SGPT: How did you develop Brass Ring Fitness and what gave you the inspiration?
RO: Brass Ring Fitness was born out of a desire to inspire, motivate, and help others accomplish all that they are capable of – to literally become the person they dream themselves to be. I believe that the greatest limitation most people run into (me included), is lack of vision of what we are capable of. There’s a saying: “Possible is the enemy of impossible”, which means that if we reach only to the limit that we think is possible, we never go beyond it. If we reach for the Brass Ring though, which is to say the thing that seems impossible, we often accomplish more than we thought possible.
Brass Ring Fitness challenges you mentally and physically to reach for the impossible.
SGPT: What is your definition of the “Warrior Athlete”?
RO: First of all, I believe that change is inevitable in life because the weaker always gives way to the stronger. For this reason, we are locked in a constant battle that pits one desire against another or the accomplishment of a goal against the temptation to do either too little or too much. My definition of a Warrior Athlete is one who is fully engaged in this battle, both physically and mentally, with the objective of self mastery to the end that their will to succeed is stronger than their will to retreat into seemingly comfortable counterproductive thoughts and habits.
SGPT: What types of workouts and training is behind Brass Ring?
RO: I have tried a lot of different types of training methodologies on my own over the last 20 years and I can say unequivocally that the CrossFit Method is by far the best. At the foundational level of Brass Ring Training is the CrossFit Method – constantly varied functional movement at high intensity. Where Brass Ring Training adds its own “signature” is in the use of cyclical programming that focuses on developing Strength and Stamina for a short period, then Power and Speed for a short period, and finally tests the mental and physical limits with a short Extreme Training phase. This cycle repeats itself over and over throughout the training.
SGPT: Can you explain to us about a Full Mission Profile?
RO: The Full Mission Profile Workout falls into a category of training that I call “Creative Programming”. These are workouts that put the Warrior Athlete into a situation where physical and mental strength mean the difference between life (successfully completing the mission) and death (mission failure). To be perfectly honest, I have used the technique of fictitious scenario development in my own training for years. On a long trail run, for example, as fatigue sets in I may imagine myself having to complete the distance in a certain time in order to: a) save the hostage, b) make the cut off in order to advance to the next phase of training, or c) evade capture. I admit that these can sound kind of hokey, but the truth is that they have helped me find the motivation to push myself in my own training, and from the comments I’ve received from others who have used the Full Mission Profile workouts, they seem to work for others too. I have even spoken to members of the military who use Full Mission Profiles in their unit training prior to deploying.
SGPT: Can you tell us a little bit about your background in sports and in the Teams?
RO: At 20 years old I joined the Navy. I had already had a taste of adventure in Alaska, cleaning beaches and sea otters after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and I could not imagine settling down in a class room for another 4 years. The Navy provided me the perfect opportunity to continue to live adventurously while doing something that I felt was important. My vision was not good enough to get a contract for SEAL or EOD, but I did qualify for Navy Diver. Upon further research I found that if I could successfully become a Diving Medical Technician, I could work with any or all of the Special Operations communities. Fortunately for me, upon graduation from DMT training, I was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One.
At SDVT-1 I learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons during the two platoon workup and deployment cycles that I did. I put my whole heart and soul into doing my job, excelling at PT, and integrating deeply into my platoon. Because of this I took part in nearly all platoon training and exercises. From the perspective of the platoon, if we went into combat, they would want me there. I witnessed other DMTs have the opposite experience. In their platoons it seemed that they were on the outside looking in, a member of the platoon but not in the patrol order. I never wanted to be away from my platoon, they rarely wanted to be with them. The thing that made the difference was how I saw myself, and how they saw me because of that.
During my time on active duty I was also very involved in Triathlon and Outrigger Canoe Racing.
SGPT: How do you work with your athletes to prevent injury and burnout?
RO: I believe that injury and burnout are a result of improper programming or scaling, or both. I use the cyclical method to keep variety in the program, which helps with burnout, and a unique assessment and scaling system to help athletes train effectively and injury free. I find that many type-A, alpha personalities want to train at the ragged edge of intensity all the time. The problem with that is that it generally results in leaving the athlete ragged and broken. Discipline in focusing on proper technique at the appropriate weight/reps is the way elite athletes are developed.
SGPT: A section of your website is devoted to the Warrior Mind. What type of mind set do you believe a Warrior should have?
RO: At the heart of any warrior culture is Discipline. Discipline is both a noun – a character trait, and a verb – an action. Discipline leads to Strength, or a greater competency or capacity. With this greater competency or capacity comes the need for courage to take action at the appropriate time in order to continue to develop. Here is an example:
Imagine that Joe starts training in jiu jitsu. Each day he trains with others like him. He is disciplined in his practice of the discipline of jiu jitsu. After a while he develops greater competency, becoming a stronger fighter. Discipline leads to Strength. Courageously he moves up from opponents who he easily dominates to those who challenge him to his limits. Discipline leads to Strength, which leads to the ability to courageously take action in an ever improving cycle.
Now imagine that Joe, when leaving a grocery store one night, witnesses a man hurting a woman or child. This is clearly the time when the Discipline, Strength, and Courage that have been at work in Joe’s life can be put to good use. It is at this time, when life provides you an opportunity that may never come again, that the Warrior Mind distinguishes itself from all others.
Discipline – Strength – Courage. This is the mind of the Warrior Athlete.
SGPT: How would an athlete go about training for a Warrior Mind?
RO: In addition to understanding the concepts above, it is important to understand the principles of performance psychology. Elements such as goal setting, focused visualization, positive scripting, and controlling stress response are fundamental to developing the Warrior Mind. In the 90 day Brass Ring program, I provide physical training and mental exercises for developing a Warrior Mindset in pursuit of your own Brass Ring. There are also a number of books and other resources that are effective. The most important element, though, is the desire to learn and grow as a Warrior Athlete.
SGPT: What type of diet do you suggest for the Warrior Athlete?
RO: I stick with what Greg Glassman wrote years ago. Eat lean meats (proteins) and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. This is so simple and it works for me because I’m just too busy for anything that takes a lot of time. In my program, though, I provide a software tool for dialing in nutrition for those that want to manage their nutrition closely.
SGPT: Your workouts use the kettlebell often. How do you like the kettlebell as a piece of equipment for training?
RO: The kettlebell is found in my free Basic Training program in high use because I wanted the program to be easy to execute with little equipment. I admit that I am rather fond of the kettlebell, but in the Brass Ring Cycle I vary the equipment more. Nothing too exotic, mind you, just more of a balance of barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, and bodyweight exercises.
SGPT: How can athletes get more info on Brass Ring Fitness and take advantage of your training?
RO: Visit my website http://www.brassringfitness.com
SGPT:Thanks Rob for your time, we are all very appreciative of your knowledge and expertise.
RO: Thank you Brad. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.