CROSSFIT SUFFOLK  **  Forging Elite Fitness


For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

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INVICTUS: Become acquainted with being unconquerable

by George Demetriou 

We quoted the last paragraph of the William Ernest Henley poem "Invictus" the other day.  Invictus is latin for "unconquerable".    Henley wrote "Invictus" somewhere around 1875 in his hospital bed while suffering from  Tuberculosis Arthritis.  Henley eventually had his leg amputated  yet he lived a full and productive life.  At one point doctors wanted to amputate his other leg, but Henley would not let them.


by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
       My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
      I am the captain of my soul.

Now that the year two thousand and nine has arrived we thought the time has come to revisit "Invictus".

Understanding the conditions of Henley's life while this poem was written gives us a better appreciation for the words and the meaning of the poem.  Henley was obviously considering his "circumstance", his life and that the fact that death could come at any moment.  Yet Henley's words illustrate a man who has warrior spirit, defiance and the ability to take responsibility for his attitude about what is happening to him as opposed to adapting a "victim" mindset like many men in his position would do.  Henley assessed his situation, acknowledged that he has taken a beating, but makes a conscious decision not to give in to the ravages of his disease.  He doesn't give in mentally, emotionally or physically.  Henley finally leaves the hospital, not a hospital that resembles the hospitals of today by any stretch of the imagination and becomes a successful writer and editor.  This took pure courage.

What does "Invictus" have to do with us today?


Most of our writings have to do with two subjects near to my heart: fitness and self-defense.  The study of human performance under stress.  For those who believe the topics are not related, nonsense I say.  In fitness we defend ourselves against injury, dysfunction and decay.  In self-defense we train to defend ourselves against violence usually brought on by another member of our species.  We need to be fit in order to defend ourselves effectively and we need to defend ourselves effectively in order to stay fit–mentally, emotionally and physically.

Effective self-defense goes beyond training to stop an attacker.  The training becomes the fiber that makes us who we are.  From training we acquire the ability to overcome obstacles, distractions, excuses, physical limitations and engaging in "victim thinking".  These qualities are necessary to win a life and death confrontation, but they are the same qualities that help us win in life.  Most do not go through life unscathed, but the winners are those who can continue to bounce back and "fight" another day when things have not gone their way.  The winners are those who are unconquerable. 

"Unconquerable", we believe, doesn't mean you cannot "lose" or you are completely "unbeatable".  Unconquerable means that whatever is thrown at you will not quell your spirit. It means not accepting that something or someone can change your soul, your winning attitude, your personal code.  You might be beaten, but you'll be back.  You may be killed, but it wasn't because you were unprepared or because you accepted that being beaten or killed was your fate. "Unconquerable" means never accepting defeat as a given because the situation has gone very wrong and the odds are against you.

We are fortunate to train, or train with, a relatively small group of athletes.  Each one has some sort of "obstacles" they overcome on a regular basis.  We train with athletes that have injuries or medical conditions that would keep many people at home watching television all day, yet these particular athletes not only train consistently, but give everything they have every session.  We don't hear excuses and we don't see "victims".

We train athletes who commute for hours to get to work, work long shifts and then train consistently not using the long, exhausting day as an excuse not to train.  Others are taking care of parents or newborns and they make the time to train and focus on training hard.

For most people engaged in a "fitness" or "workout" routine, but have no idea what a metcon workout is, approaching the quality of being "unconquerable" is very far off.  Wanting to stop during a lung and muscle burning, sky-high intensity workout, but NOT stopping is mentally and emotionally, an awesome feeling.  It's also one of the best ways to being on the path of "unconquerable".  Success is built in the steps of each and every training session.  Anyone can come up with a reason to quit, but those who stick with it reap the benefits of strength, power, stamina and a winning mindset.  Everyone has issues they must deal with on a regular basis.  The ones who manage their issues and don't fall victim to them will always be successful.  This is the kind of success that carries over to all facets of life.

We look forward to the challenges that 2009 will bring.  We look forward to training with you on the path of the unconquerable.


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