LIFEAID Book of the Month: January, “Start with Why”

Something you should know about the LIFEAID team is that we are big readers. Maybe it’s because our Co-Founder, Aaron is always sharing wisdom from the latest business book he’s reading or because the team is stacked with a bunch of over-achievers, either way, we want to invite you to join us on our quest for knowledge.

To kick off the year, the first book on our list is “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.

In this book, Sinek dives into why brands like Apple are so powerful and continuing to build momentum every day. It’s not about the product they produce at all, because at the end of the day, brands like Apple aren’t actually selling computers. Whether you are building your personal brand or starting a business, he challenges readers to think deeply, tapping into the intention around the brand rather than the actual product. It’s about approaching business the opposite way as everyone else and that all begins with asking the simple question of WHY?

There is a reason why Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk around the book is the third most viewed of all time. If you’re ready to get fired up and kick off the year with inspiration, this is an excellent place to start. Hope you’re prepared for a page-turner!

You can get “Start with Why” online through Bookshop Santa Cruz, our local bookstore.


2020: Our Highs and Lows, in ‘Hinde-site​’​


One of the many valuable business lessons Orion and I learned in 2020 is that all the stress testing of a business cannot predict blackswan events. Businesses need to fortify their foundations by galvanizing their most loyal evangelists to survive these once in a lifetime events.

Even the finest omni-channel distribution strategy won’t protect your business from the swift impact of a global pandemic shutting down the country.

This year’s closures of gyms and health clubs took an enormous toll on our brand but what saved us is the very nature of how we launched LIFEAID Beverage Co. in the first place – a direct to consumer sales model we continued to nurture even after our retail sales outpaced our e-commerce. And when the gyms closed, our brand loyalists really stepped up to support LIFEAID by shifting their purchases with us, to online. 

Approaching March 2020, we had already doubled our retail doors from the prior year and were successfully selling LIFEAID beverages in grocery, drug and convenience stores, independent and chain health clubs, cafes, at sports events, military bases, airports and via e-commerce and even in international markets. We had a diversified, omni-channel model. And we still got nailed with the spring’s lockdowns. 

Some highlights from this year’s highs and lows, follow. And thank you to our focused, talented team in Santa Cruz and around the country, and our supportive distribution and retailer network. We have been fortunate to thrive in many ways in 2020 and it’s made us a stronger team and a stronger business and brand entering 2021.

  • No major layoffs. We’re very proud of this, because layoffs were an easy and immediate cost savings when our 10,000 strong gym network and the revenue it generated was shut down. But we know how long it took to build our talented team and were lucky enough to add 19 hires in 2020. And we were determined to find a path through.
  • Launched our first hemp-infused beverage on e-comm (at the tail end of 2019) and sold 200,000 units in a few days. And thanks to that healthy and very loyal subscriber base, our hemp drink is now one of our top sellers online. Thank you, subscribers! [Some advice: Build a platform, not a product. Example: Even though FitAid represents a tremendous percentage of our business, products like ImmunityAid helped shoulder the Covid downturn to became our next hero SKU. LifeAid hemp-infused has done the same online.]
  • Donated 2,000 masks to frontline healthcare workers at the start of the pandemic. Admittedly the masks were part of a publicity stunt for the Expo West that never happened in early March. Little did we realize how vital those masks would be in the coming weeks and months, for others fighting Covid.
  • Brought the LIFEAID brand to Publix stores for the first time. The purchase order was delayed for months thanks to the pandemic, but we made it in and have exceeded expectations.
  • Launched “LIFEAID Lift” to help support our shuttered gym and health club partners with direct incentives paid to them via our e-commerce programs.

  • Became recognized as a go-to brand for immunity support. Covid did in three months what marketing would have taken three winter seasons to do: it turned our ImmunityAid drink into one of our top-selling SKUs and made it a viable competitor against other immunity supplements brands. During one 48 hour period we received half a million dollars in orders for ImmunityAid alone. Immunity also became the focus for our LIFEAID GO! product innovation, a new line of powdered drinks in single serve packets that we intended to debut at Expo West and use (drumroll, please) in travel and at the gym. But we wisely launched via e-commerce with a focus the Immunity GO!, and now months later the GO! line is at retail stores including HEB, Central Market, Harmons, Army & Air Force Exchange Service.
  • Took an important stand against the racial and cultural insensitivity of CrossFit’s founder, during an intense moment in the ongoing BLM movement. We withdrew our longtime sponsorship of CrossFit events to make a point, and were pleasantly surprised to be able to return months later and support the brand’s new CEO and a new vision for this iconic fitness movement.
  • Survived the August California wildfires. As many of you know, I lost my home and Orion nearly lost his. But we managed to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the community as a result, and while still grieving for other neighbors and their losses, are excited to rebuild and reinvest in our Santa Cruz community.
  • Commissioned an important survey about Americans gym goers, and discovered the disturbing stat that one in four Americans never plan to return to the gym since Covid began. It’s another challenge for us to meet as we grow LIFEAID in 2021, and we’re up for it after all the b.s. of 2020.
  • Acquired LIFEAID Europe, where we continue to grow the brand in very much the same way we did in the US 10 years ago. We’re excited for the potential of the business in Europe once the latest wave of lockdowns eases.
  • Launched our first large scale athlete marketing program with talent including Brandon Aiyuk, Noah Fant and Derwin James. The irony of course, is that none of us can really enjoy pro-sports the way we want to: rooting from the stands and feeding off the energy of the game. Nevertheless, pro-athletes including these gentlemen continued to inspire in other ways in 2020 and the campaign with its vibrant images was a success, built brand and strengthened sales.

  • Had our best-ever, seven-figure Black Friday and Cyber Monday, thanks again to the strong foundation of our direct to consumer business and a major consumer shift to shopping for almost everything, online. And while the year isn’t quite over, it was gratifying to see much of the business we lost, made up for on e-commerce.

In hindsight, 2020 has been an educational and transformative year because we’ve been forced to look at everything so differently and so much more decisively than in past years. We’ve never taken our success for granted, but we all know we don’t look at success with the same level of scrutiny we apply during tougher times. Closing out, we hope 2020 brought you more highs than lows and a clearer picture of what your goals are personally and professionally in 2021. Stay strong, and happy new year.

5 Ways to Maximize Post-Workout Recovery

You’re putting in the work at the gym, but aren’t seeing all of the results you hope for. What gives? Chances are, you’re neglecting one of the most important tenets of exercise: recovery. Not to be confused with apathy, there are very good reasons why rest days and recovery should not be overlooked. Here are five of them:

  1. To allow your muscles to repair. You read that right. When participating in fitness, you are creating small tears in your muscles and rest days allow protein to synthesize in those muscles to repair them, which also allows them to grow.
  1. To get quality sleep. Your body does its most repair magic while you are sleeping. Most athletes need between seven to 10 hours to adequately recover. Everyone has heard this before, but we will take the opportunity to reiterate it anyway: put your screens down one to two hours before bed. Blue light and sleep do not mix, therefore, you are not doing yourself any favors scrolling through Instagram while laying in bed before you go to sleep.
  1. To allow your muscles to relax. We can say from first-hand experience that mobilizing can be a mundane activity, but its necessary. Taking the time to stretch and foam roll helps your muscles relax and it’s a great opportunity to catch up on your favorite podcasts or TV show. Multi-tasking for the win!
  1. To move your body in other ways. Just because it’s a rest day, doesn’t mean that you have to spend the day on couch. However, sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. If you are feeling anxious to get some movement in, take the opportunity to get some sunshine by taking a walk around your block, going on a bike ride, or jump on a machine like a rower for a nice easy row. You may hear this type of work referred to as “non-exercise movement” which is also helpful to reset throughout your day (especially if you have a sedentary job).
  1. To refill your mental capacity. Exercise takes a toll on your body which is generally easy to confirm by how your body feels, but what most people don’t take into consideration is the impact that rigorous training can also have on your mental health. There are a whole lot of positives that fitness provides, but sometimes you just need to take a day and let your brain rest, too.

Committing to recovery is essential as an athlete, but also as a person interested in general fitness. Are you allowing your body to recover?

Meet Mothers of Fitness ‘Momerator,’ Molly Tilove

For Mother’s Day this year, we launched our Mothers of Fitness community to celebrate the strong women in our midst. Part of the intention of this group was to allow mothers to share their experiences, offer advice to other women in their shoes, and just have a place to gush over something they all have in common–the love of motherhood and health and fitness.

You can join the party here.

We want you to meet Molly Tilove, one of our awesome group ‘Momerators’ whose path to fitness and maintaining consistency now with twins in tow was filled with challenges, but totally worth it.

How did you become interested in fitness?

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was NEVER interested in fitness or working out (in fact, I avoided PE at all costs!). Once I went off to college, I realized all of my friends had gym memberships and maybe I should actively work on avoiding the dreaded “Freshman 15”. I started running, and soon that became a big part of my life!

What inspired you to start posting on Instagram and sharing your journey?

It just sort of evolved naturally. While I was in college, I developed anorexia and spent several years severely underweight. I was obsessed with running and doing body weight exercises, and had a twisted goal of eating less and less each day. After admitting I had a serious problem, got help, and received treatment, I gained weight, but still really struggled with body image issues. While I physically was “healthy” again, I still was struggling horribly on the inside. After years of being a “runner”, a friend invited me to check out a new CrossFit gym opening in the area. I was immediately hooked!

That first year or two, I had shared a few before/after photos from my college days, and now my much stronger, CrossFit days. I was finally starting to see a transformation on the inside – I was no longer focused on what I looked like, but was really proud of my body and what it was capable of doing. The photos I had shared were reposted on a lot of “viral” sites, including Reddit. My Instagram quickly started growing and I started sharing more about my journey, my workouts, etc! It’s been about five years now since that all happened so it’s been really fun connecting with so many more people, growing new friendships and relationships, etc!

What has been the most challenging part of juggling work, fitness, and motherhood?

Life definitely takes a lot more planning now! When the twins were newborns, they slept SO much, so it was easy to keep them in their bassinet or swings and bring them out with me while I worked out, or while I worked in our home office. Now that they’re over one and totally mobile… they have my whole attention while they’re awake! It makes it tricky managing a business with two littles and a husband who has a very full work schedule himself, but I just really focus on making nap times as productive as possible.

Workouts are definitely much less consistent than they used to be, but I still make it a priority to fit them in – whether its including the babies, or waiting until they go down for the night and fitting a workout in before bed. We built out our home gym before the babies were born and it has been SUCH a blessing this year, especially with COVID!

What is your favorite part about being a mom?

It is truly a love like NO OTHER. I never felt more purpose, more passion, or more fire than I have since these babies were born. They give me a whole new reason to be my best. We waited years before finally getting pregnant and they were worth every second of that wait, a million times over. It has been the greatest blessing watching them learn and grow this last year, and I can’t wait for all of the incredible adventures we have in our future.

Do you have any advice for other moms that are thinking about starting or need help continuing their fitness journey?

IT IS POSSIBLE to make fitness and wellness a priority with kids, no matter how much you have on your plate. Even if it’s 10 minutes during nap time, something is always better than nothing! There are some weeks where I can fit in six workouts, and some weeks where I only get two – but staying as consistent as you can and coming and showing up when it is possible pays off. Keeping my health and fitness a priority keeps me feeling good, energized, and truly helps me be a better mom. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so be sure to include things in your life that make YOU a better person so you can be better for the people you love!

How do you take time for yourself? Any favorite self care activities?

A workout is always a favorite activity! Some days though, a hot bath or shower and a glass of wine is all I need after a long day!

How have you been coping with this crazy year in regards to COVID and having young kids?

Honestly, having newborn twins before this all started – I was already basically living the “quarantine life”! It was difficult to get out too often with two tiny babes, especially during the winter after their NICU stays. COVID hit when they were about 4 months old, and life just sort of continued on the way it had been! It’s definitely been challenging at times, feeling like it’s groundhog day for the last year. The little things I did for “me” to recharge really aren’t options at the moment (getting my nails done, meeting a friend for coffee, etc), and I miss the social interactions we used to have!

Being a new mom can feel isolating anyways, but having this never ending lockdown in place makes it feel extra difficult some days. It also makes me sad that the kids have had so much less interaction in their lives than a typical child would have their first year! At the same time though – this bizarre year has allowed both me and my husband to be at home SO MUCH more than we may have otherwise been. I try and look at the positives as much as I can about this entire situation! We’ve had more time together, Erik has been able to be home for more of their milestone moments, we’ve saved more money, and we find joy in the simplest things! With that being said… I am definitely looking forward to a life no longer controlled by COVID restrictions! 🙂

Are you watching any good TV shows or movies now that you want to share?

Oh man! I wish!! I’m hoping once the holiday season is over and business slows down, I’ll be able to start doing a little more reading / TV watching! The few things I always stay up-to-date on, no matter how busy I am, are “This Is Us” and “A Million Little Things”! I’m here for everyone else’s suggestions for good TV shows though!

What are some goals you have going into 2021?

Carrying less stress with me. I am a stresser. We surprisingly had our best year with Belle & Bell yet, but it has made me CRAZY stressed this entire Q4. I get overwhelmed and feel like I have a difficult time being completely present with work OR with my kids. Learning to balance and give myself more grace is definitely a goal. Aside from that – I hope to grow B&B even BIGGER this year, create some amazing memories with the kids, and hopefully get my ring muscle ups back 😉 we just installed a rig in our backyard, so I have no excuse now!

Do you have any products or services (for you or your kids) that you can’t live without or are essential to your everyday routine? 

I *LOVE* that we use a meal prep delivery service. We order a la carte meats and carbs from Trifecta and it makes it so convenient for weekday lunches for both me AND the kiddos. Other random stuff we love : our Lovevery subscription for educational toys, our Lillebaby baby carriers, our big playpen that the kids love to hang in while we workout, and probably a billion other things I cant think of right now! For me personally – I rely on RP Strength for my nutrition guidance, and I’m pretty sure protein coffee is what now runs through my veins 😉 (if you follow me on IG, you know I am obsessed with cold brew and then Bowmar Nutrition Pumpkin Spice coffee!)

 What are your hobbies/interests outside of fitness? 

I have had a ton of fun getting into photography the last few years! I also really like hiking, traveling…and eating good food! lol!

Tamar Garcia, LIFEAID National Events Manager

We may be biased, but at LIFEAID, we really do have some of the best people on our team and Tamar is no exception. If you saw us at Wodapalooza in Miami earlier this year, she was the fearless leader behind that activation. While her role has (temporarily) shifted due to events being cancelled in 2020, she’s ready to bring you memorable LIFEAID experiences in 2021 and beyond.
What brought you to LIFEAID and describe your role with the team.

I first heard of LIFEAID through a friend of mine who was a yoga instructor at the time and also worked in the marketing world. She was hooked on a drink called FITAID, that she swore helped her achy muscles, so I gave it a try and was hooked.
I had graduated college with a double major in Political Science and Communications and had worked for an attorney, took my LSATS and realized that that wasn’t the route I wanted to take. Everything happens for a reason because as I made the big decision not to attend law school that same week that very friend that hooked me onto FITAID saw a job posting looking for a part time brand ambassador… and the rest was history.
I graduated from part time brand ambassador to running all the National Events for LIFEAID.

What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned from your time on the team so far?

I may or may not get in trouble for this one.. but how does the saying go “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”  Obviously everything within reason, but if I have a good idea I’ve learned to trust my gut and go for it because it ends up being a good one.

If you can only choose one, what would you say your favorite event/memory has been so far?

This one is tough, there are SO many fond memories with the LIFEAID team. The retreats may be some of the best memories I’ll ever have, there’s just something about being in a secluded area with all of your colleagues that will really just stay with you. “The first rule of LIFEAID retreats: you don’t talk about the retreats” lol

Another great memory I had was executing my first national event, which happened to be in Miami. I’d never been to the event, nor Miami so I had no clue what to expect. The event itself was a great memory, but working with the team behind the scenes was by far the best. Everyone offered their advice, the do’s and don’ts, their expertise and if it hadn’t been for everyone who helped me plan, it truly wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

How has your role shifted in 2020 and what is one skill you learned that you’re grateful for?

2020 was quite a strange year, to say the least. My role shifted drastically, in the sense that all the events that we had planned and were excited for got cancelled but this is the beauty of marketing; things are never set in stone, and you just have to roll with the punches. Because of 2020 I was able to learn a little about almost every position within the company, and with that my ability to adapt very quickly.

What is your favorite LIFEAID product and why?

FOCUSAID is by far my favorite product. I am a huge yerba mate fan and would drink the tea all the time so finding out that I could drink Yerba Mate AND get vitamins at the same time was a huge win.

Outside of work, you play in a Mariachi band. How long have you been doing that and what is your motivation?

My mom enrolled me in my first mariachi class when I was 9 years old, and since then I haven’t looked back. Playing the violin at such a young age, you don’t realize what you really learn (besides the music). I’ve learned patience, camaraderie, discipline, strength, but most of all being passionate about something.

What do you love most about music?

I love that you can express every and any feeling through music, whether im playing some og rap to heavy metal there is something in the music that eases whatever feeling i’m feeling. When it comes to playing mariachi it’s the same. It’s an outlet to express things that can’t be said.

The people want to know about your adorable cats. Tell us about them.

I have the best fur-babies in the world. I have 2 black cats; oldest is named Ledo (pronounced LEE-DO) and the youngest is Nicolas Cage. They have the polar opposite personalities, the older being the chubby, sweet gentle cuddler and the youngest being the biggest trouble maker digging up my plants, chewing on all his toys, and eating anything he can find. I adopted them on accident, but realized no one ever comes into your life by accident.

100 Marathons?!

When not in the field building relationships with gym owners and retailers, Regional Sales Manager – Southwest Karly Wilson is putting in miles on the pavement for her marathon training. In fact, this year she surpassed a huge milestone of running her 100th marathon! Not sure about you, but when she revealed that during one of our team calls, we were all blown away. We caught up with her (on a rest day) to find out a little bit more about her accomplishment.

What made you start wanting to run marathons?

I started running in high school and stuck with it because it gave me a community. Later, during some trying times, I found that running also gave me purpose. Finding that purpose made me take it to the next level and I signed up for a marathon. From that point, I noticed I learned something new from each marathon I finished. A sense of accomplishment, self-love and it has helped me process certain obstacles throughout my life.

Do you have any advice for beginners looking to get into marathons?

A marathon is a big bite to chew but very worth it in the end. That being said, when training for a marathon, take baby steps to be a competent runner. Start with 5ks and 10ks and then work your way up to higher mileage. The last thing you want to do is start hot out of the gate and over train. Enjoy the process because you won’t always have great training runs.  I know a lot of people stop strength, gymnastics and agility training and I think it’s extremely important to still prioritize those. It will make a huge difference in your training.

What is the biggest takeaway you got from your 100 marathons?

This 100 marathon journey has been full of takeaways. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve fought hard for it. But throughout these races, I’ve formed an acceptance within myself. An acceptance of self-love, self-worth, and self-respect.

How do you ensure that your body is properly fueled and ready for race day?

This took me a long time to figure out.  Like many runners, I had an idea in my head about what a runner was “supposed” to look like. And like many people, I also had an idea in my head about what “beauty” was. I didn’t realize that those ideas merged to shape a harmful norm that actually held me back from my true potential.

When I began to incorporate lifting into my training regimen, everything changed. I learned about nutrition, positive body image, and how to train smarter. This completely changed how I felt on race day. I changed my nutrition to low carb, high fat diet and I make sure I am constantly drinking water and incorporating electrolytes.  The week leading up to my races, look the same. I eat the same things and I drink the same amount of liquid.

What have you found to be the most effective ways to recover while training?

FITAID, CrossFit, Compression pants, bubble baths, and massages.

How do you stay mentally tough throughout something as strenuous as a marathon?

For me I have had strong motivators. Sometimes they come from a place of pain and sometimes they come from great happiness. It also gives me time to reflect.

What is your favorite part of the marathon training process?

My favorite part of the marathon training process is when I hit my second wind and I feel like I am flying and when I get to do a fun endurance CrossFit workout.

Do you plan on reaching anymore marathon milestones?

I would love to break 3 hours and participate in the World Marathon Challenge.

Meet Mothers of Fitness ‘Momerator,’ Katie Dial

For Mother’s Day this year, we launched our Mothers of Fitness community to celebrate the strong women in our midst. Part of the intention of this group was to allow mothers to share their experiences, offer advice to other women in their shoes, and just have a place to gush over something they all have in common–the love of motherhood and health and fitness.

You can join the party here.

Katie Dial, one of our awesome group ‘Momerators’ shares her fitness story and her experience with motherhood.

How did you become interested in fitness?

I was always athletic growing up…I played soccer and did track, and was on the competitive swimming and diving team through middle and high school. I worked out fairly often prior to having kids but life happened and I let myself get pretty inconsistent after getting married and my first pregnancy loss. Then, six years later, I had my oldest son, who was very healthy thankfully. Six years after that, I had my second baby and I felt like three pregnancies had taken their toll on my body.

I first started working out consistently about three months after my youngest son was born. I had never done CrossFit but immediately loved the constantly varied workouts and training, I saw results almost immediately. Tannon is 4-years-old now and I’ve lost 35 pounds and gained an entirely new career as a fitness coach and trainer. I love sharing fitness content to help inspire and encourage other moms as well. I’m finishing up my CFL1 Coach’s certification course and regularly working out at my home box as well as posting an occasional online Instagram workout video to help motivate the other moms in the community. 

What inspired you to start posting on Instagram and sharing your journey? 

I felt a need to share my fitness journey from post pregnancy until now because I no longer recognized my body in the mirror. I struggled with low energy and weight gain. I felt determined to regain my confidence and health for my sons and myself, to be honest. So, I wanted to help inspire other mothers who are too afraid to speak up, but out there struggling with their own self image and body confidence. Also to pass on the healthy tips and eating habits that have been game changers for me. My trainers and coaches have poured infinite amounts of time and energy into training me andI feel a responsibility to pay that forward to others.

What has been the most challenging part of juggling work, fitness, and motherhood? 

Staying organized and on schedule! I started thinking to myself, “What area/task is going to be the ultimate disappointment if you don’t complete it? What are the PRIORITIES for the day or week?” Then, I focus on crushing those things first! Every week brings new challenges and changes. I’ve had to learn to focus on my goals and let things that won’t matter long term go. I try not to get too caught up in worrying about everything being perfect and I try to ALWAYS keep an appointment book and weekly schedule no matter what to help me stay organized. 

What is your favorite part about being a mom?

I can’t pick just one, but watching the boys love each other and have a close bond is pretty special to see. It gives my heart so much joy to see them laughing and playing together. There are so many things about my boys I love so much. I can’t believe they’re mine! They melt my heart with their sweet questions and I try to always be there for them.

Do you have any advice for other moms that are thinking about starting or need help continuing their fitness journey?

Keep Grinding No Matter What. Never Give Up! Keep a short term goal attainable daily and weekly to help encourage small changes that ultimately add up to big victories.

How do you take time for yourself? Any favorite self care activities?

Time management is a total key. One thing I always try to make time for is getting my lashes done. Its a very small thing but that time is when I just relax completely and it helps me to feel confident in and out of the gym, with or without makeup. Part of my quality self care time IS being in the gym and working out. I just feel 100% better when I’m in a balanced flow with exercise and nutrition.  

How have you been coping with this crazy year in regards to COVID and having young kids?

2020 has been the year I truly realized how important staying healthy and active is. I realized just how important CrossFit and my community is to me. I went to an empty dark gym and did home workouts for months and stayed consistent. Even during the shutdown we posted at home workouts and me and our boys swam in the pool almost everyday. I realized how much I loved being healthy and helping others start healthy habits. I just finished my coaching certification and can’t think of a better way to end this year. 

Are you watching any good TV shows or movies now that you want to share?

I loved watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. I’m always trying to be more organized and she helps so many people.

What are some goals you have going into 2021?

One personal goal is to travel more in 2021. I loved Europe and want to go back to see more of it. Another goal is reaching more followers on Instagram to help others and promote healthy habits, coaching and fashion blogging more consistently. I would LOVE to take my boys to Disneyland when we go out of Phase 2.

Do you have any products or services (for you or your kids) that you can’t live without or are essential to your everyday routine?

FITAID, Lush KARMA soap/perfume, coffee anytime, LOTS of workout activewear…NOBULL trainers, I wear them almost every workout.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of fitness?

I’m a hairstylist and own a salon and also share fashion blogging on Instagram and Facebook for Rewardstyle/ Basically anything helping others to look or feel better about themselves! Everyone at the gym jokes about life makeovers with me, I love helping people look good!

FITAID Sits Down with CrossFit Analyst Tommy Marquez

With the second phase of the CrossFit Games happening this weekend, we spoke with CrossFit HQ’s commentator and analyst, Tommy Marquez, to get his take on the Aromas based, streamlined version of the 2020 Games. With the spectacle of the coliseum stripped away, Castro has taken us back to the birthplace of the fittest on earth. Check out our interview below for Tommy’s insight into what might take place out at the Ranch. 

FITAID: In terms of coverage and presentation of the Games, what challenges and opportunities did the purely online format of the first phase present? How have the lessons learned in phase one informed the media team’s approach to the final phase of the Games?

Marquez: The biggest challenge was creating relevant media covering the event in what was as close to as real time as possible. In a time where media coverage, and everything involving sports is centered around instant results, instant feedback, and live action coverage, the logistics of stage one simply couldn’t allow for that to happen so crafting coverage in a way that felt as close to that as possible was tough. It did provide an opportunity to get creative and find ways to emulate coverage or analysis without the typical timelines.

FITAID: Much of the spectacle of the Games has been stripped away (coliseum, fans, etc). What impact do you anticipate that having on the athletes? How do you intend to keep the excitement levels high for those of us watching from home?

Marquez: There’s a certain level of gamesmanship that comes with competing on the biggest stage of any sport that will be missing this year. The elements of atmosphere like the energy of the crowd and the spectacle of the arena can amplify or shrink an athlete’s performances. The pressure exposes elements – good or bad – of their mental game and competitive spirit. While it will certainly look and feel different, the competition at the Ranch won’t be completely devoid of these types of tests, so to keep the excitement level high, it will be important to identify and highlight the unique and new ways that the competition in Aromas will test the athletes mental resolve and ability to adapt to the moment. We may not ever get a moment like this again, so it’s important to remind the viewership of that because that alone is exciting in a certain way.

FITAID: On the men’s side there are a fair amount of new faces in comparison to the previous year’s leaderboards. Who is the standout amongst the new crowd?

Marquez: The biggest standout by far for me is Justin Medeiros. He’s the only rookie in the field and he’s made quite the splash already. At only 21 years old he has a tremendous career ahead of him but he’s carried himself with the poise and mindset of someone a decade older than him. In his first year on the big stage he’s already won a Sanctional (the Filthy 150 in Ireland), and has already earned himself a top 5 finish at the Games and a potential podium spot. Since the Games left the Ranch in 2010, the only men to podium in their Rookie years were Rich Froning, Josh Bridges, Mat Fraser, and Patrick Vellner. Granted Justin still has to earn his way into that group this weekend but that would be some amazing company right there.

FITAID: Obviously, Mat & Tia are the reigning champions several years running. Of the athletes that have moved on to phase two, who do you think poses the biggest threat to their continued dominance and does the new format of the Games itself help or hinder that effort?

Marquez: The body of work that Mat & Tia have compiled leads me to believe that this format will only help them. Everyday they train head to head, champion vs champion, in a smaller, more close-quarter environment like they’ll see at the Ranch, only with better competition pushing them. As far as the biggest threats I think there’s.a short term, and a long term answer for each. Short term, Noah Ohlsen and Katrin Davidsdottir pose the biggest threat, their pedigree and experience make them more at home standing shoulder to shoulder with them than anyone else. Long term it has to be Haley Adams and Justin Medeiros. They’re so skilled at such a young age, and they have plenty of time to continue to improve and fine tune plus they have great teams behind them.

FITAID: What do you think are the inherent advantages and challenges of having a limited field in the final events? In the past, while there have always been people ahead on the leaderboard there was always a chance for a comeback. Will an athlete pulling away at the beginning diminish the excitement of the Games?

Marquez: The advantages will be that the athletes have a clearer picture the whole way through of what needs to be done in each event. There’s only one heat, and your entire group of opponents is right in front of you and you don’t need to worry about an outlier from an earlier heat, or in the mass start events (bike, swim, run, etc.) someone getting squirrely and taking you out. That same element is also a disadvantage if you’re far behind or underperforming and the gaps mid-workout or overall are wide. With bigger groups you can set mini goals and chip away by passing one athlete here, another one there, along the way to get to your goal, but even though the point spreads are bigger, you could be staring at 100+ point gaps that FEEL much larger than they are, and hurt the psyche a bit. I fully expect Mat or Tia (or both) to pull away, and just like Regionals or Games past, the race for the podium is where the excitement will be assuming that there’s actually a race there.

FITAID: Depending on the trajectory of the pandemic, the 2021 Games could be executed in a variety of different ways. Is CrossFit HQ already considering some of their options for next year?

Marquez: Both the new CEO and Owner Eric Roza, and Director of Sport Dave Castro has stated that they are considering options and working to build a season that is flexible enough to push forward through the pandemic restrictions should they continue while still providing plenty of competition and entertainment options for fans and athletes so season still feels complete and legitimate. Since the sale of the company, the demeanor and spirit within the community and sport has been reinvigorated so I have full faith that 2021 will be great.

At the core of the CrossFit Games it serves as a proving ground for elite fitness, regardless of the amount of fans watching or grandeur of the coliseum. With Tommy Marquez at the commentator helm, this year’s innovative Games format will be sure to excite both new and OG CrossFit fans. Be sure to check out who is chosen as the Fittest as the ten finalists throw down at the Ranch this weekend.

HindeSight #46: Life Hacks I Stole From People Smarter Than Me

Get out of Your Comfort Zone' is Bad Advice | by Ramon Pedrollo Bez | Data Driven Investor | Medium

 20 Podcasts That Will Help You Grow

As we head into the final quarter of 2020, here are some podcasts to help propel you towards success as an entrepreneur.

Check out the podcast list here.

33 Things I Stole From People Smarter Than Me

Discover key life lessons you can take, adapt and apply to your life.

Read the full article here.

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

—Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Best Spotify Workout Playlists

Complex has compiled a handful of Spotify playlists from top athletes and professionals, to help you stay in the groove as you grind through your workouts this Fall.

Check out the full article here.

20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You

Struggling to stay motivated lately? Lifehack has compiled a kickass reading list that will have you feeling inspired and ready to seize the day!

Check out the complete reading list here.


HindeSight  |  No. 46

2020 CrossFit Games: Where & When to Watch

Reposted from original article online at | Sept. 10, 2020

Starting Thursday, Sept. 17, at 3:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. GMT, CrossFit will go live from its studio in California to guide fans through an action-packed weekend of competition. Tune in for live updates on event results on

Niki Brazier and Sean Woodland will keep you informed as scores roll in and standings are released on the CrossFit Games Leaderboard. Guest analysts and hosts from around CrossFit’s global community will join the pair throughout the weekend.

How to Watch Stage 1 of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games

Recordings of the athletes’ full workouts and additional coverage will be released throughout the weekend.

Follow the live shows on the Games website or through the CrossFit Games Facebook, Games Instagram, or the new CrossFit Games YouTube account to stay up to date on breaking news and competition highlights.

You can also keep up with your favorite Games athletes through their individual Instagram pages.


The 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games will take place in two stages: 1) an online competition in athletes’ home countries from which the top five men and top five women will advance and 2) an in-person finals in California to compete for the titles of Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth.


For the first time, the final stage of the CrossFit Games will begin in CrossFit affiliates around the world. The top 20 women and top 20 men from the Open leaderboard along with the 10 women’s and 10 men’s qualifiers from Sanctionals will compete in a virtual competition beginning Friday, Sept. 18.

Each event can be performed only one time. Once an athlete finishes an event, they may not attempt it again. There are no restarts. The workout must continue to completion once the timer begins.

More than US$500K in prize money is on the line for athletes placing in 20th through sixth place in stage one.

The top five men and top five women will advance to compete in person for up to US$1.3 million, with the Fittest Man on Earth and Fittest Woman on Earth earning US$300K each.

Related: Which Athletes Benefit Most in the Online Format?


A list of required equipment has been emailed to the 2020 Games athletes and CrossFit affiliates. Athletes are required to have the following equipment:

  • Barbell of 35 lb. (15 kg)/45 lb. (20 kg)
  •  Standard bumper plates (18-inch diameter)
    •  Be prepared for a max lift using Olympic bumper plates
    • Event loading will be noted in lb. with the corresponding kg conversion
  • Change plates (1 lb. minimum)
  • Barbell collars
  • Pull-up bar
  • Squat rack
  • GHD machine
  • Running route with one turnaround (maximum of 300 meters out and 300 meters back)
  • Concept2 Model D rower
  • Jump rope
  • Wall for handstand push-ups

Required support equipment:

  • Body-weight scale
  • Distance wheel
  • Measuring tape
  • Gaff tape or similar marking tape
  • Gym timer

The wait has been long, but it is almost time for the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games! Keep checking for more information as the competition nears.

The above article is reposted directly from original content found at


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FITAID is a proud partner of the 2020 CrossFit Games. Good luck, athletes!

You can follow along on Instagram for updates on FITAID athletes who are competing this weekend: @fitaid

> > > Stay well.