Training at the Olympic Training Center | Coffee Blocks

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Training at the Olympic Training Center

Tom here, CEO at Coffee Blocks. We launched Coffee Blocks 2 years ago with a simple idea... simplify a healthy morning routine. From that point, we've been full steam ahead in telling the story of Butter Coffee and it's benefits. We've been focused on growing our company. On making a better, healthier, and easier to use product. But, we haven't told you much about the team behind Coffee Blocks. 

So, this is the launch of a series of blog posts where we'll tell you little stories about our lives. 

As the Head Block Head, it falls to me to go first...

I love the Olympics. Always have. My love could be because every 4 years my birthday falls during the Summer Olympics. Or, maybe my mom is to blame.  When the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984, she dressed me in my finest red, white, & blue, and took me to the games. But, I think it simply comes down to competition. Dreaming of running faster, jumping higher, and being stronger than anyone else. And then hearing the Star Spangled Banner.

But, the Olympics stayed a dream. I got older, got a "real" job, and watched others compete every 4 years.  But then, I saw the US Skeleton Team was having tryouts.

The main elements they were looking for was sprinting fast, lifting heavy, and a willingness to slide head first down a Bobsled track at 80 mph. Well, I love lifting and sprinting. And for a trip to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, I was eager to crash my way down the track. 

So, I signed up and lifted. And sprinted. Alot.  

The year of training (or almost two) that followed, helped shape me in a meaningful way.

I wouldn't considered myself a super focused or goal oriented person before training at the Olympic Training Center. But, there is magic in community. Especially, communities focused on the same goal. There, the community was uplifting, encouraging, and not afraid to see each person flourish. There is a realization that happens- the better everyone is the better I become. 

Here are 3 takeaways I learned while in training:

1. The start is crucial

  • In Skeleton it's important to get up to max speed as quickly as possible. The speed you build at the beginning of the track is what determines how fast you're going at the end. You sprint like crazy at the start. You need to build as much momentum as possible. But, once you're laying on the sled, there's not much you can do to make yourself go faster.
  • If you're going to start, sprint as fast as you can
  • In my daily life, I eliminated things that were robbing me of momentum in the morning. So, I replaced breakfast with butter coffee. But, I found I could get up to speed even faster every morning if I premixed all the ingredients. That's how Coffee Blocks was born. Now, even if I cook lunch, read more, or workout sooner in place of eating breakfast, I usually start the day with more momentum and focus. I love it.
  • In business, we launched Coffee Blocks on Kickstarter. It was the fastest way for us to get Coffee Blocks up to speed and to build momentum. 

2. Maintain your speed along the way

  • In Skeleton, a great start can be ruined by making mistakes on the way down. Maybe you take a turn too late and miss an opportunity to gain a little speed. You might find yourself focusing too far down the track and tap the wall that's right next to you. Robbing you of speed.  
  • When you see a sprinter pass another at the end of a race, it's not because they're getting faster. It's because they're able to hold their speed while the others are slowing down.
  • So, if the first half of the race is getting out of the blocks and up to speed as fast as possible. The second half is all about the ability to stay at full speed for as long as possible.
  • Everyday, I try not to screw up the momentum and focus I built in the morning with my Coffee Block. I'll fast until lunch and then try to make a good eating choice. I'll also build on the morning health momentum by working out, reading, or meditating. 

3. Unable and uncomfortable are two different things

  • In training, if you want to gain strength and power, you're going to spend a lot of time under some serious weight. To get to a high level you need to "become comfortable being uncomfortable." 
  • Early on in my training, I quickly learned to differentiate between "unable" and "uncomfortable." I knew to achieve the goals I was after, I had to accept the discomfort in working though the problems I was facing. The weight I was lifting. The fear of crashing. 
  • I often felt that I'd fail. That I'd be unable to move the weight I was lifting. That I wouldn't be good enough. But, I quickly learned to try. To truly know if you are unable to do something, you have to try. It's going to be hard. You'll be physically uncomfortable. You'll doubt your own mental toughness. But, it's the only way to prove what you can do.
  • Putting yourself in stressful, high pressure situations is the only way to growth. You have to stretch yourself to see what you're capable of. 
  • Don't let the voice inside tell you you can't do it, because it's predicting an uncomfortable situation... unable and uncomfortable are not the same

Training with, and around, Olympians helped me develop a work ethic based on focus and pushing through fear. 

In the end, I didn't qualify for the team. I spent 2 seasons training hard, but there were better athletes with more promise. I tried, pushed through my fears and made it further than my inner voice said I could.

Now, I'm applying the lessons I learned to Coffee Blocks. Just like the Olympic Training Center, I'm surrounded by people who are extremely talented and push me to be better than I think I can be. I can't wait to hear some of their stories.

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