Rebel Winter Rescue II – Let’s Make It Through the Holidays… Together!

 

IMG_1104The Premise

Looking for a fun way to stay fit and active this winter? Need some help fighting the “holi-daze” and all the frumpy weather, sluggish food, and cozy sweaters just begging you to hibernate until the 1st of the year? Hoping for some accountability so you’re not just left to your own devices while having every nutritional, stretching, exercise, and meditative tool at your disposal?

BAM! HERE IT IS!!

For 9 weeks we will rock this winter in true Rebel fashion; lots of hard work, lots of fun, and an endless supply of encouragement along the way. No measurements… No weekly weigh-ins… Simply a fit test at the beginning and end with a bunch of people just like you sticking together and diggin’ deep! All abilities, age ranges, experiences, and every other diverse situation you can possibly think of are welcome! NO REBEL LEFT BEHIND! Interested? Check out this video created during the 1st “Rebel Winter Rescue!”

Rebel Winter Rescue II:
Vital Info

There are 2 day/time options to choose from:

Monday @ 7pm/Wednesday @ 6pm
&
Tuesday @ 7pm/Thursday @ 6pm

The cost is $200 for Anytime Fitness Members, $275 for 1st time Rebel challenge participants who do NOT have a membership, and $375 for non-Anytime Fitness members who have done a rebel challenge before but choose to forgo getting a membership. A down payment of $100 is required by the start date but payment plans are available upon request!

If the above works for you then mark the following on your calendars:

Starts: October 27th (Monday)
Ends: January 3rd (Saturday… the ONLY Saturday we meet the entire challenge with a surprise in store)
Halloween Workout: October 29th/30th
Red, White, and Blue Workout: 10th/11th (in honor of Veteran’s Day)
3rd Annual Turkey Reb-Bowl Football Game: November 27th (Thursday… everyone welcome!!)
Black Friday Boot Camp w/ Special Guests: November 28th (Friday)

That’s not all but you’ll have to wait until the full schedule is released in a couple weeks to get the full scope of awesomeness this challenge will have in store (like additional themes, toy/clothes/food drives, and more!)

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Last Year’s crew of good lookin’ winter Rebels!

 Sign-up Now!

Simply fill out the quick and easy sign-up sheet below and you’re in! Once you’ve signed up you will be added to the mailing list so you will be kept updated with more info on this shindig as it comes out.

If you have any questions at all then feel free to CLICK HERE for all my contact info! I look forward to answering any questions you’ve got or simply touching base with you and puttin’ some gasoline on your inspirational fire… whatever you need!

AhhhhhOOOOO!!!!

- Rebel8

World’s Toughest Mudder Circuit Workout!

Click on the Photo to download the workout reference guide straight to your phone, tablet, or computer!

Click on the Photo to download the workout reference guide straight to your phone, tablet, or computer!

Greetings Rebels! As most of you know myself and Justin Zuiderweg are headed out to Las Vegas to compete in the 2014 World’s Toughest Mudder! Along with Rebel Paul Trujillo and Jacqualyn Evans we will have our professional Rebel entourage of Cara “Unicorn” Jones (I love you babe!), Maggie “Too Tough” Schuck, Tami “2 Guns” Tuminello, and Sean “Big Boss” Barnett.

While I’m gone Rebel leaders Lori DeMarco and Megan Gill will be peer leading the total body mud circuit workout you see below. Y’all know the drill by now there ain’t nothing to it but to do it!

The Workout

You are going to set up the exercises below so that you can do each one with zero to minimal break in between. Do each exercise for 30 seconds until you’ve completed 5 total rounds! AHHHOOOO!!!!

Reference Photo 1 Reference Photo 2 Reference Photo 3 Reference Photo 4

Processed with Moldiv

- Rebel8

Rebel Winter Rescue II: Team Roster!

Processed with Moldiv

Left: Amelia Island, FL in 2013 where the purple and orange “What’s Next?” Fitness Rebellion shovel was birthed and signed by all the Fitness Rebel leaders. Right: Chuck Runyon & Dave Mortensen, founders of Anytime Fitness, breaking ground on the new Anytime Fitness Corporate campus set to open in 2016 with that very shovel. AhhhOOOO!!!

To learn more about the shovel… CLICK HERE

 

RWRII Team Roster:


Monday/Wednesday (7pm & 6pm)

Malena DeMartini
Sandra Schnider

Kevin Price
Angelica Byrne
Bobby Stewart
Michelle “Hulk” Huntley

Victoria “T-Bones” Nicolas
Megan “Ming” Gill

Tami Tuminello 
Mindy Witter 
Giovanni Ponce 
RayRay Ponce 
Becca Acosta 
Cynthia Karlen
Kaila Finch
Cara Jones
Maggie Schuck
Kathy Karlen 
Lorna Kennedy-Klein
Kristina Tovani

Tuesday/Thursday (7pm & 6pm)

 Abby Moreno
Alyx J. Livingston
Megan Collett
Cheryl Murray
Dorothy Roche
Kevin Harer
Lynsey Ventr
es

Christy Bishop
Austin Finch
Karen Solberg
Lori DeMarco
Jim Zilian
Risa Zilian

Suzanne Pelz
Josue Herrera

Rebel Winter Rescue II – The Schedule

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The Schedule

CLICK HERE to download the schedule to your phone, tablet, computer, or device.

CLICK HERE to sign-up!

Monday @ 7pm/Wednesday @ 6pm & Tuesday @ 7pm/Thursday @ 6pm

Oct. 27th/28th – START! New Fit Test (prepare for a workout!) followed by mini-orientation
Oct. 29th/30th – Legs… Halloween themed! Wear an awesome costume or come decked in orange and black… As long as you bring all the spirit you’ve got!
Nov. 3rd/4th – Upper Body!
Nov. 5th/6th – Core! Also… SHIRT DAY! Be prepared to earn your custom made superhero uniform made just for you with a scream circle at the end of this core shred-fest!
Nov. 10th/11th – Red, White, and BOSU! In honor of Veteran’s day come in your best red, white, and blue attire as we work our way through an official BOSU balance class! This workout will also kick start the beginning of our food drive! Partnering with the Redwood Empire Food Bank we as a group we are going to collect as much food stuffs as possible until the November 21st where we conclude with a Turkey Boot Camp! Details below…
Nov. 12th – 18th – WORLD’S TOUGHEST MUDDER! Rebel hero Justin Zuiderweg and myself will be traveling with our better halves Maggie Schuck and Cara Unicorn Jones to Las Vegas for World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24 hour obstacle run full of fire, ice, and electricity. To accommodate travel and prep time needed for this hellacious adventure there will be no scheduled Rebel boot camps during these dates BUT you will still be receiving a brand new On Your Own (OYO) workout along with a “fitness scavenger hunt” you will be expected to complete instead! You’re a Rebel… Workout like it!
Nov. 19th/20th – Legs! Also The Unicorn and I’s 3 year anniversary is the 19th so if the mood strikes… feel free to come in your best Hulk and Unicorn gear! Happy grilled cheesing!
Nov. 21st (Saturday) @ 11AM – Turkey Boot Camp! The premise is simple… the cost of the boot camp is a turkey! That’s it! Bring as many as you want! The goal: 500 lbs of turkey for the community. AhhhOOO!!!!
Nov. 24th/25th – HIIT Test! The 1st half will be an authentic HIIT-X class followed by a round of exercises from the fit test… Bring your shovel!
Nov. 26th/27th – NO BOOT CAMP. Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov. 27th (Thanksgiving) @ 9AM – 3rd Annual Turkey Reb-Bowl! There’s nothing quite like football on Thanksgiving morning… especially when it’s with a bunch of great people keeping it fun and positive! Bring the whole family over to Sonoma Academy field (2500 Farmers Ln, down Kiwana Springs Rd) to this 2 hand touch football tradition. Can’t wait to see you there, Rebels!
Nov. 28th (Friday) @ 10AM – Black Friday Boot Camp! Shake off the Thanksgiving haze with a total body blast of a butt kicking boot camp! Everyone is welcome! There will be no Mud Circuit class this day but will return to the regular schedule the following Friday.
Dec. 1st/2nd – Core!
Dec. 3rd/4th – Upper Body!
Dec. 8th/9th – Legs… and Black Light 13.0! Come in your best whites and fluorescents as we light up the aerobic room a little bit differently than normal…
Dec. 10th/11th – Core!
Dec. 15th/16th – Upper Body!
Dec. 17th/18th – Legs!
Dec. 22nd/23rd – Total Body… and Tropical Holiday themed! Take the words “tropical holiday” and devise whatever crazy outfit you like! Feel free to add some Unicorn attire since December 22nd also happens to be Cara’s birthday!
Dec. 24th/25th – No Boot Camp. Merry Christmas!
Dec. 29th/30th – End Fit Tests!
Dec. 31st/January 1st – New Year Sparkle Workout! You are either going to be the last Rebel boot camp of 2014 or the 1st Rebel boot camp of 2015 so be prepared to bring it in with gusto! This is your chance to set the tone for the way you want the next year to go so take command of yourself and get after what you deserve! Let’s do it with as much sparkle, pizazz, panache, fabulosity, and sass as possible so come dressed in your flashiest duds and be ready to party!
January 3rd (Saturday) @ 11AM – GIANT GROUP WINTER WORKOUT AT THE PARK!! With some surprises in store for this boot camp there’s no better way to cap off a challenge and bring in the next 365 days than sweating together and working hard with phenomenal people. The goal: bring as many people as possible. The highest single Rebel workout attendance has been 75 people and it’s time to beat that. Let’s set a Rebel record with a bonfire of energy. A personalized gift and potential special guest appearance is going to make this one hell of kickstart to 2015 that you’re not gonna want to miss…

Address: 2379 Cedar Rock Ln Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (look for the field)

This will be a rain or shine workout so be prepared for whatever elements may be present. The workout will be safe for all ages and abilities in whatever weather we come across this day. Expect a mixture of fun group warm-ups, team oriented exercises, HIIT, and classic Rebel mainstays. Anticipate blocking out 90 minutes total for the full boot camp experience.

AhhhhOOOOO!!!!!!!!

- Rebel8

Justin “HOVA” Zuiderweg – An Enthusiasm for Misery

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The Fitness Rebellion is home to every sort of character you can think of. If we were a co-ed boy band (which we kind of are… Click here… you know you want to…) we would have every spectrum covered. For those of you that know Justin Zuiderweg you know he fits the “loveable bad boy with a heart of gold” persona… only replace the brooding demeanor, disheveled hair, and sexy dance moves with super goofism, tough mudder headbands, and hashtags. Throw in a splash of sailor mouth and you’ve just baked yourself the ultimate beef flavored Justin cake (get it…. beef cake… TAAAAAHHHH!!!!).

If you don’t know Justin but have been keeping up with my Rebel Ramblings on the mind numbing task of getting prepared for World’s Toughest Mudder then you’ve heard about him plenty. He’s not only my partner in crime in the endeavor but the one I’m counting on to drag my scrappy ass across the finish line (don’t tell him that though… as of now he thinks he’s just training hard to get himself across the finish line… foolish man…).

A great friend, training partner, Rebel cohort, and all around amazing soul Justin embodies the Fitness Rebellion at its core in my eyes. With a story I knew about as well as a half crafted quilt I was eager to put the rest of the picture together and learn more about the man that has shed blood, sweat, and tears with and within the Rebellion the last couple of years. The opportunity arose the weekend of September 7th, 2014 as we drove back from our 3rd (and most brutal by far) World’s Toughest Beach Workout. As we settled into our 40 minute car ride I took out my “Hulk” journal, purple Anytime Fitness pen, and started our recollection the same way I start every interview;

“So Justin… What’s the story you want to tell?”

He paused only briefly as I had asked him the same questions before we started our workout so he had 2 hours to think about it.

“Things weren’t crazy at all really growing up…” he started.

“I was born in San Francisco, raised in Santa Rosa off West 3rd until my parents sold their house and built a home in Spring Valley up in Lake County. It was the typical set up, you know? Into sports, church, family get-togethers… Average American family type stuff. Nothing glamorous or anything like that.”

He squinted as he drove along.

“For me though, I was a trouble maker… I was always getting into some sort of mischief and was a stereotypical problem kid. Not really sure why, I just had a habit of mouthing off to everyone. I didn’t really have respect for anybody and ended up getting suspended a lot… all stupid stuff really, nothing worth it. I was almost expelled in 8th grade.”

“From what?” I asked.

“Just getting suspended too many times. Like I said, stupid shit. Nothing big… I just had a problem with everybody. If I hadn’t gotten home schooled for 8th grade I wouldn’t have graduated Junior High. It wasn’t long after that I started getting into drugs which only made things worse as I’m sure you can imagine.”

Justin Young Final

“How old were you?” I asked with my head bent as I battled the bumps in the road to get it all down.

“15. That was when I started smoking pot at least. Weed for me was definitely my gateway. My attitude just got worse as high school went on. By 17 I was getting heavy into drinking. I’d steal my Dad’s booze from the cabinet and one day he comes up to me and asked ‘You been taking alcohol from the cabinet?‘” He smiled as he reminisced.

“‘No… why?‘ I said even though I was lying my ass off. ‘Because see that line on the back of the bottle I drew? Good job filling it back up with water but you filled it up too much dummy.”

“Whatever, I was young, dumb, and stubborn… I was gonna do what I wanted.” Justin stated.

Which is what led to him moving out on his own at 18 to Santa Rosa, CA. Not too far from his parent’s home… but far enough. Justin has an almost mythical work ethic which assured him not running into the typical financial problems a lot of us face when we first venture out. After all he’d been holding down at minimum 2 jobs since 15 years old so finding work wouldn’t be an issue. No… The issue, although he didn’t know it, would be the people met along the way and the spiral affect they’d have on Justin’s soon-to-be kamikaze mindset.

With new found freedom combined with an 18 year old rebellious attitude it wasn’t long before he started going off the rails. Er… ather, doing rails… Cocaine and speed became routine leaving Justin swimming constantly in between seas of highs and lows. He took trying to “even things out” to the extreme. Too high strung? That’s what weed and alcohol is for! Need a pick-me-up? That’s what coke and speed is for! Never quite knowing how to just sit still and deal, his brain was constantly racing from one thing to the next in an attempt to take his mind off reality even though it led to a daily destruction derby and treating his body like a dumpster.

Justin Dumpster

“I had a lot of shit swirling around in my head that I wasn’t mature enough face head on and figure out. I didn’t care about myself at all and finding an escape became a constant theme for me and stayed that way for a lot of years… Most of my life.”

By the age of 19 Justin found himself riding his youthful invincibility straight into marriage. Young love and the desire to be a little more responsible did little to shed light on his self destructive ways and the demons he was battling however. A licensed big rig driver and closet tech junkie meant that along with the overflow of nonstop bills and spousal duties Justin constantly had his hands full, which only exacerbated his lack of getting a handle on himself. Throw in the drinking, drugs, and hard living and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for disaster if I’ve ever seen one (and trust me, I’ve cooked up my fair share of disasters). Justin was sadly too clouded to ever begin the self reflective process long enough to figure out what was truly wrong with him and why he cared so little about himself.

What made this all the more ironic is Justin is the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed one then go home and bring you a few more so you have extra for next time. His dirty sailor mouth is matched only by his heart of gold and pension for taking care of all of those around him, so why not himself? I know a lot of people who relate to that one…

As time went on and Justin got older he seemingly got a handle on things.

“I dabbled in ‘substances’ when I needed to ‘disappear‘ but had work to worry about too. I was always worried about something, bro.”

It was at the age of 27 on October 13th, 2005 that Justin’s entire world changed. It was this day that Trent, whom Justin affectionately refers to as “Spongebob,” was born. A new focus. A new heart to cherish. A new love.

Justin San Diego 08

It would be neat if that meant that everything became crystal clear as rays of sunshiney realization burst through the haze and infiltrated Justin’s brain like a less intense version of the movie “Alien” but… no. A major turning point in one direction usually causes a swing in another, such was the case with his marriage… After 10 years of making it work their relationship had run its course and at 29 Justin found himself freshly divorced.

This was the domino that sent all the others toppling down.

“I couldn’t handle the heartbreak and stress of it all and got on the fast track to seriously killing myself. I didn’t know it then, but that’s what I was doing…”

The scary part is that you never would have known. Good job? Check. Beautiful healthy son? Check. Friends? Check… even though a few of them needed to get kicked to the curb… Nonetheless a dark spiral turned darker daily as he succumbed to any and every drug he could get his hands on. He’d play the role of dutiful father, good friend, and diligent employee when needed but once he was alone he’d chip away at himself drink by drink, pill by pill, pipe by pipe… and with vigor. An enthusiasm for misery. A thirst for behavior so toxic he could drown in it.

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It’s in these darkest of moments when even the tiniest bit of light can shatter the blackness and refurbish your will. For Justin, his light came from the strike of a lighter on a crack pipe.

6 months after his divorce Justin was sitting on couch in his apartment by himself. He’d been drinking heavily, throwing pain pills back like candy, doing blow, and smoking weed all day because… what else was there to do? The only thing missing in this fiesta was something Justin had only recently decided to add to his depression weapons… Crack. Even though he had plenty of friends who raved about it Justin never wanted to be “that guy.” No one ever gets up in the morning and says “I think I’m going to make the transition into crackhead today!”

Yet here he was.

“I could see the big deal about it” he said. “It hits you like a rush but that didn’t last long for me… I had a breakdown instead.”

Justin went on to describe the reality of the situation hitting him like a tornado full of bricks and twice as heavy. Somewhere within the murk of the drinking and drug cloud he was swimming in came clarity… Trent. Shining like a lighthouse his self abuse illuminated his relationship with his little boy and everything it should have been… but wasn’t. He wasn’t being the father he should or could be and was knocking on hell’s door like a cop with a warrant in the process. He was literally destroying himself when he was alone but somehow couldn’t find a care about it until now… A tidal wave of awareness brought with it streams of tears as Justin had hit his rock bottom and knew it. 

I asked him what he thought made that day different.

“I guess it was just time for the light to turn on.”

 

Justin Tattoo

“I’m alive again, more alive than I have been in my whole entire life.” Eminem – No Love

When Justin puts his mind to something… it gets DONE. It only took a drug induced slap in the face for him to realize that caring about himself IS caring for those he loves most. It’s impossible to love others properly without loving yourself and with this newfound epiphany Justin sought after becoming a better father, son, brother, friend, and overall person like a pitbull on a pork-chop. He got rid of all the “bad friend” contacts that weren’t serving him. At the urging and support of his sister and brother-in-law he joined a gym and got into running! Cutting out all substance abuse and keeping to drinking socially Justin steadily started taking control and gaining confidence… Something he hadn’t experienced in quite some time.

I asked him what made this different than past futile attempts at taking his mind and body back;

“This was something I’d never done before. I’d never taken care of my demons and faced them head on, I’d only ever run from them and used them as crutches. I wasn’t used to it… but once I started getting used to it and cut out all the bad shit I knew this was the path I was supposed to be on. Working on yourself takes time but it’s worth it.” 

Coincidentally enough it was at the gym in 2011 where Justin met Maggie. He was already on a treadmill when Maggie hopped on one right next to him. Describing the moment he met her as “the longest I’ve ever been on a treadmill in my life” the two hit it off big time.

Justin & Maggie

Love will literally run you wild.

Also in a moment of complete serendipity Maggie was the one to introduce Justin to the Fitness Rebellion. Maggie has been a part of Hulk/Rebel since the very beginning and we were stoked to meet the new fella! Boy… he sure didn’t disappoint! Between Trent, Maggie (and her wonderful little ones Lily and Lucas), his career, healthy friendships, and the Fitness Rebellion Justin has been kept grounded, blessed, and humble.

“I’m pushing GOOD limits now which is something I’m still getting used to. 5 years ago if you had told me I’d be doing the stuff I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with now I’d have laughed in your face and called you crazy.”

In the last couple years Justin has run 11 Tough Mudders, 3 Spartan Races, countless “fun runs,” The T25 and “Insanity” programs, 3 Rebel challenges, and inspired countless people in the process with his endearing passion for social media. His love for baseball has been passed down to Trent whom he’s now coaching when he’s not driving freight or training for World’s Toughest Mudder. Recently he got to combine the two:

As we pulled up to my house. I asked Justin if he had anything he wanted to add and he says “yeah, I want to add something for anybody thinking about joining Rebel or anything else that might be the change they need.”

I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He did not disappoint.

“If you’re trying to talk yourself into doing something hard, outside your comfort zone… then do it. Sure something like a 60 minute workout sounds impossible when it’s not a regular part of your life but you need to give yourself a chance! Sometimes that’s all you need… just one chance… That chance can be where you find yourself. In the end it’s always worth it.”

Amen, my man…

Justin & Trent

 

- Rebel8

Rebel Summer of Balance Slideshow

S.O.B.

This summer brought with it more amazing adventures than you can shake a stick at (you know… the universal yard marker for there being a lot of something). In 3 short months we experienced:

  • The 1st ever outdoor orientation workout
  • The return of our food group “The Rebel-Yum”
  • The 1st annual Rebel Run in which we raised $3,000 for TLC Family Services
  • Special guest Super Rebel Paul Trujillo
  • Rebel yoga in the park
  • Return of the Rebel Softball team
  • Our gym family’s own Erik & Jackie’s marriage
  • Tough Mudder in Tahoe with our largest Rebel group yet
  • The annual Anytime Fitness Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

That’s not including all of the individual accomplishments, monumental firsts, tough lessons learned, and inspiration shared on a daily basis by everyone who participated in the 16th Rebel Transformation Challenge.

This slideshow follows the tradition started at the end of the 4th challenge years ago in which at the wrap party we celebrate in full force culminating in remembrance of the great 90 days we just got done experiencing together. If your curious about the Fitness Rebellion… This is it. Check it out!

Dig what you see and want to sign up?
CLICK HERE!

- Rebel8

 

United Rebel Nation

READ THE DESCRIPTION BELOW BEFORE WATCHING THE VIDEO

A while back I asked all the fitness rebels to ANONYMOUSLY write 2 things down on 2 separate cards:

1) What’s the number one thing that holds you back from flying high? What’s your “domino…” the thing that if you knock THAT down, the rest will follow?

2) What’s the thing you are most PROUD of regarding taking care of yourself? What’s the thing you’ve really had to work at and have earned feeling good about?

I then took those cards and created… this. An open window to all of our souls that I’ll be damned if 95% of us can’t relate to most of them. These are real people taking on real life… and really winning! Life is a yin-yang… to know good you must also know bad.

We all know bad… What’s your answer?

- Rebel8

Rebel Ramblings – The Pursuit of Toughness #3

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So week 2 of Operation World’s Toughest Cox has concluded and just like every other week it had its share of ups and downs. I’ll get the downs out of the way first so that we can take a shovel, bury them in the yard, and put a tombstone up that reads “learned from and moved on.”

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My goals for the week were as such:

* Make yoga once this week
* Get in 1 trail run

* Run 15 miles total
* Get in a savage beach workout
* 4 weight training days
* minimum 30 total minutes on the “Lateral X”
* Increased vegetable intake
* Increased breakfast intake
* Reduced night time eating intake

Soakin' in the chakras!

Takin’ in the chakras!

Unfortunately extreme fatigue reared its insubordinate, grotesque head and I didn’t make yoga. That’s the only physical goal I didn’t make but it’s a pretty big one for me. I LOVE the centered focus you get but even more so I love the flexibility training that it forces me to do in ways that I don’t do normally. Stretching aside you work muscle groups, tendons, and ligaments in a way that you’re not going to get from a weight training session, circuit class, cardio, or anything else. That’s the reason why I love Zumba…

Pictured: Mid-Zumba Love

Pictured: Mid-Zumba Love. I’d like to think Denise feels similarly on the inside.

 

When else are you going to move your body in such a way that knocks all the cobwebs out, gets you limber, increases blood flow to areas normally lacking, works up a sweet sweat, AND you get to have fun? As my favorite Zumba Instructor of all time (and one of my all time favorite people in general) Jessica LaVenter states it’s exercise in disguise!

This is Jessica. Soak in the wisdom.

This is Jessica. Soak in the wisdom.

To be fair though… There are a lot Zumba routines that are DEFINITELY not disguised… The exercise punches you square in the face and laughs at you while you try to get up and keep the rhythm with the rest of the class.

Realistic depiction.

Realistic depiction.

As for the nutritional component I decreased my veggie intake from last week but it was still up from average. My breakfast intake was good and my late night eating was… ehhhh. Better than average but I definitely had a few more bowls of cereal than I should have.

And a couple of mini donuts, some chocolate pie, and some In N’ Out to boot… I’M ONLY HUMAN!!!

In reality a few unwise choices aren’t going to derail me in the slightest! They will, however, throw some sludge on my progress train tracks and with World’s Toughest Mudder merely a few months away there is no time to waste!

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Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with perfectionism… I’d like to think that I pretty much represent the anti-perfectionist because I believe big time in yin yang philosophy. To know good you must know bad and vice versa. That is MAJORLY generalized of course… There are opposite ends of the spectrum on everything meaning one thing cannot exist without the other. Now I’m not talking to know of sadness and happiness but rather to knowing sadness and happiness and experiencing that they hold each other’s hand and guide each other through the dark spots. I apply that to my health, well being, and intense training. I accept it all and know that as long as I’m doing the best that I can then I am the best me that I can be at any given moment which you should NEVER beat yourself up over. It’s when you start short changing, cutting corners, negotiating your worth, and straight up giving up that you should start kicking your own ass and answering your own person judge, jury, and executioner.

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My shortcomings also have nothing to do with weight loss. I don’t look at those donuts, bowls of cereal (frosted flakes for you curious kittens out there), In N’ Out, chocolate pie, or anything else I forgot as hindering my weight. Between my training schedule and bringing the same energy as Richard Simmons on a speed binge to the boot camps I run I’m never short on caloric needs. Hell, I lost 4 pounds this week! I’m thankful beyond words that I have achieved activity as normalcy in my life thus allowing a little bit more food leeway for a food addict like myself. Does that mean I don’t feel shitty when I eat things I shouldn’t? Sure as hell doesn’t! Does that mean it doesn’t knock me on my ass like a hibernating bear when I eat enough to feed a family of 5? Heck no… Does it mean I don’t feel the side stitches that aren’t normally there when I go for a run to try to “filter out” the shit food I ate? Every time…

Another realistic depiction.

Another realistic depiction.

I think you get my point.

If you don’t then I’d like to break it down further… Any health goal you choose is going to take a lot of hard work. If your natural, everyday life brought you towards that goal then it wouldn’t really be a goal now would it? You wouldn’t need to put effort out thus negating any hardship & achievement in one fell swoop.  To alter your lifestyle in a way that goes against your urges is extremely difficult even when we realize those urges are not self serving in the slightest. Well I’ve conquered altering my lifestyle after more than a decade of trying to find the balance. You wouldn’t think normalcy would be so exhilarating but I might as well be Tonka with his head out the window I’m so stoked!

 

Exactly like that.

Exactly like that.

With this newly acquired balance I can now focus on the things that REALLY matter… My overall health and the effects that activity and nutrition have on my overall happiness. Not the scale, not how clothes fit, not what I look like… Happiness. I’ve learned that being active and eating well enough is vital to my happiness. When I’m feeling down there is usually a direct correlation to my activity levels/food intake. I know this about myself and adjust accordingly when I need to. I’m going to do this forever because of that and in no way is that overwhelming now but it sure as hell used to be!

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So that’s pretty much how I feel about that I guess… It really helps me to spew my thoughts on this little white screen but I also hope that somebody somewhere is reading this and recognizing their own inner-monologues, goals, and tested intentions and that brings strikes a motivated chord somewhere deep down to keep going even when the going gets tough.

For all that thought process I am stoked to say that I ran my 200th mile this week in about a 7th month time span. I’m pretty proud of that. Small cox for some but big Cox for me! My grip strength training improved drastically in just 1 weeks time and I’m sore in places I haven’t been in awhile which makes me feel all the more better weirdly enough… The beach workout was the gnarliest one yet as we covered 4 miles of coastal running, 200 sand digs, 240 Push-ups with barrel rolls, and 12 god-fucking-awful sand dune bear crawls. I’m pretty convinced that those sand dunes are a masochist’s wet dream. In the end, I’m giving my all and it is all that I can do and exactly what I need to do. I’m taking my body to the limit on my terms and it feels great.

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More importantly, I’m staying sane.

Well... saneISH.

Well… saneISH.

Until next time…

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- Rebel8

Rebel Ramblings – The Pursuit of Toughness #2

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Good God, working out sucks.

The alternative is way worse though…

With that being said holy shit am I exhausted. However, it’s that good fatigue for suresy! It’s that kind of tired that you work for, you know? It’s not the “I ate a whole jar of peanut butter before bed and feel like a hibernating bear in the morning” kind of drained but that earned exhaustion where your body feels utilized and sends endorphin overloads that say “you better sit the fuck down or we’ll MAKE you sit the fuck down.”

... And then once that success is found, take a breather.

… And then once that success is found, take a breather.

After yesterday mornings beach workout with fellow World’s Toughest Justin “TAAAAAAAAH!!” Zuiderweg and a killer trail run this morning with the Unicorn I am, indeed, sitting the fuck down.

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Pictured: All that is man. You can call him Justin.

This week in training was the opposite of an exercise in futility. I gave myself goals and I hit them all:

* Make yoga once this week
* Run 15 miles total
* Get in a savage beach workout
* 4 weight training days
* minimum 30 total minutes on the “Lateral X”
* Increased vegetable intake
* Increased breakfast intake
* Reduced night time eating intake

Even got this bad boy done! Good look deciphering those hieroglyphics...

Even got this bad boy done! Good look deciphering those hieroglyphics…

I’m stoked that I hit me goals but I’m even more amped that at the end of this week I’m not obsessive over it the way I feared my hyperactive brain might be. I also have a healthy perspective in the sense that this week was amazing yet I know I may not be able to hit my goals sometime in the future and that’s ok! I’m relishing the present success rather than fearing the future potential failure. The reason why it’s a big deal to me is that in the past I would have a good week and get stressed the fuck out and feel under pressure like Billy Joel to the point of panic attacking my way to giving up or spinning out of control. I would crumble because of the success which although ludicrous it happens to people more often than we think. Translation; I’m one of many people that get scared of a good thing and subconsciously sabotage myself to fail so that I’m still in control. You can’t control the exact trajectory of success but you can manage your demise.

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Do you ever find yourself managing your own failure? Think about it…

A lot of forms of self abuse are really just ways to feel in charge of ourselves by giving us a dynamic “thing” to keep in check when we feel like we don’t have a firm grasp on ANYTHING. Needless to say I’m pretty pumped I’m not feeling that way this time around.

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So even with all this fatigue I can feel my body cogs working their way back into top knotch super saiyan status which makes me look forward to this coming week the same way I used to look forward to deep frying a family sized bag of tator tots with bacon, cheddar cheese, and ranch as a kid. PRIORITIES!

Something like this.

Something like this.

My goals for the coming week are the same as above but after today’s amazing trail run through Annadel with Cara I decided I need to get in at least 1 trail running session a week. For me my body comes alive on those trails unlike anywhere else. It caters perfectly to my Mad-Hatter-Meets-Robocop mindset.

Again, something like that.

Again, something like that.

It tunnel visions me properly while giving my brain something to stay focused on while my body pings back and forth like I’m trying out for American Ninja Warrior and I’m totaaaaaallllllyyyyy gonna conquer Mt. Midoriyama. Seriously, it’s a trip! It’s like my brain and body are making microcosmic decisions and calibrations and when I zone in I’m more just along for the ride than anything else. The rad factor is high for me because I’ll never forget where I’ve come from… especially in these moments.

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Fun fact: That’s a Carl’s Jr. stain on my shirt. Keeping it real at its finest.

My challenge in this moment is I want to eat the crappiest food imaginable because exhaustion is a nasty siren with devilishly persuading tendencies. I mean, after the week I’ve had it’s like I deserve a large pizza to myself right? Right…?

…?

No, that’s not what I deserve. I deserve to feel great and eating an entire large pizza has never done that for me (and trust me when I say I have a lot of data collected on the matter). It’s not about weight gain or feeling fat… because truthfully I’ve worked hard enough this week and have accumulated enough muscle mass over the years that I could rock that large pizza with a bag of chips and a super burrito and aside from the 2 inch bloat suit I’d undoubtedly be wearing in the morning time I wouldn’t gain any true weight… I recognize that. That understanding was dangerous information for me a few years back. It was an excuse to do it. Don’t get me wrong… I still give in to that twisted thought process more often than I’m comfortable admitting, but not as often as I stay away from it which is VICTORY BABY!

Pictured: Me the morning after a large pizza, bag of chips, and super burrito.

Pictured: Me the morning after a large pizza, bag of chips, and super burrito.

It’s about feeling like a million bucks. It’s about setting yourself up to create and take advantage of self betterment opportunities that wait for you around every corner… You just have to look for them, Well, I’m looking alright… I promised I’m showing up to Vegas come November in the best shape of my life and I will swear by that until it’s over and I’m holding that World’s Toughest Mudder headband up high.

Tower of Power! Lookin' forward to adding to the collection ;)

Tower of Power! Lookin’ forward to adding to the collection ;)

Thanks for the accountability, Rebels! Until next time…

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- Rebel8

Rebel Ramblings – The Pursuit of Toughness

That video right above this sentence… Yeah, I’m doing that shit.

Balls. In. Throat.

Due to some amazing friends/Rebels/crazies who banded together and registered me for something that I very well could have secretly resented them for (because I mean… SURPRISE YOU’RE DOING A 24 HOUR TOUGH MUDDER!!!!!) I am a fully registered member of the World’s Toughest Mudder legion and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. The “get Cox to WTM 2014″ movement was spearheaded by my man Justin and his better half Maggie whom along with a Unicorn and some dear friends I get the pleasure of traversing the Sin City landscape with come November 15th through the 16th. Justin and I had many a conversation about how nuts it would be to get after World’s Toughest Mudder and had you asked me a couple months ago I would have sworn on a stack of every religious academia you could find that I DEFINITELY wouldn’t be attacking WTM this year.

Well wouldn’t you know it… we’re now about 3 months away from that getting blown out of the water like an epic pirate battle.

Sounds like living to me!

24 hour Tough Mudder course in Vegas with my favorite people? Sounds like living to me!

So now that you know the setup here’s the skinny on this Rebel rambling. I’ve found myself having a lot of thoughts and feelings on the matters surrounding this event that keep swirling and swirling around in my brain cage frantically searching for a crack so they can escape. My better half Cara is an absolute blessing. She is here to talk to and through this whole fiesta with and I’ll never be able to express my thankfulness for the encouragement she provides just merely with her presence and reassurance that “I’ve got this shit.” I’m not sure what part of my circus-addled brain is soothed by writing out my thoughts and feelings, but I’ve learned not to really question it and go for it with gusto. So… here we are.

There are some days I find myself riding a wave of anxiety like I’m trying out for the upcoming “Point Break” remake *Editor’s Note*BOOOOOOOOO!!!!*End Editor’s Note*. I have a problem sleeping through the night as is but now my brain dog has another stress bone to chew on so I’m sure you know how that goes. With that being said… Something I firmly believe in is that all goals worth working towards carry nerves behind them. It means you care. It means you FEEL what you’re doing and your heart is IN IT! Sure, these feelings are scary and intimidating but they can be just as much exhilarating and refreshing. Problem is not everybody percolates on those nerves long enough to experience the good side. I see it a lot like Platform 9 3/4 in “Harry Potter.” You see this brick wall in front of you and you’re told there’s an awesome place behind it… All you gotta do is run through it!

You just look like a weirdo when you stop and stare at the wall though...

You just look like a weirdo when you just stop and stare though…

The point I’m making for those unfamiliar with the reference (aka muggles) is that the fear of the worst case scenario is strong enough to hold a lot of us back from the best case scenario when we sit on our haunches and pray for the day life gets easy and problems don’t exist anymore.

Update: All problems solved.

Update: All problems solved.

That day will not only never ever come but contrarily we arrive back at my first point… All goals worth working towards carry nerves behind them. The nerves highlight the adventure. The anxiety amplifies your focus when channeled correctly and it all starts with that good ol’ cliche we call perspective. Simple enough… If it were easy it wouldn’t be special. So… even the bad feelings surrounding this World’s Toughest Mudder insanity are really just good stuff in disguise!

There was a point and time when I was competing back when that I documented every single milligram of nutrition I took in and every molecule of energy expelled out. Each second spent on a cardio machine, every rep lifted, and every pound accounted for all day, er’ day. I did some semblance of this with various extremes (most often on the “most” extreme setting) and I burnt myself out like already bald tires kicking off an all day drag race.

Hey there...

Pictured: Creepy face and burnt out.

When every waking moment is spent worrying about controlling literally everything around you it’s common to crash and crash HARD. When you are too stubborn to crash however is when you find yourself caught in this limbo between a complete mental breakdown and the self assurance that this is the price of being “healthy.” It’s like an emotional purgatory where all you want to do is laugh and cry at the same time equally and BOY IS THAT CONFUSING! Are you doing the right thing? Are you hurting yourself? Are you merely feeling the result of hard work and dedication or are you overdoing it? AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! So the answer… WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN BECAUSE THAT WAY YOU CAN CONTROL ALL OF THE THINGS!!!

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Did all of this obsessive compulsion and delirious drive lead to me being the best body builder in the world? Not a chance. I was mediocre on my best day when it came to competition. It’s the journey though… The experiences I had, knowledge thirsted for, and dedication to see it through even when every aching inch of me screamed to quit every single goddamn day that molded into my approach now. I learned not only what not to do but also how I didn’t want to feel. What did I want out of fitness? What was the overall end goal? Do the ends justify the means and once I achieve physical perfection I’ll be happy or do I have it backward? What’s the point of burning the candle in the middle and at both ends if you’re too exhausted, angry, and high strung to enjoy it? Is that really the goal? Is that REALLY how you want to feel at the end of the day or did you just find a new form of misery because that’s where your fucked up self is most comfortable…?

These were the hard questions I found myself not able to shake once I’d finally hit the major burnout point. They were the questions that were nagging in my brain all along I just didn’t have the strength to run away from them anymore.

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Don’t get me wrong… Some people truly do thrive off of goal oriented health… Even NEED it for happiness and sustainability! I found out the hard way I am not one of those people. It’s kind of like how some people absolutely LOVE mathematics and numbers while others (right here) see an algebraic equation and can literally feel an aneurysm giving birth unto itself. If you’re one of those “math makes my soul hurt” kind of people can you imagine the torture of attempting to become a calculus expert? On top of that can you see how ridiculous it would be to beat yourself up for not enjoying it? Yeah, kinda like that…

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Fast forward about 7 years from my last competition until now and the thing I’m most proud of regarding my personal accomplishments in this health and fitness world has been my ability to equalize and maintain. Those questions from above that caught up to me… I answered them and answered them accordingly. Had I not gone all in on the roller coaster that was my weight loss/body building journey I wouldn’t have been able to define what health means to ME. Plain and simple… I would never have known! For all that stress and anxiety I put myself through I also found a lot of things that DO work for me that I implement to this very day. I learned an immeasurable amount about nutrition, the human body, exercise manipulation, and so much more in the process. I proved to myself that I could do something and finish it out. I was and am proud of myself and to earn your own self pride is what makes your heart flower blossom in my opinion.

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Something like this… only inside your chest.

I defined fitness and made it fun for myself. I started doing everything I could get my hands on… I became two timed TRX certified, began a love affair with the BOSU and undulating ropes, took a couple Russian kettle bell courses, started signing up for mud runs, developed a fierce Zumba habit for awhile, and much more all in the name of taking it all in and experiencing the joy and benefits each different thing had to offer. I learned to explore and redefine the way I think! I learned to accept and carry my demons with me rather than feeling like I’ve got to banish them forever and until then I’m broken and useless. Truth is we are ALL broken in some way or another so there is zero point in feeling like you’re a solo cracked vase coasting through a sea of flawless fine china.

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So during those 7 years and even with all the comfort zones I leaped out of I never found myself face to face with an event that required the kind of meticulous training (above and beyond the hard work I put in by default) a body building competition requires… Until now. Sure, I’ve upped my training ante for various relays and Tough Mudders but never to the all encompassing degree that body building demands.

To me this World’s Toughest Mudder is more than just a 24 hour obstacle course designed to see what you’re made of. It’s my chance to take everything I’ve learned the last 7 years and combine it with the mindset and dedicated training nature of the competitive perfectionist I was (or frazzled myself trying to be rather) the 4 years prior. I get to take the fat kid I once was (and still am to a degree) with me for the ultimate culmination of “I told you you could do it you sad son-of-a-bitch-amazing-woman!”

Drawing credit: Fellow Rebel Jason Moughon

Drawing credit: Fellow Rebel Jason Moughon

The swirl of all this means I’m yet again in new territory which is frightening… but also where I thrive. I refuse to get as high strung as I used to yet will be showing up to Las Vegas in November in the best shape I’ve ever been in. You can bet on that like your mortgage depends on it. Only I’m going to have fun first and foremost. I’m going to get the results people don’t get by doing the work people don’t do but I’m gonna do it with a big ass grin on my face. I’m going to eat with purpose and experience the joy of feeling great rather than dwell on the fact I can’t get Green Burrito tacos every other night because I’m a TEMPLE, DAMNIT! If I feel myself getting out of whack and losing focus on getting results and enjoying it in the process… Then I’ll eat some cake and take a day off like a boss. There was a day when I internalized that as “fitness suicide” but now I look at it as a life essential. THAT is what I learned in the last 7 years and THAT is the thing I’m most proud of out of every single thing I’ve ever done; to be exceptionally normal. 

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I will have my slip ups and pitfalls but that’s part of the growth. I accept and embrace them, something I never used to do. Through this process I will exacerbate my inner silver back gorilla to the umpteenth degree and passionately cherish every moment. I will be so sore I can barely walk and then I will take care of myself properly (with some Unicorn help because she is what makes the world go ’round) so I can do it again. I will rest when I need to. I will eat when I need to. I will switch my training schedule when I need to. I will modify when I need to. All things I equated to being a failure merely years ago that now I have learned is the only way to success… Adjust and adapt, baby!

Pictured: The feeling of adjusting and adapting.

Pictured: The feeling of adjusting and adapting.

To conclude this introspection/therapy session I plan on updating these Rebel ramblings frequently. This was cathartic as hell while providing some accountability. Aside from all that important stuff I hope that a look behind the curtain might help some of y’all out. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not the only one struggling and the struggle is definitely real. We’re all in the same boat just rowing different oars! Iron is forged by fire and if you’re in the midst of gettin’ scorched just hold on like Wilson Phillips because you’re gonna emerge from the flames stronger than you were before.

Trust me.

On the flip side I hope to represent that when you NEED some forging fire… make it! You are the pilot of your own plane and you alone get the blessing of deciding where you’re going. You also get to decide what kind of plane ride you’re going to have as long as you know that you can’t control the turbulence and just need to ride it out till it clears up (mini vodka bottles not included).

Until next time…

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- Rebel8