Ego. We’ve all got one.
Ever read the book Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday? It’s a good one.
In the book, Holiday talks about the unwarranted glory that we ascribe to successful people with egos. Furthermore, he skillfully breaks down the idea that ego actually stands in the way of many would-be-greats, including us. Ego prevents an individual’s ability to reach their full potential both professionally and personally.
Today, I want to introduce you to a WODprep athlete who knows all about being mindful and putting ego aside. He has a great story to share - one that we can all learn from.
Like a lot of us, Justin comes from a background of sports - soccer, track, and even crew. In college he was in the Army ROTC and was then in the Army Reserves for 8 years.
I spent 3-4 months on active duty and was in great shape during that time (working out was part of the job!) Yet as time went on, life got in the way between jobs and commute and everything else.
The craziness of life resulted in about 20lbs of weight gain. Feeling frustrated, Justin started up boot camp classes at the YMCA, alongside his wife Jennifer. Consistent attendance led to the loss of all that extra weight (yay!) and Justin quickly felt back on track.
Yet once their daughter was born (who is now 9) life changed once again. The schedule of the classes no longer worked for them, they weren’t making it there enough, and he felt plateaued. It was time to find something new.
Around that time, CrossFit® West Nashville opened up, and offered a great couples discount to join. Justin and Jennifer decided to give it a try, not without some hesitations.
I remember being tentative about dropping weights and not comfortable with compound movements outside of squats and deadlifts. Everything has always isolated the muscles and now I'm supposed to use my hips to push the barbell?? Isn't that cheating? And who are these amazing Games athletes (looking at posters of Jason Khalipa and Annie Thorisdottir) Ring muscle ups and snatching 135 lbs??! That guy is inhuman!
5 years later, Justin can now do “Amanda” - yet not quick at the same pace that Annie Thorisdottir can 😉
Justin was quickly hooked on CrossFit®, and loved the results he was both seeing and feeling… to a point where he took it a little too far.
At first, when I was a "CrossFit® athlete" I was such a fitness snob. My mindset was, CrossFit® was the one true way and Zumba and yoga and 5k runs can all go to Hell. I'd roll my eyes at people with cookies and soda in their grocery carts: "Forgive them Lord, they know not and have not seen the light."
Luckily, Justin quickly realized realized this was both wrong and misguided.
Now, I encourage people do find something - find anything that will keep you motivated! If you like Zumba and will go, or sign up for a 5k and it gets you moving, DO IT! And keep doing it. That's what important.
CrossFit® was Justin’s fitness of choice; he knew he loved it and that it worked. But he also knew that he had a lot to learn when it came to the sport, and plenty of gymnastic skills to conquer. With his work and travel schedule, it was sometimes difficult to get coaching time at his home box outside of normal WOD’s.
So instead of letting his ego get the best of him and trying to figure it all out on his own, he decided to turn to WODprep when it was time to finally conquer bar muscle ups.
I could sort of do them sometimes but was hit or miss. I was able to do RMU’s so I didn’t spend a lot of time with BMU’s. Then, two back to back years in the Open and it was all BMU’s. I knew I needed to get better but I wasn’t sure how to do it.
When Justin discovered WODprep’s Bar Muscle Up Mastery, knew that it had a 100% results guarantee tied to it, and figured “it’s worth a try”. Worst case scenario, if it didn’t work, he told himself he would ask for his money back.
Yet Justin started seeing results about 3-4 weeks in. His banded BMU’s started getting smoother, and a few specific pointers from the coaches were helping speed up his turnover.
I had two pointers from the coaches, for slow elbows and turning wrists/elbows and shoulders at once - instead of just "flopping" onto the bar and then pushing up. THAT was the key for it to "click" for me. I already had the strength and ability, I was lacking technique.
Not long after that, he had moved from being able to do 1-2 inconsistent BMU’s to 7 unbroken.
^^ Before starting the program
^^ After the program
It’s safe to say that Justin enjoyed and found success in Bar Muscle Up Mastery , as he’s signed up for 6 more of our programs since then (Our Muscle Up Madness program (for rings), ShoulderROM, Toes to Bar Transformed, Handstand Push-up Power, Functional Core, Handstand Walk Hero, and Butterfly Pull-up Breakthrough). Not only that, he even was able to hang out with Coach Ben last month during a local double unders seminar.
The (WODprep) community is very supportive and helpful, giving tips and advice and staying on target (unlike SOME social media groups I belong to).
When asked why he thought it was worth going through a WODprep program, here’s what he had to say:
Even if you can already do it but need help, WODprep helps (or if you know you should be able to do more but can’t, but aren't sure why….). If you are starting at the beginning, the program will help - but you may get "stuck" and THAT’S OK. Put your ego aside and stay on Week 3 or 5 or whatever. ASK the coaches. USE the resources
Justin’s been such an integral member of WODprep’s community that he was even recognized as being in one of our videos recently….
I was helping a friend at my home box work on BMU’s (demo, some drills, etc) and I mentioned Wodprep. She turned to me and said "Wait, I've heard of them...they sent me an email. YOU were in the video!"
Justin and Jennifer now both belong to Ocean State CrossFit® in Cranston, Rhode Island (which he highly recommends you drop-in if you're ever in the area). As a Software Consultant, Justin travels a lot for work, which means a lot of sitting throughout his days. Yet he maximizes his time, and makes fitness a priority on the road as well.
I love being able to find new boxes to drop into, and meeting the new "fit family" - which means I get to ask for suggestions of places to see, eat & visit that the locals enjoy. I am trying to figure out how to eat healthy while on the road so if you have any tips, let me know!
Yet from what we can tell, he seems to do a fairly good job of already.
My doctor loves my results of CrossFit®. He doesn't care that I don't look like a shrink-wrapped 22-year-old - when I go for my physical and bloodwork he tells me, "I wish I could get more people doing what you're doing".
Justin’s body composition is better than it was over 10 years ago. His mental game continues to grow, and he’s learned the art of pushing through workouts when it’s time to turn up the heat.
It's the best feeling to be able to do it at this age. I'm mentally tougher than I have ever been. I am better at being able to push through a workout, forcing myself to keep going with unbroken sets. Some days it is better to go lighter and push the engine harder and harder, other days you do what you can and say "Ok it wasn't my best day but it was a good day, and I will go get it tomorrow."
Looking forward, Justin has his sights set on making the Masters Qualifier for his age group (Top 200 worldwide).
Non-CrossFit® related: to not drive my wife crazy, encourage my daughter to stay active and SMASH THE PATRIARCHY. I try to spend my time at home enjoying as much time as I can with both of them.
Justin, you’re a superstar. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, and being such a fantastic part of the WODprep community.
Comment below with any questions or encouragement you have for Justin. And if you’re looking for help around a certain movement - to quote Justin - put that ego aside, and hit us up! We’re here to help!
Currently our bar muscle up course is closed for enrollment, but if you've got a special event coming up and really need help, shoot us an email at [email protected]. Also feel free to check out our free bar muscle up training guide here.
Please note: WODprep is not affiliated with CrossFit, Inc nor is it endorsed by CrossFit, Inc or any of its subsidiaries. CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc.
Kait is the Editor-in-Chief for the WODprep blog, a long-time CrossFit athlete, and lover of pretty much all things fitness. She's been on the WODprep team now for three years, and received her CF-L1 in 2017. She lives in Annapolis, MD with her husband and two huskies.
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