 8 power cleans and 16 calorie row. RX was 35-pound dumbbells for the thrusters and 135 pounds for the power cleans. I scaled it a bit and used 30 pound dumbbells, but everything else I did RX.

The cleans felt super heavy. Last week I did a workout with sets of 3 with 145, and it was freakin’ hard. Today I decided to push myself and go a bit heavier. The WOD was really hard, and I probably would have been better off scaling the power cleans a bit. However, I’ve been wanting to work on my cleans and I thought going heavier would be beneficial.

After the workout, I decided to put some more weight on and see what my max was for power cleans. I think the most I’d ever done before was around 155 pounds. So I threw some extra weight on and tried 165. It went up surprisingly easy. I had bodyweight C+J goal in mind so I put on 180 pounds and went for it. I know it probably looked like shit, but I got it.

I know I could lift more weight if I could get the movement and timing down to pull myself under the bar. My power clean is pretty much me standing straight up, so I have a lot of potential benefit from going through the full range of motion for a full clean.

What Happens When You Meet Your Goals?

As I wrote about yesterday, I surpassed the goal I had set for myself for deadlifting 315 pounds. I was happy that I was able to beat my expectations and achieve the goal much faster than I thought. However, now I think I need to adjust all of the goals I have set.

I want to place the target farther out for me to work towards. If I have to work on my new goals for a year or more, then that’s okay. I’ll be happy to consistently improve and make progress.

What happens when you meet your goals? You set new goals.


New Deadlift Goal – 405 pounds

Prior to crushing my previous goal of 315, 405 pounds felt lightyears away. However, I think this goal is achievable with a couple of deadlift sessions per week.

One reason I wasn’t making progress before is that I wasn’t going heavy enough in most of my deadlift workouts. I’d throw on 225 and do a ton of reps. It felt good because 225 was heavy enough to feel heavy, but not heavy enough to shock my system. In the long run, this training was probably beneficial for building efficiency in the deadlift movement, but not helpful for increasing my one rep max.

Long-Term Clean and Jerk Goal – 225 pounds

Yesterday, we did a clean complex at the gym.

The workout was 5 rounds of:

  • 1 power clean
  • 1 hang power clean
  • 1 squat clean
  • 1 hang squat clean
  • 1 split jerk

I worked my way up to 145 pounds. The last set was tough, but I think my one rep max for clean and jerk is probably around 160 pounds. I’m just not that comfortable with the movement right now.

In the past, whenever I’ve focused on Clean and Jerk I’ve quickly progressed as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the lift. I’m going to start working in a couple extra C+J sessions a week and see if I can start moving towards my goal.


I’ll likely include more goals I have here over the coming days and weeks. Every time I do a workout that I haven’t done in awhile I get a new baseline for where I’m at and can then set goals to work towards.

I Hit My Deadlift Goal

I discussed a few goals I had for CrossFit and weightlifting in this post. One of those goals was to deadlift 315 pounds. I didn’t realize how close I was to achieving this goal.

Last week I talked to the coach at the CrossFit gym I’ve been going to about my goals. He told me that I could easily get to a 315-lb. deadlift. So I stuck around after class that day and did some extra deadlifting.

Yesterday, after class I stuck around for some extra deadlifting reps. I put on 285 pounds and did five reps. Then I jumped up to 295 and did 5 more. The coach said, “you might as well try 315 today.”

So after another set of 295, I made the jump up to 315. I got myself hyped up and stepped up to the bar. I got my grip and pulled it up. Easy. I didn’t think it would be that smooth and easy. I put on another 10 pounds and tried 325. That one went up just as easy.

So my new one-rep max for deadlift is 325 pounds.


One of the reasons I’ve been so drawn to CrossFit is the challenges that it presents on a daily basis. The other day, one of our workouts included overhead lunges…and I wasn’t sure I could do a single rep of the movement. But I was able to get through a few rounds of overhead lunges.

Going to “the gym” (like LifeTime Fitness) presented me challenges like trying to lift more, but CrossFit forces me to push the limits of my strength and coordination almost every day.

I get obsessed with things. CrossFit is no exception.

If I look back to when I was 18 or 19 years old I got into cycling. I was riding my road bike close to 12 hours per week and riding more than 500 miles per month. I read every book about cycling that I could get my hands on. I watched every movie about bike racing that I could find.

I was completely immersed in cycling, training for bike racing, and bike racing strategies.

I feel the same way about CrossFit right now. I’ve read a few books about CrossFit competition and CrossFit athletes. I’ve watched a couple movies about the CrossFit Games and athletes like Mat Fraser and Rich Froning.

I’m eager to learn about how the best in the world do it and what I can do to improve my performance in the gym on a daily basis.