People need to look closer. We need to observe better.
Too often we try to summarize experiences down to the closest familiar idea. While this may make things convenient on our brains, this sort of shortened-patience also cause us to completely miss the unique aspects of a thing which might set it apart as unique.
The Next Level often gets regarded that way. Too often it is tossed off as "another training program." (Ugh.) But what makes us unique is our dedication to community. This is not just about training and "making gains"; this program is about building networks that allow exploration of topics and direction typically overlooked by the short-sighted environments of strength and physique work. The social leadership aspect is what makes The Next Level not only unique, but marks it's athletes as exceptional. They sit poised as potential leaders, regardless of their winnings.
This focus on leadership and community is what bonds the alumni of all our Next Level teams. We all train different. We all compete different. We all have different aspirations for career and avocation. Yet we all "get it" when it comes tot he power of team. We all know what it means to pose the question "And then what?" to our goals and our successes. Only through a reliance on a community can true leaders emerge, and not the other way around. And so the community we build is the network which indicates who will lead in the long run.
So it is always exciting when alumni all meet at a contest. This "instant community" emerges, and suddenly The Next Level distinguishes itself as far different than just a "training program." (Yuck.) This year's NAS Massachusetts State StrongMan Championships (hosted by our good buddies over at Total Performance Sports) had four alumni competing: Stephen Cyr (The Beast, Spring 2011), Ryan Aruck (The Beast, Spring 2011), Nick Cambi (Wolfpack, Spring 2012) and Corey Brucklr (Wolpack, Spring 2012).
All four of these alumni have advanced far since their Next Level team days (as is the mandate of The Next Level – you should achieve your best results AFTER the experience, not during; it's about consistency over the long run, not short-term thrills). And it was amazing to see them all conquer implements of competition at an exceptional level.
But what made the day most amazing was not the trophies (congrats Nick & Ryan!), but the sense of community and leadership these men exhibited. There were new athletes there from the newest Next Level team, and their ability to learn by example of these men was far more valuable than anything Coach XN could have taught or shown them. Again, it is through the power of astute observation that the bet stuff gets understood, not through simple labels.
A truly gratifying day for the alumni of The Next Level. Thanks guys, for continuing to develop and grow – and for keeping the community healthy and resourceful!