Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Moment


It has been several weeks since my last post. I would love to report that there has been some life-changing occurrence or a suitable explanation that would excuse me from my seemingly inherited responsibility. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Life happens. The good thing is that I am happy to report a somewhat uneventful time which will now most like change as I head into a very busy time of year for me personally and professionally.
Ok, back to the business at hand. This is a very happy time of year for many of us. It is a time of giving and reflecting. Unfortunately, it is also a time of excuses and a receipt for failure.  I propose a radical position for us to follow this holiday season. Keep the norm - whatever your norm has become. I challenge you to think for just one second about all of the effort you have made for the entire year – physically, nutritionally and most importantly emotionally. In that second, reflect on the sacrifices you have made and the hurtles you have battled to become what you are now. Why negotiate your progress?
It is not my recommendation not to participate – because anyone that knows me knows I love participation. I just simply want you to think for just one second. It is very interesting that we spend an entire year shaving off seconds – working tirelessly accumulating all those hours, minutes and seconds. The least we can do for ourselves is take that one moment – that one second to think, act, reflect, decide, contemplate, fight - whatever is right for you. I think you are worth that second. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brave New World


Welcome to the new age of physical fitness – where the prescription supersedes patience, perseverance, pride and accomplishment. We live in a world of numbers, where statistics and gross median averages rain as a dominance towards success.

If we are living in a world of standards and averages, then everyone should expect to make $49,000 per year, married with 2.1 kids, drive a white Ford Focus, sleep for 6.82 hours and consume over 50 gallons of soda daily. Where did our identity go? Since when should life be AS RX?

We are individuals who come in all different sizes, styles, taste, motivation, backgrounds and pasts. Fitness is individualistic. Preparation and results are not driven by standardization of repetitions and weight. Goals are realized by individuals who understand the meaning of patience and genuine hard work. We are not a world of generic – one size fits all fitness. We are a culmination of people bound together for a common interest – To be better, to be different and to get results – whatever those results may be. Celebrate your gains – celebrate your individuality.

So the next time you are judged for not meeting a standard performance level or your effort was perceived as not prescribed, you should be happy. You should celebrate! You should be honored not for being the same but for being different. True to yourself – True to your perseverance and true to your accomplishment. I have to take a great tag line from one of my good friends, Elm City CrossFit’s Vin Lindsley – Train smart, eat clean and smile often. So in this world where we are taught to live life as RX – I say XRX, who needs prescriptions anyways. ~ The Average Joe

Friday, September 9, 2011

Don't be Afraid to be Great


As a coach, I am constantly surrounded with individuals with varying backgrounds, pre-existing issues and the pursuit of individual goals. I have often commented that I enjoy coaching the average athlete over the elite. I enjoy mining down to the core of an individual and helping them reach their goals. It is both rewarding and gratifying partnering with an athlete as they embark on their journey. The plan, the strategy, the tactics and the best maps are constantly changing. It is those people who identify, rectify, plan, act, follow-through, repeat, learn, comprehend and stay vigilant to the process who will endure.

One of my personal favorite athletes, who I have had the pleasure of coaching for years, now, is my good friend Teddy. I have known him for many years and I have watched him grow into the solid young man he is today. I see a lot of myself in Teddy – the athletic and social underdog. So when Teddy went off to college he soon joined the college rugby team. A decision that made me happy as I followed a similar path. This camaraderie and team bond is the perfect stepping stone for Teddy.

At the end of his freshmen year, he came back home and entered Elm City CrossFit with one single goal – he wanted to show up for his sophomore year and secure a starting position on the college rugby team. Teddy and I worked the entire summer and I set him up on a program that was a bit non-traditional and in some cases down-right crazy – but he endured. Teddy lost over 20 pounds in one summer and was ready to head back to college a new man.

While leaving the gym last night, I received a phone call from Teddy. He was calling me from school. He called to tell me that he had been selected to the starting team (the A side). I could not have been more proud of Teddy and what he accomplished. He put in some really hard work and it paid off. I am further honored to have been a part of his great journey that is surely only just began. You deserve it Teddy. You have done an amazing job. The thing that I am most proud of is that you never gave up and even though life has a way of putting us all down, you stood up and took every opportunity to make a difference in your goal. You were not afraid to be great. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Angery Average Joe

An Average Joe’s Anger…
I am very upset at the fact that Crossfit boxes just keep popping up around existing boxes- on the same streets – in the same towns... We like to talk about community but it has become who has the biggest box, the most monetary support and a who’s who of games competitors and athletic sponsorships - How can we build a community when we are becoming exactly what we despise -The globo gym... Crossfit Headquarters kindly accepts our affiliate fees every year with absolutely no return like protection from other pseudo crossfit globo boxes looking to clean up with shitty programming, over-crowded classes and with little regards to community, personal development and goal accomplishment... Congratulations Crossfit Headquarters... we have become over-crowded, non-coached, unsafe, nonfunctional movement CROSSFIT GLOBO!!! Coach Glassman should be proud of what his Crossfit model has become… An organic community of Mice and Men...~The Pissed-off Average Joe

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Average Support Team

Every Average Joe needs conviction, perseverance and a toolbox full of other helpful factors when conquering this thing called life. More importantly, everyone needs the a support mechanism that can be tested and relied on in many ways. I should be more appreciative with my support team. I always believe that behind every strong individual is an army of supportive individuals who make that person endure.

Here is a sample of one of my support team. This is a very short but inspirational message I got. I am so thankful to have this opportunity to touch lives and to be touched by individuals doing what they do as Average Joe’s…

Just some basic advice from the avg danni: i tell my students and often remind myself, when somebody is making fun or taunting you always take the high road and NEVER let them see that it bothers you bc that is what they want and you will be beating them at their own game:)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Watch Us Win!


I knew opening Elm City Crossfit with my very formidable buddies would bring a great deal of satisfaction. I learn just as much from my athletes as they do from me. But the biggest surprise was the one is soon discovered when the WODs roll out and the suffering begins.

At Elm City Crossfit we are bonded by various motivating factors but the one that keeps individuals coming back for more is the community - what I like to refer to our team. This is a trend that I have witnessed two years in the making. I see people of various abilities, backgrounds, sexes, interests and of course opinions come together everyday to suffer together. And for those who suffer together bond together. It is sediment that is felt not only with the athletes performing the exercises, but also anyone who ever walks into our box. We are a band of brothers brought together for individual goals.

Each day at Elm City Crossfit, athletes are exposed to a workout which each individual will perform during the course of that particular day. There is a since of both competition and camaraderie when each set our on their journey to complete the day’s test. Our athletes are motivated and comforted by the simple fact that the team will be victorious, standing together against the day’s challenges. Even though our results are individually based and our goals are very personal, the means and the medium are very much team driven. Our team is less concern with physical prowess or appearance, we are concern with how our team fares. Participation, pride, perseverance, passion, poise – this is our team – watch us win! ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Same Old Sh%t!


While others run from the rain - Banjo and I run in it!


Same Old Sh%T right? Wrong. Here we challenge the human spirit. Here we step out of our comfort zones for just the opportunity to be great. Success or maybe failure – at least we shine at our opportunity. We are not defined by what we do but more importantly – how we go about doing it.

I had a great conversation with my friend and partner Vin Lindsley – Head Trainer, Elm City Crossfit and nutritional guru the other day. We were discussing the general negativity and disregard felt in the general public for meat eaters and especially the Paleolithic position for proper eating habits. We both reflected on stories of woe and how nonresponsive individuals can be regarding healthy food choices. We both agreed to continue the good fight – one that entails continuous and constant reminders to those who inquire on how the body reacts both positively and negatively to what you put into it. It is a path Vin had been working on over the last two decades. After finishing our bitch-fest to each other Vin stated “Same Old Sh%t” – Same message, same questions, same lack of belief and buy-in but he will continue to speak the nutritional gospel.

It is my personal goal to uphold Vin’s underlying challenge. No matter how many times people ask you the same question or even challenge your position. No matter the number of times we sculpt and contour our nutritional views – No matter the barriers to our message – I will continue. I actually view it as a challenge. So I challenge you! I challenge you to dig deeper. I challenge you to ask why. I challenge you to go against the same old sh%t and do your own thing. ~ The Average Joe

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is Crossfit?

What is Crossfit? – Through the eyes of an average Joe…

Yeah- we have all seen the thousands of versions of the definition of Crossfit which can be found on nearly every single blog site on this planet. But have we ever really decided what the definition really is. In my humble opinion – it is constantly varied! Now of course, I can reference the ten attributes of fitness or talk about general preparedness. But I think it is much more complicated and individualistic.

First of all I think Crossfit is a state of mind. I find people lost in a world of failed diets, long oxidative running and a general public that is completely misinformed to what true fitness looks like. Crossfit gives us the opportunity to see it first hand. It is a presence. It is excitement. It is a mission only defined by those who make the commitment to participate. It is home to many walks of life. There is no standard body type. There are no prerequisites required. It is by the people for the people who commit to commit.

I think Crossfit is our team. I never thought in my wildest dreams that Crossfit could rekindle the camaraderie that brings us all back to the days of childhood sports. The innocence, the teamwork, the suffering – the kinds of bonds that exists from individuals who suffer together, work together and win together. This winning comes in the form of goal attainment, the exiting of one comfort zone and entering into an arena where hard work is celebrated not by individual accomplishments or finishing times but by the opportunity to participate with your team and hold up your end of the intensity bargain. This celebration is exemplified each and everyday.

I think Crossfit is our social network. Where else can you have your own lingo, language and share so much of yourself with your teammates. It is more than a fitness center. It is a platform for continuous interaction, a bond that is shared by like-minded individuals who care less about aesthetics and more about accomplishment and participation. We cannot be bothered with TV – we are our own reality sitcom – setting the stage each and everyday for the struggles and fight that comes with our individual quest for fitness and happiness.

Crossfit is our political platform. Our arguments do not revolve around foreign policy or the unemployment rate. Our arguments are centered on proper technique and standards. These are the standards that are designed to keep us consistent, safe and uniform. Our allegiance and alliances lie with those who exemplify integrity, consistence and class. It is our opportunity to stand as individuals and educate ourselves on positive choices as it relates to eat habits, movements and general wellness so that we can participate and educate others who are interested in our position.

Crossfit is a theme. It is a position that cannot be defined or contained in a simple Webster definition. It is an answer to your question. It consists of the very matter that makes us all – it is individual. It is a hibernating answer to those questions about yourself that you have been waiting to voice. It is an opportunity – your chance to further your position, your theme, your platform, your network, your team, your state of mind and most importantly your life. What is your Crossfit? Only you can answer that ~ The Average Joe

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Game Time


I decided to support our New Haven Warrior Rugby team members this past weekend and I decided to attend a very important match. Even though things were extremely busy for me personally, I decided that I was going to take my girls to see my boys play. Now I have to be honest, there are different types of rugby games and this particular league is pretty new to me. I played many years of union type – which has more players on the field at once and much more open play. After settling into our seats inside West Haven High School stadium, I was quickly captured by the simplicity, camaraderie and purity of this sport I love.

I have to come clean. My original intention on attending the game was to support the players that come to Elm City Crossfit. But I soon became victim to the supportive environment and uncomplicated love for this game. I was proud to be a part of this event as well as having the opportunity to share with my girls this day. I had a wonderful time!

The highlight of my experience was not even the action on the field – even though very exciting, addicting and even brutal. I yearned to be back in the game myself. My aha moment was when I spotted an old Crossfit friend sitting all by himself in the stands. Ben Kelly – BK, owner of BK Athletics and Crossfit Performance. I watched BK as he read his book that he brought, take notes on players and plays – I watched him yell at players and point towards the opposition and coach the team towards the slightest opportunities. Later BK transitioned from the stands to the field. He quickly changed his flip flop to a more appropriate running shoe and began to coach more intently.

I watched the rest of the game while the team experienced highs and lows – ups and downs as any team would during competition. I was proud to have been able to contribute to this group of men – helping them in their conditioning and preparation. The thing that struck me the most was BK’s compassion and dedication to a group of guys whom play a sport that made him the athlete and coach that he is today. When you think about it, BK is an Average Joe. He was not at this game to drum up new business. He was not participating to make money or to profit off this team. He was there because he loves this game. He was an international rugby superstar – representing our country on the world stage in this sport. Why is he here? He was there because he understands how this game can transform people. It transformed him.

I look at this day, this game, this interaction as an opportunity. I had the great fortune to not only witness a super game but I had the opportunity to witness a great coach and person. I am grateful and honored that I took this opportunity. The funny thing is that great leaders, motivators and coaches do things not for themselves but for others. Simplicity, love, perseverance and commitment – all in the name of the game he loves. What is your game? What is your compassion? Are you committed? ~ The Average Joe

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are You an Outsider?

Are you on the outside looking in? Have you ever been in a situation where you were clearly not included based on your appearance, social status or general involvement? Unfortunately, during my life I have been marred with countless situations where I have not been included or been with the “in” crowd. When I was younger, I felt as though I was plagued with this unfortunate circumstance. It is this social position that has made me the individual that I am today. In some cases, I find it very comical and a bit motivating to be on the outside looking in.

However, there are still times where I feel as though I am an outsider still looking in. In this case, I am forced to take a hard look at myself in the mirror and reinforce my position and know that what I do and who I am makes me an individual. I am an individual that will not fall victim to social circumstance, I am an individual who has conviction and I will not let others dictate my feelings or my motivation.

I share this because recently I was not invited to an event. Now, on the surface it seemed relatively meaningless. Unfortunately, this incident stirred some ugly self-doubt that had seemingly been lifeless for a very long time. So that got me thinking. Am I an outsider looking in? I began to think of all the things that are important to me. I also began to think about my family, friends and my community. I began reflect on those who are important to me and why I would never feel like an outside to them. I made a decision not focus on the negative but only on the positive. How can I learn as an individual from this event? I made a conscience decision several years ago not to be the type of guy who would knowingly make an individual feel like an outsider. I will not contribute to this social branding and status designation.

I know for certain that this is what draws me towards people who have a story. I have always gravitated towards individuals who fight for what they believe in and have the intestinal fortitude to go out and work towards their goals. I am fortunate to be surrounded by my three beautiful girls and loving wife who would never treat me as an outsider. I am also blessed to be surrounded by like-minded individuals at Elm City Crossfit who share the same fight and motivation when it comes to physical fitness, nutritional choices and positive general health. These people are collectively a community but independently they are individuals with their own set of short-comings, per-existing issues, limitations and demons who struggle against them daily. We all have them but in our community we have collectively made some tough decisions to battle for what we want. These individuals will never be judged in the court of social righteousness. In our environment, there is no barometer or standard for physical status. It is about hard work and participation. You will always be a part of our group the simple fact that you have made a decision to be an individual and face your fears. These speak volumes of what kind of person you really are! For the mere fact that you walk in the door and toe the line, you have made a conscience decision to change your life. No one can place a sticker on your appearance- they cannot tag your personality. It is about conviction, drive and motivation. No one will ever be judged on output, weight or longevity. In life a person is ultimately judged on being an individual- being a hard working, motivated person. The world is less concerned with being “in” and more concerned with being an individual. ~ The Average Joe

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dual For Dillon - Crossfit Event

“Our son, Dillon Hinds, is an energetic and bright 15 year old kid who is full of life. One unsuspecting day changed our lives forever when we found a large mass on the left side of Dillon’s neck. Alarmed, we contacted our pediatrician and we both agreed that this was probably an enlarged lymph node.  To be certain he was brought to Yale Children’s Hospital to have further evaluations done. The doctor said it would be easier for testing if everything were to be done in one place. He was confident that if all the tests looked fine then Dillon would be allowed to be home by the end of the day. Six days later we were still at the hospital. A biopsy of the lymph node and a sample of the bone marrow confirmed our worst fears – Our 15 year old son, Dillon, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma!
We are in for a long fight, but are confident that with Dillon’s drive and conviction we can defeat this. Things are going to be extremely uncomfortable for a while but with family and friends we will prevail. We would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for the outpouring of well-wishes and prayers for the safe treatment of our dearest Dillon.” – Nancy & Will Hinds

To register, go to http://www.active.com/community-services/hamden-ct/elm-city-crossfits-dual-for-dillon-2011?int=29-6  Competition registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the first heat starting promptly at 9 a.m. 

Team Competition:
Each team consists of 2 people, see divisions for pairing options.  The entrance fee is $50 per team.  All proceeds go to Dillon Hinds to cover medical expenses.  First 100 participants receive event t-shirt. Live music, face painting and kids bounce house. Awards will be given to the top 3 teams in each division and category. The event will consist of 4 stations – Each team is required to perform the required repetitions at each station before moving to the next station. This will be done for an allotted amount of time depending on your entered category. The movement standards, requirements and repetitions will be posted soon. Each team will be asked to perform as many rounds as possible in the given time duration (AMRAP).

Categories:
Novice – Less than 6 months training
Intermediate – Over 6 months training, comfortable with movement standards
Advanced – Very comfortable with movements and performs most workouts as prescribed

Divisions:
Men’s Partners
Women’s Partners
Mixed Partners

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Average Joe's Paleo Challenge

Hello- My name is Joe and I am a foodaholic! It has been 9 whole days since I consumed processed food. This is what I envision when I see request for Paleo Challenges. I see individuals surrounded by like-minded people in a quest to experience and conquer this very similar monster.

I have decided to call a new Paleo Challenge to order. I am constantly being asked questions about proper nutrition and different strategies for general consumption. Plan, execute and follow through. That is my new Paleo Challenge. But the more importantly, I would like to call to arms the purpose of this challenge.

I look around and see many Paleo Challenges being formed. Are these challenges a lack of true understanding on what is involved in healthy eating? I completely understand individuals new to this way of thinking about effective consumption. Furthermore, it is very important to understand what makes up an effective eating strategy. Vin Lindsay, head trainer and nutritional expert at Elm City is an incredible resource to use when you begin your path towards a successful eating plan. Other reliable and great resources to take advantage of include any of the other coaches at Elm City whom are all well versed in the dynamics of paleo eating. One of the best resources you can take advantage of are other member and athletes who have made the decision to make a difference and change the way they think about food, media, propaganda and the tough decisions it takes to make an affirmative change. These are real people who have found real results. For those who don’t know – I give you a pass and I welcome any questions in order to help you towards your nutritional goals.

For the rest of you – for those individuals who have been equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how food affects the human body, I toss this CHALLENGE to you. What does the challenge mean to you? Is the challenge that you need active buy-in or be apart of a group in order for you to make smart food choices? Do you really need monetary buy-in to make you accountable?  Do you lack understanding or are you looking for quick fixes? Do you need a certificate of completing for enrolling in a pseudo Largest Loser program? Do you not have enough conviction and motivation of conquer your inner demons and make smart and effective choices for what you decide to put into your mouth? I feel that this mental bargaining is nothing more than a diet. Diets have a starting point and a finish line. At that finish line there will inevitably be a reward. A reward that will most likely include a bad food choice, which is counter-intuitive to any positive gains you have made.  Life does not reflect this type of mentality. Effective nutrition does not take a back seat to life if you are serious about your health or physical well-being. It really comes down to integrity. Do you have a sense of conviction or do you need the help from others to make proper eating decisions?

My challenge is an individual one and only applies to the individuals who want to participate. A very large portion of our society is very happy simply keeping status quo and consuming large amounts of packaged and processed food. I am not referring to those who are contempt with their choices.

Here is my challenge: take a look at yourself the next time you grab a bagel because you did not have time to go the store and prepare. How about not asking questions about too much fruit in your weekly consumption – when a large part of your weekly consumption consist of beer, nachos and ice cream. My challenge includes taking responsibility for your choices once and for all. I know the types of personalities that surround our community. I witness on a daily basis the kind of conviction and motivation that is displayed. I know the hard-work and determination that lies in us all. Do we really need or require enrollment in a group? No- it requires a hard look in the mirror deciding that you want to change. Plan, execute, learn from your successes, tweak your short-comings and follow-through. This decisive Challenge will work wonders in nutrition as well as other facets of your life. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What at Bargain

Lack of interest… Lack of focus… Or just plain laziness? In my estimation, I say all three. I wrote several months back about how fitness has an identity. In my life, in my particular situation, my fitness has a face. As I said in the blog, I have a responsibility to maintain my focus and attention. Even in the face of strategic and fundamental shifts in sport or fitness, I am liable to uphold my end of the fitness bargain.

Speaking of bargain, I have to keep going back to coaching and the mental bargaining that goes on. I see athletes continuously have fitness gains and success only to be sabotaged by their own demise. The age-old 80-20 rule which is you maintain focus 80% of the time and can have a pass or reward yourself 20% of the time. Unfortunately, this quickly shifts from the 80-20 rule to the 20-80 rule. Much of this has to do with this mentality that we are on a diet – that we deserve a reward for our good behavior. Again, fitness and nutrition are not fads. They are constants! You must constantly be monitored, focused and maintained interest. ~The Average Joe

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So Long But Not Goodbye!


So long for now! I can’t believe it has been over a year since Jennifer entered our gym, our community and most importantly – our lives. She leaves us as a graduate of one of the most sought-after schools in the world, back to her family and friends in the great state of Florida. With any member and personality who has to move on, brings a great deal of sadness that we are losing a teammate, friend and a member or our family. But for Jennifer, this is a bitter sweet departure.

I have seen my young friend grow and mature – not only from a physical fitness perspective but she has become a much more confident and assertive quiet young woman. This particular decision to move back home came with a great deal of satisfaction – knowing now that her place is to be near family and friends. I am honored to have been a part of her life and on some level a helpful component to her subtle transformation. As I have written about just recently, everyone has an inner athlete, regardless of physical presence or athletic background. I know we have unleashed a vibrant, coachable and fierce athlete in Jennifer.

I am confident when I speak for the owners, coaches and our members of Elm City Crossfit when I extend my sincerest well-wishes and good luck in the next stage of your journey. I can assure you that you will be missed tremendously. Rest assured that you will forever have a place in our Elm City family as well as the Kusnitz family. Again, thank you so much for allowing us to get to know you and accepting us in your life. It is individuals like you that makes me proud to be a coach. I am constantly inspired by individuals like yourself that continue to drive and conquer – no matter the obstacle. As a teacher, I know you will continue to lead and inspire many more individuals whose lives you touch. Thanks for being an Average Joe or in this case Jennifer. Average people doing amazing things. ~The Average Joe

Friday, May 13, 2011

Elite Athlete

In the last several weeks I have been reluctant to write. It has very little to do with a lack of interesting and inspiring topics, yet I feel that actions speak louder than words. In today’s society that is so quick to judge, so quick to offer remediation and so quick to search for the quick fix, I am left wanting to be more traditional. I have always been driven to be different. I am driven by this idea that all people are individuals and each has a story to tell.

In the light of my general theme or mantra on how I view the world, I am left with our current state of affairs. I find thousands of websites claiming to have all the fitness and motivational answers only to be drawn in by flashy pictures and regurgitated nutrition and fitness information. We see entire communities of people loath over fast Fran times and cool tee shirts. I read stories of inspiration and encouragement from an elite athlete who lifts a ridiculous amount of weigh or how spot-light athletes change our general perspectives on what is nutrition and fitness.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some really cool and encouraging stories among the Crossfit elites. I just think that it is time for us as a community to take our faces out of our smart phones and pay better attention to the only athlete that can really make a difference in our lives. I am referring to the athlete that lives in us all. Every single person has one. It is your responsibility to peel back the layers of excuses, history of bad choices and self-imposes limitations. It is time for us to stop with the excuses and start moving.

I have to quote my mother for this one, one of her favorite saying were there are only two guarantees in this world – Death and Taxes. Additionally, I guarantee anyone who makes conscience and decisive efforts to make themselves healthy through proper nutritional and exercise choices will discover their internal athlete. You will feel good about yourself from the inside out. The most simplistic and elementary task that seem so difficult will become a non-issue. Your quality of life will change. The change will not only be felt by you but you will have a positive effect on the environment that surrounds you. I think if we spend less time focusing on other athletes and more time finding our own – we can be elite in our own extraordinary way.~ The Average Joe

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TREES

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

 Trees


I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

  

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

  

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

  

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

  

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.
  

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stop Bragging!

Growing up with four brothers and two sisters in a small Georgia town has its amazing advantages. The seclusion you experience from the outside world gave us an opportunity to focus on our family – we called ourselves the K-Team. I learned at a very early age how to be a team player. One of the biggest lessons always taught by my parents was to be an individual but envision you always as part of a bigger puzzle.

As a member of any team, you learn pretty early that there are no individuals. But when do you break away from the organization and become an independent entity? One of the worst insults you can ever accept is one of selfishness or self-centered. But when is it acceptable to brag?

There is a very fine line between self-actualization, acknowledgement, goal attainment and putting yourself above others for the interests of making you feel superior. It is sometimes very difficult to turn the camera back to yourself and celebrate your personal victories without negatively affecting the ones around you. Get out of it what you put into it. Goals are not easy to achieve -if they are – it is not a real goal. Regardless of the scale or difficulty of your achievement, it is not only acceptable but in many cases it is required to celebrate. That makes your journey so much sweeter. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whose in Control?

I know it has been a long time since my last post. But, like anyone in the world today, I have an excuse. I took a week to visit my family down south. It is always great to travel, see family and spend time with my kids. But, when it comes to keeping good eating habits and a solid workout regiment, sometimes it is very difficult. I pretty much decided early on in my trip that I would just relax and take each day as it comes. That seems to be my motto these days. I need to control what I can control and not worry about things which are completely beyond my control. This has been especially true for my family life, working life, coaching life and my exercise life.

The premise is fairly simple. It consists of a three-part process. There are things that are directly in your control. You can always control the outcomes. There is a direct correlation between your actions and the outcome. Conversely, there are interactions and outcomes that are completely out of your control. These are things that an individual has no influence or authority to maneuver. Now comes the interesting element - between control and uncontrolled come influence. This is the behavior or actions you can control in relationship to things you cannot control. One’s ability to control your influence has a great presence in almost any situation or circumstance you experience.

Example: I sign up for a race. I cannot control the weather, terrain, population or course. What I can control is my focus, my training, my nutrition and my strategy. What I control will influence the things I cannot control. This idea not only applies to training. It applies to all facets of my life. I find that making since of the order helps me stay in CONTROL! ~ The Average Joe

Monday, April 4, 2011

Slice me a Piece of Humble Pie - Please

My pie has been served to me – humble pie that is. After completing Crossfit Open workout number two yesterday, I was frustrated, humbled and honored all at the same time. After only two weeks since my 100k finish, I was expecting to be fully recovered and ready for Crossfit again – boy was I wrong.

I pride myself on not taking myself or competition workouts too seriously. That has been my stance for a very long time and I have had a tremendous amount of success just being a fit and well rounded participant. But last week, I took the workout too seriously, placing expectations on my head for no reason at all. I left that workout frustrated and defeated.

Why did I do that to myself? I spent the afternoon playing with my kids and reflecting on what went wrong. Late yesterday afternoon, my four year old was telling her sisters that she was at the gym earlier that day and she said to them “daddy won today”. It is pretty sad when I have to get advice from a four year old girl. But she was right. I did win today! I had the opportunity to workout next to people who have been working hard for this competition. I had the opportunity to get out and play. I had the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded people who are pulling for you not for results but for our community.

I should not be embarrassed by my score. I should be embarrassed for not thinking of my family first -my Elm City family that is. While judging, I looked around the room at all of the fight and fire that was being performed. I witnessed genuine hard work and the desire to compete. I saw individual athletes raise the bar and step it up to another level of output. I saw people having fun – fighting their fears and stepping out of their comfort zones. Even while competing, I had the amazing opportunity to workout next to some true lions – some fire breathing animals. Larry and Bobby, you guys raised the bar. It was an honor to compete with you. Regardless of the score, regardless of the rankings – I am proud of all who toed the line. I am privileged to have witnessed our competition and most of all I am grateful to have been served humble pie. All of you have made me a better coach, father, husband, athlete and man. I will forever be indebted to you once again. ~The Average Joe

Monday, March 28, 2011

Banded No More


There is a pretty interesting transformation that takes place when new people come into our community. The first thing is that huge intimidation factor that has to be overcome before you can even walk in the door. Once those fears and inhibitions are squashed, then a person is a bit lost because of the lack of familiarity of what is going on. Then there are the standards and movements that the athlete is not at all accustomed to performing. It is a very interesting evolution or process each individual goes through. In many cases, people are drawn to our community because they have a goal in mind. Like I said before, the goal can be grand in nature like an Ironman or it can be something as simple as looking better naked in the mirror. Inevitability, people are drawn towards a movement, exercise or workout that has either plagued them or has acted as barrier towards their forward momentum. The amazing thing about these barriers is that with hard work and consistent focus an athlete will break through. Not only does this fast-track an athlete towards better fitness, it also expedites the mind and spirit to victory -a victory that is felt across the entire community - a victory that carries over to other parts of the athletes lives and further sets the bar high for continued success.

My latest story from ECC comes from an athlete named Katie. Katie came to ECC just over one year ago. She was hoping to step out of her comfort zone and start a new healthy life. One of Katie’s barriers has always been pull-ups. She has progressed through the range of motion and progressed through resistant bands only to be stuck in a rut – unable to come off the crutch with the use of a band. Katie has spent that last several months staying after class working on her movement. Just last week Katie was able to do her first unassisted pull-up. Then she blasted out seven in a row. It was through Katie’s hard work, perseverance and her ability to break through her barrier. This is just the momentum Katie needs to break through her next huddle. Congratulations Katie – your hard work has paid off – average people doing amazing things. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diet?

Would you run your car into the ground without any regards to maintenance? Would you let your child go to school without lunch? Do you work a 4 hour day when you were hired to work 8? I am sure the answers to these questions are no. So why would you look for the quick fix without understanding the root of the potential issues. Proper eating habits are continuous. As we have learned in the last several decades, masking proper eating habits with fad diets and deceptive packaging does not earn you nutritional success. It takes proper planning, execution and most importantly consistency. Don’t sell yourself short on the idea that if I eat good most of the time then I can slide sometimes. It is the old 80/20 rule.

I never refer to proper nutrition as a diet. The word diet infers that there is a starting point and there is a finish line. This introduces the idea that it is ok to binge before the starting point and again when I cross that proverbial finish line. This will inevitability set you up for ultimate failure. Now, I am not telling you to never indulge. Make this a special occasion indulgence - not your normal mode of operation.

It is funny how things work out. When I started losing weight over a decade ago, I was concerned with only moving my body. I felt as though the only way towards weight loss is through exercise. I now know – all these years later that nutrition and proper food consumption is not an auxiliary function of good health but it is paramount. ~The Average Joe

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Successful Ultra


Mike and Joe after 100K


Mike always in the mood for a laugh - even 30 miles into a race


It has taken me a few days to come off the high of finishing yet another ultra running event. I have so much to be proud and thankful for. First, I would like to congratulate my crew-chief and biggest fan, my wife Elicia for her relentless focus and continued support. You make spectating and support an absolute art. I am sure that without you – I would not be successful. Additionally, I want to thank my training partner and friend Mike. You are an amazing athlete. You have taught me so much about myself and I would be honored to train with you anytime.

This weekend had so many successes and it is very difficult to talk about only one. I am so grateful for the training plan that Mike and I followed.  I am fortunate to have a great friend and co-owner, Vin Lindsley – Elm City Crossfit Coach who put together our training plan. I feel it was spot on. He has been able to produce individual plans that set people up for continued success. His attention to detail goes far beyond writing workouts on paper. It is a comprehensive plan and procedure for strategy, training, racing and recovery. Thank you so much for your support as I can’t wait for our next event.

I also want to thank my coaches and teammates. Kimmie, Bobby and the rest of my ECC family, you are incredible motivators and equally as accomplished athletes. You set the bar very high and I thank you all for that. In many cases, I draw energy and motivation from you guys. I see your failures and I feel your successes. I am honored to be a part of your lives. ~The Average Joe

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Elm City Crossfit Story - Crossfit Open WOD 1


As ECC coaches we are constantly amazed at the fight of our members. But I have to share one story in particular that left me speechless. As you all are aware we have begun the Crossfit Open this week to any of our members who would like to participate in this world event. The WODs come out weekly and no one knows what they are before Tuesday night.

I was talking with Woody Wednesday morning after his workout and he was not sure if he was going to participate in the event even though he had already signed up. He referenced the fact that he had never done double-unders and that he cannot do the workout as prescribed. I encouraged him to continue with his plan with respects to participating. My position is that as long as you complete one double-under, he would be counted as participating regardless of the number of rounds. I told him to go to the crossfit main site and Crossfit Journal and search double-unders to learn from different coaches the method behind this movement.

Later Wednesday after before the start of the 5:30 class, Woody comes walking into the gym. He thanked me for the reference materials and he was there to do the Open WOD. I quickly asked him why doesn’t he practice first and do the WOD later in the week. His response was that Thursday was his Endurance day and that he will be busy the rest of the week. (Irish!) I watched him attempt some double unders gave him some quick pointers. I told him no matter what happens he only has to do one to count and don’t waste energy and efforts. Woody set up his bar and positioned himself for his Crossfit Open Wod.

I wanted Woody to do the Wod in the middle of the class. I was hopping the spectator s would give him more energy and motivation. 3-2-1 Go. Woody completed his very first double-under in his first attempt. He quickly reset and did another. He did this thirty times over with only three missed attempts. He then moved forward to the bar for the second half of the round. Woody, in true grit fashion, did not stop moving – constantly in forward motion with very little wasted effort. At the end of the ten minute wod – Woody completed three full rounds. This included 90 double-unders done one at a time and 45 ground to overheads. I was inspired at his focus and motivation. He faced his limitation and took it head on. It was an honor to coach and count him. I share this story with you because everyone has the tools to fight and overcome – no matter the movement or comfort level. Thanks for the schooling! Good Luck Everyone! ~ The Average Joe

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Perfectly Organic

Is our fitness community perfectly organic? Do we constantly vary or vary constantly? What makes a successful team? I find it very interesting that when anyone talks about the Crossfit community in general terms, they often describe it as an organic environment or an organic model of success. I sometime wonder if the promoters of this catchy play on words actually mean what they say.

As coaches we spend a great deal of time explaining specific movements or affirming the methodology behind our programming. We spend the majority of our time helping individuals tackle their own demons – quieting those voices that say, I can’t do it. We take people outside of their comfort zones and make the fog lift – or see the light. By doing this on a continual basis, the individual learns much about themselves and results quickly follow.

So is this organic or just intuitive coaching? Is this individual success or a product of a great community? Organic by definition is growth. It is the ability to adapt, learn and evolve through steady change or growth. This is exactly what we do each and everyday at Elm City Crossfit. We challenge not only the individual athlete in us all but we suffer together in construction of a community that is not tied by names, backgrounds or money. It is tied with genuine hard work. A bond that is shared by all – Just to be Great. ~ The Average Joe

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Don't Want to Grow Up!

I don’t mean to brag but I am surrounded by women all the time in my life. I feel sometimes I am the luckiest man alive to have such a wonderful complement of women by my side. I am referring to my beautiful family – Elicia, Annabel, Savannah and Daisy.

Recently, I was talking with my girls on the way home from playing at the gym and my oldest daughter asked me when did I decide to grow up? I immediately replied -never. For a 9-year old this was a very hard concept to get. Annabel went on to explain that a grown up has a job. They have money, a car and most importantly they can say any curse words they want. I quickly replied that being a grown up is a state of mind and girls should not use foul language.

Just as I discussed in previous post, I very much believe in keeping the norm. We have innate responsibilities to ourselves but as much as I believe in hard work – I also believe in having fun. Work hard – Play harder. I try not to take myself too seriously. I enjoy poking fun at myself and my surrounding. People ask me why do you do what you do – why do you wear booty shorts. I take great pride in not getting so wrapped up in training and competition where it looses its original draw – it’s suppose to be fun. Furthermore, I take particular fun in working out next to people that do take themselves too seriously and compete and train like their lives depend on it. I love the look on their faces when they are next to the guy wearing his daughter’s clothes just doing his own thing. My response is that having fun is very much a part of who I am. Interestingly enough, my kids see me as having fun- a lot of the time. I don’t ever want to grow up. ~The Average Joe

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's Your Price?

Is competition good for intensity? Or has competition negotiated pride, professionalism, honesty and community? I often times share with my friends and athletes the importance of intensity. I also share with them the need to focus on yourself – because at the end of the day when you look into the mirror you are faced with reality. What stares you back in the face is the product of you efforts. That individual staring you in the mirror knows without question whether you gave it your all. That person knows if you were honest with your eating, your workout, your mind, your motivation, your conviction and the efforts you have attempted to reach your goals.

But at what price does intensity come with? Does it mean win at all cost? Does it mean overexerting your body? Does it mean over exerting your relationship with yourself? Does it mean negotiating your friendships, your teammates or worse – your community? Elm City Crossfit is a collection of like-minded people who want to change. We all want something. We are all willing to sacrifice to get that something. But what we will not do is sacrifice intensity for relationship or wellness. I am proud to be the owner of a facility that provides an honest avenue towards achievement. I am honored to be surrounded by people who would not negotiate character for intensity.

Life is the ultimate endurance event. You are the individual who controls the outcome or the participation of this event. Exercise in general – specifically Crossfit is an individual sport. Participate with honor and conviction – not exclusiveness ~ The Average Joe

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keeping the Norm

It has been quite some time since my last post. I can assure my followers that I have not been sitting still. Sometime life happens. For most of my adult life, I have adapted my own coping mechanism for eventful and busy situations. I call it keeping the norm. The norms are the bare essentials or responsibilities that keep you going. They are the relationships or in some case the tasks that must be maintained –even in the most hectic of times.

When I was in college, I was the captain of the College Rugby team, a full time student and a full-throttle beer drinking, ass chasing party animal. Regardless of the degree of hang-over or the drama that may have been brewing on the rugby field, I never lost focus of what my original path truly was. I was in college to better myself. My norm was school. That was my first priority and my main focus. It did not matter what I was doing – I would always keep the norm.

That was then and this is now. My norm today is providing for my family, staying healthy and true to my clients and community and training for my up-coming race. It does not matter about the numerous distractions and constant pressures of work-life, I never waiver on the norm. At the end of the day, it comes down to priorities, responsibility and strength. Do you have the strategy and focus to endure? ~ The Average Joe

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where's the Beef?

I read an interesting news article recently about how Taco Bell is being sued for false advertisement about their beef. Come to find out that their beef contains only about 30% actual beef. The rest of the beef contains “particulates and fillers”

The ironic thing in this situation is that the general public looks to these types of eateries as a healthy alternative to burgers and fries. In many cases, this may be worse. Deception, misinformation and smoke and mirrors drive our healthy nutritional theme in this country. Now I am not one of those people who have deeply rooted political views. My point is that we should not walk with the herd. We cannot continue to fall into the corporate trap of eating synthetics. I have to take a page out of Rob Wolf’s train of thought here – human beings have been on this planet for millions of years. It is only since the agricultural age that we began to develop sickness and illnesses.

As the common man with simple standards, I believe in simplicity. Food quality is the main ingredient in changing your body and healthy living. For anyone who knows me, when anyone asks about how they can loose weight. My first response would be to move your butt and go simple on your eating. I call it the phase one scenario: cut out all breads, chips and any synthetic foods – food products that are not produced naturally in nature.

These are the basis for the theme and programming we prescribe to at Elm City. Every individual that comes in the door must have a goal. The goal can be as simple as looking better naked in the mirror – others can be training for a particular event. The point is that every single person on this planet has the ability to change if you want. The biggest thing is you have to want to change. The rest are mere details. ~The Average Joe

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fear Factor

On my ride to work the other morning, I had an opportunity to reflect on my current training. I am currently training for a 100k trail race that will take place in New Jersey this March. I have the honor of training with a client and friend from Elm City Crossfit whom I ran my last event with. This will be a step up for Mike in distance and I have no doubt he will be great. That is truly the point, as a matter of fact -normal, everyday people setting goals, making a plan and executing their training. It is not only motivational but inspiring to workout with Mike. I need you more than you need me – thanks buddy.

So that got me thinking- what is more motivating when training for an event? Is it the fear of suffering or failure or the sense of accomplishment upon completion? What motivates you? I know the deciding factor for me- Both! I make deposits into the pain bank in the hopes that come race day I can make my withdrawals without fear of running short. I also do events to prove to myself that I am different. I can plan and execute different types of activities that make me different- signature or identification measures that make me feel alive. I have no desire to be the norm. How about you? ~ The Average Joe

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friends to the End

My training and nutrition has a face. It has a body. It has a presence. I consider him my friend. One who relies and counts on me. We have a continual relationship. And just like any other relationship, it requires compromise, attention and most of all commitment. He knows my every nuance. He knows my short-comings, my motivations, my failures, and my success. He knows my deepest and darkest secrets. He requires balance and motivation. He is a true friend in every since of the word. He gets me and the only requirement in return, that I respect him and make sure that he stays a part of my life.

I will never turn my back on him. There was a time where I did turn a blind eye to him. The funny thing is – he never complained. He never made mention about what I was doing to my body without him. He did not nag me that every day that passed; I did not only neglect him, but negotiated our future. Something happened. I began to realize that this relationship was important to me. It may not be a first priority in my life, but it is a priority. I have come to know and love my friend. We have explored many new obstacles and have seen an entirely new side of not only me but my family, my surroundings and he has opened me up to a more fruitful and joyous world. I will forever be indebted to my friend and try and live up to his expectations. ~ The Average Joe

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'd Rather be a Blue Collar Man

I’d Rather Be a Blue Collar Man

There is a very funny thing about fitness and training that I see all the time. People have a tendency to think of it like a diet – a fad. It has a starting point - in some cases a goal and then no plans of continuation. No systems in place for continued success. Proper nutrition and healthy living has no ending point – it is a position. It is a cognitive and decisive stance to change. Once the mindset is changed – the body will follow. 

So I was talking with one of my athletes about her upcoming training schedule. She was telling me a story of another trainer at another facility trying to convince her that she should train with him. His approach was that she had the “right” build and fit to become a good athlete. He then spoke about proper shoes to make her faster, better clothing to make her efficient and a new bike that would determine her future success. I share this story for the simple reason that fitness is not bought from a catalog. It has nothing to do with equipment. It has nothing to do with aesthetics. Fitness is earned not bought.

For those individuals who shop at LuLu Lemon to prepare yourself for fitness or the ones who have to have a pair of Newton running shoes in order to run – I will give you a hint. Stop worrying about what you look like if you want to change what you look like. It is all about positive choices and moving your body. So stop making stupid excuses – GRAB THE HANDLE AND DO WORK ~ The Average Joe

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Time is it?

Is it your time?

Is it your time to commit? Is it your time to re-focus? Is it your time to formalize your goals? Regardless of your current situation, change is inevitable and in most cases good. No matter the scale or degree, deciding that now is my chance – that now is my time will change my life. Personal inventory – I call it. Turning the camera back towards you and saying – what’s next. This kind of awareness make our journey better focused and will give you a greater appreciation for success. Life is the ultimate endurance sport. We are always training, changing and enduring. Is it my time to…. ~The Average Joe