April Updates

What a wild time, huh? (This phrase seems to be the new “what’s up?”) We’re back to a few state-wide restrictions, and feel so fortunate to call you our community and friends. For all wondering about the current capacity limitations and how that affects our classes/schedule, it really doesn’t. We’ve taken a more conservative stance on class size since re-opening in order to prioritize the safety of our space, so our current capacity still meets the shut down protocol (We are technically occupying two spaces.). With that said, though, we’re still going to try to be outside as much as possible with considerations towards weather, equipment, etc. Please reach out to Jocelyn or your coach with any questions. Your safety remains our priority. 

 

Enough of that conversation though, and on to the fun stuff. May is bringing out a couple of events at the gym. On Memorial Day this year, we are going to host a WOD called “Murph” in tribute to military members that have lost their lives in service. This is a general happening across the fitness industry and you might see it posted throughout the month on any fitness or fitness-adjacent social media accounts. The WOD, as written, is especially grueling and designed to really push your physical and mental limits. With that said, there are roughly a million accessible variations of the workout for folks to choose from and we’re always happy to help you select the best one for you. 

 

The other event is our annual beer mile with date TBD. For those that don’t know, a beer mile is where participants chug a beer (you absolutely do not have to drink alcohol to participate… milk mile, anyone?) and do a 400m run four times. Void your liquid, and you’re either out or start your round over – your choice. Fastest time wins. It’s totally for fun, and just an excuse to hang out with all of you. (As an aside, this will be our community fundraiser this month too and we’re always accepting nominations for organizations that we can support.)

 

If you’re newer to the gym, these events are great opportunities to connect with other members outside of a traditional class environment, so we’d love to see you there whether you’re planning to participate or not. We always welcome spectators, friends, and anyone in between. 

 

Thanks again for all your support! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the coaches with any feedback.

 

Dylan and Jossy

 

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Well it’s March. Holy shit it’s March.

Hello all (old, new, in between, online, in person, etc)

 

Well it’s March. Holy shit it’s March. Lots have changed since the last time we wrote to you. Most notably… February. Like the entire month. Granted it’s the shortest month of the year (by a marginal amount), but so much has happened… other than COVID restrictions changing every week. For example, we’ve introduced a new class with our very own Nicole Mascorro (check out Ballet Body on Thursday nights at the gym/live on zoom OR the regular weekly drops on the Facebook page). I, personally, haven’t tried the class (yet) but more so because I’ve heard horror stories from members about how hard it is… Yes, I am cherry-picking the shit out of my fitness in classic “do as I say, not as I do” style. We’re also starting to get into our spring weather down by the River. Cathedral Park is GORGEOUS, but we’re in this weird state of limbo where we kind of still want to be inside lifting heavy shit, but also looking out the overhead door longingly at the sunshine… and the train… at least this is my interpretation. What’s likely happening is that you’re actually clamoring to the overhead door to rip off your mask and give your sweaty upper lip a break from the acute mugginess that is bike sprints with a mask. Seriously though, who knew that it could get more swampy between your cheeks on a bike sprint… See what I did there?

 

Anyway, this is also a little update on your favorite, intermittently “scheduled” blog (Let’s be honest… there’s no schedule). We’re going to switch to 2x a month rather than weekly moving forward. The ones at the beginning of the month will be included with Joss’s newsletter. It’ll be short, fun, and to the point. The mid-month blog will be a little meatier and contain all the answers to recurring member questions and themes, and all things PDX Strength… most notably how we find the Golden Tickets aboard the GAINZ Train.

 

Until next time, 

 

D

 

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Blog 49 – Ooops, I Did It Again. 

Blog 49 – Ooops, I Did It Again. 

 

So after lambasting my own creativity in Blog 48. I’m back with Blog 49 starting out the same way. I’m about to write an entire blog with a huge announcement… in Blog 49. Again, a real creative would have found away to make all your hopes and dreams come true and served it on the silver platter that is BLOG 50, but instead you get forty-fucking-nine. Don’t get me wrong 49 holds a special place in my heart as a person from the 49th state in the nation, but the trouble here becomes this blog, deserving of all the pomp and circumstance of Blog 50, gets labeled 49, while some other blog with a decidedly less exciting topic gets 50. I just can’t…

 

Anyway, back to this blog. Yes, the rumors are true. We get to return to having our daily playdates down by the train tracks. The protocols are going to be pretty similar to our previous opening, though you’ll notice a little tweaks – like a room divider since our space is technically 2 units and we have a 6 person/unit restriction. But hey, everything else is going to be pretty similar. Safety is our #1 priority. The doors will be open. Temperatures will be checked. Distances will be socialed. The train is going to run by at the WORST possible times. Our programming will be equipped. (Nigel is going to be programming like it’s the holiday gifting season – all the equipment, all of the time.)

 

All that said, what’s most important is that we acknowledge and thank you all for being part of this process with us. We literally could not have gotten here without you. Whether you’ve been with us throughout the process, joined at some point during the fray, participated intermittently, or couldn’t participate but still sent positive vibes, you’ve been an integral part of our journey here. Thank you doesn’t do it justice (just like labeling this Blog 49) but THANK YOU for everything you’ve done for this little community down by the train tracks. 

 

See you all soon,

 

D

 

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Blog 48, huh?

Blog 48, huh? The week of Inauguration Day? A real creative genius would have found a way to really wrap that together in a nice little package. I suppose I could have skipped more blogs to make this 46 OR even written more blogs to match the number of inaugurations (59), but alas, you get 48… Or maybe it’s 47 continued… I’m trying to get there. 

 

Regardless of my creative shortcomings, we’re on to the next topic… Or maybe the same topic in different parts… Industry Malarkey, also known as topics that may hold some value but are bastardized by an endless need of capitalization (though you’ll be relieved to know I’ll save you from any political rant here). I ended the last blog teasing a conversation surrounding food and dieting. So here it goes. 

 

We’re about halfway through January (⅔ for those that need more accuracy in their lives), and you may have noticed something missing from our little corner of the fitness world – a Nutrition Challenge. There are many reasons that we choose not to partake in this, #1 being that “diet culture” is about the biggest load of shit that the fitness industry perpetuates; causing far more harm to participants that good. (To be very clear before we go any farther. I am not here to ostracize anyone for their own choices nor am I standing on any sort of pillar of perfection. I have perpetuated the bullshit as a participant and a trainer.)

 

But, what is this “diet culture,” I speak of? According to Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, and her article, “What is Diet Culture?” (Link below):

 

Diet culture is a system of beliefs that:

  • Worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, which means you can spend your whole life thinking you’re irreparably broken just because you don’t look like the impossibly thin “ideal.”


  • Promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, which means you feel compelled to spend a massive amount of time, energy, and money trying to shrink your body, even though the research is very clear that almost no one can sustain intentional weight loss for more than a few years.


  • Demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others, which means you’re forced to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, ashamed of making certain food choices, and distracted from your pleasure, your purpose, and your power.


  • Oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health,” which disproportionately harms women, femmes, trans folks, people in larger bodies, people of color, and people with disabilities, damaging both their mental and physical health.

 

Again not here to prosthelytize (I’ll leave my rotation of Rage Against the Machine on the radio to do my subliminal messaging.), but the list of varying ways this appears in the gym is seemingly endless and all harmful. And to circle back to the original take on industry malarkey, the food industry knows this which is why it evolves its language to gaslight people into perpetuating their spending within their industry. For example, just a few years ago 4% large curd, cottage cheese was about the fattiest cottage cheese on the market… Enter Keto… Enter 6% “keto” cottage cheese… (It’s delicious, btw.) 

 

This is not new, it’s just the modern evolution of the industry. It’s similar to Baby Boomers’ love for TV dinners, Hamburger Helper, and fast food. Yes, some are absolutely delicious, but it was also the first generation that raised children (in mass) with adults out of the home. We live in a generation that has bastardized conversations around overall health, and have a food industry to match. Industries will always exist to convince you to spend your money in the easiest way possible. And speaking from experience, it’s far easier to lose weight and receive external/social reward than it is to accept myself for who I am in a world that tells me not to be something else at every turn. 

 

Put very simply, PDX Strength chooses to be a facility that strives for body and ability acceptance and self-actualization through exercise and NOT a facility that sells bullshit, controls your body, or perpetuates harm. 

 

I won’t “to be continued” here, but as I’m sure you know by now, there’s always more. 

 

D

 

https://christyharrison.com/blog/what-is-diet-culture

 

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Blog 47 – Industry Malarkey

Blog 47 – Industry Malarkey

 

So I learned a new term the other day, while doing some light reading regarding performance, More specifically on the biomechanics of rotation as it relates to throwing or swinging an object and maximal force production when I came across some whacky videos regarding BIOTENSEGRITY. And if you’re anything like me, you immediately thought, “There’s no way that’s a real thing… Doctor of what? Making shit up?” But at the same time, I was also intrigued enough to spend the next bit looking into this new, fancy medical/performance term, including asking our neighborhood friendly physical therapist, Dr. Paul. For those interested the definition of biotensegrity according to Wikipedia is “the application of tensegrity principles to biological structures. Biological structures such as muscles, bones, fascia, ligaments and tendons, or rigid and elastic cell membranes, are made strong by the unison of tensioned and compressed parts.” To be fair, not all that fancy of a concept and something that we have regular practice at with global, compound movements like a squat and deadlift, and even more apparent in a more dynamic move like the clean and snatch. Taking the squat for example, if we are loose or weaker in the upper body then it doesn’t matter how strong our legs are. In a rotational or throwing example, if we have slack in the lower body/trunk then we won’t be able to throw said object “over those mountains.”

 

On the surface, it’s a basic concept that we all have experienced or understand in some way. But there’s also a fundamental issue here. Like many flavors of snake oil, we are often skeptical of things in order to keep ourselves safe(oooo from biotensegrity to cognitive behavior, so smart right now). So in order to sell an idea, folks pander to the familiar. And before you know it, we’ve become a disciple in search of confirming information or, in the fitness world, confirming GAINZ – didn’t think I’d forget to slip that in, did you? And before you know it an entire market exists for the sole purpose of influencing purchasing behavior, while we are still convinced that we’ve struck gold so we buy into it more and more. 

 

This arrives in so many ways in the health and fitness industry. The easiest example would be the barbell squat. While the barbell squat is a great skill to acquire, it’s just that – a skill. You could absolutely build HUGE legs without a barbell, but we’ve all been convinced that it is THE only way and all other squats just build capacity or are an accessory for the back squat. While this actually isn’t all that bad, back squats are great, relatively safe, and do absolutely facilitate getting HUGE, there are examples that are far more detrimental to your health, fitness, and well being. 

 

The easiest example here is food or in particular dieting. While perhaps more complex than a silly metal rod that we slap across our backs and go uppy-downy, the same pattern (not the uppy-downy part) repeats itself around food. We are all born with evolutionarily advanced hungry cues and have been told all our lives what proper nutrition (generally) looks like, and yet one of the largest industries in the world exists to completely strip you of the power to honor your body and it’s own hunger. And it’s so big in fact, that it has created its own smaller billions-of-dollars sub-industry that acts in concert to hold you into a perpetual state of spending (and many other behaviors and attitudes that are far more detrimental to you than a big grocery bill). Yes, we are talking about the diet industry and diet culture, which to circle back to the title of the blog is absolutely industry malarkey, and yet we’re still convinced that it’s a pathway to greater health and self-actualization…

 

But now I have simultaneously opened a wide door here and reached my blog’s general length limit. So I’ll end it here with a very suspenseful, to be continued…

 

D

 

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