John coaches StuLu during the burpee section of the “Filthy Fifty.”
stu john filthy fifty
“There is something extremely, psychologically liberating about continually failing.”
–Sakar P.

Over the past two weeks, as John recovered from the plague/swine flu/something nasty, I had the opportunity to take the helm at MPH. During this time, I saw clearly that you are stronger, push harder and look better while moving. This is to be expected, as we frequently emphasize the basics of squatting, pulling and pressing. We often lift heavy so that you develop raw, absolute strength, which in turn will help improve metabolic conditioning workouts.

Something else I saw: during the”Filthy Fifty”, everyone—everyone—made it through that terror of a workout. For some, it was the motivation of a previous score to beat, but for many of you, who have never had the pleasure of 500 repetitions of gut-checkers like wall-ball, knees-to-elbows or (my personal favorite) burpees, it was the drive to finish. It was amazing to see you throw caution to the wind and just go. And go. StuLu (pictured above) needed a little help during the burpee section. Still sick, Coach Main did every single burpee with him, and the whole class finished the last 10. It felt good to be a part of StuLu’s burpees, because this is the collective intensity that pulls us together, and makes us all better athletes.

Each workout, we learn that we can always do another burpee, that we have it in us to go hard—harder than we may have thought possible. Pushing through workouts with intensity will make you stronger both mentally and physically. We want you to go until you redline—until you nearly crash—then we want you to go some more. By not pacing, not thinking and instead simply assaulting whatever is in front of you, you will do things that you never thought you could. If, instead, you fail, then so what? What better place to crash than on the training floor with your teammates, who, believe me, will make sure that you finish? Training at this level is the only way to forge past self-imposed limits and unlock your athletic potential.

Rest today.


6 Responses

  1. Melody,

    Beautifully said.

    That day, which is now rightfully documented in the archives of the CrossFit MPH photo archives, ranks as the most difficult, closest to red-lining, just one-step from puking experiences that I have ever encountered. I am glad you took this picture. It is a gentle reminder of a day that, amidst seemingly larger adventures in life which I have been fortunate to grasp, will never be forgotten. Pushing through – with all of you in a circle around me – was poetry in motion.

    And on days when I am perhaps feeling a bit selfish, a tad self-centered, I may go back and look at this picture as a kick in the ass and a hit in the head prompt to reflect on what makes us truly better individuals: friendship, community, selflessness. And the pleasure of fucking getting er’ done.


  2. guys, what Melody says here reminds me of this quote, from Greg Glassman:

    “If you insist on basics, really insist on them, your clients will immediately
    recognize that you are a master trainer. They will not be bored; they will be awed.
    I promise this. They will quickly come to recognize the potency of fundamentals.
    They will also advance in every measurable way past those not blessed to have
    a teacher so grounded and committed to basics.”

    – from “Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery”

    things that also resonated with me were the reminders to throw caution to the wind, not think, not pace and just fucking assault the task in front of us. Mel n John’s constant attention to basics will arm us with the tools for that assault.

    keep squattin’!

    Steve D

    ps. i feel a paleopotluckpicnic coming on in the near future…

  3. I never posted my Why I CrossFit because I could never really express it w/o choking up. I am going to try today.

    Almost three years ago, I received around the time of my 37th birthday, a diagnosis that I not only had Multiple Sclerosis, but that it was active and reoccurring. I didn’t really understand what that meant only that as my doctor described my symptoms it explained a lot of the things that I had felt physically throughout my life.

    Well I didn’t know how I was supposed to react and my doctor made me sit in the waiting room, then he called me back in and insisted that I cry and let all the emotions out. I did eventually cry but I think I cried because I didn’t know how else to get out of that. Two of the first people I told were John and Mel. I told them that the doctor was amazed that I had never had any major symptoms until now. That whatever I was doing, I should keep doing it. So that kept me strong. Everyone else looked at me like I had developed two heads and my parents began the big push to get me to come back home.

    John and Mel never at any point told me I should cry. They in fact pushed me hard like they always have, but they did their own research about what I was going through and continued to push me hard. So when I crossfit, even if I do it badly, I feel like I am winning. I believe in them sometimes more than I believe in myself. I am working on that but until that moment if self belief kicks in, I use them as strength.

    So as everyone has said I thank all of the coaches and my classmates for inspiring me daily.


    1. Kim –

      I appreciate you sharing this very personal thing – my cousin has MS and has had some tough times.

      I have a medical challenge coming up myself, John and Mel and Rebecca have been terrific.

      Your story inspires me greatly!

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