Thursday, April 5, 2012

Athlete Profile: Jeff Vanlandingham
From this...image to this...!image
Every now and then a coach comes across an athlete with potential. Sometimes this person rises to the occasion and surpasses all expectations. But most times we find that something (or somethings) get in the way and somewhere along the path to realizing their full potential they fall off or give up. 
Jeff is one of those first athletes — one of the few that decides to be great and then follows through. 
A man of few words but with a great beard to make up for it, Jeff joined the RedBlack Gym and my Rx class back in August of 2011. He was fit for sure - he had been leading his class at CrossFit Central for a while and was looking for a new home to sharpen his saw and get a real taste for next-level crossfitting. He found just what he was looking for. 
In five short months, Jeff was setting PR’s in almost all of his lifts and then decided to compete in one of the biggest crossfit competitions of the year: The Fittest Games.
He competed against some of the best athletes from around the nation and earned himself an outstanding 17th place. Not bad for someone with a day job… He then went on to do well enough in the CrossFit Open to earn a spot on the 2012 RedBlack CrossFit Affiliate Team!
Jeff’s story is familiar to many of us. He was a self-professed “running addict” who would purposefully go to bed hungry thinking that it would make him lighter on his feet - earning him faster times in races and therefore making him “fitter”. After a while, nagging overuse injuries and a general feeling of discontent set in. 
He found crossfit and hasn’t looked back. He has put on 20 (at least) pounds of muscle since starting crossfit and now eats a healthy diet of meat and veggies to supplement his grueling training. Overuse injuries have disappeared and he is now stronger, faster, fitter and healthier than ever.
In Jeff’s own words:
“Since starting [the] RX [class] I have become much more comfotable with HSPUs and MUs, they are still a struggle sometimes but I don’t dread them like I used to.  

Diet: My diet is much less stressful compared to my running days.  It’s nice not thinking about counting calories and just eating meat and vegetables.  Gone are the days of eating cereal for two meals of the day and thinking I’m being healthy.

Other thoughts: Ultimately the reason for the switch from long distance running to CrossFit addict was overuse injuries that came with running 50-70 miles a week.  CrossFit allows me get in a good workout in 5-6 times a week without killing my body because we are constantly varying what muscles we are working.  Also with things like the FittestGames and the Open, I get to compete which is one of the things I loved about running.

Also - chicks dig muscles… just sayin.”
With a 445# Deadlift and a 185# Snatch, this young buck still has a lot of room for growth and a lot more crossfit potential in the tank. 
Thanks for being a great example Jeff, and good luck in the Open (ladies, I think he’s still single!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Grey: CHOOSE

This weekend, Travis Holley and I caught up on some cinema and went to watch "The Grey". The movie was a bit different than I had expected, but it was legit nonetheless. It definitely got us to thinking about the parallels the movie draws with internal and external conflict in life and CrossFit (yes... what else are we going to compare it to...?) and the ability to choose your fate

The movie is deeper and more introspective than the action-packed trailer would have you believe. It deals with themes of life and death, internal and external conflict, social hierarchy, fear, love, brotherhood and choice. 

I took two major lessons from the movie (there are many more, but these two stood out to me):

1) The Alpha Wolf does not live without fear. 

Quite the opposite. The Alpha Wolf manages fear and funnels it into creativity, energy, survival, leadership and success. The Alpha Wolf does not always have solutions, but is always working towards solutions. Along with that, the Alpha always displays a PMA (positive mental attitude) - never quit - never surrender - never say die.

2) In the end, we choose how we will live and how we will die. 

You cannot always control the things that happen to you in your life, but you ALWAYS get to  choose how you will deal with those things. You choose your emotions, reactions and your next plan of action. 

When faced with adversity: Will you do whatever it takes to fight and win, or will you simply give up? 

The movie ends with a small poem:

Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fittest Games 2012 in the books!

2 weeks has passed since the 5th Fittest Games finished, awards were handed out and #theyard was left as it was found: an empty warehouse full of potential. 

It has taken me at least this much time to process everything that went down and evaluate the impact that this year's games had as well as what it means for the future of our sport. 

When you spend months of your life planning something that you know will only last one day - you know that you only have one shot to get it right. The mental and emotional stress is very high knowing that the entire success or failure of the event is in your hands -- that you were an architect designing the plans that will either leave people in awe or leave them staring at the rubble that was your disaster...

Fortunately, we have an absolutely INCREDIBLE group of people in Austin, TX - and I am incredibly blessed to work where I do with the people that I work with. This blog is an attempt to thank those people who helped and participated in the 2012 Fittest Games. Without you, it would not have been possible.

-The CF Community: We had athletes, spectators, judges and volunteers from all over the U.S. - as far away as Alaska. Thank you for putting your faith in CrossFit Central to deliver on a hell of a competition.

-Volunteers and Judges: You guys and gals held our standards all day long, worked hard and upheld the integrity of the Fittest Games.

-Sponsors: Thank you for your time, presence, prizes and partnership.

-Tony Gonzalez: YOU ARE THE MAN! Quite simply, this event would not have gone down if not for you. Your crew turned #theyard from a pile of construction rubble into a stage fit for the best competitors  CrossFit has to offer. 

-Travis Holley, Jeremy Thiel, Big Mike, Zach Thiel: You boys ran a tight ship all day -- thank you for your help, proofreading and fact-checking. I would gladly go to war with you all any day.

-Susan Bender, Diego Centeno, Johnathan Haynes: The people behind the scenes and the reason we were able to host so many people. Without sponsors, media and registration/check-in, we wouldn't have made it past the first couple of minutes.

 -DJ Monica: Spinning dirty jamz all day and keeping the crowd on their feet!

-Kris Kepler (aka DJ Outlaw): Thanks homie! You came through in the clutch and produced 6 hours of music for #theyard that kept the athletes on their toes and the crowd stomping thiers.

-CrossFit Central: For providing me with an outlet for my imagination, creativity and work.

-Ingrid Kantola: You are the best Event Director I know. No one can do what you do and I would not want to work with anyone else. Thank you for your love and support. You da bomb!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coachability: Do you have it?

Coachability is one of the hallmarks of great athletes throughout the ages. Every great athlete and every great team to ever step onto the field of battle has had a coach behind them: pulling strings, tweaking technique and strategy, holding the athlete or team accountable for greatness.

The question is: Are you coachable?

Do you listen? Do you apply feedback in the moment? Are you willing to do what is asked of you to reach your goals?

Your coach may not always be right. That is not the point! The point is that whether or not your coach is right or wrong, they have your best interest at heart. They have a great well of knowledge and are eager to share what they know with you. Test and retest. If it is working -- then it is working. Follow the path they set out for you and trust in the method and sometime, the madness.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things to come

Do the simple things. If it is important, do it every day.
Have integrity with yourself and those around you.
You are already whole complete and perfect.
Be consistent. Through consistency you will build discipline.
With discipline, hard work and sacrifice are not burdens but celebrations of things to come.
Let go of your Ego and leave your bullshit at the door.
Be authentic: the world does not need carbon copies.
Journey inwards.
Journey outwards.