D.J. Back To School

D.J. (Saint Mary’s Kinesiology student, Sweat Shop intern, and very diverse CrossFit beast) is back at the Sweat Shop from his summer break and hitting it hard! I’m unsure of how much “summer reading” he got in, but by the looks of it, he definitely “studied up” on his game! Keep it up DJ!

Cues are a good thing

seth_fa8415e_bJB watching Seth’s pushups to identify any of the frequent faults

“Open those hips at the top”, “pull yourself under the bar”, “dip and drive through the heels”, “be aggressive on the jerk”, “keep that bar close”,… these are just a few of the cues I can often times be heard saying during clean & jerks and snatches.  Ocassionally they are broad reminders projected to the entire room to remind everyone of key points, however, when I’m making my rounds and giving specific pointers to individuals that apply just to them some people can frustrated or seem deflated when they receive a cue like the ones above.  Remember, a cue doesn’t mean you have failed miserably at performing the movement, it’s simply one piece of direction to helping you master the movement.  Getting coaching cues are good because without them it is very difficult, if not impossible, to master a movement.  If you never got any cues it would be the same as just working out by yourself in a globo-gym or your garage at home.

Back When

8065076488_c6d8342191_z - Version 2

Thowback to when we brought home the tiki and when Toovey was bald!
2012 Crosstown Throwdown 

I’m typically more of a futuristic thinker. I tend to have my eye on the next project, goal or milestone. But every once in a while, especially when coming across a photo like this, I can’t help but reflect on the past. I am reminded that Sweat Shop has been so much more than a gym to me. My life has been changed by the relationships I have formed at Sweat Shop and I am thankful to have such a great bunch in my community.

When I looked at the whiteboard yesterday, I noticed at almost all the slots for the Throwdown are filled with names. Amazing!! If you’re newer to Sweat Shop and still aren’t getting this whole Crosstown Throwdown thing check out this post by JB, or be sure ask Nabil, James or I and we’ll be happy to fill you in.

Products for Sale at the Sweat Shop?

isweat_shirtOriginal tee’s from 2009.  Shirts and hoodies are still the only retail items ever sold at the Sweat Shop

CrossFit Sweat Shop has been open for 5 & 1/2 years.  In this time I’ve focused my efforts into knowing each and every member, and delivering the best coaching possible, as well as building an intimate staff of highly educated, and well-experienced coaches that do the same.

Literally each day I’m approached by companies and individuals that want me to sell their products to our Sweat Shop members.  They stress to me that I can make money by buying these items “wholesale” and then dramatically marking them up when I resell them to our members.  Aside from many of these products/supplements being things I don’t stand behind myself, the act of being paid, simply for being a middleman, doesn’t sit well with me.  When it comes to membership dues, I feel fully justified charging what we charge for the coaching, expertise, and guidance, that myself, James, Rene, and now Marko, offer to our members.  To me, profiting by marking up some retail items is simply being an opportunist who has no real skills, expertise, or knowledge.  Also, after a class finishes their workout, I’d rather talk to people about what they thought about the workout, and give them pointers on how to perform better, rather than collect money and fetch change for some energy drink.  A vending machine would solve this issue, but the thought of something like that consuming workout space seems silly to me.  However, this have never been just about me.  I want to know what you all think.  Are there any products out there that you would like to see being sold at the Sweat Shop?  If so, what are they?  Or do you like that your gym focuses on getting people fit, rather than having a fully stocked pro shop?  Let’s hear your thoughts, use the comments section.  Thanks!

CrossTown Throwdown 2014 Event List

                                     Jason smashed muscle ups in last years throwdown!

Here is the full list of events for this year’s CrossTown Throwdown against CFO! This year, the Throwdown is going to be held at CrossFit Oakland on Saturday, October 11th! We will need a big showing from all Sweat Shoppers alike in order to have a chance at the “Tiki”. There are WODS for every skill level: competitors, recreational CrossFitters, sprinkled in with some crazy “never-done-before-in-crossfit ones as well. As always, it will once again test which gym the fittest and has the most depth!  If you haven’t already signed up, please do so on the whiteboard at the gym or post to comments. We are compiling a list of “potential” events for each person signed up to practice. The programming will shift a little in the coming weeks, but it will be best to take advantage of Comp Class on Sunday’s and Open gym on Wednesday’s to prep!  Let’s go Sweat Shop!


Touch and Go:  (3w) 
5 min to find a 3RM TnG power clean.  Scored by total of 3 lifts.
Pick It Up!:  (3w)
Max reps in 4 minutes of 185# deadlifts
Big Snatches Hurt:  (1m 1w) 
Max KB snatches in 4 minutes.  70# for man, 44# for woman. There’s one switch of hands allowed.  Only resting place is in lockout or at hang.  No resting in the rack position.  Both go at same time.
Butt Blaster:  (4w) 
Prowler relay with 45# + 15# on each handle.  Max trips 4 min.  40m each leg (20m up, 20m back).
Old (Wo)Man Strength:  (2m 1w @40+)
 8 minutes to find a 1RM back squat.  One barbell, only 1 athlete at a time.


BarManda:  (3m) 
21-15-9/Squat Snatch 135#/Bar Muscle Up*Split up work however
*One guy works at a time
*Must tag before switching
*Each guy must do 1 squat snatch and 1 Bar Muscle Up
*Bar MUST be caught below parallel, no ride downs, no power snatch to OHS

Circus Girls:  (3w) 
35 Ring Muscle Ups
*Must rotate after dropping from rings*
*MUST stay in same order*
*Each Woman must do 1 muscle up*
*No muscle up, no advancing

Lightweight Baby:  (3m) 
3 Minutes to establish 1RM
Guy 1: Clean
Guy 2: Overhead Squat
Guy 3: Squat Snatch
*Score is individual lbs over body weight for each lift
*Team that scores best out of 3 lifts wins event
*Next athlete/new clock starts immediately after previous finishes
*Weigh athletes/announce winner after 3rd guy finishes

These Skillz aint Loyal:  (3w) 

Chipper style
*Must tag before next girl steps in.
Girl 1:
800m Run
8 Bar Muscle Ups

Girl 2:
400m Run
5 Rope Climbs

Girl 3:
400m Run
15 Overhead Squats 95#

Masters Mayhem: (1m 2w) 

40+ woman: Max Reps Wall Balls (14#) in 2 minutes
50+ woman: Max Reps Deadlifts (155#) in 2 minutes
50+ man: Max Reps Chest to Bar Pullups OR Ring Muscle Ups in 2 minutes (1 MU = 5 Pullups)
*2 minute clock starts IMMEDIATELY after previous athlete finishes.
* Winner is most REPS total across the 3 athletes.


Dr. said I need a backiatomy”:   (6m)
21-15-9 Deadlift/box jump.  275# deadlift/30″ box jump. Chipper style.
 #DNF:  (1m 1w)
6 Minute Clock
Man does 800m Run/30 Handstand pushups/Wall Balls for reps. 
Woman does 800m Run/15 Handstand pushups/Wall Balls for reps. 
*Score by wall ball reps. 
*For wall balls to count both men and women have to do at least 1 wall ball.
One More Rep:  (1m 1w)
Muscle ups  + bodyweight back squats.
Each athlete does 1 unbroken set of muscle ups, then immediately followed by a max set of bodyweight back squats. 
Women first, followed by men. Scored on total reps of muscle ups and back squats.
Woody Harrelson?:  (m & w)  No team size limit.
High touch jump.  A target will be suspended from the ceiling starting at 7′.  It will then be raised 3″ every round until one team can no longer touch it.  Score is the combined height touched of both man and women.  Two attempts per height.  Tie breaker will be least amount of miss attempts.  Running or vertical jumps.  

King of the Mountain:  (4m 4w)
Teams start on opposite sides of the gym.  51 tokens are placed between the two teams.  Each team lines up 4 men, then 4 women. With men going first they must do 8 burpees/8 mountain climbers/8 burpees then grab a token from the floor and return.  Women then do the same, then men…until all tokens are removed from the floor.
There can be only ONE!:   16 (any) 
DU sprint ladder.
Start with 8 heats of 4 athletes.  2 from SS, 2 from CFO in each heat.  Athletes will have to complete 4 unbroken sets of DU.  After each competed unbroken set, athletes advance down the floor to complete the next unbroken set, and so on.  
Heat 1 race:  (8 heats of 4)10 DU – 20 DU – 30 DU – 40 DU.  1st and 2nd place finishers of each heat advance, regardless of team. 
Semi-Final race: (4 heats of 4) 40 DU – 50 DU – 60 DU – 70 DU.  First place finishers only advances to final, regardless of team.
Final race: (1 heat of 4) 70 DU – 80 DU – 90 DU – 100 – DU.  Winner of final, is the winning team.
Cliff Hanger: (5 any)
Speed climbing.  First team to 7 points. 
Schoolyard Fran: (5m 5w) 
This will be a partner Fran, doing 9-15-21 ascending reps.   
All participants will line up facing each other. (Face off)   5 SS men, 5 SS women go against 5 CFO men, 5 CFO women.  Coin flip decides who picks first.  Example, if CFO wins first pick they choose the SS pair to go against AND the CFO pair.  They can chose any pairing from the 10 SS players available.  The Fran match is played.  All participants line up again.  The LOSER of the match then gets to chose the pair for the next match up, And so on. Loser always picks the next match up.  Once a pair has participated win or lose, they are out of the game.   Teams get 1 point for winning a match up, first team with 3 points wins.
50 4 40:  (any) 40+, can use as many athletes as you want.  No team size limit and athletes can be substituted at any time. 
For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50  pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 back raises
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders  
Turn Down for What!: (4m 4w)
First to 11 points, one-on-one tug of war.  Rounds will alternating between men and women.   Team stays in same start order.  Each team will be required to be made up of one “man”  under 165, and one under 120.  Weight classes must be matched together.
Swing Dancing: (6w)
Kettlebell swing/box jump 35#/20″ 21-15-9. Chipper style.
Dia de los Muertos: (4m 2w) 
9 minutes to deadlift/ dead hang pull ups as much weight as possible. 
Every time the bar is lifted, that weight is counted toward the total. 1 bar per team, and 1 person working at a time. For every rep of deadlift that athlete goes to the pull up bar and does the same amount of  dead hang pull ups.  Men will do dead hang pull ups with 25#.  If the pull ups are not completed, then that athletes round of deadlifts don’t count.  Team order must be picked and teams stays in that rotation.  
Freeze Tag:  20 (10m 10w) 
10 members of the team will run 1 mile. (Around the CFO block)  The other 10 members will be inside doing 20 sit ups/10 (5 for women) push ups/20 jumping air squats for rounds and reps. When the runners return to the gym they must tag a member of the opposite team to stop them from doing more reps, and sending them on the 1 mile run.  Once each member has completed the run and metcon, they must leave the floor until all members have finished the work.  The winner is the team with the most gym reps. 
Knock, Knock. Who’s there?  Pain:   10 (any)   Tabata thruster eliminator.
20 on/10 off/20 on/10 off/20 on.  Bottom 3 scores, regardless of team, will be eliminated.  Repeat until one team is completely eliminated.  During the 10 seconds rest the bar can not be put down. Bar can only be put down while scores are being counted between rounds.  45# thruster women/65# thruster men. 
Awkward Touching: (4m 4w)
7 rounds
Teams will be in mixed pairs.  10 du man + 10 du woman /buddy carry/10 du man + 10  du woman/ buddy carry.  One pair from each team will be working at a time. 
Man must do 10 unbroken du, then women partner does 10 du.  Then buddy carry to other side of floor.  Then repeat unbroken du of man then women.  Then switch for the return buddy carry.  Unbroken sets of du and no drop’s of your partner in the buddy carry counts as a completed round. If du are missed then pair still has to buddy carry down and back, always switching carrying partners, but the round will not count.  If one partner drops another during the buddy carry, they must pick them back up, but that round will not count. 
Ooh Kill ‘Em:  (6m)  
30 C&J.  5 reps at 225#/20 reps at 135#/5 reps at 225#
 5 men will be matched head to head  with someone on the opposite team.  Each team will have 5 members participating, and there will be a 6th member of each team that can be substituted in at any time.  Win the majority of the match ups, you win.  If 6th member is brought in they stay in, no more substitutions allowed.
All Aboard the MU Train:  (??)  
Four separate muscle up contests will be scored as one. Event  1. How many different individuals can do 1 MU in your gym?  Event 2.  One man and One woman must do their biggest unbroken set.   Event 3.  4 minutes to get as many combined team MU. Event 4. 1 minute for one person to do a 1 rep max weighted MU.  (Weighted MU lbs. will be added as reps)  Add all scores together

Training, Testing, and Failing on Gym Culture

5509531397_ec43b8dfde_bTwo of my favorite throwbacks to emphasize this post…

I found this great post from CrossFit South Brooklyn that I believe most CrossFitters should read, especially those just starting out. It speaks about two very important aspects of training that directly impact the consistency of your progress, as well as the training culture of the gym. The first is knowing the difference between training and testing. The second is understanding why, when, and how to use failure or failing to your advantage and when it can be a detriment. When you read it, think about how you approach each WOD.

From the post:

Failing lifts too often can be seriously taxing on the central nervous system and frustrating for athletes—in addition, it adds psychological stress and creates negative expectations when approaching lifts. To prevent it from occurring too often and to gain control over teaching our athletes to fail well, testing our lifts into our programming is in macro cycles. For more experienced members, testing new rep maxes at the end of cycles is an acceptable and inevitable part of serious training. But every day is not a limit test and we don’t want anyone maxing out to failure with any regularity. Our day-in, day-out workouts should be considered training, and an opportunity to go a little bit heavier or hit prescribed percentages without reaching absolute limits.

Teaching the difference between training and testing significantly impacts the culture of a gym, since training intelligently enables athletes to learn when to push through a difficulty instead of giving up. If an athlete is trained to think, “Okay, when things get hard, I’ve got an easy escape route in bailing,” they learn to give up more often and expect missed reps to be a regular part of their training routine. Missed reps should be meaningful as an indicator of one’s current capacity, not simply the norm. When missing reps and failing become the norm, the experience can subtly undermine an athlete’s self-expectations and the mindset with which they approach their lifts.

We teach our advanced members to respect heavy weight, and teach that when it comes time to work, you should grind. Of course it should feel difficult and it should feel heavy! You should expect to fight for lifts! But just like in real life, you don’t start fights you don’t think you can win—especially on a regular basis. A skilled athlete doesn’t need to constantly miss reps to know their potential on any given day. A mark of real skill and intelligence in training involves developing an innate sense of one’s capabilities, and knowing when to call it quits. Missed lifts should be considered learning experiences for an athlete’s physical capacity, psychological outlook, and technique, and they always should be put into the broader context of the intended training stimulus for that specific day.

Read full post here.


Ode to CJ


While looking for inspiration for tonight’s post, I found myself perusing the Sweat Shop’s catalog of photos.  Although I wasn’t able to come up with anything deep, insightful, eloquent, or even remotely intelligible, I was however able to come up  with pictures of CJ with no shirt.  Lots of pictures of CJ with no shirt.

Listen and Accept


Taneya taking the time to stretch and listen to her body at Tuesday night Yoga. 

There’s nothing sweeter than hitting that long awaited PR or finally getting that movement you’ve been working on. PR, or no PR, I see the hard work that goes into getting stronger, faster and healthier. And while PR’s are sweet, we can often times get caught up in what weight we “have to do” or what time we “have to get”. Every day is different. You know the feeling, the feeling that 95 pound on the bar feels like 295….”What wait, I did that weight a few days ago and it felt fine”. “WHATS WRONG WITH ME?!!!” I get it….the struggle is real.

Listen to your body. Accept that every day is different and be ok with that. Mentally going into a workout with a goal in mind is a good idea. However, when you become so attached to this goal and then get upset if you don’t hit it, that’s when it can become a problem. While I feel most Sweat Shoppers do a good job of not letting ego get in the way of fun, it’s easy for any one of us to occasionally get caught up in these pitfalls.  Don’t be afraid to not go Rx’d, ADV or Beefy that day. Listen and Accept what your body needs for the day. Not only will your body thank you but so will your mind.

Wine & Exercise: A Promising Combination

emily_brianneBrianne and Emily enjoying some wine during last years holiday party

I just came across this article that indicates benefits for wine drinkers who are also exercisers.  While I’m not much of a wine drinker, I was pretty surprised to the amount of wine the participants in the study were drinking (it seemed like a lot to me).  And my only reservation is that I’m curious who funded the study, and if they have any ties, direct or indirect, to the wine industry.  Nonetheless, it’s worth a read.


By itself, drinking wine did not appreciably affect cholesterol, blood glucose, triglycerides, or levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. It also did not appreciably damage people’s livers during the year, at least, based on liver-function tests.

But then Táborský and company ran a more specific analysis that looked at people who exercised. Among those who worked out twice per week and drank wine, there was significant improvement in cholesterol levels (increased HDL and decreased LDL) after a year of wine—red or white, no matter.

“Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis,” said Táborský, “suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease.”

Check out the full article here.


Body Fat Testing


With SMC back in session and the lab up and running, body fat testing is back! For those of you who don’t already know, I offer testing throughout the semester at the Saint Mary’s College Human Performance Lab. I have a pretty spread-out schedule this semester, so, if you would like to get tested, please e-mail me and I can get you scheduled. This semester, the best days to schedule are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00am-1pm and weekends. All you need to bring is a swimsuit, towel and $25.

Inov-8 Demo Friday afternoon

yoko_duYoko always runs fast.  Recently he PR’d his double unders and in the process won $40 from me in a bet.  While he isn’t wearing Inov-8′s in this picture, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him wear them before.

This Friday afternoon during the 4:30 and 5:30pm classes there will be a rep from Inov-8 at the Sweat Shop with a bunch of Inov-8 shoes on hand for folks to try out.  From what I understand they will have both the F-Lites and the Fastlifts (Inov-8′s olympic lifting shoe) on hand this Friday.

Featured Athlete: Josh

jse_overheadOn any given weekday at 6am, Josh can be found on the far left front platform, consistently getting work done!

With so much focus these days on the CrossFit competitions, Josh is the perfect example of someone who while may not compete at local CrossFit comps, he still comes in each morning, trains hard, challenges himself, and uses the energy of the class and training alongside others to push himself further and harder than what he may have been able to do on his own.  The other thing I really like about Josh is that he uses the fitness he has gained in CrossFit to get out and enjoy other activities in his life.

Name:  Josh Simkin-England a.k.a. JSE
Age: 42

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
3 years

Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A.  For the 10 years prior to Crossfit I did a
lmost 100% running.  Logged between 20 – 35 miles a week.  Before that (when I was young) I did a lot of “traditional weight lifting” at different gyms.

Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A.  A number of friends kept telling me that I would enjoy Crossfit.  On vacation in 2011 I finally decided to look up a couple of gyms.  The Sweat Shop’s class hours were perfect for me, and I feel lucky that this is where I ended up.

Q.  What has been the most significant benefit/change since you’ve been doing CrossFit?
A.  My overall strength has improved incredibly…think I may actually be more fit now than I was in college.  A side benefit is that I sleep like a baby.

Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout??
Fight Gone Bad.  It’s a great barometer.  I also enjoy all overhead movements.

Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout??
I don’t think there is anything I “dislike”.  I feel like I get a benefit from all the workouts, even when I struggle (which is often).  It is amazing to me how sore I am after body weight met cons.

Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?
My wife’s artichoke chicken with quinoa and a salad

Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?
Nachos or anything sweet.  I am a sucker for ice cream (it’s a problem)

Q.  What do you enjoy most about training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
The supportive atmosphere and the people!  I love being a member of the “6:00 am crew”.  It feels like we’re our own little “pre-dawn” cult (& I am sure it is the same across all time slots).  Everybody pulls for & looks out for each other.  I am also blown away by the trainers at the Sweat Shop.  Whenever I am comparing notes with people from other gyms/boxes I have to brag about Nabil, James & Rene.  Their credentials are incredible and on top of that they are completely in tune with their clients.  They take the time to know each of us individually, really seem to push the right buttons & make the workouts FUN (I don’t hear of many other CF trainers playing air guitar or “busting a move” to 80′s hip hop DURING a workout). From talking to people at other gyms I can say that is not always the case & the couple people I have brought to classes with me always bring up how lucky we are to have the coaches we have…    

Q.  Now that you’ve been doing CrossFit, what’s one thing you could never see yourself doing again?  (workout, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.)
A.  I know this is a common answer, but I will NEVER go back to a traditional gym membership.  Just can’t see myself standing around waiting to use equipment – which is what I remember.

Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement
A.  Crossfit: Being able to do rope climbs.  Running: Having completed 2 marathons & the Spartan Beast last fall

Q.  What advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try CrossFit?
A.  Forget the stereotypes and everything you may have read or heard about Crossfit.  Be open minded.  When you show up, go in with blinders on and leave your ego at the door.  Don’t worry about what the person next to you is doing.  Your only competition is yourself.  Listen to your trainers, don’t get hurt and make it fun.  Ultimately, Crossfit may not be for you, and that is fine but you won’t know until you try.  

Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?
A.  Crossfit: Being able to do muscle ups.  Running: A sub 4 hour marathon (that is well down the road….at least not until my kids are both in college)

New Class Times


I’m excited to announce we are adding extra classes at Sweat Shop next week! We will now be offering a 12:00 class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This will be a regular CrossFit class with the same workout as the morning and evening classes. Even more ways to get your WOD in!!


Kevin’s Post

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 4.06.39 PM 2

It’s with a heavy heart that a write today’s post. We always want you to get something of substance out of these whether it’s educational, motivational, or inspirational. Although this post is just a tad bit late, it cannot go untold.

Last Friday, at midnight, I received the devastating news that one of my weekly clients Kevin Rozas, (brother of buddy and long time Sweat Shopper Tammy), had passed away, unexpectedly. Although Tammy introduced me to Kevin a year ago, the sessions I had with him were some of the most inspirational I have had in my 10 years of coaching in athletics and fitness. I thought I would share some with you. What makes this extra tough was that I had planned on sharing Kevin’s progress with you all for last Friday’s post, not knowing that he was going to be gone unexpectedly the day before.

A month before Tammy brought Kevin to the Sweat Shop, he was 5 months in rehab after his SECOND stroke. He had very little neural control (<10%) of his entire right side. He shuffled and wobbled while he walked and could very minimally raise his right arm a couple inches. He had almost no control of his right hand and his reactions were very slow. I was a little hesitant at first, but after meeting with him, I immediately wanted to train him. He had a combination of this serious and determined “get down to business” attitude along with a great sense of humor. Kevin’s first session was slow and steady yet productive. Typically, clients, especially during rehab, get super frustrated when they aren’t able to do some simple tasks they used to before. But Kevin embraced it and had this sense of understanding that it was going to be a long but worthwhile journey. I took him through an abridged version of the regular Sweat Shop warm-up. He didn’t look at me crazy when I asked him to do some challenging things. I remember giving him a LAX ball on the ground for his shoulders and it literally took him a minute or so to stand all the way up. But unlike most I’ve trained, he always wanted to do it on his own regardless of his weaknesses, which were far greater than I’d ever seen from a client or athlete before. From that first session on, Kevin thrived. Within the months that passed, he had lost a ton of weight, he was moving a little quicker, he didn’t need his plethora of meds, and his fitness came with it. After a while, he had gained his balance enough to do weighted squats on a box! He was super pumped and told me that his goal would be to be able to back squat again. He always talked about how he loved doing them for football back in the day. However, given his balance issues and very little shoulder range of motion, I really doubted that would ever happen.

Fast forward a couple months on and off, Kevin came back after a long break. I asked him if he had been working out and doing his stretches. With a serious and almost annoyed look he told me “of course”. I told him to prove it. Wouldn’t you know, he was able to raise his right arm over his head. I immediately take him to the squat rack to test and sure enough, he was able to rotate his arms back far enough to nestle the bar on his back…something I thought he would never be able to do! When he got in the rack and did his first set of back squats, he had this uncontrollable grin on his face like he won the lotto. I had a similar grin in knowing that he literally must have stretched for days and weeks on end! And he did! I remember hiding my chuckles the next day he came in super excited to show me a new weight belt he bought because he was ready to lift “some serious weight” now that he could get the bar on his back! There are so many of these little successes I could share about Kevin, but that is one of his highlights of his time at the Sweat Shop.


Although Kevin’s physical accomplishments are inspirational enough given what he had gone through, what I will remember and admire about Kevin the most was the determination he had to better his life and his appreciation for what he had. He would always say, “James, out of all the crappy things that came with the stroke, not being able to hold a pen and write was the worst”. He would say, “if I could do it again, I would not have taken those things for granted”. Kevin truly meant it and showed it in his energy and effort every time he came in the gym. I never had to show him a warm-up twice and would do EVERY SINGLE stretch or exercise like it was his job. He pushed harder than every on his conditioning as well. I always enjoyed hearing the workouts he and Tammy’s husband Ryan would do in the garage and would always light up telling me something he finally was able to do since the stroke. I also enjoyed how when I would write Tabata on the whiteboard, he would cringe in the way we all do when we see a sucky but good workout. Kevin was a true CrossFitter at heart and although he never got to workout with anyone, I truly think he felt that he belonged there. Although Kevin always downplayed his accomplishments, he was the main reason for his success. Anyone could have given him a set of exercises to do, but Kevin relished in the 2nd and 3rd chances he was given and fought for a better life to the end.

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Other than wishing I could tell him how proud I was of all his progress, I wish I could tell him thank you. I wanted to thank him for reminding me why I became a trainer and a teacher. He reminded me that you don’t need medals or trophies to define success, just a desire to do so. As a coach, that’s all I would want. He reminded me that accomplishments which seem small like to walk again, being able to squat, to write, or throw a football again, are just as rewarding as coaching someone to the pinnacle of athletics. He reminded me of my passion for helping people and, like he said, to never take things for granted, especially moments with people like him. So Kevin, GREAT WORK and thank you for the reminders. I will always remember you!




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