Merry Christmas From StrongFirst

In the Sierras, the first winter storm is blanketing the mountains with snow. What a joyous time to reflect back on the past twelve months and look forward to the promise of the new year to come.

The clouds surrounding the peaks are a reminder that not all things shrouded in darkness portend trouble, but often hold the promise of a renewal, a coming spring. A chance to prepare, a chance to grow. As we approach the New Year, all of us within the StrongFirst community have the chance to look forward, to prepare both spiritually and physically for 2013. How do we begin?

Thoughts for the New Year

Strength, as Mark Reifkind has said, is an attitude. There are so many distractions, so many reasons to fear what might look to be difficult times ahead. Yet, if we forge a will of steel and do our very best each day, the noise surrounding us can be stilled and our path made clear and straight. Commit every day to make it the best it can be, to enjoy the company of strong, like-minded brothers and sisters in iron, and to always leave whatever field of endeavor you choose knowing you gave it everything you have. Art Williams’ famous line, “All you can do is all you can do; but all you can do is enough,” says it so well, so simply, so strong. Harden your will, expand your heart.

We have all been blessed with a passion, a love for iron. Focus that desire, and forge a body worthy of your passion and love. Train hard, train smart. Demand from yourself each day that your training not only lifts you up, but also serves as an example to those around you. Be open to others, respectful of those who may stand on an opposing field from you today, for some day, they may stand alongside you. Remember that being elite is a good thing, provided you’re willing to help others become so as well.

Eliminate the confusion with which doubt poisons our mind. David Whitley’s point, “I have a strong side and a stronger side,” reminds us that weakness holds us back only if we choose to allow it to. Train your weaknesses, compete your strengths. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and examine the flaws and the gaps in your training, and recommit yourself to the promise that each day offers the chance to do better, to get stronger.

Clear your mind of the unnecessary, and allow yourself the chance to embrace the simple. Dan John remarked, “Want to get stronger? Lift weights.” Take pride in your craft, remembering that the difference between the great and the also-rans is that the great hone and perfect their basics. Pledge to renew, to return to your roots every day.

Merry Christmas from StrongFirst

Thank You, and Merry Christmas

StrongFirst has had an incredible start, a mind-blowing first sixty days. The opportunity to have so many of you reach out with kudos for what we’ve done right, and just as importantly, with suggestions for what we can do better, is the greatest gift we could have received this season. Strength comes not just from knowing you’re right, but also in your actions to do right by others.

2013 is much like a wrapped package. We have a good idea of what’s in the box, but there is always the chance to be surprised.

However you choose to celebrate this time of the year, I hope it’s a joyous time, filled with promise, renewal, and moments to remember how very blessed each of our lives are. We hope all our surprises to you are pleasant ones, but just in case you were expecting a watch and opened the box to find socks, let us know. Strength comes from truth, both in giving and receiving. Merry Christmas from all of us at StrongFirst.

Mark Toomey

10 thoughts on “Merry Christmas From StrongFirst

  • Excellent Post Mark! Thanks for speaking so earnestly and grenuinely to us. It strikes many emotions and resonates with me! I look forward to seeing you all in February! I am so happy I made this choice! And thank you again!

  • My fiancée and I registered for the RKC in April prior to change over to SFG. We would prefer to stay with SFG and Pavel. We are both currently HKCs. Can we be refunded and switch over? Any suggestions would be appreciated? Trying to get the best for our money and education!

  • Hello Mark,
    We have not talked in awhile. What’s the scoop with the people who are already RKC instructors… Do we need to re-cert? When is the Houston workshop. Check out my website and see a 67 year old climb the rope “sans” feet… My goal for my 68th birthday is 70 snatches with the 24K in 5 minutes at a bodyweight of 132 or less…. Did 65 last Monday and tore my palm :)… Pain is “good”??? comrade….. Should be healed by Jan. 9th , my birthday….. I have passed the RKC 2x . How did people get certified so fast in SF….. ????
    Have a great day….and Merry Christmas

    • John,

      Your SFG Certification has the same expiration as your RKC. If you haven’t sent your certificate in to be officially recognized, please do so to

      If you’re nearing the expiration date and wish to re-certify, we announced a great deal for those wishing to attend one of the first three SFG Level I Certifications in 2013. Email me at if you need the details.

  • Well said! Strength and blessings to the entire StrongFirst community!

    I’d wager you could sell a few of those ornaments to the SF community…a charitable activity? Just some holiday food for thought (calories extracted!).


  • I am SO amped to have found this website today. Merry Christmas to all. 2013 will be a great year for this strength community.

  • Mark

    what a great post and an excellent reminder of all the great , as well as difficult, things that have happened this year. As well as all the exciting and interesting things that lay ahead of all of us.

    Thank you again for all you have done for me, this community and helping to keep us all Strong on every level
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.


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