You Are Not Special

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Patrick Bet David

Tim’s Deep Squats (Thoughts)

We were outside under the tents in front of CFPA in late 2020 or early 2021. 12pm class on a Tuesday or Thursday. Rob C. asked me to define CrossFit Palo Alto’s essence. Basically, to give an elegant description of our gym, community and ethos. I said, I didn’t know. Jonathan or Johannes piped in, “I know! ‘You’re not special.’

Special: Someone/thing better or more important than other people or things.

We all laughed. And I loved it. None of us are special. Henry Rollins said, “The iron never lies to you… two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” I find it refreshing to be reminded that a standard is the same for everyone. Standards can be a foundation to build a life, relationships and a business. Let’s dig in a little as to how this applies to CFPA.

We discuss in the Intro Class that we all have the same needs. These needs vary by degree, not by kind. That means we all need to be able to pick things up, carry things, put things overhead, squat down and getting back on our feet after lowering ourselves to the ground (burpee). I call them the Big Five of Basic Human Needs.

One of my favorite things about CrossFit is the universal movement prescription these Big Five represent. Since we all have these same needs, everyone can do the Workout of The Day. We may have to modify the weight, reps, range of motion, etc. but we can find a way to include everyone in the group that is doing the workout. Modifying the workout may be unique to us, but it doesn’t make anyone better or more important. Take notice of the whiteboard on the wall. There are often times very few Rx scores/times. That means the majority of people are modifying the workout. This is great since it’s one more way we can relate to others. I believe it’s in this relating that makes a CrossFit class, and the subsequent gym, great.

I celebrate that you and I are not special. As such, we can delight in the idea that we can all be “not special” together. We all have A LOT going on in our lives. We all have demands that listing them would be a cure for insomnia. At CFPA, we appreciate your demands, schedules, etc. and believe a high standard produces high performance. Basically, “You deserve what you tolerate.” – Ramon Colon-Lopez

In application to the gym culture at CFPA, if someone is not in the room and ready to start when the warmup begins at :05 past the hour, the buy-in is 20 burpees. Like The Mandolorian says, “This is the way.” It’s not a punishment. There’s no shame intended. It is merely a way to ensure that you get some sort of standardized warmup before joining the ongoing class. A simple standard can set the tone for the gym. Punctuality is a low cost form of respect for the coach, the other members of the class, the gym and especially, yourself.

The above merely scratches the surface of my thoughts on “specialness”. In essence, none of us are special. And it’s awesome. I love knowing that I can relate to others going through similar things in life while coming together in one place to experience each other. And that, dare I say it, makes our CFPA community… unique.


I love a good documentary. Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine had me riveted despite already knowing how the story turns out. This 64 minutes tracks the historic journey from inception to launch of the James Webb Telescope. Watch it on Netflix.

What’s Going On?

Annual Thanksgiving Week Closure

No formal classes during the week of Thanksgiving.

2nd Annual CFPA Turkey Ruck

Friday, November 24th, 9:00am

Arastradero Preserve

(Coffee Provided)

CFPA Annual Holiday Party and White Elephant Exchange

Saturday, December 9th, 5-8pm

Location: CFPA

Overheard in Class:

“I’m not saying it’s your fault, but it is your problem.” – KJ


Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by: David Epstein This is one of my favorite books. It is the CrossFit ethos in so many ways. From sports to education to engineering, the winners have a broad base that they are building off of. There’s definitely something for everyone in this one.

There are A LOT of health and wellness influencers out there. I suppose I could claim myself as one. But, I didn’t help Dana White, the president of The UFC, change his life. Gary Brecka did and tells all on The Joe Rogan Experience. He has some very simple and basic tips for taking control of your life. Check it out on Spotify.

Send me your influences. Music? Books? Movies? Series?