Monday, December 27, 2010

The Bean

"Intelligence is sometimes defined as the capacity of the individual to adjust himself successfully to his environment - or to adjust the environment to his needs." Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

A few days ago I was looking for something awkward to lift, throw and to carry while dragging tires. I was in the farm store and came across a 40 pound bag of wood fuel pellets and felt it had possibilities. Remembering back to some good posts by my brothers in The Free Fitness Movement, Man-Tis and Ryan Minney, (whose honest efforts are linked at the top of this blog) I bought the bag of pellets and a roll of duct tape.

The duffel in the back I originally intended to use as outer cover for a "throwing dummy". The old exercise mat and shower curtain I planned to use as a cover for the bag of wood pellets.

It is important to purchase the right kind of duct tape. You certainly don't want Man-Tis to go all Gorilla on you!

After wrapping the bag of pellets in the old shower curtain I then wrapped the pellets in the old exercise mat and then secured with duct tape. Lennox observes while keeping his nose out of the way.

My original intent was to use the insulated duffel as a outer cover but given that Lennox adjusted to the environment I adjusted to mine.

The finished "bean". It's awkward to hold however the foam pad coupled with the pellets provides enough give to allow one to get a solid grip on it. It is adaptable in all of The Big List as described in Coach Dan John's book Never Let Go, on which we base our workouts on here at The Crucible.

"reject the awful normal" ©

Thursday, December 23, 2010


The repeated application of the words "extreme" (and its' variations), "epic" and "rockstar" to any effort or achievement no matter how infinitesimal, has rendered the meaning of these words null and void.

In 2K11 the Official New Word for The Crucible - "rejecting the awful normal© " and its' projects will be "Herculean".!/home.php?sk=group_165432036823779

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Independent Personal Trainer

"At a certain part in your life. Probably when too much of it has gone by. You will open your eyes and see yourself for who you are. Especially for everything that made you so different from all the awful normals. And you will say to yourself, "But I am this person." And in that statement, that correction, there will be a kind of love."

From the movie Phoebe in Wonderland, where our tag line "reject the awful normal" © for our gym project The Crucible originated.

I have been in "the fitness business" for over 30 years. I have worked in corporate recreation centers and GloboGyms here in Iowa and in other states. I have come to dislike and pretty much detest, perhaps even abhor pretty much everything associated with the local fitness clubs and their associated minions and while I could elaborate further I choose not to here. If you would like to read some of my work check out my blogs or read some of the writings honest people and projects like Big Dawgz, The Gorilla Pit and others have placed out there.

I am tired of being ripped off. I wrote the following this morning and placed it on my Facebook status:

The GLOBO - Fitness Club personal trainer takes the writings, ideas and concepts of others, repackages them and presents them as their own. The Independent or Gym Personal Trainer is a Warrior in that as they create their own Way it matters to them that when using or sharing the works of those on the like path the sources and inspirations are credited.

I have been ripped off before and I am sure I will be ripped off again. To quote Vonnegut: "So it goes".

Over the years my Iron Maiden have done many free clinics, workshops and the like, including The Crucible Series in an effort to answer the question posed to me many years ago by two friends, it was a question they created and we continually work on answering.

So here's the question we have for you: recognizing all the distractions and weaknesses inherent in people generally, if you were asked to design a useful, workable program for improving the health, fitness, and general well-being of the all the folks in your community, what would it look like?

(Apparently ripping off the ideas of others and repackaging them as your own is an inherent weakness)

The name of our project is The Crucible. The first true independent gym we had the honor of lifting at was The Anvil. The name The Crucible came from a friend out in CA, he had never been to The Anvil and he defined it to us as a test of "self-belief". Those who have been following my writings know I credit my friend, "Dog" with the name. I would never steal from The Anvil, Ken and Beth are good people and I would never disrespect the kindness they have shown us!

I cited the above inspiration for our tagline "reject the awful normal" © several months ago here in a Facebook note and I cite it once agaain. We had been using it for several years and I felt the need to publicly cite it after other local Globo-Fitness Club personal trainers morphed it into a tag line for fitness classes they were offering for a fee. It is evident they didn't get what it truly means to "reject the awful normal"©.

(It comes as no surprise to me given that one of them had no problem training a client for money when at the same time I was working with them for free at a local Globo Fitness Club. So much for rebelling against the normal, the tagline that appeared after one of them became "friends" with me on Facebook and a follower of The Crucible.)

I have observed the habits of those around me for many years. Over the years I have come to find it is best to surround oneself with those whose habits are what you admire, respect and wish to emulate. It was in watching my 80 year old neighbor live her life that I was able to create my definition of fitness in that "Fitness is the ability to engage in the day to day activities that brings one joy and happiness".

(It is not as one of the followers of my blog recently posted for the first time this month on his blog: "Fitness - the mental and physical ability to do the things you want and need to do." When I shared this with My Iron Maiden she said mine was more elegant. She might be biased but I'll take it.)

Crucible Gym, The Crucible:

are not CrossFit, we don't claim to be. We use some of The Principles of CrossFit and as you will note cite them accordingly in our Crucible Basics.

I have adopted ideas from Coach Dan John's book NEVER LET GO as I developed The Crucible, when I use from it I cite Coach John as the source. I would be disrespectful to him if I did not. Again I cite his work accordingly in our Crucible Basics.

I am not Gorilla Pit nor am I Wild Gorillaman, I respect their ideas and because of that I share their ideas and am careful to credit their ideas to them and not morph them and then present them as my own. (OOOK is cool, I like OOOK but it's WGM's OOOK not mine!)

I am not the first guy in the world to lift a calf for strength training or do chins on a tree limb. When I send updates to The Crucible Crew I often include a video and tell them it has inspired me to take my own personal practice in a new direction and hope that it will do the same for them. I have people like ManTis, Mark Klein, Zac Even-Esh and Ross Enamait to thank for being willing to share their journey with us.

I am not going to tell people I am Primal, that would be disrespectful to Ryan Minney and his work.

Not being Globo is a common theme here but Davie Easton helped me understand Hobo and I thank him for that.

In closing: One of the most poorly presented certifications I ever attended curiously enough provided me with one of the best pieces of advice ever presented to me:

"Teach what you know and be honest about the rest"

I thank those for teaching what you know and being honest about the rest and joining us as we "reject the awful normal"©

CJ Ong, Jr. aka Crucible Gym