Episode 68: Paying Dues w/ CJ Martin of Invictus

but by the way that’s act 1 competition
how many yeah how many are 29 competitions this year how many you’re
gonna send teams to if fewer and fewer every time we get the infidels
let’s interject right here yeah joined by CJ Martin from Invictus I’ll figure
out where to trim that one in so it’s at least a coherent time it’s a really good
starting point actually for us anyways because CJ with Invictus you’ve got
multiple gyms you have a brand that kind of has covered a lot of mileage in the
CrossFit world very visible everybody from w knows what Invictus is right I
yeah I think I think yeah we we’ve been in the game for 11 years and I think
that yeah I think most people know who we are
yeah at some aspect it’s um but we were just talking about in here about some of
the the prices for just managing some team competitions and things like that
is already like an aspect that I don’t know if most CrossFit gym owners even
really understand they’re like I want to operate my gym I want to do my thing and
they think of getting into that realm of like I must be sending people places
he’s gonna help him yeah what a fucking financial obligation that could really
be right that’s insane – so we’re gonna get into that one but I want it because
I wanted to introduce CJ first because we’ve known each other for a while now six six six years we met that valves
house you know yeah I was cool as Phonak sure yeah first time I actually met you
but like cause everybody always talks about in Victor’s but they rarely hear
about you you are fairly private you don’t talk that much about yourself
usually it’s about Invictus yeah yeah but you have to know your story because
I think it’s a really cool one you you came into CrossFit not the not a typical
way is it this way yeah let me put it this way you had other way you guys did
if you look at me as clearly it was through strongman at five foot seven 135
pounds but you will a high level you are actually a very good boxer
yeah I was I was decent fighter at Taekwondo and then I broke both my feet
at junior Pan Am’s and then went to boxing and did really well in boxing and
then had a beautiful moment with my boxing coach when I told him hey I’m
thinking about deferring law school for a year so I can go pro and he looked at
me like I was crazy is like not don’t do that I was like I thought you thought I
had Talent he’s like yo yeah he’s like let me tell you he’s like I box cuz I
had to his the last completed grade was like the sixth grade he’s like you’re
going to law school he’s like so you gonna go get banged out for 400 bucks
and a floor guy who makes a difference by the way you know what I would say
there was like what there was an edge to that right when I would step into the
ring saying like nobody thought I should be there yeah fighting right so there
was a little like you create that mental edge of like no I’m fighting I’ll be
like oh we may touch into this like personality disorder stuff but like I am
I have a pure like rebel buck the norm like tell me I can’t do something that
will motivate me to do it and tell me I can’t I’ll be like nothing yeah and so
there was a little bit of an edge for me in that but you know it when it came
down to it and you look and you start to look at I mean we’re talking about the
financial obligations of CrossFit you look at boxing man and like unless
you’re one of a dozen guys you’re paying to you know get smashed in the face a
few times right you get a concussion you’re out for 90 days like you can’t
even make a living you break your hand you go to the hospital you live in sure
that cost you three grand this goes you next to fight
oh yeah that’s assuming you’re of the era in which concussion protocols were a
thing oh yeah it was just a recommendation if you got knocked out
the state commission would immediately impose a 90 day right so yeah but yeah
how many concussions did did guys actually have you know yeah yeah and so
you went to rule school instead yes I went to law school instead which was
probably much wiser choice for me but yeah I I was out in I went to college in
Oregon then I moved out to Washington DC I worked for a member of Congress and I
was boxing you know before and after work and it was just this awesome
two worlds collide or maybe right and I was the only white guy in the gym right
in a very heavily african-american area of Washington DC and I loved it and at
the same time growing up on the west coast I had never been in a place that
was as segregated right like I I would go there before and after work and be
surrounded by you know African American fans all black people know completely
segregated yeah yeah exactly and then I’d go into the office and what I’d have
is mostly you know mostly white staffers walking the halls of Congress but then
you go down into the cafeteria of like the Rayburn building right and all the
service staff was african-american and the barbers are all african-american
like yeah and and I was like wow this is this is crazy and so it was a really
cool experience because I kind of lived both aspects of my life which was as an
athlete I was in you know one care category total minority and then in my
professional life it was this very buttoned up it was a cool experience I
was cool and so you how long did you last after law school and how long did
you work for like oh yeah Law School in San Diego
did really well kind of graded on the bottom you did that all the trappings of
success got the the big job at the international law firm and then went
into securities fraud litigation super like interesting intellectually
stimulating work and I chose that I remember reading an article while I was
in law school called the sport of kings okay and securities fraud litigation
really was because those people fucking on it is well it’s truly so I this is
this sounds terrible I actually liked it because it didn’t involve people right my conundrum was that like if you look
at law you could say yes I’m gonna go fight for you know justice right so you
say I’m gonna be a DA right but then you’re like wait a minute I might have
to prosecute somebody on a third strike drug crime right you know put them away
that leaves their family unsupported at home I’m like wait I’m not sure I’m like
I don’t know I want to be on that side you’re like do I want to defend like drug abuse and then you like family law
you’re like you wanted you will split up a family I’m like so what could I do
that is just a sport and and securities fraud litigation from that aspect it is
one law firm right or law firms on the plaintiffs note that file these strike
suits that say oh the stock dropped we’re gonna see if there’s anything
there right so they file a suit and you got the defense firms that are like you
know we’re gonna we’re gonna defend this fight again CEO to say why all of this
was on the up-and-up right and at the end of the day
insurance is going to pay somebody out right the both law firms are gonna make
millions of dollars okay scraping it off the top and the consumer is good the
consumer is going to get like a 22 cent coupon to Blockbuster Video like wow
that was so worth it for the lawyers about to say yeah it really does sound
like just literally just the game of competing then and somewhat like sport
right is then like you get to know the plaintiffs attorneys right and you talk
crap but you also go to lunch together you have this kind of fun fun
environment but this Paso it’s totally fighting yeah and and I think all of us
do or at least my perspective was that it was sport right it was our job it was
our job to be as good as possible and we obviously had to do everything in our
power to defend our clients right but at the end of the day it was like you know
was anybody really gonna be better than other than the corporate entity and the
law firms so that was five years so I spent five years doing that and and and
really did enjoy kind of the intellectual stimulus of it but the very
thing that got me out of it was what I just said which is who is really
affected right and when we sit back and I look at our lives to say okay like was
this a worthwhile existence no yes you keep going past five years it’s thirty
now right and you wake up and you’re like what did I do
yeah yeah I still very vividly remember sending an email at 2:30 3:00 in the
morning to my 60 year old partner who’s up in San Francisco
and thinking sheet this off now clean up a couple of things and go to bed and
then getting response and I looked and I’m like okay I got no problem working
hard and climbing my way up the ladder but when my 60 year old partner is
responding at 2:30 in the morning yeah well you survived on the competition
juice anyway right so that never goes away because you get addicted one way or
another you get a do you do that yeah yeah the adrenaline of it I mean yeah
yeah so what do you start looking for at that point are you looking do you get
there and start looking for an out or just something
yeah you know I I didn’t and and my my process to actually leaving law took
years even though it looked abrupt yeah it was always I was raised with and it’s
just a really cool sense of giving back and so I knew probably two years in that
eventually I had something else right I had to do something that was meaningful
because I just could never see you know my my tombstone like he successfully
defended you know fortune 500 companies that’s the legacy I want to lead but
yeah I looked at I looked at all sorts of routes I thought about you know
trying to get into the US Attorney’s Office and prosecute white-collar crime
and do all sorts of stuff you know the nonprofit work I would have loved to
have gone back to school and tried to be a professor but the thought of you know
being back in school for another eight years and then being you know shipped to
whichever city you could end up getting a job without the world and everything
and so and so that was one thing that was really clear to me it was that I’m
somebody that really enjoys freedom right and I’m like the academic world
will not give me the freedom working you know working for the US Attorney’s
Office there’s gonna be some bureaucracy and red tape I was like I don’t think I
didn’t do that so I didn’t know what I was gonna do I’ll tell you a really
great story that puts me in a really good light too is I do remember at one
point I met some guys that were firefighters and one of them had been a
lawyer really cool guy and so we were chatting I was like you know maybe
that’s a path for me you know and and I was walking my dog at the time and I’m
walking my dog and like he’s just so in my head like yes this is what I’m gonna
do and like right at that moment I looked down I had almost stepped on a
dead squirrel and I shrieked maybe I won’t be a fire guys please
don’t tell anyone I’ll tell you what you should do in life I had to be real
honest with myself at that moment that I probably wasn’t gonna roll up on a
motorcycle accident react this is my world now yeah so I I ended up yeah
during that process of just not even before I was looking for an out right
also realizing that I’d been an athlete all my life at some degree played
baseball in college well justice is do man
yeah credit where credit is due high level Taekwondo boxing
those are not simple stuff yeah and so I and I enjoyed I enjoyed the process of
it right it was I enjoyed competing but I also really enjoyed the process of
training luck or something yeah and you’re like achieving goals and yeah
yeah and so am when shit matters yeah and and then I found myself as an
attorney no longer competing in any sport going to this 24-hour Fitness on a
lunch break like literally having no clue right I mean because I had always
trained for something for boxing for for Taekwondo and so it was a lot of like
sprinting plyometrics right running for aerobic endurance like all these things
and then I was like you know I’m like doing bicep curls I have no idea why I’m
doing bicep curls yeah I think it for a while standing on a BOSU ball doing
stuff because like hey I’m pretty good at like light and have good balance
I’ll crush these 15 pound dumbbells on this boat as well and yeah and it just
was miserable with it though like it had no reason was there don’t feel
confortable in the gym no that’s the worst part is when you’re there going
like I have no idea why I’m here and and like to your point about that
kind of achievements right always knowing why am i doing uh I had no
metric like what am I like what am i building to am I getting to seventeen
and a half pound today some do bicep curls that was just solely about like
keeping some aesthetic normalcy which I didn’t I never like had to do and never
really disrupt training doing something I found out it’s almost like that’s the
obvious when you start to go down a road where you going to 24 fitness so just so
you do something oh mentally does not go well right yeah it
was it was terrible and and so I was like I have figure something else’ and
so one of my colleagues at the time and he had been a firefighter before
becoming a lawyer he was like hey my fire fight everybody just showed me this
video and it was a old-school CrossFit video at the old nasty girls videos have
you ever got a squirrel in it and I’m like man I swear I ran past a place that
was doing that the other day and and I had and I sorry I drove over to CrossFit
San Diego which was you know one of the very early June 2006 yeah in the end of
2006 and I looked at my head in you know I think I took my dog for run stuck my
head in the place was disgusting like ceiling falling in mats are dirty like
and I was like yes my box the boxing gym I was at in DC was above an auto garage
right and yeah it’s just like I love that because you were there to do work
you weren’t there to look at the mirror and see if there’s other pretty girls no
smell good it does not yet know like and so I was like I dug it right and so I
got into it fully drank the kool-aid and being a not particularly well-balanced
person I decided that I was gonna read up on it right and so then I think they
started the CrossFit Journal in 2002 and by like my third month into doing
Crossfit I had read every CrossFit Journal article and so then I was like
well what’s next right and especially especially early I mean the you know the
the viability of CrossFit at that point not a ton of people knew about it no it
wasn’t for inaudible but if you brought it up to a strength coach right you just
get destroyed because nobody in CrossFit had any sort of steeping in traditional
strength and conditioning physic physiology kinesiology so I was like man
I’ve got actually now that I’ve read everything that CrossFit’s produce and I
continued to just keep up with it that was back when they actually had a
monthly rule it was so cool it was cool and and so I was learning a ton from
that but then I was like you know I need to be able to speak to this when
somebody comes at me and says hey crusher it it’s terrible yeah at some
point you have to have an understanding enough to defend it not just do it yeah
you can do it for the most part for awhile but at some point like if it’s buddy was back then because I think all
the newbies forget her body was the only problem tails were thrashing CrossFit
the same one that I’m now cool it was big by the way CrossFit was responding
in kind because they well that’s when they had a t-shirt my my warmup is your
workout yeah and all that shit so they were and gave Castro was blasting Globo
James and everything but man CrossFit was getting hammered back then like mean
like not justify stuff yeah but sometimes I mean sometimes deservedly
sir I mean like you know we were we were doing workouts that this sole goal was
like when I was programming workouts early on was just to see if you could
survive it you know there was no thought of progression like you would actually
get better than people know there’s no ABCD bagman knows one walk
I saw hot as you could make it and if you could don’t get a heart attack your
pussy right yeah yeah I remember a workout that Josh bridges and I workout
partners and so we would write up these columns in how do you by the way yeah
not it never turned out well for me we would write up these workouts I remember
I remember one it was a hundred clean and jerks a hundred rope cars we
survived barely but well he was done and then I
don’t know I was working for another forty minutes or something but yeah it
was so yeah those early days so so I I acknowledge very early on like I’ve got
a yeah and you know for me not coming from a sports science background right
not you know up being an athlete but not you know a high level or not coming
straight out of athletics into this I didn’t have any real connection to
Fitness right it was just but I had you know one pretty decent power to learn
and I could learn principles pretty well and that rib you to being a lawyer right
like law school is learning principles and then a game of the shit out of them
well yeah because you you have you have a different set of facts with every
client right yeah so you know you can know cases but you’re never gonna get
case with the exact same facts you’re gonna get a case that you’re gonna have
to say what were the principles of that what are the analogies how can I make
this was over to the man and so so that was even really early when I was in
CrossFit I started reading stuff and I was like okay I need to not worry about
what the rep scheme was I need to worry about why that rep scheme might have
worked to him yes what did you do and so I so that was that was really
kind of how I got into it and then you know the gym owners actually moved out
of town and very abruptly and so a couple of us were like well dude give us
keys I’ll open up right and so it turned into a coaching opportunity very
clay I there was a power to those workouts though you don’t want you come
just one and you say fuck it and but that works only for people like us
though and I have the athletic background and that that I love dying
like that but but there was a power to that to be able to go like you know I’m
just gonna melt on myself now don’t get me wrong especially in the beginning
when anyone first starts like when I first started training like that it was
it was the same thing it was also because I didn’t know anything at all I
couldn’t move with the shit didn’t know any of it so it was very you could I
could deliver on the one thing I had yeah it was like well I got a move I
know I’m not good at that so I’ll just do that harder yeah yeah and so and so
but it’s always funny when I was coaching and bringing new people into
the CrossFit space and there’s some workouts for you like they’d start and
you’re like Oh bless your heart yeah yeah yeah are just gonna fucking die
right now and it’s fantastic cuz i I would see as years go on you you start
to see like oh now you’re terrified of that like there’s a freedom to that
because that was the first training system that was based on constraints
yeah you know like intense zero light stuff in an objective which is a bicep
curl squeeze do this and everything were you doing what the other guy is doing
exactly the same way and what if I want to do that it’s bad yeah but can I try
no okay that was the system so there was a freedom to that to be like the other
you you and I have spoken and I think there was huge power in just the
learning right there learning what your capabilities were we’re learning new
movements right and can you push this and man that is super powerful when you
look at those like the the kool-aid days of CrossFit you know class format by the
way yeah because that also contributed has certainly you killing or something
the guy next to you is doing it as well you go like well em you see then and
also they think it was so clear wasn’t enough there really was a broad amount
of variation out there to where like when you if you do come in and you don’t
you’re not going to be good at more than a couple of these things you know if
you’re the average bacteria and so there is this constant
humbling challenge to learn yeah like like that every day at least 60% of the
movements you’re gonna be doing most likely for me we’re gonna be problematic
okay which meant which which meant that wasn’t going in there dick measurement
you just can’t okay all right now I’m just happy to
learn this is what I loved about you is I got my ass kick I mean I’m still good
but and you were like oh my god I you know like the relearning rate is that
big and you go like there is an entire universe in front of me that I’m I’m
barely starting into right there’s a power in that yeah I I think it’s huge
right and I know you know just do even in my personal journey with fitness over
the over the last you know 14 years or whatever is that you’d look at that
you’re like man just that newness and learning is so packed
yeah yeah that’s but that’s where it is dispersed to the physical stuff and
getting the ABS this is where people fail the second they start to sing sings
back usually they’re done when you’re going to be going I’m going to learn me
as a human being and by the way might mean what I like was like well because
he made me quit on a bunch of workouts which I wasn’t used to and I was that
wait wait wait wait and of course I’m watching Greg and medicine and
everything saying he can do it right hmm I don’t like that so let me go back and
then the next worker I still fail and I’m like what so now I’m pissed but it
was cool cuz I’m talking to other people saying you know what’s your time on that
one yeah let me let me be right back there was yeah that new yeah that
learning experience that I missed a lot I only found it in jiu-jitsu yeah I was
the only place like this coaching thing up out of somebody else’s rotten space
when they had abandoned it was that kind of where that started yeah kind of so
they um so when the owners across with San Diego left town like I said they
gave us some keys and I was you know so I would wake up at 5:00 I’d open the gym
at 5:30 at first it was supposed to be just to
work out and then you know people would come in you look in here like that dudes
gonna kill himself right and that’s very very quickly turn to coaching and
so then I was coaching from like 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. driving across town going to
work because at that point you also don’t want to be like well I can’t be
like I’m the guy with the keys but yet you find a dead bodies right exactly at
least exactly so yeah so then I’d go to work
I’d drive back you know I’d coach from 6:00 to 8:00 tonight nights and then I’d
eat some dinner and then go back to the law firm work till 2:00 or 3:00 and then
wake up do it again and so that was just like you know the routine because I
loved it right like I couldn’t couldn’t give up coaching even though it was damn
near killing me you slept four hours a night yeah it was yeah ruining my health
and wellness absolutely and then I of course like hurt my back pretty bad in
the midst of that price yeah yeah yeah yeah I’ll still never forget deadlifting
in weightlifting shoes because we thought that was I’m not sure that
getting up on your toes it is nice though to here here you see Jay say like
you know I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing out because that’s the nature
of the culture of CrossFit now back then also was do not listen to anybody else
yeah we all went into yeah so at that stage you like oh cool I don’t have to
listen to anybody let me try and you figure out that yes sometimes elders
tell you not to do something for a good reason but fuck it okay the but the one
thing that attracted me the most across fit was also it was supposed to be the
jeet kune do– fitness right it was supposed to be like hey we’re gonna look
at all methods and all other works were keeping and whatever doesn’t were
discarding and so yeah there was a point that it became a little more dogmatic
we’re not gonna listen to anybody but I was always intrigued by it up for the
different mindset which is okay this is like whatever whatever works
right that’s what we’re doing and so and now we’re doing both they were doing
both it was trying to say let us figure out the stuff which I respect completely
because it was working yeah the progress we saw almost fun everybody from the
evening that was working at the same time also they were very they were being
bashed that’s true so they closed off on one side but still open on the other one
I respect the beginning completely yeah well by the way the proof is in the
pudding look at the strength of women shooting up over the years when I saw
that that was that guys we have to shut up well I went around like all the
strength and conditioning guy and saying you have no idea what you’re talking
about and I think it moved it I think at that time when the when the competitive
population was much closer in scale if you will to the average population
within CrossFit back then that you could really see that progress shown on the
competitors in the way the competitive side of the games move forward in five
or six years like what the human beings were capable of doing when putting
together as a package out there was fucking insane look off in a deck we’re
talking to a six to a seventh sister fails games and the progress within two
years yeah of the level of people you are
likely CrossFit is up to something I know I so you okay so when do you decide
to quit law school and just go full for we out and sorry I spent so it’s 2006
and in 2008 you did that for three years yeah so for about 18 months I was doing
that schedule right and and loved the place in love love the gym owners and so
it was doing it you know respectfully they had moved and at some point I we
had real problems with the facility real problems like you know legitimately
we’re trying to ban the roof we didn’t have it didn’t have its own bathroom
right there was a like public restroom outside of the building that was mostly
inhabited by homeless people that was not safe never had toilet paper like you
know all these things and so but the biggest issue that arose is that we had
a guy that you know like clean the mats for a free membership but we realized
too late that his method of cleaning the mat was to throw a huge bucket of water
on the floor and then walk around with a mop to mop it up well over time of
course it all just seeps through these horse stall mats and so we had very
active obvious mold spores all over the mat and so I I had set up an appointment
when I knew one of the owners was going to be back in town and they were going
through their own personal stuff so I I knew that they were a little distracted
I said hey we’ve got to take care of this like we have to gosh all new pallet
mats village what I’d also kind of take it upon myself we found a building that
was owned by the same landlords I talked to landlords they said look if you want
to just take a straight lease over you know you can take your same lease move
it to this new building it was plumbed for locker rooms on two sides like all
this beautiful place great exposure in terms of traffic and I was like hey how
about if we do this and they were like we don’t want spend any – it okay I
expected that right so how about if I either buy you out or we partner I’ll
pay for all the upgrades I’ll do all that and we’ll become business partners
and I’ll never forget the day she looked me quizzically and said why would I pay
you you do it for free like Oh have made a great point today Yeah right people are mean that was when
I decided you know what I think I’ll stop doing this
and so I I just decided I’m like okay I’m not
gonna continue to be in the gym and just back to the law firm for you at that
point yeah back to a law firm Emily I don’t do this for the money you know
clearly it wasn’t good and and so I was like yeah whatever II want to do and
then you do that by the way 18 months for free yeah that’s scheduled dues all
right so the that day so that funny thing is so that was the the wife the it
was a it was a couple that were the owners and they ended up they were going
through divorce which made things really complicated but the the husband and I
had previous I had said like hey one day I might want to open a gym or like with
you guys I wanted to be part of it and he and I had looked a ton up more in
northern San Diego at other facilities and stuff and so I had been in contact
with the commercial real estate agent in whatever way this universe works right
after I had met this woman for lunch and we had that conversation I was still
like shell-shocked to go back to my office and the commercial real estate
agent calls he says hey I have a property I know you’re not looking
downtown but it’s two blocks from your office would you be willing to look at
it and I’m like I’m actually walking out the door right now to walk for two
blocks and blow off steam so just am now free for sure and so yeah so I actually
walked down that was our that became our first you know first yeah in Little
Italy so for my first spot and it was a beautiful space and auto upholstery but
it was you know in this really cool part of San Diego surrounded by you know high
density residential condos and you know just kind of a dream location and so we
got the keys on the day before or Thanksgiving in November 2008 and we
didn’t have you know I was self-funded no no money it was like so we had a
group of friends and family that on
Thanksgiving and the entire weekend just demoing out everything you know so that
we could start construction on the Monday so yeah and that was that was the
jump and so the whole plan though was I was going to continue to work as a
lawyer 50% of the time and then and then run this gym on the side and I got my
dying was never an option honestly we got about two weeks into the
construction and I just I was like this makes no sense like if you if you want
to be successful yeah you want to be successful at anything in life like you
better commit to it right and I was like what am i what am i come on yeah yeah so
I said okay I think I you know and I was fully prepared to eat you know ramen
noodles for a year or whatever my head – I did not remember 2008 the market had
just absolutely the same time yeah right exactly the same time every November –
yeah that’s one of I send at least three weeks before the market crashed right
yeah yeah so yeah I say like your real estate guy maybe had a lot well on its
way down yes I decided I was like well so I gave them my notice and said a
December 31 2008 will be my last day as a lawyer and you know they all know how
your mom took that yeah Karen figured I want so that was so they were my last
salvation to save me from making a mistake right is my parents and I
thought for sure I thought we grew up very my parents were hard workers but
neither of them you know had the opportunity to go to
college and I mean we grew up they took care of anybody and everybody that
needed help and you know at one point we had six people in a 900 square foot
house you know very meager incomes at the time and you know here they had
provided this life and love and support and it got me to college and then
graduate and then got me to law school and then at this amazing job make all
this money on the other side and I’m like so I’m gonna go to them and tell
them I’m gonna quit my job making quarter-million dollars a year so that I
can open a gym you know that really dirty little place that I’ve been
training at it’s gonna be kind of like that yeah and so I thought well they’ll
save me from doing anything stupid and they totally didn’t right they they you
know in in the way that only my very loving parents care were like we think
you should definitely do it and we think that you know if it’ll make
you happy and you can make a difference in people’s lives we think it’s
absolutely fine ever being wrong from your north yeah they were they were and
have been I mean at every step of my life but you know even in the business
like they have been so supportive from day one for people I don’t know they are
very much yeah yeah they tried to retire everybody calls pops pops is mom and
pops came she took care of everything but is food or we are yeah I was so cool
to see yesterday so they do that was one of the big signals what I attracted me
to Invictus was that that’s so your parents there and all that stuff all
right I think I think it speaks to our pride yeah totally
is that your mom was so sweet yeah I was like whatever you know whatever stuff
just telling me it’s working well like I’m on the ground level even right so I
have I remember story about your mom before I even met you before I was ever
even a victim was I go to I had come here at a client
young girl I coached she’s a huge fan of some of the athletes that you guys had
at the time and she had gone to the Granite Games and was trying to buy a
shirt or something of Lauren Fisher’s they didn’t have it in her size and your
mom was there and anyway I don’t hear any of this from anyone other than the
little girl who says then I was a week two weeks later she just gets a package
in the mail and it’s the shirt signed a note from Lauren Fisher and all this
other stuff and so I annexed read took a picture with your mom after I saw her I
could send it back to Kaylee and be like see ya and so so those are those are the
little things that mattered it I think you can do a lot more of in the CrossFit
space with the family with the heart yeah then maybe you can do in corporate
law matter more to you right yeah oh absolutely and that is I mean that’s
that’s so much my mom and and that’s infused our business which is like that
story of this girl right we talk all the time about like hey you know go above
and beyond but it’s it’s why right it’s that it was never about selling the
shirt yeah it’s not the 20 bucks or 25 bucks or whatever it was about hey you
have somebody that you’ve made a difference you know that Lauren Fisher
whoever right has inspired this girl like it would be horrible to let her
down right it would be and yet it would mean the world if you just make this
small act you figure out a way to get her a t-shirt right so brokenhearted
versus inspire I’m suing she doesn’t take actually all that much effort but
it makes all the difference great yeah and it’s in Italy it’s about
intention right it’s that that pendulum swing is so massive I just read all it
all that matters is the intention of caring yeah right it’s not even it’s not
even the act it’s that like because there have been situations where maybe
we couldn’t maybe somebody wanted a shoe right and we couldn’t get the shoe in
their size but we did something else for right and it’s just like let’s make sure
that people know that we care about them as humans right and that’s human being
talking to human and that’s definitely my mom’s my mom’s influence and you know
she reminds me I’m a good balance of my parents but she reminds me that that how
important all that stuff is so the Super Bowl tell you from the beginning that’s
so awesome so 2008 that means by the way by then
you’re already sending a team to the games yeah
2009 was the year of team but yes 2007 I drove up and competed and I was like
this is super fun 2008 I think we took 12 people in 2008 so I was like hey guys
there’s this thing it’s fun we really train for it but we were just like okay
let’s all go up you know we’ll drive up some of our friends camped some of us
stayed in like the world’s worst hotel like 30 minutes from aromas California
or whatever my grand is steering our almost yeah and then so then we open our
gym you know officially January 2009 although we had a bunch of people just
like you know construction site and like we you know pull out a barbell at a
squat right now but as so so then we were like hey let’s take a group to do
this in 2009 and and so we did we took we took a team we took a bunch of
individual athletes notice of them yeah and and so at that point and there was
that was the first time there was a team competition and and we decided at that
competition I said hey I’m gonna wear a green shirt so that everybody in the
your you know our athletes will be able to distinguish me from everybody else in
the crowd because at that point right I could be right up against the rope
barrier screaming bloody murder and everybody else so generally being really
obnoxious but to an on your coaching you’re not
competing you and I decided yeah that even the female athletes were stronger
than me yeah women in three four yes Jesus yeah increased its natural well
the days of seeing like guys literally just chasing around 135 pound barbell
for clerks who’s just run it’s like now you see just took a couple of years of
like I think I could never mind so that actually that totally changed how I
decided to program and and that’s why so 2009 kind of fast-forward that story we
went we take these guys they’re games that we took for that the CrossFit Games
with our team our gym had only been open for seven months six months and and part
of the reason was I was there in 2008 as a competitor well the final event was
that squat clean race a hundred and fifty five pounds 70 kilos squat clean
now we’d like that that seems hilarious great but time that was real weight
right we were watching as I was you know
friends with chris spealler and a bunch of other guys and we were looking crispy
there had a huge head start right because of the way the format of the
games at the time and I was the time thing yeah it was actually they took
like you know how much you had won all the previous events and then you got
less of a staggered story finished first technically was yeah exactly you know
they were older thing and it’s quite clean right so it was it was cool so but
I’m like I’ve you know old-school camcorder right and I’m videoing Chris
and then and we were like all James fits really good he’s over there and then
there’s Josh Everett who is known as the weight lifter and so like we’re looking
and like I hear somebody like they were on like 16 or 17 reps I swear I hear a
judge go like 24 oh my what and I look it’s a guy that’s in like 12th place
right and I turned my head I got the camcorder we have
video somewhere another thing camcorders bouncing all over and I’m like looking
and this guy is doing a thruster he’s just picking the bar reverse curl into a
thruster right right jason khalipa who ends up going on to win right if might
be kind of funny stories like he won the judge was like 30 Castro has the mic
he’s on the other side of the Freddy Camacho another yeah oh gee right Freddy
had to like run down into the arena like run over and tap Dave and be like dude
it’s over that guy won like nobody who is paying attention I can see that on
that every second counts documentary like it came out on that on that same
deal because they feel I think that was when they filmed like leading up to it a
lot of like the other people right through oh yeah yeah and you don’t see
jason khalipa on video until almost that exact moment like like it actually looks
about like whatever your camera footage probably is yeah cuz all sudden there’s
just confusion yeah people and then there’s two like his last two reps and
then nobody’s there right and that was this yeah but you know it’s funny
because I I competed that year also and there was an event was a 275 pound
deadlift and burpees well the 275 was like I mean I was catback ratcheting so
anyway the big takeaway though that from that 2008 as I was like hey like you you
can’t fake strength right yeah so at in 2008 I you know says strength is the
price of admission if you’re not strong enough you can’t even get through the
gates and so and that became then especially as a small athlete I was like
okay how do we get people stronger and that became the whole focus was like if
we can’t get people stronger he teach all these things about how to grind and
mental toughness and building aerobic capacity and at the end of the day if
you can’t pick up your barbell I mean the risk the risk that you take
on during all those other things is a little bit higher absolutely I need by
the way it’s problem affecting – the other thing is that strength takes a
very long time very and so so what I think people miss is like sometimes
you’re getting some people who are already very strong or genetically very
gifted good responders to it now now in the current era that float to the top is
there’s a lot of years of strength training that had got to be done before
you’re even as strong as one of these people yep let alone even close to his
fit yeah and the other paradigm shift yeah Jason was such a great Jason Kelly
was such a great example of that right because here we were looking at all
these guys that had these amazing engines and stuff and this guy just
literally would reverse curl no technique reverse curls the 155 address
and he’d come from a you know body building kind of more traditional
background you’re like well that guy’s just strong right he’s just waiting on
you but it did throw the curve off a little bit too because like you could be
just strong enough you know he didn’t need a 900-pound head lift yeah but he
was just strong enough to where you got a bully everybody what I find super easy
opposite forever those moments shape an entire sport because when you film that
you get 30 more celebs for time chris spealler is the perfect cross video and
we look at it differently and everything changes yeah and because it’s jason
khalipa one we everybody had to go shit strap medals you know our entire program
yeah I mean and like to your point where it used to just be one workout and
sometimes would be conditioning and sometimes it would be like seven sets of
deadlift right then it was like that was when I
started programming that’s strange now if you look around at the CrossFit were
everybody does because you started what was at the time you started the
conversation because when you did that I remember or like back then it was like
but you that’s not CrossFit because now you’re saying it’s not by then didn’t
say constantly varied they said random you you got away from that and say neuro
we’re going to program we’re going to go take some strength and conditioning and
make it more consistent the results spoke from themselves but
back then you were you started something reminds me of you know in the UFC when
Brock Lesnar first floated to the top what happens after that everybody else
was in the heavyweight division it’s got to get fucking big yes they’re like oh
shit there’s just what we have to do to hang even before that what I Matt Hughes
right now is because it was because when for those of us that started like in the
MMA like very UFC one right it was like holy crap what is this jujitsu stuff and
then you see this jujitsu you think oh I’ll just become a technician you look
at voice crazy right and then all the sudden one athlete comes in welcomes in
moles people right right because they were nobody was talking about wrestling
really until Matt Hughes all the sudden comes in is just wasn’t even known MP
gold medalist it was just a good entire bali wrestlers but he was so strong
strong good great jujitsu fast but from the top he was so strong in more people
green engine yes like yeah you know bailing haze and stuff like that makes
you strong like the good farmer but he just
destroyed people so pretty sure I watched him pinned down a trunk on a
video and Vegas I find it very interesting coach Jason changed yeah it
changed the sport but through the coaches through you through people but
the fact that he could do that suddenly everybody had to go alright yeah maybe
it’s not just genetics and you know like the pyramid yeah this would but I like I
I credit that moment right of watching that and saying okay
coming back from 2008 games and reflecting and saying wait if we’re
going to be competitive we’re gonna make this a sport for the people that want to
train in the sport we have to prioritize strength right and so it changed the
program I think that you know now we’ve seen everybody has a big strength bias
to a lot of programs and what they learn How do you go at
this? So you go back home.. Your background is not strength and
conditioning. You read, but it’s not your background. So you immerse yourself into strength and conditioning then. Absolutely. A great
great lesson I think, whether you’re a gym owner, or whatever
your industry is. My first year mind you, we didn’t make any money. My first year, 2009 we spent over thirty thousand dollars in
continuing education… Seminars.. I did all the Poliquin seminars I could.. Paul Chek’s stuff… Basically we did Perform Better Summits, and I would take all of my coaches.
I’ll never forget, Tino talks about this a lot when he talks to our younger
employees; and he says ‘ Yeah, we went to this thing and CJ is telling us
in the car like – hey we’re probably going to spend 16 hours here this weekend, you’ll
probably only get one or two things that’s ever useful.”
Because if you figure out one or two things that you can look at that’s gonna
make a difference in somebody’s performance or their lives, if you
figure out how to how to connect with somebody better or a better method of
training, what’s that worth? It’s your responsibility to get it but that’s
the thing people don’t get to is those 16 hours yeah you will get two
things. By the way, that’s the way learning is. When I read all my shit, I get 2 good
stuff out of maybe eight hours.. And it might save you two
years of finding that out the hard way, in your own system, hurting 16 people in the process.. Charles Paul Quinn who you know it’s I
think his passing is horrible because that dude was maybe one of the smartest
guys anybody could ever meet right but you have to remember at the time I’m
doing this 2009 Charles one I’m a little skinny right like not an athlete that
that matches his profile of what an athlete should look like and and then I
had like a CrossFit shirt right just as soon try to flush me down a toilet has
talked to me that’s true at that point oh yeah point that probably wasn’t the
best time oh boy ron was across you’re choking those things oh you had both
yeah that did not go well at the time I say showing up to these seminars and
stuff like she just he couldn’t believe I was their dad but but then I remember
like you know at later seminars it’s funny because a lot of the guys that I
was in with are doing really cool stuff now and it was just it was just an a
really cool group that he ended up with but but then at some point I remember
having a conversation where we were talking about females and pull-ups which
has always been that was always something with Charles right that was
you know a real kind of standard if for a female to do strict pull-ups it’s a
pretty low percentage population-wise let’s be honest back then yeah fuck he
was but we we thought that was important right away and so we we did almost every
class that we would warm up we would do like these line drills like walking you
know a perfect stretch right perfect strategy they’d walk down call it 40
feet right they’d turn around and on the way back they had to go through the
pull-up bars and they had to do one pull-up the first set right and if
somebody couldn’t do it you would give them the assists we’d have them fight
the eccentric right and hang the build oh yeah so then they’d come back in line
the next drill whatever spider-man crawl right they come back and now it’s two
pull-ups on that next one three and then they would repeat so it was all so
they’re always doing at least six strict pull-ups in a warm-up every day right
and so I remember we were at the I think it was the level three Poliquin or
something in New York City 2009 or maybe ten at that point and and so the
conversation came up and I’m like we’ve got a hundred females at my gym that can
do strict pull-ups that’s not changing the CrossFit and and and then you know
to his credit Charles they even came around and saying actually
CrossFit’s done a lot of things but he never he never loved it but he would be
like they promote nutrition right a sensible nutrition they promote hard
work you know and then he ended up not skinny women yeah not spinning muscle on
women train strength being strong ground muscle and
there was there was a priority towards like whether it was executed perfectly
or not there was a real priority towards functional fitness in that area – I’m
moving to by the way great last man always said that I think that I think
that I think that was one of the pieces that bought CrossFit a lot of
credibility going into that kind of next phase where we were able to absorb and
co-opt space into all these other industries and they proved it through
the women by that we have like we the jump in women’s training from 2:00 and
9:00 to now is all CrossFit and it’s absolutely when you see you see the
number of people with Fitness but just the overall fitness output of a Games
athlete it’s also able to compete in worlds the weightlifting I mean that’s
the women the women yes the way we just that’s just sank
that’s when remember when 135 pound snatch back then oh yeah that was heavy
not not everybody was getting that yeah I know people forget power clean
I found power snatch oh yeah we back in 95 maybe like the thrusters and I think
I found that was that was hey yeah the top ones were doing 95 from her
correctly yeah it was it was crazy but by the way so just to recap something
before we move you coach for free four hours a day for a year and a half mmm
right and you spend $30,000 on seminars and continuing education the first year
well while making no money after winning a good job just so you’ll remember this
part yeah that’s the that’s a minimum cost of entry yeah right that’s the
sorry that’s it was the constant in my mind it was the cost so I wouldn’t even
call it a cost right it was that if you want to be good at something you pollute
the only way but you know one thing that I think we talked about about a year ago
now was that process of learning right and so I would say it’s not even a cost
yes I was paying money and I but the learning was so exciting to me okay when
I would come back for a Poliquin course right there were a lot of stuff that in
my environment with group coaching and you know that I couldn’t use all of it
right but I had also I also had private clients so I’m like I’m gonna drive you
know what I can and so that’s that’s fun getting excited
about I’m gonna try I know exactly on whom I’m gonna try that way and that was
that was what I was like that was why I wanted to be doing this that I loved
learning I loved sharing knowledge and having any
impact helping ya at the end you had an impact that measurable and everything
totally those are other based on yeah and so there was a real purpose and
reason for the constant learning because you knew that you could then help
somebody anyway right you need that as well as well because you could put it
into practice right yeah that’s a good feeling and so this year of green
started after then because of the old yeah everybody so the funny thing so in
2009 our colors were gunmetal gray and red right so our gym colors the gym was
painted gunmo grand red but that 2009 CrossFit Games I I made green coaches
shirts just for the coaches right so that they could if in a mid event they
could look how many guys were walking around in green shirts they’d be able to
see me so then in 2000 they they changed the games to Carson California and I
said well now we’re in a stadium they’re gonna I’m not they’re not to see me
anyway so let’s put everybody in a green shirt and we rolled up there with 200
people from the gym just as you – yeah and so the term sea of green I’m not
even sure came about favorably I think people were using as like and then they
had remember that like football field or soccer fields right and so when like
we’d have an individual athlete in the stadium and we’d have all our people in
there a whole column and then it was like the team would go next right and
then all of a sudden you just see this mass right and they they’d be walking to
the soccer stadium and you see people just like you
getting so annoyed because now all the sudden 200 people are going to be
wedging their way right up you know the front taking the same rules just because
of your guys I remember the seats where you couldn’t reserved it that’s because
of zoo guys yeah you might have been the best part is then you know years later
we not that many years I guess 2012 something like that we signed with Nike
right mm-hmm and and so we ended up printing our games shirts on Nike green
shirt and and they were broadcasting on ESPN this year right and so at that time
you could still sit wherever you want so we was still like had this entire column
of green and we were watching the cameras right go and they would scan the
crowd and they would get to us and they would drop it was a big inning it was
like you’re too good yeah and so all right so it’s so now you’re starting to
bring the team every year on a bunch of a bunch of individual athletes and
everything when did you start the online programming for switch
yeah well from day one we put our group workouts on right our performance and
fitness out there for free to get their free yeah and originally it was just one
workout of the day is that was the other thing that we did that was wildly
different than grasp it was a you know in like 2010 I think we said hey you
know what we got people with really different goals like my mom and dad were
working out when you had you know we have snatch muscle up on the agenda I’m
gonna and at the time the answer was like oh you’re supposed to give them a
PVC pipe to snatch I’m like well that’s gonna be great for her weight loss goals and so we just started dirac knowledge
we have to have different tracks for different goals if somebody just wants
health wellness longevity I don’t need them building to a wonder it max any
thing I don’t need them Olympic weightlifting and doing things that are
really CNS and neural intensive right I just need cellular work so that they can
grind through and so so we created a fitness program so then we were doing to
workout today you know that we were posting every day to different tracks
and then did you ever get any shit all that because you from the beginning you
have been one of the people who have guided crossfit ya longer the certain
path well I think almost even as when we talk about the training system the way
it’s used you know everybody has their own freedom but like you said by placing
a little bit of extra emphasis on strength by splitting up the days in
which or the you know the sessions the way the way that you did a lot of that
stuff is was very outside the box at that moment you change the culture all
across hit several times by doing stuff like that yeah I mean and yet never once
with any intention of changing culture like and that I I think that has been
when we’re doing well we’re solely focused on our members and people that
we’re trying to help right when we’ve made mistakes at any point over the last
11 years it’s when we’re worried about somebody else either what they think or
what they’re doing or whatever like and so we really have to pay attention to
just keeping our blinders on and saying like who is my person who is my avatar
who are the you know hundreds of members that I’m dealing with and are we getting
them results and if we’re getting them results then we can share what we’re
doing and hopefully people find value in that and if they don’t I don’t really
care about that you’re my my real son because you’re not that person right and
and so I think that’s you know when you say that you know we’ve had an influence
mm-hmm that has been an unintended consequence but you did so that’s it
yeah just like you said by trying to do right by your people first yes improving
but having the results right because you have like people know that but
was it like 2-3 years ago I sing the top 10 in the men 9 of them came out of your
system yeah like something like that like
people don’t always see the Infinity Invictus had from the beginning on the
CrossFit competitive scene and the way we shape programming because eventually
whatever happens on the competition translates to almost everybody within
the CrossFit world yeah yeah and that’s what I loved like our fitness track is
that that had nothing to do with the competition work yeah I think I think
we’re so well-known for the competitive track right but people don’t realize
like we’re doing the same things for everybody else is just that you know
what gets highlighted as you’re at the average person the 99% that’s in your
gym is not just probably doesn’t have as many Instagram followers as Randy rest
goes a little further the journey stuff goes a lot exactly but that was very
important because I don’t think people realize that most of your business is
not the competition how many competitors versus normal members you have it’s like
what 95 percent normal no no is like ninety-nine point seven percent people
that just want to be in shape even Invictus I keep telling people like they
still that fantasy that the computer tales represents like 20% of the I’m
like hell no no I guess it just I guess it depends what you’re classifying as a
competitor but in terms of people that are like out there in arenas competing
it’s like 0.3 percent of our population I mean it’s so small now we have people
that you know have established a goal to get to a place to be able to compete one
day of course that’s a bit different even though Jews together goal you know
deal to you and and that’s the thing you know I always think it’s really
important for people to realize we started before there was a sport right
like we was not the goal yeah training people it was never going to be exposed
it’s not a sport it was a training system we were just training and yeah
there was this fun summer event nobody I mean Nicole DeHart won $500
right from her you know like is that like anybody was like yeah I’m a
professional hospitably still worth more if you write that on your resume it’s so
and so when what we built was a coaching system right and we kind of talked about
with three pillars is education support and encouragement right so education our
coaches have to be you know at the very top of their game so that we can educate
others how to make changes in their life right so and that could be on back squat
technique or it could be on nutrition or it could just be on mindset it does not
matter we have to be educating the people that put their trust in us
because ultimately they’re going to have to do it we’re not you know we’re just
there to guide them so it’s education it’s then it’s creating a support
network which I think we were very early in doing where we had Heidi as our
acupuncturist and she was doing mental coaching and we had a team that was
doing all the meal preparation at competitions krispies
I think people never saw the the back of you know the behind the scenes and
invictus yeah that always found it so impressive because at the games
there was the athletes meaning at the end so you talked about the day talk
about the man said there was food there there was your mom shopping food to
everybody everything was always super organized and athle didn’t have anything
to do but show up sit food is brought to you you eat yeah you listen you go to
sleep we I mean my mom did all the athletes laundry for oh yeah it was its
we had room set up for recovery before recovery was a thing I mean we showed up
at the 2008 CrossFit Games with Rubbermaid ice tubs and we were throwing
people in ice beds right after that it’s to cool their body temperature so you’re
the one who saved the half of them from that fucking mouth heat stroke but a bunch of them got yeah
there’s a bunch of them got violated by HUD ones yeah yeah so so that’s support
right we were like okay so the beginning it always came down to you because so
again it wasn’t a sport one of the first groups we had an Invictus was what we
called our weight management clinic right and it was for essentially it was
for people that had more than 50 pounds to lose and none of these people had
been in gyms or you know and so we did it late at night it was the last session
of the day which isn’t great but we did it because I didn’t want them to feel
embarrassed it was other people right and so it almost sounds like a course
that a person wants is gonna be like well I don’t have 50 pounds to lose I’ve
got 40 so I’m not yeah I’m not in this yeah so yeah but so like in that two
thousand nine right I’m coaching this class and that was where we kind of
built these pillars it’s like what do they need they need education they need
support right they need all sorts of different professionals that might be
able to help in different ways and then they need encouragement and an
encouragement often in the CrossFit community I think that’s part of the
success comes from your peers yeah not your not just your coaches any coaches
are always really about searching but it’s that group and so so those three
coaching pillars right those were built around the weight management clinic was
about and our general members right and it just so happened that then people
would come in and say like hey I’d love to train for this CrossFit Games thing
and I’m like cool you know what pillars we’re gonna and so that’s always been
the foundation and then you know it’s like as more and more people started
coming in with this goal of competing we just realized okay we need
actual programming track for them right and so as we did with everything we you
know we used the results that we had in the gym and we just made it public
public right so we launched our competition program I don’t even
remember year 2011 or 2012 I think again just for free right though yeah and so
we in fact I tell this story all the time but it’s still like you know Peter
vishawn who’s a real estate agent out in the st. Louis Missouri area I never
forget he sent me a snail mail letter in 2012 I think and it was like hey you
know here I’ve got kids and you know peered all this things I’ve followed
your program for a few years like yeah I’ve never been a better shape of my
life and I went on your website to see if I could buy a t-shirt or somehow
support yeah you didn’t sell anything so here’s the check for 50 bucks I never
cashed the check it was always one of those moments we’re like wow that’s how
cool yeah and then of course there’s a business owner you’re like how dumb am i what what what small percentage of clay
is willing to go that far it was that moment where it was like oh yeah I guess
we should have some e-commerce function because we weren’t charging for programs
or any there and so so that kind of started some awareness that we should
have an e-commerce but even like to that note we were such diehards about the
community and helping people we didn’t charge a drop-in fee so in the old days
across the whole school across right let’s go there’s a no drop-in if you
were a member of a different affiliate you could go anywhere in the world and
just be like yeah I’m here from out of town right and and it was yeah open arms
and we didn’t charge a drop in free into like 2016 and like and I don’t mean
probably four six years before that my staff members my coaches were like we
have to start charging he’s like people keep coming in especially in San Diego
right now it’s busy like people would come for Comic Con
people would come into class and they are coaches like dude I can’t do this I
was the coach I’d be like you’re in charge dropping fees if you’re just
gonna give me the money right I was so anti in today we finally did it
and then like even that first year that we started charging dropping fees we
made like 40 some-odd grand drop it’s always funny to see that stuff like kind
of like melded into the rest of the business you’re like you’re like oh that
was good that was good move but then you realize like a year before when you were
a little hungry yeah like straight to the bottom right
so let’s go into the business aspect cause first of all I want people to
understand a difference of money online in the fitness industry and money at a
location I think people have the wrong idea where Monica from but first I want
to tell you but feels feels I want to talk about the CrossFit game and what it
cost to send people there oh yeah like lucrative oh yeah that’s the world the
business model that you use to make money of the of the CrossFit Games with
your athletes please yeah yeah yeah so last ever we were just gonna use last
year we were blessed enough to have some great athletes good opportunities we
sent three of the 14 teams to the CrossFit Games man so that is 12
athletes just on the teams we also had I don’t know a dozen individual athletes
right but the individual athletes were kind of on their own so what but the
team I’m like look you this is our team bro they’re representing Invictus
flagship so we’re gonna support that way make sure they don’t have to swallow the
pills right and then three teams then you’re like okay cool
we got a Booker room right and they have to check-in Tuesday morning and they
have to be there through Sunday oh and so we and we got a sweetheart
deal right so we got like eight hundred dollars off and I’m like and my room is
still $2,800 like okay okay 28 times 12 okay
like we could double them in their room right so now you’re closer with each
other $2,800 times six rooms and we still haven’t figured out how we’re
getting them there and putting them on buses and you know getting them to the
stadium our rental cars and like this and so when you start realizing oh this
is good at it like oh wait we forgot you have to qualify for the CrossFit Games
there are 20 some-odd competitions last year okay you have to pay a thousand
books to get in yeah yeah registration fees right have now gotten to you almost
$1,000 per team and and so then we have to get to these sanctions right no
problem like you know we’re used to qualifying through regionals right here
in our backyard Del Mar California and instead we fly to Dubai with a couple we we qualified in Dubai right like
Mission you’ve come on sorry you send two teams to Dubai we sent two teams to
do Bible bus Tino and myself to coach them so that’s that’s a people as 10
people minimum is that did you bring anybody else oh no there was 11 because
we brought McCoy or videographer right even people okay yeah they we we were
not to be honest we were not in a financial position to buy everybody’s
take it so a lot of them and look our athletes have not actually been awesome
like they they’ve appreciated the support when we can do it but they’ve
also you know they’ve understood if we couldn’t but but yeah we did Dubai we
did Shanghai we did Brazil in são Paulo we did Washington DC for Mac we did
granite games we had what else wada Palooza miami with multiple teams we had
27 athletes I think in in Miami and we had a massive house and stuff how much
was that a house I don’t know I do know that we did a round up right and we said
okay cuz we need good luck and say okay boy these are these are adding up and we
spent in excess of $100,000 in 2019 just on competitions which was a little bit
of a tough pill to swallow because your life but that’s that’s not cheap would
you describe that expense as how did you think it in for you for the online
business or is it kind of actually don’t mean it promotes Invictus but does it
actually do and is you doing this a lot for your athletes yeah and for the
Invictus you know for the coaches for the culture but you not recouping no and
we don’t take prize money right that’s another thing that I think people
it’s may thanks money athletes keep their prize money am i you’re the one
out on the floor you know doing it so they seems like it’s an interesting
arrangement having been with the company that sponsored some athletes before but
what we did was very little some money a little money help free airplane ticket a
little for that type of stuff but but I think it’s very different
being having sponsored somebody versus like no this is my team I know how to
get you everywhere yeah and it doesn’t level of commitment yeah it is and then
to be honest until last year we’ve never once even thought about it okay it’s
just but then as the sport kept growing it started to become you know more and
more of an issue but it’s it’s a really interesting question like how do we
categorize that expense because I do think that you know the the easiest
answer or the assumption would be like oh it’s marketing its advertising right
yeah and there is no doubt that there is a marketing element that there is a
brand exposure element but we certainly don’t treat our athletes like it’s a
marketing expense right like we are giving you we’re putting everything we
can into them and you also don’t your objective with that is to have them be
comfortable and successful that’s right yeah it’s it’s all about they have
stated a goal to us you mean you’re not just giving them a check and saying
where this in Victor’s shirt anytime or a camera and we’ll see on Tuesday
yeah okay so I’ll talk about when I was there for the games that yeah because so
people know the work that you put in you were there for a week straight yeah
right for every single athletes that means basically you spend the entire day
at the games right like yeah you’re used to it I was exhausted by did a week
before we do a full training yeah full training camp and everything so every
day cause you have people no no but you have the master ELLs you have so you
have like like teenagers and the teams and individuals so you get like I don’t
know 40 athlete so you were basically in the athletes area yeah all day yeah it’s
super glamorous you don’t even get to watch events right and they warm up one
athlete they and now you have to warm up the next
step and they’d even let us in the athletes tent we’re in the baking and
this is baking in there in the warm-up area and you get stuck there going like
oh that’s okay so and then so the athletes then they go to their room
while your mom takes care of food laundry everything and at the end of the
day you have that meeting with all the top people so you can talk about what
happened and stuff like that so your day is fucking like what we was at 7:00 in
the morning when it depends that so ever since the games went to Madison this was
I was in Council yeah well the schedules actually been great in Madison like we
can sleep more than five hours but remember in Carson they almost every
year they would start an event where athletes had to be at check-in at 5:00
which meant that we were waking up it for something getting that all their
mood their food into two big lunch boxes right packing the car getting them in
the car driving them for check-ins so people understand like when we say
breakfast it’s not a buffet each person had their like Karen would bring them in
the Tupperware with their food measure for them and all that stuff and so and
the day would end that was 9:30 when they would have dinner CJ would talk
good see you tomorrow that was like fucking 9:30 yeah it was in bed at like
midnight and then he and then do it again the next day it was due and that
was a week straight that was the most insane stuff ever and so I love seeing
CDs pounds to do that the whole week they were being taken by the way we
forget to mention Heidi doing acupuncture and older and all the
recovery stuff they were being taken care of from from morning to night like
that like a like a true prostrate actually yeah that was I mean I remember
I was chatting with some guys that worked with the Golden State Warriors
and they were we were going over like our athlete services mm-hmm and they
were blown away they’re like I’m sure they’re like we don’t need professional
I know you know have these kind of services and but to me you look at this
sport how hard it is on the body and I’m like art we were as much recovery
coaches as strength coach break for juice yes but because that’s
why it’s not just an anagram like people have to understand is the amount of work
that you put into this cause wave just like my like everything you’re gonna go
there with you know however many people 1215 people and they all got to eat they
are gonna be done on skittles everything’s got to be managed you gotta
know who’s got to be winning where y’all got to talk to you like like just that
and I’m guessing that there’s some headcase moments that come and go
throughout the course of your stamps were like we’re just well I think of CJ
is I go I don’t want to do that cost me money to do that it’s hard to do it for
money boy I’d still be pretty hard pressed
because it just seems like that is that is a lot to do and you have to do it
like you said you take enough pride in it to do it well it is and I think
there’s something interesting Tino and I talked about this so Tina I mean one I
couldn’t as we grew like if I didn’t have Tino who was every bit as committed
passionate about learning and coaching and helping others as I was right like
there’s no way we would expand it the way we did so Tino’s you know a huge
part of that but he and I talked about that frequently which is like we solely
did it and the reason we never talked about money or even worried about the
money we were spending is because we didn’t care yeah we were we were we were
doing it because we loved the humans that we were coaching and we wanted to
see them approach their goal right so like for me Kristin Jota taking second
this year no that’s five six years of coaching and
progress and Lucia and I see six year because that’s when I met it was the
first time was that first time I went to Paloma yeah and she’s just I mean she’s
every year she is as deserving as any athletes people don’t understand by the
way she’s a tough first athlete melon man we mentally that
ever had in my hands men’s in any sport she’s a toughest one ever so it’s like
you look at a person like her I would bend over backwards I would do like
there was you know the I’m sure there’s at some point of money you know where I
put my family at risk that I would have to consider but but you know it’s like
if if she needed something like we would we would try to make sure that we could
do it for and there’s almost the the minute the money right the minute the
sport evolved and I’ll just be super candid it was when the athletes started
making good money right that some of these athletes are making far more than
we will ever make in a year and yet we’re still you know we’re still trying
to to support and push and and that’s where like it starts to get tainted
because then you’re like when when people ask that question of where do you
categorize this is it a marketing expense like I almost get this like like
you want to fight about it because you’re like no I’m not I’m not trying to
be human like I don’t help this person and it does change that dynamic right
because the minute you start to bring in money and it becomes about it becomes
transactional and and that’s what I’ve actually stepped back from coaching a
little bit because I never I don’t like that feeling I I mean I left a job
making great money and if this becomes about me trying to make money off of
somebody I’m like that’s that’s not what it’s ever been you know even in that
perception being out there it makes it a little dirtier for Pertino and I was
like no we’re actually doing this because we care and then the minute it
becomes about money we’re both like oh man there was a poem when I saw agents
coming in ya know they’re gonna bring the sponsors and you don’t want those
people in and that’s me for me I was like oh okay the minute training became
about you know how many tripods we could set
up around the gym and my grandson on Instagram start to dictate yeah the
workout because he looks cool or stuff like that that was like oh yeah check my
Instagram I’m like four times a year type of guy like it’s just not a part of
me of my personality and so like once it started being prevalent in the training
space because athletes and I get it like athletes have obligations I’m not saying
that they shouldn’t do it I’m just saying like this is when the ship stops
– it just changes things a little bit and it takes us away from that you know
first day popping my head into CrossFit San Diego with the roof falling down
gritty and that’s what resonated with me is like let’s go to work
well I think that’s important when I when you mention all of this the thread
that goes through the beginning for since the beginning was that it was
never about the money yeah right and that when you talk about spending lots
of money with the athletes and teams and going places when we when we talk about
what is that expensive wool it’s not almost an expense you say it’s an added
value to what you do you know and that is a piece that I think kind of runs
through the beginning of it kind of through this whole stories it’s not
really about the money so when people think the competitive athletes all these
things well maybe you’re not doing that because there’s a bunch of money at the
end of that fucking rainbow for you it’s just that that’s the game you want to be
playing right now this is like doing but that brings the question though because
it is changing yep and that’s a reality nada we don’t even have the originals
which I love the online stuff like to me the greatest thing I’ve seen from a
spoke perspective was that online feed during originals you know like from a
media perspective how did they do that well with their own commentator man that
was cool yeah that was cool to watch as that don’t get you know me with a shoe
but the man did they do that do that well with the events and everything is
changing they’re like when I saw the agents you know when I thought me the
most was when I saw the agents was like suddenly you don’t have when you were
doing your talk it wasn’t just the athletes and the coaches they’re so mean
they well yeah outside people in there and I’m like okay and that’s all the
interest rate right and especially like I’ve and I don’t like I talked about
crystal hotel and I’ve loved coaching certain individual
and I’ve been really lucky to have like some awesome individuals but I love
teams I love the dynamics as as much as a pain in the ass it can be right but
when I was coaching six people are now four people right there’s a lot of
there’s a lot of stuff and you can get some really cool lessons and life
lessons and long-term friendships out of that stuff but but man that changes
right because now if you have somebody that’s on teams and now you go to these
super teams right well everybody’s got a different sponsor and they’ve got
different obligations and they’ve got seeing consolidation with sponsors – is
that crystal and so with the big-name sponsors here and there and you need to
attracts one of your team well may not have leverage because you have
connections within your own sponsor environment so this is the game has
changed a lot in the last two years and I so I’ve never actually talked about
this publicly I we talked about it with Tino and some other people which is that
that’s the biggest heartbreak for me right now is I think the team the the
rules the rule of change to the team side and I knew August 2018 when the
first article came out saying that the games format was gonna change
don’t see no I said look 2019 is Wild West and we’ve got a chance to make sure
that we get our team’s there and we did and to the tune of six figures and but
sending three out of 14 teams whatever like that’s awesome so a pretty big
chunk yeah but I also said that year isn’t any less valid right so any of the
efforts for any other but I also told them I said that may be it yeah because
yeah so that was our 11th consecutive CrossFit Games qualifying a team at
least one team to cross four games in but I said you know that may be it
realistically I mean we’re still going to support our athletes were still help
but here’s here’s the dynamics of it yeah right is that to your point you
know Sam dancer and Christy Remo we’re on one of our teams last year right
Lauren and Rasmus were on different team learning Erasmus responsibly Nike salmon
Cristi are sponsored by noble right I can’t tell Sam like oh hey I know Noble
pays you your annual salary but take off that shirt and wear an Invictus like you
know we wouldn’t and and I would never do that like we we always made a canary
conscious effort that when we signed with Nike it didn’t obligate our
athletes to do anything I’m not gonna you know take away their danger yeah it
was Invictus and so but what would you see going forward with the games maybe
just kind of this like it’s with the super teams you don’t have to live
anywhere you don’t have to train you have to train the same system right so
now it may be who can recruit the best Yeah right and am I gonna out recruit
noble because of noble calls and says hey Sam hey Christie you’re going on a
team and it’s part of your sponsorship an endorsement right then I have to be
consular as their friend and as a good coach my job is to look out for their
best interests I’m gonna high-five them give them a hug and be like man yeah but
you’re gonna be under you’re gonna end up being a farm system that they’re
gonna use them yeah I mean no maybe not but that could be a possibility well
they they wait for you to create someone get them to the you know to the level
that they need and then they just poach left on the right right yeah exactly and
so and so what you do it so when we look at that it’s like that’s what’s changed
the team environment for me a little bit it used to be and we used to also use
our teams to groom people to become individuals okay and we have a long
history Lauren Fisher went through that she went team then qualified as an
individual right and you helped do that one so because she was going we can talk
about it again but she was going to school because she’s a very very high
level student which I don’t know if people know but so you put her on a team
cause she was it was just too much as an individual yeah it just would have and
so it’s like the team environment I think has always been such a great
learning process but now it’s really changed right the team environment
is now if you look at teams its people that already had their day as individual
90 plus percent of the teams are made up of former individuals oh now they’re
going into that team environment but they now come with sponsors all of these
things and so it’s a little bit harder to get that total congruence you know
where everybody’s just in it for you know to make sure that the team does as
well as humanly possible yeah that’s kind of yeah and you still
have those people I used to have those I mean we had like our Invictus X team
those one of the you know best experiences in that the way it came
together they went through a lot of turmoil last year with different team
combinations and at the end it ended up being Sam dancer Holden Rothwell Christi
our MOA and Margot Alvarez and we you know we came together for a training
camp of some of like three best days just because the mutual respect the
caring that the camaraderie right the the just absolute willingness to do
anything for the team success or stuff like that that’s those for coaching yeah
those are the moments you live for right it’s not the it’s not even the finish
yeah it’s the like it’s that process of coming together so so over these over
these last few years so you’ve coached a lot of people you’ve coached a lot of
people very far into the competitive side of things what are some of those
most like the off the competitive stage wins for you with a lot of these people
you’ve been coaching yeah you know what what are some of the big wins you’ve got
that aren’t just you know although we took them here we did this like a
because you’ve been able to see people develop in their lives for now yeah 15
years in this space which is fucking rare right you know it’s such a young
space that not many people have 14 15 years of coaching people and seeing how
they grow what does some of that been like yeah cool examples of see a people
came all the way through and so many and it’s funny because I think that in many
ways some of our best coaching work has been to not to encourage but to
facilitate the conversation as to whether or not somebody really wants to
keep doing this and we’ve had several I mean Asia Bartow I consider a really
good friend I coached Asia for a few years and at one point he said you know
yeah I don’t think I want to do CrossFit I want to do I want to compete
weightlifting Nationals and I’m like cool well if I can help you and so I
coached him for weightlifting Nationals another Amanda Schwartz who’s also down
in Texas right Amanda I coached for about a year and a half she is
successful she made it to the CrossFit Games well yet did well like three weeks
after we talked I’m like you know tell me where your head’s at she’s like I
don’t know she has Sun she is I think she just got married at that point and
she was like I I think I should probably focus on my family I’m like I think
you’re right you know and how many hours per day right let you send someone to
the games let’s say like two months before regionals and everything we’re
talking four right four months in a row three four hours a day yeah and it’s not
just the hours it’s also the mental space right well it cannot be anything
else but you know as we work with valve over all right you’d say we did a great
job of managing shooting timelines and hours and cutting off everything else
yeah but it still took a toll at times right just the the pressure of it
thinking that you know I have an expectation of myself and what if I
don’t get it and it’s time I not spending with a kid with the husband and
that’s true it’s a valve was the one who trained the least yeah but for your
average person it’s three hours a day four hours and again this recovery
there’s being thrashed at night there’s having to eat a certain way having to do
things no matter where it’s at for a newlywed with a young son I I totally
understand that she looked and well again yeah I’m good for her oh yeah good
for ya I think there’s so many examples of those and like I’m just happy Alex
Anderson is one of the like kindest most respectful genuine and you know people
in the world and going into last year he competed in Dubai but like yo he got 21
reps in and went out on him right and his wife you
know he he had been married his wife had a child from previous marriage and then
they got pregnant and so we had some great conversations and the thing like
there wasn’t much guidance needed Alex was like hey you know my family is my
priority I need to find a steady support and I’m like 100% so he’s yeah he’s like
I got a retire from cross fan like I yeah you do I think he said to me at one
point like you know I just you’ve worked hard to like help me I don’t want to
disappoint you but I’m like dude like I would be disappointed about exactly be
disappointed if you kept doing this yes visually for me people yeah like I want
I want any of our athletes like as a coach our only job is to figure out how
we can help them achieve what they want to achieve right I remember hearing Dan
John many years ago say the goal is to keep the goal the goal you know how
often and especially I would say in CrossFit and maybe anything that people
get super passionate about but how often do we just take our eye off the actual
priority right because it’s like and Maddie Myers I have this conversation a
lot and I love the kid and you know she is extremely complex because she is
extremely bright right but that’s like Maddie comes in she’s wickedly talented
she qualifies for the CrossFit Games as a senior in high school right she goes
on she to set you know six different USA weightlifting you know records and
different weight classes she’s 19 at the time right she and she’s
got everybody telling her you could be the best CrossFit he could be you she
also has a full portal weightlifter right meanwhile she’s got a 4.0 her
mom’s a very successful anesthesiology she wants to go to med school and write
and and it’s so easy to see the temptation to say let’s undo fobian
epics let’s not go to school this semester you have a lot of competing to
do you have right and I always felt like I owed it to her to make your culture or
your was my coach did for me yeah to say like hey kid you’ve got a future I did
this because I had to write and well I think it’s important to like when that
was mentioned to you by your coach he was telling you to like that doesn’t
mean stay a lawyer right the point was I’m gonna be able to night because you
didn’t take his advice and go okay I’m gonna lawyer it up for the rest of my
life no no but look let’s make the most of my all of my opportunities right now
and then I can decide Oh years later Almighty is graduating yeah fight yes
she just turned 23 but she’s just over the other night we were like oh my god I
started coaching this kid or she was seven when she do CJ yeah but yeah and
and she just turned 23 she’s got you know I don’t know maybe like a three
nine eight or something out of yeah UCSD yeah really
she is working at a medical lab she’s publishing two papers and this you know
crazy research medical research right while she’s going to school and she’s
still training and she’s still a badass that destroys everybody but it’s like
you know as a coach yes I am a athletic performance coach but man if I don’t
have that conversation with her like hey what’s most important right it’s a huge
disservice and like we just we see that so often that people are so excited
about training right all the sentence they forget everything else
Maddie is being that bright that talented on everything she was a rock
climbing champion he was champion at 15 yes she
very high strong if you had pushed her at the wrong times you would have
wrecked or mentally like she’d be like the anxiety levels the stuff that could
have hurt the kid people don’t see that take that semester off and lose your
mind right yeah go ahead and the temptation is there because you when you
have someone that talented you want to go like come on man you got one shot at
it yeah but now she’s gonna go to med school anywhere she wants in the country
and she’ll still train and she’s still about us that hasn’t changed
of course she still trains great just cause she’s not going through the games
by the way doesn’t mean she’s not about us very still trains yeah like people
don’t understand that to it they don’t see that they’re going to go out they
stopped raining no that’s yeah not who they are they
will always train and by the way they can still kick your ass like I got this
for you okay yeah I take Val right now she still whoops all of you but they are
happy right yeah when did we lose that one
yeah that’s yeah that’s an important one that people sometimes forget you know
having fun you know that thing cool and I look I’m as guilty of it as anybody
right because I think anybody who gets achievement based right you push or even
service based right is that you get so lost in how can I help somebody next or
how can I grow the business or how can I do all that that you know and it took me
getting you know kicked in the face a few times to figure out like maybe I
don’t need to just constantly grow like maybe we can just well maybe I know
doesn’t mean as much as I thought business is there’s number of the stuff
it’s so easy to go right yeah in fact right and and so you start looking at
that and you’re like man how often do we have the time to sit back and reflect
and say hey is my goal that I’m chasing still the goal right and and do we the
reason I started yeah that’s the reason I started as does it still align with my
priorities I mean for me I got you know six year old in the four year old and
you know my family is everything like I I need to make sure that yes I have to
build and support them and create you know a biz
us to do so and at the same time you know how how many top executives do we
see how many top addressee they’re married seven times over yeah like oh
this because there is a sacrifice to being all in to be the best you can be
in one aspect of your life whether we’re talking about sport business anything if
you’re solely focused there’s some other things they’re gonna drop off and then
that just becomes a personal question and the that you know as a coach I’ll
never answer for an athlete but I think we owe it to them to just see that even
on the on the lower levels you know when you walk into someone’s gym and you go
like oh okay priorities have changed we have seen
that like when I was even in Europe and everything like you know they get
successful they go from 100 to 200 or stuff like that and you walk in the gym
and you go okay so you went the other route then like Starbucks and do transit
okay and you go like anything goes the soul of the place right yeah I mean and
it’s you know some people are tough to control so they’re like we we realize
that we’re going to try to do what’s best for somebody and you know they’re
they’re gonna blow you up a certain number of population is just gonna blow
you off and be like now I’m gonna do something totally self-destructive we
had a guy in his 50s and a little overweight and had a shoulder issue and
the open came out and there was muscle ups my time to shine and my man came
four days in a row right for like I said work hours trying to get myself in like
that hey don’t you know shoulder I’ll be back tomorrow but it’s funny like it’s
athletes its owner all these coaches like you get stuck in that mindset many
gee destructive yeah that’s where afraid because I know I have that tendency so
sometimes I like Sun God for yeah yeah if I didn’t have yeah you know I could
sometimes where I’m like you have the kids have the time I want to
strangle her if she was in there I would have no balance whatsoever
I feel that if she leaves the house yeah that’s it I’ll go fucking insane
yeah do you think I’m insane now it’s cuz Yaya is they have to keep me
balanced they might make kids but Courtney’s always been that primitive
right is that Courtney and I have very different personalities and and very
similar priorities and in terms of our family and our corporate abilities but
you know she she definitely places an emphasis on love caring and having fun
whereas like if I were alone I would I I please zero emphasis on fun that’s
what I would do all day yeah yeah til dinner and then dinner would be reading
my shit and then going to oh yeah oh yeah I don’t have no balance what’s yeah
I would never do anything for the purity of it so I pretty much totally don’t
relate to anything you guys just I like she drags me to the movies and
everything it’s after the fact that I’m like thank God yeah like you’re I’m
happy to go see those shitty movies because I’m like man I got me out of the
house cause our fucking Rock what can I get better at yeah right now exactly
that that’s always right that’s always my mindset and like into it to a
detriment like you know in even in my relationship like we should be getting
better contentment in my life but there’s no pushing forward
yeah I am known for my eggs are not little I’m getting worse
my son is a really cool thing is like yeah I think when I had kids I thought
oh well you know you’ll be able to shape some direction always been like taifa
kind of control freak I’m like well I’m gonna be my son like he for whatever
reason I’m like I wish I could say I’m super rugged outdoorsy by nature but
like at 2 years old all he wanted to do was watch hunting camping fishing like
shows right go out and like search for bugs in the yard and like do all this
stuff and now it’s like all he wants to do is camp fish I’m like wow it’s like
he is a perfect antidote for my personality actually person’s yeah yeah
you don’t get to say anything he also breaks me out of that like how much time
do I spend behind a computer or because he drags you out mags you to know I’m
driving him out to go camp you know and I did that we shot it you know with a
fishing pole you know while he throws rocks and it’s
like a because I get that we shopping we go shopping then she’ll try sick stuff
and not buy one right and I’m like I’ll buy it yeah I’ve been here for an hour
and a half you are buying something how do I use something cuz this is like
no I’ll come back two more is the same stone every city we go to can we go to a
different store plus if you don’t buy at that time you’re just gonna get roped in
for the next selection process it’s like we come back a week later and of course
the clothes is gone so now she’s upset like I know
told you last week to buy it and let’s go find it at the other social actor
I’ll get another one two hours trying it in like we have to
make it he has to challenge my two hours have to challenge
yeah but this is yeah exactly yeah it’s I think it’s a great it’s a great
balancing act otherwise you’re grading there will happen well I think we’re
probably at or near whatever I’m gonna be able to store this right now we’re
doing again they saw CJ thanks a bunch yeah thank you it’s really good to hear
the stories your story behind every chances because the human behind the
things all the things you see you just don’t know you know what it is and
unique this is so big Huck with day you know I mean people have their own image
of it and then I think I really sink I don’t know what the foundation was but
yeah I only told me a very long time ago before I ever met you reset it CJ is one
of the smartest people that I’ve ever met
yep and so like I’ve proved that wrong today but thanks much for listen
everybody CJ where can people get a hold of the Invictus things whatever yeah
where do you want Invictus fitness calm I think is still I mean we still write
daily articles trying to help people get smarter in some aspects of their life
whether it’s training mindset nutrition I think our our social media team does
an awesome job at CrossFit and victus and if they want to find me I don’t post
much except everything on our end you can find it strong sitcom strong fit
equipment calm or dot-eu Julian’s a strong fit one on Instagram
tyler effing stone on the gram i don’t know shit anymore
okay 32 rare barracuda Julian’s corner comm Manta Fitness sells sandbags in
Australia and I think I’ve checked all the boxes that sports party over at
podcast that strong fit calm if they don’t know by now
yeah at this point I only say it because repetition
this King I think business it’s right that’s real job it’s all good
I’m grew it and he just the whole time he’s like it’s your job to do it but I’m
gonna make sure to fucking sabotage exactly cuz that’s kind of funny
alright thanks I’ve listened everybody and we’ll see you next week everybody
thank you you you

2 Replies to “Episode 68: Paying Dues w/ CJ Martin of Invictus”

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