5 Tips for the Young

1. Family First.

Living in California far from the southern part of Tennessee where the rest of my family resides, I have learned quickly that nothing replaces family.  Friends will come and go and some friends may become family, but nothing replaces the real thing.

Life is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Your world can be turned upside down with the blink of an eye. Love deeply and don’t take the most important people in your life for granted.

Da (Retired Col USMC of 33 yrs) and Nini, Kenneth and Barbara, also known as Ken and Barbie. Married for over 60 years, madly in love, and the biggest religious influence on my life.

2. Surround Yourself with People Better Than You.

What is it that you want to become? What did you dream of being when you were little? Whatever you want to become, the good news is that unless you desire to be the FIRST to do something, someone has accomplished your dreams. Find those people. Aggressively research who those people are, and place yourself in their presence. Technology is so advanced that all your questions can be found at the tip of your fingers!

Research has shown that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, if you don’t want to be average…..stop surrounding yourself with only average people. Find the best, if you want to be the best.

I met Shane and his wife Laura at the age of 19 and instantly knew I wanted to train at their gym. They had the science of strength down to a T with the world records to prove it and I couldn’t resist doing everything in my power to get myself to Cincinnati. Shane took my deadlift from 315lbs to 440lbs in 7 months…drug free. More than the programming utilized and the hard work put in. He changed my MINDSET.  I will forever be in debt to him and Laura for the life lessons they taught me. More blogs to come with an expansion on that!

Shane Sweatt. Husband and coach to world’s strongest woman Laura Phelps Sweatt, CrossFit Conjugate owner, and CrossFit’s Powerlifting Seminar Instructor for Westside Barbell’s Conjugate method.

3. Be a Good Friend.

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17. Some of the most memorable moments in my life are not from personal accomplishments and achievements, but from watching others conquer their fears.

If you are only focused on yourself throughout this journey, you will miss the bigger picture that God has in store.  Slow down and take the time to dig deeper into other people’s lives. When we first meet people we only see the outer layer of their lives. Truly getting to know someone requires peeling back the layers of the onion and finding out what drives them, what scares them, and observing what they are capable of. Then, the best part is helping them realize that.

2014 CrossFit Games with Conjugate’s 2nd place team athlete Lindsey Kelly and Coach Laura Phelps Sweatt.

4. Be Authentically, Unapologetically, Fiercely…YOU.

Society is pretty good at influencing young individuals to live their life a certain way. If I would have made the same choices as all my peers, I can tell you I would not be ME, I would be THEM.

Challenge yourself in order to develop a sense of appreciation for the grit and drive that you are capable of. Reach for goals that people say aren’t for “someone like you.”  Use the comments like “You’re to tall to be a cheerleader”…….”You’ll never do that”……”Women shouldn’t be Marines”….. to FUEL your fire.

Once you start discovering yourself, you will be even MORE capable to help others do the same and your life will change in ways you never imagined possible.

Me. My favorite part about Monday is always putting the uniform back on.

5. Compare Yourself to Yourself.

If we constantly compared ourselves to others, we would never fully appreciate our personal progress. For anyone who is currently in the CrossFit Open, this is the truest test of comparing yourself to yourself! Some of these competitors are FULL TIME athletes, and do nothing but train. It’s important to keep those things into perspective.

If you’re comparing your looks to pop stars, let’s all realize that they have a full on glam squad working on them daily. I personally don’t consider plastic surgery, loads of makeup, and designer clothes to be authentic, or cool, just not cool, at all.

Keep a log or a journal to reflect regularly on the progress that you’ve made over time. Becoming a master of anything requires thousands of hours and dedication. It’s important to realize your successes, learn from your failures and always put one foot in front of the other.

When I started CrossFit at age 19, I couldn’t do ONE pull up. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I am certainly miles and miles ahead of where I was when I started out. The beauty of your journey and writing your own story, is looking back at where you started and saying wow, I can’t believe that was me…..and I’m so far ahead of that now….and that is SO COOL!

Left: 2009 at first CrossFit Gym, Derby City CrossFit Right 2014 at SoCal Regionals


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  1. Todd Johnson says

    You continue to inspire in every facet of your life. Your philosophy and and personal drive make me raise my standards, change my limiting beliefs, and change my strategy for ultimate success. Continue to do what you do…your influence is far reaching.


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