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XPT Experience Reflections From 2-Time Participant Warren Graham

XPT Experience two-time participant Warren Graham, with his rolling Southern accent and friendly demeanor, was a pleasure to have with us.  A hard worker and eager learner, Warren held his own with a smile on his face. Here are his personal reflections of his time during the two sessions he joined us for in Malibu in 2016 and 2017.  

I am now a proud veteran of two XPT Experiences in Malibu and I want to pass on a few thoughts about those six days. Some of you may have not attended and are thinking about joining. You should, and here are just a few reasons why.

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Warren chills in the ice bath in Malibu

Firstly, let me tell you that I am 62-years-old and that made me the elder in both Experiences. I have been active in martial arts since I was 15 and I take my workouts seriously, keeping up with them diligently. Everyone else who attended was younger, and in most cases, much younger. That said, I handled all the sessions relatively well, so if you are in reasonable shape, you can complete the various exercises. 

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that your hosts are two elite athletes, both of whom are in amazing condition. Both Gabby and Laird were very attentive and supportive. They helped us all as individuals, not merely as a big group. They helped me feel at ease, thus helping me concentrate more fully on the physical task at hand.

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Gabby coaches Warren in the pool

Have you ever finally meet someone that you’ve admired for a long time, you’ve really looked forward to talking with them, and they turned out to be a jerk? Not a good feeling. Well, Gabby and Laird could not be nicer. They are both genuine people who one could tell honestly enjoyed helping you. You simply cannot fake that kind of sincerity. I found there was ample time to speak with both of them together and individually and they made it easy to connect with them.

Let me also say that I am not much of a waterman. My only experience with surfing was my falling off a surf board during lessons in Maui for a solid two hours. My balance is lacking on a paddleboard for sure.  The ocean is not my favorite place and it’s very difficult for me to try not to think about what may be swimming around right under me. No one made me feel inadequate or bad in any way for having this phobia. Even in the pool training, where I feel I did not perform as well as I wanted, both Gabby and Laird gave me specific drills that were challenging, yet geared to my level. I almost drowned in a 12-foot pool when I was a child and some things, psychologically speaking, stay very close to the surface within our subconscious. But with Gabby’s and Laird’s patience and guidance, I was thrilled to see that I improved during my second visit.

Spending time with Don Wildman was fantastic. I had first heard of Don in a magazine article in 2008.  He was the first to inspire me to change and to expand my weight training. When talking to a veteran of eight Hawaii Ironman’s who continually sets new records in world senior games at age 84, you listen. You can’t help but pick up many workout tips from someone who has forgotten more about fitness than you and I will ever know.

Adam Friedman, a trainer to top athletes, took time with me outside his scheduled, informative training class to discuss a workout, nutrition and recovery plan for me.

I could go on and on about all the help I received but I’ll just state that everyone on the XPT team took superior care of us. The accommodations were wonderful and the meals were just unbelievable. I have never attended any conference or training session over my many years where the food was better.

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Warren listening to instructions during one of the mobility sessions with other XPT Experience participants

For me, the biggest asset from my attendance was on the mental side of fitness. I will never be a world-renowned surfer or a champion volleyball player, but XPT gave me the opportunity to tap into those mindsets. The psychological aspects of training are often the most challenging for me and my visits reminded me that, ultimately, I have to be responsible for cultivating and maintaining my own determination. When I’m out in my garage at home in North Carolina, pounding out rounds on my heavy bag, I don’t have anyone helping to get and to keep me pumped up. Visiting Malibu helped me develop and fine tune my own motivation. Others can certainly inspire you, but they aren’t around every day.  Discussing the mental-as well as the physical-dimension of fitness with Gabby and Laird made a profound and lasting difference to me.

-Warren Graham

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