"If boys don't learn, men won't know" - Douglas Wilson

Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Tips To Stay Motivated

A lot of you may be seeking a new look this year. Wether it be fitness related, business, or personal. There are a few universal principles to remaining motivated to reaching your goals.

A lot of you may be seeking a new look this year whether it be fitness related, business, or personal. There are a few universal principles that help to remain motivated to reach your goals.

1.) Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People:
For a lot of us, it's as easy as joining a studio style gym. Not just crossfit, but any gym that is predominantly classes where you're forced to interact with other people. Even joining a bootcamp at a globo gym can be very effective for this since everyone who steps foot in a crossfit or bootcamp is there to get better and that can be powerful a motivator. When it comes to the business world, or even on a personal level, search your local area for social clubs, local church groups, community events, or even trade shows. These are all concentrated groups of individuals seeking to belong and once you've found where you belong you can build from that strong foundation.

Find a mentor/coach:
If you're having trouble finding those like minded people, seek out a coach/mentor-- a simple google search can find you almost anyone in the world and there are always people willing to help or give advice. Although, some might charge for that advice, it’s best to always do your homework and make sure that you're getting your money’s worth. This can also be a great jumping off point for individuals looking to try something new whether it be investing or exercising competitively. Once you've built that strong foundation with a coach, it's easier to find motivation or have them assist you anytime you might be lacking that motivation.

2.) Change The World Around You:
You will rarely change as an individual and not see the consequences of those actions. Usually consequences has a negative connotation but if you are serious about your goals, then changing your daily life is crucial to staying motivated. If everyone around you hates your goals, how long will it take for their negative talk to change your motivation? However, it's not always people. It could be daily habits and simply preparing breakfast the night before so you save time in the morning and don’t feel tempted to stop at the donut shop on the way to work, is a good way to regiment your life and keep your motivation, and goals on track. As you become more dedicated to your goals, they naturally mold and change you; so be prepared for that change.

3.) Leave Your Comfort Zone
Change won't come in your comfort zone, because..... you're comfortable there i.e. no need to change. You should constantly challenge yourself, whether it’s taking a new class (athletic or academic), going to community rallies that your ideals don't necessarily align with. Also, check out a competitor's business as a potential customer-- just to check out what you can do better. Testing your way of thinking can help expand it and maintain different routes for motivation. Even if leaving your comfort zone reaffirms your way of thinking, it strengthens your resolve which can be very powerful.

4.) Mental Imagery:
You must visually, and mentally walk through every step of your execution, regardless of the endeavor.  Even if it’s in business or fitness, you must think about the crucial steps to your success. You need to visualize each part of your workout or competition, In business, you must visualize your sale. Whether it’s your sale to your manager that you’re doing and convince them that  you’re going to be able to get the job done above and beyond expectations, or if you're actually in sales, it’s selling your product or service to your customer.

5.) Re-Evaluate Progress:
Constantly set goals; small goals. Whether it’s weight loss, or growing your business, you must set realistic, and obtainable, goals periodically so that you can evaluate your progress. If you're original goal may have been too lofty, or maybe not ambitious enough, by reevaluating, you can adjust your goals accordingly. Reaching your small periodic goals are one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining motivation.

Strictly applicable to crossfit: Periodic tests are necessary and finding someone to help you set up those tests is appropriate. If that’s your coach, or even a like minded friend, they are more qualified to set up tests that will, appropriately, test you, and not just play to your strengths.  A test that only plays to your strengths will not give you an appropriate result.

All of these previously mentioned strategies are just that, they are strategies to attack the issues of motivation. They must be addressed together as a whole. Only focusing on one of these strategies without the other four would be as useless as running around in circles. You must use these all as one whole strategy to stay motivated and reach your goals. Any questions or rebuttals? feel free to message me or leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


hate is easy, jealousy is easy,  despair is easy, fear is the easiest of all.

Life is hard and everyone has some sense of that on minuscule levels for some, and on more largely obvious levels for most. But everyone has the ability to relate to the harsh reality that life is hard.
Currently there is a massive divide, and difficulty to come to terms with how easily many people make their lives simpler by being terrified and scared of each other. Make no mistake hate is fear, belittling others is fear. If you could simply change your world perspective you can slowly kill the fear/bitch in you.

For me I was blessed to be raised without fear, i'm not scared of another persons opinion, or any "elected" man even though I understand the weight that hate and fear can put on peoples hearts. I've always been an eternal optimist and I believe in the best in people. We shouldn't live in our own echo chamber, we should fight the difficult fight to listen to others opinions, even if it will never change yours. You will enlighten your heart by better understanding other peoples world views.

The best way to stop fear, look people in the eye, smile, spend more time reading then you do on social media, assume the best in people, spend each day like it's your last.

Tecumseh's poem concluded this so eloquently.

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Arrogance vs. Confidence

here's this whole life experience that happens when you move out and earn your place in the world on your own merit. It kind of instills a sense of confidence and humility in you - to know that you've survived the cold of the world, but to also know how susceptible you are to losing everything if you drop your guard. It gives you a certain empathy toward your fellow man (who have survived the same trials you have), and makes you very grateful for what the world hasn't yet taken from you.

You lose your arrogance and your pride after you've weathered that storm, and you gain an instinct for acknowledging that core strength in others that you meet. It's this unspoken connection that links you to other people who have chosen (or been forced to) bare the weight of the world on their shoulders.

They make it work. They find a way.  They do what needs to be done. And they ALWAYS help others - because there's no one else who can. It's a right of passage that results in you turning from a boy into a man.

And then there's the kind of person. Who has never earned anything for himself, or tried to weather the storm on his own. He's a child. A little child crying and complaining that his mother's milk is too cold. 

You know what the difference between arrogance and confidence is, on a practical level? Arrogant people derive their delusions of superiority from an absence of failure - stemming from a lack of life experience. Confident people derive their value from their determination to persist after discovering that failure (and success) is an unavoidable symptom of life itself. 

Arrogant men think there are 2 kinds of people in the world: Winners and losers, and they look down on losers for being inferior. Confident men know that the only 2 kinds of people are those who are both winners AND losers (because they choose to persist), and those who are neither (because they are too afraid of failure to even try).

An arrogant guy in his life. He lives a sheltered life, being supported by others. His lack of life experience has resulted in a lack of failure, which has convinced him that he is superior to others who HAVE failed (when in fact they have had the balls to actually TRY at life, whereas he has not). He is cruel and uncaring because he has not seen how cruel and uncaring the world can be without his aid. He is nothing but a child.

I don't pity him or feel anger toward him. But one day he's going to be disconnected from his life lines, and he'll have to make his own way. And when that day comes he's going to have a lot of ground to cover. Those first 6-12 months are going to be hell for this guy. He's going to see how little the world values him or his angsty demeanor. His ego and his confidence are going to be absolutely thrashed, and all that will be left is a humble, hurt child struggling not to die cold and alone, crying under a bridge. 

If he lacks character he'll move back in with his parents, living out the rest of his life shifting between a state of traumatic realization that he's worthless, and moments of vengeance, where he takes out his frustration toward the world that hurt him by destroying the confidence of others who have the misfortune of crossing his path. 

If, underneath all of that childish, arrogant hatred, he possesses character, he might make himself into someone worthy of respect. I hope he is forced to see himself like that one day, and I hope he struggles through his hardships, grows, and earns a place along side the rest of us who keep the world turning.

Until that day comes though, he's just a symbol for who we could all be if we hadn't made the effort to keep earning, fighting, or providing. He's a living, breathing, cautionary tale. 

Do not allow yourself to stagnate.


I guess actually putting that all into words has made me actually think about this. I want to stress one thing here: The world -IS- cruel, cold, and uncaring. Which is why it's so important for us who can survive in it to choose not to be. 

When you grow up and go out on your own, you see flashes of that cruelty. Some people hide from it. Some people move back in with their family. Some people lie to them self about it.  Some people rage against it.

But some people accept it as a fact of life. They accept that there will never be a shelter for them, or a place of warmth and compassion. So they build that place for others. Because it should exist for some of us, whether the world thinks so or not.

There is nothing as sweet in this life as being able to live in a world where you are loved, safe, and provided for, surrounded by friends and family. That world does not exist naturally. It is an illusion. Which is why it is up to you to create it. You weather the storm for others. You provide shelter for others. You allow others to live in ignorance of the world's cruelty. You do this because no one else can. 

(anonymous) Reddit Contributor 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Starting From The Bottom

Now I want everyone to know that I am and have always been grateful for what I have, it is so much more then what a lot of people have. I want to let it be known that simplicity is key in competition. I'd always prefer to win in champion shorts, and busted old nikes.

I think its very valuable to not be weighed down by the negative though and to look for the positive its important to understand other competitors. To understand the other crossfitters and the competitors in competitions that you may face, you have to remember that crossfit is a new sport and that the people that up to this point who have been exposed to it, have had the money to workout at a gym that charges anywhere from 100 - 150 dollars a month just for a membership. So these demographics have the disposable income to afford the new shoes, shorts, gear, and all the newest hippest supplements.

But most importantly everyone wants to be unique, and with the numerous new clothing companies and millions of new shoes, everyone believes they can distinguish themselves with the newest gear. When in reality if there were an individual who wore all of his old school cotton gear he would be the hipster of the group and although he would catch all the shit talking, he would be remembered and isn't that the point of being unique?

As for me I did pay 100 dollars a month for a year to my SanShou/MMA gym but I was learning a skill I did not have. Where as a membership to CrossFit didn't make sense to me I knew all of the movements (obviously not the best form) but I couldn't rationalize it in my mind. Obviously you can always find a way to do what you're truly passionate about and when I started that wasn't CrossFit for me. Even when I started I was going to a subpar free Functional fitness gym, they only asked 20.00 donations a month if you planned on coming regularly. I did a local competition and did pretty well and the gym owners took notice, but when they affiliated they were only going to charge me 40 a month which I accepted. Then once the 2014 open came around and I qualified for regionals while representing their new gym, they gave me my membership for free. Since then I've been blessed that my friends and companies recognize my abilities and drive, and they've rewarded me with free memberships and gear. I tell you all of this to let you know that I still wear 1 pair of shoes for most workouts and i'll wear those even while people tease me and talk shit, I'll wear these till they've begun to fall apart and still people will ridicule me. I will wear these until i'm given a new pair or these shoes are no longer functionally feasible. I still occasionally wod in my favorite pair of cotton Champion brand shorts. Don't get me started on supplements, I used to think they were invaluable but now that some companies send me a months worth of supplements at a time and I don't hardly take those. Because in reality the only thing that matters in CrossFit is the work you put in and the intensity you apply to that work.

I tell you all this to let you know that it's not the gear that makes the athlete, in reality Rich Froning will beat me in most wods wearing a halloween costume. So take comfort in the fact that you don't have all the gear that other athletes do, just do your best and dominate every wod. I still keep all my old gear there's something comforting in having all the gear I started in.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We burn the fat from our souls (a commentary on life)

I've re-stumbled across an Ernest Hemingway quote that has always resonated with me, "When I'm not going good, I go off where I can be alone and work the fat off my soul the way a fighter goes up into the mountains to work and train and burn the fat out of his body. Being alone and loneliness are two different things. I'll be alone but I won't be lonely.". This when I first heard it did peak my interest, but for what reasons I do not know. This past week once I heard it again, I knew that it was a profound truth for my life. Anything that has ever been a profound realization to me, or refreshed my soul has been done in solitude. Not the heart breaking solitude of a once wild beast stolen from the wild and forced into a artificial habitat and left to rot away as a spectacle for class field trips, forever alone and placed into a life without purpose. Instead this solitude is one high on a plateau over looking the world and seeing it for what it truly is and how it truly operates, as I worked to better myself and carve out a place for myself in that world which I could now witness for all its glory and deficiencies.

To understand this ideal of Hemingway's I do believe you need to be a fighter, not even in the conventional sense is necessary. But perhaps just in the way that an eternal optimist is always fighting relentlessly for the best in any situation, and always seeing the light at the end and reaching and striving for that light. The existence of knowing that in any situation you will be ok, because you have a deep seeded confidence that is unshakable. That no matter what life throws at you, there is an answer deep within as long as you stay steady on your course you can get through anything.

To find this soul refreshing burning I have always had to put my physical body in pain. Running without a goal in mind and just letting your mind escape your body it's refreshing beyond explanation, your mind is free to deal with issues completely on its own because the rest of your fear or aggression is preoccupied with your running. This leads to some of my biggest life decisions and Its been so valuable to me. This is just one method though, alot of people also are able to sort through their issues with meditation or prayer and these are great options. I just choose to break myself down through exercise and find that my decisions feel like they rebuild my soul a leaner, tougher, and smarter individual.

Yes, Life is a much more difficult and trying test then you could ever imagine. There are so many more variables then you could ever account for in your life, they're countless. Even if you do your best to learn the variables that you can control and remain vigilant, you can't always account for those you bring into your life to love, whether their friends, wives or girlfriends, or eventually children they at some point will be wronged or in a situation that you can do nothing to control. This is an area where doing what you have to and not what you wish you could do is a necessary pain. These pains can only be cleansed by burning the fat from your soul and always striving to fight for the light and the end of each test.

-Joe Guess

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Above Average Athlete

There are three basic principles that I believe encompasses most above average Athletes and if not most, at very least myself. First having a strong hate of being average, second having a solid athletic base and possibly a little bit of talent, third is definitely having an extrinsic motivation or a motivation that's outside of yourself. So give me a moment of your time and weigh yourself against these three requirements and see how you stack up.

To Be an above average lets say CrossFit athlete, takes a lot of things number 1 having a disdain for being average.  Tons of people when ever they see the CrossFit Games on ESPN think to themselves with a overblown entitlement that what they're seeing isn't that difficult and they themselves could easily accomplish such tasks, if it weren't for (insert excuse here). But those that can truly have the ability to reach for those heights see those athletes on the screen and only wonder how long it would take them to do that wod and are immediately inspired and driven to go learn and perfect whatever skills it will take to attack that wod.  This is a basic idea of never being satisfied with wondering you must go out and do. One of my favorite sayings even if its a little street for some peoples taste, "don't talk about it, be about it". Basically shut up turn off the TV and go outside and be awesome. If I ever do anything I want to be the best at that thing, whether that's CrossFit or being a dad, or a husband, or your job whatever it is you should strive to be the best in your field. This will require a little bit of passion for what you do, but if your this to the extreme it really doesn't need that much passion. All you truly need is an internal drive to be the best. This can be difficult for people who don't have a natural need to compete, but if competition gets you going this step should be a no brainer.

The 2nd requirement of an above average Athlete without a doubt is a solid base of Athletics and/or a blessing of talent (the 1%). Although  people who have never been an athlete their whole life do gravitate towards CrossFit it will be difficult to make the athletic adaptations necessary to succeed in the sport at an age past 25. Because without a great mind to body connection that athletics provides from adolescence through puberty, it's difficult to learn to move through Olympic lifts and high level gymnastics fluidly without those previous mind to muscle connections. You can always see it in an individuals movements who hasn't had those years of work put in getting familiar with how there body moves and is supposed to move. Now there are a few individuals who can pick up anything with unbelievable ease, and be very successful and this is possible with CrossFit but in all likely hood that individual has probably done something athletic even if not competitively at some point in their life. So if you're still in high school or Junior High get involved in some type of competitive athletics or in college you should find an organized team in whatever sport you like and train with them this might help develop some of what you missed out on as a child.

The 3rd and final requirement of an above average for example CrossFit athlete, is a motivation greater then themselves, whether your motivation is achievement for someone else or just to prove to yourself that you can. The major requirement of this step is a deep burning passion an emotional connection that can change your attitude in an instance. For some individuals this is a religious connection and a passion brought on by their religion, for others it's the scorn, or mockery of others or the lose of a loved one, or even the passion to inspire others. (I know of a CrossFit games athlete who before he was a games athlete, left his girlfriend to focus on becoming a games athlete, and that motivated her in turn to try and prove to him that she wasn't a burden on the journey and she was determined to make regionals, even though she never made it, that was her external motivation and it probably took her further then she could have ever gone on her own). There are countless athletes out there doing it to glorify the word of God and spread his message. But the 1 thing in common across these three is that it's a deep emotional connection that allows you to zone out the pain of exercise for something greater then your current situation. So forgetting that you're in pain and out of breath and remember that what you're doing goes beyond just yourself, your pain isn't about you its about having a why for what you do. Making yourself push past the physical pain because you have a deeper mental pain or desire that can only be extinguished through this process. This is also why people fall in love with the pain of working out. Because soon that relief of working out and improving brings a high that lets you know that you are improving and you are getting better.

It's a fairly simple equation but I feel like these are traits that are all learned at an early age and difficult to acquire later in life. Not to say that it's impossible I just believe that if you look across the board at above average CrossFitters this is a common Recipe. A distation of being average, a concrete athletic base, and a strong passionate external motivation.

Thanks, guys

My qualifications for writing this
3 - years of competing in CrossFit
10+ -  local comp podiums
3 - open regional qualifications 37th, 26th, 3rd
2 - individual regional appearances 26th, 13th
1 - team regional appearance 2nd
1 - team games appearance 35th
prior to CrossFit I was also on the 2009 U.S. Sanshou Team
and had 1 MMA fight victory 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The 10 commandments of the Box

Rule 1:

Always listen, we have two ears and only 1 mouth when coaches are giving instruction listen like your life depends on it.

Rule 2:

Ask questions, always ask questions if you do not completely understand a concept ask. Be aware that you will be subject to either the most direct answer or the most sarcastic indirect answer, which ever is most readily available.

Rule 3:

Know when, it is an appropriate time to ask questions, usually after instruction is complete. Know when a coach prescribes a weight or a movement, that is what is to be done. Know when class starts that is the coaches time and they deserve every ounce of attention in the room

Rule 4:

Have Fun, with your coaches they may be the dictator of pain and suffering in the box but they are people too. If you happen to have a coach who seems just a little to serious, just really put in the effort to connect with them before or after class and keep the conversation about anything but the gym.

Rule 5:

Always put equipment away, regardless of who got out the equipment. It is not only the courteous thing to do it's also the right thing. It keeps your facility clean and looking good, but once everyone picks up on these polite gestures they will become the gym's identity.

Rule 6:

Maintain proper hygiene, come to class not smelling like a homeless person. occasionally try to wash your equipment (knee sleeves, wrist wraps, shoes) always wash your clothes, never come in yesterdays clothes.

Rule 7:

Be cognizent of your nutrition and hydration prior to coming to workout. Everyone at your gym will have done the same and they won't appreciate you passing out in the middle of their workout.

Rule 8:

Leave your ego and attitude at the door, do your best to enjoy your time at the box, this is your dojo the place where you can get your physical and mental release from all of life's troubles. It has always been the place that helped mend my soul

Rule 9:

It's perfectly normal to have a very patriotic, passion and loyalty towards your own gym, but the reality of todays world is that there will be gyms in close proximity to yours and the best thing you can do for your gym and for CrossFit as a whole is to be courteous and kind to every cross fitter or non cross fitter you come across as to not insult their box or coaches and to help attract more people to this sport.

Rule 10:

Learn, the best thing you can do if you truly want to improve at CrossFit or just get in better shape is to immerse yourself in it. So do your best to learn a little about the movements or the workouts so that you are ready to attack each wod whole heartedly.