Blog 45 – Getting What you Want for the Holidays

Blog 45 – Getting What you Want for the Holidays

 

Well, we’re in the middle of the biggest holiday season of the year. 2020 is winding down (though as has been repeated millions of times this year, what is time even?). And we’ve all been conditioned throughout our lives to be a good person (or generally decent even) and wish as hard as you possibly can in order to get what you want. (For those folks that identify as on the naughty list, or even aspiring to be there, one could argue that in your universe or schema or relativity that what may be the Naughty List to me may actually be the Nice List to you effectively making you eligible for wishes in your own little world.)

 

Certainly prior to this year, checking the “be a good person” box was as routine as receiving the same off-the-wall gift from your Aunt every year. Or, to use a more apropos simile, like getting out of bed and going to work. All’s to say there is somewhat of regularity and routine in checking that box and making those wishes. Do they come true? Sometimes, most often not… YET! But that doesn’t prevent us from making our way through the year in hopes that THIS is the year that we finally get whatever toy, wish, gift, experience, et al. that we’ve been waiting for for whoever knows how long. 

 

With all that said, and you trying to figure out what the fuck I’m talking about all over again, it’s probably time to get to the point. The point being, that we often treat our health and fitness a lot like the be a good person -> wish really hard -> be grateful for what you get scenario. In the gym context we show up routinely, go through whatever workout is programmed, and end up with results that we are often grateful for, but maybe feel just a bit awkward or like our hopes and dreams were just lost in translation between you thinking them in to existence and the universe translating them back to your coaches (a la the game Telephone). Then something funny always seems to happen this time of year (I’ll save my fitness industry marketing rants here). We seem to get disappointed when the holiday season doesn’t bring us what we want, and we use the start of a new year as some sort of refresh. 

 

But I’m here to tell you that there’s a much easier way to get what you want. That’s to actually ask for what you want out of this whole fitness thing. I’ve mentioned before that Nigel’s total program is not designed for our individual goals. It’s simply a foundation (a very solid one) to build off of. All of our coaches are equipped and ready to help you individually, but we can only do that if you’re willing to ask for what you want. 

 

In what seems like a less than ideal scenario with the shut down and our work getting more general due to limits in space and equipment, all of the coaches are ready (and I would bet all are also excited) for the opportunity to talk you through some of the things on your wishlist. 

 

D

 

Sharing is Caring!

Blog 44 – Shut Down 2, Week 2

Blog 44 – Shut Down 2, Week 2

 

Hello Turkeys!

 

The good news is that we’ve already passed Week 1, and are starting in on Week 2. Hopefully, your week is full of a half week at work, some time off, and an opportunity to connect with some friends and family in varying ways. Then, it’s only two more weeks to go after this one. (To be fair, I realize that this is an overly optimistic projection and am choosing to take the State at its word about the current shut down.)(I also realize that over the summer that I promised not to spend any more time on the blog giving space to the shut down, but here we are.)(Are multiple, back-to-back parentheses allowed?)

 

Moving through the holiday week, I don’t have a lot of concrete words for you. It’s a chunked up week. Life takes your attention away from the gym (as it should). And we’re all simultaneous prepping for the rest of the holiday season/end of the year. With that in mind, I’ll take the opportunity to make a list (both in the spirit of the holidays, and for ease in reading):

  • PDX Strength and its coaching staff are grateful for each and every member that’s been part of the 2020 adventure. While we are certainly here for you in fitness, I hope that many of you know and all of you feel that we will be here for you as friends. Further, if you have a gym friend that you haven’t connected with outside of the gym but would like to, we can facilitate that. 
  • It’s easy to give us a pass during the shut down, but we want your feedback. We want this experience to be as seamless and smooth as possible. And want to create that experience with you, not just for you.
  • Enjoy the holidays, whatever that means to you. I recognize the difficulty of my previous statement in “normal” year. This is a high stress time, and we want you to give yourself permission to seek and experience joy as you see fit. (That advice probably extends until “normalcy” returns to our lives.)
  • I’ll bookend the list by repeating how thankful we are for you. Every time you show up, in person or on zoom, you continuously shape our space for the better with your energy, your love, and your flare.

 

Until next time,

D

 

Sharing is Caring!

Blog 43 – aaaand we’re back…

Blog 43 – aaaand we’re back…

 

In the spirit of self-reflection and improvement, I must admit when I optimistically said that the squat cycle signaled some sort of long term normalcy at the gym, I most likely jinxed the entire community and am at total fault for the recent shut down – or social pause as our friendly, neighborhood Gov. Brown has decided to term it. And while you may be generous and replace the blame on others, I will continue down this path of self-deprecation for the greater good, knowing that the blame from the universe lies with my big mouth.

 

Now that that is out of the way, we should chat about what’s to come over the next couple of weeks. Fortunately for us, we’ve been through this before so we can make changes based on what worked well and what didn’t work very well for us. One of those things, and probably most notably, comes in the form of our schedule and programming. When we shut down in March, we honestly didn’t have a clue what we were doing, not out of any lack of competence of course, but because it was all sorts of new for all of us. And your options for classes and programming reflected as much… a little instagram here a little zoom there. We’ve gotten into the groove now from having classes still available via zoom thanks to the diligence of our crew (both the coaches that show up for online classes and for the steadfast group of members that has continued to engage with us even as doors opened ever so slightly). Another change is the amount of equipment being lent out. While we would love to empty the gym again for our members, it was a logistical challenge to coordinate. To no one’s fault of course, there were/are just a lot of moving parts. With a smaller pause (hopefully only a 4-week window) and a consistent piece of equipment, we have a better opportunity to develop a more consistent programming plan – which I assure you is already accounted for and locked in thanks to Nigel. 

 

I’m going into this phase a little more optimistic than the previous, maybe because there’s a light at the end of a 4-week tunnel or because the holidays are coming and there will be other things to gravitate towards than there was this summer. But mostly because I’ve gotten to know each of you a little better through the process that’s been 2020. I’ve grown, maybe not in the ways I thought I would, but tremendously for the better. You all have had a hand in that. Through your continued resilience. Through your passion for our community. Through your care for each other. And to be fair, that’s not in spite of 2020, that’s because of it. 

 

So what do you say? Here’s to another 4 weeks! 

 

D

 

Sharing is Caring!

20 Rep Squats – The Exercise Where… 

Blog 42 – 20 Rep Squats – The Exercise Where… 

… everything is awful, and the total reps don’t matter. (Am I supposed to put quotes around that with parenthetical inserts to appropriately reference Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, or did I just imply the appropriate reference by asking? Hopefully, their lawyers aren’t reading this or, if they are, can appreciate the attempt.) 

Anyway, back to the blog. I’ve talked previously about how little prescribed reps actually matter (All of you who are new to my blogs and opinions, don’t jump down my throat yet.) and what we are really searching for is a stimulus that drives adaption in our bodies. Reps just happen to be the easiest way to communicate that intended stimulus. This also means that the number of reps MUST be an over prescription because if we prescribed too few reps then we aren’t driving said adaptions. And with varying levels in ability, experience, body types, et al. in every class, that prescription must be an over prescription for all levels. (for those Smarty Pants out there asking smugly, “What about a 1-rep max?” This also applies there. Think about it this way: some times we hit it and sometimes we don’t but we go through the process to drive adaption regardless of a completed rep. 

If this is true (and it is) then as we expand the total number of reps to say, I don’t know … 20, reps become less and less important because there will be more variation to where each member in a given class/group arrives at the appropriate stimulus. Some may get there at 12, some at 15, some at 19. Remember the goal is over stimulation to drive adaption. If we get to 20 and think to ourselves that you could have gone heavier, then you DEFINITELY should have. I will also acknowledge that it is hard to come to class and interpret the numbers on the board – frankly, that’s the coaches’ job – but as always I will continue to give you permission to take control of how your body feels. 

This, then, begs the question “what should a “20 rep squat” feel like?” Well here are a couple checkpoints that may be helpful:

  • *unracks weight* “WOOO! 20 Reps! Here we go.”
  • *a few reps in* “20?! Shit, I could do 40! This feels great!”
  • *a few more reps in* “Uh oh.”
  • *loses control of breathe* “WTF, Nigel?!”
  • *time slows down … legs start to feel like Jell-O* “How in the world am I going to finish?”
  • *after a few more reps* “I got this. 1 at a time. Just breathe.”
  • *finishes a few more reps* “That was awful. I can’t wait ‘til next week!”

If you hit all of those phases and get to 17 reps, you have ABSOLUTEY done the prescribed work. Remember, the goal in training is to test the boundaries of what you are capable NOT to repeat safe patterns. It shouldn’t (and can’t) be about utilizing a loading just to say we accomplished the rep scheme. That will never drive the adaptions we think it will. 

And believe me, Nigel knows that as well or better than anyone. He’s not giving you a gold star for total reps. He’s giving you a gold star for effort. 

D

Sharing is Caring!

Blog 41 – Dr. Jekyll and Mx. Hyde

Blog 41 – Dr. Jekyll and Mx. Hyde

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be pertinent to write about all things Goblins and Ghouls.

Though I am personally not one to dress up for this particular holiday, there are times when I find donning a new outfit or persona highly beneficial. And since this is PDX Strength’s blog, one such example of this is in the gym.

It shouldn’t come as much surprise to anyone that’s taken a class from me that I (the coach) am a huge fan of failure. BUT what may or may not come as a surprise is that I (the person) fear failure as much as any one else. Let’s face it any number of things can send little goosebumps (or, as I recently learned, some people may know them as goosepimples — seriously if you call them goosepimples we need to have a conversation…) running all over your body as the little devil/goblin/ghoul/grim reaper/troll in your ear reminds you of the impending doom that’s just an attempt away. 1 rep maxes? SCARY. New gymnastics skills? SPOOKY. High box jumps. FREAKY AF (not to mention sometimes the gym version of Hollywood gore).

There are many tricks that one can use to overcome this little devil. Positive self-talk, a little lifting routine, a hearty smack from your lifting partner… You’ve seen (or tried) all of these in some way shape or form, and all can be employed at different times to your benefit. But that’s not really the thing we’re talking about. No, the thing we’re talking about is approaching the bar as a different person (or being, depending on what you’re in to) and finding your Mx. Hyde. Need extra strength? Be a superhero (but “no capes,” as Edna Mode says). Need to jump out of the gym? A spaceship. Need to swing from the rings like you never have before? An orangutan. 

It doesn’t actually matter what you pick here. It matters that you have a moment to yourself in which the little angel (or other existential being that suits you) on the other shoulder beats the shit out of the doubt that’s entered your mind. And you go berserker or, to circle back to the title, all Mx. Hyde on whatever task is in front of you.

Be careful though. The more time you spend as whatever mystical super being fits your alter ego, the more it over takes you. Then the only thing to fear is what you might become.

D

Sharing is Caring!