The Moment Before - CrossFit Jääkarhu

The Moment Before

The moment “right before” is easy to overlook. It’s easy recall the game-winning touchdown or hitting a PR in the gym. But what about right before that? 

Earlier this week I was in the gym taking pictures for an upcoming seminar and I accidentally took the photo above. This happens often and I normally discard these misfires. But this time I didn’t, instead I just starred at it. It’s right before Jess performed a muscle-up. She’s done 100s (if not 1000s) of them. This one wasn’t any more special than the last ten she has done. But look at the picture, it’s beautiful. She’s completely calm, focused and ready to do something uncommonly well. Seeing this made me wonder about how many of these moments are missed. They are definitely significant. Without them, the finished product would not occur. Excellence isn’t an accident. It’s a product diligence.

My takeaways are to see more beauty in abstract moments and focus on perfecting the “moment before” and see how it affects the finished product.

Details are the difference maker. Enjoy the adventure.

Jessica Estrada Karhu Academy copy


Photo courtesy of CrossFit Jääkarhu

We all train for the Games

It’s CrossFit Games week and this is my fourth year making the trip to the proving grounds for the Fittest on Earth. Each year my understanding of this community and its sport grows—fueling my love, passion and excitement for the gathering that takes place in a few days.


Since Froning and Briggs were crowned and the tennis stadium emptied last year, the clock immediately reset and the countdown began for 2014. I imagine many Games athlete left StubHub Center with internal promises and pacts to themselves about how they would prepare for the coming year. But so did many of the spectators. A unique aspect of this sport is the crowd. The CrossFit Games allows for immediate participation and advancement if your training, effort and execution is sufficient.


Competition means many things to many different people. Not everyone in the CrossFit community has hopes of competing at the Games, but we all train. Each person has their own goals and aspirations that reach beyond the gym, but we all train. We show up to the garage, backyard or affiliate to prepare our bodies and minds to go out and conquer whatever is front of us.  Many workouts beat us and we are better for it. We practice failure and recovery in training to be better equipped for life. Consistent training  can confirm the idea that we have the ability to continually improve and turn a goal into an accomplishment. A great opportunity for that is the test of fitness, Open to anyone as personal measurement of progress or a worldwide competition. The choice is always yours.


From this worldwide competition of athletes, about  550  have earned the right to take the field in Carson, California. They were tested against a community of hard workers. One that carries countless stories of struggle and triumph from all walks of life. Each year the test gets tougher. I think a tougher test is almost required because we’re getting better. As a community, we sharpen ourselves against each other and collectively test and advance our limits. We progresses together through the Open and Regionals and produces some of the Fittest on Earth for the final test. These athletes represent their dreams, family, local community and much more. They are representation of our collective commitment to wellness.


This week athletes from all over the world are filling Carson, California. Some will prove themselves on the competition floor. Other athletes will hold cameras, run media, coordinate event logistics,  volunteer and work as judges—while the large majority of athletes celebrates and cheers from the stands. There are many roles in this community and none insignificant.  Year after year, regardless of  role or responsibility, we all train for the Games.


See you there.


We all train for the CrossFit Games

Failure is part of the Progress

Originally published on Medium

My journey as an athlete is mine alone.

I am quickly learning that failure is part of the progress. Failure is part of the progress. The higher I climb, the greater the barriers will be. Bigger barriers require more — More skill, technique, mental toughness and immense amounts of patience. The victories may be seemingly fewer and farther between, but I find that they are more filling and sustaining the harder I have to work for them.

I wrote this note for myself a while ago (Yes I leave myself notes):

This journey is a process, enjoy it. Take moments to step out of yourself and realize what you are doing. You are on a mission to discover a better you. This is not something that will be handed to you on a silver platter. This is something you will have to fight for … Something you may miss the mark on for weeks, months, maybe years until you have that one moment … The one instant that you break through and discover that you are just a little bit stronger on paper but substantially better in every other way.

I experienced a perfect application of this:

I hit 260-lb. snatch early last year in my chucks. I was pretty pumped … I didn’t realize that would be my last snatch PR for quite some time. Since completing that lift I have struggled, maybe even regressed a little bit. There were days where I would miss attempts at 205-lb. and even some at 185 lb. Since I was used to those lifts being automatic it became one of the more frustrating parts on my day.

But I had a reality check. Progressing up the lift ladder requires strength but it also demands consistency … and recently I had not been consistent with my workouts. My lifts had become a reflection of that. I was not respecting the process. With that realization I went back to work with a new mentality. Yes, there were days when I would miss everything and other days where I would be on and off, but I remained consistent. Whether it was a great day in the gym or an hour of “this sucks,” I made it my mission to just show up the next day ready to work. The consistency taught me things about myself that PRs could never teach. In reality my progression was never halted, only redirected and focused on my area of deficiency. Staying at 260 lb. has afforded me more knowledge and skill than if I would have kept progressing up the ladder without a hiccup.

A few weeks ago I completed 4 snatches in a row at 245-lb. snatches. A huge moment for me. Probably bigger than the 260-lb. snatch.

It’s important to understand what you are doing. Training is a process —Enjoy it. It holds many different lessons in various avenues. Instead of getting lost in comparisons or rushing it. Respect it. See the “ruts” as lessons that will provide you long term keys to success. CrossFit is kind enough to reveal your weaknesses and invite you test them. Accept the challenge. If you fail just smile and say, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Survival of the Fitness

Finding Balance in Daily Chaos

Each day brings new challenges. They are patient teachers with valuable rewards for those that can master them.

My current teacher is balance — between my work and training. I have a passion for what I do and I dive into it face first and allow it to consume me for long periods of time. For seasons this is productive but it is difficult to maintain. Fatigue and a loss of creativity leads to dissatisfaction and frustration. I have found balance in my CrossFit workouts. Training brings it’s own set of demands and expectations. Movements require focus, intention, skill, determination and host of things that can not be articulated. It is a constantly challenging activities, yet it feels like playtime.

CrossFit asks me for my best and leaves me at my absolute worst — it is an invaluable asset.

Despite the value of varied movement, it is still hard to get up and train after working long hours. Sometimes I am too tired, other times I just don’t feel like it. There are times where I force myself to workout and it pays off. Other times it is a lost cause and more than I can handle, causing me to shut it down for the day. I leave my workouts exhausted, but pending work deadlines have no mercy … at times deadlines become as hit-and-miss as my workouts. I use those times to justify skipping my training, but that leaves me feeling sluggish from sitting at a desk all day … As you can see I’m quite the mess times. However, I came across some thoughts on how to choose between work and working out.

So Which Side Wins — Passion or Play?

I have been a competitor for most of my life so I have a engrained desire to be highly active. CrossFit has recently become my patient teacher. The lessons that I learn in the gym directly apply to my world beyond the gym. Pushing hard through a 20 minute AMRAP helps me lock-in and finish a design at 1 a.m. when I really don’t think I have the energy. There have been so many times that I have walked into a workout a mess and walked out with absolute clarity. I am realizing that each side unconsciously relies upon the other.

[My truth]: I must pour everything into everything, in order to maintain my balance. My workouts are vital because they keep me sharp and alert because I force myself into discomfort and learn to be happy there. My work is equally as vital because it is my creative outlet, keeps the lights on and inches me closer to my goals. The balance of pushing so hard on two ends of the spectrum helps me to advance evenly and survive the demands of both avenues. It is a daily adventure in progress.