Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Live in the USA


A friend in California sent me this picture taken of packages ready to send to soldiers they know in Afghanistan. These soldiers have 100 days left in their tour of duty.

Regardless of what side of the aisle one stands it is important to remember our soldiers as they serve either abroad or here in the USA and to remember them when they return to their homes.

That is what it means to live in the USA.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Crucible Goes AQUA!

In the fitness industry the phrase "functional fitness" has become quite the buzzword and sales tool. Standing on a BOSU and other parlor tricks are used to convince the public they are getting "functionally fit".

Today The Crucible went to the water. We brought along a striking tire, 2 sledgehammers, 2 cinderblocks, The Bean, a 50 pound sandbag, a medicine ball and a 20pound kettlebell.

We set up a station just off the pool deck and worked through movements, alternating laps and bodyweight work, then used the kettlebell and sledgehammers in the pool.

As we worked out 2 lap swimmers asked each other during a kick set "what are they doing?". My answer is brief... If my plane goes down in the Hudson or my snowmobile goes through the ice I will be ready. All the standing on a BOSU in the world isn't going to get you ready for that.

True Functional Fitness will.

Chris prepares to go in...
Going in!
Treading water with a 20 pound kettlebell.
Retrieving the kettlebell from the bottom.
Underwater push-ups.
More underwater push-ups.
Underwater bear crawls with a kettlebell.
Coming up for air.
Treading water as a group, passing the 10 pound sledgehammer around.
Finding our crucible.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RAAM Jam!

When I am racing long I use some liquid foods and gels but feel best when I also eat real food. One of my favorite choices is a sandwich made with whole wheat bread, a little peanut butter, a couple of slices of ham and some jam to hold it together. It's easy to hold onto when I'm riding the bike and keeps my stomach settled.

As many of you know I have been actively promoting Jim Gourley's Team RAAM fundraising efforts for Team Red White and Blue. Thanks to your help each day Jim has come a little closer to his fundraising goal of $2500.

I'd like to "sweeten" the pot a bit with some RAAM Jam. As many of you know I enjoy making jams, a skill taught to me by my mother-in-law a few years back. It's kind of therapy for me, looking at what I have, measuring, cleaning jars, stirring and giving it away to my friends. I always tell people that empty jars returned are replaced with full ones.

So here's how it will work: For the individual who makes the largest contribution to Jim's ride between 12 Noon Central Time on June 16, 2011 and 12 Noon Central Time on June 18, 2011 will get 12 jars of RAAM Jam. It will be a blend of strawberries, apples and rhubarb. I'll figure out how to get it to you if you live out of town.

Here is the link to Jim's donation page, when you make your donation please add the note RAAM Jam to help me know who to send the jam to.

< http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jim-gourley/manitude >

Thanks,

CJ

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weapons of Mass CONSTRUCTION (Part One)

On Monday, June 13, 2011 I sent out an e-mail to my Friday Fitness Musings list containing a link to this blog post < http://thecruciblegym.blogspot.com/2011/06/hard.html > describing my involvment with Jim Gourley and his efforts via Team red White and Blue to raise money to provide support programs for our veterans who are returning home after serving our country. Several of you have already graciously contributed to Team Red White and Blue and I thank you for your support.

I have, for many years, been saving for a special occasion a crew shirt from my 1995 Race Across AMerica and feel this is the special occasion.

So beginning at 9 AM Central Time on June 14, 2011 and continuing through 9 AM Central Time on June 16, 2011 I will put up the shirt for the highest contribution to and Jim's ride. All you need to do is follow this link < http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jim-gourley/manitude > make your contribution and add the note it's for Team Crucible.



The shirt is a Fruit of The Loom, Size Large, never worn. I will mail it to wherever it needs to go.

With aloha,

CJ

Monday, June 13, 2011

“Hard”


In 1991 I qualified for the solo division of the Race Across AMerica (RAAM) by riding 553.4 miles non-stop in 35:19. For those unfamiliar with RAAM, it is a 3000 mile non-stop bicycle race, from the west to the east coast with winners finishing in less than 9 days. I had intended to ride RAAM the following year but lost my job and delayed my RAAM until 1995 when I toed the line in Irvine, CA with the help of friends and family to take part in one of the toughest events in the world.

I did not finish RAAM, instead dropping out with dehydration. I was not alone that year as over 50% of the field failed to finish the 1995 race.

RAAM is hard.

At this point in my own personal practice I find myself at a crossroads, a bit lost and unsure of which direction I wish to follow. The explosion of social media has allowed the emergence and self-proclamations of FBxperts (Facebook Experts) and FBero’s (Face Heros) and until recently I felt riding off into the distance a wise choice.

Life, at times, is hard.

Over the past months I have become friends with Jim Gourley and our exchanges have allowed me to cultivate a friendship but also a great amount of respect for him as an individual, the sum of the parts that make him who he is. As a veteran of our armed services he has been dealt and worked with “hard” in ways I cannot imagine yet I am able to understand and appreciate how he has worked at dealing with “hard” along his own personal path as I have worked with “hard” over the past few years.

In my practice of dealing with “hard” our project The Crucible was born. Many think The Crucible is just about lifting chains, stones and hitting tires with sledgehammers (and there are times it is just about that) but ultimately, for me, The Crucible is about testing my own self beliefs and being the change within the community I wish to see.

In a recent handwritten letter to me Jim asked “How do you measure the strength of a relationship or the power of love? What makes soldiers believe they are a band of brothers’ or Ultraman competitors to think of themselves as family?” He continues on to note that is often the manner in which we choose to use our time that determines our course and our development of not only our Self but our community.

In a few days Jim will be riding with Team Red White and Blue in the 4 person team division of RAAM to raise funds for and the awareness of our veterans who have returned home after serving our country and now can use our help. Clar and I have donated to Jim’s ride as have others and I hope you might take a moment to look at the link here http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jim-gourley/manitude and donate as well.

After Jim gets off his bike and in the months ahead I will be working with Jim and Team Red White and Blue as an advocate for Team RWB, opening The Crucible to the veterans as Jim suggested to me in his letter and encouraging other members of The Gorilla Nation as well to join me in being the change we wish to see in our community.

Find your crucible!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ode to Gorilla Training


In short it is training in it's primal form, simplified and uninterrupted with all the extra-curricular non-sense that seems to dominate many training articles, pollute the minds of neophyte lifters, and utterly terrify the little old lady using the pink dumbbells in the cardio room. Consquently Gorilla Training has found it's way to the back burner of the fitness world due to the introduction of the corporate gym's manufactured workout regiments. Gone are the days that men (and some women) trained with a purpose, with iron, with dedication. Their programming was simple, get results through hard work. Now it is absurd to work hard in the gym, and heaven-forbid... SWEAT! Now we have machines that do the work for us, treadmills that are equipped with tvs, and rules that fore-go working out hard.

Even with the uprise of the corporate monster, the Gorilla movement continues to exist. In the small confines of garage gyms, parks, warehouses, men and women push their bodies to the limit. Leaving it all on the table, rejecting the norm, and getting Gorilla wit' it!

Here is my ode to those who continue to beat their chest in the face of the masses of those weak and lazy drones. Keep educating and keep slang'n iron, defying the laws of physics with superior body strength and mental fortitude.

Hats off to you all...