This past weekend in Durham, NC, I completed the Iron Maiden challenge and became a STRONGFirst Elite Instructor. This challenge includes a press, pistol and pull-up with the 24kg bell. This journey began about 5 years ago for me. After seeing others attempt and complete it at my @strongfirst level 1 certification, I began looking up other coaches. I saw @_coach_karen_ video of her completing the Iron Maiden. At first, I thought to myself, there is no way I would ever be able to do that. As I began training with @max_levelfitness for my level 2 certification, we began playing around with the movements to see where my baseline was (and I wasn’t even close on any of the lifts). After completing my level 2 certification, I decided the only way to get there was to train and get coached from the person who inspired me to set this as my goal, @_coach_karen_ . Working with Karen, I was seeing strength gains that I had never had before. I was 2 weeks away from attempting the challenge (completed it in my basement) and I ended up blowing out my back shoveling snow. I was in so much pain for 4 months and I couldn’t do anything besides walk. Finally, things turned for the better. I began training with Karen for another few months. Then, my journey to Iron Maiden took another setback. My wife was trying to get pregnant and was unsuccessful. She then went through IVF and during the retrieval @radfertility she was able to get 1 egg. We were excited beyond belief when we found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately, at week 10, 2 days before my 30th Birthday, she had a miscarriage. The experience was traumatic and we took our time focusing on our mental states of our loss and used that energy into opening @anchorlifeandfitness. Months later, we along with our doctors @radfertility decided that I would go through IVF and Renee would carry so that I could focus my energy on ANCHOR. Due to the medications, I had to stop all training again. I had my egg retrieval on a Tuesday and thankfully, it was successful. However, 4 days later, I ended up in the ER and had emergency surgery due to low, but potential risks of going through IVF. I had thought I would be able to start training, but that was delayed for another 12 weeks. When I was able to resume training again, I decided to go for my SFL (barbell) Certification and that became my primary goal with Iron Maiden as a secondary goal. This past January, I wrote my goals down for the year. One of them said, Iron Maiden by end of 2019. A few weeks after that, Noah Maxwell reached out to say that one of his other students and friend Katie Gould was going to head to NC to complete the Iron Maiden and mentioned if I was interested, he would see if he could assist and I agreed that it was time. Noah wrote me a program for 6 weeks with the primary goal of Iron Maiden and secondary goal of the One Arm Push-Up. I knew during these weeks of training, things felt different and I just had to keep imagining myself successfully completing the Iron Maiden Challenge. So, this past weekend, I finally completed the #IronMaidenChallenge at Rapid Results Fitness www.rapidresultsfitness.net in NC. Thank you Betsy Middleton Collie for being such a wonderful host. Thank you Karen McDowell Smith for being such an inspiration and for coaching me and not giving up on me. Thank you Max-Level Fitness for introducing me to the StrongFirst family and for preparing me for many certifications and Iron Maiden. Thank you Renee Richardson for all of your love and support through all of my goals. For all of you who have a health and fitness goal that you want to complete, stick with it. You will get thrown many obstacles and life will get in the way. So, remember to dream big, work hard and keep your eye on your goal. There will be many ups and downs, but strength is a journey.