Eating Disorders and the Fitness Industry

The fitness industry can definitely foster unhealthy relationships with body image, food and eating. From someone who has battled eating disorders from age 17, it’s filled with triggers – yet I’m still involved with an industry whose noxious breadcrumbs led me down a very dangerous path. So why am I still here? I’m in love with movement and I’ve learned some valuable lessons on how to tune into my own internal GPS instead of chasing hazardous ideals. This defiance has become part of my mission and why I choose to be here in this industry and why I fight for it to be more welcoming. But honestly with a history of toxic thoughts and unhealthy patterns, I have to be proactive about how I navigate and exist in the fitness space. Here’s some things we promote at the studio to help: 1. I do not participate in weight loss or body shaming conversations. 2. I don’t talk about an exercise being good for a better looking body part or looking good for bikini season etc. 3. I avoid labeling food and exercise as good or bad. 4. I check myself regularly. I can’t exist in a hole where eating disorder triggers are banished. So at times I need to reframe my thoughts from what my body looks like to what my body can do. 5. I listen intently to my body. For example if my body needs fuel, I give it fuel instead of overthinking what I should or should not be eating. ❤️ we are here to help protect your mental and physical well being at PDXSTRENGTH. There is a thin line between the healing power of movement and the detrimental impacts of the fitness culture and every day I try to stay sharp enough not to cross it. Xoxo Jossy ❤️

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KOIN News Movement Monday Segment

We were asked to do a quick segment on the Movement Monday Segment on KOIN news. My trusty side kick Zelmo joined in on the fun and we shared some fun bodyweight movements you can do anywhere. We always push for fun with our workouts, because if it is not enjoyable, it’s really tough to stay motivated and consistent. Thanks KOIN news for inviting us!

Move it Monday: Fun, consistent workouts are key

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June Updates

Welcome to June, All.
 And happy Pride Month to all of our members who identify with the LGBTQ+ communities! We are so thankful that you trust us to be part of our community at PDX Strength.
June also means that we’ve survived Memorial Day, or in the fitness industry means that you’ve survived “Murph” after spending a longer weekend … doing longer weekend things. If you’re feeling especially beat up after, don’t fret. That type of workout is mostly ceremonial and NOT AT ALL representative of standard level of fitness or a type of workout that will often be repeated at PDX Strength. If you slogged through it for 35 to 55 minutes and at some point asked yourself something in the vain of “what the fuck?,” then you’ve found the true intent of the work, regardless of format, variation, modification, excuse, etc. Since “Murph” is especially high volume, you may also be finding that you are more sore than normal or sore in a new/different way than you may be used to. I, personally, feel much more soreness from volume, bodyweight exercise than I do with something like weightlifting. This includes more joint soreness, a more intense tired feeling/fog, and general distaste for all things exercise. If you’re in a similar boat, hydrate, give yourself permission to eat an extra meal (or 7), and keep moving. Nigel has designed this week’s programming to be a great compliment to Monday (a little slower paced, a lot less volume). And, if you just don’t feel like doing the workouts posted, then we’d still love to have you come in at your normal times to do some stretching, rolling, biking, rowing, hangin’, fort building, etc. For those that didn’t come in, and spent the longer weekend doing longer weekend things the whole time, fear not, the programming can still be a challenge for you too.
We are hosting our community fundraiser this Friday (June 4) at 6:30 in conjunction with our Beer Mile. The event is BYOBeverage – you can pick your poison, including non-alcoholic drinks. (And, no, you don’t have to participate in the Beer Mile to come kick it with a beer/cocktail/fizzy lifting drink.) To our newer folks, the community fundraisers are something that we try to  do on a regular basis (usually on a Saturday. This one just happens to coincide with our Beer Mile and is better suited for the evening time.). We’re always looking for organizations to run little fundraisers for, so reach out to your coaches or Jocelyn directly with organizations doing cool shit in our community.
The first week in June seems to be heavy with announcements, but I’m sure more will pop up as we make our way through. See you at the gym…

Until next time,
Josh, Coach Dylan and PDXstrength Staff
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Appreciation Hour

Hi Jocelyn (and Company),

I know this has been a hell of a year, but I just wanted to reach out and say thank you.
Coming to PDXStrength when I moved to St. Johns a little over a year ago was a big leap of faith for me because I had never successfully maintained any kind of fitness in my life. I was inexperienced and out of shape and super nervous, but I always felt so welcomed. All of the coaches were so supportive and pushed me in a way that both challenged me and helped me grow, and the long-time members were so kind. (Even just a month ago, I was lagging way behind in a workout with a ton of running, and the other members in my class ran an extra 400m with me so I wasn’t doing it alone. I can’t even express how much it meant to me!)
And now, a year in, I feel like a totally different person! I’m so much more confident than I used to be, and I love what my body can do. Sometimes, it’s little things like being able to pick up the 40lb box of cat litter without breaking a sweat, sometimes it’s doing a bear crawl without being winded, and sometimes it’s something like being able to push through a lift successfully after I failed three times because I got too in my head about it.
On top of all of that, PDXStrength has really made me feel like a part of the St. Johns community. I run into fellow members all over town, and they always say hello! Especially in COVID times, sometimes, the folks at the gym are the only other living beings I see, and I look forward to it more than anything.
I know with this partial lockdown being imminent, this puts a metric fuckton of stress on you, so I wanted you to know that I’m a ride-or-die member of this strength tribe and I’m here for the long haul. I love your Zoom workouts, Nigel’s programming, Dylan’s silly anatomical doodles, Laura’s endless cheer and optimism, Paul’s fun facts, Courtney’s ability to push me through cardio workouts even when I think I’m going to die, and Christie’s calm and supportive demeanor. What you and the coaches are doing is really incredible, and I’m so lucky to be a part of such an amazing community – y’all are the best.
Have a lovely weekend,
Nikki Harris
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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. 


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