Transcend and Include

Today’s post is inspired by Rich Froning, James FitzGerald, and Ken Wilber.

I’m in Georgia this month teaching Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. A typical day is up at 7 AM for strength and conditioning: I train 150 members from 7:15 to 7:45 each morning. We do some basic barbell lifts on Mon-Wed-Fri, aerobic running intervals Tues-Thurs, a game day on Sat, and Sun off. Breakfast at 8, then rehearsal until noon. Lunch for an hour, then another 4 hours of rehearsal (all outside, mostly all in the sun) until dinner at 5:30 PM. After dinner there’s another 3 hours of rehearsal before a meeting and snack before lights out at 11:30 PM.

Long ass days! There is something to be said for learning how to work hard and push through times when you just don’t want to do it. Social, communal grit and flow experiences I would say. When I was marching as a member I distinctly remember learning how to breathe at The Cadets (so as to not pass out), how to get in the flow state at Bluecoats (I would stare off in the distance during our lot warm-ups and completely ‘get in the zone’), and how to perform my ass off at Rhythm X (watch the video).

Something I picked up from James FitzGerald over at OPT is the concept of “Transcend and Include.” In his field he meant that in the strength and conditioning world, you should always look to upgrade your fitness prescription by transcending the boundaries of your current practice to include the positives of other disciplines. Are you just lifting weights currently? Learn how to do some basic gymnastics. Are you just running long distance? Toss in some sprints. Are you “just CrossFitting”? How about checking out a yoga class, or even going to a different CrossFit gym while away from home?

Yesterday my snareline asked me how much of my teaching philosophy is taken from others and how much is originally mine. I said I stole everything! However, I think I have used the idea of “transcend and include” quite often throughout the years. Everything from Zen Buddhism to social pyschology to strength and conditioning has influenced the way I teach those 8 dudes how to play snare drum together. One day we’ll meditate, the next I’ll reference the flow state, and another we might alternate burpees with roll exercises. Transcend, and include.

Thanks for reading! Please post your comments below, especially if you’ve had any similar experiences.


“Nut Up or Shut Up”

Today’s post inspired by the writings of Keith Norris at Theory to Practice, Ken O’Neill at Trans-Evolutionary Fitness, Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity, and apparently Woody Harrelson from Zombieland.

For the past two semesters I helped as a research assistant in a social psychology lab at UVa. While I learned a lot about psychology research from the experience, the most important lesson I took away is that I am not ready to commit to a Ph.D. program right now. Too much time spent indoors, head buried in books, stressing over numbers and theories, and not enough hands-on application, performance, moving, interaction, etc. Perhaps in the future a more fitting opportunity will show itself, but for now I will not be applying to any Ph.D. programs.

That said, it’s now time to “nut up or shut up” as Woody Harrelson so eloquently states in Zombieland. What do I mean by that? Consider Chris Guillebeau’s article “How to Put Off Making Decisions About Your Life”. Rather than applying for another program (like I did for UPenn’s MAPP), I am actually going to get the ball rolling on a series of ideas and projects that have been brewing for quite some time now. Long work: check. Hard work: on deck.

So here’s what we got:

So the table is nice and full. I am looking forward to the PaleoFX12 Symposium in March in Austin, TX as well.

Lastly, I will leave you with a quote from Clifton Harski’s recent post “80/20” on his blog, Strong. Naturally:

I don’t like the minimal effective dose attitude at all. It annoys me. Why are we encouraging people to move as little as possible? We should be encouraging people to move as much as possible. I’m disinteresting in perpetuating a lazy, pathetic culture that wants easy minimal effort approaches to getting the things they want.

Thanks for reading,


New Music Video

Hey there! Lots has happened since I last updated this blog:

  • Recorded an album and filmed a music video (see below) with The Anatomy of Frank
  • Finished the indoor drumline season with George Mason University
  • Traveled to Guatemala with Jenni Gabriela

Lots is also on the way:

As I’ll be away from CrossFit Charlottesville for most of the summer, I plan to modify my training accordingly. I hope to run the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions in September (50K trail option), so I will do one sprinting session and one long run each week. Without ready access to weights, I will be doing lots of bodyweight exercises, including working on skills from Ido Portal’s Floreio ArtGymnastics WOD, and Gymnastics Bodies. Given that eating well and sleeping enough will be challenging, I expect to lose some strength and weight.

Okay, as promised, here is “Saturday Morning” by The Anatomy of Frank. Much thanks to Brian Witmer for filming and editing!

Positive Psychology

I will be doing some work as a research assistant in Jonathan Haidt‘s Morality and Positive Psychology Lab this semester. Specifically, I’ll be helping out Jesse Kluver with some of his studies on synchronous behavior and groups, and we might even study CrossFitters and marching percussionists.

And, oh yeah, I’m applying to UPenn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program this spring. The application is due March 1st, so it’s time to take the GRE’s, ask for recommendations, and do my best to sell myself on paper!

Toss in some CrossFit classes, rehearsing and recording with The Anatomy of Frank and another band (tentatively) called Stories in Stone, and teaching George Mason University’s indoor drumline and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps on the weekends, and you have the next several months of my life.

Did I mention Jenni Lopez and I are going to Guatemala in May?