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Thoughts on the 2013 Open

In exactly 1 week the CrossFit Games Open starts again. Last year I had only been doing CrossFit for about 3 and a half weeks when the first workout was released. I remember feeling so nervous and excited to see what it was. I also remember how I felt when I walked into Orange Coast CrossFit to perform the first workout. There were a ton of people there and all of them, based on their physical stature, appeared to be “better” than me. I knew that everyone there had more experience with CrossFit than I did, but the workout was 7 min of burpees so I didn’t let that get in my head. That day I did 129 burpees in 7 minutes, which was good enough to put me at 46th place after the first of five qualifying workouts for regionals (they took the top 60 athletes last year). On the ride home that day I truly believed that I had a shot at making it.
Experience didn’t matter; nothing that anyone else did mattered. All that mattered to me was that I was willing to give everything to achieve my goal. I was obsessed with it. The week before the 2nd workout I injured my foot in training. At the time I was so obsessed with my goal that I refused to rest, and continued to push. The 2nd workout of the open was a Snatch ladder. Snatches were an exercise that I had only done a few times so I was kind of nervous, but once again, nothing mattered but giving everything I had to work towards my goal (also beating my older brother that had been doing CrossFit for a few years already). I had a decent performance in that workout, but tweaked my shoulder due to my improper technique. Still, I did not rest. With my foot and shoulder injuries I was very limited in what I could do each week to prepare for the next workout. I couldn’t run, couldn’t jump rope, couldn’t do box jumps, and I could barely do any lifting. Basically, I was destroying myself. The thought of “failure” in reaching my goal was so horrible that I was willing to sacrifice my body in order to achieve success. With each of the following 3 workouts I started to feel my fitness level decreasing and my performance in each workout demonstrated that. The 3rd workout had box jumps and push press (extremely painful for my foot and shoulder), the 4th had double unders (killer on my foot), the 5th and final workout didn’t have anything that brought great pain to me, but I was in a poor mental state and my lung capacity had deteriorated so much that it totally destroyed me. I did not reach my goal of advancing to regionals and I refused to take solace in the fact that as inexperienced and as injured as I was, I managed to place 182nd out of around 2,000 male athletes in the SoCal region. I viewed it as failure.
With that in mind, I continued to train while injured. It was incredibly stupid. I didn’t take any time off of training until April. I only did that because my good friend Ben Heck had a serious talk with me and let me know I could never fulfill my potential if I was always hurt. I hadn’t been 100% in months, but I cared so much about what everyone I was trying to compete with was doing that I was making myself worse by trying to “keep up”. Over the course of the next few months I struggled with my mindset. Always getting down on myself when I couldn’t do things that athletes that had been doing this for years were doing. I was impatient, and thickheaded. I continued to be a dumb ass until August 25th, 2012. It was the first time I got to participate in a “real” CrossFit competition. It was a team competition and I was determined to show everybody that I was capable of keeping up with the top athletes in the region. The first workout of 3 was 3 rounds for time of 30 wall balls, 14 muscle ups, and 30 hang power snatches with a 14 minute time cap. The team was Matt Banwart, Gilly Smith, and I. We didn’t have a 2nd girl. Everything started great as we flew through the wall balls and muscle ups, and then came the hang power snatches (snatches have been my kryptonite since I started CrossFit). I saw Matt knock out about 12-15 unbroken and I was determined to do something similar. I got my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (my technique was terrible), I kept pushing. On my 5th hang power snatch I tried to get under the bar too fast and nailed myself in the forehead. It split it open and blood immediately started pouring out of my face. I didn’t care. When it was my turn to work again I didn’t let it stop me. I corrected my technique and continued to perform each exercise. It seemed like the people running the event wanted me to stop, but I ignored them. Gilly wanted me to stop, but I ignored her too. I had one goal, and that was to not let my teammates down and to show that I was capable of great things. I finished the workout bloody as hell and with a bandage on my head. For about 20 minutes afterwards I was feeling alright because my adrenaline was still pumping. When that wore off I pretty much fell to the ground and almost passed out. My friend Alex drove me to the emergency room. On the way there I pretty much puked my brains out. When we arrived I couldn’t stand up under my own power and had to be placed in a wheel chair. I looked so messed up that people in line for the ER actually let me go ahead of them. For the 15min I was waiting to get looked at I felt so horrible that all I could think was “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.” I ended up getting 5 stitches in my forehead and was diagnosed with a concussion. I felt embarrassed that day. I did not feel as though what I did was “bad ass,” or that I even did anything different than anyone else would have done. I thought it was the right thing to do.
When I went home that day there were a few people over. Ben was telling the story of what happened to a couple of our friends and I took it in such a negative way that I blew up on him. I felt horrible about it. The whole incident made me realize that I wasn’t focused on myself. I was focused on everybody else. I was using so much energy thinking about what other people were doing that it was taking away from me. The worst part about it was that CrossFit had stopped being fun for me. I took a few weeks off after that to, kind of, re-evaluate why I was doing what I was doing. It dawned on me that the less I cared about everyone else, like in the beginning, and the more I kept all of my own energy, the more fun I had and the better I felt physically.
Since that time I haven’t “competed” against anyone, but I have worked out with a ton of phenomenal athletes. I just focus on me and doing what I can do that day, in that workout, in that moment, and that is all that matters. I think that mindset translates to all aspects of life. The more you can focus on what you can control, and only on what you can control, the more simple life becomes. Stress melts away, negative energy drifts away, and only the positive thoughts remain. So now the 2013 Open is a week away. I’m not stressed, I’m not anxious, I am still kind of a dumb ass when it comes to pushing through things, but its for a different reason now. It’s because I want to find out what I am capable of. I will never know unless I continue to push. It is just in a much more positive way. I hope that reading this helps you to realize to focus on you and what you are doing, and not worry about other people or things outside of yourself that you have no control over. Because, in the end, that is all just wasted energy.

Anniversary Thoughts

I am sitting here at CrossFit High Road. It is 9:30p.m. On Monday February 23, 2015. It has been exactly 364 days since we opened our doors for our first day of business. For the last several days I have been putting forth my best effort to think of something to write about the occasion. I have wanted to write my thoughts and feelings about this gym in so many different ways that I have been unable to pinpoint exactly how to describe the way I view this place. The way I feel about it. The way I experience it. Tonight I was on the phone with a friend when she asked me, “Why are you so deep in thought today?” That was the very moment it hit me. I wanted to write something about this gym, my home, because the members that come to us each day deserve to know just how much I truly do love them and genuinely appreciate each and every second they spend in here. They deserve to know how much they have helped me to improve, not just as a coach or business owner, but also as a human being. I wake up each and every morning to take steps towards bettering myself in order to help the people I care about in a better way.
Here I am, only on the second paragraph of this essay and I am already becoming scatterbrained. I will just get straight to the point again and again. The transitions will not be seamless. My thoughts might not end up being very well organized, and I will definitely be throwing in some profanity here and there. This essay will not be the most grammatically correct piece of work you have ever taken the time to read, and for that I apologize. I am not a smart man. I never have been and I never will be. I am not a talented man. I never have been and I never will be. I have never been the fastest, the strongest, the anythingest. None of that was in the genetic lottery for me. One thing I have realized at this point in my life is that I love helping people. Love might not even be a word strong enough to describe how I feel in regards to helping somebody do something they have never done or never thought they could do.
I started writing a bunch of other stuff right here and realized something. I can explain why I love helping people so much in a few short words. I love helping people to learn how to believe in themselves and to overcome fear because I know exactly what it is like to not believe in myself and to be afraid of so many things. Afraid of looking foolish, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of letting others down, and afraid of letting myself down. I feel like I can see pieces of myself in every single person that walks through our doors.
When I first began CrossFit I was not patient. When I first started to make the effort to improve at Olympic Weightlifting I was not patient. My lack of patience held me back in so many ways it was unbelievable, or so I thought. Turns out, in order to help people learn how to be patient I had to experience impatience, frustration, and anger. I came to the conclusion that although none of us will ever be the best at anything; we can always put forth our best effort at everything we do. When we do this we create the greatest possibility for long-term success. To appreciate that we must be patient, and that is why patience is a skill and requires practice.
My best friend once told me “you can’t do better than your best, and that might change from one moment to the next.” Pretty profound shit for somebody in their early 20’s, but he was right. If we can look ourselves in the mirror at the end of each night and honestly tell ourselves we gave our best in every aspect of life then we should not be disappointed at all because we did everything to maximize our chances of success.
I told Vanessa a couple of years ago that since I was never going to be the best at CrossFit I was going to be the best at coaching it. Not only that, I told her I was going to be the best at loving the people that I coach and doing everything in my power each and every day to help them believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. I told her I was going to share my heart with the entire world and give the best of myself each and every day. By doing this I could get one step closer to my goal each day.
My definite chief aim in life for a couple of years now has been to help the men and women of this earth discover the powerful forces that lie sleeping within them. By doing this I believe I can help them to help change the world for the better. Every day, every hour, every moment is a chance to make a positive impact on the world.
I promise that as long as I am a part of this gym and as long as we have members I will never stop pushing myself to achieve my goal. I will take steps every second of every day to better myself so that I can better serve you. Although it might not seem like it at times I want you all to know that I genuinely love each of you as people and want nothing more than to help you trust and believe that you can do anything.
Every thought I think, every word I say, and every action I take is designed to work towards my goal of helping people. I might get outsmarted at times, I might get outcoached every once in a while, and I will definitely not take first in every workout or lifting competition, but I will swear on everything that there will never ever be anybody as dedicated to your success and as determined to help you believe in yourself as I am.
I will always be honest with you and I will always do my best to give you all of the tools you need to reach whatever goals you might have inside and outside of the gym.
It has been 364 days since we first opened our doors. There have been ups and downs and lefts and rights. There is no way in fuck I would change a single moment because ultimately they have all brought us together, and that is a beautiful thing.
My life hasn’t always run smoothly, there will always be challenges in front of all of us, mental and physical. I will give you everything I have to help you overcome them because I love you and I believe in you.
I know this is just about the sappiest thing I have ever written, but it is 100% honesty top to bottom. I want to make sure that every single one of our members knows why I wake up with a smile on my face each and every day, and go to sleep at night looking forward to the next morning’s sunrise.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. You push me to be a better person each and every day, and for that I cannot thank you enough. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CROSSFIT HIGH ROAD
#EVERYBODYLOVEEVERYBODY #THEREISNOQUIT #MINDSET #WELOVEHELPINGPEOPLEBECAUSEWELOVEPEOPLE

For Barbell Club

Dear Barbell Club,

I think you all learned a lot today when we tested Heavy Single Snatch and Heavy Single Clean & Jerk. If you learned absolutely nothing today then I have either failed you as a coach, or you simply do not listen or pay attention to anything that happened in that room today. The thing I believe most of you are failing to understand is a Heavy Single day is not an automatic PR day. What it looks like is that some of you expect to PR because you have put in the time during the cycle. PR’s are not and never will be automatic. They must be earned. You do not earn them by becoming impatient and altering your technique. You do not earn them by being afraid when there is a challenging weight on the bar. You earn them through discipline when it comes to your technique. You earn them through developing a patience and understanding of yourself when it comes to this whole weightlifting experience. If weightlifting were easy then everyone would have perfect form. If weightlifting were easy then we would PR everyday. If you do not respect and appreciate the process you will fail. You will fail miserably and you will drag the team down with you. I will not allow that. I do not give two flying fucks about whether or not you PR on days like today. All I give a fuck about is that you push yourself to overcome fear. All I care about is whether or not you develop the courage to remain calm in the face of a challenge. I want to see you remain positive when you miss a lift. No more of this moping sad face bullshit. I understand why it happens because I used to do it as well, but it was so detrimental to my development that I can’t willingly sit back and not say anything when I see any of you making that same negative choice I was making; the choice to hold yourself back by succumbing to frustration instead of learning. NEWS FLASH!! Missed lifts are part of the process. They are just as important, if not more important than made lifts. It is my duty to you to educate you on why you miss lifts so that you can learn how to make those lifts in the future. I will never stop coaching you. I will never be less than 100% honest about what I see out there. I will be loud, I will be a smart ass, and I will probably make a lot of crass/inappropriate jokes. This is who I am. I am someone that has made a ton of mistakes and is willing to share those experiences with you in an effort to help you avoid making those same mistakes yourselves. If you do not like being coached, if you do not like being challenged, if you want to choose fear, if you want choose frustration, if you choose to be impatient then you will not enjoy High Road Barbell Club. I will coach you with everything I have in me because I see, not where you are, but where you are capable of going. You can choose to fight against what I say. You can choose to take all of the joy and beauty out of this process, or you can appreciate and enjoy what it truly is. A recreational activity that allows us as people to challenge ourselves to push beyond know boundaries, not just physically, but mentally as well. I am here to help you find your potential. My mission is to help you understand that fear is a choice you do not have to make. Patience is a transferable skill in all aspects of life. Being a positive influence on the people around you might be the most important practice in the world. We will not make every lift. We will miss lifts, and make mistakes. We are imperfect creatures living in an imperfectly perfect world. Lets enjoy the experiences as a group of individuals coming together for something more. Let us raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for each other.

With all of the love in my heart,
Joshua Baumgarten

YOU TALK ABOUT THE GAME, BUT YOU AREN’T WILLING TO PLAY

YOU TALK ABOUT THE GAME, BUT YOU AREN’T WILLING TO PLAY

You say you have goals. You talk about them all the time. I want to do this, I want to do that. I hear you every time. Where are you when it is time to get in the game and step up to the plate? You don’t even have the courage to get into the fuckin batter’s box, do you? Why are you even in the dugout? Why are you standing here telling me that you want to make the big play? How are you ok with blatantly lying to me and everyone else about your “goals,”? How did our society get to this point where the majority of people are more willing to talk about goals than actually taking the actions to achieve them? Fuck that. I want it to stop, and I am no longer willing to sit back in the stands and watch this continue to happen. I am storming the field. I am taking the mound and throwing a 100mph fast ball right down the middle. I am telling you I am going to do it. Do you have the heart to step up to the plate knowing what is about to happen? Do you have it in you to take a fucking swing at all? Does the possibility that you might miss frighten you so much that you are unwilling to put forth your best effort? Or are you going to be part of the minority that actually has the guts and the grit to step up to the plate and strike out over, and over, and over again believing that at some point one of these swings is going to knock that fucking ball into orbit? This article is about how I no longer desire to hear about the goals that you are more willing to speak about than you are willing to work towards.
Now, I know this isn’t like my usual stuff, which involves me saying how much I love everyone and how much potential everybody has. Those two things are still true, but I am taking a different angle on this whole pep talk thing. Instead of staying calm and talking to you like you can hear me, I am smacking you in the face and yelling so loud that you can’t help but listen. I am going to be so loud that there is no way that the coward that lives in the back of your mind, the stupid little bastard that has been conditioned by society to cower when confronted with a challenge can’t here me. I am here to tell you that you can achieve your goals, but I am also here to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP if you are not 100% committed. I pay enough attention to the tone of your voice, I pay enough attention to your body language and your actions to know when you are full of shit. Why are you even telling people that you have these goals? Do you think that your friends and family will think more highly of you when you tell them about the great things you want to achieve? I’ve been there. I have been in your shoes. I would talk about my goals all the time, but that little fucker in the back of my mind would always have a fail-safe mechanism to save my stupid ass ego from being destroyed when I didn’t achieve them. That is what happens when something isn’t a real goal FYI. You start by saying that you will try to do things. As cliché’ as it sounds, trying really is doing something with the intent to fail.
If something really is a goal of yours, whether it is to get in better shape, get a promotion, get your masters, do whatever the fuck. If something really is your goal you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. You will obsess about it. It is not unhealthy to embrace challenges and hard work. Many people in today’s society will “hate,” on your efforts because (whether they are aware of it or not) your hard work and dedication affects their image of themselves. If they talk shit about whatever it is that you have to do to achieve your goal then you should probably turn a def ear to that person. Different people have different goals. I support every goal that people have as long as it doesn’t involve being negative to other people in any way shape or form. Something I do not support, however, is the story telling that people do. The people that talk about their goals and they never take a single step in that direction, or they start towards their goal and the second something doesn’t go right, or they are faced with a challenge they tuck their tail between their legs and run away. FUCK YOU. STEP YOUR MOTHER FUCKING GAME UP. YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING. YOU ARE POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE IN SO MANY WAYS THAT YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY COMPREHEND OR KNOW ABOUT THEM UNTIL YOU CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO FIND OUT HOW AMAZING YOU ARE CAPABLE OF BEING. FUCK YOU FOR BACKING DOWN. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO RISE UP. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO PUSH FORWARD. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO STAND UP WHEN THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU, AND BLOW THE OPPOSITION OUT OF THE WATER. YOU ARE INFINITELY POWERFUL. YOU JUST HAVE TO BE WILLING TO PUT IN THE WORK. IT IS NOT OK TO BE AFRAID ANYMORE. JUST BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF SOCIETY IS AFRAID OF HARD WORK AND VIEWS IT AS A NEGATIVE, THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT THE RIGHT. You get what I am saying here?

200 years ago the vast majority of people in the United States still thought that it was cool to enslave other human beings because of the color of their skin. Pretty much the dumbest shit ever. Have you ever thought that 200 years from now (if human beings haven’t wiped themselves out by then) future society will look back on what the majority accepts today and laugh about how ignorant most of us are? We live in a world in which more people know and care about what is going on in the entertainment industry more than they care about their next-door neighbor. We live in a society that would rather lower the standards to help people meet them instead of putting in the work to help lift people up. I view that as a problem. I agree that hard work is much more challenging than taking shortcuts for immediate gratification. That does not make it right. I agree that it is easier in today’s society to omit the truth or compromise it in some way so that other people feel comfortable about whatever the subject is that their ego can’t handle. That does not make it right.

Why the fuck is it so socially acceptable to talk about goals and not put in the work to achieve them? Why are people surrounding themselves with other people that play into their bullshit instead of calling them out and holding them accountable? Oh yeah, because it is easier to compromise than to be honest. It is easier to be afraid than lower your defenses and show your heart to the world and risk whatever pain might come with that. Guess what sometimes pain isn’t a bad thing, you can learn from it. Mistakes aren’t bad all of the time, you can learn from those to. DO NOT BE SO AFRAID OF FAILURE THAT YOU NEVER STEP UP TO THE PLATE. DO NOT BE SO AFRAID OF MAKING A MISTAKE THAT YOU ARE UNWILLING TO PUT IN THE EFFORT.

I have made countless mistakes in my life and I am happy that I did. I had to make those mistakes so that I could learn from them. Like I said, I used to make the mistake of talking about goals before I was willing to work towards achieving them. I am happy to admit that I was just flat out wrong. Once I started holding myself accountable, once I made an effort to dissolve my ego and open myself up to mistakes and challenges, I started to achieve so much more. I am not special in any way shape or form. Every single person on this mother fucking planet is capable of greatness. WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. WE ARE ALL IN THIS WORLD TOGETHER. START LIFTING EACH OTHER UP INSTEAD OF PUTTING EACH OTHER DOWN. STOP COMPROMISING YOUR INTEGRITY AND THE INTEGRITY OF OTHERS BY TELLING HALF TRUTHS AND GIVING HALF HEARTED EFFORTS. STEP THE FUCK UP BECAUSE YOU ARE BETTER THAN ALL OF THAT BULLSHIT.

Anyways, back to the original topic. Don’t talk about goals if you are unwilling to do what it takes to achieve them. If everyone knew that you were full of shit do you think they would still want to listen? Do you think that everyone wants to hear your sorry ass excuses about why you didn’t do this or that or the other thing? There are reasons shit doesn’t happen and there are excuses. I am not infallible, nobody is, sometimes things simply do not go the way that we intend them to. That is ok. That is when reasons come into play. Excuses are obstacles that people put in front of themselves to trip over because they are unwilling to do what it takes to reach their “desired,” destination. BE WILLING TO HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE WHEN YOU HEAR YOURSELF MAKING EXCUSES.

I do not expect anyone to be perfect. I myself am far from it, but I am always going to make an effort to learn and grow as a human being and my goal in life is to help other people do the same in whatever way I can. MY GOAL IN LIFE IS TO HELP AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE EACH AND EVERY DAY. If you do not see me putting in the effort to do so, TELL ME. I need to be put in check sometimes too, because I am a person, and I make mistakes. Just like you, and every other person. I hope this article helped you to think about things in a different way. Maybe it will help someone you know. All I know is that I wrote it with a message of love behind it because I believe that it can help at least one person today, and that is another step in the direction of my goal. I love you

#THEREISNOQUIT #MINDSET #EVERYBODYLOVEEVERYBODY #DONTTALKABOUTITBEABOUTIT #WEAREALLINTHISTOGETHER

Something I wrote the night before I turned 30

Here I sit on the eve of my 30th birthday thinking about life. I tend to do that pretty much every day because I enjoy life quite a bit, with all of its twists and turns. At 8:08p.m. on July 24th I will be 30 years old exactly. I will have been alive for 946,728,000 seconds. Quite an insignificant amount of time when you really think about how long the universe has been around. I do not view turning 30 as an accomplishment, and I do not desire to make a big deal, or any sort of deal, about my birthday. I share this birthday with millions of other people that have made the exact same amount of trips around the sun as I have. I prefer to celebrate every moment of every day, so this is nothing special for me. Moments are special. The things that happen in every moment of every day. I like those things a lot more than I like celebrating an “accomplishment” that the vast majority of human beings will achieve.
I want to clarify that I greatly appreciate all of the nice things that come along to people when it is their birthday. Compliments, happy birthdays, and thank you, and so on and so forth. I guess, for me, I don’t like to view my birthday as anything special. It is simply another day. Another opportunity to help the people that I come in contact with in whatever way I can. I believe that many people think you should be doing what you love most when your birthday rolls around because that is “your day.” I am very fortunate the choices I have made in my life allow me to do the thing I love most each and every moment of each and every day. HELP PEOPLE. I can see how that seems lame, but it really is my favorite thing to do. I wake up each morning looking forward to the way the day will unfold not knowing exactly what kind of things will happen throughout the day. I look forward to the challenges, the successes, and everything in between. After all, each day itself is a microcosm of life. There is a beginning, a bunch of stuff happens, and then there is an end. It is your choice how you will live each of the days and each of the moments in your life. Whether you are turning 6, 17, 30, 45, or 137, the amount of time you are alive means very little. What you do with it is what counts.
I am 30 yrs old. Every single moment of my life has carried the exact same amount of significance in allowing this aging process to happen. I obviously was not always aware that every moment in life is equal in its significance and I probably missed out on a lot of good information for a very long time. I have probably lived a third of my life. Or perhaps I have lived 3 quarters of my life. Who knows, really? It does not matter in the grand scheme of things. What I believe matters is what I decide to do each day to help generate positive energy in the world.
I feel as though every day should be a celebration of one’s life, and of the lives of the people that you come in contact with. I am aware of the fact that there is a lot of negativity in the world, but that doesn’t make it right. Let’s pretend that each day of life is like an empty glass. When you wake up you begin to fill the glass with your thoughts and feelings. At the end of each day the glass is full of whatever you have put in it and when you lay your head on your pillow to sleep at night you can empty the glass completely or you will hold on to whatever liquid is in there. Now, lets use the example that there are 2 liquids in containers on either side of your glass. Those are your 2 options from which you must choose to fill the glass. 1 of them is a drink that you despise and tastes bitter and is difficult to digest, the other is your favorite drink, the most delicious smooth tasting beverage you have ever consumed. For me, a beverage I have very little interest in putting into my glass is Piss. Now, I am sure some people really enjoy the flavor, but it simply does not seem appealing to me. My other option is water. Yeah, water is my favorite thing on earth to drink, do you have a problem with that? So each day I can wake up and fill my glass with either delicious smooth water I genuinely need to survive and brings all kinds of benefits into my life, or I can fill it with piss. Not interested in that second option. Sometimes people will come along and try to fill my glass with piss, and I simply make the choice in that moment to say, ”whoa buddy. Don’t be putting any of that garbage in here. I only want the good stuff.” Now, I am not perfect and life will not always workout, ”perfectly.” Sometimes a little bit of piss is going to get in that glass, but I have a sophisticated palate (obviously) at this point and can recognize it pretty fast. When I taste piss, I spit it out, and fill that glass with a bit more water. Fill each day with the thoughts and feelings that will help you move forward through life in a positive way. It is your choice. I doubt that any of you are thinking “Fuck you Josh. I’m going to choose to fill my glass with piss (negative energy) and keep on chuggin.” If you know you have the choice to be positive or negative what do you choose? Trick question. You always have a choice.
Anyways….I got side tracked. Long story short, the amount of time a human being is on this planet doesn’t mean jack and or shit. What matters to me is what they do with that time and whether or not it is positive or negative. Quality of life > quantity of life. I plan on spending each of my days on this planet doing my best to help improve the quality of life of the human beings I come in contact with. It can be something as simple as saying hello to the person I walk passed in the grocery store or smiling and asking the person at the register how their day is going. Be cool as fuck to people. I do not want to be thought of as the guy that filled someone’s glass with piss. Thank you for reading this strange rambling article that I chose to spend my time writing. That part about piss got a little bit weird, but I laughed while I wrote it and that was pretty fun. I love you, and I hope you have an amazing day and an amazing life. #thereisnoquit #mindset #everybodyloveeverybody

There Is No Quit Manifesto

THERE IS NO QUIT MANIFESTO

The message I need to convey is that it is simply about not giving up. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you have a passion for it. It doesn’t have to be related to your job, fitness, financial standing, academics, or anything really. The goal can be whatever you want it to be. Treat our fellow human beings with respect, positively affect the day of everyone we encounter, believe in ourselves; it doesn’t matter what the goal is as long as there is one. Just live it. You can’t give up, ever. That is all it is about. We need to be the light in the dark. We need to be the spark of positivity that sets a fire in the hearts of our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers, anybody we encounter. It isn’t about simply not giving up for you. It is about not giving up for each other. What I feel like many people fail to realize is we are all in this together, every single human being on this planet. We are 7 billion people sharing this one home on planet earth. How can we not be in this together? Whether or not people see it there is 1 team. Are you going to be one of those team members who let the team down or are you willing to hold yourself accountable and step your game up?
Leading by example is a trait in today’s world I feel is, sadly, undervalued and underutilized. There Is No Quit is about not giving up on each other, and not saying “fuck this,” “fuck that,” or “fuck that person,” for not seeing things the way you or I might see them. It is about doing the right thing and being good to people because it is the right thing to do. In my life I have seldom been more proud of myself than when I receive negativity from someone and I simply keep smiling and respond with positivity (or a question, sometimes people don’t even understand why they are negative until they hear themselves say it). What is a greater sign of personal strength, allowing yourself to be drawn into the negative mindset of another or to stand strong and hold firm to the belief that your steadfast positivity can change the world? Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t fight fire with fire?” I feel as though that is what many people are doing when they receive negativity and respond in kind. There Is No Quit is about believing in positivity so strongly that you rise above the negativity. It is about believing in the example you are setting for others to follow.
Make an effort to help people. Making an effort to help each other; that’s what this is about. This isn’t about you or me, this is about everyone. We need everyone to believe in their own potential to do amazing things and to be amazing people. We need everyone working together to stem the tide and the onslaught of bullshit and negativity many people are bombarded with each day. It will require us to love people, to be honest with them even if it is not what they want to hear; it is probably what they need to hear. There Is No Quit is about not compromising truth in favor of comfort. When we compromise truth we compromise ourselves, and our integrity. When we compromise ourselves, and our integrity we compromise the integrity of those around us. I do not feel as though lying to someone to make them comfortable actually benefits them or us in any way. If we are willing to lie to others, what’s to stop us from lying to ourselves?
We cannot give up on each other. We cannot give up ourselves. What happens when somebody sees us do that? They’re much more likely to give up on others. They will be much more likely to give up on themselves. I, for one, refuse to be a person that plays a part in somebody giving up. Will I be patient with people? Yes. Do I understand that things will not always be easy? Yes. But that is life, right? Everything is a learning experience. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn something we can use in a positive way. “Changing with change is the changeless state,” as Bruce Lee once said. “We must be like water,” and flow, adapt, shape to the change as it happens. Resisting change is an exercise in futility. Change is constant. Why wouldn’t you want to make a positive use of this amazing tool that is constantly presented to us? Why not be the catalyst for change in a positive way?
If giving up is easy, I believe that not giving up can be done with equal ease once it has become a habit. Know this, someone seeing you give up will be more likely to give up on themselves or others based on your example. However, I have found the opposite of this to be true as well. When somebody sees you not giving up when times get tough they will be more willing to keep pushing forward themselves. When somebody sees you helping others through challenging times then they are more likely to help others themselves. You can be that example of positivity for them to follow.
I believe every human being is capable of greatness. I suppose I define greatness somewhat differently than many people. I believe greatness to be a willingness to be honest when lying would be easier, to work hard when the only reward is more hard work, to sacrifice what we want in order to help others with what they need, to believe in ourselves when perhaps others to not, to believe in others when they may not believe in themselves, to love our fellow human beings and to open our hearts to them while knowing we may not receive the same in return. I believe everyone is capable of these things. I believe in an undying belief in people.
All we have in this world is each other and the experiences we share together. I believe if we choose to live our lives with open minds and open hearts then we can connect on another level. Instead of searching for ways to separate, or seeing what we allow to divide us, we can search for ways to connect and see what truly ties us all together.
If you believe in a positive cause enough than you need to step the fuck up and fight for it. You can’t make the mistake I have been making, which is to sit back and smile and nod while telling everybody how much you love them. That isn’t enough. I have not been doing enough. You need to stand up. You need to shout “THIS IS WHAT I AM DOING TO GENERATE POSITIVITY.” You need to let people know that you are not special for doing these things because EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF CHOOSING POSITIVITY. It doesn’t make sense to stand on a soapbox and just talk. We need to extend our hands to our fellow man and say “ I WANT TO HELP YOU. I BELIEVE IN YOU. LETS DO THIS TOGETHER. ALL OF US, TOGETHER.”
I will never ever give up on people. Nothing will ever stop me from believing in people and their potential to be great. We all have one life to live (supposedly) and we all have a different journey to make before we all reach the same final destination. I believe in being positive. I believe in making the best out of any situation. I believe in people’s ability to positively impact the lives of those around them, all day everyday. I believe my heart is big enough and strong enough to show everyone how much I love them regardless of the risk. And I do not believe I am the only one. When it comes to my goal of helping people everyday There Is No Quit (as cheesy as that sounds). Lets step our fucking game up, as a team of people, and make an effort to make a positive impact on the world. I love you. Everybody love everybody. THERE IS NO QUIT.

*This was inspired by my experiences with all of the amazing people I have been fortunate enough to encounter in my life. My family, my Ranger brethren, my friends, and my teammates. I wrote this because all of you have helped me to believe in myself. I simply desire to help others believe in themselves too.

The Airborne Ranger in the Sky, And the One that Wouldn’t Die

PREFACE

October 1st will mark 5 years since Robert Sanchez lost his life over seas, and Cory Remsburg was about as close to that as you can get. Both of these Airborne Rangers were/are friends of mine and I am honored to have served with them. I suppose I was compelled to write this piece to honor them both, and to share a large part of the story about how my mindset has developed to the state it is in today. Rob’s memory and Cory’s story are two things that have provided me with great inspiration and continue to drive me forward on a daily basis. I believe in sharing my story of how these great men have inspired me, it will help others find their inspiration. It doesn’t matter if it is through them. All that matters is that people find something positive to lift them up when they are feeling down. To move them forward when they want to step back. And to fill them with hope when it seems as though all is lost. We live in a modern society, which glorifies celebrities and fictitious heroes over the actions of people that have truly done great things. Man seldom knows the stories of those individuals, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be told. I am sharing this story in an effort to help people in a positive way every single day. In honor of the Airborne Ranger in the sky, and all of those who have worn the scroll, I submit these words to you.

Let me help you understand where I am coming from when you talk to me about the “challenges,” and the “problems,” in your life. I think this piece will help put a few things into perspective for you. Now, I am not special in any way, nor am I a great man by any stretch of the word. However, there was a time in my life, which I earned the right to walk amongst giants. I was surrounded by human beings that did not believe in the word “quit,” or the phrases “I give up,” and “this is too hard.” All they knew was there was a task to be completed. They knew the conditions under which the given task was to be performed, and they knew the standard it was to be performed to. That was all of the information they needed. They had sworn an oath to their Ranger brethren to carry on with the mission though they be the lone survivor. This meant that no matter what the odds were against them, or how bleak the outlook may have appeared, they were never going to give up until the task was accomplished to the desired standard. They had an unflinching faith in their iron-forged hearts and their innate ability to move mountains with every beat. These human beings are living proof that every single person on this planet is capable of more. Proof that human potential knows no bounds.
When I moved back to California after leaving 1st Ranger Battalion I had a difficult time adapting to civilian life, as many veterans do. I would get frustrated and angry with ease as I watched those who have never served live their lives in a manor bordering disdain for integrity. I had yet to develop any sort of patience at that point in my life. I was surrounding myself with people seemingly only invested in their own personal gain. When I reference personal gain I am not specifically speaking about the acquisition of financial wealth. I am commenting on their willingness, or lack there of, to do whatever it took to help lift the spirits of a friend in need. It would cost too much of the time and energy they had in reserve for partying or lethargy. I was used to a different world and found myself struggling to cope with a society quickly sinking into a quicksand of selfishness and an acceptance of mediocrity. It seemed as though many people were/are willing to watch their friends fall by the way side as they skated through life never having faced what I considered to be “real challenges.”
I let the negativity build for a long time and started to slip into the behavioral patterns I had once grown to loathe. The fucked up part is, I knew it too, but felt as though I was unable to grab a hold of anything as I continued to slip further into the darkness I had left behind when I enlisted. My depression hit a new low in October of 2009 when I found out about my friend, a great man, Robert Sanchez losing his life in Afghanistan. In the same incident another Ranger buddy of mine, Cory Remsburg, was blasted into a coma by the same IED. I was racked with guilt over not being there, even just the fact that I wasn’t in Battalion anymore played a huge part in that. My heart was crushed, as I had never lost anyone close to me before. I hurt for my Ranger brethren, I hurt for their families, and I especially hurt for my own family. Rob was my brother’s best friend, Mike had to see this happen, and I hated that he was hurting so much. I knew my “friends,” at the time could see me in pain. They could see me breaking down, as I became a slave to my negative thoughts and negative emotions. I allowed my mind to become a cesspool of anger, frustration, sorrow, and guilt. I felt like I needed help and when I turned to my friends their solution was always a drink or a joint. You see, many members of modern society seem ill equipped, or unwilling to step up and truly help their friends when they are in need. I needed to be smacked in the face and told to unfuck myself, like my Ranger buddies would have done for me. I was losing my shit, but nobody would be honest enough with me to help me out of it. Perhaps I was too prideful, and afraid at the time to truly admit to anyone I needed help. In the pit of self-absorbed behavior, materialism, and greed our society seems to have dug for itself nobody can escape if we are all too busy trying to crawl over our fellow man to get out. Fortunately for me I had known better men than myself.
Cory Remsburg was in a coma for 3 months. He was never supposed to wake up, but he did. The Ranger spirit was still strong inside of him. I heard about this and it gave me hope. Cory was told he would never talk again, walk again, and pretty much never live a “normal” life again. Now, Cory would be the first to tell you he isn’t anything special. He would tell you he is simply another Airborne Ranger working until the task is completed, under difficult conditions, to the desired standard. Life presented him with a huge challenge and placed many obstacles in his path. There were many people that did not believe Cory would overcome these, apparently, insurmountable odds. None of those people mattered. Cory knew the reality in which he wanted to live. It was the reality in which he could talk, walk on his own, and live life with as little help as possible. He knew his goal and has been willing to put in whatever work it takes to achieve it.
Cory set an example. At a time in my life when I had no inspiration, he provided me with some. I know it was not his intention, but that didn’t matter. I reminded myself about his struggles, and about Rob’s sacrifice to help me put things into perspective. I slowly started to make head way in the battle against the person I never wanted to become.
In January 2012 I was able to hang out with Cory for the first time since he was wounded. He had been rehabbing for 2 years by this point, every single day. When I saw him that day I lit up with happiness. This man that was supposed to be incapable of anything, was talking to me and had gained the ability to move one of his arms quite well. He talked slowly, and I could tell it was a struggle, but it was evident that Cory’s personality was as alive as ever. He had undergone over a dozen surgeries by this point and was confined to a wheel chair. Not surprisingly, he still had a smile on his face. Even though he had that smile it was apparent he was not satisfied with his state at the time. As my brother and I drove Cory to the restaurant for lunch he asked Mike about what happened in Afghanistan. He asked “why me?” It was difficult for me to hear, and even more so for my brother. My brother, our parents, and myself had dinner with Cory that night and enjoyed our time quite a bit. It was obvious he wasn’t done moving forward.
After I saw Cory that day in January it strengthened my resolve to stop feeling sorry for myself. I began my quest to become the person I wanted to be instead of telling myself I was stuck being who I was. Every moment of life was an opportunity to change for the better. I saw Cory again in July of 2012. It blew my mind how far he had come in only 6 short months. He was speaking with greater ease, moved better, and seemed like he was in a much better place mentally. I think he was starting to see his hard work paying off even faster than before. He stayed motivated and continued to drive on towards his goal. This motivated me as well, but there were still times I would slip up and get down on myself. I still held onto guilt over not being on that deployment. I still felt like I had let everyone down when my Ranger career, and my dream was cut short by an extreme heat stroke in 2006, which led to me getting out in early 2007. I didn’t know it at the time, but I could not truly progress until I let go of that guilt.
November of 2012 my brother and I drove to Arizona to participate in a charity event for Cory at Crossfit 480 (owned by a fellow Ranger). Cory had continued to make progress and able to stand up at this point. It was a beautiful sight to see. Prior to seeing Cory that day I had hit what I considered to be my breaking point in August. An event took place in which I allowed myself to lose total control over my feelings towards myself and I blew up on one of my friends over something incredibly stupid. I apologized, but that simply wasn’t enough for me. I decided then that I needed to truly confront my demons in order to vanquish them and become the person I wanted to be. After all, if I, as a business owner/trainer/coach was going to truly help people to better their lives, I had to learn how to help myself first. As a Ranger you were supposed to lead by example. It is something Cory was doing, and it was something my brother always did, but I was not doing.
A few months before I had hit that “breaking point,” a psychiatrist I trained had suggested I write a letter to my mother because she felt I harbored much negativity towards her, and those feelings held me back. I didn’t have to mail it, just write it and read it out loud to myself. I hadn’t spoken to my mother since 2002 (still don’t) and no interest in doing so. I decided to ignore my client’s advice for a bit. Once I hit that “breaking point” I was willing to give writing that letter a shot. The moment I put pen to paper and wrote Dear Mom, I was hit with a flood of emotions I had never felt before. The tears immediately began to flow. I have never been someone that cries easily, but in that moment I lost my shit, in a good way. I wrote the most honest words I had ever written in my life. Turned out the reasons I “hated” her so much were all of the same things I “hated” about myself. The lying, the half-truths I would tell, hiding in a glass of alcohol. All the reasons I cut her out of my life, the things that led to her alienating her two sons were all things I was doing. I realized then, in order to move forward I had to forgive her for her mistakes in order to truly forgive myself for mine. It felt so good to be 100% honest after all of that pain; I know it was what I needed.
This is when I knew I had to learn more about how the human mind worked and find ways to navigate through all of the lies and bullshit we all tell ourselves occasionally in order to move through life. When we do this we compromise ourselves and those around us. I was no longer willing to compromise myself or the people I cared about. Most of us are not always comfortable with the real truth, but just because comfort is what we want it doesn’t mean it is what we need.
Once I began to be 100% honest with myself about why I thought what I thought, why I felt what I felt, and why I did what I did, I became much better at being 100% honest with others. I created good habits, after fighting to destroy my old negative ones. I could connect with other people better; therefore I could do a better job of helping them to overcome many of the obstacles I had placed before myself in the past. Cory had become another example, in a world full of them, of how immeasurable the power of the human mind is. We have the ability to change the world within ourselves, and therefore we can change the world around us. My father told me when I was a teenager (and a dipshit) that “your inner world determines your outer world.” At that point in time I was incapable of comprehending how true those words really were.
I believe Cory will tell you, I will tell you, Rob would tell you, my brother, all good Rangers, and anyone who has truly overcome challenges would tell you, they overcame these challenges because they decided to do what it took to do so. Not because they are special. Not because it was the easiest thing to do. Human beings overcome challenges because they make up their mind and let nothing stop them until they have achieved success. These people experience “failure” but instead of getting discouraged and giving up, they learn, they grow stronger, they strengthen their resolve, and they rise up again and again and again.
In 2013 Cory began walking on his own again. According to many, that was impossible. As long as he had a beat in his heart and a goal in his mind he was going to do whatever it took until that impossible idea became a physical reality. That is an example of the power of the human mind. Every single person on this planet has the ability to overcome any obstacle placed in his or her paths. Will everyone make the choice? No, sadly, the vast majority of people will make excuses, place blame on others, and search for reasons why they don’t deserve, and/or can’t have or accomplish their goals. Little do these people know, they are fully capable of achieving anything when they choose to create that reality and put in the work to achieve it.
So, I apologize if I do not accept your excuses. I am sorry if I call you out when I see you giving less than you are capable of. I’ll tell you what I am not sorry for….My belief in you. I will not stop making an effort to help you realize that you have limitless potential. You are a human being. The most powerful creature on the planet. Your mind will be as strong as you are willing to make it, and that strength is unlimited. Cory is proof, my brother is proof, Rob is proof, and everyone that has ever stepped up in the face of a challenge and conquered it is proof of that.
I love you. I believe in you and your potential. I will never give up on you. I need you to believe in you like I believe in you. I need you to see yourself the way I see you. I need you to never give up on yourself. More importantly, you need to believe in you. You need to love yourself, and be honest with yourself and those around you. Above all else, you need to make your life worth living. Appreciate the opportunities you have every single day. And never ever, ever give up.

I guess with all of this I am simply making an effort to help people. My definite chief aim in life is to help as many people as possible in a positive way everyday of my life. I feel like I see people getting caught up in so many things that are doing them more harm than good. I worry that people don’t even see themselves slipping. I do not want people to go through the same kind of pain I did. I want people to learn from my mistakes and understand how incredible they all are. When you love people, you want to protect them from pain, and sharing this story with anyone willing to read it is an attempt to help them learn how to protect themselves against negativity, disappointment, and a whole lot of unnecessary frustration. Changing bad habits into good habits is not easy, and it takes a lot of time, practice, and patience. Sometimes it will be easier than others. Just know when those tough times come, if you keep your chin up and keep moving forward, you will succeed in the end. If we all start working together to lift up the world, how can we possibly fail? THERE IS NO QUIT. EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. LET THERE BE LIFT. RLTW. SUA SPONTE. NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM

GOT FEAR?

For the last several weeks I have had the desire to write a blog about living in a society that seems to be controlled by fear and how I want to help change that. The thing is, every time that I would sit in front of my computer to start writing this blog words wouldn’t come out. There were so many thoughts going through my brain about the topic that I had no idea where to begin. When I would feel as though I had the perfect introduction in mind it would strike me when I would place my head upon my pillow to go to sleep at night. It was literally the last thing I would think about at night. I would tell myself, “Self, you better remember to write this tomorrow morning.” Obviously I did not do that. I would wake up around 4:15am for work, and I would have this idea in my mind and then I would hold onto it my entire drive to the gym. I would play my part in coaching the 5am and 6am classes and then my break from 7am-930am would begin. At this point over the last few weeks a few different things would happen. 1) I would be extremely tired and decide to take a nap, 2) I would choose to use that time to lift, or 3) I would sit in front of my laptop with the intent to write and all of the thoughts I had in my head the night before seemed unreachable. It was kind of frustrating at times, but I told myself if it didn’t feel right when I sat down to write, it would be better if I chose to write nothing at all. I thought I was simply doing the right thing, but sitting here today I realize I was simply making the mistake many people make in their everyday lives. I was allowing fear to hold me back from doing something I wanted to do. I wanted to write a blog that would help inspire people to look fear in the eyes and tell it to Fuck Off. I want to share my life experiences and my thoughts and feelings because I believe they can help others. The thing I realize today is that I was afraid of writing the article wrong. I was afraid that I would get to wordy, which I tend to do, or I would go off on too many tangents because there are an infinite number of references that can be made when it comes to this topic. I simply realized my fear of writing an imperfect piece was holding me back from writing what will inevitably be an imperfect piece. I also have a belief that each moment of each day is perfect if you are willing to give it 100% of your focus. You will be able to see through the bullshit, let go of your fears that have been generated by the past that lead you to hold yourself back in the future, you will learn infinitely more by giving everything to what is happening right NOW no matter what the situation is. Realize that you will learn from it, acquire knowledge from it, and move forward. This blog is about fear and how I want to do my part to help save a world that is ripping itself apart with fear, anger, and hatred instead of coming together with COURAGE, COMPASSION, PATIENCE, AND LOVE. So, with that knowledge, I will write this imperfect blog based on my thoughts and feelings in a never-ending flow of perfect moments.

FEAR. FEAR is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. FEARLESS is described as free from fear. LOVE is defined as warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion. I understand that it may seem like I am giving you an English lesson at this point, but I promise that I will explain why I have brought these words up.

I think I should explain how I see fear. I see fear as something that holds people back from doing something or making a choice that they are 100% capable of making. They end up choosing to not make a choice or to make a choice, which they know in their heart they are not 100% behind because they are afraid of something. Fear is usually generated by past experiences, things they have heard from other people, or a fear of an unknown outcome if they make the choice their heart truly desires. When you make a decision to turn away from fear, in many cases, it leads to a less than stellar outcome. I have seen people stay in relationships and sacrifice their own happiness simply because they do not want to hurt someone’s feelings. I have seen people stay in jobs they loathe because they are too afraid to take the steps required to do something they actually enjoy each day. The things that really flash before my eyes each day and cause this topic to pop into my head so often are events that take place in my gym, and in many gyms each and everyday.

I see people that are so afraid to make mistakes they do not relax enough to learn the proper way to do things. I see people so afraid to push themselves beyond their version of their “physical ability,” I can literally see them stop because they are petrified by the burning sensation in their muscles, or a fear of their own strength. Worst of all, in my mind, I see people in my gym, in other gyms, and on social media talk about how afraid they are of certain exercises. Usually when I see something like this I ask the person, “why are you afraid of that?” The usual response is, “because I’m not good at it,” or “because it’s challenging.” Now I don’t know about you, but I do not know if I am totally comfortable living in a society that conditions people to fear challenges, and to fear working to get better at things they might not immediately have a talent for. I personally feel as though the way someone responds to instructions, mistakes, and challenges during a lift or during conditioning usually lets me know how they respond to similar things that happen outside of the gym. They have been conditioned through their life experiences to back down in the face of a challenge, in the face of fear, or run away instead of pushing forward to do something that will benefit them mentally and physically just because it isn’t as easy as they would like it to be. FEAR IS THE KILLER OF SUCCESS IN ALL FACETS OF LIFE. IF YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE CONTROLLED BY FEAR YOU WILL NEVER REALIZE YOUR POTENTIAL. IF YOU ARE NOT HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS BECAUSE YOU ARE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH, YOU WILL MAKE YOUR GROWTH AS A HUMAN BEING INFINITELY MORE DIFFICULT.

I too succumb to fear at times. I am a person and I make mistakes. The skill I have developed through patience and practice is a willingness to acknowledge to myself, and others when I am afraid of something. I used to have a fear of being honest about my fears. I was afraid of appearing to be weak in one way or another. The thing is, when you fear something and you hold onto it, it usually manifests itself in the physical world or in your subconscious. The more I feared appearing to be weak, the weaker I probably appeared to be. One day I realized, through my life experiences, by acknowledging my weaknesses I could turn them into strengths.

At this point there are several different paths I can travel when explaining fear, how I have experienced it, how I have seen others experience it, and so on and so forth. I am choosing right now, in this moment, to write about none of those paths. I believe that I mentioned the most important thing when it comes to dealing with fear. Being honest with yourself, and those around you. Once you decide to be totally honest with yourself about what you fear in life and why you fear it you will create the opportunity for yourself to move past it.

Imagine you are asleep and dreaming. In this dream you see yourself standing outside of a building. You are aware you are dreaming and you are in total control of what actions this dream version of yourself will take. There are no consequences in this dream. The building in this dream has no windows and you can see only one entrance. The door says “FEARS.” You decide to open the door and the room is massive, almost completely dark. You physically feel fear taking a hold of you. There is a faint lighted sign and a door on the far side of the room, off in the distance. It simply says “SUCCESS.” You close the door, step back and look for a way to go around the building so that you can circumvent these fears and get to the other side where SUCCESS is waiting for you. Alas, the building extends infinitely to your right and left. It reaches so high vertically that you have no hope of seeing the top. You can’t go around your fears to get to SUCCESS, you can’t go up and over or under them. To reach SUCCESS you will have to find it in you to go directly through everything that you fear. You have no idea how long it will take you to get there. Knowing you have no consequences in this dream, what choice will you make? Will you see SUCCESS in the distance, but close the door to it because you know you will have to go through some things that you are afraid of? Or will you dig deep to find the courage to move forward and reach that SUCCESS no matter how long it takes and no matter what fears you must face?

I am guessing the majority of you reading this, knowing it is just a dream scenario with no consequences would choose to go through to SUCCESS. Now please take a moment to ask yourself why you make the choice to back down when fear presents itself in this world. Do you like the answer you just gave yourself? If not, are you willing to do what it takes to change your mindset in order to achieve your definition of SUCCESS? Are you comfortable living in a world consumed by fear? If not, what are you doing to change it?

The practice of pushing through your fears is something that will help you in every aspect of life. I view it as my job, as my duty, and as my passion to help people in the gym understand that. I have a goal of helping to change to world for the better. Every moment of my life is a chance to make something positive happen. I believe that when someone comes to my gym that I can help them to condition themselves physically to push through challenges. By mastering that skill, I believe, that they will also learn to push through events in life that challenge them emotionally, and mentally as well. It is the practice of focusing on the moment, understanding how you feel, how you think, and why you think and feel that way about the events that are taking place. When someone makes the choice to push through their fears without me having to push them, that is when I feel as though I have made a difference. In the end, all that I can do is show someone a door at the end of a path that I have walked down myself, it is up to them to make the decision to walk through that door. I love helping people more than anything in the world. I made the choice to stop being afraid of opening up about everything thing I think and feel because I believe that the more honest I am with someone, the more honest they will be with me and themselves. That is how we can change the world. As much as human beings are different, we are all inherently the same. We enjoy life more when we are happy. Secrets do not make you happy. Lies do not make you happy. Being negative towards ourselves and others does not make us happy. Make the choice to open your heart. Make the choice to open your mind. We are all in this world together, so lets help each other to make it the best world that we can. I LOVE YOU.

EVERYBODYLOVEEVERYBODY. FREEYOURMIND. THEREISNOQUIT. MINDSET. ALWAYSLEARNING. ITALLSTARTSWITHYOU. LOVE>FEAR

THE TIDAL WAVE

I had this dream the other night. It wasn’t like my usual dreams that seem to have little meaning until I wake up and analyze them before I head off to work. This dream was much different. While I was still unconscious I immediately understood why I was having this dream and what it meant. I know that I tend to ramble on quite a bit and go off on some weird tangents, so I will do my best to avoid doing that. What I intend to do in the following paragraphs is describe the dream as best I can. That will give you the opportunity to think about what it means to you if you choose to do so. After I describe the dream I will attempt to describe in detail what the dream meant to me, and how it relates to the, “real world.”
The dream began on a large cruise ship. Nothing too special about it, just your basic Carnival cruise ship. It was a perfectly sunny day and I was on the top deck with many people that I knew. I can’t name everyone that was there with me in this dream, but I recognized a lot of the faces in the crowd. While writing this I just thought about how the subconscious manifests random people that we do not recognize, but must have seen at some point in life. Crazy how the mind holds on to information we don’t think about. Sorry for the tangent, time to get back on track. On the ship everyone was having a good time and it seemed as though nothing in the world could negatively impact this perfect day that we were all sharing. Out of nowhere the sky begins to go black. Things went from clear to dark in the blink of an eye, and not a single person on that ship could have predicted it. After the sky turned, the seas began to get rough. It wasn’t long before a mammoth tidal wave began to present itself near the ship. It loomed ominously above all of us, almost freezing in time so that the image of it about to crash down upon us would be burned into our minds. When the tidal wave crashed upon the ship my dream transferred me to a birds eye view of the ship sinking and people panicking. This was only for a brief moment though. After seeing the carnage I was back in my body and sinking under water just like everybody else. In the past when something like this would happen in one of my dreams I would wake up to avoid whatever frightful situation was about to occur. I chose to remain present in the dream. I was aware that it was a dream because I have been practicing being aware of my dreams just as I have been practicing being more aware when I am conscious.
With the ship sinking and people panicking I had a few options. I could swim to the rescue boats (those appeared out of nowhere) with no thought for anyone but myself, I could accept what seemed to be my demise and sink to the bottom, or I could do everything in my power to help others and myself reach the rescue boats. I chose to do everything I could to help others. While I was swimming around and grabbing people I noticed my brother, Michael, doing the same thing. It was random because I had not see him on board the ship when we were safely cruising through life. Both of us, and a few others, were risking everything to help those around us that did not have the ability to help themselves. As I was helping people I was still observing everything else that was going on in the dream. There were many people choosing to swim to the boats on their own, often passing by people that were drowning. I saw people drowning without putting up any kind of fight for their life whatsoever. The worst thing that I saw was when I was swimming as hard as I could to grab one more person. We made eye contact and they were still above water. I felt myself shout to them, “just hold on, I’m coming for you. Keep fighting.” They were on the verge of being saved, and yet they chose to give up. Right in front of my eyes, I was doing everything to help someone and they just didn’t want it. They would rather give up. I suppose that was the easier option than facing a life in which things could go from sunny skies to a total shit storm at the drop of a hat.
After we were rescued by the random small boats that appeared out of nowhere we began to head towards the safety of dry land. Once again, we were safe, we were cruising along, and the past was behind us. The skies were clear again and the sun was beaming down on us. There were probably 3 or 4 rescue boats full of those that had escaped the tragedy of the larger ship sinking. As I sat safely on board my little boat I remember seeing a few of my life long friends standing near the railing. They were happy to be alive, and enjoying the ride. Everything seemed great and the beach was in sight. We were probably 100 yards away when another tidal wave approached as if it had been stalking us the entire time. It towered above us and then crashed just behind our small boats as they sped towards safety. Another giant wave presented itself and then came down even closer to us. I walked towards the back of the boat to get a closer look at the waves. They intrigued me for one reason or another. One last wave arose so close to us that I was able to reach out and touch the massive wall of water that was sure to engulf me, and my fellow travelers. I felt a sense of calm come over me. I knew things were about to get rough, but I didn’t mind. I knew what I would do when things got bad, just as I had done earlier in the dream.
The wave took our whole boat under water. Instead of having a bird’s eye view of the situation as I had in the previous disaster, I was swept under the surface of the ocean. I recall tumbling around with no control over what was going to happen. I could see others being thrown about by the turbulent sea that had been created by the tons of water that had smashed down on us. When I stopped rolling around under water I immediately worked towards swimming to the surface and looking for other survivors. The beach was in sight. I remember putting two children on my back as I swam my ass off to get to the beach. As I neared the beach I saw two parents screaming for somebody to help their child that had just began to sink towards the ocean floor. I dove under, I saw the child, and I brought it to the surface. I delivered the children to the beach, and to their parents. I was confused about why they hadn’t gone into the water to save their own children, but I suppose everyone has their reasons for the choices they make in life. After getting to the beach I looked around and didn’t see my brother. This is the first time in the dream that I started to panic. I started to sprint back out into the water to search for him. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw him coming out of the water. He had already been to the beach and gone back out into the sea to save more people. That was the end of the dream.
When I woke up in the morning I was so excited that I had dreamt something so amazing. I didn’t need to lie in bed and think about what it meant because everything was so clear to me. It blows my mind to think about how I have an irrational fear of drowning, but in that dream I had no fear whatsoever. When I had dreams in the past that presented difficult situations I would often wake myself up and feel that anxiety from the dream in my awakened state. Things have changed quite a bit for me over the last year or so, and it is very interesting to see how my dreams, and the way I behave in them, demonstrate the change in behavior and mindset.
At this point I would like to get into what this dream really meant to me. You may view it differently and that is totally ok, and I will not judge that in any way. In fact, I welcome different opinions and views because they give me an opportunity to learn about other people and other trains of thought that are constructed based upon the life experiences of others.
To me, this dream represents life. The cruise ship itself is life, in a way, as we are all in it together. Regardless of our views, our skin color, our religion, our gender, our sexual orientation, our political affiliation, or whatever, we are all living life together whether you like it or not. The tidal wave, to me, obviously represents disaster, unfortunate events, challenges that spring up in life out of nowhere that everyone in the world will face at one point or another. Obviously there are several ways in which human beings will react to challenges, and those reactions are usually based upon their life experiences. What may seem challenging and frightening to one person, may seem like a walk in the park to another. In this dream, it appeared to me that the people in it reacted in a few ways. The challenge presented itself and people chose to: A) just give up and not make any effort to survive or overcome the challenge that they were faced with. B) swim to safety with no regard for anybody but themselves, ignoring others along the way that asked for help. C) risk their own safety to help others. D) be offered help and give up anyway. The actions of people in this dream are pretty symbolic, in my mind, of how people go about their everyday lives in the real world.
Some people in life see a challenge and they just run away, they just give up. Not just inside a gym, but at work, in a relationship, in any aspect of life. This behavior bleeds out from one part of life into the others. If you are willing to give up immediately when you are faced with a difficult task at work, how likely is it that you will rise up to the challenge when faced with a difficult task outside of work? Human beings are creatures of habit, and it is our choice to develop good habits, or bad habits. I used to have a lot of bad habits, I still have some, but I am aware of these things now and I work as hard as I can to learn from the mistakes I have made in the past so that I do not make them again. When I was younger, and certain things were difficult for me I wouldn’t give up, but I would have some excuse as to why I didn’t succeed. I would blame my lack of success on something or someone instead of just manning up and saying, “My fault, I just didn’t want to do it because it was difficult.” Sadly, there are a lot of people in the world that 1) give up fast, and 2) do not accept responsibility for their actions and choices. I suppose in the end, what it comes down to is how society conditions them to behave. Many people are catered to so much when they are young that they do not develop that responsibility for their actions. Somebody is always there to bail them out and tell them that giving up is ok because of X, Y, or Z. I used to play into that kind of behavior with myself and with others. Once I made the decision to be honest with myself, it became a lot easier to be honest with others when they were trying to back down from challenges. If you are one of those people that could see yourself, in this dream, just giving up and drowning, you can change that. You can start making the choice to swim.
There are also the people in this world that are only in it for themselves. They have the ability to help others, but choose not to. It is a different mindset, and one that is understandable. We are conditioned since youth to view the majority of things as a competition. When some people get into a competitive mindset they are willing to do whatever it takes to win. It doesn’t matter if it is the right thing to do, but if it gets them to where they want to go then it doesn’t matter who they affect negatively along the way. Some people might ask them for help, but they do not care. If they stop to help somebody then they perceive that as slowing themselves down. Why risk my goal to help someone achieve their goal?
Then there are the people that want success for others as badly as they want success for themselves. Some people believe that we will grow more and achieve greater things if they take the time to help people that are in need. There are a million different ways in which we can help people so I don’t really want to dive into the specifics. Usually it is just as easy as doing for others what you would hope they would do for you. In my experience in life, there are few things more rewarding than helping somebody else to achieve a goal of some kind. Even just helping to put someone’s mind at ease by listening to them, or giving sound advice can be extremely rewarding. The less that I have feared failure in the pursuit of my own goals, the more I have been willing to help others to achieve their goals. I even came to the realization that my main goal in life is to positively affect the lives of as many people as I possibly can. That is who I am. I understand that I say a lot of strange things and that many people will not be open to the things that I say. That is ok though. When you truly want to help people, all that matters is that you are extending your hand. It doesn’t hurt me anymore when somebody pushes the help away because I know that I approached the situation with love, compassion, an open mind, and an open heart.
In my time as a trainer and as a human being I have encountered many people that have said they wanted help, but when help was given they would turn away. People seem to talk a lot about their goals, ask for help in working towards them, and then do nothing to achieve them. Some people do not seem to understand that even though they are receiving help, they will still need to work hard. Many people, when faced with the challenge, even after or while receiving help, will still choose to cower in fear and back down. It is sad at times to do everything in my power to show people that they have the potential to achieve anything they put their mind to, but they are afraid to put in the work to discover that. I think that there are several factors that play into this sort of behavior. I used to get upset and frustrated when dealing with people like this. It was confusing to me because I would think, “How the fuck do they not get this? If a lame ass dude such as myself can do the few things in my life that I have done, how can they not rise up to this one challenge? They have just as much ability as I do, if not more. Fuck.” Haha. Then one day I realized that it doesn’t matter if I know these things. I know them because of the things that I have experienced in my life, and they have had a completely different set of life experiences. Once I learned to be patient with people, and understand that all that matters is helping them to realize their ability, things became much easier.
I guess what it comes down to is that I believe that everybody should have an open mind and an open heart when it comes to every situation. Maybe things won’t go according to your plan, maybe people won’t do what you think they should, or what you want them to, but what you think will not change reality. If you are willing to help, if you are willing to be open and honest and share your thoughts and experiences, and extend your hand to others, good things will happen. It doesn’t matter if it is as simple as saying, “good morning,” and sharing a smile with a sad looking stranger, or as difficult as loaning money to someone in need that you had intended on using to buy yourself something you wanted. Treat others the way you would like to be treated, be patient, be kind, and be understanding of others because not everyone has had the experiences that you have had, and therefore you can not expect them to view the world the way that you do.
I know this went on for a long time, and at the end it kind of drifted off into some random places, but I had nothing but good intentions when writing this. Thank you very much for taking your time to read all of my babbling and I hope with all of my heart that my experiences and thoughts can help you in some way. The purpose of writing this was to create the possibility to help even just one person that I do not come in contact with on a regular basis. I hope you have a wonderful life. EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY.

I’m about to reciprocate right in front of you. Don’t make it weird.

The year 2013 was an amazing year in my life. Quit possibly the most enjoyable year that I have ever had. I learned a lot about myself and at the same time learned a lot about other people. I made an effort to help as many people as I possibly could, and many people helped me in many ways. I am writing this because I want to say “thank you,” to all of the people that have helped me over the past year or so. I do my best to say it all of the time, but I feel as though we live in a world in which some people do not put much stock in the words of others. That is why I am writing this. Sometimes just saying things isn’t enough, and you have to put in the extra effort to really show people that you appreciate them and what they have chosen to do for you. So, in no particular order, I am going to start thanking a whole bunch of people for a whole bunch of things.

I want to thank my parents right away. They have helped me so much in my life that it will be impossible for me to show how much I truly appreciate them. In the past year alone they have helped me far more than you would think a parent needs to help their child. When I first opened the gym they gave me their support, and that is something that I know a lot of parents do not give to their children when they take risks. When the time came to expand the gym in February and I decided to ask them for a small loan (asking to borrow money is something I never wanted to do) they were happy to help. They even structured the repayment of the loan in a way that made sense for both parties involved that I had not thought of. They are so wise. At the beginning of summer when I was having trouble growing the business while paying rent at my house, they showed me that moving in with them was more of a lateral move than a step back. The money that I saved after moving in with them allowed me to buy more equipment at the gym, make T-shirts, and take the steps necessary to continue to move the business forward. I love my parents very much, and I want them to know that I appreciate every single thing that they have ever done for me or helped me to do.

My brother Michael has always been an inspiration to me. This year in particular he has supported me in my opening of the gym, advised me on how to become a better coach, and actually coached me. He has always been an amazing brother and friend. The year 2013 was just another demonstration of that. I thank him all of the time anyway, and I think it kind of gets on his nerves sometimes, but he can eat shit if he doesn’t like it, because I am about to do it again. Thank you Michael Baumgarten for going above and beyond to be the best brother I could possibly have. You are my hero, and I will always appreciate your help, guidance, love, and support. I love you man

2013 brought about the opening of There Is No Quit Fitness. This would not have been possible without my 2 business partners Nray and Derek. They are 2 of my closest friends and without them and the vision we all shared, we would have never have been able to open this gym together. We have some how found a way to grow all 3 of our business (crossfit, kickboxing, and yoga) under one roof. There were some rough patches early on as we all grew and learned, but we have managed to work together to help each other succeed. Without Nray’s idea of this gym back in November of 2012 I have no idea where I would be. He believed that I had the ability to do more than personal training before I believed it myself. I don’t believe he know how much that means to me and I want to thank him profusely for that. My best friend Derek has been there for me through thick and thin. He has advised me in business as well as in life. Whenever I have needed to bounce ideas off of someone or simply vent in times of frustration, he has been there. Without these 2 people There Is No Quit Fitness would not be where it is today, and it would not be going where it is tomorrow. In 2014 I will be parting ways with them to open a larger facility with my good friend Jake Adams, but I will never forget all of the things that we accomplished together, and I will always appreciate everything they have both taught me.

With the growth of There Is No Quit, and the expanding classes I needed help in a big way. I am extremely fortunate to have a friend like Vanessa Long to help coach our amazing members. Her and I began this journey into Crossfit together and have learned and coached each other non stop for the last 2 years. Without her as my assistant coach there is no way that our classes would be what they are. She brings balance to our classes and I know her smile puts a lot of our members at ease when I am lecturing them about how to unfuck themselves when it comes to exercise. I want to thank her for being patient with me as a coach, and for allowing me to continue to coach her as an athlete. I know that dealing with me isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. I tell her this all the time, but thank you for all that you do for me and our members.

This next group will be me thanking the large amount of people that have helped Vanessa and I when we didn’t have our own gym to work out in, when we were brand new to coaching, and when we were brand new to Crossfit. In 2013 I personally was allowed to work out at Red Wolf Crossfit, Orange Coast Crossfit, Crossfit RxD, Crossfit Chino Hills, Crossfit Tustin, Crossfit Los Alamitos, and Crossfit Sirius in Dallas. I want to thank the owners of each one of those gyms for their hospitality and willingness to allow Vanessa and I to work out their with our friends that are members. We appreciate it more than words can express. I would like to extend special thanks to Matt Banwart, Andrew Kong, Adam Quick, Vince Kong, Joe Garcia, Melisa Nelson, BJ Seeley, Kristen Curry, Kevin Bell, David Rael-Brook, Justin Jacobs, Maressa Fernandez, Joaquin Regalado, Kenny Leverich, Marly Campos, Tracy Plexico, Wally Skalliwags, Alex Wisner, Kelly Wright, Jared Childs, David Rabe, Rob Gonda, Will Hurst, Richard Truong, Kat Swindell, Reid Worthington, and that is all I can think of off of the top of my head. Each and every one of you, and probably several more, have helped me by either coaching me in some way or helping me to push myself to be better physically and mentally. I want you all to know I appreciate the support you have given to There Is No Quit, and all of the time we have spent throwing weights around and acting weird. If I didn’t remember to put your name on this little list, please do not be offended. It was not intentional, my brain just doesn’t work as well as it used to. Haha.

Special thank you goes out to my soon to be business partner Jake Adams and his wife Danielle. We became friends through fitness at the start of this year and I couldn’t be more happy that we met. You share the same passion for helping people that Vanessa and I do, and I know that will lead to amazing things when we open up Crossfit High Road this year. I am beyond excited to learn and grow in this business together and help as many people as we possibly can. I appreciate all of the help that you have given me over the course of this year and I know 2014 will bring amazing things for all of us.

I want to thank all of my friends that I have grown up with in Chino Hills over the years. I appreciate the support that all of you have given me while I have been working to grow this business. I truly appreciate the opportunity to repay that support when some of you come into the gym and allow me to help you work towards your goals. It means a lot, and I appreciate it big time.

I would be fucking up badly if I did not thank my Aunt Robin, Uncle Frank, cousin Amy, her daughter Sophia and my Colorado family, Aunt Sandy, and my cousins Megan and Becky, and their husbands Cody and Noah. I know that the structure of that last sentence was awful, but I suppose if I cared that much I would change it. Your support means the world to me, and I am sorry that I do not do enough to show that I appreciate it. With the new gym opening in a couple of months, my schedule and my life should start to clarify a bit, and I will do everything in my power to come out to Colorado this year. I love you all very much, and the kids too. And I can’t forget the cutest little cousins in the world, Carson, Kinsley, Wyatt, and Elizabeth.

And last but not least I want to thank the members of There Is No Quit Fitness. 2013 has been incredible getting to know all of you. I can not express enough how much I truly appreciate the effort that all of you give in each and every class you attend. Thank you for the trust that you give to Vanessa and I. You are trusting us to do what is best for you and your health, and I swear on my life that we will never forget that, and we will always work as hard as we possibly can to repay that trust. My thank you to all of you will be my never ending pursuit to acquire more knowledge, and to work each and every day to better myself just as all of you do when you walk through our doors. Thank you for being so positive in the classes and for supporting each other. You have no idea how proud and how thankful Vanessa and I are for the good vibes that you bring in each day. Most importantly, thank you for believing in yourselves. Thank you for believing that you are capable of more, and that you can work each day towards bettering yourselves inside of the gym and out. Thank you for inspiring me to work as hard as I can. Seriously, seeing all of you push to limits you never thought possible has helped me push in my recovery from all of my injuries. When things have challenged me I have thought about all of you, and it has helped. Thank you for that.

I suppose I decided to write all of this stuff because when I simply say “thank you,” people might not know how much I mean it. I am thankful for every experience that I have with every person that I encounter. I am thankful for every moment of my life. I appreciate the opportunity to help people every single day of my life, and I promise I will do my best to never disappoint. Thank you for reading this whoever you are, and thank you for your support. I want to help the world, I want to love the world, and I want to show how grateful I am for the opportunity to be a part of it.

EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY
LET THERE BE LIFT
THERE IS NO QUIT