Goals. What are you capable of?

On Monday, September 22, The Fort CrossFit kicks off its first ever Goal Setting & Achievement Challenge. If you’ve read my blog you might have notice past posts about Paleo Challenges. There was a time in my career that I advocated for this type of challenge. I saw people achieve great results. Individual who desired to feel better and lose weight were usually the ones who benefited most from such challenges. However, I always had some hang-ups about paleo challenges, but chose not to voice my opinions for a while.



In my years of studying nutrition and helping people make changes in their diets and lifestyles I realized that the one-size-fits-all format of a traditional paleo challenge is not the best way to do things. Sure, these kinds of challenges push (force?) people to make better choices, but I’m not sure people being pushed into those choices is the best way to go about things. If someone has to be pushed it means that she or he is resistant to begin with, which means that she or he might not actually be ready to make changes. When the challenge ends, this type of person does a 180 and all the progress goes away.

I have also noticed that people begin feeling guilty or like they have failed if they begin to eat things that are not “paleo”. Although not all foods are created equal and there are some products out there that I would not even consider food, we should not feel guilty for eating; for satisfying our primal need to survive. I mean, yes, if we free fall into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night there could be an issue, but indulging on occasion should not be cause for alarm and should not conjure feelings of decreased self-worth. And while I wholeheartedly believe that eating quality, clean, fresh foods should be the hallmark of our diets, a completely strict paleo-approach may not be the best fit for everyone. There are many factors that play into a person’s dietary needs and therefore what each person eats on a daily basis is highly variable.

There had to be a better way to get the same feel of a challenge; something that brings the community together but also gives people the chance to commit to something that maybe they have thought about without quite knowing where to start. I also wanted to make something that would be more individualized and give people a chance to be educated and learn about themselves. Hence the Goal Setting & Achievement Challenge. Believe me, I tried to think of a better, more engaging name, but I had to keep it simple and just roll with it. If you have a better idea for a name, let me know for next year!

A nice meal out. Bunless burger, with bacon and some cheese. Fries and ketchup! And...a margarita. Yum.

A nice meal out. Bunless burger, with bacon and some cheese. Fries and ketchup! Yum.

So the Goal Challenge was set in motion. I am psyched that we have so much participation throughout the gym. Members have done a fantastic job of thinking through their goals and consulting with coaches to make up plans to achieve those goals. There is still time to think through goals. Even if you don’t have things set in stone you can still participate! If you are participating in the challenge – and even if you’re not – here at some things to keep in mind:

  • Write it down! Write something down every day that has to do with your goals. Write down all the steps that you are planning to take on that day to help you move closer to achieving those goals.
  • It’s a journey. Goals take time. Even Phase 1, which is 6 weeks in duration, is a very short period of time. Make sure you are thinking realistically about your goals and what you can accomplish in a given amount of time.
  • Get by with a little help from your friends. Request the help of family and friends. Inform them of what you are trying to achieve. Ask for their support, but be specific in telling them how they can help you. Other people cannot read your mind.
  • Challenge yourself. This is a challenge for a reason. Your goals should stretch you a little bit and make you feel uncomfortable. They should be realistic and eventually you should be able to achieve them, but the process should cost something. What will you sacrifice to reach your goals?
  • You are resilient. If for some reason you have a misstep during the challenge know that you can get back up and turn it around. Know that you are strong enough to get back up when you fall down. When you wake up tomorrow it is a new day and a completely new opportunity to be positive and forge ahead.
A nice meal IN. Fish tacos.

A nice meal IN. Fish tacos.

On a personal level, I have never actually set a goal and achieved it. Crazy, I know. At one point in college I had gained about 10 extra pounds that I really didn’t need to be carrying around, so I went on a mission to lose that weight and I did. That was about the only time that I was close to setting and achieving a goal. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I set goals every day. Each day I plan what time I will get my training in and I stick to that plan by working out at the time I choose. I also plan meals for the week and cook them on days when I have a couple hours of free time. Although these are tiny things in the scheme of life, they all play in to keeping me healthy…which is the greatest goal of all. During this challenge I am truly looking forward to putting my mind to something, putting in the work, and achieving something that I really want to do. And I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…

Support is a key to achieving goals.

Support is a key to achieving goals.

Rely on those you are closest to.

Rely on those you are closest to.

TFCF April Accomplishments

The accomplishment board at The Fort has never been as full as it was in April. It was so awesome to witness so many personal records being set; everyone is getting so much stronger! We finished a successful front squat cycle and I think it’s safe to say that everyone became much more comfortable and confident with this lift. Just think of how much your clean will improve! Strength is where it’s at, people. Keep walking through the door and working hard. Congratulations on these accomplishments. Best of luck in May.


Working on hollow position

Char – Front squat 155, back squat 165, 2 strict pull-ups
FJ – 260 jerk, 205 bench, 315 front squat
Melissa F. – 110 split jerk, 150 front squat
Dan – 325 back squat, 235 jerk, 275 bench, 175 snatch
Omar – 225 front squat, 255 back squat
Jenny – 165 C&J
Larisa – Front squat 100
CP – front squat 275
Audrey – 50 unbroken double-unders in a WOD
Kyle – 210 snatch
Carl – 245 jerk, 175 snatch
Tee – Front squat 100 for 3 reps, 1RM front squat 110
Greg – front squat 200
Jay G – Front squat 3RM 165, 1RM 180
Jigsy – Front squat 210
JP – Front squat 305, CJ 250, Snatch 175, Power clean 255, Back Squat 325
Sue G – Front squat 105
Paul – Front squat 1RM 305, 300×3, Clean 230, Back squat 345
Brian D – Front squat 215, First Place Novice Men at Festivus Games
Chris S – Front squat 220
Jim – front squat 215
Carol D – Front sqiat 103
Big Philly – 135 split jerk
Joe B – 235 front squat
Melissa T – front squat 150
Jay W – front squat 205
Josh – front squat 205
Tanya – Front squat 205, 24″ box jump, back squat 240
KT – snatch 130, front squat 175×3
Stacey – front squat 138
DP – Front squat 150, snatch 105
Matt – Clean 315
Nels – front squat 275, CJ 195
Eileen – front squat 140, back squat 165
Dianne – front squat 93
Tim M – Snatch 140
JD – Front squat 245
Liz – front squat 149
Deanna – back squat 160

There were one or two names that got erased from the board accidentally, so I did my best to interpret who the PRs belonged to. If I missed you I apologize. Post your PRs in the comments or on Facebook.


The Fort CrossFit’s Member of the Month. Charlene Rochefort, my Mom.

April has been a month of highs and lows. I think that’s just how life is most of the time. I wrote a blog post about change a few weeks ago, and got a lot of positive feedback about it. Most people admitted that change is something they struggle with regularly. I think that being able to spin change that occurs in our life in a positive direction is very important. It’s sometimes difficult to not view change from a victim point of view; as in “why has this happened to me?”

In my life, my mother has been the person that has taught me the greatest lessons about dealing with change and adversity. She helped me see that viewing change negatively will not do anyone any good, and she has helped me to value change as an important learning tool for living. My mom has also been steadfast in assuring me that making decisions is important and staying true to your decisions while moving forward in a positive direction is how we change and grow. It’s not always easy, but it works. 

My brother, Kyle, and I have had the pleasure of working with both of our parents for the last few years as they each began their CrossFit journey. They supported Kyle when he began working out with people in our basement, and gave him the courage to rent his first garage space back in 2011. Our mother’s transformation has been amazing. I always remember her being a role model for me when it came to eating  healthy foods and living an active life. As I got older I began to pick up on the adulthood struggle with weight. My mom always called it a “constant battle”. I always wondered why it was so hard and if I would have to face it myself at some point. After 3 years of consistently working out and eating a healthy, whole-foods diet without grains and refined sugar Mom has won that battle. She is one of the most dedicated members, she listens, takes time to work on weaknesses, and participates in the wonderful community of TFCF. We often joke the she is aging backwards, or “getting younger with age”, like the movie character, Benjamin Button. 

I am so thrilled to recognize Charlene, known around the gym as Char, as The Fort’s April Member of the Month. Congrats, Mom, you deserve it. Please read about Char’s journey, in her own words, below.



Char Summer 2013


Char Summer 2010

First off, thank you for this recognition; this is something that I never EVER considered for myself.  I actually cried when I read the email from Ashley and then I thought……they must be joking with me!  Ash assured me that it was not a joke and that I should write about the journey. 

So here goes…….My journey has been in the works for about three years.  I started with the sole purpose of being able to converse with my kids in this new language…..burpees, paleo, WODs, AMRAPs, DUs… In the beginning, Kyle had the pleasure of meeting me in the basement at 5AM and taking me through the movements. This has probably been his biggest lesson in patience so far!  Let me be clear, I have never played a sport, I’m not competitive and not quick to grasp movement cues.  So time has passed and I have plugged along consistently doing banded pull-ups, and modified movements.  Little by little, the bands have gotten thinner and the modifications have become less.  I’ve practiced the hell out of double-unders (DUs) and now can do 20-25 unbroken pretty consistently. I’ve done the same with pushups and have that skill now too. Consistent practice is my key to learning.  I really love the EMOMs and lifting cycles  because the repetition helps me GET IT.  I was able to hit a front squat PR of 155 this week and was thrilled! (Thanks Ash for the magic shoes!)  I also was able to do 2 deadhang pullups …….those were a LONG time coming!  I struggle with overhead movements and wall balls but little by little, as my mobility, strength and coordination improve, I make some progress.

The paleo journey has a similar timeline and has been the other key to changing my body composition and improving my overall health.  These changes have been slow and steady just like in the gym.  I’ve lost 20-25 lbs and 3-4 clothing sizes.  The paleo lifestyle has become very satisfying to me and I seldom feel deprived or have cravings. 

My journey is simply about consistency; coming through the door and doing the best I can on that particular day.  I compete with only myself but LOVE witnessing the progress and transformations of my FORTmates.  The safe, positive environment of the FORT, our AMAZING coaches and programming provide the template for mastery, we just need to show up, listen and work hard.


Char, the DU master!


Char & Dave, TFCF Halloween Party


I am so proud of this. Every word that you hear in this video is absolutely true. This dream has become a reality thanks to an amazing family. We have grown and continue to grow into a community of strong and truly fit individuals. We thank all of our members who continue to support our growth, walk through the door every day, and trust the process we have laid out before you. The Fort CrossFit is my home away from home. These are my people. There is an amazing future ahead. Thank you for watching.

A huge thank you to Pete and Rhiannon McHugh of Do Something Different Media Marketing who made this docu-narrative video become a reality for The Fort. Their expertise and professionalism was truly impressive and we look forward to many more collaborative projects in the future!

May Laughter Light Your Days

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
On Saturday I laughed so hard, so many times, that my belly hurt. My voice was hoarse and my throat burned from yelling out reps…98, 99, 100! My counting skills definitely improved. I spent the day with my Fort CrossFit family; a group of people who inspire me to be the best I can be. From start to finish the first annual WoD Crawl was a success. It was the best event we have hosted so far, not only because it ran so smoothly, but also because of the electric energy that everyone brought to the gym.
It’s amazing to see team spirit; teammates coaching others, yelling words of encouragement, dressing up in some of the silliest get-ups I have ever seen. It’s incredible to witness athletic feats people once thought were impossible or unattainable. To see these things happen before my eyes, knowing all along you all were capable of this, but were just not ready to “go there”…until this day. It’s inspiring to be a part of something that automatically uplifts me when I’m feeling down. 
I have heard it all…”I just don’t think CrossFit is for me”, “I am intimidated by those heavy weights you lift”, “I don’t think I could do that”, “Oh, that’s a stupid cult”, “CrossFit is a workout fad that injures people”. The list could go on. I try not roll my eyes in plain view when I hear any of this. The thing is that people will never understand what we’re talking about unless they experience it themselves. They come to the gym; they complete their first WOD; they work harder than they ever have; they start to experience real fitness. 
Be thankful that you are one of the lucky ones. You walked through the doors, signed the waiver, did the Benchmark workout, almost puked, and continued to come back. Continue to be a part of something that genuinely improves your quality of life. I mean really, who else can say that they exercise…for fun…all day…on a Saturday…and love every minute!? Spend this beautiful Sunday basking in the glory of your accomplishments and recharge for the week ahead, it’s going to be a great one.
happy St. Patrick’s Day.