Better is better

“More is not better. Better is better.” – James C. Richards

Tim’s Deep Squats (Thoughts)

There is always a purpose at CrossFit Palo Alto. And usually a pattern, too. The pattern of these emails calls for addressing the history of CFPA. Next week is meant for “Culture”. To remain true to the “Constantly Varied” prescription of CrossFit, I’m combining them with a story from our past that embodies our culture.

Many years ago we offered optional “Level Testing” where members would test themselves to meet standards that would then earn them a designation of competence. I will address this more in the future as I have always wanted to find a way to bring it back. Awards were given including certificates and t-shirts.

Harvey was one of our earliest members that started personal training in my garage. He had completed every task on the list for Level 1 except one last workout. Harvey brought his son, Nathan, to watch him do the workout “Christine” and after which they planned to go to Sundance Steakhouse to celebrate.


3 Rounds

Row 500m

12 Deadlifts 135/95

21 Box Jumps 20”

Time Cap 15:00

The Rx weight is bodyweight. We adjusted it to be standard but allowed people to choose their own adventure. Some younger guys in the gym did the bodyweight Rx and finished safely under 15:00. Harvey came out pretty hot and started to fade. With classmates and his son watching he finished the last box jump at 15:01. Nathan patted his dad on the back and said, “That’s okay, it’s close enough. I’m sure Tim will give it to you.” I didn’t have to respond. Harvey said, “No, Nathan. I didn’t make it. I didn’t do it. I’ll have to come back tomorrow and try again.” (Side note: He made it the next day with the lighter weight.)

The point of this story is to remind you, and myself, that the standard is the standard. It takes what it takes. If we don’t hold the standard high and strive to create a culture of excellence then we have nothing to measure ourselves against. Fitness is about work capacity that is observable, measurable and repeatable. Fitness is not feelings. Those come after we’ve put in the work and tested ourselves. But we can’t test ourselves without a standard to measure against.

Your coaches and classmates want the best for you. You probably want the best for them. If these things are true, then hold yourselves, each other and your coaches to the highest standard possible. Squats to depth. Bars under chins on pull-ups. Elbows locked out overhead. Harvey would not have served himself, nor his son, by asking for approval when he had missed the mark. His unwillingness to accept anything less has stayed with me for 14 years and continues to ripple out its positive effects.

What’s Going On?

Murph 2024

Memorial Day

May 27, 2024




Post Murph Potluck Brunch and HS Graduation Party for Nicole

CrossFit Teens – Spring Session

Who: Boys and Girls aged 12-17

Dates: April 9 – May 30, 2024

When: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 4pm

Led by: Coach Rebecca

Overheard in Class:

“It’s not a race to win, but a race to move better.”


Shop Class as Soulcraft by: Matthew B. Crawford A philosopher/mechanic’s wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one’s hands. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a “knowledge worker,” based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.

Tim’s Takeaway: I related to many of the concepts in this book. The contrast of Agency vs. Autonomy is a nuance I enjoyed learning. I also identified with the title as I took shop class in middle school and my Dad taught Industrial Arts and math when I was even younger. He taught these subjects at a public school, too.

Thank you for your support.

I look forward to what we will do together.