Communication & Self-Awareness


Until you’ve mastered all 10 of these, every day, don’t worry about others. 

Communication is the foundation of teamwork.

Side talk, gossip and worrying about what others are doing are all poison in a group atmosphere. If a coach’s job is to make sure that everyone is rowing in the same direction, then the athletes job is to row. If Johnny in rower #2 isn’t rowing in the same direction and is fucking the boat up, that is the coach’s job to fix, not Sally on rower #9 to talk about how annoying it is to Terry on rower #8. Sally and Terry need to just stay their own course and maximize their contribution to the boat. In the “No BCD” culture, side-talk is the first and most important removal. If you hear it, remove yourself from the situation and let the person know why you are.

Contributing to the boat can take many forms, but the best way is to maximize those 10 things listed above. We talked the other day about how nutrition & recovery are essentials to being a serious, contending athlete in this sport. #2, 3, 4, 5, 9 & 10 require that you ate well and recovered. This list can be a great self-assessment tool everyday for you. Is training enough of a priority for you that you always arrive 10-15 minutes early to prepare mentally? Can you produce consistent work ethic, passion and effort on days when you feel down in the dumps? What happens at your job when you have a major presentation and you feel ‘off’ or down…Is it acceptable to just call off? Is it acceptable to come in with a piss poor attitude and spread that to others? If it isn’t acceptable in a work environment, or a sports team environment, it isn’t acceptable in your/our training environment.

#4 on our list, body language, is one of the largest failings of newer athletes. If you are doing an individual workout every single movement you make, dictates your next action. Standing tall and taking composed breaths will always get you to the bar faster, and encourage better recovery than hunching over hands on knees. From this point forward, I expect full control and composure during workouts. After workouts is definitely tougher, but you should actively be working on standing, walking or biking as quickly as possible after every effort. One of the best ways I’ve seen this done is immediately after every workout going out for a 400m walk. It clears your head, allows you to breathe, and lowers your heart rate / lactic acid in a more manageable way.

Lastly, #8. Ben Bergeron on being coachable  (5:05 in) — Listen to the rest of his CCPP. Should sound pretty familiar and you should recognize some similarities in the culture he has already created and found success with, and where we need to work to get to.

Extra work has started to go out to some. If you haven’t received it, you haven’t began following the steps we’ve discussed in previous steps, need to meet or talk with me, or I don’t think you’re ready yet / I think you need some more time to just focus on enjoying CF again. If your first thought is to go around me / this system and get the extra work from someone/somewhere else (and/or you do that), you need to seriously think about how that makes you look as an athlete given the steps above and what’s been laid out here in the blog. 


“Iron sharpens iron.”

Required reading #1 — Read these, I don’t care if you’ve read them before, or 2 or 3 times, they carry a different value each year.

Required reading #2

Outside expectations and worrying about what others will think is a waste of time. If you have those fears, it is time to attack them and remove them. Internal expectations from your coach and training partner should be your main concern, your driving force behind pushing yourself and the catalyst to positive change. Here are some expectations for 2017-2018 from your coach:

  • Log every workout, every recovery day, and don’t log every rest day. Do it on BTWB, do it publicly so others can see. Type detailed notes. This will give you very accurate data to look back on at the end of each week/month/year.
  • Have control over your food. Work with Ellie, download MyFitnessPal and start drilling on your macronutrient levels, every week should improve in quality until someone can look at your logs and say you were “perfect” for a week. Cheat meals will naturally occur in the space of socializing, don’t plan for them and don’t do them along unnecessarily by yourself. This allows you to go out and enjoy yourself with friends when you DO go out and have fun. If you’re attempting to be a competitor and your nutrition isn’t dialed in, I don’t take you seriously at all. (Remember yesterday: You can’t do this alone, accept where you need help and get it)
  • Know your process.  It should be written where you see it everyday. It should be 2-3 things that will lead you where you want to go. If I ask you “what’s your process” I should have a confident sentence fired back at me.
  • Fundamental obsession. For those of you who have the opportunity of an early off-season, now is the time to move perfectly.  You should be upset if you lose focus and perform a rep or set ‘sloppy.’  Now is the time to take 1, 5, 15, 75, 10,000 steps back and attack your movement. Your warm-ups should be obsessive over movement improvement, your lifts should be lighter, more crisp and fast, and your gymnastics should be tight, smooth and thoughtful.
  • Be actively working on mental improvement. This could (should) be reading, podcasts, meditation, yoga, playing sports, advancing yourself professionally, impressing your boss by being ahead and taking initiative, engaging with friends, taking long walks or bike rides, being in nature. This is not: being on social media, watching Games athletes PRs, over-indulging in TV or movies, not caring about work, lacking priorities. 
  • Obtain self-awareness and ownership. Honest friends are hard to come by, so are seeing your own blind spots. Training partners, coaches and valued gym friends need to be able to be honest with you. If they can’t be (or if you don’t have anyone in your life who can) that is extremely telling of how you react to criticism. Your first goal is to find someone who can do this for you, your second goal is to sit down and write down what you think your biggest mental weaknesses are, and then ask them (without telling them yours) what your blindspots are and where they think you need to improve.


  • Start working on defining your process: What steps will you take every hour, day, week to get to where you want to be. Get it to where you can tell me in under 20 seconds.
  • Start communicating with potential training partners, start having difficult conversations with each other. Sit down at your house, with no cell phones in reach, no TV on, no distractions, just notebooks and a conversation. Let it naturally flow, don’t force it into a conversation about CrossFit.
  • Get on BTWB, back fill for this week. Download MFP or another nutrition logging app, add your training partner as a friend, keep each other accountable. Email or communicate with Ellie if you haven’t and need to. I’m working on a “competition co-op” idea where we’d basically have a “bad eaters anonymous” competition group that could pay into a group session with Ellie 1x/week to save her time and you money.

Tomorrow we’ll go deeper into expectations as a community member. Like I said, this year will be different. I will 100% support you and love you (probably more) as a 4-5x/week recreational CrossFitter hitting our group classes and heading home. You have to realize these are very different things. However, this year will not just be “Sure, come to Skulls and Sunday training” if you aren’t actively participating in these opportunities for improvement outside the gym. Class will be plenty difficult, class 5x/week with intention and good nutrition will still make you “elite enough” to do very well in local competitions. But we have come to a point in this sport where that alone is barely enough to squeek into Regionals, and our actions must meet our goals.

Days of process complete: 4/4 — Made 35 minutes into Hercules last night, super tough ROMWOD. 1.5hrs of recovery work / mobility and met all 5 of my professional goals yesterday. Macros dialed in now, 98-101% in all 3.



Delta Force soldiers before the raid of an ISIS camp that cost the life of MSG Josh Wheeler

“When I go home people’ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?” You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is” – Hoot

One of the things I’m most grateful for is the perspective the military gave me. I was a spoiled kid who was given everything, never faced any adversity, gave up on sports when they got hard, gave up on school when it lost value and had no focus. I hated the person I was before the military when I look back. Luckily, we control our destiny and one choice can make the difference for anyone. For me, that day was walking into the recruiters office after a long night of drinking, and doing things I wasn’t overly proud of. I was pissed off, mad at how I made my family look, mad at who I’d become and to let those around me down. I knew I needed a drastic change, and choosing the Special Forces, Airborne Infantry route was the most drastic change the recruiters had to offer at the time. I took it.

Lots of weird events in my early schools led me to D.C., where the funerals at Arlington for young soldiers had a major impact on me. I needed to be a part of an ‘elite’ unit, one where the other soldiers went the extra mile for each other. One where there was a lot of adversity, no time to even think about drinking, or cell phones, or girls. That was what prompted my move to the Tomb, which was the best decision I ever made. Looking back you never think about the 100+hr work weeks, the nights low crawling in full dress uniform for miles through the cemetery, dodging falling in already dug graves and fighting sleep deprivation for 48+hrs. Instead you get to focus on how beautifully peaceful the first walk on a perfect spring day is. Crowds of 5,000 people all completely silent, paying their respects to American soldiers from the greatest generations. Most of all I think about laughing with my friends who stuck it out with me along the way, totally delusional from shining shoes for 8hours straight after being up for 3 days. It was an experience that forged a new mentality and understanding for me, one that I know has helped me mentally.

How does this pertain to CrossFit? All of my best years, and most fit points came in conjunction with my best training partners. Jay, Hunky, Chris/John. There will always be long days where you’re dragging ass, but it’s your friends next to you pulling you up that will make the difference. Staying for Gymnastics Club because Jen is, going to the track on Saturday night because John is, texting each other ROMWOD pictures for proof and to keep each other accountable. Having lost Jay/Hunky, and taking things down a notch this past year with Chris/John…You lose something BIG when you don’t have this. For civilians a good training partner might be the closest thing they ever get to a “Battle Buddy” — and doing things “For the guy next to you” will elevate both of your games.

There is a reason that half of the most elite athletes spent weeks training in Cookesville this year, the other half go to Boston (Reebok/CFNE), and Invictus. Why? You can’t do this solo, if you think you can you’re just being arrogant. Some of you need coaches, some of you need training partners (we all do, but some already have them), ALL of you need more accountability. Instead of taking steps in your life to seclude, think about who you can INclude. Who are you going to take with you along your journey? Who makes you want to be a better person? Who has texted you something every day to help improve your mental and physical being? Part of this upcoming season will be having these pairings, they will be outwardly known relationships, they will be verbalized, and just like in the military – When one of you fucks up, you both fuck up. (Funny tangent, I was too skinny going into the military, so they put me with the fattest kid in our basic training class, he got :30s to eat each meal, and whatever he didn’t finish I wasn’t allowed to leave until I finished all of mine and all of his. He lost 62lbs in 6 months, I gained 50.)

Our culture is the process. The next step is to have people you’re accountable to for your process.

Days of completed process: 3/3 (within 5g of each macro yesterday), double ROMWOD, deficit strict hspu, OHS warm-up.



The Process

Package advice: "Can only help reduce weight by not actually eating it."

Our culture is the process.

In CrossFit it is very simple to get caught up in the big picture, distractions and result oriented thinking. Wanting abs, to lose 20lbs, Snatch 250/165, run a sub-6 mile, etc. are all great goals…but goals without a process are wishes. I have no time or patience left for wishes.  In 10 years of CrossFit and 7 years of coaching, I’ve seen the lack of follow-through and personal ownership of the process 100:1 to dedication, discipline and overwhelming success. What we preach is simple: Train with a purpose, sleep well, eat clean foods in acceptable moderation, move more than you sit. Yet everyday our coaches sit and have conversations with adults who cannot complete one of those 4 tasks, let alone 4/4, everyday, for years on end: which is the requirement of a competitor.

Why can’t people follow through on the process? It could be the society we’ve grown up in…we’re slammed all day with commercials for quick and cheap fixes. No one wants to pay for quality anymore, no one is used to listening (or even having) to someone actually willing to help them. It could be that we’re in constant desire for entertainment, movies on demand, netflix, no commercials, INSTAgram, Facebook — and of course Twitter and Snapchat. Quick hits, quick fixes, all the time.  If you can learn to see the bullshit, remove the bullshit and slow down, you will find a plethora of time, energy and effort.

My process (pertaining to training) for this year:

  • Start and end every day with a RomWod. 40-60 minutes on each rest day (Thursday/Sunday), paired with CrossOver Symmetry and thoracic mobility.
  • Train with a clear purpose, and see the benefits of training when I feel like shit. I’m older now, my body has taken abuse from years of moving poorly and not addressing mobility with a full heart. That means some days I’ll be beat up.  Training that way has value. I know I can perform well when I’m on my A-Game…but I want to be great when I’m on my c, d and F-Game. This takes training, patience and an optimistic look at every set, situation and day.
  • Verbalize what I’m grateful for to my teammates, and what I need from them. Create relationships of honest communication to better myself and the group.
  • Measure food each day, if I expect it of you, I need to live it also. Cutting out dairy is very hard for me, but I’m doing it also.
  • Log every workout, every day, if I expect it of you, I need to live it.
  • Practice HSPU (Kip 1st, deficit 2nd, strict 3rd) every day, and work OHS everyday (PVC->Max).

Days of full process completed: 2/2, so far I’m tracking today for 3/3. I will keep a running tally each day at the bottom of the page of my percentage/days completed vs. attempted. No excuses, this will help keep me accountable and I look forward to the challenge.

My Goal is the process. That is my long term goal, and my short term goal. My hourly, daily,  and yearly goals. If I complete these things each day, I will reach greater things: like a heavier OHS, better HSPU, faster workout times and bigger lifts. There is no foreseeable need or use (in my eyes) to sit down and set out numbers. If I do these things, and maximize each day, but instead I make a goal to OHS 315, and at the end of the year I only get to 305…why would I ever be disappointed? My process maximized each day to the best my time and patience would allow. That’s all I could do.

To be frustrated by not achieving some arbitrary number makes me the same person as the guy who comes in 50lbs overweight, wants to lose 30lbs in a month, and “Oh, I ate kinda well, I worked out some days, but then I wasn’t losing weight fast enough so I quit and went back to eating shitty and sitting around all day.”  You wanted the quick easy fix, you wanted it on the cheap, and you put your focus on the end goal…not the process. That is wishful thinking and in our culture for 2018, it has no place. 


Days of full process completed: 2/2

Intro to 2017-2018 Season


“Never underestimate how hard it will be, or how long it will take” – Justin Su’a

Something I have wanted to do for quite awhile now is have a legit website of my own and a place to grow myself and our community. I dabbled with this in 2014-2016, reaching a pinnacle that overwhelmed me and I made a common mistake. I made things too complex, I lost sight of the simple things and I tried to please everyone with everything.

A big part of my focus for the next season is to bring back the blog, the community of competition and provide ‘free’ extra work. A few thoughts on this:

  • Our biggest strength is our community and each other. Many people in our group (myself included) took steps to separate and seclude. This is unacceptable and makes us weaker.
  • To be a part of this group you will need to be a mentally strong individual. One who is actively taking steps to work on being mentally stronger every single day. A part of that is going to be frequently getting honest feedback. If you cannot improve, are stubborn or uncoachable, you will not be invited to train with us.
  • If you are not taking recovery, training or nutrition seriously – You will not be invited to train with us.
  • If you talk negatively about teammates or coaches without having a face-to-face conversation with them, you will not be invited to train with us.
  • If you aren’t actively pursuing a happy life outside of the walls of FCF, you will not be invited to train with us.
  • The culture that we are creating will be one of support, hard work, team work and growth. I don’t want to hear anyone tell the group “Good Job”, that is fake support and shows me that you don’t care about individuals success, you just want to appear to be supportive. Instead, challenge your teammates. Tell them “Go faster”, “Be Smart, breath”, “Fix your body language”, “Deeper squats, move better”, etc. Those are useable, actionable comments that will help our group improve, while at the same time – showing that person you care. In the end, tell them honestly “I’m proud of the effort you gave today” or “I think you could’ve gone harder” or “You didn’t come prepared to train today, what’s going on?”

Climbing a mountain takes one difficult step after another. Through those steps you are forged into a harder/better person. Define what your ‘peak’ is, and start working on your process. Your process will define how successful each step you take is. You cannot skip steps, you cannot skip the process and magically end up at the peak of your mountain. Moreover, beyond your peak are many other peaks. If you think that making regionals, making the Games, finishing top 250, top 100, etc. are going to bring you happiness – I am here to tell you: They will certainly not. 

Your goal is the process and the people that you make better along the way with you, the relationships you build and the community you strengthen. That is where true happiness lies.