We’ve Got it All Wrong

Battle of Boxes 2014 – Team Kinnick Butter in Monterrey, Mexico

We’ve got it all wrong.

We think CHANGE is BAD

We think HARD THINGS are BAD


But that couldn’t be more wrong!

This is backward thinking!

This is lazy thinking!

If you don’t change, you get left in the dust.

If you don’t do hard things, you will never learn.

If you don’t struggle, fail, and work through obstacles you will never improve your current situation.




And they are all GIFTS.


Start, Don’t Prepare, Begin

2015 CrossFit Games – Team Kinnick – Left to Right – Elyse Persico – Josh Pollema – Giermaine Kinnick – Me – Nick Robles – Christine Navarro. Looking fresh after the Swim Event at Hermosa Beach Pier.

“Start before you’re ready.

Don’t prepare, begin.” 

― Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

Mel Robbins is an incredible motivational speaker.  I have written several times about her quotes and this one is amazing!  Definitely something I live by.

Lets break this down a little.  This is a powerful statement.  Start before you’re ready.  This is tough for many people.  Often times we like to make sure we are ready before we begin.  A lot of that is procrastination.  This leaves us either never actually starting or waiting WAY TOO long before we begin.  We do not need to be ready.  We do not need to be prepared.  We only need to begin.  To start.  3, 2, 1, GO!!!  5-4-3-2-1-GO!!!  Once we are in motion the hardest part is over.  That doesn’t mean you open a business with out a plan.  Or you just rush into marriage.  This is for those situations where you are paralyzed and unable to start.  You’re overthinking it and just need to begin.

Heres the deal.  You will never FEEL ready.  Because FEELINGS LIE.  Just Do It!  And if you fail, WHO CARES!!!  Thats how you learn and grow.  So what are you waiting for??

Seek the Small Improvement

3 CrossFit Games Champs!!! From Left to Right – Caity Matter Henniger (’08) – Mikko Salo (’09) – Tony Blauer – Me – Graham Holmberg (’10) – Photo at Rogue Fitness in Columbus, OH – 2012

“Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time.” 

― Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else

Daniel Coyle does a superb job with his book, The Talent Code.  This quote is something that I have focused on since I can remember.  Even before CrossFit as a collegiate baseball player I had this approach.  I would spend hours and hours and hours in the batting cage outside of practice on my own time and by myself.  I worked off the Tee.  I would work on different placement of the ball.  I would change my stance so I was hitting it on the outside and low and many other positions.  I knew that if I wanted to be successful I had to put the time in.  I also knew that if I couldn’t drive the ball well off the Tee then I had no chance to drive the ball well when its being thrown at me.

Many years later I am still taking that approach.  Not in a rush.  Not in a hurry.  When I find a weakness I would methodically start working on it until it became a strength.  I know thats not uncommon but what is uncommon is the pace at which I would expect improvement.  Expecting to be better in short amount of time is silly especially when you have been working at the sport for many years.  Expecting to be better in the long run, just a little, day by day, is the way its done.

This is also the approach I take with my members, clients, and athletes.  Slow and steady, gradual improvements.  No rush.  I do my best to impart this philosophy on to everyone I train and work with.

The Obstacle Becomes the Path

Clean Ladder @ 2012 Reebok Crossfit Games
2012 Reebok CrossFit Games – Clean Ladder – On the Tennis Stadium floor

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” 

― Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

Fantastic book by Ryan Holiday.  This quote is right on the money.  Many of us are programmed or conditioned to want to avoid a challenge/obstacle in our path.  We look for the detour or way around it.  The problem with this is it does nothing positive for us.  The challenge/obstacle in our path becomes the path.  We need to change our habits and our thinking in regards to challenges.  We must not forget that through adversity, through struggle, through hardships comes growth.  These are opportunities to improve our condition as Holiday writes.

This is something I spend time talking to my wife about and we both spend time explaining to our boys.  Our goal is to engrain these ideas in their heads from a young age.  As they grow they will have a choice on how they live.  That is totally up to them.  But for now I will teach them things like this.  Ideas on how to improve.  On how to be the best version of themselves.  To take the road filled with challenges rather than avoiding it.  To embrace the struggles and the obstacles so they may grow and have control in improving their condition.

Seek a Calling

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Judging some Competitors at the Battle of Boxes in Monterrey, Mexico – I had the honor of being a special guest for the competition. What an unforgettable experience!

“I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career.  Seek a calling.  Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it.  If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.” 

― Phil KnightShoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

I enjoyed listening to this Audible book.  What a struggle Phil Knight went through before he made it.  The ups and down to build NIKE!!  But he never gave up.  He never gave in.  Since he knew his calling the fatigue was easier to bear for him, the disappointments only fueled him, and the highs have been like nothing else for him.

I have always struggled with the idea of basically forcing young people out of high school to choose a MAJOR or a profession.  I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do.  I knew a few things though.  I knew I liked sports/athletics.  I knew I liked teaching/coaching.  I knew I liked sociology/psychology.  But I had NO IDEA what job that meant or what career/major to choose.  According to Phil Knight, I should have simply chased my calling.  I felt pressure and felt that I needed to know or I was a failure.  7 years after I quit College I found CrossFit.  A year later, I was hooked and now 10 years later I am still following my calling.  And I think he was absolutely right!  Chasing your calling makes it all worth it.

Pushing the limits of my body and mind…

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