The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. —Dr. Seuss
Reading has been one of the most positive habits that I have developed in my adult life. (besides exercise of course. lol). The first time reading was suggested to me by my business mentor, I remember rolling my eyes and laughing a little. I was 25 years old, I had huge dreams in my heart and a ton of bad habits that were leading me down a path that would NOT end in achieving any of them. I needed someone to speak raw truth into my life. He told me that if I wanted to learn how to be someone who designs a life they love, I had to become a student of success. I listened to him because he had a life that I wanted. That meant turning off the TV, stop partying the weekends away and start investing in my personal growth. A big part of that plan involved reading leadership, business and other self improvement books. He challenged me that year to read one book a month. Reluctantly, I started… I almost did it out of spite to prove that it wouldn’t work. Honestly, when I graduated collage I told people that I would never read a book again. That’s pretty funny to me now, but also a huge testament to how much I needed to grow myself. At the time I thought it was a big waste of time and it felt like I was giving up so much to make it a priority in my life.
I can’t describe what happened to me that first year of 12 leadership books, except that they changed me from the inside out. In that year alone, I started to see patterns, undoubtedly there where solid principles and steps people took to achieve success in all areas of their life. Turns out these successful people weren’t “lucky”, it wasn’t some magic, success was a skill and it was one that could be learned. Then I understood what it meant to be a student of success. I became obsessed with reading and made it a daily habit that I looked forward to. Since that first year of 12 books, I have read over 36 books each year. Most months I read 4 books, they are all business, leadership, fitness and faith related. This includes listening to audio books. I can say without a shadow of doubt, reading has been the biggest factor in turning my life around. It keeps me motivated, gives me confidence to stand on my principles when the world is going the opposite way, gives me courage to take calculated risks, holds me to higher standards of living, pulls me though adversity and opens my eyes to a whole bunch of different perspectives.
All that to say, reading to me is part of building a better life. SO much of what we do in the CrossFit gym is a battle between your two ears. The mental training in CrossFit is what makes it different from any other training methodology in the world. If you want to win in the gym, you have to first work on winning in your mind. Your thoughts dictate your actions, your actions dictate your habits and your habits dictate your life. For the first half of my Adult life I just ran with the thoughts and perspectives that I picked up from everyone, never thought that I had the power to program them myself. When I started reading I learned that I had the power to program what thoughts and perspectives I wanted to dictate my actions. That has made all the difference in the world.
I’m so excited to start this book club and invite you to join in on this journey! Every quarter I am going to share a book that we can read as a community to elevate our thinking together. At the end of the quarter we will host a LIVE video to discuss and announce the next book. I hope you join us, talk about it in classes and challenge your own thinking. If you are not currently a reader its okay, maybe just maybe, you’ll join to prove me wrong and it will end up changing your life too. 🙂 – Coach Shanna
Learning to Breathe Fire, by J.C. Herz
The absorbing, definitive account of CrossFit’s origins, its explosive grassroots growth, and its emergence as a global phenomenon.
One of the most illuminating books ever on a sports subculture, Learning to Breathe Fire combines vivid sports writing with a thoughtful meditation on what it means to be human. In the book, veteran journalist J.C. Herz explains the science of maximum effort, why the modern gym fails an obese society, and the psychic rewards of ending up on the floor feeling as though you’re about to die.
The story traces CrossFit’s rise, from a single underground gym in Santa Cruz to its adoption as the workout of choice for elite special forces, firefighters and cops, to its popularity as the go-to fitness routine for regular Joes and Janes. Especially riveting is Herz’s description of The CrossFit Games, which begin as an informal throw-down on a California ranch and evolve into a televised global proving ground for the fittest men and women on Earth, as well as hundreds of thousands of lesser mortals.
In her portrayal of the sport’s star athletes, its passionate coaches and its “chief armorer,” Rogue Fitness, Herz powerfully evokes the uniqueness of a fitness culture that cultivates primal fierceness in average people. And in the shared ordeal of an all-consuming workout, she unearths the ritual intensity that’s been with us since humans invented sports, showing us how, on a deep level, we’re all tribal hunters and first responders, waiting for the signal to go all-out.