Blogcast #3

The Pursuit of Excellence

Lately I’ve been looking back at my 10 year journey as an Affiliate owner and at my 12 years as a CrossFitter. I remember vividly my first CrossFit experience on a deployment to Iraq in 2004.
It started with me complaining to one of my Team mates over lunch. I was actually bitching about my current training and citing the shortfalls I had been noticing; more frequent injuries, usually minor annoyances but they were certainly more frequent. The workouts were taking longer to complete but the results were harder and harder to achieve. The workouts themselves all seemed to be melding into one large pile of the same stuff I had been doing only on “repeat.” It was what comes from routine and the boredom that it brings with it. M-W-F = lift.  Chest and Tris.  Back and Bis.  Legs and Shoulders. Abs every day. T-H-S = cardio. Long, Slow Cardio.
I had run head first into the Diminishing Return Zone and I got stuck there.
My team mate asked if I had ever heard of CrossFit. I told him that I hadn’t so he suggested that I check it out. Later that day I logged on to For those of you who remember the old CrossFit Main site you can appreciate this part a bit more than the NKOTB. The WOD posted for that day looked like this:
Deadlift 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
That was it.
My first reaction was “why the fuck would I do that?” I thought, “I’m not a Powerlifter, I don’t want to be one. I don’t play a sport where I need that kind of strength* AND what about Bis, Tris, Delts, blah, blah, blah…”
Long story short I was intrigued so with little to no knowledge and none of the resources available then like there are now, I referenced everything I could find about Deadlifts and after a thorough warm-up at lighter weights I hit the rep scheme laid out on the site. By the next day the only way I could describe how I felt was to say that I hit every muscle group in my body.  Hard.  The muscles in my feet hurt. My arms felt like I had done an arm workout, curls, reverse curls, dumbell curls and all that other bullshit.  I didn’t know what to call it then but my posterior chain was smoked. My abs were sore. My rear Delts felt like I had done multiple sets of bent over dumbell raises. I was fascinated.  I couldn’t walk right but I was fascinated.
While the gym at the Presidential Palace (the location of the interim US Embassy in Baghdad) was very well equipped it was a conventional gym. One Pull-up bar located on the cross member of the cable cross-over. It was so high up I had to jump to reach it. There were no Plyo Boxes there at the time because no one really used them in conventional training. I didn’t Kip. We were never allowed to in the Navy so I never learned. No bumper plates. No Kettlebells. No AbMats. But guess what? I followed all the Main Site Blog posts and trained anyway.
Why am I boring you with my personal CrossFit Journey? Because if I could learn it and work it with ZERO guidance other than what I was able to get from the original Main Site imagine what you can do under proper guidance from a Coach at a proper CrossFit Box?
As Coaches we strive for what we refer to in the community as Virtuosity. We want to be the best Coach, teacher, trainer, CrossFit athlete we can be. For no other reason than the purity of our sport alone. If you didn’t know, our sport is Fitness. Part of our journey to become better Coaches is to make you better as well.
In a lecture that he gave to a gathering of Affiliate owners years ago Greg Glassman shared a story about one of the things he asked his new clients to do when they began training. He asked them for five things that they thought would make them better. He asked them to write them down and seal them in a plain white envelope. Then he told them that six months later they would open that envelope and he guaranteed that they will have become “better” at every item on that list.
My challenge to you is to do the same thing. Right now. Write up a list of five things that you want to be better at. I’m not just talking about training either. Literally anything. Write it down and see what happens. You’ll be pleased. I promise you.
*This will be the subject of another Blogcast.


Mike Pietragallo