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The Shark Bite Show Episode 6: Coach Jim Meers on not letting age stop him 

Nick  00:00

 Today I’m here with Jim Meers. Jim is one of my oldest friends in every way that I could possibly use that word, old. He’s been a coach with me here for a little over seven years now. He’s a friend of mine. He’s honestly a mentor of mine. He’s somebody I’ve come to with problems that have nothing to do with fitness or business in any way. Well, I also feel that I’ve been mentored by you as well. So we’re going to talk about a bunch of cool stuff. So, who are you? How long have you been in fitness? What got you into fitness?

Jim Meers  00:58

Jim Meers. One of the coaches here for Nick. I’m currently 54 years old, but for CrossFit,. I’m CrossFit 55. Alright, just like when you kids attend there are Disney adults, so but a fitness this for me, fitness has been play. Like when I grew up, I come home, go outside, be back at five, and we went out and we played.  I think it’s so important for kids to go out and just play, run, jump climb. That’s what we did. I had a great idea got a great childhood, I had a we had a set of woods right down the street, a giant sandpit for us to like try and kill ourselves on our BMX bikes. And we were just outside all the time also was fortunate enough to have a lot of kids on the block, we had kickball basketball, we just played all the time that says always outside, there were no video games to keep you inside. And your parents definitely didn’t want you inside. So it was outside. So to me, clay is the first form of fitness. And it’s you know, was just fun going out and having fun street hockey, football. Whatever.

Nick  02:15

So what got you into maybe not sports so much? Because that makes sense. What got you into thinking like, Okay, I want to fitness on a regular basis, I’m going to work out.

Jim Meers  02:25

Well, I played hockey in a Catholic youth league. I played roller hockey for a number of years, I think you could play until you were 15. So I guess you could say that was fitness. But again, at the start I was playing. When I got into high school. My senior year, I enlisted into what was called the delayed entry program to go into the army. I enlisted in the army. I saw that they had a physical fitness test. You had to do X amount of push ups sit ups, and a two mile run for my age group at the time was going to be, I don’t know, 12 and a half minutes or 12 minutes and 10 seconds. I can’t really recall. I just knew I had to run two miles. So I said to myself, self you need to do something and get in shape. So I joined the track team. The first time I did the two mile run in a race. I got my ass handed to me. I don’t know if I can say that but I did. The thing is, when I finished the race, I had passed a PT test for the army, given me a top score from my age group. I was good to go. Once you know, you’re a veteran, once you get to boot camp, all bets are off. You thought you’re in a decent shape, you are not. The army influenced my fitness. Back then, in the 80s it’s probably probably was the same for you when you went in, it was basically calisthenics or bodyweight training and running. After you did some running, you do a little more running and if you got in trouble, you do even more running. I was running and calisthenics, but I did kind of fall in love with calisthenics because calisthenics you could do anywhere. So that was I would say, my first gamut into fitness.  When I did get out of your army, I joined a gym, an Olympic gym at East Islip, on Long Island. It’s funny because a CrossFit community, we’re like really tight. The first gym I bought a membership at was Olympic health club. It was a bodybuilding gym. That’s what fitness was back in the day. It was bodybuilding.  Me and my buddy started bodybuilding and that gym was exactly like CrossFit gym only with people there to get big and improve their physiques, but it was just like the gyms here. I know you and Chris had a similar conversation and you guys didn’t enjoy that atmosphere it sounded like which is cool. But I loved it. I couldn’t wait to go to the gym, I loved every set, every rep. It was just a really tight that it was a small gym, like our boxes are. Everybody knew each other. And it was really tight. Everyone supported each other, camaraderie, everything.  At the time, I weighed 155 pounds when I got out of the Army in 87. So in about a 14 month time, with weight training and eating a ton of food. I went from 155 to 210 pounds. I got pretty big, you know, waist was a little bigger than it was now, but I wasn’t like severely overweight, but we got big and we got strong. Then other things influenced fitness just like you always think you’re going to be the same, but as you all get older, you don’t think in your 20s the way you did in your teens. You don’t think in your 30s, the way you did in your 20s. Things just happened. It’s called growth. I was lucky enough to get my dream job but the NYPD

Nick  06:24

What did you do with them because that’s something I want to talk to you about.

Jim Meers  06:28

With the NYPD I worked patrol for over 10 years in various different neighborhoods. I loved my job, but after I got promoted to sergeant, and then after a couple of years of being a sergeant in a very busy precinct, it’s kind of getting a little little burnt out. I had some friends that had become instructors in the New York City Police Academy. And I had seen a change in some of the rookies that were coming out. I wasn’t really happy with some of the rookies that were coming out and I thought, well, maybe I can make a change and get into the academy as an instructor.  So I was interviewed, I had to take a PT test that they gave because I was trying to get into the physical training and tactics department. So that meant the gym. They timed you, had push ups in a minute or two minutes, a benchpress. I think some situps so it’s just to get an idea of where you’re at. So always worked out when I was on patrol, we took our meal hours, we’d hang out gun belts up and the vests up and we’d work out and then go back out on the street. So cardio wise, I didn’t impress anybody back then, because I was still back down on patrol is probably about 190 pounds, still keeping keeping my size up, but I was still mobile enough to run up the flight of stairs when someone was calling for help. I got into the academy and I had some mentors there. I was surrounded by a lot of instructors that had different backgrounds. We had combat athletes, we had body builders, we had runners, we had bodyweight specialists, kind of we just had everything so people that could swim. So I got into a little bit of everything. One of my mentors was actually one of my subordinates, one of the police officers that I was in charge of. I still keep in touch with him. He’s up in the Bronx. He was really good when it came to his philosophy on how to train others, especially don’t give anyone to do anything that you’re have not done or willing to do. It was just being around this group of individuals, males and females. We had one female officer who was an Olympic athlete in my squad, she went on to become an emergency service, what you would call like special weapons and tactics like a SWAT almost. She was a great role model for the female recruits all the recruits.  The thing is in recruit training, there’s a purpose. When you come into the gym here, everyone wants to look good, they want to feel good, you want to be healthy. That’s a great goal to have. When you’re training police officers or soldiers, it’s to stay alive. So they’re learning tactics and you got to have some form of fitness. If you go to Manhattan or Brooklyn, you’re going to have some buildings that are 15-30. storeys, and someone’s always calling for help, because someone’s resisting arrest. They’re always on the 17th floor, and the elevators are not working. Someone is relying on you, someone’s life is on the line, someone safety’s on the line, you need to get there. There’s no, “I can’t get there. I’m out of shape,” you have to get there. I brought that reality to the gym floor when I was a sergeant but as far as recruits go, you have to get them in that mindset. We also had physical fitness standards, just like the military. To graduate, they had to pass a certain number of tests and have certain scores. It was our job to get them to pass. That’s why I fell in love with training others because but that that really had a purpose for me, it meant something because I would always tell recruits, I said, I am not going to send you out onto the street, if you’re a danger to others, because I got brothers and sisters out there that I care about. You need to be able to pull your weight.

Nick  11:35

That’s an awesome reason. I think anybody who’s worked with you, or been coached by you or been around you really, for any reason, knows and feels the way how seriously you take that. I had a drill sergeant in basic training for the army. He came in mid cycle. That means, halfway through when we were being done. I remember he was the only person in our drill sergeant group that had been deployed. He was an infantry guy that had been deployed also. I remember he brought that exact same feeling. IInstead of all this theory of you should you should know how to do this because we teach you this and you should know it because you’re going to become a soldier and all that kind of stuff. He brought a real like grittiness. He was like, “Hey, if you don’t do these things, here are the real life repercussions,” and this is why it’s important that you understand, you need to be fit. This is why it’s important you understand you’re not letting your battle buddies down. From my experience, I can totally see how having an instructor like you, in that session would have made such a big difference.

Jim Meers  12:44

I don’t think I was special. It’s just that when I got there, I had at least 10 years out on on the street, I worked in some pretty violent neighborhoods that needed policing, and the citizens that needed it. But also, I’ve been around, I stood roll call with someone one night, and a week later, they were gone because they were shot, they were killed in the line of duty. So like I said, it hits home. I had to make sure that the people that I was sending out, knew why I was doing what I was doing, and what it was for. As the academy goes on in the beginning, they’re probably like this sergeant is a frickin jerk. But towards the middle to the end, they really like this guy really cares about us.

Nick  13:32

I had that exact feeling. I remember hating this drill sergeant, hated him. I was like, “Man, this guy came in out of nowhere. He’s like a hurricane. He’s making my life so much more difficult than it was already.” And by the end, by far our favorite, he was unanimously the favorite drill sergeant because we were all like, “Man, this dude cares about us.” He doesn’t care about us liking him. He cared about us.

Jim Meers  13:53

I didn’t care if you liked me, I didn’t care if you feared me, I didn’t care. All I knew is I was going to make sure that I instilled certain lessons into these young officers so they realize that when they go out on the street, they may have to take a life and they’re gonna go out on the street and someone might want to take their life. We would run them into gym in military formation, because we had to get them in shape the past they were on and then we would do calisthenics training. So for me calisthenic training I would teach about patterns because out on the street you have crime patterns. So how do I teach a pattern? I’d say, “All right, we’re gonna do 10 Only 10 990 10 squat thrusts for count exercise, I’ll count the rep count the cadence counts repetitions.” So it’s kind of think about like a burpee, you go down as one to apply to down to the ground three, come back up to a squat, stand up, that’s one rep, I would get to rep six, or seven, usually seven, I’d get the rep seven. Every time they say stay with the instructor and rep seven, I would just come back to the squat position. I would say we are now going to do 10 reps, squat thrusts. 10. Only 10 Stay would instruct get to number seven, I wouldn’t stand up. And they would stand up. Zero. Start again. So by the time we’ve done about 50. It was because we have 180 of them. 180 kids in a gym. Someone in the back is gonna stand up. Now everyone’s turning around getting pissed off. Anyway, so I taught crime patterns. Then I always finished with a push ups.

Nick  16:32

I just had flashbacks as you were telling that story.

Jim Meers  16:41

If you got five people the chance you’re gonna mess up are very slim. You have 180, they’ll mess it up. We’re gonna do 10 push ups. That’s it. And we’re done. We know that in CrossFit, we do these push ups because they’re observable, measurable and repeatable. In the police academy, I’m tired to these kids freaking cheating their push ups, go all the way down, pick your hands up just to make sure these kids weren’t cheating, because there were some fat bodies out there. If I’m offending you, I don’t care. You know who you are.  They were trying to cheat. You’re not cheating on my gym. You know why? Because I got brothers and sisters out there I care about and I’m not going to send you out there and let them get hurt. And we get to the 10th one. I lied, we had to do one more, we always had to do one for the officer in the sky because they had to know that we sweat on this floor so we don’t bleed out on the street. We always did one for the officer in the sky. That always started on all the way down until I decided we had enough and we’ve come up. Even the cheaters got motivated.We had a lot of military people they would get vocal because these have been young men and women that had been deployed into the Middle East. They would get psyched up and I love it. They can make noise at that time. So we always finished one for one photo officer in the sky. And other instructors had their styles, but they got their points across to so it was well it wasn’t about beating anyone down it was trying to build them up as a team, but in the beginning you have to break them down so that they build together as a team.

Nick  18:44

Anyone who just listen to that story can tell that you very much cared about the success of your recruits, right? Anyone who’s ever had you as a coach at SharkBite, knows that feeling. I don’t know if you know this, I hope you do. Anybody who’s ever had you as a coach knows that you give a shit about them. A lot of people don’t know this probably you’re the you’re the only coach who’s been here with me since the beginning. Since seven plus years ago when we were in, this tiny in comparison building of off Andalusia. We were running smaller classes and it was crazy because we didn’t really know we were doing but it was super fun. You have for the last seven plus years demonstrated that same level of like care. What you just explained, you do every day in here, and people love it, man.

Jim Meers  19:36

I try. I mean I have good days. I have off days and I have bad days, but when we’re in this building, the people deserve the best. Sometimes I fail sometimes, you know most of the time I like to think I hit the mark. But the one point like how you said you love that drill instructor. If you know Nick, and you’ve been in the gym, from time to time, he might poke fun at me. Sometimes he hurts my feeling,

Nick  20:08

I would never do such a thing. I would never never do that.

Jim Meers  20:13

But at the end of the recruit classes there would always be a day where the recruits would kind of ease up on them, we’d have like little competitions with them. Then they would get up and they’d always go up, they’d always be someone to go up. They would but they would mimic the instructors. I don’t know why, but for some reason, so Jimmy has gotten mocked a lot.  If you ever seen Full Metal Jacket and seen that drill sergeant? That’s pretty much how I ran my gym floor. But it was because I did care about them. Because I have worked with people who have been killed in the line of duty. And that bothers me, it does. It bothers me. I remember Frank, I remember Kevin, I remember Jimmy, and I just transferred that care to the people in our gym, even if people from all the other gyms that I’ve come in contact with.

Nick  21:22

I don’t think I’m exaggerating at all by saying you’re the most popular person I’ve ever met in the CrossFit environment. There’s so many people at other gyms that have such strong fond feelings of you.

Jim Meers  21:33

And that’s so humbling, because I don’t even know why. I don’t think I’m special at all. Sometimes I’m just like, how do these people like really just know, and it’s, it’s extremely humbling. I’ve just met so many amazing people through this community.

Nick  21:50

It’s the demonstration of care, you can’t fake that. We’ve met people who try to fake it. You can’t fake it. The way you care about people around you. You can’t fake that. And everybody feels that which is awesome.

Jim Meers  22:03

I just fell in love with training there even when I was in the bodybuilding gyms when after I left Olympic, I always was willing to help other people if I knew more. If I knew something, if I didn’t know and I didn’t help because I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I do remember I used to work out in this place. There used to be this guy, he used to walk around in his flip flops, baggy bodybuilding pants, which I also had a number of. He always had this shirt, and I’m like, one day, I want to be able to wear that shirt. Because I thought it was so cool, because it said, “This what 50 looks like.” Hhe worked for the airlines. He was just like, so in shape. Now I’m older than that guy. And I’m not as jacked as he is, but now I’m like, damn, really 50 wasn’t that old?

Nick  23:03

I think you’re probably a lot fitter than that guy.

Jim Meers  23:05

But back then, it was like, that guy was just like someone that stood out. I want to be that guy when I’m 50

Nick  23:13

I say that about you, man.

Jim Meers  23:15

I just want to age on my own terms.

Nick  23:19

I want to hit on that again. Let’s go back to the first gym. Back when we were called CrossFit Cape Coral.

Jim Meers  23:27

I love that place. That is my favorite CrossFit gym ever.

Nick  23:34

Nothing but fond memories.

Jim Meers  23:38

The sun would come in the front. So if you’re in the front of the building, you get blasted by the sun, you get a suntan while working out. If you were in the back, tere was no sun. But it was like 10 degrees. 15 degrees hotter in the back.

Nick  23:52

So you you can either get the sun on your skin, or you’d be in the back where no air moved at all but either way, like, I had so many good times in there.

Jim Meers  24:06

We’re getting ready to do a CrossFit intramural here at SharkBite. I remember our first CrossFit opened up we did as a gym in 2014. We were meeting up on Thursdays nights. We were watching Dave Castro due to live announcements with CrossFit athletes and then watching him go and was sitting there for one or two workouts. We did not have a rower. I’m like how the hell are we doing Open? Someone on Pine Island had a rower and we got one there that night.

Nick  24:45

What we would do is we would hang out, we’d get a big party together. We have 30 or 40-50 of us hanging out there. We’d watch the the announcement on the crappy Wi Fi right? And then four of us idiots would do the workout right away.

Jim Meers  24:59

Which is was one of those idiots at time and so was Holly, she’s not an idiot. But she did do it. She did do one or two workouts at night.

Nick  25:08

I know almost every time you, myself, Adam we would do it and then usually we’d have  three or four other people do it. I remember all of us looking at each other when he said rower because we were like what do we do? What do we do? We don’t own a rower?  We got to give a big shout out to Serena right from 239.

Jim Meers  25:37

Hooked us up the next day with a rower. Good community back then.

Nick  25:41

I just remember I was talking about this. I remember thinking like, man, we gotta get like 70 people through this workout.

Jim Meers  25:47

I remember doing that workout. The second the last thing was power cleans. Nicole was timing me. I was doing the power cleans and she’s like, You got three minutes. I’m like, seriously? I want it to be done so bad. I’m like, I got three minutes left. Jesus Christ.

Nick  26:04

I think that same year, I think that was the year where–

Jim Meers  26:07

You got to the muscle ups.

Nick  26:10

I think that one had the workout with all those thrusters and burpees over the bar too.

Jim Meers  26:14

Yes, I don’t I don’t even want to talk about that

Nick  26:16

I will never till the day I die forget doing that workout. Being a good 10 minutes behind everybody else was going while Jess just screamed at me. I’m going as fast as I can. This is this is what I got.

Jim Meers  26:35

I turned burpees into I don’t know what I turned them into. Shannon was just like, come on, Jim. Let’s go.  That first location and some of the people that started with us is still here and some of them are even coaches. We were learning on the fly. I like to think that we’re almost like doctors with do no harm but we got better as we went on.

Nick  27:17

I think learning on the fly is a great way to put it, because I think about some of the things we used to say, and I’m like, I get a little cringy I get a little embarrassed. But luckily we got better. We got way better. But I couldn’t teach a snatch to save my life back then or handstand or push ups or even box jumps or anything.

Jim Meers  27:36

I’ll tell you what, when I was asked to come on as a coach. I remember saying like, yeah, and I came and I did the Grand Opening workout with everybody and people from 239 came because I was interning there. So they came to support us as well and me. After that day, I told my wife, I’m like, I’m not teaching the stuff. I taught the academy, I’m teaching other things. And some of these things like I did not know what a PowerClean was until I started doing CrossFit over at a first CrossFit gym.  I was like in my mid 40s. And I’d never done a power clean. I didn’t know what a power clean was, an overhead squat. I knew how to bench I knew how to squat. I knew how to deadlift, I knew a lot of other things. I didn’t know how to do that. So I went home and I went on to I signed up for the weightlifting course because I wanted to be the coach people deserve. We both went up to Tampa for the weekend and had fun and learned how to clean and jerk and snatch. Like you said, like he says I may have mentored him, but he mentored me. Then we had other coaches and we all learn from each other. That has grown into so much more where this guy’s got us doing professional development, which I’m 100% behind because we had that summit, SharkBite Summit and it was amazing to be around all the other fitness professionals and coaches from the other locations that just make you better. Anytime you can also be around someone like Brian Brochet you’re gonna learn something from that man because the guy is just, he’s a level three trainer. That guy knows his stuff. And you know when he says stuff you shut up and listen.

Nick  29:42

I remember after we reopened, we had a class where we had to teach power cleans, I realized I had no idea how to teach power cleans, but I knew the workout was coming up. So I went online and I make myself sound very old but there weren’t a ton of videos on like working out yet. I remember I watched a video on how to teach the power clean by by Coach Bergner, and I was taking notes about what he was talking and writing them down in a notebook, then I was filming myself saying them, and then I would watch the video and I’d be like, Do I sound like an idiot? Am I saying the right thing? I would just keep doing that then I would test them out in between classes or before classes.

Jim Meers  30:31

I remember what I would teach the Academy, I used to do things that I’d call by the numbers like I would have a number for something like one would be one move to would be the second movement, so on. So I broke it down, we’re going to do this by the numbers. And I would say whatever we were teaching, this is what one was to was to, and then we go by the numbers because it would slow it down. And that’s kind of what I would do here. We’re going to go by the numbers, I would just change the terminology when we started. So that’s kind of how I broke things down into small steps so that you could at the end, you had one movement.

Nick  31:24

I think people see those of us who are coaches for a long time now and just assume that like we woke up knowing how to teach that kind of stuff, but I remember us being like, what are we doing?  The cool part was, especially the people that are still coaches. Nobody was like, no one knows, I don’t know what I’m doing. I could just fake it. We were all like, “Man, I want to learn,” I really care about making sure that I give the best possible service to the members because I didn’t want to not know how to teach power cleans not because I care about looking stupid. You’ve known me for years, I don’t care about looking stupid at all. I wanted these people to come in and be like, “He took care of me. He set me on the right path. He he has my best interest at heart. And I’m leaving here feeling safer and stronger.”

Jim Meers  32:06

I agree. I mean, I was also a personal trainer at around the clock. And I felt the same way when I had my one on one clients that I’m a big believer in basics to like you never outgrow the basics. You never outgrow push up you never go pull up you never outgrow a squat. I mean they are basics for a reason.

Nick  32:31

You’ve been known for your sayings.

Jim Meers  32:33

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying. Words just come out. Either I get in trouble. You say like, “Maybe you shouldn’t say that next time,” or, “Hey, that was pretty hilarious.”

Nick  32:46

So anybody who’s a member at any of our gyms or just a friend of ours or anyone who’s known us for years knows you’ve got some sayings, right? There’s some really good ones like train or be punished.

Jim Meers  32:58

That was a police academy thing. Andy Pino, he’s the Punisher and my mentor. The trained or be punished thing came up with because like I said, we sweat on the floor, so we don’t bleed on the street. So if you don’t train, I would tell the recruits I go. People that do bad out there. They’re working out. You can see them there on the corner, doing pull ups on the walk and don’t walk sign. Ccardio on the basketball court. And then they’re doing their push ups. So they’re training and they’re training for you. So if you don’t train you’re going to get punished that punished can be very different degrees so it was trained or be punished. Back then someone someone had a T-shirt thing and would make T-shirts back in the day and we got them made up. It’s like I still have the T-shirts from back then.

Nick  34:04

Well that’s saying survived one that didn’t survive that I’m just personally really sad hasn’t continued is high octane.

Jim Meers  34:14

I used to say high octane effort today. And you changed it into some I don’t even know  how do you spell that?

Nick  34:22

I know Shannon and I talked about this pretty frequently. I feel like we messed with you enough that you don’t say it anymore. One of the great failures in my life is that we did that because I I stole that from so many people. Hearing you yell high octane effort as loud as you can in the middle of the class is one of my favorite things I’ve ever had in my life.

Jim Meers  34:43

It’s going to happen this Saturday. I don’t know when. I have to write it down somewhere.

Nick  34:48

This won’t come out for a good couple of weeks so we’re gonna be able to call you on it. So one one that survived also that I think is really important and I know you care about is scaling isn’t failing, right. That one is really important to both of us, right? I know you and I have done kind campaigns where we say, you and I are scaling every workout, we’re gonna take two weeks, and we’re gonna scale every single workout and we’re gonna make sure people see us on the leaderboard scaling workouts, right? Because we don’t want this whole obsession with doing the RX version, or the hardest version of the workout to be more important than getting a safe and great fitness experience. So scaling isn’t failing. Tell me about it. How do you feel about it?

Jim Meers  35:32

My belief is some people come in, and they’re extremely motivated. They want to jump in feet first, headfirst and that’s not what’s best for them. As people, and individuals, even as a coach, I try and give the best advice to put people in the best position to succeed for themselves. I have trouble listening to that inner voice to myself, I should probably not be doing this right now, I should probably do this. And it’s hard. But you want to put everyone in a position to succeed. So if you want to be good at anything, you have to start at the ground floor. You got to go by the numbers, you don’t bypass 2 to get to 4.  There’s got to be some sort of order there, in my opinion, which is what’s going to help them succeed. Like, today, we had a workout that it had all gymnastics, so we had pull ups and we had bar muscle ups. So one of the things to scale down the bar muscle up was a jumping bar muscle up with a box. But some people shouldn’t even attempt that because they don’t have the pre requisite strength or mobility to even do a kip.  So the basics. you need have some prerequisite strength, like a strict pull up, even if it’s one rep before you move on. Why? Because if you don’t have the prerequisite strength, you can injure yourself. And if you injure your members, you lose members. We need them to come back. So I’m trying to get people to see that. Hopefully, if you put it out the right way.

Nick  37:52

That’s the secret that right is like you’re talking about scaling and failing. You’re saying that, because our goal is to help people get what they want, to put them in the best possible position for themselves, not for us. So when we say something like, “Hey, maybe you should try this instead?” It’s not because like, I don’t want you to get a muscle up, right? It’s because if you want to muscle up, I also want you to get a muscle up. Here’s the best possible way for you to do that.  I remember, when we were younger coaches, when we were newer at coaching, I remember having this thought that, “Oh, a person has been working out for X amount of time, they should have X amount of movements, or a certain level of scale or a certain weight on a on a lift. Not realizing that that didn’t necessarily match their goals. An example of that is you’ve been doing it for a year, you should have double unders right, but that’s not that’s not what a coach is there for like you said, we want to put you in the best position to succeed.  For lots of people, that’s not the hardest movement, right? That’s a challenging movement that’s fun, and gets them in good shape.

Jim Meers  39:06

And the other thing is I also believe, like, you have to work on movement first. That’s why I really believe that the bodyweight stuff is so important, because if you can’t move your body correctly, you’re not going to be able to move that body correctly while holding a load external load. So if you can control your body better, you’re going to control that external load better. The other saying I say is work on becoming the best move you can be every day.

Nick  39:33

It sounds so obvious, right? But we’ve been there, you understand why in the heat of the moment and the heat of the workout. You don’t want to scale back right? You want to go for the hardest you possibly can, but if that doesn’t align with your end goals, then you listen to the coaching and do what you’re being recommended.

Jim Meers  39:53

I can only do my best to try and lead people in the direction that I think they’re trying to go and where they want to be.

Nick  39:59

You’ve done that for me before you’ve told me, “Let me just take off some weight, you know?”

Jim Meers  40:05

Sometimes I should take off some weight and I didn’t and then you know what I paid for it and then I roll my training for the next couple of months.

Nick  40:14

So I know the scaling isn’t failing is something that we’ve tried to embody and I think we’ve done a really good job of that.

Jim Meers  40:21

I tell people when they come in, and when we give them different movements to do, it’s like what’s going to give you the best workout today, what’s going to give you a good workout. Let’s get a good workout, fitness is still going to be achieved. One of our better athletes today says she’s having some knee pain, instead of running today, we had to do row, and instead of burpees so she didn’t have to jump, she did some slam balls. And guess what? She got a great workout, fitness was achieved.

Nick  40:45

What’s cool is she’ll be able to come back in tomorrow and get a good workout too.

Jim Meers  40:51

That’s what it’s all about.

Nick  40:53

So one of the things that you get to do, which I think is really cool, is your wife and your son, both members of the gym have been forever. It’s Melissa and Aiden, they’ve been here since the beginning also, and you get to work out with your wife and son on a pretty much daily basis, right? How is that? What’s that like?

Jim Meers  41:26

I can’t think of a better place to raise a kid than this gym, he started coming around when he was 10.

Nick  41:40

But he looked like he was about four. So that’s important to point out.

Jim Meers  41:43

He was small for his age. He was a little pudgy. And he came for a while, he got into it. We take little videos of himself. And then he got out of it for a while, then he started coming back. But I always equated that with him being around here that he has two older sisters. And he’s the only boy, but he was around people here that like you have big brothers, big sisters, aunts and uncles here because he was a good kid. And you know, your kids watch, they see what you do. And if they’re around this, they’re probably going to gravitate to it on their own. And when he gravitated to on his own and wanted to do it, it was just a great place to have him raise up. Now, he’s like, so good now, but the thing is, is I don’t want him to see all this competitive stuff, I want them to see the value in, “Hey, when I get into my mid 20s, I want to stay healthy and stay in shape and be strong for a number of years and not worry about  the competition aspect of it.”

Nick  43:05

What’s cool too, is I feel like over the years, I’ve watched a lot of different people kind of take him under their wing and teach him not how to PowerClean better, but just just how to be a person how to be a good person.

Jim Meers  43:18

Anyone watching as a parent knows that your kids don’t want to listen to you. But when Tyler would tell him some or Ronnie or Dwayne or however many other of our coaches that were here, he listens to them. So I sometimes I would just tell Tyler like, “Hey, make sure you talk to him about this today,” because he’s gonna listen to him. Because that’s someone that he would look up to. Because they were the upper echelon athletes as opposed to just dad, which is cool. Being able to do things with your family that you both enjoy is great. And anyone that knows me knows that my favorite human is my wife.

Nick  44:02

And that is so obvious. Watching it is so obvious.

Jim Meers  44:06

Spending time with her is more important than spending time anywhere else. The fact that we share fitness is awesome. But her goals are not always my goals. And she does her thing. She likes to go running. She does her marathons. No, thank you. I did one half marathon, I’m done. I don’t need to do another one. But she loves them. And I support what she does. And then she comes to the CrossFit competitions. She doesn’t really want to be out on the competition floor, but she’ll come and watch me and make fun of me and support me and we have a good time and you know, and share it with the rest of our CrossFit community down here in Florida.

Nick  44:46

I feel like you guys have been like my family from from a whole different world. I feel like Mel has been a part of my life for what feels like my entire life now.

Jim Meers  44:57

I mean, I feel the same way. It’s just cool to do things with your family when you’re all kind of on the same page. It’s always good to watch your kids grow up and succeed at things that they wanted to. Tthe last competition at the bloodline brawl. He had to carry me a couple times, put me on his back and carry me.

Nick  45:23

You’re not the only one man, in the open two years ago. I remember we were fighting for the final spot on the podium. He beat me by like, three seconds.

Jim Meers  45:31

Yeah, I forget what workout it was. He beat me by like one rep. Tried to come back. But you know, it’s the circle of life. He should be dominating now.

Nick  45:44

He is.

Jim Meers  45:44

The only thing I got on him is deadlifts.

Nick  45:46

We were racing today and that workout where I almost had a heart attack, and he was, he was doing real good. He beat me.

Jim Meers  45:51

It’s just good to share the same, same goals. She loves coming here, the members that are here, some of them are family. This is my tribe, this is my social group right here. This is it. I got work. I got a home and I got here. I don’t really go anywhere else. And I don’t want to go anywhere else. Every now and then I like to work out by myself in my garage, but most of the time, I want to be here

Nick  46:35

Same here, man. I don’t want to work anywhere else. This is not only is it work, but it’s the place I want to hang out it’s where my friends are.

Jim Meers  46:48

We just got the coolest people around.

Nick  46:53

You come in here and you’re like, you’re getting your butt kicked in a workout, but you’re really just hanging out with your friends. And even if you don’t know everybody in class, you will soon. You do 50 burpees together all of a sudden, you’re best friends.

Jim Meers  47:09

I just love, love, love seeing people PR and succeed. One of our coaches said, I got my first pull up because of you and whatever I said or showed and that’s like better than anything else, man. That’s a great feeling that I was able to positively positively impact another human’s life.

Nick  47:51

So let’s talk about a side wing of SharkBite that is basically just like you’re in my wheelhouse. We run a couple competitions every year and anybody who’s ever been hurt emotionally by one of those, you can thank us for that. We run reindeer games in December. That’s our charity competition. That’s two person. One guy, one girl. And we raise a ton of toys for charity usually for the Salvation Army. We do that in December. We do the Shark Bite classic. That happens in the summer. That’s for our members only, a team competition. That was really fun. We were even able to do that one kind of like distance because of COVID this year. We usually do a couple random ones that we’re playing around with like lovers lift off, which is our weightlifting only competition or May Madness which was the team competition we did outside.

Jim Meers  48:48

We had Coach Winton. I did a video from showed up in my Facebook story.

Nick  48:56

We have another one which honestly is my favorite of all of them. Masters of Fitness. So we run a competition for athletes only age 35 and up but this one’s super special for both of us, right? It’s one of the main reasons why I want to get you on the podcast. Why is Masters of Fitness important to us?

Jim Meers  49:31

Like I said before, I was at Ken’s fitness as I wanted to get that guy’s t shirt. This is what 50 looks like, right? So I think everyone wants to age on their own terms. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you’re old. It also doesn’t mean, “Hey, I’m getting old I need to stop lifting.” No, when you stop lifting, and exercising, that’s when you get old. So continuing fitness is just an expression of keeping yourself active in daily life. I don’t want to go to a nursing home. I’ve been to a ton of nursing homes and I know what’s in there. I’ve seen not well, people, and I don’t want to be a not well person. My children are not going to have to take care of me. I’m going to take care of myself, my wife is going to take care of herself and we’re going to take care of each other. So the Masters of Ftiness is a way to show that we can still compete. That I can compete with Nick Habich for the most part. For the most part, I’m not winning any competitions when I’m going against the youngsters, but when I go against the people my own age group, I hold my own. For me, it’s not about, “Hey, I want to get on the podium.” The only thing I care about is I went out, gave my best effort. And wherever rifle I fall, and have fun with a bunch of people in my age group.

Nick  51:26

That’s one of the things I like about it the most is whenever we go to competitions locally, or even not locally at the bigger ones, their masters athletes are not– I’m gonna say this differently. Master of Athletes kind of get pushed to the side.

Jim Meers  51:50

CrossFit brought them in, but they never got the same billing as the Rich Fronings, but those guys they’re on top of Mount fitness. We’re down in the middle somewhere, but we’re trying to get to the top, but we’re getting to our top. If you look up to some of the stuff that these top masters athletes in the sport of CrossFit. I don’t know how they do it. I haven’t really dedicated my entire lifestyle to trying to be a competitive athlete. That’s not what it’s about for me.

Nick  52:49

When we first talked about it, we talked about, the fact that most comps masters there’s either no masters division, right?

Jim Meers  52:58

Some of the big ones where we had the teams of two or the teams of threes, I would jump in there with people and it’s like, “Alright, so I’m the 50 year old and I’m going next to-” I’m just trying to think like Derrick Anderson over at Estero. It’s like, “All right, I’m competing against him and his partner, Kevin,” I’m just gonna go, I’m just gonna go sit in the corner but even still, if it’s still next to those guys, it’s still fun.

Nick  53:32

It’s still fun, right? But I always felt like the most underserved population of competitors was Masters athletes, right? Because you’re in that situation.

Jim Meers  53:39

I agree. I did a Masters comp up in Northport. And it was a good comp. I’ve thought some things could have been different, but that’s just my opinion. Everyone has opinions, but I felt like our organization could do better. We talked and it’s like, “Hey, we could do this, let’s call it masters of fitness.” Hence, Masters athletes. And you are 100% on board with it. And I think it’s been a pretty good success. And I think it’s been an extremely popular event so that the older crowd can come and display their fitness.

Nick  54:36

Well, I’ll tell you what as somebody who’s not yet eligible to compete. I’m not 40 guys, all the jokes aside, as someone who can’t compete yet when I go to competitions, I’m not as interested in the 20 year olds. I think watching someone who has had more life experience and manages working out but also maintaining life outside of the gym that’s more fun to me to watch. And then when I think about all of our gyms and then I think about all of our friends gyms, generally it’s not filled with 21-22 year olds working out all day long, right? It’s filled with people 35 and up who are going to work, taking care of their families, living their lives, coming in and getting their best workout and doing their best to learn to a skill and have fun. I want those people to have an opportunity to express their fitness in a fair environment. One of things we talked about was like, “Okay, we probably shouldn’t be doing max effort squat snatches in Masters, right? But we’re also not going to be like–

Jim Meers  55:47

I think for like the local comps. It’s not necessary. If you’re a CrossFit Games athlete, maybe it’s necessary.

Nick  55:55

But we’re also not gonna sugarcoat and put pads on you. Just because you’re over the age of 35 foesn’t mean you don’t get to really ball out in the middle of a workout.

Jim Meers  56:05

No, we want to do some some cool stuff, but you can keep the squat snatch.

Nick  56:10

So what we get to do is we kind of create a controlled environment, you can go as hard as you want because this is this is appropriate. It’s just like how we would do it inside of a class. You control the environment, so that the parameters are appropriate. Go as hard as you can. That’s where our invention of the dumbbell split snatch, came from. So that’s happening on April 17 and I’m really excited about it.

Jim Meers  56:52

I’m still lukewarm on it. But yeah, I’ll be there.

Nick  56:56

We have a lot of really good competition stories. Most of the members in our gym don’t know that they’re testing workouts out for us when they are.

Jim Meers  57:05

Yeah, I like to throw my Saturdays every now and then I got some ideas for reindeer games coming up.

Nick  57:14

Jim programs reindeer games four years in advance every year, for the most part, but every competition we’ve ever run across at Cape Coral or Fort Myers, I know that we’ve tested probably 40 versions of every one of those workouts, you know? And it’s really fun. For May Madness. I remember we tested one. Do you remember that workout we had to move all the different implements across the field?

Jim Meers  57:40

I got inspired by the CrossFit Games when they had that Strongman thing. And I’m like, we can do that. We got some stones. We got some weight plates. We got some sandbags. What is power? It’s moving large loads over long distances quickly. And that’s no skill involved. It’s just rip it, rip it and see how fast you can move those objects over a long distance as fast as possible.That was like one of the funnest events.

Nick  58:16

It was so hard, but it was super fun!

Jim Meers  58:19

Just pick this thing up, bring it here and get back so your partner can bring the next thing and it was so much fun. And I think was one of the more popular workouts in that event.

Nick  58:27

We always think about that,  maybe some people like doing AMRAP, some burpees and rowing or something, we’re not big fans of that. We try to make it to that so the events are fun to do, fun to watch and not so complicated that you can’t like, go hard on it.

Jim Meers  58:48

It shouldn’t be too much strategy, right? It’s either pace here or go hard.

Nick  58:53

Fair warning Masters’ this year, there will be some strategy. So speaking about competitions. There’s a competition we do together every year.

Jim Meers  59:04

Yeah, Nick is trying to kill me. He says he loves me. But I don’t think he does. Because every year he makes me go to Serena’s house. And I make all these weird faces. And I don’t know how I survive. I just don’t know how I do it.

Nick  59:22

There’s a there’s a competition that our our good friends Serena and Doug run at CrossFit 239. It’s called kegs and kilos. And one of my absolute favorite parts of the year every year is convincing Jim to be my partner in the RX division.

Jim Meers  59:41

I’m so dreading it

Nick  59:44

Because CrossFit 239 is not scared to do things like throw muscle ups or 70 pound dumbbell snatches into a competition and I’m all for it.  What people don’t know is it the reason I like competing with Jim so much is he goes 14 out of 10 intensity the entire time. There is no pacing, we start the workout off and no matter what we’re doing if it’s like we’re gonna split up the movements five and five Jim is starting off at 12. So whereas I might be willing to sandbag a little bit, Jim just won’t let me he won’t let me in anyway.

Jim Meers  1:00:43

Well, I think I was saying back and I forgot to do the muscle up like go do a muscle up like one muscle ups. I was delirious at that point.

Nick  1:00:55

Some of my favorite pictures that have ever come up from our gym life have been pictures of you and me at kegs and kilos. The guy they have doing the pictures over there is so good at catching us in the most compromising positions,

Jim Meers  1:01:29

I’m usually on the ground in the fetal position. Praying for the bad man to go away or in this case, the bad woman. Serena.

Nick  1:01:38

I can’t wait to do that competition again.

Jim Meers  1:01:41

I can wait. I might have an injury. I don’t know

Nick  1:01:44

Kegs and Kilos 2021. Nick and Jim, we’re coming for you. It’s happening. So we’ve been doing this for so long? If you met a new person, and they were like, I’m scared to try working out. But I don’t want to or I don’t think I should or something like that, what would you tell them?

Jim Meers  1:02:15

There’s nothing to be afraid of. In this gym, there’s nothing to be afraid of if we got to start you off with bodyweight, we start you off with bodyweight. It’s all about putting the person in the right position to succeed. That’s it. There’s a guy I work with that I’ve been trying to get them to exercise. I don’t even try and bring them here. But I give them some tips and pointers, but it’s like he’s not ready yet.  There’s nothing to be afraid of, we start you off slow. A lot of times when I saw with new people, you control the intensity, I don’t control the intensity, you control the intensity, if anything, I’m going to tell you to slow down a little, depends on the person, each individual’s different. Everyone here is going to be supportive of you. No one cares what you’re doing. No one cares how much weight you’re lifting. People care about your effort. And that’s it, but there’s not there’s not to be afraid of. I mean, we’re all here to just help each other be a little better than they were yesterday. A little bit better than yesterday. We have an amazing team assembled here to get that done. We got all different coaches of all different backgrounds, coaches, we’re all different age groups, different experiences, and it just makes it better.

Nick  1:03:44

I couldn’t say it better myself.

Jim Meers  1:03:49

The other thing is I tell people you never know when you’re going to need your fitness. You never know when you’re going to need your fitness, you never know when you’re going to have to hang boards on your house because a hurricane is coming. You never know when tragedy might strike. So you never know when you’re gonna need your fitness. It’s not just about looking good or feeling good but it’s being able to be functionally sound to take care of yourself. That’s my goal to stay functionally fit, functionally independent because getting old is not for sissies. Lfe doesn’t care how old you are. You still got to take care of yourself. I don’t need anyone in public to carry my stuff. Take care of myself and my wife takes care of herself. And this is the community for it. This is a community that helps us stay our ages is our age, but inside we’re younger.

Nick  1:05:39

Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Jim Meers  1:05:47

I think we went over everything. The big thing is I don’t live and wake up for CrossFit. I do CrossFit to live. I do what makes me happy. It makes me happy. Something like I said, some days, I just want to go in my garage and do some push ups, pull ups and dips. And most of the days I want to come here and do partner WODS, those are my favorite. I love doing partner workouts, whether it’s two people, three people doesn’t always have to be a kegs and kilos. You always go harder for the person next to you. When you want to stop, and you’re working with someone else. You’re like, I can’t because shit, Tiffany is not stopping. Or, you know, Nick’s not stopping.  I don’t know how many team workouts we’ve done. And I’m just like, I feel like I gotta hold up my end of the bargain when I’m working out with this guy. Somehow you find a way to keep going. You never know when you’re gonna need your fitness. And like I said, this, I just can’t think of a better place to do it.

Nick  1:07:21

I can’t think of somebody better to have been here with me all seven-plus years, man. Thank you.

Jim Meers  1:07:24

It’s been amazing. I remember joining the first place and meeting you and Charlie. We were talking about Aiden, watching Charlie’s girls and Angie, these girls grow up in this place. I want to do a Team WOD with them one day, I want to do a competition what to do with them, they just they’re going to be amazing young ladies. And that’s because of the quality parent they have in the quality of people they’ve been around. They did reindeer games, right next to the adults and they will hold in their own. It’s a family place. Most of the time, it’s a family place. But is this a great place to be in. Everyone here is basically on the same path of just looking out for each other. I think for the most part, everyone looks out for each othe. As people, humans we’re social creatures. That’s why we have tribes. This is our tribe, and it’s not exclusive or it’s inclusive. Anyone is welcome. All you got to do is bring a little effort. And a lot of goodwill.

Nick  1:08:46

Nothing I can say is going to beat that.

Jim Meers  1:08:50

The quality of people I’ve met has been just amazing. We got everything here. Everything we need. We got Fort Myers and we got a great crew over there. I know you got Leila heading up Naples.  She’s just such a cool person. I ran out of words to describe this place. I usually always have good days, but I always try and give my best effort. Some days I have not-so-good days. And I happen to have an owner that’s not afraid to tell you when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. And you know, what wakes you up a little bit.

Nick  1:10:09

Because we’re surrounded by people who all want to do their best all the time. There are no turns here. We’re only surrounded by people who want to do their best and who want you to do your best.

Be sure to check out this episode of the #TheSharkBiteShow. 

Available in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or any of the podcast platforms. 

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