Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Arthur Boorman’s story is incredible. I first saw the video below years ago, and just had to write about it on my blog. Arthur was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years. Through years of being a paratrooper, his knees and back slowly started to deteriorate. After gaining a lot of weight, he was no longer able to walk without assistance. Doctors told him he would never walk without support again.

One day, he came across an article that talked about famous professional wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page, and how he had been practicing Yoga. The article inspired Arthur to give it a shot. As you can imagine, the road was a rough one. Progress started slow and he fell often. But he never gave up. DDP took interest in his story, and began communicating with, encouraging, and supporting Arthur through his journey. He ended up losing 140lbs in 10 months, and just a little bit more physical independence!

Watch the awesome video below, share it with someone you know who might need a little pick-me-up, and remember… through consistency, discipline, a strong support network, and a well-thought-out training program, so much is possible!

I swear every time I watch this. Every time! I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!


I typically aim to add value to the lives of others. I tell myself that those who know me feel they can rely on me in times of need, and that they are comfortable being vulnerable in moments of emotional turmoil. I aim to approach both people and scenarios with an open mind and a willingness to engage in unbiased dialogue without judgement. Yet on this blog, which I’ve run for years, I have typically chosen to stay away from subject matter that can be perceived as controversial.

As the first week of 2018 comes to an end, I’ve felt a strong sense of obligation to stop holding back. Stop pulling punches. START being more vulnerable, myself. While by and large, this blog is meant to be about fitness, my desire to help people become healthier, and my affinity for impressive feats of human performance, this blog also serves as my voice. The words I type represent my persona, and while I’d love to be viewed as a valuable and positive resource, I also would like my “reputation” to be associated with words like bold, unapologetic, and empowering.

Last night my brother sent me a text telling me that Oprah gave an incredible speech during the 2018 Golden Globes as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Thankfully, we live in a time where seconds after receiving his message, I was already able to find the speech on YouTube. Thank you, technology!

Let me preface this next part by admitting that I am the type of person who cries at the end of animated children’s movies when “puppy” who ran away is brought back from from the shelter by mom and dad, while little Susie was crying in her room thinking she’d never see her best friend again. Cue slow motion running towards each other, cue me pretending to cough to give myself an excuse to bring my hands up to my face to dry my tears. REGARDLESS….

Watching Oprah’s acceptance speech literally left me speechless. Not only was I choked up with emotion, but as soon as it was done I turned the TV back on and could only muster a, “… wow….” from under my breath. Here’s the thing, Oprah is an incredible public speaker. But we knew that already. The stories we’re hearing about discrimination, misconduct, and abuse are disgusting and appalling. But most (decent) people agree on that, too. The reason I think her particular speech resonated with me so much is that what we’ve seen over the past few months truly has the makings of an entire culture shift.

The discrimination towards women in the workforce has got to stop. The abuse of power (typically by men in leadership positions in this particular case) has run rampant in many ways since…. basically the beginning of our society. But what’s happening now, today, during our lifetime, is individuals are standing up to defend themselves. Those who are discriminated against or abused based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disabilities, and so many more areas, are beginning to not only get, but hold the attention of larger audiences. In those audiences, more and more people are building the courage to stand up and fight alongside those who have been wronged for so long. Strength in numbers in the fight for the greater good is beginning to create headway for fundamental change.

There have been well-written speeches throughout the years that motivate and inspire meaningful change. This is has the power to be one of them. There are also individuals out there who are already calling for Oprah to run for president. While I understand the passion with which those claims are being made, there’s a lot more to being a president than having a moral compass and striving to improve the current state of affairs. But politics aside, I hope that people who watch the video below can view it from an even broader perspective than “men discriminating against women” for one reason and one reason alone.

While those specific injustices need to come to an end, there are countless others that deserve just as much change and reform! I’m writing this post to offer my support for positive change. I’m writing this post to thank people like Oprah who have the courage to stand up and refuse to sit idly while the corrupt few around them benefit from the intentional hurt and mistreatment of others. And I’m writing this post to let you know that I am here to be a positive agent for change.

Yes, this blog is about fitness most of the time. But sometimes, I’ need to use my voice to discuss things that are more important than a funny dog video or some athletic accomplishment. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it.

-Tom 1/8/18

I love inspiring stories. I’m talking about situations where people are given a slightly different hand to play with, yet turn around and completely re-write their own destiny.

Zack Ruhl has been a double-amputee since he was 2 years old (due to a rare bone condition). His options going forwards were pretty simple… he could phone it in and lead a life feeling sorry for himself, or he could have followed his dreams and made them come true anyways.

Well, Zack owns his own gym, trains adaptive athletes for free, and has let his love for fitness and helping others be his guiding force.

Oh, he benches 445lbs and does rope climbs while tied into his chair… like a boss. Check out this video from the folks at “Great Big Story“, and check out Zack’s gym if you’re in the Houston area!

Another awesome piece on Zack comes from So cool!

“So sick. SO. SICK. WOW! That was awesome!”

Those are the words I just said out loud… to myself… by myself, in my apartment. It’s not sick as in gross. I’m “that guy” who uses words like sick and epic to describe things he thinks are cool. Think that’s annoying? Deal with it, I’m not ashamed.

Alright, gut check time. I have said a few times over the past few months that I am going to start being more real and more raw on this blog. It all started from a conversation with Alon, in which he commented on a video I made and said, “Tom… how did that topic REALLY make you feel?” As in, “you gave us SOME of the real you, but not all of it. We came to YOUR blog to hear YOUR thoughts. Give it to us, straight.”

So I’m trying.

This commercial that I’m pasting below basically embodies who I THINK I am as a coach, and I freaking LOVE feeling like that! Feeling that I can look at any athlete, regardless of their experience level, ability levels, or confidence level, and TRULY think to myself… Let’s do this. You CAN do anything.

Most (all?) of you who have trained with me know that I hate (yep, hate) phrases like “I can’t.” Instead, I prefer conversations like one that I had with the amazing Casey Polk once:

Casey- “I SUCK at running!”
Me- *Disappointed stare*
Casey- “UGH! I mean… I am excited to have the opportunity to improve my running today.”
Casey- *Sly smile because she realized how much better it felt to say it that way.*

Even typing that has me smiling like a goon over here.

So that’s why I started this blog. I started it to share, and communicate, and interact, and help, and offer resources to you guys. My “readers”, the athletes that I am lucky enough to train, my friends. And to hopefully bring a smile to your face that comes close to matching the ones that you all give me every day.

So here’s to hoping that we can continue to grow these relationships together. Because even though the main goal of this blog is to try and help you, it sure as hell helps me a lot, too! Keeping this a two-way street will make this a lot more fun for all of us. (Otherwise, I’ll just keep posting more Parkour and Snowboarding videos, since that’s what I like!…. and you’ll still get those things, I’d just like to post things YOU want to see/learn/talk about, too!)

You guys are amazing. And like I said above, I really do think you can do anything you put your minds to and believe in. Sometimes I’ll just believe in it a little more at first!


Today’s installment of “CrossFit Blog Central” isn’t actually from an actual CrossFit blog. It is, however, an article written for “The Human Factor” column of’s website. “The Human Factor” is described as “profil(ing) survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed.”

Yeah, I know you thought I’d like it, too! Stories, and people, like this are the motivation and inspiration behind a lot of what keeps me going. The author of this particular piece is none other than Kyle Maynard. Kyle is, in my mind, a CrossFit Celebrity because he has been featured all over the CrossFit website over the 3+ years I’ve been following the program. He is one of those athletes that if I were to see him at an event, I’d get nervous and want a picture with him. Yep. I’m that guy. There’s another obvious reason why Kyle is so inspiring in what he does. The CNN article introduced him like this: “Despite being born without arms or legs, Maynard has played football, wrestled, and he’s hoping to hike Mount Kilimanjaro.” Yep.

When I came across this article that was posted by CrossFit, I knew the next hour or so was going to be spent “Maynarding”. Just watching videos and reading articles about this amazing man!

Ok, so enough about how I feel about him, let’s share the good stuff with you! I’m going to share a few of my favorite quotes from the article, and then obviously let you click on a link to read the full piece yourselves!

One of the reasons we require so much motivation to start on the path to improving our health is that we build up a huge lie in our minds of how improbable or even impossible reaching our goals will be. We think about how hard it’s going to be to resist dessert or how much time exercising is going to take away from our lives.

I try to talk to my athletes about this all the time. Instead of setting this HUGE milestone that will take months/years to accomplish, I prefer to set mini-milestones along the way so we give ourselves REASON to celebrate! Positive reinforcement from YOURSELF is so key to help you stay motivated and “on the path”.

It’s always going to be the same in your life too. We’ll never be where we want to be until we learn to slow down and enjoy our individual journey. As long as you are doing something to move towards the direction you want to go in your life and your health, you cannot fail.

Read those last three words. If we get to the place in life where we can ENJOY THE JOURNEY… where we embrace the process and enjoy the steps we’re taking to improve ourselves (in ANY venture), you cannot fail.

There you have it, folks. This is hands down one of my favorite posts I’ve written, and it’s all because of Kyle Maynard and his positive impact on EVERYONE! To us his line, his motto… his mantra that he’s had for his whole life… No Excuses. You’re the man, Kyle!

Click here to read the full article!

For more info on Kyle, here’s and AWESOME video from when he was featured on Oprah. Please take 13 minutes and watch it so you can learn more about why and HOW Kyle got to be where he is today. So. Cool.

Finally, as a CrossFitter, Kyle also owns a gym. No Excuses CrossFit. The video below is a Testimonial from some of his athletes talking about how (not only Kyle, but) CrossFit training can help change lives in a variety of ways.

I’m inspired today! I hope you are, too!

Read this, then read it again. Then… read it again. Please.

“When you don’t give up… You cannot fail.”

I won’t lie. This definitely made me tear up. Amazing story, and stupid Josh Groban (and his voice) doesn’t help, either. Now, go read the quote above one more time.

Those are your “Words of Wisdom” for the day.

(Thanks to the Progenex crew for sharing the video.)

I have always loved uplifting stories about “Ordinary People” who do extraordinary things.

This video shows the story of a man, who with a little ingenuity, has been able to literally brighten lives of people in his village.

If you know about stories like this, please email them to me. I would love to continue posting amazing stories like this!

Do you guys like seeing things like this?

It’s rare that I’ll post 2 “Moment of Awesomeness” posts on the same day… but I think you’ll see why I shared this one!

For those who think “CrossFit isn’t for me,” I would just urge them to watch this incredibly inspiring video of the 2nd Fittest Woman in the WORLD in her age bracket, Darlene Price! Stories like these are my favorite part of CrossFit, hands down.

Thanks to CrossFit Austin for putting together this awesome video, and thanks to the SICFIT Crew for sharing it with more CrossFitters.

Visit for more videos

Today was another inspiring day at the gym watching my teammates go through WOD 11.3. Pretty much every single person PR’d, and Dru-Tang hit a 1 rep max Squat Clean and Jerk PR at 165lbs… and the hit it 3 more times. Pretty epic stuff. More on that on another post, though!

We are staying on the topic of inspiring stories, though! Lu, thanks so much for sharing this story with me. I LOVE stuff like this. For the emotional ones… grab the box of tissues now 🙂 Incredible.

In my opinion, good teachers have the ability to influence kids in a way no one else can. They have a different impact than parents, siblings or friends, and can spark intellectual curiosity to an extent that in some ways cannot be matched outside of their “classroom” setting. I have always been truly inspired by good teachers. I can list the names of a few of mine over the course of my 16 years of schooling that I know I will never forget.

This is one of the reasons I am so proud of my very good friend, Broderick Turner. Broderick, (who used to introduce himself in business meetings to Senior Vice Presidents as “Broderick, like Mathew Broderick… only black”) is a math teacher at Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia, and has found a way of connecting with his students unlike any other teacher I have seen. This type of stuff makes me strive to want to be more like him as a teacher and a coach. I’m really proud of him and what he’s doing.

Some of you may be wondering: “How does any of this even remotely relate to CrossFit?”

First of all, to me, being a CrossFit Coach is much more than just helping people learn about how to do a squat. It’s about explaining the “WHY’s” to your athletes, showing people the benefits of efficient movement not only in the gym, but outside as well, and then sitting back and marveling as you see their lives change for the better through the knowledge you’ve helped them learn. We are more than just “trainers”. Each one of us has the title, each one of us should have the skills, but most importantly, each one of us absolutely has the obligation and responsibility to be teachers in our gyms.

Here’s a video of how Broderick took a potentially boring task (teaching the Quadratic Formula to his 9th and 10th graders), and related it to his students. He didn’t sacrifice the integrity of the subject matter, he didn’t settle for below “standard”, but he did break the subject matter down in a way that probably got the attention of his kids a lot more than standing at a chalk board and preaching in a monotone voice.

Mr. Turner, great job on keeping your teaching “Constantly Varied” and very “Functional”!! There are a lot of CrossFitters out there who will appreciate your efforts and creativity, and I can only hope that more teachers out there take this kind of pride and passion in their work. With that, our educational system is going to grow and change in ways that are nothing but positive!

*****The video had an error while he uploaded it onto YouTube! When we get a complete version, I’ll post it on here. But this will still give you an idea of what he’s doing!*****