Friday – June 20th, 2014

Friday – June 27th – Member Recognition Night
Put it in your calendar!!
I have written about Austin Birch before.  He started with me as a Freshman in High School when Mission CrossFit out of our garage. He has overcome some challenging physical limitations.  He just finished his Freshman year of college at TCU.  He had an assignment from his english class which required him to conduct an interview and then write a paper.  I have put the paper on here as today’s motivation.  It is a little lengthy so it is below the Workout of the Day.  
Workout Strategy
Each round consist of 1 minute of max rep cherry pickers or max distance of handstand walks and then 4 minutes of Push Ups / HSPU, single arm kettlebell power clean, and jump rope.  So the entire workout will take 15 minutes.  Pace the push ups but go quickly on the other movements.  The   This workout has very little rest other than short planned breaks for push ups and transition to opposite hands for the kettlebell.  
Workout of the Day
Strength of the Day                                                Day 1, 2, or 3
Level 1:
3 Rounds for distance and total reps.

1 minute of Max Cherry Pickers

4 minute AMRAP of:

10 Push Ups

10/10 One arm Kettlebell Power Clean

30 Jump Rope


Level 2:  
3 Rounds for distance and total reps.

1 minute of Max Inverted Cherry Pickers

4 minute AMRAP of:

10 Pike Push Ups

10/10 One arm Kettlebell Power Clean, 35/18#

30 Jump Rope


Level 3


3 Rounds for distance and total reps.

1 minute of Max distance Handstand Walk

4 minute AMRAP of:

10 HSPU (pads accepted)

10/10 One arm Kettlebell Power Clean, 44/26

30 Double Unders

Level 4: 
3 Rounds for distance and total reps.

1 minute of Max distance Handstand Walk

4 minute AMRAP of:


10/10 One arm Kettlebell Power Clean, 53/35#

30 Double Unders


To Get More Awesome –  Have a good weekend


The Transformative Power of Coaching

The first day that I walked into a Mission Crossfit, during Christmas break of my freshman year of high school, it was nothing but a small garage with some weights and a couple of pull-up bars.  However, working out there for the next three years changed my life.   The work I put in at the gym, not only made me much more confident in my athletic ability, but also much more confident in my abilities in general, as I was able to push myself through many struggles and am now able to achieve things I never thought possible.  I started Crossfit as a guy who could barely muster a single pushup and now I can complete workouts with 50-100 pushups built in.  Stepping into the Mission Crossfit gym on a Thursday morning I got an eerie feeling.  The gym was completely empty except for the owner and me.  This brought me back about four years when I would work out in the owner’s garage with an extremely small group or even just by myself.  However, the days of extremely small class sizes in the garage no longer are plausible at Mission Crossfit, whose membership has grown sizably but whose quality has not diminished.  Every member at the gym has always been, and always will be valued as a person and not just as a paycheck.

The mastermind behind this whole operation is owner/operator Justin Yee.  A child of a military father, Yee was born in Charlottesville, VA and moved around the nation until settling down in Southern California at the age of 10.  Eventually, Yee moved out of California to attend college in Colorado and Utah.  From an early  age, Yee showed an affinity for athletics, playing everything from soccer to lacrosse and even “played in a bowling league”.  He ended up focusing on soccer as his “main sport” and even played club soccer at BYU.  After graduating from college, Yee moved back to California and was immediately employed by the Newport Beach Police Department as a full-time officer, which was the “first and only” department he worked at.   As a police officer, he was able to achieve the significant distinctions of a SWAT operator and Defense Tactics Instructor.  Justin started incorporating Crossfit workouts into his daily routine “as a way to stay in shape for the police department”. After several years of doing Crossfit, Justin started running Crossfit classes out of his garage while still working as a police officer.  However, these typically small classes grew in numbers “through word of mouth” and Yee eventually had to move from the garage to a much larger space.  While the growth of his business was taking place, Justin permanently left the Police Department and devoted all of his time and effort into his gym.

Justin started his extensive coaching career as a teenager in his father’s martial arts studio, helping out coach some of the younger kids.  This was the start of Justin’s coaching/ teaching career, which has “always been a part of what I (he) did”.  A coach at heart, Yee volunteered as a coach for youth soccer teams as well as BYU summer soccer camps while still in college.  After moving back to California, Yee started coaching the El Toro High School Girls Soccer team with his wife Sarah and had great success.  Once his Crossfit gym started to become popular, Yee and his wife stepped down as the coaches of the El Toro soccer team and focused on their business and their family.  However, this event does not mark the end of Yee’s coaching career.

To this day, he continues to coach many of the Crossfit classes that take place in his own gym and loves working with people.  When asked what his favorite part about coaching is, he responded without missing a beat that it is “helping people reach their goals ” and “working with them and getting them to where they want to be”.  In terms of how Yee coaches, he says when working with people he makes sure to “keep their long term goals in mind, but also make(s) sure they accomplish short term goals.”  He also added, “that the particular person you’re working with is the most important person in the world to you at that moment”.  This sentiment fits in with the “supportive family” environment that Yee says his gym possesses.   Justin said that the way he fosters the supportive environment he has in his gym is to “ get to know everybody personally” and to actually care about how each member is doing.  He says it’s important to “actually care about how your members are doing”, instead of just asking as a formality.

According to Yee his career as a Crossfit coach started by “chance, as a way to stay in shape for the police department”.  The high intensity and functional nature of Crossfit workouts allowed Justin to maximize his time and the effectiveness of his workouts.  After dabbling in Crossfit for a couple of years, he and his wife started to implement several of the training methods commonly used in Crossfit with their soccer team and saw incredible results.  The girls on their team became much stronger and much more confident in their athletic ability while on the soccer field.  Eventually, the Yee’s transformed their garage into a Crossfit gym for the two of them to work out in and a couple of people in the neighborhood saw Justin working out and wanted to join.  Eventually, a couple people grew to several people by word of mouth, and really never ceased to grow until his garage could no longer support the number of people that were regularly working out with him.  So, he just decided to “go for it” and started his own business.  However, he wasn’t completely in the dark in terms of running his own business as he had some experience dealing with his father’s martial arts business.  Although he is enjoying great success at Mission Crossfit, Justin has dreams of eventually opening new locations and expanding his business with his current trainers managing those new locations.

One of the many challenges Yee says he often encounters when working with people in the gym and in athletics in general is getting individuals to surpass whatever mental barriers they have set for themselves or that society and the media have set for them.  Yee went on and on about how the fashion industry and the media cause women to strive for an image that is not even realistic and is created by image altering devices, such as Photoshop.  This infatuation with the “perfect” image really takes a hold of women in the gym.  According to Yee, when asked to lift weights, women fail to push themselves because they generally fear that they will “become a man or become bulky”.  However, he explained that this is simply not true and that women “don’t have the hormones to get bulky”.  Unfortunately, many women struggle to get passed their warped sense of what it means to be a woman and what the “ideal” woman looks like.  In order to try and get many of the women in the gym through these barriers, Justin says that he shows these women examples of other women who are lifting a lot of weight and still are not bulky.  In general, Yee says that he is trying to get his clients over the “image portion” of fitness and more focused on how they are feeling and what they are able to accomplish that they have never been able to accomplish previously

However, these self-image issues aren’t only limited to the women, but even affect the men just as much, if not more.  Yee surprised me when he stated that, “a majority of our guys that quit, quit because they feel inadequate”.  He says that there are many men who struggle with being outperformed by a women or even another male.  Yee explains that most males are incorrectly educated by society and the media on what it truly means to be a man, and generally have a “ lack of understanding that it is ok to fail and ok not to be the best”.   In order to keep his male members from getting discouraged or from getting too wrapped up in their self image, Yee has implemented an unofficial “shirts-on” policy and reminds his clients that “what matters is if they are improving and if they feel better” and not how they look.  This “shirts-on” policy keeps the family environment of the gym intact while keeping people focused on getting better and not on how they look.

Another myth that Justin tries to bust in his customer’s minds is that of you can get the “perfect body in 30 days”.  Yee strongly believes that “this notion of getting the body you want in 30 days is not possible”.  Even if an individual is able to achieve the desired body in a short period of time, Yee explains, they will still have to work to maintain that body.  So in short, there is no short cut to becoming fit.  Yee shared his motto that “We want to keep people fit forever”.  In order to accomplish this goal, he tries to change the way his clients think about fitness and about success.  He attempts to challenge his clients to think about what success really means and to keep their goals in mind and not let the media and society get in the way of achieving those goals.  Yee explained that exercise has a direct link to mental health and causes people to feel better mentally and physically.  Justin shared with me the story of a current member at Mission Crossfit, who only has one leg.  He is an inspiration to everyone in the gym, including Justin, and provides a perfect example of what it means to workout in order to be “fit for life” and not just to achieve a perfect, unrealistic image.

Now, with nearly 200 full-time members in regular attendance, Justin employs 3 coaches to assist him, but still makes a point to coach and get to know his clients on a personal level in order to help them achieve their goals.  Yee says that he doesn’t generate as much revenue as he possibly could and that he “could be doing a lot more business wise, but it would be at the sacrifice of spending time with people”. He has come to the realization that success isn’t measured by money but rather in making people’s lives better and fostering healthy, supportive relationships.

Don’t Stop Here

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