It’s amazing that such a small change in the single digit of a four digit number can be the catalyst for deep reflection. A few days ago, we lost a seven and gained an eight, and the mere additive transaction within the Gregorian calendar led me to a quick review of the year.
What was 2017?
It was a year that I found opportunities to create and share. I kicked off and maintained my commitment to learning, writing and sharing through 52Musings. I developed and launched a podcast called Music Is that explores music from the diverse perspectives of creative people. I continued to advocate the possibilities of technology-enabled, real-time creative collaboration to deliver new experiences in marketing, post-production and live music. I embraced the idea of consilience and interdisciplinary thought. I produced music for various types of creative content. I worked to value what is right rather than who is right. I led strategic consulting engagements to formulate technology strategy. I tried to be deliberate and consistent in my exercise of patience. I experienced a greater sense of clarity and focus that has eluded me in previous years.
My favorite creation of 2017 is something called #elvispresfit.
My friends with grown children have always thoughtfully shared advice from their experience as parents. One message stands out that is consistently validated by being the most common.
As chaotic as being a parent is, the entire experience goes by in a blur.
Make sure you enjoy it, because it goes fast.
Whenever I heard this particular message, I would smile, nod and do my best to communicate my comprehension. My ears registered the signal, but I didn’t fully grasp the meaning. Now as I enter my thirteenth year of being a Dad, I am finally understanding what they meant. As space-time magically bends reality everyday, I witness my personal experience of the window between 5AM – 630PM unfolding in the blink of an eye. In an equally rapid series of events, my twelve year old daughter, Presley, grew from a curious toddler to a creative, beautiful, thoughtful and intelligent person.
I can’t slow this train down, but I sure can be an active passenger on the rails.
I really enjoy sharing my passions with my kids. I’ve been training at CrossFit gyms for more than eight years, and I’ve been a Level-One Certified Trainer and Coach at CrossFit Alpharetta for the last four years. My personal fitness journey spans a collection of experiences through struggle, failure, discovery, knowledge and a series of small wins that seem to constantly propel me into a steady state of increased confidence, strength and endurance. The mental benefits of strength training and metabolic conditioning began to manifest as veritable super powers that translated to every aspect of my life. With these powers, I began to embrace challenges in a different way. I was more willing to explore the paths littered with obstacles and adversity. Obstacles are not things in the way, they are the way. Our muscles cannot grow without stimulus, our minds cannot expand without new perspectives, and our souls cannot shine without experiences that deliver us out of the familiar and comfortable. Investments in our physical health generate exponential returns that serve as the foundation for how we perceive ourselves and our potential.
I wanted to share this with Presley.
What is #elvispresfit?
Every Sunday, Presley and I embark on a mission to understand ourselves and each other, test our strength and mental fortitude, inspire each other, and share special moments together free from our usual responsibilities. As soon as we close the doors to my car, it is just us. Things are simple and fun. Time seems to slow down. Our words are crystal clear, our minds undistracted and our presence true. During the short drive to the gym, we chat about a variety of topics generated by the symbiotic and random nature of our brains.
Net neutrality, Kelsey Ballerini, Birkenstocks, the power of science, how to build musical harmony, and the Atlanta Falcons.
It’s our time to be silly, listen to each other and connect deeply.
Before we know it, the car stops at the front of the gym. We jump out and begin to breathe life into the quiet building by turning on the lights, settling in on our music and breaking out the barbells and weights.
Our programming involves the basic understanding of functional movements (squats and deadlifts) and olympic lifting (clean, snatch and jerk). After reviewing the movement of the day and the specific cues, we run through a strength building sequence. Once complete, we move on to a metabolic conditioning activity, followed by some accessory movements, mobility and stretching.
I’m not trying to build the next powerlifting champion, CrossFit games competitor or olympic lifter. There are no expectations or ulterior motives. Just a two hour window free from the noise of the world.
Here’s a quick peek into our #elvispresfit sessions …
The deadlift is a functional movement critical to our daily lives. We need it every time we bend down and pick something up from the ground. Learning how to perform it safely builds strength and confidence in all aspects of life.
Here is Presley crushing a set in a 5 x 5 deadlift:
One of the most important lessons in life is understanding that you can do more than your brain lets you believe. In the example below, we performed three reps of three different movements every minute for ten minutes. You have one minute to get through the series, but ideally you finish somewhere between 20 – 30 seconds to make sure you get some rest before the next set. I like this one because it requires mental strength and commitment.
10 Minute EMOM – Macho Man
3 Power Cleans
3 Front Squats
3 Shoulder to Overhead
In simplest terms, there are two approaches to a metabolic conditioning workout. In either case, you have a list of movements that you have to perform. Sometimes you just perform that list as fast as you can and record the time. In the case of an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible), you have a list of movements to perform under a specified time constraint. The goal is to see how many times you can get through that list in the time allowed. I like AMRAP workouts because you are forced to find a level of intensity that you can maintain for the entire allotted time.
20 minute AMRAP
7 Clean and Jerks
15 Russian Kettlebell Swings
15 calories – Assault bike
We recently completed the following partner workout:
1,000 meter Assault Bike
50 squats (together)
1,000 meter row
50 burpees (together)
1,000 meter Assault Bike
At the end of each session, we do a quick victory lap to talk through it all. In this one, I really noticed her confidence building when she reflected back on her deadlift performance.
Bringing health, fitness and quality time with Presley together has been priceless. This experience has opened a door to developing similarly unique experiences for me and Merritt (10), Keller (6) and Myer (4). #elvispresfit is our sanctuary, our Sunday Funday, our opportunity to be active participants in our daily experience.
No expectations. No agenda. No pressure.
Just me and Presley.
You can follow our progress on Instagram @jeremygilby #elvispresfit.
For more on CrossFit Alpharetta, check out the video below: