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


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