Why We Compete from Dr. Allison, alternate Novato Schedule for Mon, Tues and Wed and TJ’s Gym WOD for Mon. Feb 11th

feb15Levin and Lambo getting ready #Team CM

If you haven’t yet registered for the CrossFit Open, do it now!  You won’t regret it!

Just in time for the Open, the good Dr. recently wrote a little ditty about why we compete, especially as we age.  There’s some solid inspiration from one of our own TJ’s families, The Bihns.






Inner Strength and the Masters Competitor
By Dr. Allison Belger
Licensed Psychologist and Owner of TJ’s Gyms
You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.” Unknown Author
You don’t compete to win. You compete to do better than you do in the gym.”
CJ Martin

The first quotation was posted recently on our TJ’s Gym discussion board by Sherri, one of our members, the day after the NorCal Masters competition we hosted in Richmond, California. Sherri had volunteered for hours at the event, all the while cheering on, and being inspired by, the participating athletes who ranged in age from forty to seventy-something.

Later that night, while Sherri was talking with her husband, Bill, he mentioned one of his favorite quotes:

You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.”

Bill has been battling Multiple Myeloma (an insidious bone cancer) for two years now. It has taken him away from his young children and wife, forcing him into treatment centers in the Midwest for months at a time. It has stolen his hair, his marrow, his wellness. But it hasn’t captured his spirit. Indeed, it seems he is stronger of spirit now than during his life before cancer.

The second quotation is by CJ Martin, owner of CrossFit Invictus, who is always trying to get his athletes to enjoy their training and to repeatedly and honestly evaluate if that training is predominately enjoyable and rewarding, or if it is distracting and draining. For CJ, competitions are a chance to push ourselves beyond what we do inside our own gyms, and to test the limits of our tolerance–both physical and mental–during the heat of the battle. Win or lose relative to our fellow athletes, we have won if we have pushed beyond our perceived limits and proven to ourselves that we have far more in us than we can demonstrate in the forum of a non-competitive training day.

So what do these two quotations have to do with each other? Maybe nothing. But when I finally sat down to write an article about the Masters athlete population, these two quotations came to mind. I’m a psychologist who believes in the unconscious mind. I believe that when ideas surface in our minds in tandem, there is usually some meaningful connection between them, especially when two seemingly unrelated bits of content emerge almost simultaneously at the start of a single endeavor.

My unraveling of the mysterious connection is this: Bill is now fifty and has two children. He has quite a bit of life experience behind him. But he’d never been tested or forced to dig down deep and see what he’s made of until he suffered the effects of cancer and its treatment at age forty-eight. One might say that Bill’s daily “training” (carrying on in his job, his relationships, his self-care) pre-illness was just fine, maybe even stellar. But it wasn’t until the competition with cancer that Bill was forced to see if he could do better, fight harder, be stronger.

Somewhere in our psyches, we all possess some level of concern or fear about how we might hold up if the going were to get really tough. I don’t mean thirty-reps-of-clean-and-jerks-for-time kind of tough or a 5k-run-with-a-sandbag kind of tough. I mean hair-falling-out-life-being-sucked-out-of-you-while-your-kids-cry kind of tough. Or worse still, the kind of tough it would take to watch your kid go through cancer. As we age and experience the decline of our youth and the realities of getting older, these fears tend to intensify. Signs of our own mortality mix with the fact that we become less sheltered from “bad” happenings in the world and are more in touch with the potential for things to go wrong.

So perhaps for the competitive Masters athlete, a significant portion of our competitive drive comes from a desire to prove to ourselves that if the shit really hits the fan in our lives, we will do better and have more in the tank than we did before. We will fight harder, tolerate more, and access parts of ourselves that have never been tested or revealed before. Our hope is that, like Bill, we will be STRONGER, because strong is the only choice we have.

**Novato schedule change for next week due to the Outlaw Training Camp!

Next Monday Feb. 11th the 6pm class will be switched to 8pm.  Next Tuesday, Feb. 12th  the 9:15am class will be held at the Downtown Novato Rec Center at 950 Seventh St on the outdoor turf field.  The Wednesday 8:30 and 9:45am class will be combined at 9:15am and held at the Rec Center as well.  On Tuesday and Wednesday all Novato clients will be given all access to the other three Southern Marin locations.  All Open Gym times will be cancelled for next Tuesday and Wednesday in Novato as well.  Please email gilly@tjsgym.com with any questions.


All Levels
A. Back Squat; 30X1; 3-5; 4 sets; rest 2mins
B1. OHS; 8 reps (technique over load today); rest 60sec; 3 sets
B2. Strict Pronated Pull Up; 3-5 reps; rest 90sec; 3sets

3 Rounds for Time
500m Row/30/24 Cals Airdyne
12 DB Thrusters
15 Box Jumps

A. Back Squat; 30X1; 3-5; 4 sets; rest 2mins
B1. OHS; 10 reps from the floor; rest 20sec; 3 sets
B2. 60sec AMRAP C2B Kipping; rest 90sec; 3sets

3 Rounds for Time
30 Cals Airdyne
15 Thusters (barbell) 95/65
15 Box Jumps (30/24)

A. Deadlifting – 5-5-5-5
A2. Press – 5-5-5-5
B1. KBS Practice
B2. DB Push Press Practice
For Reps
:30sec – DB Push Press
:15sec – Rest
:30sec – KBS
:15sec – Rest
:30sec – Airdyne
1min – Rest


Team Event 4 from the 2012 Regionals. (Watch Video) Team workout.  If fewer than 4, modify reps. Use whatever weights are agreed upon with team.  Perform whichever style of pullups are most comfortable.  Bars may not be dropped.  If there is fear of dropping use the outside area.

For time:
75 Back squats (95 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder-to-overhead (95 lbs)
75 Front squats (65 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder-to-overhead (65 lbs)
75 Overhead squats (45 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder-to-overhead (45 lbs)
75 Back squats (135 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder-to-overhead (135 lbs)
75 Front squats (85 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder-to-overhead (85 lbs)
75 Overhead squats (65 lbs)
50 Pull-ups
25 Shoulder to overhead (65 lbs)

Which teams dare to take this on!

Out of Town WOD

3 Rounds for Time
400m Run
15 Burpees
15 Box Jumps (30/24)

Mobility WOD

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 7.38.42 PM


About tjsgym

Owner of TJ's Gym
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2 Responses to Why We Compete from Dr. Allison, alternate Novato Schedule for Mon, Tues and Wed and TJ’s Gym WOD for Mon. Feb 11th

  1. Bill Bihn says:

    Thanks Allison,

    What a beautiful message! There is something very unique and innate in not our family, but everyone (esp at TJ’s!), and that is the ability and freedom to choose, to make our lives what we decide we want them to be. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, it doesn’t mean we don’t have hard days when we feel like we just can’t do it anymore, it means that we have the strength inside of us to choose, to decide that we’re going to get off the mat, we’re going honor and make the best of all the gifts we have, appreciate the moment. Whether it’s in the gym, in competition, or one of those “damn it, I just lost my hair again” days, we all have that God given ability to give it our best, no matter the circumstances. And that’s what counts, simply giving it our best.

    The article you wrote is quite touching and humbling (and I had to ask myself “Is there another Bill Bihn I don’t know about?!?!?), but if what we are going through as a family helps people realize and see the strength in themselves, stuff they maybe didn’t realize they had, well then that is our gift to them!!!

    I can’t wait for the day you’re screaming at me “ten more double-unders!!!”

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