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Thought Leadership

This was a write up I did internally just for my internal group here at Iron Legion. Thought you all may enjoy it – and I hope you apply it:

A life without intensity will kill you slowly. Taking the comfortable road, always doing the “right thing” just leads to a life of pure boredom.

I remember sitting at an end of the year ceremony at an elementary school with my son recently. They actually gave out an award for “excellent attendance”. At a place that indoctrinates kids to do what they are told all day long regardless of their individual gifts or talents. 

How – boring. Great little corporate drones are a product of “excellent attendance”.

Life is meant to be lived man – full throttle. 

 

Those people who tell you not to take chances

They are all missing on what life’s about

You only live once so take hold of the chance

Don’t end up like others, same song and dance

“Motorbreath” by Metallica, 1982

 

Most of you need to start applying WAY more intensity.

This environment here at Iron Legion sets you up to be different – to be better. I never wanted to be like everyone else.

I was 8 when this song was written and released. To say that it changed my life is an understatement. 

I didn’t have a lot of “heroes” growing up – but Hetfield was probably my first.

This tune reached out and grabbed me at 10 years old and never ever let go.

The ferocity – the pure adrenaline rush and the lyrics combine into a masterpiece of pure testosterone and adrenaline generated fury.

I just listened to it in my truck coming to the gym and remember that behind all my drive – all my determination growing up and even today, started with this song.

It was gasoline for a preteen me. It’s still a ripper of a song 40 years later…

I posted a video of its earliest known live video – 1985. Enjoy – 

(Click video now or turn it up and play it again)

You – want to be stronger, faster, a better father, mother, friend, leader, financially stable, healthier, ripped – whatever – it’s your goal.

Your goals should be your passions. Your passion should be your obsession. Your obsession should be your FIRE.

Every rep, every step towards that goal should burn with intensity – NOTHING should be able to stand in your way.

The milestones achieved along the way should be bridges burned to a past you no longer are interested in. 

Start living on your terms – not anyone else’s.

Full speed or nothin.

-Coach Ted

 

I envy folks that can tell you where they are from. I know where I was born, but I hit the ground running and started making tracks all over the country.

Some of you have fond memories of growing up in one place. My story is different.

I was born in Detroit, Michigan and my old man was in the construction trades. Money is made on the road, so that’s where my brothers and I grew up. Sometimes we were in one place for a month, other times for six months. Campgrounds and the back of a pickup truck was our life. 

I began working with my old man as a teenager before it was time to strike out on my own. One thing that always impressed me about my dad when I worked with him was the respect that he got from his men. It didn’t matter where we were, in this country or another, he knew how to lead.

I’m not talking about barking orders or being a dick. I’m talking about true leadership. He just naturally carried himself in a way that clearly identified him as the guy. He led by respecting his men and being there with them through some of the toughest shit.

I wanted that. I wanted to set the same kind of example for others that my old man did for me. I got to work honing my leadership skills over time in my own construction career. I became known as the guy companies could send into high pressure situations. I craved high-risk projects with tight deadlines and serious potential consequences. 

I found myself with a very unique skill set, one I developed from growing up on the road. I had the ability to quickly determine the character and worth of an individual, to clearly see if they could work on a team.

This served me greatly when dropped in a city I had never been to to handle a project with a deadline. There isn’t time to get your bearings. It was sink or swim. You’ve got to swim to be a success.

I learned early in life that the lone wolf mentality was bullshit. Surrounding myself with a team of focused, respectful people who are on the same mission made even the most intense projects manageable, successful, and enjoyable.

Fast forward to 2011. My wife and I have a growing family. I was weary of the road and had always wanted to start my own business. 

I’ve always been a gym rat, even when growing up traveling from city to city. One thing always bothered me about the globo gym space. It was sterile, faceless, impersonal. There could be 100 people in a random GoldsLa Fitness but the place would be completely devoid of social connection. There was no real push to get better. I would watch people everywhere move like cattle from machine to machine, never making any progress while managing to look bored as hell. 

These gyms are everything they shouldn’t be: Cold. Mechanical. Commoditized.

I wanted to start a fitness business that helped people, and I was super interested in the CrossFit model. There is lots of focus on the social aspect and the human connection — the things that were so obviously missing from the globo gyms. However, I’m not a big joiner. So I took that CrossFit model and put my own spin on it.

I started in my backyard. 

Three people and a basketball full of sand sealed with duct tape. We threw it at a target I mounted on an old satellite dish. We had rust and sand in our eyes, but it was the beginning of the hard work shoulder-to-shoulder with companions and the human connection that would become what exists today.

Three people became 30 people in six weeks. We decided to move spaces and solidified ourselves as an official business. Three locations later in 2014, we found ourselves in our current facility and we have been steadily forging ahead ever since.

That growth came from the careful selection of leaders that are the Iron Legion Team. Our coaching staff has included CrossFit Games athletes, Olympic weightlifting world record holders, strength and conditioning coaches from NASCAR, collegiate coaches, MMA athletes, doctors and prominent members of the first responder and tactical communities. Some members of our coaching staff have numerous certifications from USAW, NASM, CrossFit, BirthFit, and more. 

What about the Iron Legion team? We train Ocala’s leaders, movers, and doers. We focus on our mission together. What’s the mission? To forge better humans. 

My traveling days ended in Ocala in 2012. But I began another journey: building a team designed specifically to make my hometown a better place full of stronger, more confident people.

I’m proud of my Iron Legion team. We continue to forge Ocala’s best.

-Ted Dreaver

What do top performers Joe Rogan, Jocko Willink and Tim Kennedy and more all have in common?

 

Each of these guys operate at an extremely high level in their careers – and all of them train Jiu Jitsu.

 

Here at Iron Legion we have found a direct correlation to the types of programs we offer – and some of the most successful people in Ocala. 

 

And now, to enhance our offerings to Ocala’s Leaders and Doers – we offer Jiu Jitsu.

 

Iron Legion in downtown Ocala is now a Helio Soneca Affiliate:

 

Helio Moreira, commonly known as “Soneca”, is regarded by many as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend. A black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior, Helio “Soneca” became one of BJJ’s top competitors in the late 1990’s decade, having also followed a short term career in mixed martial arts (MMA). Moreira was one of the first black belts produced by the Gracie Barra academy, having later become a well respected instructor in Jiu Jitsu and MMA.

 

Our American Jiu Jitsu program is excellent for beginners and upper belts as well. Each class is professionally instructed by both Brown and Black belts in the Helio Soneca lineage. 

 

We are excited by the growth we are seeing and want to invite you to come try a week free on the house!

 

Come see what makes Iron Legion the training center for some of Ocala’s most successful people!

 

Shoot us a message right here and we will get your free week started straight away! Classes are filling up and space is limited – don’t miss out! 

“Wir machen den Weg”

Translation: “We Make the Way”

Leaders create leaders.

In here – strength and endurance are cherished as virtues. Daily training focused on these virtues enhances confidence. 

That confidence emboldens us to move forward – to never stay still or become complacent.

Your development of an iron will and steadfastness to the lifestyle we encourage here is exactly what we aim to develop at Iron Legion: 

The Forging of Better Humans.

Shoulder to shoulder we train, we support each other in and out of the gym, we watch our kids grow, and we all get stronger and better in the process.

Each one of you have the ability to inspire someone here daily – that’s the glue that holds us together and what brings a lot of us back.

The ego may be the “driver” that originally brought you into the door – but its the ability to humble ourselves in an effort to learn and develop that keeps us here.

To learn, to grow, to become – better. Better humans, better parents, better friends.

In a world that appears at times to have lost its mind – 

Remember:

“Wir machen den Weg”

We Make the Way.

See you in the gym!

-Coach Ted

Last week we talked about becoming a mountain climber. Not someone who climbs one mountain – but someone who becomes a climber of mountains.

To summarize – when you have decided where you want to go with your health and wellness, goals are great to set and achieve but they are nothing more than milestones along the way.

Celebrate them, grow from them, but the mission of becoming doesn’t change – it only expands.

I see “drivers” for change in people’s lives every day.

“Drivers” are the “thing” that motivates someone to change direction in their life. Driving them to get off the couch or that destructive lifestyle path and make a healthy or positive change.

Drivers can include (but are not limited to) divorce, break ups, job loss, relocation, inspiration, “keeping up with the Joneses”, new friends, marriage, kids, – any number of things can drive someone to make a change in their life. They are unique and personal to that person.

Drivers are great as a reason to begin, but – like a flame, they can burn out rather quickly.

That initial driver pushes you to work hard, and it feels good. You’re driven by purpose – this is what you’ve been missing!

A few weeks in and you see some results in the mirror. 

Hell yeah.

Here’s where people get funny though…

Here is where the path can split. Some go left, some go right…

Those who go left on the path feel fired up! Fueled by adrenaline and this new change they feel like they are able to do anything. They prematurely abandon the current work and begin to hop to all sorts of programs. Try a little here, a little there – anything to keep that flame burning!

But before long confusion and frustration set in when the “gain” they had disappeared. What the hell happened?

I liken this to growing a plant. Let’s say – an oak. 

An oak takes a long time. The seed is planted and they begin to do the work of growing the oak. Water, sun, attention, and before you know it – a seedling sprouts! 

And the first thing they do is: over do it – they prune it. To the root. They may not have “killed” it, but they have certainly hampered it’s growth.

Sounds kinda dumb right? That’s because it is.

Then there are those who take a right on the path  The ones on a mission – they buckle down. They see that in a short period of time there were gains. There was progress toward their goal and their ultimate mission.

They planted an oak as well but when the seedling sprouted they work to enhance the growth process. 

They keep the routine of water, sun and attention, but they add better nutrients to the soil, perhaps a cleaner water source, they mind the environment that the oak is growing in and eliminate threats to the oaks progress.

Before long the oak is standing tall on its own. The basic routine is still intact – water, sun and attention. However – this oak is stronger than the other oaks in the area due to enhanced attention to outside stimulus like nutrients, clean water and a tended surrounding environment during its growth.

Oaks don’t grow overnight. Neither will the success of your mission.

The explosive flame of your initial driver is going to die down. It had its place in time – it sparked the fire that drives the passion of your mission. 

And for the successful – The path to their mission becomes their true motivation. The basics are the foundations that are never abandoned – they are enhanced and tended to in an effort to create the best versions of themselves.

Surround yourself with people on the same mission as you. Focus on the details of what you are consuming and work daily to enhance the things in your life that are working. Before you know it you will be a stronger, healthier person – driven by purpose.

I’m pulling for you,

Coach Ted

Let’s just say – for shits and giggles, that you decided to be a mountain climber. “The mountains are calling” so they say – and you must go.

 

You begin to train for this new passion of yours. And oh boy – It’s a struggle. You know in the back of your mind it’s just something that you have to do. You dream about it. You obsess about it. It’s what you want – to be a Mountain Climber.

 

You’ve even gone as far as to pick *the* mountain you will be climbing. It looks majestic – it’s located in a remote area, its perfect:

 

 Mount Gonmakemegreat.

 

Just picking this mountain drives you to train harder. It inspires you to stay the course. You not only train at the gym – you begin climbing other mountains – smaller ones, to prepare. You are – becoming.

 

You are changing. Climbing Mount Gonmakemegret is now becoming the ultimate climb in your mind. You will not be able to move on in your life until it’s done.

 

The day comes and the summit begins. To say it’s a grind is an understatement. Grueling and nasty you drag yourself up the mountain. You fall a few times – ass over tea kettle, but pick yourself back up and keep climbing. Fighting doubt, pushing against dehydration and now new scrapes, bruises and stressed muscles you climb.

 

And then, all of a sudden you are within reach. Muscles screaming, body exhausted you pull yourself to the top of the summit. You’ve done it!

 

The view from here changes though. 

 

Other mountains dwarf Mount Gonmakemegreat. You can see them now. Bigger, more majestic. They surround Mount Gonmakemegreat. You see through your binoculars another climber climbing a much larger mountain in the distance.

 

Exasperation begins to eat at you. This mountain almost killed you and it’s half the size of the one in your view. How in the hell…?

 

The dedication and the work you’ve put in up to this point are admirable, there is no doubt. This was quite a summit. You’ve never felt anything like this. Exhaustion and exhilaration consume you at the same time.

 

What happens next is what will define you.

 

Will you be a guy who submitted Mount Gonmakemegreat? Or are you going to be a Mountain Climber?

 

Do the bigger, larger mountains inspire you to continue? Or have you done enough with achieving your singular goal?

 

The training and changes to your lifestyle you’ve made in conquering the single goal of Mount Gonmakemegreat have laid the groundwork to becoming the Mountain Climber you set out to be – but you’re not there yet. 

 

There are more mountains, more summits. The horizon is full of them. And you – you got in this game to be a Mountain Climber.

 

You take a deep breath of mountain air atop Mount Gonmakemegreat. You crack a smile for a moment and relish your small goal – knowing now that your mission is now  becoming more defined as you gaze at the new possibilities with your developing skills. 

 

You turn and coax your aching body back down the mountain – the thoughts of “which one will I summit next” fill your thoughts like driving fire.

 

Goals are great. Reaching them is important – but always keep in mind that they are milestones on the path of your ultimate mission. They should FUEL you upon accomplishment. Completing a goal should make you mash the accelerator with confidence and vindication that you are on the right path.

 

You are on a mission to become someone new. A Mission to become better then you’ve ever been. Don’t fall for the – “take a break you’ve earned it” lie. Stay driven and let every goal achieved be a burned bridge to a past you never want to return to. 

 

I’m pulling for you.

 

-Coach Ted

Conversation: /noun/ a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.

 

More often than not I have this conversation with a potential member here at Iron Legion:

 

Me:

“Tell me a little about yourself, how your week goes.”

Potential Member:

“Hmm, I only sleep 3 hours a night. I eat at gas stations / vending machines / cafeterias because I’m always on the run. I poop every couple days and I’m seriously over stressed. Do you have a workout here that I can lose these extra 50lbs?”

Me:

“Well, we have a few other things in your life that we should sort out first.” 

Potential Member:

Visually uncomfortable.

“I thought all I had to do was workout…”

What we have to offer here at Iron Legion can be tough to understand from the outside looking in. You’ve got to see it – feel it, experience it. 

 

A phone call or email doesn’t capture it. I struggle explaining it over the phone and I love it here! 

 

I genuinely love sitting down with people and hearing their story. It’s one of the best parts of this business. Hearing about how someone’s life has been going up to this point and how they’ve finally decided to risk it and come through my doors – my black tinted doors with a wolf head and flames on them, is always best done in a face to face scenario. 

 

Every story is different. And every story is told with more than words. The best stories come from folks who have just had enough. These stories come from folks that know they are capable of more. 

 

They know there is a way out and they are willing to work hard for it, but they just need a little help. A little guidance and creativity as well as an understanding of where they are coming from and what they really need.

 

That’s what we do here. We get to know you – your story, your goals, your ambition. You – in turn, get to know what we can do for you before we ever even begin.

 

That’s what a great face to face conversation with someone positioned to help can do for you.

 

Whatever you are dealing with – that voice inside your head is telling you that it’s time to get your life back. That it’s finally time to prioritize you, your health and your body. That voice is right. You owe it to yourself to get on a path. 

 

My truck is parked out front of Iron Legion every day. I invite you to push open those black tinted Iron Legion doors and come on in – ask for me, and let’s talk. 

 

I’m pulling for you,

 

Coach Ted 

A student once said to his master: “you teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?” The master replied: “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war.”

 

All programming here at Iron Legion is specifically designed for GPP – General Physical Preparedness.

 

Our CrossFit classes focus on strength, functionality and intensity. Our Tactical classes prepare our First Responders with similar modalities, but with a keen eye to their work outside of the gym. Our Weightlifting and Strength and Strongman classes build a solid base and foundation to work from.

 

We’ve recently added Self Defense to that line up. Learning how to defend ourselves is a very desirable human performance addition.

 

In a society like ours – having to physically defend ourselves isn’t a daily occurrence. This causes the view of being able to defend ourselves as a waste of time – something that is easily shrugged off as something you just do your best to avoid.

 

Seems to have worked out so far.

 

Until it doesn’t.

 

When and or if the shit hits the fan – some of us think that adrenaline will come to our aid. Perhaps we will turn into a wild werewolf due to some hidden genetic code. Or become that mother that goes beast mode when they see their family in danger.

 

No training. Just hope. Luck…?

 

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work that way. If you’ve never been in a fight, nor trained for one – no amount of adrenaline will help if it happens. You could try and count on luck – but I wouldn’t bet my family on it.

 

Guys are the worst – they’ll avoid a fight training class simply because they don’t want anyone to know that they may not know how to fight. Man – listen to me, imagine you are looking me in the eye – I’d rather you got over that in here with us before your wife and kids find out the hard way out there in the world.

 

Training is just that. It’s training. It’s learning and gaining confidence. In a safe environment. With your Tribe, your Pack like we’ve done for centuries. If you’ve never thrown a punch – wouldn’t you rather you did it in here? 

 

Taking advantage of our Self Defense classes can have a huge benefit for you and your family someday. I know it can be intimidating. But – There is no reason to go outside of your pack to do this. I’m bringing it here – to you.

 

Let me know – hit me up if its a schedule issue. I want to see more of you in the Striking class.

 

And let me make it clear – I honestly hope you never have to use the skill. As your Coach I will always endeavor to train you to be the warrior in the garden – NEVER the gardener in the war.

 

I’m pulling for you!

 

Coach Ted

No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself – Nietzsche

Let’s be honest. Time and money – we just seem to never have enough of. They are deciding factors on any decision we make. 

But what we do with our TIME – this has a direct effect on our money and ultimately our well being. 

I get it. I truly do.

I own and operate my own business, and I am a father to four awesome kids. I am very aware that my wife and I are their primary role models. We are responsible for setting their moral compass through our own actions.

As a parent – your kids should *always* look to you, their parents, for guidance first. Make no mistake – they watch and learn. 

My wife and I value physical and mental training in our home. We take care to eat responsibly and find respecting our bodies goes a long way towards how we feel towards others. We guide our kids down this road – however rocky it can be at times.

My son trains Jiu Jitsu – and has been for a couple years now. I’ve jumped in with him – I’m just not the type of Father that can sit on the sidelines. I want these skills for my son.

He’s better than me. A lot better. And I couldn’t be prouder. I have been there – on the mats with him while he has learned and struggled with learning a martial skill that will someday give him the advantage in a situation I may not be there for.

He also trains a little harder in my gym now too – he still lets his mind wander (a lot), but he wants to take down the bigger kids. I know it’s up to me to lead him, support him and remind him. 

Through my actions – not sitting on the sidelines.

He’s always watching – even if I don’t remember…

I walked into a training session with him a few weeks ago very distracted. Exhausted from my own weightlifting training and the always exciting lifestyle of being a gym owner myself, I was – just out of it.

I couldn’t focus on a move with my partner. Footwork was trash, head on the wrong side – just everything off.

My coach had enough. “Dreaver – 10 push ups, get your head out of your ass.”

I didn’t question it. I deserved it. I dropped to the floor for my penalty push ups. Breathed through them rhythmically, got my mind right in that brief 10 reps – and reminded myself how important it was to be there, in that moment.

Now, I can’t say I got off the floor as a superstar, but I started moving better. I reengaged with my training and had a good session.

My son – he gave me shit immediately when we got in the truck. “You got yelled at and had to do push ups. Haha – My partner and I laughed when we heard the coach yell at you to get your head out of your ass”.

Now, I’m a 45 year old man that’s had – a unique life. I’ve built and created everything I have myself. I find great honor in this. In no other scenario would I allow anyone an opportunity to berate me in front of my son.

And this – this is where the lesson lies reader.

I looked at my son, sweat still dripping off my face, smiled and laughed too. “Yeah, I bet that was pretty funny. But man, I just couldn’t focus and I really kind of needed that.”

To which he replied – “I was having a hard time focusing today too. I would have had to do push ups too if he would have seen us in the beginning of class”.

I explained that we do the push ups because we value the training. The training we are receiving is something we both want and the skills can be applied in so many facets of our day to day life. 

We have to be there – in that moment, during our training. We cannot let outside distraction clutter up and waste our valuable training time.

A good coach can see this. A good mentor can break you out of the funk and get you back in the game. Sometimes they need to shake you out of it with some push ups…

I see great value in my son learning a martial art. BUT in turn – my son has to learn that I see value in placing respect in my coaches time and being in the moment – for the entirety of the moment. 

If this was something we didn’t care about – why would we be here?

Time is valuable. You’ve created an image for yourself and others in your mind. It requires change and a break from routine. The journey can be long, it can be rigorous and challenging – but change is a process that starts with learning the way.

Your training in that change is everything. Value your training sessions – these windows of time are steps on the journey to who you want to become. 

Break the norm this time around. Find a coached program with coaches that can get you where you want to go. 

My gym in Downtown Ocala, Florida has programs throughout the day that are professionally coached. Beginners to advanced athletes here all find value in our coached sessions – and they get better every day because of it.

However you go about it – just remember to value your training time. Be in that moment and soak up everything you can!

We are pulling for you!

Yours in Strength and Confidence,

-Coach Ted

#strengthoverfear #forgingbetterhumans

Picture this.

Each morning we wake up, work ourselves out of bed, and begin going about our morning routine.

Somewhere along the way we end up in front of the mirror. We lock eyes with ourselves – we scan top to bottom our image in that mirror. It is at this moment we can be the most critical.

Some of us look away almost immediately. Others – from time to time, lock eyes with that reflection and decide then and there that we are going to make a change. Today. 

Today we are going to begin eating better, going to the gym – just making better overall decisions.

Shoulders up – head high, we leave the house. Determined to make that change.

Something happens though.

It always seems to happen.

The next morning the process starts again, but this time we immediately look away. We looked away because we couldn’t do it. That decision we made the morning before – we couldn’t stick to it. 

We failed.

Why? Why does this always seem to happen?

Have you asked yourself this question? 

What if I told you that the odds of your success in this decision aren’t exactly stacked in your favor?

Stick with me for a minute:

The environment we live in these days is one of the most distracting, loud and misinformed times in human history. Most of us are bombarded by ads and communication designed to benefit corporate interests – not yours. 

To make matters worse our families, our friends – they too are exposed to this never ending bombardment of info. The very people you should be able to lean on when trying to change your life could very well be another negative force – parroting an ad or an article of something they think “you should know”.

And while most of our jobs are routine – they typically lend themselves to hectic schedules. There’s never enough time! And if you have kids it’s even tougher. How do we find time? Time to eat right? Time to work out? 

Maybe Aunt Mary is right – this lifestyle is too much for me.

This is what I’m talking about. All of this happened in 24 hrs and now we aren’t able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

Do we accept that as an excuse?

You could accept it as an excuse, most do. 

I mean – there isn’t anything you can do about your environment, others opinions, and your schedule..

Reread that last statement.

Or is there?

What if we started our change right then and there each morning? What if we began with a conscious decision to limit our exposure to media outlets. Maybe limit time with those well meaning family members and friends while we are adjusting into our new lifestyle? 
What if we took a few minutes before we leave the house to think of a rough schedule for the day. Set up our phone with some reminders – when to eat, when to pick up the kids, when to set aside time for a workout.

And then start. Slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first.

The next morning look yourself in the eye and think of the things you DID accomplish. Even if it was just one thing on your list. 

Repeat. Everyday. Build on this.

Begin to add in other good choices as things become habit each day. Over time – seek out others on the same path.

Before you know it, you may find that image in the mirror each morning a little more agreeable. Someone that you can be proud of. Someone on a mission to turn their lives around. 

It all starts with a choice. Look at yourself in the mirror this morning and decide if you’re happy with the image looking back. 

That morning image – it should drive you. It should motivate you to be better. Use that time in the morning mirror to truly see yourself. 

The inside and the outside. Do they match? 

During this moment of reflection there should be no noise. No distractions. Be honest with yourself in this moment, but be tough too – because you are capable of more. So much more.

It will take strength to make the right decisions, strength to change habits and routines that could be years old. 

Building strength doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time of repeated, quality effort to grow real strength.

Make the decision to be better. Look yourself in the eye. 

And start.

I’m pulling for you – feel free to reach out if you need any help!!

-Coach Ted