Month: November 2016

HERO Initiative

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Everybody from all walks of life and arenas regardless of color, creed and choices needs to refine their warrior’s mindset by preparing to be a HERO, a highly effective rescue & operator.  Truth be told, the investment costs are high in time and efforts, but the benefits will be insurmountable to all challenges in your way.  Piece by piece, a systematic review of what this moniker entails makes it very clear as to why this world needs more HEROs.


The oftentimes used phrase of “Highly-Effective” describes performances that greatly produce a decisive result.  Fighting to elevate onto this podium should be a standard, but it has been lost over time within mainstream.  There are many pillars that hold up this problem and should all be addressed.  But three are the dominant, distinct yet intertwined main load-bearers.  The epidemic of stimulant-driven Adderall is a screaming testament to our lack of ability to focus.  In a day and age with 3-dimensional distractions, if we are without a high level of sustainable concentration, it is a virtual impossibility to hit the center of the bulls-eye in order to gain a highly-desirable effect.  An insufficient sense of our craftsmanship undoubtedly leads to apathy at worst, yet occasionally working hard and sloppily trudging through tasks at best.  This also is a bio-mechanical nightmare in the making as the margin of error between mechanical failure and impressive performances has not been increased.  Lastly, low expectations of one’s self create such a low, impenetrable ceiling.  No matter how nice you add pricey crown molding, track lighting and a fresh coat of paint, it will all pale in comparison to blue skies above and the all of the stars in the heavens.

The word “Rescue” calls to the belief in or practice of the selfless concern for the well-being of others.  On quick trigger thoughts, it brings to mind our ability to come to the aid of our fellow man.  These are skills and they take an incredible amount of time and effort of develop.  Not only possessing the life-saving skills, but just as importantly the heavy preparation to get to the fight.  Moving well & at various speeds, over & under, through & around as well as to & fro just to be in position to do what is best for our teammates, those that we care about.  As a result of short-sightedness, we’ve been driven to do whatever makes us singularly happy and the world has lost quite a bit of what defines us as teammates.  But in doing so, altruism is one of the very few practices that helps others while commensurately helping one’s self.  The majority of athletes on a team forget about their super-friends and swim buddies, especially under the fires of duress.  It is in these moments that are most critical to take care to not only do what we personally need to do to get better, but also aid & assist our teammates to continue to better themselves.  This vital concern should forever be in the forefront as it never fails that our successes will be the collective efforts of the team and our failures were predestined by what we did every single moment leading up to center stage.  Every poor movement quality that we let slide, every set and rep taken off, every excuse that we let grease the undisciplined tracks will put our team on a path that we all deserve.

Often overly used and misused, an “Operator” is someone who has mastered the basic tactics of shooting, moving & communicating, yet they continue to polish their skills against a constantly rising standard.  They always carry with themselves experienced-wisdom that comes with growing maturity.  This arises when athletes subject themselves to training conditions that illicit mistakes and failures alongside the vital components of rest, recovery and introspection of learning.  The result is a craftsman that hones their skill sets to a laser-sharpened edge so precise that they reduce the probability of failure when it counts most.  This is someone who can be sent as a small entity, trusted to do their job with minimal supervision.  They can be deployed into complex areas to conduct low visibility operations with trust that they will not take unnecessary risks that could get missions and teammates compromised.  They are also assumed as the quiet professionals who do it for the team and do not require boastful self-inflating accolades.  If this traditionally militaristic ability of fire & forget is overbearing and threatening, a single word that you can rally around that operators exemplify is reliability.  There is something to be said about the peace of mind in knowing that someone will get the job done and done well.

Something that was had as a birthright of generations past, but has somehow lost its flavor in current times is “Initiative” as defined by the ability to assess and initiate things independently, self-motivated, resourcefulness, inventiveness, imaginative with the power and opportunity to act before others do.  In the mid-1800s, American author Henry David Thoreau instructed us to “go confidently in the direction of our dreams” and its magic still holds true.  We encourage each other to dream big but desperately weep and wail when the fantasy never bears fruit.  If we never move in a positive direction, accomplishing waypoint goals will never springboard us high enough to reach our dreams.  Recognizing when something needs to be done is a necessity.  But a more important skill to develop is the act of rolling up your sleeves, leaning into it and putting your best forward.  In a broad, beautiful world of abstract thinking, quantum thought processes and quad-dimensional spider web-brain storming we often lack traction on decisive movement in a positive direction.  We are now in a very youthful, free-thinking society that jumps at the opportunity for social media debate of what is the best way to get from point A to point B.  These quickly escalate to ‘Why are we even trying to to get to point B when we should be having an intimate discussion about the color variations of chartreuse and its psycho-emotional impact on our day-to-day feelings.  What i’ve learned in observing athletes develop over the last couple of decades is a growing paralysis by over-analyzation as well as under-analyzation.  Previously, instructions for a set of Step-Ups was accompanied by: What if I fall or what if I am not strong enough?  Nowadays, the same exercise prescription quickly leads to questions of “How?”  Self-affirmation responses of “Yes Sir and Will Do!” to basic coaching cues such as turn your toes & knees forward & neutral or stand up tall have now been replaced with “i don’t know how to do that.”  In seminars and presentations of the past i used to proclaim that developing better posture was the primary focus of sound performance S&C programs.  Magically i would observe the audiences rise up in their seats or pin their shoulders back in their stances.  Now, that passive-aggressive call-to-action statement rarely invokes any motion in a positive direction.  While we fight to the electronic death in our heated arguments of keyboard shouting and esoteric protests there are some old souls that already know where they need to go and have taken a handful of highly effective steps in that direction.  Also, because they recognize that we need to integrate into our new-world skills sets an old world practice of “Stop Wasting Time Here!”

With all of this said and done, my intention was to convey that we will all consider ourselves as such.  Someday, somehow and in some shape, form and fashion we will be called upon.  Whether its direct action in a flash of a dramatic moment…or coming through in the clutch with a great assist of someone deeply in need……or teaching others through lessons from a life of bad choices and the experiences that came along with them…or quite possibly something more subtle in that it will be looked upon with deep, sincere retrospection through the eyes of our children as we heavily, yet quietly sacrificed for the greater good; because a Hero is an ordinary individual who has the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Preparation starts now, so be courageous and buckle up for ‘HERO Initiative’ by Raph Ruiz! If you are in the Tampa Bay area, sign up online for our awesome big groups, our small group “Cliques” or 1-on-1 “Solo” sessions by clicking on this link: [].

If you are somewhere else in the world and would like to subscribe to our on-line training template, visit us at: “HERO Initiative by raph ruiz”: []. You can get your own Cordio2 resisted breathers at: []. Please feel free to share with anyone and everyone.

‘Tis the Season, Happy Freak’n Holidays

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Sometimes when the deck is stacked against us, life is rapid-firing lemons and we don’t even have a glass to hold any water much less determine whether its half full or half empty, it helps to just laugh a little in the face of impending doom.

‘Office Christmas Party’ (Trailer 2)

Like a circuit breaker, humor can clear the mind, reset the emotional hour glass and after a momentary rinse we can refocus our attention to what is most important. Referred to as the Stroop Effect, the brain gets challenged through conflicting information, getting interference with completion of a task caused by one area of the brain dominating and inhibiting the response of other areas. In order to have the ability to focus & refocus when it counts most, we must practice it time and time again under the progressive and systematic duress that training provides. Box breathing (4-count inhale, hold for a 4-count, 4-count exhale & hold for a 4-count) is a simple yet highly effective tool to utilize to control the HR thus reducing the heightened psychomotor state. This should first be practiced completely relaxed, namely before and after training. As athletes develop a good practice of this over weeks and months time, it should then be integrated into simple exercises such as Dead Bugs, Pull Ups and Staggered Squats. In particular, exercises that have a high RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) because they expose us to inflexibilities, instabilities and ineffective movement quality which are at a greater risk to being performed poorly.


Slowing down, steadying these exercises will drive a greater level of focus and specificity into a mind-movement connection that will further push a greater carry-over effect into specific skill acquisition…just as ‘mathletes’ don’t sloppily throw around calculus, geometric & algebraic numbers but rather painstakingly fine-tune for accurate solutions…just as musicians are in a perpetual state of chasing perfect pitch and tone. As the athletes gain mastery over this, further integrate into the rest protocols between bouts of high-speed efforts such as agility drills, suicides, tag games and such.

High level responses to this should progress to commercial resisted breathers, snorkels and straws. Over time as this becomes automatically-habitual, check to see the athletes’ responses within training, practice and games. Often times you will observe athletes who can maintain a higher level of ‘coachability’ as measured by positive reactions to higher levels of discomfort, abrasive coaching & teammates, bad plays, bad officiating calls and the weight of insurmountable pressures. As coaches, we should make conscious efforts to note and encourage humorous moments, things that culturally make the team laugh & giggle. During the scheduled moments in training that we foresee the inevitable “This SUCKS!” face, then strategically suggest that they employ their box breathing, encourage them to encourage each other and enhance your athletes’ ability to “Embrace-the-Suck” by getting them to pseudo-sadistically laugh within their our own misery.

‘Office Christmas Party’ (Trailer 1)

To subscribe to our on-line training templates, visit us at: “HERO Prep” by riph-Raph & Misfits: [].  You can get your own Cordio2 resisted breathers at: [].  Please share with anyone and everyone who needs a bit more Fitnecessity and ‘ASAP’ (Accelerated Skills Acquisition Programming) in their training.