2021 Outlier Challenge

Make one decision that makes a thousand. SIGN UP NOW – by clicking the image above.

With each new year at 10 Experience, we aim to challenge our members and ourselves to sharpen our minds, our habits and our lifestyles. To whittle away at a #10exlife.

The Outlier Challenge provides precisely that structure. Like previous challenges, this year’s version takes a fresh approach to the general blueprint we know to be effective. So, it’s our hope to bridge the gap between 2020 and 2021 by building upon the words printed on the most recent 10 Experience hoodie:

Easy choices, hard life.

Hard choices, easy life.

What does this mean? 2020 has been an unpredictable collection of events, where up equals down and inside means out. Normal routines suffered as we tossed, turned, and braced for daily impact. The structure of our day – in particular our healthy routines – suffered as a consequence. This year’s Outlier Challenge centers its design on rebuilding those lost structures. How? By making a ‘hard choice’ to be uncomfortable every day.

If the uncertainty of this year’s pandemic taught us anything, it’s that optimal health offers the best protection from a non discriminative virus. It also acts as a shield defending us against stress, anxiety and the unknown. Be it a viral infection or any other life-threatening situation, sound lifestyle habits – healthy eating, adequate sleep, daily movement, and fellowship with friends and family – can only improve our life.

The 2021 Outlier Challenge offers everything mentioned above. It comes with more purposefully designed rigidity and more intentionally sturdy guidelines. It promises rigor:

  • MOVEMENT – specific daily requirements
  • NUTRITION – specific nutrition with each meal
  • SLEEP – enough
  • FELLOWSHIP – encourage accountability with those specifics

Don’t scowl. A marine much tougher that us once quipped, “discipline equals freedom.” We tend to agree. Stick to the rules of the Outlier Challenge and find yourselves liberated from 2020’s long shadow. It’ won’t be easy, but that’s precisely our point. If your 2020 was successful and doesn’t actually resemble ours – a year laced with frustration and self-sabotaging behavior – keep at it! For the rest of us needing motivation to start again or looking for a bridge to cross the COVID chasm, the Outlier Challenge is sure to answer that call.

‘Choose hard’!

Ready, yet!? REGISTER HERE!

-10ex

(Don’t worry, you’re not on your own. Coaches…participants…near or far and just like the hurricane of 2020, we’re ALL in this together.)

10 Rules for Gym Life

Lessons from the Book of Our History

The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding. – Will Durant

In 2010, two bonehead kids leapt from a plane without much of a parachute or any real understanding of how to safely land. By a stroke of luck, they survived the fall. Some think that ‘fortune favors the bold’; others, that ‘diligence is the mother of good luck’, but not me. I’m not here to make argument for either. In fact, I stake no claim over undiscovered veins of truth. I’m simply thankful to be here.

And, here we are – 10 years into “J and G’s fitness experiment.” It is with our sincerest hearts and our deepest gratitude that we offer thanks to each of you, our fellow travelers. To our friends and family, the friends that became family, and all those who lent support from the pink dawn of our earliest days – cheers! Without you, we would still be a sputtering idea, a seed lying dormant, a ship with no sails. To this day 10 Experience is just an idea #10exlife. You animate that idea. You give it life and legs. You are its breath. You are its pulse. And you alone permit us to continue into the great unknown brimming with hopeful hearts.

 

I haven’t always been, but I’m a sucker for curious books and interesting thoughts. And I’m especially romantic for language that can sketch an idea into a neat picture. If a decade of our gym’s history were a book, that book would be filled with uncountable lessons. But, how would it read and what’s the premise? That line of thought – considering the gym as a book – swept me up and plopped me down, once more at the keyboard in an attempt to capture my thoughts like lightening in a bottle.

Here’s where I landed: my sense is that a proper gym is somewhat equivalent to the live version of a self-help book. A proper gym offers lessons of all brand in real time and in real terms. If we really pay attention, the gym teaches us principles of the scientific process, psychology in part and parcel, how to invest (in anything), and more than a little about morality. Lessons by the metaphorical handful. Each of these ‘rules’ might fill entire chapters or whole books. Billy Shakespeare once wrote that brevity is the soul of wit. So with what wit I might muster and little more adieu, here’s my best stab at paring down the most potent lessons from spending the past decade in the fitness trenches.

1. Make a single decision that makes a thousand others.

I’ll say it firmly. Decide to make your health a priority! It’s a simple 7-word declaration. That decision, once made, ‘pre-makes’ the thousand other daily decisions on your plate (entendre intended). What do I eat, should I join a gym, can I skip on sleep? Optimize. Streamline. Determine what is essential. Discover the meaning behind less but better. Invest your time, your energy, and your efforts working towards that end – health! It won’t be long before you notice the might of compounding interest.

2. Whatever you do, don’t pity the fool (hint: you are the fool).

Mr. T had it all wrong. The liar is a tyrant, because he cannot stand being a fool. Don’t be a tyrant. Freedom to be foolish IS one of the keys to success in the gym or elsewhere. In some form, exercise makes everyone feel foolish – weak, sluggish, and under prepared. All learning always involves certain indignities. But, that’s the rub! That’s humility – I am not yet what I could be but watch what I’ll become.

3. Understand what your ego IS (and can devolve into).

Pride blooms from our ego’s seed. It propels us towards virtuous ends today (back squat PRs and accomplishments galore). And tomorrow, it plays vice – striking us like a serpent when we least expect it (arrogance and hubris are it’s poison often leading to injury and failure). The sooner we acknowledge both sides of our ego’s coin, the sooner we might learn to better weld its spending power. Internalize this acronym, E.G.O. = embedded growth obligation. And take notice the next time your ego’s obligations serve you well…or run afoul.

4. Listen to fitness’ endless lessons on morality.

I don’t say this lightly. Each day exercisers are afforded an opportunity to meditate on subtle applications of the golden rule. Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping. The pursuit of health/fitness isn’t a singular game. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum as a solitary lift, workout, or diet. It’s a set of behaviors that extend over the course of your life. We must all participate – winning some…losing some – so that we’re permitted to continue playing throughout the next 1000 games.

5. Examine your reasons for exercising.

In my best Socratic voice, I ask, “Why do you exercise?” Is it to qualify for the Boston Marathon? To compete on the Olympic Weightlifting stage? To pitch on opening night in the MLB? If no was the answer, perhaps it’s time to refine your attachment to specialized and often damaging training protocols. I repeat – why do you exercise? Particularly, what about exercise is fulfilling? Examine those thoughts and endeavor to train in ways that compliment that end. Then, embrace your inner Vulcan spirit – live long and prosper!

6. Defend moderation!

With my dying breath, I’ll cry, ‘moderation forever!’ Truly the habit of eating small, frequent meals is likely our culture’s way of ‘self-medicating’ to compensate for a broken metabolism. Instead, set your sights on nutritional moderation…metabolic flexibility. A metabolically flexible person possesses the ability to use both fat and carbs as sources of energy based on availability and need. They fast and they feast, and they live as vibrant models of nutritional efficiency.

7. Remember: it’s not your fault.

During your next diet foray, you’d do well to acknowledge the beautifully tragic design of human nature. You are literally hard-wired to eat professionally. We all crave tasty foods, we all gobble up that food, and, almost instantly, we all seek out the next interesting treat. That behavior is literally coded into our operating program. It’s in our software. What do we do? We recognize the fault. Then, become intentional about ‘rebooting’ the system. Eat proteins, veggies and fruits, herbs and spices, and some fat at every meal. Also, speaking of morality, you can’t ‘cheat’ on food or a diet – you simply eat food. Good or bad, learn to recognize the impact of your dietary decisions.

8. Conspire to greater things.

Find fellow conspirators. Then, together build a bright, shining lighthouse for others wandering through the darkness. Successful people find value in unexpected places. The best people in the world know this. Every great community is built around a secret that’s hidden from view. If these years have taught me anything, it’s that a group of gym-goers can be a conspiracy to change the world. Share your secret and the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.

9. Embrace the creative and constructive value of struggle.

Where is what you most want likely to be found? Where you are least likely to look. In the bottom of the well, deep within a cave…on the other side of that horrible sounding workout or undertaking an impossibly tough diet. I believe that we’re all better when employing practices of the ancient Stoics. Stuck in a rut? Find yourself wandering about aimlessly? Seek hardship. Take an extended fast. Be cold. Walk instead of drive. Deprive yourself of a daily luxury and notice the beautiful contrast of life. With a little luck, you’ll be surprised by your ability to turn suffering into achievement.

10. Carry the fire.

During any fitness pursuit, you’re sure to meet trial and tribulation. Temptation awaits at every turn. So too awaits an opportunity to play your particular part as hero or villain. To be sure, sometimes you will take the easy road. Sometimes you will be the bad guy. During those times, you’d do well to remember that it’s (your behavior) not permanent, nor is it definitive. It’s a simple action. Nothing more. You must endure a little burning if you are to give a worthy light. Then, find it much easier to resume living harmoniously, working on something greater. To choose good for goodness sake. Not just to live, but to live for something.

It’s my understanding that philosophers try to see the part in light of the whole. I’m no philosopher. But I’m quick to recognize the value in seeing this moment reflected in the light of the past decade. Boy, what a ride. Like a great book, you’ve taught us so much…and yet, there’s much more to learn. With each reread of our history, we might master ourselves at the margins. We observe flaws in judgement and notice faulty decision-making patterns. We treat ourselves respectfully. We gradually improve – slowly, inching our way to becoming less wrong. Ironic, isn’t it? That very process cuts right to the bone of self-improvement. Learning a touch more about our many different selves. I may be off here, but in its purest form, a genuine practice of self-improvement and personal growth has exceedingly little to do with superficial vanity. Jacques Maritain once wrote that a person achieves self-mastery for the purpose of self-giving. I tend to agree…and I used to bristle at the idea of self-help books.

An old tongue likes to wag.

G-

 

PS:

11. Wear a helmet.

This was the eleventh rule and, while it was a finalist, it didn’t quite make the cut. I’ve not formally written since October’s crash. Without the helmet, there’s a good chance I’d not be here attempting to sketch my own ideas into neat, little pictures. More importantly, without support from you, there’s a zero percent chance my wandering words would land on interested eyes, ears, and minds. That fact is not lost with me. You humor this bumbling, bike-wrecking fool. Thanks for that too! I’m learning to love my life’s version of fate – amor fati. But I need no lesson in loving each of you.

CrossFit at a Crossroads

Eric Roza, new CEO and owner of CrossFit Inc.

 

If you’re familiar with the original ideas behind CrossFit (the idea that we as a business fell in love with), you know about hard work, community, self-improvement, acceptance and all things the like. Charging towards health and wellness via voluntary hardship and sweat equity is the surface level idea. Look one layer deeper and you find themes involving the warm embrace of others, acceptance for who you are, and working collectively at improvement.

Since Greg Glassman’s disgusting misuse of a major platform hit the headlines, themes of community have seemingly been lost by the very man that for so long sat atop the brand. It is painful to observe that the man we once viewed as a revolutionary in the fitness industry has a heart so misaligned from that of the 10ex community. We never considered that the mind of our then hero, now antagonist, might be morally bankrupt. It is a tough pill to swallow.

Fortunately, the monstrous actions of one individual cannot bring the wholistic good of functional fitness to a halt. After a flood of emotion, a great deal of time spent hashing-out corrective action, and a commitment to a true change of course, CrossFit and its affiliates (us) have started rebuilding. Watching developments from afar, we are pleased to see CrossFit’s decision to remove the cancer that is Glassman. We’re also cautiously optimistic with the introduction of new owner and CEO, Eric Rosa. Rosa made his direction clear in his initial statement – “Racism and sexism are abhorrent and will not be tolerated in CrossFit. We open our arms to everyone, and I will be working hard to rebuild bridges with those whose trust we have lost.” As a 10 year CrossFit veteran, Rosa understands how to own and operate affiliates and knows the power that the CrossFit community has in Colorado, the United States, and worldwide.

10 Experience was born from an idea that encompasses a life lived to the fullest…mentally, physically and emotionally. A #10exlife is one grounded in fitness, but rooted much deeper. The 10 Experience is one designed to inspire those within our community to truly live, with or without the CrossFit name. A CrossFit affiliation is not permanent and we are in no position to guarantee that 10 Experience will wear the ‘CrossFit’ badge for life. What we will guarantee is our continual commitment to inspire through fitness. Our foundation rests firmly upon love and acceptance.

2020’s been a bumpy road for us all. Emotionally-charged decisions are tough. May our 10ex actions speak much louder than one “Glass man’s” words and may all of our members understand just how valuable you are. Very.

Thanks for holding the line and continuing to trust us with your fitness through the thick and the thin.

 

-10ex

April ‘s Outlook

Hope Floats and a 10ex Rolodex

What do you get when you combine a roller coaster, a cliffhanger drama, and murder mystery? You get the month of March 2020. And you can begin to encapsulate the last few weeks for planet earth. The emotional spectrum ran full-bore through all of us with a pulse. The times are strange. It’s a frightening time.
To be fair, our first reactions were centered directly on self. How can we maintain economic health throughout these dark days? How much will this affect our business’ future? If this lasts for months, can we even bank on a future? These challenges to our business are more than we’ve ever seen. With candidness, I dare say we’ve all experienced similar and numerous angst-filled, fearful moments.
Luckily, after a bit of silence, some time spent in reflection, and plenty of plain ol’ walking, we began to hear the song of our nature’s better angels. While we’re still wandering through the unknown, that terra incognita, we aren’t alone out here. In fact, ‘alone’ is the last word we ought use to describe this situation. We, all of you reading this, are in this together and together, we’ll  find our way through. It’s in the spirit of community and togetherness that we write.

With excitement, we present our idea to develop and maintain a 10ex Rolodex.


Why?
No matter what Dunkin Donuts says, America runs on small business. Whether you’re a small business owner or employed by a small business, the strain of COVID-19 lies unusually heavy upon your house. The 10ex Rolodex is a way for less-strained community members to offer their support directly to local businesses, restaurants, affected professionals and more. Afterwords, the 10ex Rolodex remains a way to ‘filter’ through all the unnecessary noise. Need to hire a trustworthy ______? Check the 10ex Rolodex. Looking for a medical professional, car insurance, banker, a mortgage, some HVAC repair, handyman, lawn service, etc? Check the ‘dex. We often speak about leverage when needing strength to move heavy loads or lifting weight. Is there a better way to leverage the strength of our own 10ex community? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Who?
Small business owners. Doctors. Restauranteurs. Professionals. Journeymen. Craftsmen. Anyone providing a useful service to others.
When?
ASAP. Ideally this is crowd-sourced (like wikipedia). It will grow and evolve and hopefully be quite useful. Send email to info@10exlife.com. Write a quick sentence or two. Give us your name and explain what it is that you do, you offer, how you can provide support to the community.
What’s the gym’s plan for April?
Almost 10 years ago, we opened our doors with the mission to help others. To move our world one degree to the better…to improve the lives of others through the medium of fitness. ‘Inspiration through fitness.’ – reads our tagline. For us, it’s never been about maximizing profits or making a bunch of money. We believe that to be clear. And while the next few weeks will certainly put us under a strain like never before, we will endure the trial. Over-prepare and under-react, remember?
We will take care of our coaches. We will pay salaries first and bills second. We will continue to serve you, the invaluable members of our gym, in every way we can. Each of you are an important part of our life and we hope your membership, the gym and the community within it remain a shiny, bright spot in yours.
Next week on April 1st, memberships renew. Now, with any luck, the governor’s mandated gym closure ends for good on 4/6. But, in the case that it doesn’t, our plans to provide you with the best 10 Experience possible changes not. Nonetheless, we hope you’re satisfied with your investment in us. However, in the case that the coronavirus craze has any of you in a financial pinch or a position in which you don’t feel comfortable making your usual payment, we will take care of things until you’re on your feet again. We simply ask that you let us know within the next couple of days.
None of us can be certain that things will change for the better soon. But, it is Spring! The weather signals a change. It signals hope. We too are confident, hopeful and moving forward with the same budding spirit. Let us not give up on each other. Let us not give up on our fitness. Instead, together, let’s step boldly towards the future. Like C. Caine wrote, sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted. 
G and J and Steve and Taryn

Donuts + Decision Fatigue: A Secret Success Formula

 

SCENE: A local artisan donut shop buzzing with happy patrons. Sweet and savory smells fill the air accompanied by the grate of freshly roasted coffee beans. It’s a place engineered specifically for the sensations. It’s a foodie’s dream.

Enter: HEALTH-MINDED COUPLE, DONUT SHOP ATTENDEE

DONUT SHOP ATTENDEE: (speaking to newest patrons) Hi! Welcome to our donut shop, home of the city and the state’s most award-winning donut creations. How can I serve you?

HEALTH-MINDED COUPLE: (with stars in their eyes) I think we need a minute to decide. My, what an impressive selection you have. What’s YOUR favorite donut here?

DONUT SHOP ATTENDEE: (grinning) Probably the peach fritter or our salted caramel and whiskey – we’re actually sold out of it. But, the blueberry cream is delicious. So is our pumpkin spice cake…the tiramisu…the Boston Maple bar…toasted coconut…PB&J…(he prattles on)

HEALTH-MINDED COUPLE: Ahhhhhh…so many delicious-sounding choices. I guess I’ll have the peach fritter, says one…and I’ll have the cream cheese and apple pie, the other adds.

DONUT SHOP ATTENDEE: Excellent choices. What else? You can buy half a dozen for the price of 3 donuts today.

HEALTH-MINDED COUPLE: (internally debating about the remaining capacity of their stomachs…having just eaten burgers, fries and more) Errr…well, we were only planning for a single donut each.

DONUT SHOP ATTENDEE: Are you certain? Our donuts are just as tasty tomorrow morning…especially after a long day of travel.

HEALTH-MINDED COUPLE: (rationalizing) Well, we’re already having a donut. What’s the harm in enjoying a few more? And, since you offered….and the deal sounds so great. We’re in!

‘Guilty Remnants’

 

If you believed this story to be hypothetical to help me better illustrate my point, you’d be wrong. While it might not fit the classic “Decision Fatigue” model outlined by Roy Baumeister, it does well at highlighting a more subtle lesson we aimed to bake into the 10ex Back-to-School Challenge cake. Did you notice?

Classically defined decision fatigue occurs when we lose ability to decipher between what is important and what’s not. In other words, the more decisions we force ourselves to make, the more the quality of those decisions deteriorate. And, more fatigue leads to even more irrational trade-offs when making decisions. Car dealerships offer the most obvious place to witness decision fatigue. After the push and pull, after all the negotiation of sales price, and finally after the decision to purchase is made, what happens? Buyers are asked to make handfuls of other ‘bolt-on’ purchase decisions. This warranty, that coverage, this service, that product…how much quicker (less carefully) do buyers rationalize a glut of hundred-dollar decisions after deciding to spending thousands? I dare say, it’s often. The cumulative spend after agreeing upon final vehicle price is often much more than the consumer realizes. But, they rationalize it all away after a ‘win’ at the bargaining table.

Anyway, some of you likely considered the general nature of our 10ex Back-to-School Challenge to be simple – maybe even elementary. No performance metrics? No body measurements? No counting calories or macros? Why nothing complex? Simple. Because we like to see you succeed. And in our view, the success formula looks something like this:

good + good = EXCELLENT

The rules of the game were easy (we’re playing a game, right?). Be sure to train every day – without the added pressure to ‘perform.’ When you eat, eat from a broad list of approved foods. The challenge aimed to leverage success precisely in your favor. By making one very important decision, you made hundreds of other future decisions. Sneaky, eh? The single, important decision was simply to participate. All remaining challenge-based decisions were made for you…and guess what that did? It absolved everyone from the inevitable pits of decision fatigue. The “WHICH SINGLE DONUT DO I EAT?” question never occurred to you (hopefully). Nor did the “Should I exercise today?” doubt.

good exercise habits + good eating habits = EXCELLENT results

The body rewards execution, not ideas. And, while being a fan of ideas, adding complexity (confusion) for its own sake, only shines light on the fool. It cheapens the nature of what works. We believe proper diet and exercise not only yield better health, but often times frees up bandwidth to make us smarter, psychologically braver, more creative, more energetic and much more influential. That’s the kernel of what we’re truly after here. Simplicity is a worthy long-term pursuit that leads to sustainable health…wealth…and relationships. We hope that making the single decision to join us makes a thousand other decisions substantially easier.

 

G- aka a wannabe Donut Boy in TN

 

References:

McKeown, G. (2014). Essentialism the disciplined pursuit of less. New York, NY: Crown Business.
Adams, S. (2013). How to fail at almost everything and still win big. New York, NY: Penguin Group