Category Archives: Random

2015 Year In Review

It’s the first of the year and that means it’s time for me to reflect back on what I did throughout the past 12 months. 2015 was a really interesting year for me… While I didn’t achieve all of the goals I set for myself in January, I had a great year and made some monumental changes to my lifestyle design that will help shape the rest of my life.

The first big change was that I made a conscious decision to distance myself from the BMX industry and focus my career in the fitness industry. BMX has been my livelihood since I graduated college 10 years ago, so to change directions now was a really big deal for me.

The next giant shift in my life was that I decided to stop traveling and concentrate on my new career path. In 2007 I went on my first international trip, and since then I’ve been trying to travel as much as possible. In that time I’ve been to 35 countries and have thousands of incredible memories, experiences, and adventures.. I’ve done a lot, and to honest I just decided that I had done enough for now and I was ready for a change.

With that said, there had been a void in my life for a while that couldn’t be filled with worldly adventures. I needed more personal connections and sincere human interactions, and I needed to be in a relationship with someone I loved. I stared by getting a dog…I figured that was easier and cheaper than finding a girlfriend, so in January I got an incredible Yorkie named Hercules. Luckily for me it wasn’t too long after that when I found the woman of my dreams and the void was filled. My life feels so different in so many ways than it did a year ago and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

My life may not be as exciting as it once was, but I still hope to inspire people simply by setting a good example of how I live—through my fitness, my vegan lifestyle, my career, and anything else that I can do to show people a positive message.

I want to thank everyone for their support over the years and show my appreciation to those who have taken an interest in my life’s path. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Fat Tony Family Photo

Family photo with Darlene and Hercules.

2015 By The Numbers:
Days Spent Traveling: 60
(*The least amount of days in the past six years.)
Trips Taken: 16
Foreign Countries Visited: 0
(*First time not leaving the U.S. since I started traveling in 2007. Technically I crossed the border into Canada for about two hours, but I’m not counting that.)
States Visited: 9
CrossFit Competitions Competed In: 3
– Placed 2 out of 54 individuals at NLI
– Placed 2 out of 6 teams at WAGL
– Placed 29,271 out of 165,000(ish) in the CrossFit Open
Instagram Posts: 907
Blog Posts: 32
Fitness Competitions Photographed: 18
BMX Competitions Photographed: 1
BMX Photo Shoots: 1
New Companies Formed: 2
Audio Books Listened To: 9
Books Read: 1
Podcasts I Was Featured On: 5
Days Spent Teaching a Photography Workshop: 2
Videos Produced for PurePharma: 9
Workouts Recorded: 217
– PR Achieved on a Max Height Box Jump: 49.5”
– PR Achieved on a Max Weight Clean and Jerk: 230lbs
– PR Achieved on a Max Front Squat: 275lbs
– PR Achieved on a Max Weight Dead Lift: 375lbs
– PR Achieved on a Max Weight Overhead Squat: 225lbs
– PR Achieved on a Max Set of Pull-Ups: 43
– Max Number of Pistols Completed in Two Minutes: 67

 

Here’s a photo from every trip I went on in 2015…

Related Posts:
– 2014 Year In Review
– 2013 Year In Review
– 2012 Year In Review
– 2010 Year In Review

 

5 Photos of Niagara Falls

This past week I took a trip to Buffalo, New York, to spend some time with my girlfriend’s family where I had the opportunity to go back to Niagara Falls for the first time since 2007.

This go round I was fortunate enough to not only have enough time to shoot a few photos, but I also had Mother Nature working in my favor with some really cool lighting and moody skies.

Contact me if you would like to license or purchase any of these images. Please do not use without my permission.

CLICK THE PHOTOS TO MAKE THEM BIG

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

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Photos from the Fox BMX “Made For This” Campaign with Scotty Cranmer

Sometimes the biggest and best photo shoots require you to wait a long time to share the images…like a really long time.

In September 2014 I went to New Jersey to shoot photos of Scotty Cranmer for Fox Racing for an ad campaign that wouldn’t launch until July of 2015.

Lucky for me I got the opportunity to go back and shoot some more with Scotty in May of 2015, and if you know Scotty at all it goes without saying that the photos I accumulated on those two trips were incredible. Scotty has always been one of my favorite riders to watch and favorite pros to shoot and work with, so I was beyond stoked to land this gig.

It was an absolute honor to shoot with Scotty and work with the talented Fox crew on this project!

Here are a handful of photos I shot for the campaign and some of the applications they were used in. At the bottom of this post you’ll also find the video that launched the Made For This campaign.

Scotty-Cranmer-Workbook-Layout-1

Announcing My Newest Business Endeavor and Passion Project: BreakParallel.com

About a year ago I had the idea to start an aggregate website in the functional fitness industry similar to what I ran in the BMX world for so many years. As a fan of CrossFit and functional fitness I never found a place online where I could see all the best videos, keep up the industry news, and see cool photos on a regular basis, and I knew that some day someone would fill that void. I also knew I had the potential to fill it, but honestly at that time I didn’t want to start a company that would force me into a full-time job. However, after mulling over it for months and telling a few friends in the industry about my idea I finally was in the right mental space to bite the bullet and commit to the project.

Break-Parallel
In February of this year I met a friend based in Austin, Texas, named Jarret Schienman who I partnered with to start the site. Jarret and I have done a lot of work on the back end of the site to get us to this point, and we were happy to officially go live one day before the 2015 CrossFit Games started.

As the Editor I’ve been working every day since then to keep the site updated, and recently we brought on another good friend of mine from the East Coast named Jordan Samuel as a third partner and associate editor.

BreakParallel.com is now up and running and the three of us are really excited to see where the company takes us. We have big goals and plans, so be on the lookout!

If you’re into fitness or just want to help us out, please click on the site and take a look around. If you like what you see it would really mean a lot to me if you shared it with a friend or on your social networks!

While you’re at it, please follow Break Parallel on:
Instagram (@BreakParallel)
Twitter (@BreakParallel)
Facebook (/BreakParallel)

I would also like to give a big thank you to Scott Greci from Guru Design for the logo design and Mike Smick for the WordPress build! If you ever need any graphic design services or web development, hit them up!

6 Things I Like About the Incase EO Travel Backpack

I recently got my hands on a dope new backpack from Incase, so I wanted to write up a review to let you guys know what I think about it.

The bag is Incase’s EO Travel Backpack that sells for $179.95 on their site. Incase has a ton of different backpacks, but I chose this one because it was different than traditional top load backpacks and I really wanted to try something new for when I go on quick trips.

There are essentially three compartments—the main compartment that opens up more like a book or a roller bag than a traditional backpack, the back section that’s made for a computer and/or iPad, and the front area that has a ton of little nooks and crannies where I can tuck away all kinds of stuff like my chargers, mouse, business cards, and portable hard drive.

Incase-EO-Travel-Backpack-Review-01

Here are the top six things I like about the Incase EO Travel Backpack:

1. The Overall Sleek Look
I’m not into flashy colors or bright logos (anymore), so this thing is perfect in terms of how it looks. It’s just straight black, looks super clean, the logos aren’t too in your face, and the materials they use have a pretty techy appearance. I’m not even sure why it looks that way to me, but when you look at the bag, you just know it’s a really modern and high-end product and not just an ordinary backpack.

2. It Can Hold My 17” Computer
I’ve been rockin’ a huge 17” Mack Book for several years now, and a lot of bags can’t even hold a computer that big. The EO Travel Backpack actually has two sections that can hold my monster computer though—one that’s soft and padded that’s perfect if I don’t want to use my case, and another that’s still big enough to hold the computer when it’s in my G-Form case. Since I do a lot of outdoorsy and adventure type stuff and tend to throw my bag around while on the go, I usually have the computer inside the case, and this backpack has no problem accommodating.

3. The Padding & Comfort
Anyone who has spent some time walking from terminal to terminal inside airports knows that backpacks can become a huge pain in the ass real quick. Thankfully the EO Travel Backpack has super good padding on the back and shoulders, and it also has the strap that goes across your chest so you can make adjustments here and there to make it more comfortable.

4. It’s Weather Resistant
Like I mentioned before, I do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, for lack of better words. I’ve been to 35 countries and have seen my fair share of rain and rough weather conditions along the way. Having a backpack that can take a little abuse from rain and everything else is a must.

5. The Side Handle
This is one of those things that might not seem like much, but it’s actually really rad and extremely convenient in certain circumstances. Seasoned travelers will know exactly what I’m talking about, but until you’ve spent a lot of time on the road you might not get it, so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

6. Attention to Detail
I guess you can say this bullet point is pretty much the same as number one listed above, but A) six sounded better than five when I was making my list, B) it brings the list full circle, and C) it’s my list, so I call the shots. The quality of the material and craftsmanship, the treatment of the Incase logos, and the thought that obviously went into the design are all on point. As a former graphic designer and as someone who has a smidge of OCD, I notice and appreciate the small stuff, and Incase is on dialed with everything.

This wouldn’t be an honest review without mentioning a few places where the EO Travel Backpack falls a little short in my opinion, so here ya go…
– It doesn’t have any side pockets, which is something I got used to on my old travel backpack. You know, the kind of pocket that you dump random junk into? For some reason I feel like it’s missing one of those.
– The main compartment doesn’t hold quite as much as I’d like it to, which limits the amount of stuff I can cram in there. This one is definitely for shorter trips or just romping around town with.

So there you have it ladies and gents… If you like what you see and want to check one of these bad boys for yourself, hit up the Incase website!

 

Introducing My New Podcast – The Expansion Project

I couldn’t be happier to share this with you guys! After many months of thinking, learning, planning, and executing, I have launched a podcast that is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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The Expansion Project is just that—a project based on the idea of expanding. Expanding what exactly? My mind, and myself as a person. It’s also a way for me to do something fun and creative while delivering free content to the world that will hopefully help to motivate and inspire other people.

I plan to release an new episode every week, so please subscribe and help spread the word by telling a friend or sharing a link on your social networks.

Eight episodes are already available. The first is a simple introduction, and the others are interviews and conversations with professional BMX riders, a coach, business owners and entrepreneurs, an artist, and an author. Download one or all of them and please let me know what you think! Any feedback or criticism is welcomed and appreciated!

You can learn more about The Expansion Project from the podcast’s dedicated Web site (theexpansionprojectpodcast.com), and of course please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, give five starts, and leave reviews!

Subscribe-on-Itunes Subscribe-on-Stitcher

My Personal Goals for 2015

Download my 2015 goals here. (MS Word or PDF)

Most people know I’m an open book, and I’ve posted a ton of personal things on my social networks and here on the blog over the years, but this post is about to divulge the most intimate information I’ve ever shared. However, if I can help inspire or motivate other people to improve their lives in some way, then I’m all for it, so for the first time ever I’m posting my annual goals document.

Fat-Tony-CrossFit

 

I’ve been typing out my goals in a document like this for about seven years now. In that time I’ve watched my net worth grow 1,800% (that’s not a typo). I’ve also gone from working more than 320 days a year at a full time job to to working only 120 days a year for myself while doubling my income. Among the many other noteworthy things, I’ve also traveled to more than 20 new countries. Perhaps most importantly though, in those seven years I’ve learned a ton about myself and have grown tremendously, becoming a better version of myself every year.

About three years ago I added another section underneath my goals that outlines what an ideal life looks like for me. This helps me stay focused on what is important in life. I believe that if you want a certain type of life you can write it out, set goals, and ultimately build that life for yourself. If I am faced with a difficult decision I can look at this outline and see if my actions will help move me closer to my ideal life. If something doesn’t move me closer to achieving the life I dream of, then I don’t do it.

The document here is slightly modified. I took out specific dollar amounts because even though I’m trying to be as transparent as possible, the subject of money and personal finance is still  pretty taboo and I don’t want my numbers to be the subject of conversation. That’s not the point of sharing this and there is a bigger picture to see here. Also, I’ve taken out the specifics about a business I’m going to start because…well, business is business, haha!

If you gained something from this, please let me know! Leave a comment or send an email. I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and my goals. Also, if you think I’m missing something or leaving anything out, I’d want to hear that too! I don’t think I have all the right answers, so if anyone reading this can help me improve myself, I’m all ears.

Download my 2015 goals here. (MS Word or PDF)

For some practical tips on setting goals, Wikihow has a pretty good article you can check out. (I’m not endorsing Wikihow, but their article saves me from having to write one.)

2014 Year In Review

For several years now I’ve been keeping track of my trips and travels on Facebook by uploading on photo from each place I visit. It saves my page from getting flooded with pointless galleries, and it serves as an easy reminder of the places I’ve gone throughout the year.

Now it’s time to do a quick reflection here on my blog of the 110 days I spent away from home, starting with January in Central America in ending with Asia in December.

Fat-Tony-Thailand-Dive

Diving into the New Year in Krabi, Thailand.

2014 By The Numbers:
Days Spent Traveling: 110
Less Traveling Days Than Last Year: 26
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited: 7
States Visited: 10
Shortest Trip: 2 Days (Sacrament)
Longest Trip: 32 Days (Louisiana to Singapore to Malaysia to Bali to Thailand)
Shipwrecks Dove: 2
Caves Explored: 3
CrossFit Competitions Competed In: 1 (Placed 23 out of 55)
Unbroken Double Unders Completed in Two Minutes: 215
Fitness Competitions Photographed: 11
BMX Competitions Photographed: 4
Investment Properties Purchased: 1
New Companies Formed: 2
Net Worth Increase: 57%

Related Posts:
– 2013 Year In Review
– 2012 Year In Review
– 2010 Year In Review

San Bernardino National Forest Hiking Photos

Yesterday a group of friends and I went on a hike in the San Bernardino National Forest and hung out at a really cool watering hole and cliff jumping spot. I brought my camera along for the adventure and snapped a few photos along the way… Here’s a bit of went down on our warm, sunny Sunday!

California-Hiking-01

California-Hiking-Panoramic

(Click the above panoramic photo to make it BIG!)

 

 

Vegan Confessions – Why I Started Eating Eggs

About a week ago I started eating eggs again after being on a whole foods, plant-based diet for more than a year and a half. The decision weighed heavily on me for several months, and I’d like to use this platform to explain myself…

 

The Back Story
When I transitioned from a fully carnivorous diet to “being vegan” in January 2013 there were a lot of factors that came into play including health reasons and compassion for animals. The documentary Forks Over Knives had a huge impact on me. I really identified with the film’s approach to eating, and I like the fact that they refer to a “whole foods, plant-based diet” as opposed to throwing around the term “vegan” everywhere. With this said, I do typically refer to myself as “vegan”, but only because makes it a lot easier and quicker to explain my lifestyle to other people.

 

Vegan-Friendly-Eggs
*Disregard the writing on the egg cartons. Farmstand 59 uses recycled cartons, so they all have different markings on them.

 

What’s Wrong With Eggs?
When considering compassion for animals or “animal rights”, eating eggs has a little bit of grey area. The eggs you buy at the grocery store were never fertile and would never produce baby chicks, so it’s not like you are aborting an unborn chicken. In that case, no harm done, right? Wrong…

Most of the eggs available for mass-consumption in the US come from factory farms, and even those labeled “organic” or “cage-free” come from places that I don’t think hatch, raise, and treat the birds ethically. There are many issues that go into this such as cutting off the beaks of baby chicks along with housing and transporting the chickens, but another huge issue with egg-laying hens is their male counterparts. When factory farms hatch baby chickens, if the chicks are male (meaning they won’t produce eggs for the farm), they often get thrown into grinders and are killed just after hatching. You can learn more about this the videos below…

(*For this first video, fast forward to the 3:00 mark to learn specifically about chickens and eggs…)

 

 

 

My Situation
When I got on a vegan diet I had my blood checked by my primary care physician to make sure my biomarkers were where they should be. I wanted to make sure I was as healthy as I felt…and I was for the most part. However, my HDL (the “good cholesterol”) was low, which I later found out runs in my family as my father also has low HDL. About a year later I went back to have my levels checked again, and my HDL was still low. Both times my doctor recommended I eat eggs or other animal products to help raise my cholesterol.

Shortly after I transitioned to the whole foods, plant-based diet I also began working out and doing CrossFit. Since beginning my fitness journey I’ve gotten to the point where I work out five to six times per week, and sometimes multiple times per day. I have personal goals with my strength and fitness that have been proving difficult to reach on a strictly plant-based diet, mainly when it comes to putting on healthy weight from lean muscle mass.

After giving this a lot of thought over several months I found a small, local farm just four miles from my house that sells fresh eggs one day a week. I visited the farm to see the chickens and their environment and to talk to the farmers. After my visit to the farm I was convinced as much as I could be that the eggs were as ethical as I could possibly get, so I decided to buy some (For $8 a dozen—eating healthy and ethically is expensive!). I’m currently eating two to four eggs per day (strictly those eggs I personally get from my local farm) and will monitor how things go, then in a few months I will go back to the doctor to get my levels checked again to see if the eggs have affected my cholesterol in any way, and of course I’ll be paying close attention to my muscle and weight gain during this time.

 

Now What?
For now I’ll continue to refer to myself and my diet as “vegan”, but again, that’s only out of convenience. I don’t really care what label I’m stuck with or what other people call me. The important thing to me is that I’m doing everything I can to ensure my body is healthy, my personal goals are being met, and my mind is at ease knowing that I’m doing what I feel is morally right when it comes to the food I put into my body.

 

2013 Year In Review

It’s that time again… The time when I start wrapping up things on the year and preparing to start the New Year with a clean slate. To help keep track of what I’ve done throughout the year I always do a little “by the numbers” style year in review, so here’s a bit of what went down in 2013!

Fat-Tony-X-up-by-Kyle-Carlson

(X-up over the long and low at Mike Spinner’s house. Photo by Kyle Carlson.)

2013 By The Numbers
Days Spent Traveling: 136
Less Traveling Days Than Last Year: 70
Trips Taken: 28
US States Visited: 9
Countries Visited: 5
Continents Stood In (Including layovers.): 5
Days Virgin Australia Lost My Camera Gear: 9
BMX Contests Attended: 18
Videos Produced: 72
Photo Books Published: 3
Days Spent Snorkeling/Diving: 26
Investment Rental Units Purchased: 3
Most Likes On An Instagram Photo: 886
CrossFit Gyms Visited: 13
My First CrossFit Competition Placing (Out of 89): 49
Number of Handstand Push Ups in Two Minutes at CrossFit Competition: 30

 

Here’s one photo from every trip I went on in 2013…

Advice For People Thinking About Trying CrossFit

Since I’ve gotten so into CrossFit (and post about it all the time) a bunch of people have told me they are interested in trying it out. After telling people the same thing again and again I decided to write out some basic stuff that I tell everyone before they try CrossFit for the first time. I know you can Google stuff about CrossFit, but I think it helps people to hear things from someone they know. I’m not a coach or trainer, and I’m not even that good at CrossFit, but this is my personal experience and advice after doing CrossFit for about nine months and traveling to a dozen or so different gyms all around the world.

Fat-Tony-CrossFit

This is me hanging mid-pull up at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA. (September 2013 – Photo by Gabe Grobben.)

Basics:
The idea behind CrossFit is to combine strength and cardio workouts that include functional movements that change all the time, and to do them at high intensity.

A good way to think about this is to picture bicep curls like you see people do in a traditional gym. You’ll pretty much never replicate that movement in your everyday life. On the flip side, in a CrossFit gym you’ll do a barbell lift called a thruster where you squat, pick up a barbell, raise it to your chest, then thrust it over your head. This is the same kind of movement you’d do if you were lifting a heavy box and putting it on a high shelf, or putting your suitcase into the overhead compartment on an airplane. That’s functional movement. While some of the CrossFit workouts will be repeated every so often, this is only to track and measure your progress. For the most part the workouts will be different every day. The high intensity part is pretty-self explanatory, but keep in mind that you regulate yourself, so it’ll only be as intense as you make it.

Find the Right Gym:
This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when you start out…finding the right gym for you can make you or break you! Every CrossFit gym will let you try a class for free, so find all the CrossFit gyms in your area by going to www.map.crossfit.com and visit every one that is a convenient drive for you. Each gym is different in terms of size, equipment, the coaches/trainers, how they program workouts, how they run the classes, and of course the community and vibe of the place.

I’ve been to some gyms that I absolutely hated and some that I absolutely loved. The longer you do CrossFit, the more you’ll understand what you like and don’t like based on your goals and personality, but in the beginning you are looking for a gym that you feel comfortable at and somewhere that makes you feel confident the coaches will help you safely reach your goals.

The first gym I ever went to had me lifting insanely heavy weights. I didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t strong enough to do what they were trying to get me to do, but I didn’t know any better. If I had never gone to another gym, I would have signed up for a membership at that place and would have probably gotten hurt or burnt out pretty quickly and never went back.

Don’t Be Intimidated:
I can see where people may be intimidated to try out CrossFit for the first time, but if you know what you are getting into ahead of time and a little of what to expect at the gym it will help keep you calm. I suggest looking at the gym’s Web site to get a feel for the place as much as possible, but in general each gym will be fairly similar, so here’s what you can expect:

Every class is run by a coach, so everyone does the same thing together. Normally the class will start out with some kind of stretching and/or a warm up to get your blood flowing and get you loosened up. Many gyms will do some kind of weight lifting before the workout. For example, you might do a few sets of squats with a barbell on your back and a few sets of bench presses after your warm up. Then the class will do the WOD (workout of the day) together. This is the intense part that is the heart of CrossFit. The workouts always change and are always scored in some way or another. The coaches will go over the workouts and explain everything to show you exactly how it is done so you can do it safely. If something is too difficult for you, there will always be a way to scale it back so you can still do the workout. And that brings me to my next point…

CrossFit is for All Skill and Fitness Levels:
Everything in CrossFit is scaleable, and the coaches are there to make sure you are challenging yourself, getting a good workout, and most importantly, staying safe. Don’t ever be afraid of not being able to do something. Everyone starts off with their own strengths and weaknesses, and there are people of all ages, shapes, and sizes at every CrossFit gym. If a workout calls for a bunch of pull ups and you can’t do a single one, then there are rubber bands you can use to help you do pull ups. If that’s still too difficult for you, then no worries, you can do something called ring rows. Don’t let your own preconceived notions of what your skill level is get in the way of trying CrossFit.

A Personal Trainer Every Day:
One of the great things about CrossFit is that you have a coach leading the class every day, so not only do you have the gym programming your workouts for you, you have a trainer with you at all times to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout and staying safe.

You Will Not Get Bored:
For me, the thought of lifting weights in a traditional gym by myself just seemed boring. With CrossFit, the workout changes all the time, so it’s impossible to get bored. I used to mix in running and road bike riding with my CrossFit workouts, but now even those activities seem boring to me because CrossFit is so exciting and stimulating. The bottom line is that it is impossible to get bored with CrossFit.

Competitive and Goal Oriented:
I’m a goal-oriented person who loves to see progress, and everything in CrossFit is measurable. Whether it’s learning a new skill like rope climbs or kipping pull ups, adding five or 10 pounds to a specific lift, improving my time on a repeated workout, or just learning how to pace myself better, I can always set small goals and track my progress in the gym. I’ve been training for about nine months now, and I hit a new milestone almost every time I walk into the gym. Even small advances are enough to keep me excited and motivated, and once I reach a goal it opens the doors for more.

Also, being a competitive person by nature, I can compete against myself and other people in the gym every day. If there isn’t anyone around my skill level in the class I’m working out with to compare myself to, then I set goals for myself for that day and compete against myself. All CrossFit workouts are ranked, timed, or scored in some way or another, so every day is like a friendly mini competition that keeps things exciting and fun.

A Supportive Community:
The community that is built in a CrossFit gym is priceless. There’s a good chance you’ll meet new friends by going to CrossFit, but even if you never hang out with anyone outside of the gym, at least you’ll always have supportive, like-minded people working out with you. This helps keep you motivated and helps you reach your goals faster.

This is an extreme example, but remember the movie “Speed”? Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves shared an intense experience together that gave them a strong bond. CrossFit does the same kind of thing on a daily basis. Once you’ve done an intense WOD with a group of people, it somehow manages to bring you all together in a weird way, and it’s a really cool experience. As an adult who is self-employed, going to a CrossFit gym is a key component to my social life, which I think is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

It Is Addictive:
I’ve heard CrossFit referred to as a cult, and I’ve heard many people say that it is addictive. Are these things true? Probably so, but don’t view that as a bad thing. I’ve also heard people say that CrossFit is one of the fastest ways to reach a “runner’s high”. Maybe that’s part of the reason why it’s so addictive. There’s probably some science behind that, but I ain’t no scientist. All I know is that I really love CrossFit and think it’s doing great things for my body and mind.

Feel free to hit me up with any specific questions you have. Good luck, and have fun!

10 Tips for Learning Double Unders

After training CrossFit for several months I was struggling with double unders, and after they finally clicked for me I found myself trying to give other people tips. I see and hear a lot of people having trouble with these, and for me it was just a few small key ideas that made them go from impossible to (relatively) easy within seconds.

These 10 tips for learning double unders begin with the assumption that you already have the right sized rope for you. If you aren’t that far along in the process yet, do some more Google searching before moving onto my personal tips.

crossfit-speed-rope

1. Hold the handles lightly in your fingers. Like massaging them with with your fingertips and thumbs. You don’t need a tight grip.

2. Don’t use headphones or loud music. Being able to hear the speed of the rope really helps out. You don’t need to consciously focus on the sound, but I noticed when I put in headphones after learning them, they became very difficult again because I wasn’t used to not being able to hear the rope come around.

3. Master single unders in every way possible. Jump regular with two feet. Jump with alternating feet. Jump really fast with both feet. Jump really slow. Jump really slow and really high. Mix all of those ways together with someone calling out the changes to you (or calling out the changes in your head).

4. Work on alternating singles and double unders. I could do these very consistently long before I could link consecutive double unders together. I’m not sure if this will actually help string them together or not…when I was doing these I was using a ton of energy and getting very exhausted! However, at least I understood what it felt like to swing the rope fast.

5. Pick a spot on the wall to look at and focus on. I personally feel like looking at something about 10 feet away and slightly below eye level puts my head in a good position to focus good.

6. Before actually trying to swing a double around, jump slow and high and quickly count to two in your head when you jump as if you were swinging the rope on those two counts. My hardest part was figuring out a rhythm and finding the coordination to jump once and swing twice. I felt like I’d have to be a drummer to understand how to make my arms and legs do different things. This was my biggest breakthrough. Once I could jump and count together, the actually swinging of the rope came around very easily. For me, after I got two connective double unders, three came really quickly, and within a few seconds I hit 11 in a row. The next day when I went back for more practice I got 25, and a day or two later I got 50. And it wasn’t too much longer before I was getting 100 in a row on a regular basis pretty easily. I think after you find your “clicking point”, they will become pretty natural.

7. After getting several consecutive double unders on a consistent basis, then you can work on your form more. You can obviously work on your form while learning them, but for me it was just too much to think about, so I didn’t work on these things until after I was comfortable with everything else. These things will allow you to do more with less effort and fatigue.

8. Keep a good upright, hollow posture while jumping, Don’t hunch over!

9. Keep your arms close to your side. The more you have your arms stretched away from you, the more quickly you’ll become tired. Remember, it’s in your wrists, not in your arms!

10. Instead of staying high up on your toes the whole time, work on your foot form while jumping. Land flat footed, and pull your toes up towards your body in a small pike when you jump. This will allow you to jump longer without getting fatigued in your lower legs. I noticed when I was just jumping on my toes I would get shin splints after a while. Working on my foot form fixed this immediately.

30 Inspiring Photos from Various Blogs – Vol. 2

After making a previous blog post with random badass images it was hard not to keep saving .jpgs to a folder on my desktop, so I collected enough for a second volume of inspiring photos from various blogs. These are images that made my jaw drop, struck a chord within my soul, made my eyes widen, or touched me in some way, shape, or form.

Most of these were photos taken from Shock Mansion, which were no doubt taken off other sites without permission. So please note, it was not my intention to steal anyone’s work. I wish I knew who shot all these amazing pictures…much respect to each of the respective photographers.

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Top 5 Most Awe-Inspiring and Beautiful Places I’ve Ever Been

Part of what makes me feel alive is traveling to new places and seeing what kind of incredible things can be found in nature. I can appreciate old architecture and ruins, and I have a love for great art, but what really makes me tick is looking at and exploring the things that man could never create.

After driving down the PCH for the third time recently I started to think about what I could consider to be the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been to, so I thought I’d break them down here.

In no particular order, here are the top five most awe-inspiring and beautiful places I’ve ever been…

1. Rock Formations at Ton Sai Bay, Thailand
While staying on Ton Sai Bay in Thailand I took a kayak out to explore some of the small island rock formations off the shoreline. From a distance they looked pretty unassuming and rather static. However, once you got close to them, their majestic qualities revealed themselves and the formations came to life. Sitting in the small watercraft, I felt so tiny and insignificant, making the experience really humbling. The contrast of the beautiful, calm, and vast water against the lively rock caves, shelves, and stalactites will forever be burned into my memory as one of the best things my eyes have ever seen.

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2. Purlingbrook Falls in Springbrook National Park, Australia
After riding bikes and hanging out with friends in Gold Coast, Australia for several weeks I decided to venture away from the BMX scene in search of some nature. With just a short drive and a quick hike I found myself looking across a valley at one of the most impressive waterfalls I had ever seen. Purlingbrook Falls is some 350ft tall, and due to the recent heavy rainfall it had a pretty powerful flow when I was there. Seeing it from across the valley was great, but the real stand out moment came when I got to see the falls from right on top of them at a viewing platform, then again when I hopped a few guardrails and walked through the stream and stood at the edge while looking out over the valley.

Photos of Australia by Fat Tony

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3. California’s Coastline (From Pacific Coast Highway)
I’m a sucker for coastlines, beaches, and tropical settings, and the drive up or down California’s PCH offers plenty of each of those. There are countless views along the drive that are each just as spectacular as the last, but the fact that you can drive for hours on end and those views just keep coming is what really makes the drive so special.

California's Pacific Coast Highway Photographs

Pacific Coast Highway - PCH

4. Lake Wakatipu, New ZealandMuch like the PCH, the drive on Kingston Rd. that hugs the perimeter of Lake Wakatipu outside Queenstown, New Zealand is a never-ending postcard backdrop. However, instead of infinite waves in the ocean, the lake is calm and flat with beautiful mountains surrounding it on all sides. Along the drive you can stop at lookout overview points high above the lake, then minutes later you can stop again at sea level and walk right up the rocky beach to the glass-like shoreline.

Lake Wakatipu

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5. Grand Canyon, Arizona
If this list were in order, and if I had better photos of it, the Grand Canyon in Arizona would probably be at the number one spot. However, when I visited Mathers Campground in the summer of 2005 I didn’t have a proper camera with me, so all I have to show from my trip there are a few low-quality scans of photos that were printed at Walmart. Nonetheless, the Grand Canyon still remains one of the most incredible and mind-boggling things I’ve ever laid eyes on. When I was standing at the edge of the South Rim I remember feeling like even though I was there, and even though I was seeing it with my own eyes, I could never comprehend what I was looking at. It was such an overwhelming feeling that I literally shed a few tears. This is one place I’m really looking forward to going back to and photographing some day…Anyone up for camping?

Grand-Canyon

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