I am an extremely proud, and an extraordinarily happy Coach. Today Carissa Tripi ran her own marathon – an event or “WOD” if you will that even I was hesitant to support. That being said, in our first two weeks working together, she changed my mind. Carissa was able to bounce back from a rough injury, make gains, and forced me to realize that she is capable of absolutely any endeavor she wants to be a part of. Over the course of the last three months, her and I have worked together toward her goal of running a marathon. Carissa took care of the majority of the work, leaving only the truly “hard” part for me, getting her food intake up, somehow breaking her down so much so she actually sleeps, and forcing her to STOP working hard for a week to taper off. She’ll be able to tell you guys how much fun she had with all of those things.
Today we woke up early, warmed up, and she took off. Four hours and seven minutes later, she ran into CFB with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing on an athlete’s face.
I write this because, as most of you know, getting a smile out of Carissa will usually take the jaws of life. Her accomplishments in the gym alone these past three months are unbelievable, most of which none of you will know (yet).
This is me as a coach, and as a friend, extending my thanks, and pride towards a great athlete and recognizing all of the hard work she has put in. She will soon be the 8th woman in the gym to get a muscle up (At least I think she would be 8th, and yes that is a challenge to the rest of you ladies) and after HOPEFULLY TAKING A BIT OF TIME OFF (Cough, Cough, DO IT Carissa!) will begin training for her first ultra marathon. Yes that is 50+ miles, and yes, she is a little nuts. The rest of us will stick to “Murph” once a year and call it a day. Keep it up Carissa; you’re making your CFB family very proud.
Not long ago we added personal training to the services offered here at CrossFit Buffalo. We as coaches were unsure of how it would be perceived. The cornerstone of CrossFits fan base, aside from the community one derives from our environment, has always been the default level of attention you get when you are in a class here or at any CrossFit. However, with a growing client base that came along with drastically different strengths, weaknesses, and goals, the days of simple “universal scalability” in some cases started seeming inadequate. So we decided to go for it and as we expected there was not an overwhelming response but there were a few takers. Carissa Trippi was one of them. Carissa has been working with Danny since we started offering the service. I recently asked her if she would right a few words about her experience with him. She gave me this a few days ago and it was so much more than I, and especially Danny, expected.
I’m an engineer. I fix broken things. Some end up better than others but they all begin the same way – inevitably, the first thing I do when I approach broken stuff is almost always the same – I turn it off and turn it back on. Reset.
I don’t know about the human body. To me it’s all just component parts of murky systems I don’t understand, groups of muscles and nerves and jiggly bits that occasionally do what I ask of them. The coaches at CrossFit understand on a much different level, they know why the body works the way it does and how to make it work the way they want it to, they have books, I’ve seen them. They say stuff, shout strings of words during the WODs-
” …hollow core, midline stability, neutral head position…chest up, weight on your heels, stay tight…”
I had an injury a few months ago, it came complete with vague recovery instructions that lead to constant googling, misinformation and uncertainty (‘can I run? is this okay to lift? can I do this? what about that?’). Frustrated by something that had failed that I couldn’t figure out or fix, I did the only thing I could think of – I went to CrossFit.
“No problem,” they said. “Do some one-on-ones with Danny.”
Danny is smart, he has letters after his last name and he knows all those things about the jiggly bits that I don’t, what you can do and what you can’t, how to get in between those two points. He came up with a plan and that was more than I had had just 24 hours earlier. It began with how to make the basics better, lunges and push-ups and presses, things I thought I knew until he showed me how to make each one stricter, stronger. Turns out I was sloppy, he was honest, his honesty made me more honest with myself and I got less sloppy fast. I had questions, here and there, he had explanations (“Science!” he said), I got better. Two weeks of one-on-ones and I was cleared to go back to the regular WOD classes and after just one, I knew something had changed, had improved. The words weren’t just background noise anymore, they were triggers for functional movements, I strung together my first two band-free kipping pull-ups the week after I was cleared.
I had never really considered personal coaching until then, but I kept coming back to Danny because I got hooked on improvement, on being better. Two months out from getting hurt and a half dozen one-on-one sessions in and he coached me through running my first ever sub-8min/mile. It only got better. Bigger box jumps? Yes, he could show me what to do to get them higher. Snatches? Sure, I started to learn those from him too. And he didn’t laugh when I recently began making statements that included words like ‘muscle-up’ and ‘I want to do’. Instead, he helped me make a new plan and at some point, it dawned on me that a big part of ‘better’ was a bit of extra time each week and a coach like him. It’s been three months since I was fortunate enough to get hurt and have my first one-on-one with Danny; I now have a plan for each of my scribbles on the goals board and my name on the record board for Murph.
I asked him about it once, about getting better, he explained it like this –
“Reset,” he said. “Sometimes something shuts you down. It pushes your reset button. Reset, you get to correct bad habits, make things better. Don’t look at it as a setback, look at as an opportunity.”
I don’t think you need an injury or a lofty athletic ambition to justify a one-on-one session … you just have to want to be better. Like I said, I’m an engineer. I like data points, justifications, evidence of cause and effect. Danny has knowledge, skill and patience. The proof is in the improvement – I’m better than I was before I worked with him. So try it, you’ll like it. Broken things or a fresh start or even just little goals that add up fast when someone who knows what they’re doing coaches you, the parts are different and the fixes are different but I think maybe it all begins the same way – turn it off and turn it back on. Reset.