S.O.S.: Summer of Sweat Sign-Ups!

Fitness Rebellion Presents:

SUMMER OF SWEAT!


Begins: May 8th (Monday)

Ends: July 12th (Wednesday)

Times: Every Monday @ 7pm & Wednesday @ 6pm

Location: Anytime Fitness (2885 Santa Rosa Ave.)

Cost: $225 (payment plans not a problem! Additional costs for non-Anytime Fitness members)

If you’re looking for an amazing group of people comprised from all walks of life who have a blast working out together while focusing on FEELING GOOD… then you can quit your searching because you’ve exactly. Join us on our next 10 week “fit-trip” adventure that includes the following:

– Twice-a-week workouts
– All new FIT TEST
– Free weekend outdoor workouts (optional)
– Custom FITNESS REBELLION Shirt
– New Themed Workouts
– … and a whole bunch more!

Time to sign up!

❤ Rebel8

New Transformation Challenge… Rebel Results!

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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!

Rebel Resistance Promo

If all of that sounds good:

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PRICE:

  • $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!

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❤ Rebel8 

Rebel Winter Rescue 3: Details and Sign-up Forms!

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National

National To join the “on your own” version of the 20th Rebel challenge where you will receive custom rebel workouts e-mailed to you (complete with video walk through), RWR3 Fit Test instructions, custom Rebel T-shirt handmade for you, & instructions on how to participate in the “Rebel Trekkers” challenge all the while being warmly welcome into our private Rebel Facebook community support group… CLICK HERE!

Local

Local (Santa Rosa, CA)  To join the “real thing” boot camp experience where you will  meet twice a week in the Rebel room for original Rebel workouts with the goal of ending this holiday season healthier than you started it, receive your custom Rebel T-shirt in person, experience the sound off & Rebel chant firsthand, be held personally accountable for your RWR3 Fit Test, and participate in all the local community drives we will be doing this winter… CLICK HERE!

Rebel8

FRN2 – Official Sign-ups!

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FRN2: Rebels in Wonderland

National – To join the “on your own” version of the 18th Rebel challenge where you will have custom rebel workouts e-mailed to you (among other things such as nutritional, stretching, and resistance training guidance), do the fit tests and weigh-ins on your own, receive a custom Rebel shirt, & participate in the “Rebel Trekkers” mini-challenge while being warmly welcome into our private Rebel Facebook community support group… CLICK HERE

Local (Santa Rosa, CA) To join the “real thing” boot camp experience where you will receive your FRN starter packet/goodies at the orientation workout on July 11th (fit test/measurements July 6th-9th), meet twice a week in the Rebel room for original Rebel workouts led by yours truly (including themed workouts such as “black light” and “Dress like Josh,” “Decade Triple Trip” and more!), receive your custom Rebel shirt in person, experience the sound off & Rebel chant firsthand, be personally weighed, measured, and kept track of by me, and have a front row seat to the end of challenge wrap party, slideshow, and awards ceremony… CLICK HERE

Fitness Rebel Nation!

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Fitness Rebel Nation

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…

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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…

Breakdown:

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!

Includes:

  • Fit Test (w/ optional circumference measurement sheet)
  • Stretching Guide
  • Nutrition Packet
  • 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!

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!)

Welcome to the Fitness Rebellion!

AhhhOOOOO!!!

FRN 1

 – Rebel8

World’s Toughest Mudder – Part 1

World’s Toughest Mudder

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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!

That’s what that shovel is for after all!

The Cliff

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.

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..."

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.

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

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;

“Nope.”

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

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...

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?

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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.

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.

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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)

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!!!!

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Processed with Moldiv

– 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

 

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.

Josh Fat

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