Blog 19 – Week 10!

Blog 19 – Week 10!

Holy cow, Week 10. Blog 19… We chatted a little bit about this during our Happy Hour (or Two and a Half Hour), but I certainly did not think I would be on the tenth week (with subsequent weeks to follow) of blog writing when I started Week 1, Blog 1, and I would imagine many of you can relate to the well-I-guess-this-is-a-new-thing thoughts over the course of the shutdown. Without judgment, I will remind you that this is short-term. Yes, maybe it’s been far longer than we would have liked, but in the grand scheme of things we have time to change the habits we don’t like and keep the ones we do. I, for one, have enjoyed the writing process. It’s been my connection to all of you while the other coaches have crushed it on Zoom and The ‘Gram, amongst other things. Will I keep up the 2x/week pace that I’ve currently set? Probably not, but don’t be surprised if it becomes a more regular thing as we phase back in to reality. I’ve also enjoyed some of our other community touch-points that we’ve created, and hope that we can get in to a routine that includes things like dance breaks/warm-ups and happy hours (5:30 stretch series and beers, anyone?). Will this be an everyday thing or as regular as it is now? Probably not, but you can bet that we’ll ways to keep what we (and you) like, and ditch what we don’t.

And on to the challenge, we are going to move away from the team challenge for this week and give an additional individual point instead. *Cues lasers (pew pew), spotlights (bonggg), fireworks(BOOM BANG), and chorus singing “Individual Points”(AAAhhhaaaHHH)* So for 1 individual point, we are requesting that you take the time to leave a review on any of the social platforms (google, FB, etc.). It may seem like a small thing, but it does help raise our awareness in the community. We like many other small businesses have seen better days (PS you should totally give your other favorite places reviews too). And while we aren’t on a mission to take over all of Portland (or St Johns for that matter), we do want to grow our reach, bring folks in (or back in) to our community, and do our part to support our little corner of the world. 

That’s probably it for me on this blog. Shorter than usual by about 100 words… Maybe I just keep typing to fill space… like I used to do in school… Nope. Nevermind. I’m done. Kind of. Maybe I go back and take out all the contractions… (Totally snuck over 450 words. BOOM!) Ok bye-bye, 

D

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Blog 18 Finding the Time to Meditate

Blog 18 – Finding the Time to Meditate

So you may have noticed that we added three more points to the weekly challenge. 

  • Drink water. (Fun facts – Every time I hear the word “water” I hear Neil Young shouting the word, like Morgan Freeman saying “penguin.”)
  • Read. (I recently purchased 2 books – Strength Training Anatomy and Going Right.) 
  • Meditate. (The reason we’ve all gathered here today. Now generally speaking, people fall in to one of two categories when it comes to meditation. The I-could-do-this-shit-all-day camp or the I-DON’T-HAVE-TIME-FOR-THAT-SHIT CAMP. – Yes, the ALL CAPS vs. no caps is intentional. Get it? Because the meditators are already meditating, so they are calm, and non-meditators ARE YELLING… AAARRGGGHHH!!! – The funny thing here, though? Everyone starts in the latter. Even yours truly. That switch came about 3-4 years ago, and really it wasn’t a decision to meditate or not. It’s just kind of been a progressive understanding about meditating; starting with a conversation with friends; then to a few YouTube videos to other online resources; then through a Palouse Mindfulness course – free online for those interested – and finally on to a better understanding of what meditation is and is not. Really what I learned is that I’ve meditated all of my life in some form or another. I just never thought about it as meditating. Add to that my new found understanding and I-could-do-this-shit-all-day.  

My favorite daily meditation routine is almost first thing in the morning – Fritz has a little bladder – and as I go to bed. My morning meditation is something I’ve actually done my entire life. I wake up … and do nothing. That’s right, literally nothing. It used to frustrate my parents like you wouldn’t believe. I’d wake up and just sit in my bed cross-legged until the last possible second to get out the door to school. My family still gives me a hard time about it. Now, it looks like sitting on my patio and watching the birds and squirrels come up for breakfast – for the record, I am also a huge fan of journaling first thing in the morning. At night, it’s a general rotation of a few varying types – counted breath, landscaping/imagery, or body scans are usually the go to. I’m not so great at the middle of the day stuff, but sometimes do a meditation as pain management for my arthritis and I do really enjoy a good guided meditation with headphones in. None of this is everyday, but it’s most and I can there’s a huge difference in the flow of my day and my ability to fall asleep if my day starts with less intention than I need. 

In reality, the list of types of meditations is relatively short – google “headspace types of meditation” – but the ways to accomplish them are many and they all accomplish, or are intended to accomplish, a greater connection to self by setting a little time out of your day for Number 1. )

Any questions about the new challenges?

D

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BLOG 17 Team AND INDIVIDUAL Challenge Update. 

Team AND INDIVIDUAL Challenge Update. 

Well, as of this week Oregon is moving forward with a phased opening approach. While this doesn’t give us an opening date, and we (both Multnomah County and PDX Strength) might be the last to phase in, it DOES mean that we are a little bit closer to converging down by the river. Speaking of the river… I hope you all had a glorious Mother’s Day this weekend, and were able to get outside (safely) and enjoy the 80˚+ weather. We thought it was a good idea to take our new pup for swimming lessons, instead of painting our bedroom. While I conceded that the swimming lessons took 30 minutes and there is roughly 48 (or more) hours in a weekend, I will just say we feel very accomplished and no dogs were harmed in the process. 

But on to the Challenge – you know, the reason you’ve made it this far and past my rambling. I want to reiterate that the coaches would like to commend all of you for participating as you can and how you can. None of this is a race to the maximum points per week. We are trying to build some guidelines that we think continue to move us towards long-term physical activity. What you might be finding as the hardest part is trying to fit it all in somewhere. New routines bring, new priorities and uses of time.  It’s hard to exist in the same way with new circumstances. You should all give yourselves credit for moving forward through this without judgment. I do also want to acknowledge that some of you may not feel that way, and you may also be having more bad days than good. That is ok too. 

This week’s team challenge is going to circle back to a few blogs and one of the points in the challenge – no it doesn’t, directly, involve your pets… though I suppose it could:

  • For 5 points, you and team members must post/share photos of you trying something new, or doing something outside of working out that brings you joy. 

For example, for me I have been finding time to play guitar. I started taking lessons about a year ago, but have only recently (and many thanks to Fender for releasing their Play app during the shutdown) started to actually practice more diligently. Again, this isn’t going to be a gym related activity, but still would love the tags and hashtags. While this may seem to be somewhat of an off-brand challenge, don’t forget that we are always here for you as people first. You aren’t singular people, so we don’t expect your life to revolve around the gym. We’re on a path of growing brains AND butts. And you never have to workout to kick it. 

Also to show how serious we are about adding little jolts of inspiration in to our routines, we’re also adding points for individual achievement this week. So *drum roll* … *suspenseful pause* … 

In addition to the activities currently worth 1 pt (if you are in a great routine, keep it up!), each of the following will earn you an additional one point:

  • Drink 8 cups of water/day – this is about 96 ounces. If that seems like too much, you have the freedom to lower the amount you drink. In practical application this means that if you are all of a sudden having a hard time controlling your bladder (ex. waking up in the middle of the night not being able to make it through a meeting) you’re likely over your necessary daily intake. 
  • Read (anything) for 30 minutes, 3x/week.
  • Meditate for more any length of time 3x/week.

That’s right! We’re up to 13 total points for the week! For those triskaidekaphobics out there, I guess you better hope for extra credit zoom sessions…

Talk to you Thursday!

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Blog 16 – An Ode to the Bicep Curl. 

Blog 16 – An Ode to the Bicep Curl. 

Well it’s the end of Week 7. I’m slowly, but surely, making my way through the plethora of Tiny Desk Concerts on YouTube. “What’s playing in the background that inspired this blog?” you ask. Harry Styles. No, none of that teeny bobber One Direction, shit. We’re talking pure, unplugged, unadulterated, solo Harry. Simply, Harry… And yes his backing band, but no one is here for them. 

Anyway, I got to thinking about how in the world would I spin this into a blog, and then in to thinking about songwriting. And “what do you write songs about?” you might be asking – you sure are an inquisitive bunch today. Loss and Love, of course. So then got to pondering about the things that we have loved and/or lost in our exploration of physical activity. And then it came to me… No, this isn’t going to be some existential exploration of self or a conversation about how we’ve grown so much that we are no longer our former selves. No, this is about the bicep curl. A thing that for many of us was part of our introduction to the gym that we haven’t thought about in years or perhaps we’ve even come to mock, and for others a thing that has only been talked about as it were Something-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. 

I didn’t know what I was doing, 

But you came so naturally.

I felt out of place,

But you made me look like a pro. 

We kept this up for quite some time, 

But then I left you behind. 

It wasn’t your fault, you did nothing wrong, 

But I just had to go.

People said you weren’t effective, 

And only for the bros.

People said you couldn’t deliver, 

I started believing.

But then something funny happened, 

You waited.

But then something funny happened, 

I started believing.

And THAT my friends, is how you write a blog about a song inspired by Harry F’ing Styles. BOOM. Platinum… “Did I really just waste my time reading this?” Yup. But let me summarize.

In all seriousness (or maybe just a touch more seriousness), I’m not sure where along the fitness continuum we get to the isolated-movements-aren’t-effective-as-compound-movements-so-therefore-they-are-a-waste-of-time stage but if you stick around long enough you get there. But at least 1 strength coach – same friend whose name rhymes with Bylan as a matter of fact – will tell you it’s hogwash; a false narrative; a comparison of apples and oranges. Let’s start thinking about compound movements as a chain, and the muscles within that chain the links. The stronger the links, the stronger the chain. If you want to do some bicep curls… or skull crushers… or dumbbell pullovers… or whatever “Bro-move” that you want to pretend you’re just too cool for. Do it. The higher the blood-pump the better. “Great so I just pick up the weight and go at it?” Well sort of, but we can add a little more structure, like:

Tabata Bicep Curl

:20 Curls (concentric/eccentric)

:10 Hold the weight out at 90 degrees (isometric)

OR

Tabata Skull Crusher

:20 Skull Crusher (concentric/eccentric)

:10 Hold Arms at extension, actively flexing the tricep (isometric)

“Isn’t all of this a little too simple?” Maybe. But somewhere along the way it got way too complicated. 

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Blog 15 – A weekly challenge update, and a Thank You.

Blog 15 – A weekly challenge update, and a Thank You. 

It’s Monday of Week 7, folks. With May 1 bringing the opening of a few places locally (namely some of our favorite member-owned businesses and coffee shops), we’re a little closer to the prospective future day that we get the gang back together again. But as to not get too lost in daydreams about the future, here we are with an update on our weekly challenge and somewhat of an admission that I, too, have been managing a bit of a motivational wall during this time. 

I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to all of you that have been showing up throughout this process. First with the members that diligently tried to continue with classes, then to all the folks putting in the effort to maintain a routine with so much unknown, and now to all the folks that seem to be finding their new (albeit short-term) normal. Each person in our community has continued to show up, set intention, and move forward. For those of you who feel like it hasn’t been enough, or those who feel that you aren’t doing as much as another member, that’s ok too. We (and the entire community) are here for you. And if you by chance haven’t been engaged much (or at all) with your coach and some how you’ve found yourself here, on Blog 15, that’s ok too. We’re here for you when you are ready and, as you need.

To further celebrate this, and noting that Mother’s Day is Sunday, let’s set the 5-point team challenge as:

  • Post a photo this week of those that have been there for us when we were (or weren’t) ready and just as we needed. You know who and what to tag. 

To those of you who are parents or guardians or mentors, Happy Mother’s Day in an especially weird time. To those of you who have lost such a relationship (me being in that category), I try to find comfort in reminding myself that they wouldn’t have left unless we were ready, which includes the feeling of solitude during a global pandemic. 

Now for that admission. As a caveat, I speak solely of my own experience and not for other coaches. But I, too, have had my ups and downs throughout this process; finding a “motivational wall” as some of my teammates put it. I’ve had weeks that I worked out a lot, some that I worked out a little, some where I felt like I wasn’t good enough, some where I felt like a fraud, some where I just went through the motions, some where I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t have the motivation to go downstairs to my gym, and some where I’m unhappy about my body.  This is nothing new. I’ve experienced all of these before and will certainly experience them again, but I’ve learned to keep reframing and re-centering these conversations – These are normal feelings. My body knows that there is a global pandemic and is responding appropriately (even if it is not how I want it to). This is short-term. I am not the person I was yesterday, or the one I was at 10, 20, or 30. Love and grace is something that I can choose. I can choose to show myself, and the people around me, love without needing a reason to. Emotions are very real. All of them are valid. They make us do funny things. They teach us about our selves if we’re willing to listen. It’s easy to spiral with absolutes or self-created (or culture-created) truths, and hard to be vulnerable and connect with others about their perspectives. I change by doing hard things. It’s hard to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s hard to give yourself permission to be human. 

Thanks for being there for me, Strength Tribe. See you all soon!

D

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