When I first started my “fitness journey” I surrounded myself with the beasts. Everyone who could lift more, had better form, and higher endurance. I wanted to be just like them so I worked as closely as possible and learned as much as I could.
But since starting Move Society and diving into the world of training, I have never felt such passion and pride as I do when I see someone at the very beginning of their own journey. The drive it takes to get out of bed early and get into the gym. The amount of self-doubt that floods the minds of beginners is immense and to know that they are overcoming it and making it happen for themselves lights a fire in me to be better, to train harder and to educate myself more. It is so easy to become complacent and content, but seeing people grind to hit their first set of goals emotionally strikes me and pushes me to be a better form of myself.
So what’s in my bag? A LOT. This is why I love my Locker Pack; it’s truly the only bag I’ve ever owned that can fit it all!
No kidding….. it ALL fits!!
Written by Brent Price
Brent Price has spent the majority of his life being obese. Tipping the scales at a whopping 310 lbs, he made the decision 5 years ago to prioritize his health - with remarkable results. Brent trains at Studeo55 Crossfit 6 days a week along with regular running, swimming and spinning. He also offers lifestyle and fitness coaching at Move Society for people looking to start their own journey in health and fitness.
I’m going to be completely transparent. I’m not a professional Olympic lifter. I started with a powerlifting base so strength has always been my go to. I was always pulling heavy shit. And to be honest, it will always be my first love and foundation. But when I moved into CrossFit and began learning Olympic style lifting, it was a completely different dynamic for me. And I really liked it. It was having that technique, that precision, and being able to be proficient in the movement, not because you can pull something heavy, but because you hit every single technical cue you have to hit in order to get to that place.
A DYNAMIC WORKOUT
Olympic style is a dynamic type of lifting that’s completely different from the type of training I was doing. As a powerlifter I was used to pulling 3 times the amount of weight I was now doing. But after working on my form over and over, I was getting an incredible workout from something I questioned would even be challenging when I first started. And I think that’s a key motivator for me. I get so exhausted because I’m working so hard going through the movement over and over. But that’s why you need the mental discipline and patience as you dissect your technique. I can easily spend half an hour of my warm up just working on a single movement, such as simply dragging the bar up my thighs a few inches.
OLYMPIC VS POWERLIFTING
In a powerlift, the range of motion is half the distance it would be for Olympic lifting, because the bar in Olympic lifting travels from the ground all the way up. In a bench press for instance, a staple powerlifting movement, you can imagine the distance the bar travels compared to a whole dynamic movement. That’s why when you’re starting from the ground in an Olympic lift, something even as mundane as deciding where you’re going to stand on that first pull is something you think about all the time. You’re always actively thinking. The mental effort alone it takes to be consciously training can be exhausting!
RESIST THE DARK SIDE
Another key aspect in Olympic lifting for me is the necessity to stay present. It’s easy for me to just turn off my mind sometimes, and summon the anger and pull a heavy deadlift. But you can’t be jaded by emotion when you’re doing a technical lift. You have to be present and conscious of your training.
SUPPORTS EVERYTHING YOU DO
Olympic lifting will support all the other sports or activities you do. It’s a dynamic movement that will supplement any movement because it’s a full body workout. You’re having to fire every muscle to get that pull. Before starting in powerlifting, I was training at a bodybuilding gym with the goal of simply wanting to lose weight. So I have experienced all types of lifting. That’s why I would never discriminate against any form of lifting or athleticism. And you can’t really judge something until you try it, which is why I have so much respect for anyone who lifts, no matter what their reasons are for doing so. But for me, it’s about performance. I always want to show off my physical exertion, rather than my abs or my delts. Because I believe if you prioritize performance over aesthetics, the aesthetics will follow.
Written by Karina Lemoncrystals
Karina is a Certified Trainer and nutrition coach who is committed to inspiring a lifestyle of happiness, health and fitness in others. She currently trains at CrossFit Lions and Dynasty Gym. Follow her adventures @lemoncrystals on Instagram.
New styles arriving soon.
INNOVATION FROM THE GROUND UP
In a revolutionary experiment where raw athletic talent meets technical design superiority, RYU pioneered a new process for bringing tailored innovation to market. It began with the formation of BETA\375, the Research + Development Lab tasked with inventing the future of athletic performance.
Isolated from the daily running of the business, BETA\37.5 is where designers have the freedom to create and enjoy a lifestyle that reflected the brand. Here they were able to reinvent the actual design process, which was a combination of ideation and prototyping in a unique partnership with our suppliers.
A Revolution in Thinking
The intention behind BETA\37.5 was to create a distinct design lab that brought real user designer interface into one ideal location. We began by recruiting some of the best designers and product engineers in the world and put them in a remote mountainside environment and allowed them to work independently and hands-on in a way that is completely different than anywhere else.
For instance, it’s common practice in fashion today for designers to develop illustrations and send them overseas where they are turned into something that’s a representation of the original idea. RYU’s vision was different. Instead of sending sketches or computer drawings to the factories, we mandated that our design teams physically build actual prototypes in-house - a lost art in the apparel industry. Then we take those same prototypes, beat the crap out of them, refine them, rebuild them, and make them better.
Our process is completely hands-on. It’s trial and error. By the time we finish building products they’ll get used more than if they were actually in the field. You might build a hundred versions of something and it might get used for six to twelve months. It’s not just this theoretical test. It’s not just putting fabric in a washing machine and saying ‘ok it’s done the 30 wash test’. No, we’ve worn it for six months. We’ve used it. We’ve seen the outcome.
- Nathan Kukathas, RYU Designer
Rather than focusing on individual hero pieces, our design lab focused on creating entire collections that have been strategically curated to solve problems for athletes. This includes There + Back, Train + Develop, and Rest + Recovery. Their vision has already paid off with the creation of a brand new apparel category: Urban Athletic Tailored Technical Training Apparel. Featuring intellectual properties, revolutionary patent-pending innovations and disruptive technology unlike anything the industry has ever seen before.
Award Winning Results
Within 6 months of opening our Flagship store in Vancouver, RYU has been recognized by some of the top design awards in the world. Our Carry System in particular has gained international notoriety for our design lab.
Quick Pack Lux
Silver A'Design Award for Excellence
The Fashion and Travel Accessories Design category recognizes world-class products, prototypes, and/or concepts exhibiting exceptional form, function, innovation and aesthetics. The awards are decided by a panel of international media, established designers, leading academics and prominent entrepreneurs and are presented each year in Italy.
Created by BETA\37.5, RYU's Quick Pack Lux is designed for athletes by athletes to work for all parts of life including to and from home, the gym, and work. The bag's sleek aesthetic contrasts a muted exterior with shiny interior, artfully capturing the brand's 'Beautiful Tough' mantra.
Locker Pack Lux
Nominated by Carryology for Best Work Backpack.
Carryology is a website driven by designers, retailers and overall bag enthusiasts who test and review carry gear for "fitness of purpose". They study construction, innovation and overall functionality for bags that transport the important pieces of our day-to-day lives. These are people who actively use and test bags and backpacks in both urban and outdoor environments, looking at all aspects of their design to confirm maximum performance and quality combined with modern style and versatility.
According to Carryology, "Labelling RYU as 'Arc'teryx for the gym' would be under-selling their early achievements. Despite the obvious DNA of former bird employees, RYU are working hard to redefine formats and approaches, such as those found in the Locker Pack. A novel drop-front opening allows for great access and doubles as a portable locker, perfect for flying by the gym. Minimalist patterning creates visual interest. And a great mix of fabrics adds some suave office appeal.
Lifts. Reps. Sweat. Sacrifice. Countless hours spent in the gym. We long for it. We crave it. We need it. But for what? Confined to the four walls of the gym, does all that effort become little more than sport?
I’m beginning to believe that what society has now popularized as an activity in itself - training - was never designed to be confined to four walls. The gym was merely meant to be the practice arena. An area to refine the craft. To bring it back out into the world stronger, faster and better than it was before.
I realize now that the hours of training were never meant to be the end result, but what allows us to interact with the world in ways we couldn’t have before. And that realization prompted a single question to run through my mind over and over…
WHAT AM I TRAINING FOR?
From that simple question came the idea to find ways to play, practice and move the way I do in training, anytime, anywhere, with anything available to me.
My goal became to redefine “training” from in a gym to anything I would interact with out in the world. And to incorporate anything I want to do in the outside world, into my training.
We’ve been given this ability to move, to use our body to do things and take us places. To not use that, to not expand that, and to not push that potential into the world you interact with every day, is a shame. My goal was to not be limited in my thinking and to be able to adapt my skills, my movements, and the body I’ve worked so hard for, to any environment. To force my mind and my body to change the way it took shape, performed movements, and interacted with what was in front of it.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU
For any of you that want to push yourself in an unorthodox way, I challenge you this: View the world in front of you as if it was your only gym. Take what you wish you could do in the world and bring it into your training.
Let those neat and tidy lines that have been place in front of you begin to blur. Rather than being guided by the railings and fences the world puts up to move you as it pleases, let them become obstacles to jump over.
THE WORLD CAN BE YOUR PLAYGROUND
Let those buildings at city hall, not only be a place to pay taxes, but a playground to move, jump, sprint, and adapt to.
Let the park behind your house transform from grass and trees to a sports arena.
Those 30 stairs in front of you. Let that be your gym for box jumps, inclined sprints, or uneven squats.
Park benches. Dips, push ups and elevated planks.
That overhead pipe in your underground. Chin ups, leg lifts, single arm hangs.
Transform your world from a concrete jungle to an endless playground. Allow everything around you become something you can navigate and play with. Limited only by what you can see, let even the simplest things, like cracks in a sidewalk, become a chance to refine your jump skills and co-ordination.
BLUR THE LINES
When you begin to blur those lines, the world around you changes. You realize that with nothing more than creativity and effort, all of those hours spent in the gym can and will go so much further than looking and feeling good. You will begin to adapt to any environment.
My challenge to you is to go to a park or any other public place and look for new ways to practice what we’ve so easily confined to a gym. It doesn’t matter if it’s push ups, squats, crawling, or trying to walk on your hands. Just find some ways to apply your current craft to the environment around you.
Find a park bench and choose three ways to play on it aside from sitting. Figure out three things you can do with a wall besides leaning on it. View your environment through fresh eyes and see what is around for you to play with.
Before you know it, you will begin to see new uses for everything around you. The bland will speak to you differently and the most boring of places will become your playground. The world around you will become your gym. And it is always open.
Written by Julian DeSchutter
Julian is the co-founder of Chasing Sunrise, a community that understands with each sunrise, we are given a choice to make. We can either stay in bed waiting for life to come to us or we can get up and get after it chasing what we want.
An Interview with Jessica Kelly
LA based Jessica Kelly was a late bloomer who didn’t start going to the gym until her early 30’s. Little by little she discovered yoga, which opened up a whole new world of health and fitness. From there she moved to CrossFit and now at 42, is the strongest she has ever been in her life.
I train for a lot of different reasons. It reminds me how strong I am. Even on a bad day, it reminds me who I am. It’s such a mental game for me. Am I going to be able to do it today? If I can’t, am I going to cry? Am I going to give up? What can I pull out of myself today? It’s to prove to myself that I can do things, and to prove to myself when I can’t do them, that I can deal with it and go back in and try it again tomorrow. And that translates to the rest of my life. It’s a different type of courage and confidence and playfulness that I didn’t have before.
"I’ll never be the strongest. I’ll never be the fastest. But I’ll be the one that works the hardest."
On the toughest thing I ever did
Seven years ago, for a variety of personal reasons, I completely started over. I moved to Los Angeles on my own with no savings, no job and no contacts. I left my best friend, my marriage and my family. I was alone. But I never looked back. I started doing yoga twice a day. And discovered that helping people through health and fitness was my true passion.
On struggling with self doubt
I’ve struggled with self doubt and lack of confidence all my life. I think it goes back to not playing sports as a young girl. Only by training have I felt more accepting of my strengths and weaknesses. Where as before, I hadn’t learned how to deal with that. I’m now learning to do things I never thought I could do. So deep down I know I can do anything.
I want to be as healthy and as strong as I can be so I can live life the way I want. I want to be ready for the next adventure!
“For the first time in my life, I had an appreciation for what my body could do, rather than what it looked like.”
On turning 42
I was never really age conscious. But coming to LA when I was 35 has been really interesting. Everyone here is so focused on youth. I want to stay an inspiration. I have people come up to me and say, “You’re 42? I can’t believe that.” Why? Am I supposed to behave like an old person? I don’t know what old is. Am I supposed to look like a bag of bones? Or stop taking care of myself? I’m not training for aesthetics. I’m doing it for achievement. I have people my own age who tell me “I can’t do this stuff anymore”. It’s funny, because I never had done it before so I have nothing to compare it to. So there’s no limitation in my mind. I may take longer to warm up than younger people, but that’s it!
On her tattoo
I have a small tattoo “Amor Fati” on my arm. It’s Latin for “Loving Your Fate”. Not just accepting what happens in life, but really embracing and loving the good, the bad and the ugly – knowing that whatever is happening in the moment is necessary in order experience life and beauty and to move forward. So when something happens that I might not like, I repeat it to myself and helps me see what could come out of that moment. We can’t choose what happens to us. But we can choose how we feel about it. And why wouldn’t we choose to feel anything but good?
"Human greatness is the ability to love your fate"
On being beautiful tough
This phrase changed my life and my notion of myself. There could be a bad connotation to the word tough – stubborn, closed off, unrelenting. But pairing it with beautiful brings all that positivity to the surface. That tough is being courageous and strong. When I finally let go of what I looked like, and focused on being strong, I felt my body change. My clothes fit different. I felt different. Because there’s such beauty in strength. It’s grace and grit in harmony and balance.
On the power of one
Everyday is an opportunity to see what you can do. It’s like beginners mind. It doesn’t matter that you’re doing Downward Dog for the 1000th time. On that day, in that moment, it’s the only one.
Athlete: Jessica Kelly
Late last month, RYU was treated to some very exciting news from the WGSN Futures Awards in London, England. WGSN is the world’s leading trend authority, serving the fashion and creative industries. The WGSN Futures Awards recognize the businesses that have done the most to push the boundaries of the international fashion market. The purpose of the awards is to discover the key players that will influence the future of fashion. This year they went looking for the ultimate retail destination on the planet. And found it in Vancouver.
We’re thrilled to announce that they selected the RYU Flagship Store in Kitsilano as the Best Retail Store in the World. Beating heavyweight favourites like Topshop London, Primark Madrid and Gentle Monster Busan. For those who haven’t had a chance to check it out in person, here are some of the reasons it won.
Designed by award-winning architect Tony Robins, the RYU Flagship Store artfully captures the Beautiful Tough sensory experience the brand is famous for. Industrial hardware, distressed wood and cold steel evoke the feeling of a vintage training facility while clean white walls and modern interior touches create an unforgettable design and fashion aesthetic.
FIT AND FUNCTION EXPERTS
Unlike a typical athletic wear store, customers are not greeted with rows upon rows of endless racks. Instead, collections are displayed and organized by function. Experienced athletes who are fit, fabric and function experts, connect customers with the right athletic gear, products, training and nutrition advice.
SHARING THE EXPERIENCE
While many retailers discourage photos being taken on premises, the customer experience at RYU is entirely different. Phone charging stations are built right into the spacious change rooms to encourage customers to share their experience by taking selfies under the flattering, body contouring light. There is even reverse messaging printed on the change room mirrors as a cue to take and share photos in the gear they are trying on.
POP UP NUTRITION BAR
A unique feature RYU has built in to the retail experience is an ever-changing pop up nutrition bar. Local vendors supplying everything from mineral infused, electrolyte enhancing performance water and organic, cold pressed juices, to fresh salads, healthy snacks and artisan creations are invited to set up shop for a week where they can introduce RYU customers to products that will enhance their lives.
TRAINING TEST AREA
The retail floor is only half the unique RYU experience. On the second floor is a fully furnished training facility where customers can test their new gear right on the premises. Leading up to the functional training area is a set of stairs. On each stair is quote RYU athletes had to overcome to achieve their dreams. With each step, athletes are physically (and metaphorically) overcoming obstacles, prejudice and personal bias directed to them from coaches, opponents, doctors and even well meaning parents and loved ones. It begins with “THE TOLD ME ALL THE REASONS I COULDN’T” and ends with “WHAT DO THEY KNOW” on the wall at the top. By the time they reach the final step, they have literally “stepped over” these obstacles and are totally pumped for training.
RESPECTING OUR COMMUNITY
With a mission to awaken one million athletes in the next 5 years, RYU is empowering people to become more active, fit and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. That’s why we offer free community workouts with top trainers in the city right in the store.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, we invite you to drop down and take a look for yourself. Check out our new tailored technical gear, connect with our amazing team, help yourself to fresh fruit and beverages or get your ass kicked by one of Vancouver’s elite trainers at a free Sweat Club. No matter which you choose, you’ll be glad you did.
Working out. Eating well. Living mindfully. One thing I've learned is that the key to living a healthy life is to be in harmony with all of these different aspects. Listen to your body. If you're feeling stressed, anxious, or worried - the best thing I can recommend is to get yourself moving. Go for a walk, head to the gym, pull out your yoga mat. Take a deep breath and give your body what it needs. Focusing our attention in this way creates a shift in the way we are thinking, and as we know, our thoughts are what shape our reality.
My passion for health and fitness began when I was 16. I realized happiness and fulfillment in life all comes down to one thing - how we take care of ourselves. Our lifestyle impacts our lives not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Growing up I struggled with my self-esteem, and the turning point for me was when I started on a journey of never ending self-improvement - my first day at the gym. As I started to strengthen my body, it turned into a desire to strengthen my mind as well. Both are connected, and both are tools we can consistently sharpen. Nobody is perfect, and there is always room to grow and to expand our awareness.
DISCOVERING MY PERSONAL GAME CHANGER
During my first few months at the gym 10 years ago I started off by only using the cardio equipment. It felt great - I was getting a good sweat and releasing endorphins, but I wasn't seeing the physical improvements that I really wanted to see. Then I was introduced to strength training. It was a game changer. My metabolism accelerated so I leaned out quite quickly, my clothing fit much better and life in general became more productive. It was a way to track physical progress, which in turn sparked a desire to improve other aspects of my life. I began to realize a strength within myself that I never knew existed.
LIVING IN THE FLOW OF LIFE
I experienced a shift in mindset. I went from comparing myself to my past, to realizing the importance of being present in each moment and living in the now. Every experience from the past, whether good or bad, is a lesson. There's nothing we can do to change the past, but we can learn from it and grow in the process. When you're in the midst of a challenging workout, there's that moment when you persevere and push through your challenge point - that state of mind follows us into our lives. It's a state of focused awareness, and the more we allow ourselves to live in that place, the more we allow ourselves to live in the flow of life.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
A healthy lifestyle can transform your world. Realizing this first hand, I decided to become a certified personal trainer so that I could show as many people as possible a way of life that would bring them happiness beyond what they could imagine. I see health as living a life in balance. Through eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and living mindfully with regular meditation and yoga practice - you can achieve that balance. Our potential is limitless, and when we focus our attention on what we want and keep moving forward toward our goals no matter what - nothing is impossible!
Written by Leighla Claydon
About the athlete
Model, trainer, dancer, Leighla Claydon is passionate about helping people reach their full potential through developing the strength and discipline necessary to reach their goals.
We asked 5 amazing Dads about their 5 favorite things to do this Father’s Day. Always inspiring, their answers may surprise you.
Paul Cross, Founder, Academy Institute of Higher Stamina
- -My first Father’s Day starts with a pancake breakfast with my wife Leah and 10 month old son Ronan.
- -Connect with my own Dad who’s now in his 80’s. He lives out of town so ideally we do it by FaceTime.
- -Get in some exercise and get outside with my family. This is generally what we try to do every Sunday anyway but we’re planning a special hike for that day.
- -Have some daddy-son playtime. At this age it generally involves rolling around on the floor
- -Have dinner with my family
Anthony Agatrap, Founder, Engineered Bodies Strength & Conditioning
- -Have an awesome breakfast with my wife and two daughters.
- -Go outside and do parkour with my girls around the neighbourhood.
- -Practice movement like handstands, QDR's, or ring work in the park.
- -Watch a few episodes of the girl's favourite Netflix cartoon series with them.
- -Go for ice cream with the family after barbequing an awesome steak dinner.
Adam Hart, Founder, Power of Food
- -Wake up to the kisses of my little ones (Jacob and Juliette ages 2 and 4)
- -Prepare a family "Rise and Shine Smoothie" with fresh local strawberries from our garden, hemp seeds, water and a few dates.
- -Head out for a quick one hour mountain bike ride.
- -Afternoon visit to the beach or park with the kids and a picnic lunch.
- Kids go to bed and mommy and daddy enjoy a romantic evening playing scrabble and drinking a glass of organic wine (scrabble is NOT my idea)
Curtis Christopherson, Partner & VP of Operations RAD Roller
- -Enjoying time with my lovely wife and two kids (ages 2 and 3 months). Unfortunately they are at an age where we still need to go on their schedules but enjoying their presence and personalities is the highlight of my day.
- -Sipping on a coffee on my back patio in the early morning before the world is up and at it. June is a great time to really enjoy the crisp mornings (if the weather is good of course).
- -Enjoying the time with my own father (and brothers) as we organize a round of golf every Father's Day.
- -Getting a workout in is a must. I usually do a really good run 5-10km and then a lift. Brings out the father in me.
- -Reminiscing with all the great memories I have over the years with my father and now as a father myself. Scrolling through pictures, telling stories, and just soaking it all in.
Dai Manuel, Lifestyle Mentor and Best Selling Author
- -Breakfast with my family (bacon with a side of bacon is always the starter).
- -A Sunday Funday workout with my tribe (and other dads and families).
- -A long walk along the seawall with my fam and a Venti Americano in hand.
- -Some good ol’ me time – either with a good book, a podcast or the like.
- -Steak for dinner (but that’s every day, isn’t it?).
Shop some of our Connector's favourite gear here.
A baby born in Canada today has an average lifespan of 89 years. That takes us to 2105.
What if when that baby was born there was calendar on the nursery wall counting down to 2105? I think the choices they would make might be very different in how they lived their life. But we don’t look at life as being a finite or that things are counting down.
So when I look at my life and I realize I’m reaching the halfway mark, I ask myself “now what?” I want to believe there is something beyond what we are doing now. Does it scare me a little bit? Yeah. But I believe we are all here to serve a purpose. Whatever that is for you, whatever fills your heart and gives you that sense of oomph when you get out of bed in the morning. Especially if that is helping others, or giving back, or making the world a better place.
When I talk about the Faith pillar as part of my philosophy on life, that’s what it’s about for me. That’s why I give back so much of my time. It makes me feel really good. Maybe that’s selfish. Do people benefit from me being selfish? Yes. I think it’s win-win.
YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE
That’s why I invite people to try and live a lifestyle that feels good. A 2% a day commitment. 30 minutes a day. 15 minutes of movement with purpose. 5 minutes of mindfulness. 10 minutes of personal development. At the very least it’s what you deserve. You’re worth it. Try it for 28 days. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s not a program. It’s a lifestyle. It goes until the day you die. Until the day you CHOOSE not to do it anymore. Because it’s always a choice. But many of us get stuck. We get sidetracked during the day doing things that don’t fill the mind body experience. And that’s ok. But I’d like to start to encourage people to start with 2% a day to commit to themselves first.
CHANGE ANY HABIT WITH THESE 3 QUESTIONS
There are 3 simple questions you can ask yourself to change any habit to live a more fulfilling and higher quality of life.
1. Can I do this?
This relates to education. Can I learn the skills necessary to do this? From learning to play the piano to getting nutrition knowledge, the answer is yes. You can always educate yourself to learn how to do something. You’re capable. Have a little self-belief.
2. If I go and get lessons, will I get better?
If I start to eat better, move my body differently, or obtain specific knowledge, will I get results? The answer is yes.
3. Is it worth it?
Which really translates to “Am I worth it?” It’s highly subjective and comes from internal motivation. It’s “I WANT to do this” as opposed to I should or I would or I could do this. It’s the difference between desire and discipline. Discipline is forcing yourself to do something until eventually a habit is formed. Desire is “I really want to do this because I know the end result. I know what’s it’s going to provide for me from a lifestyle from this alternating perspective.”
Once you answer yes to all three, that’s when lifestyle becomes habit. And you can continue to reinforce that.
COMMUNITY - THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
This is the last layer, which I think is the most essential. Community. It’s why I believe Cross Fit has exploded globally. It’s that community of like-minded people. Because they’ll be days when you feel discouraged. When you feel down. It’s nice to have someone there saying “it’s ok, I felt like that last week. Now lets get back up and do it again.”
So let’s go through those 3 questions again.
Can you do it? Yes.
If you keep doing it, can you get results? Absolutely.
And are you worth this? Yes you are. You know it. That’s where the community comes in to remind us of that. And keep us going.
But If you choose to say no, I’m not worth this anymore, then we got a bigger issue to deal with. I’ll fight you tooth and nail on that one.
Because you are.
Written by: Dai Manuel
About the athlete
Dai Manuel is a coach, lifestyle mentor and bestselling author of Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, an indispensable guide for a healthier mind, body and spirit. Check out www.wholelifefitnessmanifesto.com where you can download a preview chapter from the book and learn about how to join the tribe for free.
Exploding out of the gates with my sled by my side, I sprint across the ice and land head first into the saddle that cradles my ribs and waist. In the same instant, I calm my heart to its slowest beat-pattern and navigate a frozen wonderland of twists and turns - all the while resisting gravitational forces of up to five times my body weight. No seatbelt. No brakes. And a dizzying speed up to 140km/hour. I keep ankles together and arms glued by my side. I may not wear a cape. But this is how I fly.
My name is Cassie Hawrysh, I was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba and I’m most commonly known as a member of the Canadian National Team as a Skeleton Racer. That being said, there was once a time I was more commonly recognized on the volleyball courts and as a multi-disciplined athlete in the track and field world.
MY WORLD LOOKED NOTHING LIKE I THOUGHT
Almost eight years ago, I was a recent University of Regina graduate from the School of Journalism with a full-time job, challenging the 400m Hurdles across the country, and was fully convinced that I had all my ducks in a row. However sometimes when we get caught up standing really close to a point of time in our life we aren’t always aware the image is out of focus. In a random flash of reality - which I could have brushed aside as insecurity, worry or confusion - my heart spoke up. I allowed myself to step back, way back and see the bigger picture. In that moment, I discovered my world looked nothing like I thought.
Thankfully, with the support of my family and some patience with myself I was able to set out on a brand new journey - a journey that placed me right into the arms of Skeleton Racing.
Never be subject to the perceived power of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.
A BRIEF HISTORY
I was invited to do summer dry land training with some of the then Olympic-hopeful Skeleton Racers of the 2010 Olympic Games.
I learned the basics of Skeleton and was able to take my first runs from the top of the Canada Olympic Park track in Calgary not only surviving, but loving every single millisecond of it. And demanding I be allowed to go again.
I was able to be trackside in Whistler, BC as Russell, Manitoba’s Jon Montgomery won Men’s Skeleton GOLD during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It was truly AMAZING! A moment of Maple Leaf pride that I can never truly describe - I think all of Canada felt like they were atop that podium with Jon that night!
During our annual team selection races, I earned my place on Canada’s World Cup team.
Was named at the Alternate sled for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!
I continue to pursue my Olympic goals and I’m racing to be a member of the 2018 Winter Olympic Team, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
ANYTHING BUT A PERFECTLY EXECUTED PLAN
I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath; it’s a lot to take in. The truth is, some days I have a difficult time processing it all myself. And while that quick recap reads like a perfectly executed plan, I must admit the truth is: it has been anything but.
I have been and continue to be faced with hurdles every step of way. Both internal and external, some expected and others heart-breaking. As such, no matter where you are right now, no matter what dream you are chasing, or have yet to realize: I want to leave you with one thought: Never be subject to the perceived power of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.
I strive to live my #BeautifulTough every single day and you best believe, you can too.
Canadian Skeleton Racer
Trying to slow down Dai Manuel is like trying to stop a freight train with a flyswatter. Athlete, coach, author, connector, media personality, husband, father, speaker – Dai rumbles through life like a rocket sled on rails. But we managed to put the brakes on the big man just long enough for him to share some personal insights on training for life. Dai is always inspiring, but here he shares a particularly profound perspective we can all adopt.
I DO IT FOR ME
When I discovered CrossFit in 2007, I rediscovered a new side to myself. I found that pushing myself to try new things, challenging myself to improve as an athlete, and ultimately the dynamic nature of the sport was in perfect alignment for me on a personal and business level. Quotes like “Embrace the suck!” or “Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable” which proliferate the CrossFit communities resonated with me. So I’ve adopted these ideas and discovered new things about myself through each workout, through competition with myself, and a desire to constantly be improving.
I do it for me. Not for anyone else. That’s a choice I make every day. And I love it!
I’M TOO FAT. I’M TOO SLOW. I’M SUCH A FRAUD.
I’ve always been my own worst critic. It’s the voice inside my head that I’m always competing with. I know based on my mentoring and coaching of others, there’s a lot of voices preventing people like us in life, from doing the things that matter most to us.
Telling that little voice to “shut the fuck up!” is a constant battle. I have to remind myself I’m not that little, overweight teen any longer. I’m not that person that consoles and masks his pain with alcohol any more. I’ve grown and moved beyond the limited boundaries I created for myself.
TOMORROW IS AWESOME. BUT TODAY IS BEST.
There’s days when I’m frustrated with myself, I’m tired, I’m irritated by something outside my control. It’s on these days I have to remind myself about all the things I’m proud of, remembering that I can control my thoughts and actions today which will impact my future tomorrow. The past is past. Learn from it and then move on. Don’t dwell. Tomorrow is awesome, but today is best! I’m the boss of me, and negativity doesn’t serve anyone, especially me.
I CHOOSE MY ACTIONS
We are for the most part human beings, and human Doing. For most of us we look to make connections both internally and externally. Internally I want to feel good about the choices and actions I make. When I do things out of alignment with my personal vision/mantra/goals/lifestyle, then I don’t feel good. I feel stressed, depressed and the like. I impose my own ideas, I choose my actions, no one is the boss of me. Owning this is key. I own it all the time. My action or inaction is always my own doing. And because of that, it’s easy to ‘forget’ why we do what we do – or to be part time with our commitments to ourselves. I don’t allow for that in my life.
I NEVER LOSE
If I learn from my choices and actions, and constantly adapt to improve, then I never really lose. Instead I’m faced with opportunities to learn and improve. Like a martial artist who practices, practices and practices some more, you never really master anything without consistent, measurable progress. So I am always looking for ways to measure what I’m doing. Asking myself the following: Is it in alignment with my life pillars? Does this add value to my life, my family and my community? Am I being the man that I would want to marry my daughters?
PLAYING TO WIN
If I improve my self-confidence, abilities, skill sets (and personally develop my 5 pillars), I am that much more skilled and confident when facing competitive situations with others. But at the end of the day, like anyone else, I like to win. I strive to do my best in every situation. Why else would I do it after all? It’s the primal drive in me. I PLAY to win for me.
I RESPECT MY UNIVERSE
Without self-respect, external respect can’t be as deep or meaningful. Cliches for the most part are based on some commonplace level of truth or observation. If you can’t love yourself, will you ever really understand and appreciate love of another? I love my kids… and in further deepening my love of them, do I find deeper love in myself. Funny how that works. As I allow myself to be vulnerable and open to others, as I constantly respect my universe, I find it builds strength, character and adds mortar to the bricks of the house I’ve built for myself.
Written by Dai Manuel
About the athlete:
Formerly Chief Operating Officer of Fitness Town Inc. Dai Manuel was traumatized by the stigmas he experienced as an obese teenager. So at age 15, he made a decision to change his lifestyle and hasn’t looked back since. His passion is to engage as many people as possible in living healthy, more active lifestyles, with a specific focus on supporting families so that childhood obesity is no longer a global epidemic.
Shop Dai's Outfit Here
Over the years I’ve gone from a 250lb bodybuilder to a 205lb CrossFit Games Regional competitor. From running a free blog called ‘Globofit’ for my gym-rat friends to follow CrossFit workouts, to owning, operating, and programming hundreds of workouts for thousands of athletes through my 2 businesses Raincity Athletics and The Canadian Affiliate League. From running free boot camp classes in a park as a way to sell protein shakes, to training a variety of high level athletes. Every one of these accomplishments was a very long, twisted, and stressful road full of learning.
This is due to the fact that I tend to obsess over things. I like to overdo it. Whether it’s as simple as a song that I put on repeat for a week, training and exercise, or opening my own business. In my lifetime I have overdone many things in both good and bad ways, and I’ve learned a lot from these experiences. Learning from these mistakes is why I love running Raincity Athletics. I get to teach my clients (and coaches) how to not make the same mistakes that I have made. And there have been a lot.
SOMETIMES LIFE GETS IN THE WAY
With all these mistakes I’ve made, and learning I’ve done, I’ve evolved from believing that health must be your #1 priority in order to be able to function at a high enough level to achieve these things - to realizing that sometimes the only way to truly prioritize our health is to be comfortable and confident enough to not prioritize our health.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our healthy plans. It could be as small as traffic interfering with getting to your workout, to major injuries having you off the training floor for months, or sometimes life just throws you a whole basket full of lemons. Either way, the healthiest thing you can do for your body (and mind) during these times is to accept that you cannot always prioritize your health. I’m not saying if life throws you off the horse it’s ok to give up, but sometimes the best thing to do is accept that we must walk beside and lead the horse, before we jump back on.
THE HIDDEN ENEMY
There’s lots of enemies to our health in the world today, no matter what path (paleo, zone, vegetarian, etc) you believe in. Processed foods, sugar, and sedentary lifestyles are a few – but one of the biggest culprits of inflammation, diseases, and weight gain is one that rarely gets enough attention: Stress.
“I didn’t get a workout in today”
“I didn’t run as fast or lift as much as I should/would/could have”
“I blacked out and ate a tub of Earnest” (it happens ok??)
Whether you are a professional athlete, make a living through health or a sport, or you’re in your period of obsession for a goal – then keep that up. You are either paid to stress out about these things, or you know what you’re signing up for. I applaud the sacrifices you are making to do so. But for the rest of us (or when your professional endeavors end) you’ll have to find a balance because the problem is the higher we prioritize our health, the more likely we are to stress about it.
CREATE SUSTAINABILITY. NOT STRESS.
The only way to truly prioritize our health, is to balance it with our life so that we can minimize our stresses and create sustainable habits that become second nature. I think it’s great to go through a period of health obsession; whether it’s via a 30 day nutrition or health challenge, or signing up and training for a big race/competition - do it! But once it’s done, remember the big picture: health & longevity. Take the lessons your learned from your period of obsession, and apply them in a way that create sustainability, not stress.
I’m not saying you should let yourself eat a pint of Earnest ice cream a day (we all make mistakes ok? #worthit) but remember the balance - because getting stressed out about what you did or didn’t do in the end might do more damage than the act itself
Learn from your mistakes and just keep moving forward towards your higher level of strength, beauty, health, and balanced happiness.
About the Athlete
Simon ‘Thor’ Damborg is Head Coach and Program Director at Raincity Athletics and The Canadian Affiliate League. A Crossfitter, Olympic weightlifter, downhill skier and volleyball player among other things, he enjoys helping people realize how much more our bodies can do than our minds let us. Rather than helping a small group of people attain elite status, he prefers to try to help the masses make minor lifestyle changes that in turn will help societies health issues as a whole.