Overcoming Obstacles: Meet the Monsters

The point in any story where the hero is forced to overcome obstacles is always compelling to us because it is the point where they’re forced to grow.

As a society, the typical heroes are athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, and occasionally politicians. But we are all heroes in our own stories.

As we continue down our heroes journey, there are over 20 different types of hidden monsters that we can face to serve as obstacles to overcome.







Collectively, they make up the resistance. They’re the opposition to the Hero, to us, in our story. The resistance will stand against any act that we try to take for meaning, purpose or growth.

This includes things like any new diet or health program, a new exercise program, a weight loss journey, a program for spiritual advancement, any calling for writing or music or any unconventional art form, big commitments of heart like getting married or having a child, any program to help you overcome a bad habit or addiction, educating yourself, any business or entrepreneurial adventure.

Your journey is littered with opportunities for change, and this is their meal.

They’re invisible to the physical senses. You cannot see them, or hear them, or touch them or smell them. You can only feel them, down in the darkness. You can catch a glimpse, like a shadow in a darkened room. The force of the negative feelings they try to push from the core of your being is aiming to drive us away from where we want to go.

Each one of them is insidious. They’ll tell you anything to keep you from doing what you need to do or heading in the direction you need to go. They will lie, seduce, bully, and torment. Individually, they can take any form that needed to trick you. The resistance will present itself in the form of a well-meaning friend or family member or it will attack you like an armed criminal waving its weapon in your face. The monsters have no conscience, no moral standards and they feel the opposite of what you feel. Their nature is ever shifting and ever changing, making it difficult to identify them.

These monsters are unbiased, nondiscriminatory, objective. They are a force of nature, part of every life. That adds to their power because most of us believe they shouldn’t exist at all and when they do we believe they can be vanquished. But they can never be so and are an essential part of our nature, of our journey. Though we sense malevolence, they are truly the definition of indifference.

The monsters are universal. They are the opposition to everyone and everything, not just to you. Everyone experiences them. The more important your mission or call to action, the more the monsters will attack your soul.

The warrior knows that the battle must be fought and won anew every single day. The great artists understand this also. Everyone is an artist and their life is their defining work of art. The hero’s journey, your journey, is an endless work of art.

The monsters do not aim to wound you. They do not aim to hold you back or disable you completely. The monsters aim to kill. They want to annihilate the art entirely. Your genius, your unique gifts and experiences, and perspectives that can never be replaced. The monsters want to remove them from the history of the universe absolutely and completely.

Overcoming the monsters, the obstacles in your story, is a war to the death.

How do we overcome the obstacles?

You just do it. Start. Start now. Start before you’re ready. You’ll never be ready before you’re almost finished. So “waiting until you’re ready” is one of the monsters and it’s got a stranglehold on you.

The enemy, the opposition, the obstacle to our journey is not a lack of preparedness. It’s not the difficulty of the task or the problems that need to be solved. It’s the monsters of the resistance. The voice in our heads that tell us it’s too difficult, too strenuous, that is the voice of the monsters. The one that hears the voice is the artist, the hero, you. If we give that voice one second in our brain it’s going to inject us full of excuses and justifications and reasons why we can’t, shouldn’t, won’t.

So start now. Start before the voices get louder. Start to abruptly end their momentum. Good things happen when you start before you’re ready to start. Starting before you think you are ready thrusts you into a high-pressure situation.

When your natural fight-or-flight reaction kicks in, choose fight.

Choose to embrace the adrenaline, the head rush, the feeling of your heart slamming against your chest and courage coursing through you.

When you start the fight, when you dive in head first, you make a commitment. Without it, you only give the monsters more to feed on.

If you still have an alibi, an excuse, a justification, your monsters are still in charge.

Introduction to Level Method

Have you noticed the large ‘coming soon’ banner on the wall in the gym?

Have you heard Michael mention the Level Method tests?

In this video, Michael gives you a formal introduction of Level Method and how we will be incorporating it to better support the goals and progressions of every person at The X-Project.


The Level Method is an innovative system for managing and progressing in a group environment.

There are a series of tests designed to measure and promote your fitness level, organized as levels that range from novice to expert and correlate with the belt colors of jujitsu. Every person, at every level, with any limitation, will be able to find where they are and move forward with success.

Michael discusses customization and individualization as the core foundations of our goal at The X-Project, and emphasizes that every person has a progression and movement that is best for their abilities and current level to progress forward. Using the Level Method will allow us to add much more depth and layers to that mission in a concise way.

It will not be replacing the programming or determining the workout of the day, it is a structure that will supporting what we are already doing by:

  • Pinpointing weaknesses
  • Providing incentives and safety measures 
  • Delivering a ranking system for each athlete to better understand their progress
  • Demonstrating incremental and objective goals that everyone can use to move forward
  • Encouraging Informed decisions to maximize the effectiveness of every workout

Instead of building our curriculum based on arbitrary sets, reps, ‘RX’s’, we have been using the workout stimulus to build our workouts, and the energy systems the Level Method outlines as categories supports that. 

The best part? There’s a clear, color coded, gigantic map of the levels across all the systems so you can follow your progress and visualize your goals. Done are the days of scaling, bring on building your own program. 

The Level Method provides the framework, the structure and the nutrients that we need for every person to take things to the next level.

We will begin pre-tests Monday January 7th to introduce the Level Method framework and give everyone an idea of how the test days will be structured. Michael can’t wait to share more details as we go, so bring your smiles and as always, do the work.

Four Ways to Add Spice to Your Workout

We get it. It’s CrossFit. It’s always spicy. It’s always brutal. We understand that your coach programmed the workouts so their already perfect. They’re intelligent, elegant in ways we can’t comprehend and have the perfect amount of sexy to them.

But, just in case you want to do something different here are 4 simple and fun ways to add some unique challenges and still hit the intended stimulus.

here is an example workout to reference for our mental exercise:

4 Rounds of:

50 Double Unders

12 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

12 Thrusters

#1. Force Unbroken Movement

Take the example written above and add the word “Unbroken” to it. It changes the pace of the workout and adds in an invisible interval. The objective remains the same; complete the workout as quickly as possible. But now you have to make sure you rest long enough to complete the set unbroken without resting too long and slowing down too much. By the time you get to the final round you may have to start searching deep inside yourself to find the courage to hit all 12 pull-ups in a row even when your grip and shoulders are fried.

#2. Add Set Rest Intervals

Determine the intensity you want from the movements then build in a rest period that will allow that. 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 ratio can make a big difference. Or turn it to a 3-to-1 ratio and make sure to keep the foot on the pedal the entire time you’re working. The same amount of work complete at a different intensity level can completely change the challenge and experience.

#3. Record Multiple Scores

What if each of the 4 rounds was it’s own individual score? What if the objective was to get a faster score each round? What if the only score that you recorded at the end of the workout was the slowest round you completed? Each of those completely changes the mindset before and during the workout.

#4. Start Rounds on a Fixed Time

For the workout above, you could say that each rounds starts every 3rd minute. This creates an interval and rewards you for going faster. The quicker you complete the round, the longer you get to rest before the next one. This creates an incentive for intensity also.

These strategies can be applied to almost any workout.

Try some when your training feels mundane and let us know how it went!

2018 Holiday Schedule

The holiday season is fast approaching! In order to plan your gym time around the parties, events and quality family time, here is our schedule for November and December.

  • November 22nd, Thanksgiving Day: One class only, 8:30 AM [Turkey Burn Throwdown!]
  • November 23rd, Black Friday: One class only, 9:00 AM
  • November 24th, Saturday: One class only, 8:00 AM
  • December 23rd, Sunday: Closed – No Open Gym
  • December 24th, Christmas Eve: One class only, 9:00 AM
  • December 25th, Christmas Day: Closed
  • December 26th: One class only, 9:30 AM
  • December 27th: Two classes, 9:30AM and 5:30PM
  • December 28th: Two classes, 9:30AM and 5:30PM
  • December 30th, Sunday: Closed – No Open Gym
  • December 31st, New Years Eve: One class only, 9:00 AM
  • January 1st, New Years Day: Closed

As our community, we consider you family and we are thankful to have you this and every holiday season.

Beyond The Whiteboard: Logging your workouts

One of the things we stress the most is recording and tracking your workouts (and all levels of your fitness, but that’s another post for another day). In addition to the custom journals available to our members, we encourage anyone who prefers the technology way to use Beyond The Whiteboard to track their workout.

There is both a desktop version [here] and an iOS and Android app for your phone [learn how to navigate the app here].

You can also link to it straight from our website and login to your account!

You’ll need to create an account on a desktop, and then you can download the app. As part of the sign up process, you’ll need to input our gym name and code. Ask your coach for those.

After you are added to The X-Project squad, you’ll be able to see and log the WoD.  You can also encourage your fellow members on their results by giving them fist bump or bicep emojis, as well as see the leaderboard for the gym and your rank.

You can also create your own squad! If you and your classmates are always asking each other about their workout results, why not create a squad so you can log in and check it out?

On top of logging the WoD, you can track your weight, nutrition, lifts, workouts on the go, and injuries. There are advanced analytic and reporting functionalities for the nerds among us.

Keeping track of your workouts allows you to look back and see improvement in so many areas, and taking detailed notes and accurately recording your score provides insight throughout your progress.

If you prefer the old school pen and paper method, that’s cool! Everyone has their own style, but that means when your coach asks for your numbers, you have several choices of how you record it so there is no excuse 😉

Remember to use the app to encourage and support each other, and keep in mind that you are competing against yourself every day.

Helpful Resources Links

Terms and Phrases: Refresher Course

We have all been there.

You’re standing in class, and the coach is giving instructions on the workout but it is like they are speaking in a foreign language. You want to try to understand but they are dropping acronyms and you can’t keep up. You’ll have to Google it after class, but that won’t help you now…

Or, you’ve been in the game for a bit now and you’ve got it down for the most part. But every once in a while you find that you are following along but don’t know what the words everyone is using actually stand for.

We’re here to help! Every fitness style has it’s own set of terms and phrases that mean nothing to anyone else, and at the School of Fitness a lot of those words happen to be CrossFit related. Here is a refresher course for the veterans and a handy guide for the newbies with the most commonly dropped words. No extra Googling needed!


Jess Racz, Part 3

Every day, you spend an hour with your coach. But how much time do you have to get to know them? Our community is built on the foundation of relationships. To support that, each week, your coach will share a part of their story.

Continued from Jess, Part 1 and 2

The idea of writing my manifesto came from Michael Gaines. During each of our training sessions together, we’d have a purpose for the day. And after each training sessions, there would be a number of questions to reflect on. On that particular day, we we’re talking about values, beliefs, goals, and identity. I had no real, written out values, no real, positive beliefs, no goals other than the Games and no identity other than CrossFit. Values, beliefs, goals, my identity we’re things I had never really thought about to a deeper level. So how would I ever know how to think or how to act? How would I know what decisions to make? How would I know if I was happy? So, that day, I went home, opened up my laptop, and took the next two hours to write my manifesto. The problem? I never looked at it again. I wrote it, I really felt it in that moment, but I never acted in accordance to it.

Fast forward a year later, when I injured my back, I decided to start reading a book, called “Awaken the Giant.” Now, if you haven’t read this book by Tony Robbins, stop what you are doing, stop reading this and go order it now. This will be the best purchase of your entire life, trust me. Because I applied what was inside this book, I was able to make dramatic changes in my life, in my mindset, and in the actions I take everyday (you can read all the books in the world, but if you don’t use what you learned, it is worthless. But that is another blog post for another time). I was able to then go back to my manifesto I had once written two years ago and completely reshape and redefine it in ways that work for me and ignite a flame once again. Because of the ever-changing world we live in, we may need to change our values, beliefs, rules, and definitions of ourselves in order to fit with who we are today, who we want to become, and our priorities and direction in life. That is completely okay and it is a must to be able to continue to grow in all aspects of your life.

So here we go:

Who am I?

I am a CrossFit trainer. I am a graduate of college. I am a listener. I am unconditional friend. I am a loyal companion. I am a daughter. I am a tenacious, gritty athlete. I am an intense, deep-level human being. I am a builder of mindset and personal growth. I am a strength and conditioning coach. I am a force to discover what is possible. I am a stonecutter. I am a power to defeat the odds. I am a curious intellect. I am a reader. I am a writer. I am a guide. I am not a rule-follower. I am not a know it all. I am not a talker. I am a leader. I am a doer. I am full of desire and intensity. I am a role model striving to make an impact on the lives I touch. I am fearless warrior. I am a hard worker. I am full of thoughts, full of imagination, full of ideas. I am a burning flame. I am a change I want to see in the world. I am an empowering female. I am a humbled human being. I am a bright-smiled, anything is possible, adventurous gal.

So who are you? What makes you — you?

What are my values?:

#1. Health

#2. Courage

#3. Forgiveness

#4. Self-Expression

#5. Love and Warmth

#6. Happiness and Joy

#7. Growth

#8. Passion

#9. Impact

#10. Achievement

#11. Adventure

#12. Peace of Mind

I must value my own health — mental, physical, and emotional — to have the courage to do the things and I want to do, and to forgive myself and the people / situations that have hurt me in the past in order to fully express my true self and be open to a place of love and warmth; both giving unconditional love and receiving unconditional love without pushing away. I will then be able to experience the happiness and joy life has to offer and be able to continue to learn and grow myself into a better coach, a better athlete, a better daughter, a better friend, and a better human being. I will be able to continue pursuing my passion; having more motivation and drive than ever before to make the biggest impact on all the lives I interact with on a daily basis. I will feel a sense of achievement to then continue sharing my story and voice in all different places and people around the world and live an adventurous life doing what I love in a way I want to do it, ultimately living in peace of mind knowing I did my best to become the best I was capable of becoming.

Then, I have rules. What does it take for me to feel courageous? What does it take for me to feel love and warmth? What does it take for me to feel happiness and joy? What has to happen in order for me to feel impactful? These rules are ways for me to live out my values everyday, where they are controlled by the actions I take and how it benefits me. My rules for my values have nothing to do with the other person. If I give unconditionally without expectation, the reaction of the person I gave to is irrelevant. What I get in return is irrelevant. If I take the chance to step outside my comfort zone, to act courageously, the outcome or result has no impact on me. Because I acted in accordance to my values, I become a better person.

So what do you value? What is most important in your life? What emotions do you want to experience everyday? What does it take for you to feel ____ ? What has to happen in order for you to feel ___ ?

What are my beliefs?

I believe there is never a loss. There is always a lesson.

I believe in the power of changing your language to the positive.

I believing in having a purpose, a true authentic calling, a justification for your existence, something that gets you up every morning and keeps you up late.

I believe in order to conquer fear, you must define your fear and you must act in accordance based off of your values. Shit or get off the pot.

I believe with persistence, consistency, and a willingness to do the things no one wants to do, you can achieve anything you’ve ever imagined.

I believe in good: I believe everyone has something to offer, something unique to bring of value, strengths to bring to the table. It is your job to find that and put them in a position where they can succeed.

I believe in a never-ending journey of one’s life purpose. A journey that has no destination or GPS direction along the way. If you ask 10 successful people how they became successful, you’d get 10 different answers.

I believe in embracing the suck. It is supposed to be hard, you’re supposed to struggle because that is the only way to grow.

I believe you are already everything you want to be.

I believe if you speak through your life and your life is the story, you will change lives.

I believe in asking better questions, not trying to find better answers.

I believe in finding a role model — staring at who you want to become and acting in similar ways.

I believe the limits you place on yourself are based on who you believe you can become. Choose to be limitless.

I believe a leader guides others to lead themselves.

I believe excellence is in the next 5 minutes, which means excellence can be achieved everyday.

So what are your beliefs? What do you feel certain about no matter the circumstances? Are your beliefs empowering you towards the direction you want to go in life?

Define who you are. Define your values. Define your beliefs. Think it, act it, be it, live it. It’ll change your life.  

Follow Jess on her journey on her Instagram page.

Pull Up Workshop with Coach Greg, Part 1


Whether you are struggling with your first pull up or can’t quite string kipping or butterfly pull ups together, this event is for you!

In this workshop, Greg will review the progressions to develop a stronger, more effective pull up, including shoulder mobility, positioning, shoulder activation, corrections and common mistakes.

Strict pull-ups are one of the best ways to help build shoulder strength and even increase shoulder stability. We’ll go over how to build strength by using the strict pull up and what kind of body shape we’re looking for during each rep.

After part 1, each participant will have a level of pull up technique to work on in the gym and at home, with drills and ancillary exercises. Part 2 will be hosted in November, where you will test your practice and move on to the next level.

All members and guests welcome!


Let us know if you’ll be there [here]!

Pyramid of Training and Baseline Lift Event


Join us on Saturday, July 7th to set a strength baseline for power and olympic lift movements. This baseline will serve as a starting point for the next 6 months of the programming work that will end with a lifting competition in January 2019.  The Baseline Lift Off will give you an idea of your current strengths and allow you to set reasonable goals for your increased stamina, control and strength. Let us know you are attending [here].

Pyramid of Strength Training

Each workout of the day, week, month, quarter, has a purpose that contributes the overall picture of the programming. If your goal is to train for fitness in a well rounded way, there is an important process to follow to obtain maximum capacity. When your coach says ‘trust the process’, that is what they are referring to.

The strongest shape that exists is the triangle. It is the shape most commonly used in successful structural buildings, and is not subject to deformation under heavy loads. Ancient structures in Greece, Italy, and Egypt use triangles and columns in their engineering, and that is why they are still standing despite centuries of age.

What does that have to do with anything, you ask?

A triangle is shaped so that weight is evenly distributed on all sides, with no aspect of its formation being weaker than the other. While this is an excellent metaphor for nutrition, health, fitness, and life in general, it also is why fitness and strength training is taught as a pyramid.  

If we follow science, which teaches us that a pyramid’s top is only as strong as it’s foundation, we begin with nutrition. Without healthy, wholesome fuel, the capacity for the rest of the pyramid will never be at its maximum level. [Join us with ModNutrition to find out more]. Hydration is included here, and is an easily adjusted variable.

In our training, following nutrition is metabolic conditioning. Conditioning and endurance is necessary to help your body use its energy stores properly and efficiently. While you can refer to this as merely ‘cardio’, it also includes muscle endurance and stamina. Without the capacity to properly leverage the bodies natural energy process, progress will be built precariously. Intensity also falls under this category. Increasing your conditioning will allow you to maintain a level of intensity that will give you the maximum benefit.

After conditioning comes gymnastics, or body control. The skill and ability to control the body in space builds strength safely, allowing you the confidence and precision to execute complicated movements. When you have studied the skill and technique of any movement, your muscle develops memory that will continue to follow procedure when strength and stamina begin to break down. The understanding of your flexibility, mobility and necessary levels of recovery contribute to your overall bodily awareness as well.

When you’ve established the bottom three rows of the pyramid, you are ready to build your lifting and throwing strength and perfect your sport.

There is a factor that is not expressly included but implied, and that is consistency. In order to effectively build the pyramid from the bottom up, you need a level of a commitment to the process that establishes consistency. There is no shortage of ‘quick fix’ options out there, but a healthy dose of patience and persistence will pay off more than any of those options could offer.

Can you progress to the next level of the pyramid without working on the step before it? Of course. Can you build the roof of a house before you lay the foundation? Sure.

But what purpose would the roof serve without anything underneath it to protect?

“We don’t deliberately order these components but nature will. If you have a deficiency at any level of “the pyramid” the components above will suffer.” – What Is Fitness

What Is Fitness, Crossfit Journal. October 2002. 


Kyle Boettner, Part 1

Every day, you spend an hour with your coach. But how much time do you have to get to know them? Our community is built on the foundation of relationships. To support that, each week, your coach will share a part of their story.

Check out Part 1 of Kyle’s story.

Follow Kyle on his journey on his Instagram page.

‘Getting fit’ doesn’t change who you are, the process of getting fit helps you become who you are.

— Kyle Boettner