Munich – Day 2

As seminars go, this one is dense.

10 hours deep and I was ready to go home.

Phenomenal information, delivered by a master.

Going through the process in person with Kelly was a different experience altogether.

I finally got to ask the little questions I have had in my head for over 5 years.

Little pieces of nuance that weren’t quite landing for me.

Now I know.

All day, my athletes were popping into my head.

Ah, this one’s for Sharon. Donal needs that. The whole team starts that Monday!

All day, my athletes.

The biggest game-changer were the breathing drills.

We spent three hours on breath alone, and they hit me like a train.

Dizziness, pins and needles down both arms, loss of hearing.

Close to loss of consciousness.

Black magic.

If there wasn’t a second day tomorrow, I would leave now happy that the trip was worthwhile.

Roll on Day-2.

Munich – Day 2

Munich – Day 1

Cool place.

Unspectacular, understated, undeniably cool.

I have come here to train with a mentor of mine for the past 7 years, and tomorrow I get to meet him for the first time…

I owe Kelly Starrett a lot.

When I first started following his educational material, I was utterly bewildered.

He was speaking English, but yet talking this whole other language.

Here I was, a CrossFit coach, and there he was, a CrossFit coach. Yet, we were not the same thing at all.

He understood movement and communicated on a level I had never encountered.

Honestly, I couldn’t help but hate the dude. Genuinely, my comparative lack of knowledge drove me crazy.

So…I went down the rabbit hole.

I immersed myself in positional archetypes, joint rotation, torque, capsule distraction…..

Eating up knowledge wherever I could find it, deepening my understanding.

I had witnessed a master, a coaching archetype to aim for.

Ever since then, Kelly’s framework for analysing and improving movement has helped me further my career, build a business.

As I said, I owe him a lot. In a many ways, the guy educated me for free.

And tomorrow, I get to chat with the 2017 version.

Needless to say, I pretty excited.

Munich – Day 1

#174 File Converted

Ok, those who know me will tell you how annoyingly upbeat I have been recently.

Darina tells anyone who’ll listen

“He’s in top-form, you just want to punch him”

It’s true. I have never felt more energised and ready for the next chapter.

A large part of that is down to finding a bit of clarity. Clarity about what’s important, and what’s not.

Figuring this out has frankly changed everything. Its like I have had this file on my computer named ”Dreams” and someone came along and converted it to “Plans”.

Decisions about where to invest energy and where to say NO have become obvious and easy.

Finding this clarity has been a process of answering hard questions over the past 2 months. This process is detailed in the book “Traction” recommended to me by Ben Bergeron. Its largely a process of target-setting and below is a very broad outline of that process and a few observations along the way.

Obviously, I recommend you go read the book.

10 Year Target

Your big hairy audacious goal. If I work my butt off for 10 years, would I be satisfied if this was the outcome? Thats the question. It has to feel worth it, so aim high.

3 Year Target

Where I need to be in 3 years to set me up for that 10 year goal. I was very surprised how close this looked to my 10 year target. My gut says its right though. We even tried to keep it relatively conservative and it still looked about 70% done in 3 years. Which means I will have 7 years of being very patient thereafter. Happily patient mind you.

1 Year Target

Approx a third of my way to my 3 year target. This is where it gets both very exciting and a little anxious. You can start to see your big hairy audacious goal beginning to take shape and it starts to feel very real. Then, the pressure hits you. Shit, I have work to do and can’t miss anything. Never have I felt something that sharpens the focus more.

Next 90 Days

What are the big things things that need to happen now to keep me tracking with my 1 year goal. My “rocks”, the nitty gritty, day-to-day stuff that moves me a step closer. Rower maintenance and cleaning toilets are all-of-a-sudden directly related to bringing an athlete to the CrossFit Games. Very cool.

This week

Track my rocks from last week, reset them for the coming week. This is a weekly meeting dedicated to that 10, 3, 1 year and 90 day targets. We’re on a schedule now, and can’t fall behind. The buck stops here.

And repeat, the buck stops here.

#174 File Converted

#173 Who We Are

Who are we? As a gym, as a community, as an organisation.

What defines us?

This was an exercise I set out to complete a few weeks ago.

To establish a set of core values that we believe in and constantly strive to become.

In reality, we are many things. Too many in fact.

I had written down nine core values which seemed to sum us up nice and succinctly.

Then I was challenged was to boil it down to three. Not so easy.

Then I spent two days at CrossFit New England and the answer soon became clear..

This is who we are


1. Humble
“freedom from pride or arrogance”, “holding a modest opinion of one’s importance or rank”

Humble people tend to put others first. Its a nice thing, but lets not confuse that with some sort of submissive acquiescence. Its not a lack of strength. Its more a recognition that no matter how good we are are, we all have things we can improve on. Its also a recognition that the more we build others up around us, the better we become.
Lets not forget that our goals are lofty and we’re not there yet. We don’t shout about how good we are but instead get our heads down and work our arses off for it.
Can we be confident and humble at the same time? Absolutely. Can we be humble and arrogant at the same time? Absolutely not. The net effect is a huge openness to feedback and nicer environment to grow in.

2. Hungry
This is trait that is probably most associated with CrossFitters. That get after it mentality. The very fact you were interested joining a CrossFit gym in the first place probably marks you out as somebody who’s not afraid of hard work. Hungry people seek out challenge and appreciate the value in going through discomfort. Once we recognise this in ourselves, we start approaching our challenges with energy and enthusiasm. “Let me at it.” “Bring it on.” This is what we see every day at the whiteboard, on the pull up bar and under the barbell…and i couldn’t love it more.

3. Happy
If we are not aiming for happiness, what exactly are doing? its kinda the whole point. The most common mistake is attaching happiness to future goals. “I’ll be happy when…”. Even CrossFit Games champions will tell you that after fleeting moment of happiness, they just move the goal post and start thinking about next year and retaining their title. This may be a useful device in keeping us moving forward, but what about right now?
My father always taught me to value relationships above everything else. Its all we have at the end of the day. My wife always reminds me(annoyingly) to be grateful for what i have right now. When i’m in the worst mood she’ll say, “go on, list 3 things”. After i tell her to piss off a few times, I’ll roll my eyes and do my list. “i’m grateful for…” Annoyingly, it always works.
Gratitude and relationships are where real happiness lie, and yet i need to be reminded of this daily. So, here i am reminding myself once more. I have a gym full of happy, hungry and humble people and i couldn’t ask for anything more.

#173 Who We Are

Boston – Day 3

Where do i start?

Thats all I can think. I have just spent two days looking under the hood of one of the most successful gyms in the world.

New systems, approaches, policies coming out of my ears.

They have solutions to problems I have not even encountered yet.

Easy to be overwhelmed after two days of intense learning, introspection and planning.

Doing my best to process some of the major takeaways as I sit in the airport. Heres a short list to start with

  1. Know where you are going, then make the map.
  2. Being good at the sport of CrossFit is very low down on the priority list.
  3. The pursuit of excellence is exactly that. A pursuit.
  4. Start 5 minutes late, finish 5 minutes early
  5. Steal ideas, and don’t be afraid to tell everyone you did.
  6. Living by your core values is everything.
  7. Actually doing that takes massive commitment and discipline.
  8. Tell everyone exactly who you are. Then remind them.

So, back to…Where do I start?

So many cool things to implement, I cant wait to get to work.

And thankfully, I don’t need to tip over the boat.

We are definitely on the right track and our planned direction does not change.

What Ben and Harry showed me was I need to double down on that direction and take it even further, and do it even quicker.

Scary but brilliant to hear.

I now know where this journey can lead and I have seen what the possibilities are .

I have never been more excited.

Boston – Day 3

Boston – Day 2

Since I arrived in Boston, all everyone has talked about is the looming snow storm.

They were expecting everything to shut down for a day or two. Businesses, schools, public transport.

Its due to hit this morning, and as I climb into my rental car all I am thinking is

“please don’t close the damn highway”

I have a 40 minute journey to navigate to CrossFit New England.

Ben had already been in touch to say they are going to be at the gym for the day regardless and plans were not changing.

All I needed to do was get there.

And boy am I glad I did.

Ben Bergeron is a special individual, and its not because his coaching.

What I encountered is a guy who ruthlessly and relentlessly brings everything back to his core values.

He has boiled them down to three central tenets and they show up in everything he does.

In teaching his class, all three featured.

The weekly coaches meeting is structured around them as a part 1, 2 & 3. Its that explicit.

Its there in the daily class schedule, the maintenance plan, the approach to marketing, the decor of the gym.

Every conversation is guided by them and at the same time, they get reinforced.

As he says himself, most “core values” end up on a coffee mug and never go any further.

For Ben, and for CrossFit New England as an organisation, they are the operating system.

After one full day, I leave feeling utterly impressed, equally optimistic and full of questions.

Roll on tomorrow.

Boston – Day 2

Boston – Day 1

Pound-for-pound king.

Top of the heap.

World’s best.

Ben Bergeron is someone I have wanted to meet for quite a while now.

Originally I heard about him through his CrossFit business courses. For affiliate owners, it was the one to seek out.

In a world where everyone is a guru, his course was the one everyone recommended. Gym owners did his course and sang about it from the rooftops.

Then, I realise he also ran the East Coast Championships, the competition with the most Games athletes outside of the Games themselves. A massive event that traditionally kicked off the competitive season.

Impressive resume.

And oh yeah, did i mention that he coaches Matt and Katrin? Both current male and female CrossFit Games champions. There’s that too.

So yeah, the worlds best… and here i am, in Boston.

Over the next two days I am going to work with him. And when i say work, i mean literally going to work with him.

I will go to his coaches meetings, train in his class, discuss the programming, look at managing the business side of things, analyse classes and yes, sit in on Competition team training.

As work days go, Carlsberg would struggle  to match this one. 

Boston – Day 1