#114: Stop Mistaking Duration For Effort – Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcaraz (Sandlot Jax & GORUCK Games 2023 Series)

Friday August 18, 2023

Getting fit doesn’t require tons of time and equipment. It takes consistency and the commitment to just do something. Fitness knows no boundaries. Miranda Alcaraz, the Founder and CEO of Street Parking, joined Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on the final day of 2023 Sandlot Jax and GORUCK Games to explain how to find a workout out in any location or circumstance. Miranda shared the philosophy behind Street Parking and her vision after years of competing in CrossFit. 

She emphasized the need to embrace real-life challenges and adapt workouts to fit our changing lifestyles; which often includes our children in our fitness routines and challenges the notion that interruptions should hinder progress. With Street Parking, there are no excuses, no limitations, and no compromises on their drive to create a supportive and inclusive community that values every member’s unique journey. 

Learn more about Miranda Alcaraz and Street Parking on the web or follow them on social media. 

Read the full episode transcription here and learn more on The Jedburgh Podcast Website. Subscribe to us and follow @jedburghpodcast on all social media. Watch the full video version on YouTube.

Listen to the podcast here


Stop Mistaking Duration For Effort – Street Parking Founder & CEO Miranda Alcaraz (Sandlot Jax & GORUCK Games 2023 Series)

We didn’t come into Street Parking trying to grow a big business or anything like that. I had traveled for years on the CrossFit seminar team. While I was training to compete at the games, I was working out in hotel gyms a lot. I had a belief and I knew that with very simple workouts, you could get great results with minimal time and equipment.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

My husband, who was also training for the games, lived in a very busy area of la which I know Jessie knows all about. Sometimes, it wasn’t worth it for him to drive all the way to the affiliate that he trained so he would work out at home. He had some stuff in his garage like a barbell, some bumpers, and a box. It was a very simple setup. He would do a lot of workouts while he was training that way too.

We came into it with this belief, “You can do a lot with very little and see great results. We should share some of these workouts.” I’ve always been very entrepreneurial-minded. I was like, “We should start an Instagram page and share some of these simple workouts for people who maybe live too far from a CrossFit gym, maybe they travel a lot, or maybe whatever.”

We didn’t have parents in mind at all because we didn’t have kids at all when we started. We started sharing them and the market was a lot bigger than we realized. It’s been a runaway train since then and we’ve added a lot more. We have a big team now. We do Meetups, events, and things like that but it was showing people from high-level athletes and coaches like, “We think that these workouts are good enough. This is what we do when we’re traveling or we’re too busy,” to give people permission to take that on and do that as well in their own lives.Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

I know a lot of people who will travel and be like, “I don’t have any of my stuff with me. I can’t work out.

I got to find a gym.

I can’t work out while I’m traveling and I’m like, “Yeah.”

I would work out a lot of the time in the hotel room itself with nothing. I’m jumping over the little coffee table or whatever.

I could do it.

It’s such a good idea.

I like that. I have to do so many of my workouts on set between shots. Those are awkward because I have to be subtle and unobtrusive in other people’s workspace, but I get a lot done during a workday.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh PodcastWhat I truly believe is missing for most people is consistency. For example, here the other day, we were setting up. We didn’t want to get a lot of equipment out. We needed to do something quickly. We were like, “1 minute on, 1 minute off, 100 burpees,” and that’s it. Most people will be like, “That’s not good enough. I got to go follow this perfectly specific plan that I’m on.”

They won’t do anything. More often than not, they’re going sometimes a week where they’re not working out or three days, where it’s like, “You could do 100 burpees quick, 1 minute on, 1 minute off.” It took seven minutes or something like that. That’s going to deliver more if you’re consistent with that than 2 weeks I’m on it completely, 1 week I’m off and 2 months I’m on it completely, 3 months I’m off.

It’s a mindset shift that people need that fitness is a cumulative thing. It’s not all at once and then nothing and then all at once. You’re going to gain more over time. It’s like saving money. If you put $10 in every day, eventually that’s going to be more than if every couple of months you put $200 in. It’s a shift that needs to happen in the fitness industry in general.

We put it on a pedestal too many times. Every day, you wake up and you’re like, “I got to work out now but it’s got to be at this time. I’ve got to be ready. I have to have eaten at a certain time, and my body, I need to possibly stretch before and that’s going to take a certain amount of time. All of a sudden, life gets in the way and it’s 7:00 at night. The kids are screaming. You realize, “I didn’t get it done.” You think back and go, “Why did I do that? I had 10 minutes or 15 minutes at some point. I don’t need all this equipment. I don’t need to prepare myself to work out.”

One of the things that we believe too is there are seasons and stages for it. I’m a big fan of the Huberman Podcast, for example. He’ll go on there and hit the protocols and the schedule and all this stuff. I’m like, “It’s great, Andrew. You don’t have kids.” The truth is all of it is fantastic information and there is truth to all of it, but it’s so overwhelming when you’re like, “I need these supplements. I got to do ice bath at this specific temperature for this many minutes per week or it’s not beneficial and this and that.”

All of that can be true. If you’re in the right season or stage to do all of it, great but if your season and stage is, “I pop on the cold shower for a minute.” We have members that will do burpees and air squats while their kids are in the bathtub sometimes because that’s the only time that it happened that day. Again, the cumulative effort of showing up and doing whatever your best is your best.

[bctt tweet=”The cumulative effort of just showing up and doing whatever your best is, is your best.” username=”talentwargroup”]

You shouldn’t compare it to where you were before necessarily, where you might be in the future, where this athlete, that fitness influencer is or what you heard on the Huberman Podcast. Do the best with the information that you have because that is going to deliver more results than being like, “I got to wait until life aligns perfectly,” because it’s probably never going to happen.

I sometimes will get anxious because I’m like, “I only have two hours. I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to do the workout.”

I would love two hours to work out. That sounds great.

My life revolves around it. I have to remind myself, “Whether you have time to finish it or not, start and do the first exercise.”

Do as much of it as you can.

You may get exhausted. You may get a call and have to suddenly leave and everything is done but start and do something.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

We always say, “Don’t mistake duration for effort,” because a lot of people will go and they’ll be like, “I worked out for two hours.” “What were you doing? You’re scrolling your phone or you’re like, ‘I did this part A, B, and C.’” It’s like, “What if you just did part B and you went 100% effort?” People often in the fitness industry mistake duration for effort. For us, it’s like, “As long as you’re giving 100% to whatever it is you’re doing, even if it’s five minutes of air squats and pushups, it’s great. Be consistent with it.”

[bctt tweet=”People in the fitness industry often mistake duration for effort. But as long as you’re giving 100% to whatever it is you’re doing, even if it’s five minutes of air squats and pushups, it’s great. Just be consistent with it.” username=”talentwargroup”]

I’ve done a seven-minute workout that we did in the CrossFit level one course. I was rocked for a week. I worked out with Jason Khalipa after he came. I went to San Francisco. I had him on. He told his story. We talked about NCFIT. We did very simple six minutes and it was 6 burpees and 6 wall-ball shots and for 6 minutes, we rotate between them. I was a disaster after.

Speaking of Jason, we competed on the Games team together. That group of people is also where I formed a lot of my beliefs because back then, it was when people, athletes, and teams started to have these guru coaches which is such a thing in the CrossFit space. “What team are you on? Are you Mayhem? Are you CompTrain? Are you this or that?” We came together. It was myself, Jason, Molly Vollmer, Pat Barber, Jen Cadmus, and Alex Rollin on our team. We trained with Neal Maddox, Garret Fisher, and a couple of other people and I’m not kidding. We had no coach for the most part. We did closer to the games to practice the events and stuff but this group came together.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

Every day, we had no idea what we were going to do. We would come, and we’d be like, “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know.” “What do you want to do?” We would make something up and go for it and put 100% into it. There was not this laid out percentages programming. It was a group of people that were there to work hard and we would wreck ourselves.

I do think that’s why we did so well when we competed together. We were so used to what in CrossFit’s unknown. You’re going to find out the workout right before. We trained every day. People overthink, “I need this program and this and that.” You have to be at a certain level to even have that be necessary. You need consistency before percentages and this perfectly laid out program even matters at all.

I feel like so much of what you should do depends on how you feel now. It’s not always, but for my training, if I have it written down that this day is supposed to be a super hard day and I am a disaster from yesterday. I shouldn’t be doing that super hard day. I’m not going to be able to do it. It’s discouraging. Knowing that I can do a lighter workout now or if it’s scheduled to be a light workout and I have the most energy I’ve had in a month, I’d do the hard one now.

That’s one of the things that we’ve built into our culture too that is a little bit different from CrossFit in general. We got rid of our leaderboard for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is what you’re talking about. My husband and I come from competing. When somebody’s been competitive or even if you’re just competitive by nature, if you’re feeling not 100% and you see the workout, people with that personality won’t work out. It’s because they’ll be like, “I’m not going to be able to beat so-and-so. I’m not going to be able to get this time so I’m not going to do it.”

“Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow because I’ll feel better tomorrow.”Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

We have the extra challenge weight for people who are a little bit stronger or whatever. Every day, I use the extra challenge, but I’m wrecked. I feel like if there’s a leaderboard, people expect me to use the heavier weight so I have to use it. We got rid of our leaderboard completely and people will say like, “I’m much more consistent. I’m much less injured,” and everything. We still give goal times where it’s like, “This workout should take between 5 and 10 minutes.”

They have an idea of the intensity level that we’re looking for and we have members who share their scores with each other for sure but there’s not this pressure to perform where they’re making smarter decisions about the weight that they’re going to use or the version that they’re going to do and even how hard they go that day in the workout.

That’s so important, especially for people who are naturally competitive and ambitious.

It’s hard to turn it off.

It’s hard to tone it down and supporting people in that way is important.

I was looking at some people. They’re getting ready to start.

They can’t turn it down. They got to go for it.

This is all about competition. They got everybody ready. I see everybody swinging their arms to loosen their shoulders because they’re about to hold those sandbags up above their head until failure.

Until they’re the last one standing, right?Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

Yeah. They had that event last time and that was impressive.

I saw some of the footage from that.

It looks incredibly painful. The interesting thing about Street Parking that I want to bring up is it’s 100% virtual.

It’s like 90% virtual. It’s an online program but as you saw, when we do Meetups and we encourage our members to do local Meetups in their areas. We’re doing a tour. There are seven stops. Usually, every year we’ve had 1 or 2 bigger Meetups where we get 500, 600 people that come out and do it.

You won here. You beat everybody here for the amount of people that could fit in that enclosed area. You couldn’t see the grass. That was impressive.

Street Parking In The Wild, we’ve got our van over there with that branding and everything on it because they’ll be on the lookout for each other. We’ll see people that are like, “I saw somebody in Costco. I saw a sticker on someone’s car. At my kid’s soccer game, I saw another one.” They wear their gear everywhere, especially if they’re going to Disney World, Disneyland, the airport, or anything. They make sure the patch is on their backpack because they’re hoping to get recognized and see each other. They get amped about it. When we have these Meetups, they come from all over the place to make sure that they get a chance to meet other Street Parking members because they are so isolated otherwise.

If you run into someone else who has the shirt at the airport, do they work out together?

It’s selfies and they’re yelling at each other.

Do they do the workout at the airport?

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen two people that just met at the airport. I’ve seen our members working out at the airport but I don’t know if a Meetup workout has ever happened inside the airport.

I have an airplane workout that I can do in my seat. It’s mostly unintrusive, but it’d be so fun to share that.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh PodcastAs you said, “I have an airplane workout,” I thought to myself, “If we ever have to go anywhere together on an airplane, I’m not sitting next to you.”

On international flights because those planes are bigger, I’ve gone to the back and done some full yoga situations are happening back there. I don’t even care. I’m the weird fitness lady where everybody else is asleep because they’ve taken their sleeping pills and doused them with two bottles of wine.

It’s the routine. You got to have one drink before you get on the plane.

I can’t imagine how you feel when you wake up from that. That sounds terrible to me.

I’m asleep before we take off. Talk about the app for a bit because a lot of it is app-based. You started by posting everything on social media and that’s how people are getting the workouts. That’s transitioned into the building of the app.

At first, we were using Wodify because again, we were like, “Maybe we’ll have 100 members to help us pay our California utility bills.” I was used to Wodify. We used it at NorCal CrossFit. At CrossFit Chalk was where we trained sometimes before we moved to Irvine.

We had a meeting.

I did see him here. We used Wodify for the first almost five years, but one of our members who was an app developer reached out and was like, “I can make something for you.” He did. It took two years for him to build it but now we have an app that’s more ours. Again, we didn’t want the leaderboard. We wanted some other things.

However, now on the app, there are three versions of the daily workout and those three versions are based on the equipment that you have. Let’s say it’s burpees and clean and jerks. It’ll show you a version where it’s a dumbbell version and a barbell version. The third version is if you have more than that. In that example, it might show you the sandbag version.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

If it’s got running in it, the third version would show you the bike and the row options. It’s based on equipment, it’s not levels. That’s where we want to explain to people, “The dumbbell version is not easier. It’s just different.” “The sandbag version is not easier. You just use what you have.” We do have a fourth version of the workout every day which is for beginners. We take that burpee, clean and jerk, lower the burpee number and maybe make it an AMRAP so they know how long they’re in it for so they’re not stuck in it for 30, 45 minutes. Maybe it’s a hang clean and then some push presses.

We simplify it and p and we call it the shift version. If you’re fit, the shift version ends up being worse because you can keep working. It’s like that six-and-six workout that you were talking about. A lot of times people will use that because they’re newer or they’re returning from injury. Our pregnant members will use that, but then members, when they’re wrecked, they’ll be like, “I’m doing the shift now. I got to go for the shift to get something in.”

We have 40-plus extra programs. We’ve got three sandbag programs. We’ve got a rucking program. We’ve got a 5K program and a half marathon program. We’ve got bodybuilding-type stuff because consistency means that sometimes you need to do what you want to do. Maybe during the summertime, you’re like, “I’m going to do the rucking program for the next couple of months because I’m traveling. I know I can go walk around or I’m injured. My shoulder’s messed up, but I know I can still do the rucking program.” Whatever you’re into at the time, I feel like fitness goes in stages and seasons like that. We try to provide stuff for people when it comes to that.

[bctt tweet=”Consistency means that sometimes you need to just do what you want to do.” username=”talentwargroup”]

Talk about the growth because Jessie and I have had probably 3 or 4 people who’ve come in here over the last couple of days and have talked about the explosive growth that you’ve had. Everybody knows. You’re not hiding anything.

It’s so funny because whenever we tell people on airplanes or coffee shops or whatever, what it is that we do, they’re like, “You started in 2020.” We’re like, “No. We started in 2016. In the first month, we had 700 members join.” That was largely to be honest because I had a big following from competing in CrossFit and Julian had a following from competing in CrossFit. What I’ve known, because I owned a gym before and I’ve been a trainer for a long time before that, you can get people to sign up. That’s the easy part. The more difficult part is getting them to stay and having them have such a good experience that they bring other people in.

Seven hundred was much more than we expected. We took it very seriously. I was working for a supplement company called Progenex at the time as their Athlete Manager. My husband was still training for the games. We weren’t married yet. We moved in together and found out we were pregnant when all of this was happening, which was not planned by the way. His mom was moving in with us who I just met.

It was very chaotic timing. When we had 700 people, we weren’t like, “We crushed it. We’re so successful.” We were like, “These people are all expecting us to deliver now.” We took it very seriously. The community was a big part of our mission from the very beginning. I owned a CrossFit gym for three years in Salt Lake City, Utah and it had the tightest-knit community. This was from 2008 to 2011. I was like, “What did we do there that made it so tight-knit?”

It was celebrating people’s birthdays, knowing them, and making sure that they were showing up and all this. I was like, “How can we do that with this community?” We interacted with our members way more than most Games athletes who create online programs are willing to do, to be honest. We were talking with them all the time. Anytime someone would use the #StreetParking, we were commenting back on it. It was just the two of us. Any Facebook posts we were commenting on and we were reposting our members. We are making it more about them than it is about us which is also rare.

That continued to grow. When we moved to Washington, which is where we live now because, in California, we were like, “We got to get out of this tax bracket.” We moved to Washington and started hiring staff. We have 20 staff now in-house and 50 total with contractors and everything. In 2020, we were already at 15,000-plus or somewhere around their members when the pandemic happened.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh PodcastThe cool thing was that when the pandemic happened, we didn’t have to change anything. The brand was already known in the CrossFit community for being someone that you could trust with programming that’s going to be legit with just dumbbells. Gym owners were like, “Join Street Parking. Do Street Parking.” We were putting out a lot of free content at that time to try to help out the situation. Never with the intention and to this day, it’s never the intention to take people out of their gyms.

If you have a great gym community, you love it, and you can afford it, that’s awesome. You should go participate in that and it’s the right stage of your life to like be able to go there consistently. However, there are a lot of people that don’t have that. They can’t afford it, live too far, or whatever. It’s continued to grow and it’s mostly because of what I talked about in the talk that I gave here at Jax.

It’s not because of Julian but because the members are so supportive of one another and they share their real lives. The members’ kids will be crying in the background or throwing stuff at them while they’re doing their work workout and they’ll post that. We then repost it and say, “That’s okay. That’s enough. It’s frustrating, but also it’s good enough.” People who look like them, people who are doing their workouts on their apartment complex patio. It’s like, “That’s awesome.” It’s grown because it’s given people permission to count it almost.

That’s working out at home. That’s what it looks like. The amount of times that my son will come over. He jumps on my stomach or I’m doing pushups and he gets on my back. There was a CrossFit workout I posted on Instagram and it was the wad. It was weighted pushups. My son kept jumping on me. It was just me and him home. I was like, “Screw this. I can’t put the weight on my back myself anyway.” I’m like, “Adrian, come here.” Every time I got on the ground, I laid on the ground, I was like, “Climb on my back.” He climbed on my back. I did my sets. I was like, “Get off.” We did that for five sets, but that’s what it looks like.

That’s the thing too. People need to shift what it needs to look like. For example, a workout that has farmer carries. There was a workout that had an overhead carry and my young baby needed to be held at the time. It’s like, “I’m supposed to be doing this overhead carry or whatever.” I grabbed him. I’m carrying him in one arm and holding the dumbbell in one arm and I’m doing these carries. It’s reminding people, “What are you training for?” Unless you’re training for something specific, your kids running around and jumping on you, it’s a harder workout honestly and you’re doing it for them.

Not allowing them to be a part of it is weird, if you think about it. It’s like, “Is it going to make a difference if you stop for 30 seconds and tie your kids’ shoes?” Again, that’s one of the reasons that we took away the leaderboard because people would be like, “I beat you.” It’s like, “You don’t know what that lady did or how many times she got interrupted during her workout or whatever. You don’t know if her kid was crying the whole time.”

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh PodcastWe wanted to take that out and be like, “If that happens, stop. Give the kid the snack and then go back to it, and it’s fine.” We had some parents that were doing the sandbag thing while holding his baby and it’s like, “That’s harder,” but it’s training you for what you’re training for, which is your real life and that’s your real life so do it.

What’s next for the company?

We’re on this tour right now. This is official stop number two. We’re doing the Street Parking In The Wild Tour. We started in LA. We did a Tough Mudder. It’s not myself and my husband driving it because we got to go home and take care of our kids but one of our staff members, Kaitlin has been driving through the country. She’s been doing small little local Meetups on the way. She came here. She’s going to the Spartan Race in Texas.

We’re then back at Dave Castro’s ranch for an event we call Fitness Freedom, which is cool. It’s a smaller scale than this. It’s Street Parking members only, but it’s two days of fitness, festival, and hanging out. She’ll drive back to West Virginia where we’re doing this family summer camp-type situation. We’re going to go to the games and then back. We’ll do The Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run also.

If you’ve never heard of it, you got to look it up. I’ll show you afterward. It’s cool and it raises money for the kids on Kauai to have a place to go after school. It’s awesome. We’re starting to do some stuff with kids programming now because it’s a big part of our community. Parents are like, “My kids did the vault with me,” which is one of our workouts every week. We’re going to provide some tools for parents to help them to introduce fitness for their kids in a great way. We hired a coach for that.

We’re starting to do some stuff with corporate memberships. We’ve got some firehouses and even businesses. Corporations are always looking for ways to help their staff connect, but also to be healthier and to have better vibes. Those are the newer things that we’re doing, but Julian and I have never been like, “We’re going to have this many members by 2025.” We don’t measure success that way. We want to help as many people as we can and we never want to make decisions based on some arbitrary number that we’re trying to hit because then you start doing weird stuff. With anything that we get involved in, we try to do the best that we can with it.

Street Parking Founder Miranda Alcarez joins Fran Racioppi and Jessie Graff on The Jedburgh Podcast

Miranda, as we close out, we’re all going to go over there and see what’s happening. The Jedburghs in World War II had to do three things every day to be successful. They had to be able to shoot, move, and communicate. Those were their habits or foundations, you could call them. If they did these things with the utmost precision, then they could focus their attention on more complex challenges that came their way. What are the three things that you do every day to be successful in your world?

I feel like I’m so chaotic as a person. I’ll give you the things that are most important. I don’t know that they’re necessarily what makes me the most successful, but I move every day. I spend focused quality time with my family every day and I’m not distracted by anything else. I’m not saying that it’s a long period of time every day, but there is time every day. I try to write down something daily that was either something positive that happened, a memory that I want to remember, or something that I’m grateful for before I go to bed at night.

Move, spend focused quality time with family, and write down something positive. Thanks for spending some time with us. I wish you the best of luck and we’ll see you here next time.

Thank you.


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