Cost: $225 (Payment plans not a problem! Additional costs for non-Anytime Fitness members)
– Twice-a-week indoor workouts – Brand New Fit Test
– Group Step/Mileage Challenge
– Nutrition Tracking with a Trainer – Return of the “Challenge Soundtrack” – Custom Shirt (handmade for you with your own personal design!)
– Themed workouts (including BLACKLIGHT, Time Warp, & “WTF”)
– Return of the “MVH, Unicorn, & Legend” Awards
… more details to come as the get ironed out!
If you’re a woman looking to building some lean muscle but are new to the neighborhood, then let me be the first to welcome you! If you’re a veteran when it comes to throwing it down in muscle town but are looking for some new juicy tidbits to further perfect your bodily craft… then let me be your huckleberry for the next few paragraphs!
Firstly, let’s talk “fear” and “apprehension.” Are you fearful that the moment you start messing around with some weights you’re going to wake up one day having accidentally morphed into a gargantuan she-beast, ripping your pajamas at the seams with an insatiable bloodlust for steak? Does that make you apprehensive to starting a workout program beyond cardio components? Well then, it’s a good thing we’re here because I can 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, and unequivocally assure you that will never happen.
Cue sigh of relief.
What you’re up against is your body’s natural chemistry impeding you from bulking up like an Oklahoma hay bailer without a LOT of a hard work. I mean… a lot. It can take months to see standard fitness progression let alone years for a complete muscular metamorphosis, and that’s with specified intensive training (i.e. definitely not accidental). That’s not even factoring in the nutritional component! You’d need to eat like an NFL linebacker every day to gain the kind of muscle mass you’re fearful of. I guess what I’m saying is muscle building in any capacity takes blood (flow), sweat, and tears (micro tears in your muscle fibers that improve themselves via the repairing process to be more specific). Never will you bulk up accidental. Ever.
Plus, I’ll be damned if I spent 4 years competitively body building in daily pursuit of size, strength, and more size with the effort of Atlas and the progress rate of your local government’s highway construction only to find out someone new to working out stumbled upon the Rosetta stone of muscular development with a few bicep curls and some anxiety…
… Kidding! You know, mostly.
What are the major ways women can build lean muscle?
Building efficient & functional lean muscle is going to require resistance training of some sort. To get technical, resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, and/or endurance. Hence the intro. Henceforth these tips:
Start Weight Lifting with Compound Movements – Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time. They tend to mimic every day movements while engaging most of your muscles. That means increased caloric burn, improved endurance/joint stability/balance, better functional strength, decrease your risk of injury, and overall improve all aspects of your health & fitness. The following are your best bets when it comes to checking out compound movements;
Be sure to do your research on proper form! See how these can fit into your current schedule… or make a new schedule with these included!
Incorporate Circuit Training – Circuit training is when you take multiple exercises and put them together back-to-back (to-back-to-back etc. depending on how many you include… the sky is the limit!). This methodology keeps your body from getting complacent in a routine while diversifying your movements. You can expect some fantastic heart health too when you incorporate some circuit training at least 1-2x a week. The best part? You can make a circuit with as many compound movements that your healthy heart desires feeding 2 birds with 1 seed on your fitness agenda!
Incorporate HIIT Training as well! – HIIT, or “high intensity interval training” typical involves doing quicker, more cardio based movements for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between. This will not only help keep your body fat percentage down but will also target your fast twitch muscle fibers which are essential to muscle building. Lean and a machine, baby! The following are some primetime examples to crush, HIIT style;
Are there any habits or things women might be doing in the gym that are hurting their chances of building lean muscle mass?
Cardio Killer Queens – All too often women will jockey the elliptical, treadmill, or bike with little regard to much else. Although you’re working a major sweat and burning through calories like you’re trying to collect them all, it’s long term ineffectual. You’re not really enhancing anything once your body gets used to it. You burn the calories, you build a sweat, and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not bad at all! However, if that’s all you’re doing then it’s time to expand your program. Instead of giving yourself long term benefits with a balanced program your keeping your goals shortsighted with little room for improvement beyond wherever you’re at now.
Stretch! – If you’re constantly working your muscles via resistance you are simultaneously building tightness. It’s a natural byproduct of high intensity muscle flexion that can potential leaving you feeling like a ball of stress. Proper static stretching and foam rolling (SMR… look it up!) will balance you out and enhance that lean look you’re searching for.
Do the Research – Have you ever REALLY wanted something and decided you’ll do whatever it takes to get it? Could be a job, a new piece of technology, running shoes, a midnight pizza… you know, the usual suspects. Anyways, that determination can tend to fall juuuust short when it comes to health & fitness goals for some women. Have you researched exercises and programs? Have you tried them? Have you talked to a professional about how to do them properly? Practiced proper form? Met with anyone that could help you? The lack of proactivity from individuals who are desperate to better themselves doesn’t fall on laziness the way one might think… it falls on self-sabotage. You skip out on the leg work because you’re fearful you’ll never achieve what you want since “it’s just not meant for you”. Or you’ll look silly trying. Or you’ll give-up halfway through “like usual.” You’re padding your crash landing so when that moment comes of you falling out of sky, you’ll have a nice, soft nest of inner voiced “I told you so” waiting for you at the bottom. It’s time to buck your personal trend and get after it. Do the diligence, try out everything you need, practice till it’s perfect, and never stop believing in yourself. Sometimes you’re all you’ve got and in cases like this it’s time to be your own best friend.
What are the best ways to eat for lean muscle?
Nutrition is integral to lean muscle building and quite honestly, we could be here all day on the topic. Since that’s not an option here are the simplified staples;
Keep Your Macros Balanced – Macronutrients are comprised of fats, proteins, and carbs. It’s a relatively simple approach to the complex nuances of the human body… but it works. If you can keep these 3 macros balanced in your daily nutrition then you’re on the right track with your foot fully on the pedal. Carbohydrates keep you fueled, energized, & sharp (as long as you don’t go overboard!). Proteins will keep your muscles satiated, repaired, and strong. Fats will lubricate your joints, better your brain, INCREASE your fat burn (when having the proper amounts of good omega fatty acids), and keep you satisfied. Leaving any of those out (unless on a specialized diet) will only set you up for failure in the long term.
Ditch the Booze – Wine, beer, hard alcohol; it all causes your body to react to it like a toxin. Effectively shutting down your body’s reparation on the work you put in at the gym and instead focuses on getting the alcohol out. “Luxury” functions take a backseat as your body just tries to reset to zero. Kudos to you if you’re well practiced enough to not feel the effects of long term, consistent alcohol intake anymore… but that just means you’re stunting your results big time.
Limit Your Sugar – This seems standard at this point but in case you haven’t heard sugar isn’t all that great for you… it’s not. Essentially every time you flood your body with a rush of sugar it spikes your insulin like a climbing roller coaster. While you experience a surge of short-lived energy your body’s fat burning switch turns all the way off. It stays that way even as you start to crash. All the while your hormones are going bonkers causing you to feel all sorts of terrible. Then that gremlin of sugar addiction gnaws away at you, yearning for a new fix since internally that insulin spike hits all the pleasure buttons in your body and it can’t WAIT to experience it again. Detox is hard… I recommend cold turkey. It’s sugar free and jam packed with protein that your body needs *rimshot*
Stay Hydrated – Another one that is par for the course but always a good reminder. Especially if this one tends to elude you. Without high quality h2O running through your system your cells can perform their jobs correctly. Your cells make up, um… every single bit of you. That should be motivation to throw in an extra glass of water here and there, right? … Right?
Top 5 Ways to Incorporate Kettlebells into Your Workout
“Kettlebells” are more than just the name of an unnecessary & obnoxious invention I created to let you know your tea is ready (my Kickstarter campaign is totally going to take off… you watch!). They are also fun little molded balls of weight perfect for incorporating functionality into your fitness routine anytime, anywhere. Kettlebells can strengthen your joints, improve your mobility & range of motion, enhance your cardiovascular health, provide a variety of training muscle stimuli, encourage a fun new way to view your fitness, and mimic everyday movements whilst reducing potential for injury. From warm-up to full routine and transitional exercises in-between there truly is no limit to what these weighted wonders can do for you! Let us count the ways, shall we? Well, at least 5 of those ways.
1. Work Them into Your Warm-Up
Kettlebells are great for getting your blood flowing and posture aligned as well as your joints, tendons, and ligaments juiced up for whatever activity you’ve got planned. If you’re uninitiated, then there are 4 movements that come to mind that would be perfect for you to check out and start with:
Slingshots – These are great for warming up your shoulder mobility and cuing your core to get ready for work. You simply keep your arms extended while you swing a kettlebell around your body with an easy momentum swing up to shoulder height every front rotation. Rep Count: 10-20 (both directions)
“Hand Cuff” Good Mornings – This movement takes away a lot of lower back stress traditional “good mornings” can cause while keeping your shoulders roll back and spine delightfully straight. These are also amazing for warming up your back, hips, and glutes for some of the bigger movements kettlebells have to offer (which you’ll read more about when we get to the conditioning portion of this thang). Just hold the kettlebell behind you and maintain this position as you lean forward as far as you’re comfortable. Stand back up with an emphasis on keeping your core tight and repeat! Rep count: 8-12
Turkish Get Ups – If you’re looking to mimic a motion we all do every single day, only harder then look no further than the Turkish get up. You are literally laying down while holding up a kettlebell and then getting into standing position before laying back down the same way you got up… all while keeping the kettlebell elevated. It covers all planes of movement, engages every fiber in your body, and has a bit of a “fun” factor since you have some much to focus on! Rep count: 5-10 (each arm)
Windmills– Similar to the Turkish get up only you get to stay standing while highlighting your lateral movement. Keep the kettlebell elevated with 1 arm while hinging at the waist sideways in an attempt to touch the outside of your ankle with your other arm (only go down as far as able). Look up towards the kettlebell at the bottom end of the motion and straight forward at the top end. Rep count: 5-10 (each side)
2. Find the Balance
Another fun challenge is to see what your balance skills are when it comes to kettlebells. You could check out planks or push-ups with the kettlebells as handles. How about “bottom’s up” shoulder presses (hold the weight by the handle and keep the bottom upright the whole time) while balancing on 1 leg. Don’t forget 1 legged deadlifts and V-sit pocket transfers! Your creativity is the limit, champ!
3. Put on a Variety Show
Don’t be afraid to replace current exercises in your arsenal with similar kettlebell movements. Add them to your walking lunges or start rocking out goblet squats on the regular for example. Use kettlebells instead of dumbbells for your shoulder presses as another example. Use your imagination regarding the stuff that’s part of your regular workout and don’t be afraid to do some good old Google research if you need additional ideas for how to kick your own butt, kettlebell style.
4. Upgrade Your Conditioning Routine
If you dug the warm-up section that we laid out above and are also a glutton for punishment (aka pumping up the challenge) then these are the all-stars when it comes to stepping it up a notch. The goal with these total body exercises is to keep your heart rate riding high, your sweat faucets turned all the way on, and include the entirety of your body in a bid to becoming a conditioning machine.
Snatches– Hold your kettlebell with 1 hand, hinge at the waist, “hike” motion the kettlebell between your legs, and then thrust your hips forward powerfully as you swing the kettlebell into a tuck position at your shoulder. Swing it back down the way it went up and repeat! Rep count: 10-15 (each side)
Clean & Press– The same as the “snatch” only add a shoulder press into it! Rep count: 8-15 (each side) .
High-Pulls– The same as the snatch only navigate your swing momentum into a high shoulder row. The kettlebell doesn’t go higher than your shoulder and you want to focus on leading with your elbow, squeezing your rear shoulders/back muscles at the peak. Keep it quick so as not to overstrain! Rep count: 8-15 (each side)
Thrusters– A goblet squat but with 2 kettlebells instead of one and an explosive shoulder press at the top of the motion. Rep count: 10-20
Swings– Same start position as the snatch only with 2 hands on the kettlebell. When you thrust upward keep your arms fully extended instead of tucking them. You can swing to shoulder height or all the way above your head depending on your range of motion, desired challenge level, and comfortability with the movement. Let the kettlebell’s own momentum naturally fall back to the start and repeat! Rep count: 10-20
5. Short Circuit Yourself
Take everything we’ve talked about thus far and put them into any order you see fit. Mix and match, explore, and find out what combination of kettlebell movements match up with your goals. Pick the exercises, set the reps, commit to a certain number of rounds, and then… execute. This methodology allows you to easily decide how much kettlebell incorporation you want in your life while keeping it efficient and fun. Sure, it may be hard… but if it were easy it wouldn’t be special.
Start Date:February 8th/9th (Beginning Fit Tests & measurements)
End Date:April 13th/14th (Ending Fit Tests & measurements)
This upcoming 10 week “Rebel Results” experience will include:
* Brand new fit test with option for before/after photos & measurements! * Twice-a-week boot camps (as well as workouts given to you to practice)! * “Active Rebel Minutes” movement challenge! * Brand New Custom Rebel T-shirt! * Optional “Rebel Resistance” Strength Training Clinic! * NEW TEAMS! The Rebel Rockers & Rebel Rollers!
* Revamped Rebel Bingo! * … and more to be announced!
If all of that sounds good:
$225 for Anytime Fitness Members(minimum $100 down payment by February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)
$275 for non- Anytime Fitness Members who are trying a Rebel challenge for the FIRST TIME(minimum $125 down payment by February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)
$375 for non-Anytime Fitness Members who are RETURNING Rebels yet would like to forgo getting an Anytime Fitness Membership (minimum $150 down payment February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)
For full breakdown on measurement day, fit tests, orientation, why the price breaks down the way it does, the importance of your key fob CLICK HERE
If all of the above works for you then the LAST bit you need to do… is SIGN UP!
40 Fitness Rebels got together the summer of 2015 and took a trip to fitness Wonderland. This is that story broken apart into 8 chronological (mostly) chapters. Through this roller coaster of a journey 3 things have been constant and true… There is always an adventure to be had, a lesson to be learned, and a shoulder to lean on when you participate in life. So do it. Dare to grab life by the chutneys and demand the happiness you deserve.
I’ve designed some shirts I would love to use my spray paint voodoo on for the Clydesdales and Athena’s running World’s Toughest Mudder 2015! The immediate goal is to raise enough money to buy my better half and myself our plane tickets to the big event in November with the long term goal of raising additional money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
After materials & shipping I would need to sell roughly 50 shirts to cover the airfare costs but I pledge that if I am able to sell more I will donate the rest of the proceeds to WWP!
These are the shirt designs in the simplest form. Each shirt will be white splattered with the color accent of your choice (order form below):
The following are the options for what type of shirt you would like to order:
Men’s T-Shirt (up to 4X) – $20 Men’s Tank Top (up to 3X) – $25 Men’s Dri-fit Performance Shirt (up to 4X) – $30 Women’s Flowy Racerback Tank Top (up to 2X) – $25 Women’s T-Shirt (up to 3X) – $20 Women’s Dri-fit Performance Shirt (up to 3X) – $30 Unisex Comfort Soft Long Sleeve Shirt (up to 3X) – $30
If you’d like to order a shirt simply fill out the form below! I will send an invoice you can pay from wherever you are to the e-mail address provided.
Orders will stop being taken on September 30th, shipped October 17th, and projected to arrive October 19th-26th!
Recently I asked the two teams participating in this current Fitness Rebel challenge (the Rad Cats & Mad Hatters) to submit a photo for a voting contest! Well, they submitted so that leaves only one step left…
The assignment was to take a photo with the Rebel shirt I spray paint voodoo’d up for them… and that’s it! It could be whatever they wanted as long as the Rebel shirt is represented and it’s a photo that tells us who you are. The goal was to get all different kinds of photos from all walks of life and see multifaceted Rebel points of view, have a good time in the process, and share our fun at the end of it!
The first picture of the first shirt I ever spray painted.
Each photo was taken by either a Rad Cat or Mad Hatter. Whichever photo wins earns a point for the photographer’s team! Voting will be closed on:
Sunday, August 30th
Check out the photos! Each photo has a number underneath it (completely random) making it pretty easy to vote for. Thank you for sharing in our Fitness Rebel Nation experience!
The past 6 years have brought with it an illustrious history when it comes to the Fitness Rebellion and the transformation challenges (you can listen to, watch, and read all about it here, here, and here). We’ve lost a LOT of weight, inches, and sweat over the years but way more important has been the health gained, fitness conquered, happiness achieved, unforgettable memories made, and money for charity we’ve raised! Throughout all the incredible journeys the Fitness Rebellion has been on we’ve rocked, rolled, and kicked some major ass through many amazing adventures all in the name of health and harmony… and it’s time for a new one…
For the 1st time ever the upcoming Rebel challenge is going NATIONWIDE! No matter where you are at you will be able to participate in the upcoming 3 month challenge we are about to embark upon beginning FEBRUARY 15TH! The goal of this challenge will be to push ourselves a healthier place, support one another in the process, do epic things, and have a great time throughout. It’s about more than just taking your body back… it’s about taking your hear and soul back too! If you watch this video you’ll experience exactly what I’m talking about…
Cost:$125 (paid via online invoice sent to you payable from the convenience of your own home!)
Duration:February 15th – May 16th (3 months)
How will you be participating with us at “home base?”:Timing wise we will all essentially be doing our fit test, weigh-ins, and workouts together. Even though you can’t be here with us working out in the Rebel room the workouts you receive each week will coincide with the workouts we do here in Santa Rosa. There will be video and photo projects you’ll be able to participate for some new Rebel video inspiration! You will be up for Nationwide Rebel Awards such as the “Inspiration Nation MVH” award, the “Ultimate Shoveler” award, and more to be announced at the Rebel wrap party here at home base! The “Rebel Trekkers” challenge will be for home base and nationwide participants only and will be a mileage covering quest with 3 different difficulty levels that you can choose from. You will also be included in our home base facebook group that normally is only for Santa Rosa (and surrounding area) Rebels… Now you get to hop in the community with us and be greeted and treated like a rockstar!
Fit Test (w/ optional circumference measurement sheet)
Resistance Training Guide
2 Original Rebel Workouts e-mailed to you each week complete with instructional photos and video database (which you can keep and utilize forever!)
Custom Rebel Shirt (among other goodies!)
Access to the private “Fitness Rebel Nation” Facebook group in which only “home base” and countrywide FNR participants are in. This is our Rebel community support group.
Weekly accountability complete with weigh-in system
Inclusion in the 1st ever “Rebel Trekkers” Challenge
Inclusion in the “end of challenge” wrap party award ceremony!
Directly from the private Facebook page to your anxiously awaiting face!
Interest in joining? Then all you’ve got to do is fill out the form below and I’ll have all the information I need to send you the invoice via e-mail, order your shirt, and organize you into my Rebel database so I can keep you posted on the next steps in this process as they come (including lots more information about the above stuff I hope has you so pumped up you want to jump up!)
My name is Josh Cox and recently I competed in the 4th Annual World’s Toughest Mudder; a 24 hour endurance event where you complete as many 5 mile laps as you can while traversing 20+ of the hardest obstacles Tough Mudder has to offer. If you’re unfamiliar with my background here is a short 5 minute video put together by Anytime Fitness from when I was recognized as one of 4 success stories in 2012. Through my 6+ years with Anytime Fitness I’ve had some unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and this will forever be up there with some of the best of them. “When was the last time you did something for the first time” was the quote Sean Corvelle, Tough Mudder MC extraordinaire, opened up with and it was made clear in that moment that the answer was November 15th, 2014.
As I sit down to write this about 4 weeks have come and gone since the culmination of World’s Toughest Mudder. During that time I’ve done a whole helluva lot of reflecting on it yet haven’t really been ready to jot it all down until now. Let’s start here:
World’s Toughest Mudder 2014 was beyond a mouse fart of a doubt the most challenging thing I’ve ever chosen to do in my entire life.
I know I still have a lot of life left to live but I also pride myself on being a firm advocate of stepping outside of your comfort zone and boy… let me tell you… If California is my comfort zone then Las Vegas might as well have been goddamn Australia. *Writer’s Note*For you Aussies reading this who competed… Your entire life in my imagination is a World’s Toughest Mudder*End Writer’s Note*
If this is an obstacle next year… I’m out.
The second thing I want to address is that this wouldn’t have happened without the best of friends by my side. It was Fitness Rebels who got together and took care of my ticket. I got to run it with Super Rebel Paul Trujillo and the amazing Jacqualyn Evans. I had the best training partner and friend I could possibly ask for in Rebel hero Justin Zuiderweg. His better half Maggie Schuck, along with Tami Tuminello, Sean Barnett, and MY better half Cara “Unicorn” Jones made up our “World’s Toughest Pit Crew.” They were there for the setup, duration, and breakdown of the entire shindig and selflessly tended to every need we had. Shoot, Tami literally held down the fort during the sandstorm! As for Cara, she was my rock through this whole thing encouraging me every step of the way. Whether it was pushing me on the days I didn’t want to train, working with me to make sure I had the proper gear, or listening to me blather on and on and on about this whole mess… she was my Unicorn pillar throughout it all. Thank you Cara! Thank you everyone!!
What radical looks like. Ignore the fact that Cara looks like grumpy cat… It was a long 24 hours and the Starbucks hadn’t kicked in yet!
The nuttiness of this event made it to “The Chive” and as a Chiver it was pretty rad going through the photo set of something that *I* was a part of. Real talk; I thought I had a better chance at discovering type III diabetes the hard way before I ever pictured myself doing something this insane… The part that I keep going back to in my mastiff-sized head (seriously… size 8 in fitted hits… no foolin’) is that this is exactly how I felt upon signing up for and competing in my very first Tough Mudder back in 2011 (Tahoe). Chance would have it that this was also how I felt upon registering for my 1st 8k trail run with Cara. Also, My 1st Body Building competition. And then my 2nd… and then my 3rd… My 1st Spartan beast. My 1st 200 Mile relay!
The night before the first Tahoe Tough Mudder! It didn’t put hair on my chest, just on my face and head.
That’s just the small stuff though comparatively… I felt the SAME WAY when I joined my 1st gym at 14 years old with the greatest Mom ever, mine (she has the coffee mug to prove it), as the co-signer. The 1st time I ventured off the Reebok cycler and tested the free weights out. The 1st protein jug I ever bought and the DEFINITE muscle that was waiting for me at the bottom of that strawberry/vomit flavored Nitrotech barrel (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). The 1st pair of 32 inch waist jeans I ever bought and THEN the terrifying 1st time I ever wore them out. The 1st time I could fit my thumb and middle finger around my wrist! The 1st time I wore a shirt and noticed my stomach wasn’t what stuck out the farthest! The 1st pull-up I ever accomplished. The 1st push-up I ever completed. The 1st time I ran a mile the whole way through without stopping. My 1st personal training consultation, my 1st client, my 1st group class….
How about the 1st time Justin gave me a shower?
The point I’m driving at is that it was all a staircase of progression. I’ve long since connected the fact that making the ballsy decision to step into the gym for the 1st time and actually do something about my health was literally the horrifying equivalent of how it felt standing at the start line ready to endure whatever the next 24 hours of hell had to offer this past November 15th.
A gnarly sandstorm with 28 degree windchill factor was not in the brochure
Without that progression I never would have known what that next step was. I mean, think about it… A toddler doesn’t know what it’s like to crawl… until it does. Crawling leads to walking, which leads to running, which leads to jumping, which leads to, you know… A lot of other advanced movements once motor skills develop and stuff… I don’t know, I’m not a Doctor! In any case I learned that stepping into the gym was my “crawl.” Attempting machines I’d only watched curiously from afar was my “walking.” I started “running” when I signed up for my first body building competition which then led to “advanced movements” like 200 mile relays, countless obstacle course races, a Fitness Rebellion, guest speaking around the country, a couple of small television appearances, published writings on my experiences, and so much more that I’ll forever be thankful I was able to struggle through and cherish in my lifetime. You don’t just have epic shit fall ino your lap… You’ve gotta dig for it!
That’s what that shovel is for after all!
I want to talk for a second about how ridiculously nuts-in-throat terror stricken heights make me. I can’t look down a 3 story window without my crotch-seam tingling like a useless “spidey sense” reminding me to appreciate solid ground. When it comes roller coasters I’m oddly fine with them but anything involving a ledge sends me over the edge.
Even writing “over the edge” gave me the jeebies. Ugh.
In the weeks leading up to this torture fiesta, Tough Mudder had been dangling their newest obstacle “The Cliff” in front of our faces comparable to the way the bad guy in James Bond movies will dangle meat over the laser sharks or whatever they’re threatening 007 with by showing him how hungry they are. Some people took the “animal” approach and were chomping at the bit to experience the nearly 40 foot plunge like it was their birthday and it was the best present ever. Me? I was the sheepish dude in the background quietly saying “… um… guys… are you sure this is such a good idea?”
The answer is no. It’s never a good idea.
As November 15th rapidly approached I found myself honestly losing sleep over it yet trying to brush it off like it was something else stressing me out. I did the typical man thing and shrugged it off in an attempt to legitimately feel that way only no matter how hard I tried that just wasn’t going to be the case. My standing line was “I’m just taking the approach I take with all Tough Mudders and just doing it.”
Here we see a fine example of me trying to talk myself into being alright. We also see an example of “there are 2 types of people…”
Within my percolated anxiety I made the promise to myself that I was doing it no matter what and on top of that I wasn’t going to waste any time dicking around about it. They say jump, I was jumping. Simple as that. I swore to myself every single day that that was how I was going to do it.
Pictured: Cara assuring me everything is going to be alright.
Well wouldn’t you know it… They made that bastard the very last obstacle before finishing your lap so that meant I had PLENTY of time to think about it while traversing the desert course. This one obstacle was my championship and that was something I quietly kept to myself as we steamrolled our way towards this Tom Petty inspiration (read: “Free Fallin'”). By the time we got there it was EXACTLY the nightmare I was anticipating. You know how sometimes you exaggerate situations and by the time they actually happen you’re like “whew, that wasn’t so bad…” with a big ol’ grin on your face and sweet sweet relief in your soul? Yeah, that didn’t happen here.
Not even chicken nuggets could save me
As Super Rebel Paul Trujillo and I waited in line he’s all kinds of pumped like a 3 year old overdosing on a pixie stick. My silence causes him to pause and say “You really don’t like heights do you?” Upon his inquiry I slowly lifted my head, squinted through the sun beams as I sized up his chiseled features, took in a deep breathe, and spilled my heart out through the song of words on exactly how I felt;
We near closer and I’m the next person up. My promise to myself to jump when they say and not even think about it has become my mantra as I’m pretty sure I have no more air in my lungs nor hair on my chest (all 3 of them fell off from all the trembling). As I step to the edge I can’t even bring myself to look at the water at ALL. I’m talking eyes straight on to the horizon because if I look down, it’s absolutely over. At this point there could have been a pit full of junkyard cars and scrapped IKEA pieces and I never would have known. I felt like a lemming (the “Wild Wilderness” version).
I was digging as deep as I ever have
There was no “it felt like an eternity before I was told to jump” moment of truth as I waited for this bullshit. The world did NOT regress to slow motion as I sat within some sort of twilight zone time lapse centrifuge much the way I was anticipating. Nope, homeboy said “jump” fucking immediately. I mean IMMEDIATELY. I wanted to be like “DO YOU KNOW HOW GODDAMN SCARED I AM HERE MAN?!?!” but all that came out was some sort of breathy high pitched squeal similar to the noise you make when you’re doing some heavy weight training and you’re on your last rep of your last set and you try to grunt but what comes out instead can only be described as an emasculating whimper/gurgle. You know, THAT noise.
And then I stepped off.
Touche Tom, touche…
I stayed true to the promise I made to myself of being an efficient Ernie rather than a procrastinating Paul and I stepped the hell off like a BOSS. The best part was that there was sooooooooooooooo much time from top to bottom that I actually had a moment to be proud of myself before I hit the water! Seriously, you know when you step off a curb or some stairs and the ground isn’t where your foot is expecting so it jolts your system a bit? Imagine that only with your entire body.
And then, just like that… it was over. Other than greeting the water with more of my face than I had originally intended… I fucking did it! As I regained my composure and swam toward the cargo net to get out there were 2 thoughts running through my brain like a scrolling marquee. The 1st?
This. This was my 1st thought.
2nd thought? An overwhelming sense of relief that it was over. I was Atlas and finally the weight of the world was off my back. I was Steve Young (#8) after the ’94 Super Bowl… The monkey was gone! As I pulled myself out and took a moment to let it soak in I seriously couldn’t be more elated. There was a time in my life when something that intimidating would have stopped me dead in my tracks. No… My tracks wouldn’t have even gone in that direction. I was the kid that always inexplicably had a stomach ache every time we had to run the mile in PE. I was the kid that only went outside to help Mom bring the groceries in (which happened often since I ate for a family of 5 every day).
I thought if I wore football jerseys ALL THE TIME I’d look “athletic.” I’d like to publicly apologize to Marcus Allen.
It wasn’t until the last few years I was able to reverse the fortune on my debilitating shin splints developed from carrying around so much weight as a young adult. I managed to stack the odds against myself pretty high growing up and digging out of the epic hole I’d put myself in only to find myself on top of that rock having just beaten “The Cliff” was surreal to say the least.
What I’m trying to share is that it’s up to YOU to take each step, no matter how painful and no matter how miserable. Nobody is going to hand you a damn thing nor is there a soul on this planet stopping you from being who you want to be… that’s just what you tell yourself. Taking on challenges and attempting things you’ve never done before is scary as all hell… but that’s the point. That’s where the growth is. That’s where the endorphin rush that lets you know you made the right decision is waiting for you! That’s where all the high points of your life are sitting just waiting to be plucked and once you reach out and grab them, the low points all of a sudden start to make sense… With each unnerving step you take in conquering your fears a new door to a new you is waiting. The beautiful part is that those steps, fears, aspirations, goals, and experiences are going to be completely different for everyone making for a pretty grand adventure! At the heart of it all is one extremely important fundamental that rings true no matter the circumstances however:
You’re not as strong as what you’ve done, you’re as strong as what you show up to. As long as you show up then I promise you… Your strength will be there.
Next week: World’s Toughest Mudder – Part 2 (Liberation)