Monthly Archives: June 2013

Life WOD

I find myself starting to get more disciplined in life generally, ever since I started CrossFit. Before that, I was only disciplined in my training. I had the discipline to stay on track to meet my fitness goals but I didn’t have the same discipline when it came to the other aspects of my life.

I scratched my head really hard as to how to translate the discipline I had for my training to the other aspects of my life till I started CrossFit. You may wonder how CrossFit helps one to translate discipline to other parts of one’s life. It’s simple. Because there are various skills in CrossFit, it really takes the discipline to have patience while training to master all of them. It’s the same in life. You have so many things going on at once, you will need the discipline to stay focus to deal with all of them.

Everything fell in to place when I watched this video on Lucas Parker, a veteran CrossFit Games competitor. In it, he talked about using the the principles of a WOD in CrossFit and applying it in to his daily life. 

When Parker said that he believed in putting “your whole life into a state of training”, I realised I found the final piece to my puzzle. I decided to follow his advice and try to find the structure and purpose in everything I do, aside from my training.

So I started writing everything down (usually while nursing a cup of cappuccino in a quiet cafe). Here are a few examples:

  1. What I wanted to achieve in training, my goals and what I needed to improve.
  2. My approach to my work in my career. When I made a few mistake and realised I had to tweak some things, I sat down and wrote down what I had to change.
  3. When I went back to army for my reservist, I wrote down my approach to the 5 days in camp. Which is doing everything I didn’t do in active service. I’m not proud to admit that I was very slack then. Still, I was surprised to be awarded a Letter of Commendation for outstanding performance during the 5 days.
  4. My savings. I’m a spendthrift and I don’t have much savings to speak of. But when I started working full-time, I realised I had to change my spending habits. I open another savings account, sat down and ponder how much I had to save each month (with a solo trip in mind), and how much I had to give my parents etc.

The list is not exhaustive and I will still make changes from time to time. I’m not a life guru and I don’t have the answers to everything in life. Strange as it sounds, I quietly rejoice every time I make a mistake because it’s an opportunity for me to learn. So go on, make your life a WOD and reap the rewards of your discipline.

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Stop letting your fingers do the talking

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Chris giving out masks to a resident of a block we decided to give out masks to

Singapore has been shrouded by haze the past week, with the Pollution Standard Index (PSI), hitting above 400. Any number above 300 is considered “hazardous”.

Understandably, many people are very unhappy that the Government is not doing enough to protect Singaporeans. While I understand where they are coming from, complaining online every single hour is not going to change anything. Why not go out and help those in need and suffering in this weather conditions?

My coach decided to close the box and cancel training as the haze situation worsened. As dedicated CrossFitters, all of us were very eager to train. But we understood and respected his decisions. So we allowed ourselves to be depressed for awhile before deciding we had to do something about this haze.

Why did we decide to take action? Firstly, we have scumbags going around, stocking up on masks and then reselling them to those who were in desperate need of them at a higher price. Secondly, there was a shortage of masks because  of panic buying.

We drew inspiration from one of our members, Ford. This guy has no salary even though he’s a sponsored athlete because it’s not a paid sponsorship. But he was so “disturbed” by the sight of the some elderly folks not wearing masks because they couldn’t afford it, that he went to the nearest clinic to try his luck to buy masks. The clinic happened to have a few boxes lying around and he bought all of it. The next day, he went around Chinatown giving away the masks for free. Remember, this guy doesn’t draw a salary.

It’s stories like Ford that made me decide that the time had come for me to contribute. So when my Coach set up a “free masks giveaway taskforce”, I immediately signed up for it.

Met up with another member, Chris and Ford on Saturday night at Funan before we walked down to Chinatown. On the way, we gave away the masks we were carrying to the public and went door to door in some residential building. Even though we received suspicious looks because some people found it hard to believe that we were giving masks away for free and there were a few greedy ones, I really enjoyed myself.

Here are a few things which I noticed while making my rounds:

  • Foreigners. We went up a block thinking that it will be filled with elderly folks. But instead, most of the occupants were foreigners who were renting the flats. We still gave out the masks to them, but what left a deep impression on me was the reactions from those who were from China. As you know by now, relations between the Singaporeans and the Chinese from China have been strained because of many incidents. So when we approached them, they were suspicious and tried to walk away. But when we explained what we were doing, they had a look of surprise and gratitude on their faces. I truly hope that through this mask-giving, in a way, we have extended our “warmest welcome” to them
  • Singaporeans are suspicious of free things even though they want it so much.
  • Quite a number of people that I gave out the masks to wanted to know which church, organisation or government agency I belonged to. I replied that we were doing this on our own effort. I didn’t see a need to mention that we were from CrossFit Fire City because it’s not our gym that defines what we what we do. It’s our values and our beliefs.

I really hope those who are whining and complaining online will come offline and help the people in need. Nothing beats seeing heartfelt gratitude and relief from those you help.

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Going Paleo and stepping out of comfort zones

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It’s not often you find yourself surrounded by people who are outside of their comfort zones. But in CrossFit, nearly everyone is doing just that. They are here because they have taken that leap of faith.

You see them struggling, but it doesn’t matter. Because it takes courage and a lot of heart to do what they are doing. So when I see people like Ford and Farhan who are runners, struggling with the heavy weights during weightlifting, I don’t secretly laugh at them. Instead, I quietly cheer them on during the movement and encouraging them to pick the barbell up again when their hands are on their knees.

I feel so proud and blessed to see them suffering with me, so much so that I want to “suffer” with them too. So I’m in talks with Ford to run/train with him. Yes, I detest running and I suck at running. But I know that these guys will be cheering me on instead of laughing at me because this is what CrossFit does to you. You cheer for the champion and for the last guy who finishes. You don’t laugh at them. Ever. You don’t see that in other sports.

Seeing others stepping out of their comfort zone has also inspired me to step of my own comfort zone when it comes to food. I’m eating clean and making some Paleo meals at the moment, but I love my grains and dairy, so it’s a little hard for me to go fully Paleo. However, from this week onwards, my meals will be 80% Paleo. Hopefully this will ease my transition in to going fully Paleo.

Taking that leap of faith isn’t always going to be easy, but when you are surrounded by people who are doing it everyday, you just can’t help but feel inspired.

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CrossFit with a cause

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Since our offices are so near each other, Joshua and I decided to meet for lunch today. We really hit it off because we are similar in many ways. We both do CrossFit, we work in the digital world and are brothers in Christ.

Even though Joshua does CrossFit, he doesn’t have a box to train in. Instead, he and a group of friends train out of the Singapore Weightlifting Federation (SWF). They call themselves Mobilus. As the founder of the group and a Level 1 certified trainer, he does the programming of the WOD around the equipment that SWF has. It isn’t easy for them, but they are tightly knit bunch. As you already know, this is the magic of CrossFit. It brings strangers from all walks of life together.

I asked Joshua what’s stopping him from starting up a box. He explained that they are happy where they are right now and starting a box is not their priority at the moment. Instead, the immediate priority that Joshua and the rest of the group have at the moment is, “Humanitarian Fitness”, which is also Mobilus’ motto.

The group has started a  “Mission Of The Month (MOM)” project, where they come together to WOD and raise funds for humanitarian projects. This month, they are raising funds for a much needed water purification tank for the seaside Sri Lankan village of Mullaitivu.

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I’m really impressed with the vision Joshua has for Mobilus and CrossFit in general. This is proof that anyone can reproduce the workouts CrossFit has, but no one can reproduce the community that CrossFit produces. Also, as a fellow brother in Christ, this reminds me of the mission trips that I go on. As Jesus said, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. What a way for Joshua to do God’s work and spread his love for CrossFit at the same time.

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Deloading week and a change of plans

After going hard in training for the past month like a bear, I feel that it’s time I take a week off from training to deload. What is a deload, you may ask.

Well, a deload week is simply a week spent recovering from exercise or hard training. Because consistent training event builds a deficit that cannot be repaid in a single rest day, a deload week is a chance for your body to recover from that deficit. I also feel it helps to prevent burnt out from training and for me, CrossFit. As much as I love the sport deeply, I do not want to have an overkill of it.

So this coming week, will be a week where I do active recovery, mobility work and some actual rest. I know I have a powerlifting  meet coming up in July (my friends and my coach are more anxious for me than I am) and I should be training hard for it.

I understand that some people have question my decision to try CrossFit in the middle of training for a meet. However, when I signed up for it, it was never my intention to go out there and “destroy the competition”. This is my first meet, so my goal is not to heap pressure on myself and my objective is to soak in the atmosphere and learn from the veterans. Yes, my numbers will nowhere be as impressive as the ones that the veterans put up, but I have been lifting for years and I won’t lose my strength just because I decided to train in CrossFit.

As I always say, for me, fitness is a learning journey. So it will be interesting to see how CrossFit helps in my powerlifting. You learn new things when you step out of your comfort zone, as what Jason Khalipa found out.

Talking about comfort zones, there will be no more of this:

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This will be my last week of internship in Vocanic. It ends a month early because Tribal DDB offered me a job and I took up their offer. Even though I was offered a chance to stay in Vocanic, I turned it down because I was getting too comfortable and I didn’t like it. I always like a challenge and to me, opportunities to work in a big agency like DDB don’t come knocking on your door every day. Vocanic is a great agency and I have learned and grew a lot from working there for the past 3 months. I will definitely miss the friendships I have made. I actually enjoy getting coffee everyday (because it’s The Plain), so the picture above is not a complaint.

It was my plan to go back to studying after my internship ended. But when DDB came knocking, I asked God for his directions. Since I sensed that this was the direction that He wanted me to take, my plans to go back to school will be put on hold for now. Maybe this is  also the chance for me to finally start saving up some moolah and achieve my goal of heading over to Australia to study.

In His time!

And…for those who have been eager to try out CrossFit, here’s your chance! Mention “Medium Shawn” and get $5 off! Hurry!

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