Nick Dancer. Kevin Butler. Nathan Heintzman. Chris Freeman.

Memorial Day 2020. Freeman and I meet in the garage and get started with a Murph workout. We had not been training in any capacity for this — it was just a common Memorial Day workout done by many, and we hosted our own version in my garage.

The Murph is a circuit-based workout created by a deceased Navy Seal, Michael Murphy. It has been completed in Crossfit gyms and garages around the county to honor the life of those lost in combat and a way to push yourself physically and mentally.

The workout consists of wearing a 20 lb weighted vest and completing the following:

- 1-mile run.

- 100 pullups

- 200 pushups

- 300 body squats

- final 1-mile run.

After the workout, I was mostly useless. I had pushed up against my edge physically, and it impacted all other facets of my day. I needed a nap, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and I was a bit grumpy. Yet, at the same time, I liked the challenge and the conditioning needed to complete the workout. I wondered what it would look like to do this the following year with less exhaustion and a quicker time. And so that became a year-long goal. Freeman wanted the same thing, so we came up with a plan to train for this workout every Saturday morning instead of just once a year.


We knew working out at the same intensity every Saturday was not sustainable, and we needed to get the workout done early. So we agreed to 6 am starts and made a steady transition towards the goal of doing the entire workout in 10 rounds.

So we decided upon:

- 5 weeks of 5 rounds with the weighted vest with a bonus round with no vest. Then

- 6 weeks of 6 rounds of the vest with a bonus round

- 7 weeks of 7 rounds, then a bonus…

- 8 weeks of 8 …..

- 9 weeks of 9…..

- 10 weeks of 10…..(a full Murph workout).

- then, consistently 10 round weekends with a bonus round of max pull-ups at the end.


Two other friends, Kevin Butler and Nathan Heintzman, also heard about our program and picked up in the 7 round area during this time period. From then on, 4 of us, every Saturday. 6 am — cold, rain, shine, even colder… we all showed up.

When Freemans’ and Butlers’ other commitments interfered with the 6 am start — the workout started at 5 am. When one person couldn’t make it due to travel — they sent a text when they finished it somewhere else.

For me, 10 of my own Saturdays in the year didn’t work out as planned, yet I showed up in some capacity every weekend.

In one case, I used a barn beam in Brown County, IN, to do my pull-ups (Rocky style!). When Chloe was born, I did the Murph later on Saturday or Sunday; When I was injured, I did the work without the vest. Every weekend. No matter the circumstance, the work got done.

The goal was to complete a Murph a year later (Memorial Day 2021) in a quicker time and without being exhausted. But to achieve this goal, I need to show up every weekend and do the work. Making a goal is easy; it’s fun. It ‘sounds’ like a good idea. And to reach this one, I had to make the path enjoyable because it’s the habits that we learn and adapt in pursuit of the goals is where the power of change is.


Reaching a goal for the goal’s sake, but without fundamentally changing your mindset -can be a short-term fix. It’s a shot of excitement — followed by disappointment.

But when your habits change, when your mindset changes, there’s peace and contentment in the PROCESS AND THE GOAL. They become the same.

There was no doubt that I could do the workout this weekend and reach the goal because I had been doing it over and over again for the last year.

So this last weekend, Memorial Day 2021, we did it again. Same Saturday routine, a year later. That was not possible last year. Not only am I stronger, but I also have proven to myself that I’m a person who shows up and will do the work and surrounded myself with people who are the same. And there is a sense of peace, strength, and contentment that comes from that.


Not only were the guys I were around committed to doing the physical work, but They were also men who were seeking out God in their life. I looked up to all of them for their spiritual walk, commitment to Christ, their families, wives, and work. There was no talk about making this workout a spiritual experience, but after the workout, we would typically stretch, recover, and talk about what was on our minds, what books we were reading, and overall a little bit of life. I don’t know if these guys know this, but one of the side benefits for me was spiritual maturity in my own life. These men, I believe, are some of the best of the best.


For those who are familiar with the murph workout here were my own personal numbers.

2020: 20 rounds of 5/10/15 completed in 46:26.

2021: 10 rounds of 10/20/30 completed in 42:21

Learning to lead @ Dancer Concrete Design. Husband to a beautiful woman and father to 3 sons. Author of ‘Day-IN, Day-Out.’ — available at Amazon.