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Matt News/Main

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

-TS Elliott

I’ve never understood the need for a risk management department. I’ve also never worked anywhere that had one of those. Regardless, they exist and many of you probably have one at your work.

What do these people do? I imagine tiny men in old, ill-fitting sports coats with clipboards, jotting and nodding at everything that is happening in the office. They’re there to keep you safe, right? They prevent the dubious outcomes that follow natural disasters, building collapses, or Marty falling off the step stool while reaching for a ream of paper. They also, in some instances, measure and then mitigate financial risk. They guard the money, kind of like a Gargoyle but in birth control glasses and a tie clip.

I think in its purest form the idea that a company must spend to keep their employees safe at work or make sound financial decisions based on the recommendations of experts is a good one. We, in our own homes, do it everyday. Turn the hot pan handle inward so the baby doesn’t grab it, forget the plasma screen and pay the mortgage. Invest in mutual funds with sound returns.

But that’s not where it’s ended. The idea of risk management, the need to mitigate every possible deadly, bad, or just uncomfortable situation is our new zeitgeist. Restaurants: keep those lids extra tight for the coffee cups because when Sandy puts it between her legs while driving, adjusting the rear view mirror, and talking on the cell phone it might spill onto her legs. We can’t let the kids play tag at recess anymore. Why? Well they might get tagged too hard and fall down. Or worse: someone’s feelings might get hurt.


If we can trace one cause of the metabolic disease and obesity epidemic back to a root it is here.

We’re told to be cautious because we might get hurt. Sit still and watch because that’s safer. It’s unfortunate that there is no one to guard us from this risk. We are afraid to play, uninterested movement, and unwilling to push ourselves beyond the mundane. The risk begins to get returns on its dividends as we become fat, afraid to try anything, uninterested in pushing ourselves to do anything more than maintaining our status quo. Self-improvement? Isn’t that hard? Is that even possible? Can you really change?

Simply put, we avoid risk, shun daring, and shy away from physical realities or challenges and this simple refusal begins to influence every other area of our lives.

There is a mind-body connection. Neglect your body and the negativity will pervade your mind. It will infect your life. You’ll wake up one day and realize that it’s all passing you by and it’s not slowing down.

Training is a choice. Every time you step to the bar, or the line you must decide what you will do. Are you tired? Do you ache? A lot of stress lately?

Our only answer to that is: “5,4,3,2,1, go!”

You must choose every time before you train to risk everything. There must be a conscious decision to endure any metabolic stress, all pain, and every discomfort to not only finish, but win. Yes, every time you come here you must try to win. When we count down from 5 you must decide to do everything you can to win. You must risk all to win.

I know you won’t win every time. No one can. But if you risk the pain, the gasping, the blurred vision on every workout you push the hazy edges of your limits away a little further. And after that, as you push and continue to push everyday your limits will expand, your tolerance of risk deepen, and your will to win become like iron. You must decide to push, you must dare to endure, you must will to win.

Risk? We embrace that. Everything we do carries risk. We hoist heavy weights from floor to overhead, operate at 85% of our max heart rate, throw a heavy ball ten feet in the air and catch it before it smacks us in the face. We do all of these as fast as we can and preferably under 20 minutes. We risk everything for our name to be in the number one slot on the board. More importantly, we risk the maximum everyday we train so that tomorrow we might be able to risk just a bit more.

Consider us your new kind of risk management. Except we don’t wear gravy stained neck ties.