Your September Member of the Month...Smitty!!!

Your September Member of the Month…Smitty!!!

Sergeant Savage

Buy-in: 150 Double-unders
12 Thrusters (65/65#)
12 Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups
Rest 5:00

Buy-in: 100 Double-unders
9 Thrusters (115/80#)
12 Toes-to-Bar
Rest 5:00

Buy-in: 50 Double-unders
6 Thrusters (135/95#)
12 Pull-ups

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Smitty's Canine Pals!

Smitty’s Canine Pals!

Congratulations Smitty on being CrossFit TILT’s Member of the Month!

Now sit-down and relax as we learn about Smitty and what makes him tick…

  1. How long have you been doing CrossFit? I started CrossFit TILT May 23, 2016.  I had never tried CrossFit prior to that.


  1. How did you get started? I owe this wonderful adventure to John Komola.  My last job was working with Komola (as well as Miles and Schnock) and we hadn’t seen each other in a bit so we met up for drinks after work (with Miles and a few other folks that Komola was working with).  Komola looked amazing and I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy.  Komola was kind enough to mention I had gained weight, wasn’t taking care of myself properly, overall just didn’t look good and that I needed to (i) stop working so much; (ii) get a better perspective on my work/life balance; and (iii) focus on my health and well-being as being my top priorities.  Komola and I have had many conversations over the years, some goofy and funny and some really serious.  In those conversations we tend to say what needs to be said very directly.  Everything Komola said was true.  I really did need to get a better life balance and get fitness back into my life or my health was going to suffer and I’d die young.  I had left active duty from the Army in 1996 in really incredible shape but over the past 20 years I focused on my work and family and not at all on myself or my health.  I did absolutely no exercise, gained over 80 pounds, was huffing & puffing to get up a flight of stairs and my health was really suffering.  Komola knew all of this and so he asked me to just meet with Max to talk; not commit to anything but just tell my story to Max and see what he thought and whether CrossFit might be a match (or not).  I tend to be very direct and frank in life (not just in my conversations with Komola) and that’s how I was with Max, who was equally direct and frank (which I appreciate very much).  I committed to spending the month of June just with Max to get muscle memory back, start to get my fitness back into my life routine and to learn the CrossFit basic movements as many I had never done before (even through the military and while playing two sports in college, lifting the old school way, etc.).  I then decided I liked what I was experiencing, I really liked Max’s approach to coaching and I decided to start CrossFit classes in July (after Max and Brian said I was ready and wouldn’t have a heart attack the first class).


  1. Is it true your famous for your brisket? Yes.  Yes it is.What’s the secret? None of your business.  Also, what about your sweet potato hash?  It’s pretty friggin’ amazing as well.  And your jambalaya?   Spectacular.  You forgot how incredibly flavorful and juicy my kielbasa was as well (can I say that)?  Give us some trade secrets.  No.


  1. If there was a “Smitty” workout what would it consist of? I can tell you right away that there wouldn’t be a burpee in site.  Not a single one.  I really like the team workouts where there are a crazy number of reps/meters/etc. to get to for each exercise and you get there working together.  I always played team sports and my military experience was working in small groups where everyone carried his own weight and contributed to the good of the whole team.  The individual workouts are certainly challenging and rewarding but the team ones are my favorite, so the Smitty workout would be team-oriented.  I’ve also been fortunate to have some really awesome partners to work with at CrossFit TILT, so that just solidifies my team approach.  We would start with rowing to get things moving and set the stage for the main workout; then some form of weights (say strict presses); then some kettle bell swings; some ab work (sit-ups); back to more weights (maybe deadlifts); another ab (flutter kicks) and finish with more rowing for some crazy meter number.  Remember that Burpees are very bad; those box jump/step thingies aren’t so good either, so they would not be included. 


  1. What class do you take at TILT? 7:15AM. Is it true you’re the founding member of the Breakfast Club?  I am one of three founding members (with Miles and Max).  I really wasn’t my idea but Max’s.  Max would eat his breakfast after our June sessions and I would stare at the eggs (not at the hash so much as his hash is pretty plain) and want some.  The coffee was really good as well, so I was bumming coffee off of him whenever I could.  Max wanted me to eat a proper meal in the morning (he didn’t like me going to McDonald’s or Dunkin’) so the thought of having breakfast after workouts was discussed (the real reason was Max really wanted to see that I was eating a balanced breakfast and not going off on my own vices).  When I joined the classes in July and Miles was also taking the 7:15AM, the thought of starting Breakfast Club became a reality as Miles is always willing and able to join in an adventure (especially one involving food and/or beverages).


  1. What does a perfect day look like in the life of Smitty? I get up every day at 5:45AM and walk my four dogs (yup), so that has to be the start.  There are lots of trails near us and I like bringing them down to the trails and letting them run (they run; I chaperone).  So I would start there.  I’d then go for the Smitty CrossFit Workout (see answer #4 above), followed by a nice breakfast of eggs, Smitty’s Sweet Potato Hash, Smitty’s Kielbasa and a little leftover Smitty’s Brisket (there is never leftover brisket but it’s my perfect day, so there is now).  As 2 of my 3 kids are now in college and I miss them, I would want to go do something with all three of my kids (and my wife, of course) for the rest of the morning and get a nice lunch someplace with them.  I would go back to the house and have to get my smoker going as the perfect day includes something smoked – brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage, shrimp, etc.  The brisket takes 14 hours so let’s go simple on my perfect day and go with ribs, chicken and jambalaya (I smoke the jambalaya ingredients as well – there is a trade secret for you, after all).  I’d be forced to have some IPAs while the food is smoking and I really like watching movies with my son (who is studying film in college), so we’d have to watch one of my old favorites like Highlander, Slapshot, Apocalypse Now or The Deer Hunter.  There would also have to be a Texas Hold’em game, so I’d have the monthly poker group I belong to over in the early evening for some poker.  My wife cooks amazing Italian dishes (I didn’t get this figure on my own, you know), so since it’s my perfect day I would kindly ask her to have her incredible gravy (red sauce) available (it takes her two days to make, so I asked her nicely in advance) and we’d have some stuffed shells to accompany the smoked delights (please note that I specifically said that “I would kindly ask her” as my wife is a black belt and in our 22+ years of marriage, I have never once told her to do anything – I always ask nicely (I can already hear Nicky saying “Good boy, Smitty”….)).  They’d be a Vikings game on during poker where the Vikings are killing the Packers and we’d all finish the night with a nice big glass of Oban (or some other fine Highland Single Malt).  If I didn’t smell too badly of smoke & scotch, I might even be able to cuddle up with the wife.


  1. If you go into a car dealership looking to buy a car is it appropriate to buy the car that day or should you wait? Never buy the car the same day you go in.  Absolutely have to wait at least one day – it makes the sales rep uncomfortable and forces him to come back with a better deal.  You will never get your best deal the first day, even when they lie and say the offer is only good if you buy the car right then.  What is the protocol to get the best deal possible? For the absolute best deal, you only buy a car during one of two time periods:  (i) at the very end of December or (ii) when all of the “new” year models come in and the dealership is desperate to get rid of the prior year’s models (the timing ranges depending on vehicle brand but the dealers have to get rid of the older models (2016s now) to make room for the new ones (2017s) and therefore they give the best deals then (on the older models, so note that your best deal will be on the model they need to get rid of).  You need to already know the exact car you want and how much you want to pay for it (off the MSRP).  I will be getting a new car this year, so I will go in after Christmas (like the 27th-28th) and tell them exactly the car I want (the vehicle has to be on their lot for the best deal to be obtained) and I’ll tell the rep exactly what I want to pay (usually I open up around $12K below MSRP).  They’ll pretend they can’t do it, have to talk to the manager & act all insulted, so then you have to have the ability to just walk away (they will try to stop you as Rule #1 for them is don’t ever let the customer walk out).  I will leave a business card and tell them to call when they reconsider my offer or otherwise have a more reasonable counter-offer to present.  They will always call the next day as otherwise the odds are they will lose you to another dealership and so I’ll go back into the dealership the next day, act all pissed off that I had to come back in and tell them the deal better be worth it.  They will give me a number closer to what I wanted.  To seal the deal (and get even closer to my number), I’ll also tell them that I will purchase the car before the end of the year (they all get extra kickers & bonuses on top of commissions based on vehicles sold in the calendar year) and I will agree to use them for some financing as well (they also get a commission when you finance through the dealer).  Finally, I’ll tell them that I will add some accessories/options onto the purchase and also purchase an extended warranty as well (they get commissioned on all of those things as well).  All of these things then give them the proper incentive to get closer to the price I originally wanted to pay.  Once we agree to that price, then I will work them on my trade-in (note – you never tell them you want to trade-in your vehicle until after the price is agreed to or otherwise they will use that against you in the price negotiation.  Originally you pretend you want to keep your car & get the best deal off the MSRP that you can without a trade-in being considered.  Once the vehicle price is locked-in, then you change your mind and negotiate the trade-in value of your existing car.  In terms of value for your trade-in, you need to get at least KBB Very Good value for the trade-in; even if it’s a clunker.  As it’s the end of the calendar year, the deal will get done as the dealership wants the credit for selling the car within the calendar year – they are just going to sell your trade-in to another dealership anyways.  I’ll end up with a car/truck at least $10K below MSRP and full credit for my trade-in.  I am 6 for 6 doing this approach. 


  1. You’re going over to someones house to watch football. What food(s) have to be present in their spread? The usual picking foods (chips & dip; tortilla chips & salsa; some really good dip – like a solid buffalo chicken dip is good and/or a seven-layer dip can hit the spot; heck, even a veggie tray is fine) should be there.  I would like a House Specialty item as well so the host/hostess can show off some unique culinary skill (one of my friends does amazing spicy wings; another makes an incredible Portuguese shredded beef dish; one does competition level chili, etc.).  You should really be looking forward to having his/her specialty item at the party, so I think having at least one specialty dish to look forward to is key (if the host/hostess is reallycaring he/she will know other folks’ specialty dishes and ask to have them brought as well – no egos at the party; just really good food).  Then there must be meats present.  I’m talking real meats grilled and/or smoked is what I need to see (hamburgers and hot dogs are fine to have as fillers, but if that’s all that’s there, then the guests are being deprived of solid meat dishes and your party will not stand out).  Real meat dishes would include ribs, bbq chicken, steak tips, etc.   So what a host must have:  A host must have a combination of solid picking food choices, combined with specialty homemade dishes and real meats for the guests to devour in order to make the party a real success and one that folks will remember for years to come.  Also, what foods are deal breakers (you’d leave immediately)?  Tofu or items pretending to be real meats but they aren’t would be deal breakers.  If meat is being substituted with pretend-meat dishes, then I just cannot be a part of the gathering.  I can tolerate some non-meat dishes there so others can feel ok with themselves, but only if there are real dishes available (see my comments above as to what “a host must have”).  If there are only tofu, veggie burgers, humus, sprouts and all that kind of peace & love food, then I have to leave.  Throw some granola-type food on a side table if you really must, but the main table for the guests you really care about must have real meats & solid dishes on it.


  1. Give us one of the Smitty’s all-time great stories. I’ll give you the story as to why I simply am unable to say the word “teeth” anymore.  It was 1994 and I was at Fort Bragg.  I was in the process of kicking one of my soldiers out of our unit for not being able to keep up with the Airborne standards that were required to stay in the unit.  This was also a soldier who had almost literally killed me a few weeks prior (although that was not the main reason why he was getting the boot).  In asking him why he had signed-up for the Paratroopers when he had no passion or desire to really belong, he said the Paratroopers received an extra $110/month for “danger pay” to jump out of perfectly good airplanes and he wanted the extra money.  I then asked him why he even joined the Army in the first place as he clearly was not cut out to be in the Army at all, let alone as a Paratrooper.  He looked right at me, opened his mouth fully (thereby displaying a mouth full of teeth literally going in all different directions from each other, just like if you open a Swiss Army knife and all of the pieces are going in every direction) and said to me “I wanted the Army to fix my tooffesses”.  So now, whenever anyone is going to the dentist or has a tooth ache or in any way a conversation involving dental functions of any sort comes up, I always have to say something like “are your tooffesses ok” or “good luck with your tooffesses today” or “I have to go to the dentist to get my tooffesses checked out”.  It’s really sad but it’s true.


  1. Any last thoughts on being Member of the Month at CrossFit TILT? It’s almost like winning an Emmy and there are just so many folks to thank!  Actually, it’s not so much the honor of being unanimously chosen by all of my peers to be the CrossFit TILT Member of the Month as much as being much more about how this experience has changed me (and continues to change me) for the better.  I have met Max, whose passion for fitness and health, as well as his caring nature, is infectious.  His incredible coaching, along with Sean’s, Brian’s and James’, has really gotten me back onto the road of getting to a better place in terms of health, fitness and overall well-being.   I have a long way still to go but the hardest part I feel is behind me and now the results are slowly but steadily starting to show and, most importantly, my health has improved dramatically.  I have also been able to see more of some folks I previously worked with, particularly Miles, Komola and Schnock, and that is something I really enjoy as these are really good people with whom I have had many years of great experiences with and I missed not seeing them.  CrossFit TILT has also introduced me to a real cast of characters who all seem to be genuinely nice people; people who don’t judge or otherwise look down at folks but rather are encouraging of each other, challenge each other to do the best that they are able and are also just really nice people to be around (yes, they all still “pick things up and put them down” but not in an old school gym stereotypical negative way).  And the genuine nature of the TILTers extends to their families as well as I met many spouses/significant others/family members at the last challenge and all of the people around the TILTers were really good people as well.  I believe a key goal in life is to surround yourself with good people in everything you do and that is certainly something I have experienced here.  The experiences are positive and the people are genuine; that’s really my thoughts about CrossFit TILT – being awarded the Member of the Month is really just like putting Smitty’s BBQ Sauce on his perfectly smoked brisket.