Crazy Week Workout

20 kg bell not required.

When things get crazy and you only have time for a short workout here’s my go-to. Hits all highlights without taking too much time!

Warm up with full range-of-motion joint work and be sure to adjust/modify as needed. My weights are listed…I do this for a living. (Just sayin’)

3 Sets:
5+5 16 kg Single Leg Deadlift
1+1 16 kg TGU
10 x Deadbugs

5 Sets:
1+1 20 kg Presses R/L
1 Double 20 kg Press

2 Sets:
1+1 24 kg TGU

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Yoga Playlists: July Grooves

I’ve gotten a ton of questions about my playlist from this month … so here it is!  Probably
one of my favorites thus far. It’s just one of those that makes my heart ache in a really really good way  :)

(If you have a Grooveshark account, just use this link to see and play the whole thing!)

  • _IGP4679BWRiver Song / Jagadamba / Jai Ma - Govind Das & Radha
  • Himmon, TX – Bon Iver
  • Heartbeat - Jose Gonzales
  • Taxi Cab - Vampire Weekend
  • Tesselate - Alt-J
  • Bittersweet Faith (Thievery Corporation Remix) - Bitter:Sweet
  • Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) - Robin Schulz
  • Illuminated - Hurts
  • Mere Ornaments - J. Tillman
  • Om Namo Narayani - Edo & Jo

Big News!

Big News

 For the last month or so, I’ve been working with the amazing Amanda Ginther of Blackbird Family Yoga to facilitate something beautiful: PULSE Kettlebells and Yoga will have a brick-and-mortar location as of September of this year! We’re moving into the space currently housing Blackbird Family Yoga on Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue in Middleton, WI and couldn’t be more excited.

I have been looking for a space to call home since April of this year and had two lease negotiations fall through in both May and June. Thank goodness! After learning that Amanda was closing her doors, I reached out to learn a little more about the space and thought “maybe I could even keep a couple yoga classes.” That’ll teach me to think small!  

In addition to Amanda’s beautiful class schedule of family-oriented yoga, I’m planning to offer some energetic and strengthening flow classes, TRX classes and OF COURSE, kettlebell class schedule that includes early morning and express classes!  We’ll have a studio for classes, a small studio for personal and small group training, and a wonderful space for tea and community.  The lobby will also feature Sun Warrior and Young Living products…and of course some PULSE gear!  <high pitched excited girl squeal>

I feel so honored to be able to be a part of Blackbird’s transition and so. freakin. lucky. to get to work with Amanda. She shares my passion for promoting a body love environment, gets just as excited as I do about the no-bull#&%* fitness counter culture I’m building and loves wine as much as I do. She’s a beautiful spirit and I am SO. LUCKY. (did I say that already) that she is staying on to teach at PULSE.

Yesterday, I sent out an email letting everyone know what’s up (and why I look like I haven’t slept in a year) and the outpouring of love and support nearly knocked me off my feet. We raised nearly half (NEARLY HALF!) the funds needed to outfit the space in less than 12 hours and I received more emails, Facebook comments, texts and phone calls than I could field or respond to. You know when you stop and wonder if you’re capable, good enough, on the right path…then the Universe just rolls you with HELL YES?  That happened.

***

Because I’m learning that asking for what I need is a viable way to get what I need (revolutionary, right?) … here’s what I need:

  • We’re running an IndieGogo campaign to help us fund equipment for the studio (kettlebells and TRX and pull up bars, hooray!)  You can check out the campaign here to learn more about how you can support our work by donating/grabbing a membership early!
  • Madison area personal trainers and TRX instructors who are body-positive, compassionate and interested in learning the SFG hard style kettlebell method.
  • A few people to help me continue to provide childcare for the 9:15 am class times (trade for classes)
  • A few people to help me with class check-in, cleaning and other day-to-day stuff (trade for classes)

***

I really need to send a big shout out to PULSE hubby, Brian, for believing in me more than I ever have and to PULSE mom, Sandy Graham, for providing a haven from the storm and a constant phone line to sanity. To my teacher, Alex Pfeiffer, for teaching me the challenging and beautiful path of true authenticity and to my financial backers…you know who you are… and you are making this possible.

We are hoping to open the studio the first week of September! Until then, our schedule will stay the same. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.  In the meantime visit our website regularly for updates.

Marketing Bull&*%$ and Other Rantings

Courtesty of http://www.mikethemasterdater.com/

No more bullshit

I love my job. I love that I get to hang out everyday with awesome people. I love that I actually get PAID to watch people get mad strong while I hang out with them.  And here’s the thing that kills me every time I sit down to strategize the business end of my business:
It is really f*&$# hard to financially thrive in the fitness industry without using the terms “weight loss, fat loss, belly fat, inches, diet, lean…” If you take a quick look at Facebook pages, website, e-news letters and campaigns etc. across the industry, you’ll be hard pressed to find a site or professional that doesn’t tout some kind of promotion that is sold merely on its powers of weight loss. Why? Because fat shaming sells.
As a business owner, it’s tempting to run “6 Weeks to a Better Body!” or “21 Day Detox!” promotions. It’s tempting to benchmark waist size, weight, and body fat. Why? Because those are the money-makers thanks to our magazines, movies, TV and diet industry. Trainers like Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper and Tracy Andersen make millions telling people that they would love themselves if only they could fit into that ever elusive jeans size or that magic number on the scale. The diet industry makes *billions* shaming people into buying supplements, products and meal plans that are sold on the idea that you will be an acceptable human being if and when you look like the model on our cover.
But I REFUSE to perpetuate the shame cycle.

Here’s the deal: Very few people actually have a weight problem! Most of the clients I see? Have a self-care problem. A heartbreak problem. An unmet need problem. A priorities problem. They come to me unable to trust their bodies, unable to trust themselves and hurt by the very industry that has promised them happiness. I can’t tell you how often my heart has broken for a client that says, “I’ll be happy/desirable/lovable if I just lose X amount of weight.”  BULL. S*&$%. These men and women will be happy when they care for themselves, address their wounds and deep unmet needs and make themselves a priority in their own life.

Want to feel strong and empowered? The tag in a pair of jeans WILL. NOT. DO. THAT. FOR. YOU. Instead: Pick up heavy stuff. Then put it back down. And as you do it, remember that you that every day you pick up heavy loads and lay them back down for the sake of ourselves and those around us.
Want freedom and unimaginable joy?  The number on a scale will NEVER give you that.  Instead: Crack your heart center wide open to the sky in a yoga pose and take 5 deep breaths. Remember to be brave and face the world with your chin up!
Want energy and vitality?  Fat burners, diet foods and low-calorie options will leave you empty. Eat live, healthy foods because they nourish you on a deep, cellular level and YOU deserve that nourishment!
Do this stuff regularly? This empowering, enlivening, joyful stuff? You might shed fat and fit into a different pair of jeans.
Do this stuff regularly? This energizing, freeing and loving practice? You WILL face the world in an entirely different way.
THAT is why I’m a coach and a trainer. That is why I refuse to offer a 6-week workout challenge or a 21-day weight loss meal plan. Hard cold truth? If that’s the only thing you’re open to, I’m not your gal. If you’ve tried them all, though and you’re sick of the let-down, frustration and self-loathing? Come see me, call me or email me.

What’s your experience with fitness marketing? What has/has not worked for you? We want to hear from you!

Vegan Almond Flour Protein Pancakes

Had a hankering for pancakes this morning and decided to roll with it!  (I’d post a picture of the actual pancakes, but they do NOT look pretty despite tasting amazing.)

Vegan Protein Pancakes

(gluten free, vegan, paleo, delicious)

getimgIngredients:

1/2 c Almond Meal (I dehydrate the leftovers when I make almond milk)

1/4 c Protein Powder (I used Hemp Protein, but Sun Warrior would be awesome!)

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 c Almond Milk

(3-5 drops NuNaturals Stevia if your protein powder is unsweetened)

Mix it Up:

1. Whisk together almond meal, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon.  Slowly add almond milk (and stevia if desired), stirring until combined.

2. Pre-heat a griddle or cast iron pan, greased with a little coconut oil.  It’s ready when a drop of water sizzles on impact.

3. Place 1/4 cup scoops of the pancake batter on the griddle and cook for 3-4 min/side, or until they lift easily with a spatula (don’t undercook…they’ll fall apart!)

I topped mine with a little smear of peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup (also known as the best combo ever.)  Hooraaaaaay breakfast!

 

I swore I’d Never Juice Cleanse

tumblr_mh3z895DIy1qeerubo3_250Quick disclaimer: Check with your doc or RD if you want to try something like this. If you’re easily triggered on the Diet/Eating Disorder front, a juice fast is probably not for you in this moment and this post may not even be for you. To clarify on my end: some weight loss was a SIDE EFFECT and NOT A GOAL of my juice cleanse.

If I don’t have hypoglycemia I’m about as close as it gets.

I’ve got a 15 year history of disordered eating = a really firecracker combination of restricting/bingeing/restricting.

Throw in my weekly workout and teaching schedule?  Forgetabouuuuudit.

But when my (very trusted and absurdly adorable) nutritionist, Dori Friedberg of Healing Thru Food, recommended it to help jumpstart some healing for my skin and gut, I agreed to try it.

The first couple days of pre-cleanse (just smoothies, salads, fruits, veggies) did not bode well.  I sent her a frantic email on the day before I started juicing full time.  It went something like “AM ALREADY STARVING! PLS SEND TORTILLA CHIPS IN BULK.”

The response was very calm: “You’ve got this. Don’t let yourself get hungry.  Drink TONS of juice.”

I was completely surprised, that she was right. I drank 16 oz of mostly vegetable juice every 3 hours or so and felt *amazing.*  I wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t have cravings until toward the end of day 3 when I knew solid food was in sight, and I was mostly craving the experience of chewing fresh fruits and veggies.

The most remarkable results of the cleanse were completely unrelated to the (mostly temporary) weight loss I experienced.

My thoughts and processes felt clear and unhindered.

My blood sugar was pretty consistent because I was drinking juice so often, and there was no sugar/gluten/dairy/bleh anything to gum up the works. I was *insanely* productive!!

The following week proved to be quite trying on a personal and professional front, and as I stuck with a “solid food cleanse” nutrition plan, I found myself able to experience and process my emotions in a really amazing way.  When the body is clear and clean, it acts as a beautiful conduit.

I could simply enjoy what I was consuming without worry or planning ahead.

I tend to be a planner when it comes to food.  Because my schedule is so wacky and I can’t afford to eat at the Co-Op every time I gets snack, I have to pack food, plan for blood sugar lows and ensure that I have enough calories to get me through 8 hours of teaching some days. On the juice fast?  I only had to make sure I had a cooler and some juice.

I was never thinking ‘Hm. I wonder what I’ll have for dessert?  When is dinner again?  Should I eat more in case I’m hungry later?’ I just enjoyed what I was drinking and knew my next juice would be ready when I needed it.  What a blessing to live in a present, abundance mindset!

Sugar cravings subsided.

I freakin’ love sugar.  Plain and simple.  And while I’ve been *drastically* reducing my processed sugar intake (like…none) because it makes me feel sh*$^& about 12.2 min after I eat it, going more than a week without processed sugar was both enlightening and exciting.  A date with almond butter was MORE than enough of a treat after drinking kale lemonade for 3 days  :)

I learned – once again – that I’m capable of more than I think.

They say we’ll keep getting a lesson over and over until we learn it.  And whether it’s my SFG prep, moving across the country or juice fasting for 3 days, the lesson has recently seemed to be:  You are capable, strong and sufficient in this moment.  

Even in my recovery, food and dieting have been a crutch.  They are means to distract myself from unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions by either eating or thinking about eating or dieting or thinking about dieting.  Because this fast was a reset button with the intention of healing, it was a chance to practice caring for myself without those crutches.  And it worked  :)

Will I do it again?

My plan is to do a 3-5 day juice cleanse 2 times/year or so.  My skin was a little dry from lack of fat and we – obviously – can’t live on juice especially when training.  There’s something, though, about a straight shot of vitamins and enzymes to the brain!   After going back on solid food, I found myself kind of missing the simplicity and the clarity of the previous week.

What am I doing now?

Definitely juicing.  I love the afternoon boost of greens!  I typically make two or three 16 oz juices at a time and drink them over the course of two days.  (It’s not ideal, but I hate cleaning my juicer.)

Eating pretty vegan and pretty “clean.”  No meat, litte-to-no dairy, sugar or gluten (cards on the table: this weekend was sort of an exception on the dairy/gluten/sugar front and I feel like a$$.)  I LIKE eating plant-based and I really LIKE how I feel when my system is free of the stuff that seems to slow me down.  This is in NO way a diet and I’m leaving myself plenty of wiggle room, so it doesn’t feel restrictive at all!  Mostly liberating, really.

Remembering that food is a blessing, that I have an abundance of healthy meals and options and there is no need to ‘eat defensively’ in case I’m hungry later (#packsnacks.)

***

Share your juicing experiences, questions, comments, complaints and general existential experiences in the comments!!!

Strong First 2014

StrongFirst Instructor

From April 25-27th of 2014, I joined 200 family members in Chicago to renew my StrongFirst Girya (SFG) certification. It was an reminder of the power of less, of my strength and its potential to effect those around me, and the intensity of a group of people united by their belief in something universal.

In 2012, I completed my first RKC in a very acute state of fear and sleep deprivation. Training for that cert had consisted of 60-90 min of swinging, up to 45 min of snatching, PLUS  the Rite Of Passage press program when I could squeeze a few ladders in on my “rest” days. I was exhausted, terrified of failure and unaware of my own physical strength or mental toughness. Thanks to my team leader and assistants, I walked out of the Grad Workout feeling more proud of myself than I think I ever had. Not only had I survived — but I had passed my snatch test in 4:30, nailed all my technique tests without a hitch and been recommended as an assistant.

This time around?  I passed with flying colors and was barely winded as I completed my snatch test.  I got nearly 8 hours of sleep every night.  I spent my “off” time reading and taking power naps.  I felt grounded and empowered every step of the way and I learned even more about myself, how to train myself and how to lead my clients.  So what was different?

I learned to Slow Down.  I trained hard for this round … for about a month.  For about 5 weeks, I followed Brett Jones’ Level 1 certification training program 5 days/week at double 16 kg after the 1st week. By week 6 I was burned out, cranky, and ready to quit.

For the next 6 weeks, after a coaching session with this AMAZING dude, I trained focused and strong…but NOT so hard.  I lifted 4 days/week and only 2 days heavy. I took almost a week off to focus on stability when an unrelated back spasm sidelined me. I skipped the snatch workouts (which give me migraines) in favor of swinging a 24 kg with one hand. I trained solid and slow, and there was always something left in the tank at the end of a set or a workout.  Hey.  You know that “less = more” thing?  It’s true.

  • Mon: Double Clean and Press / Clean and Squat Ladders (3)
  • Tue: TGU + Snatch Prep — Heavy Swings
  • Thu: Double Clean and Press / Clean and Squat Ladders (5)
  • Fri or Sat: TGU + Snatch Prep — REALLY Heavy Swings

In addition to being MORE than ready for the cert — I fell in love all over again with the StrongFirst system. The simple beauty of picking up something heavy.  Putting it down. Doing it again.

I re-discovered a commitment to Excellence. Early on, I caught myself with a pissy attitude because I was being asked to perform lifts to certain specifications with no adaptations or adjustments for my body.  I’m used to a style of yoga where everything is a yoga pose and “correct” depends on you. It’s demanding, but it’s fluid. Gimme my options or gimme child’s pose!

Alternatively: Hardstyle is Hardstyle is Hardstyle and there is an iron-clad (pun intended) protocol for each lift.  My first response to this was anger.  I was frustrated that someone was not making accommodations for me, and that I was being held to a firm line.  Then it dawned on me: “Oh yeah. That’s life. $&%!”  A standard of excellence exists.  And I want to meet that standard.

I’ve spent the past 3 years or so attempting to balance my Type A driven personality, slowly drifting into a mindset of “all is now.  all is good. world peace.” which is valuable.  But the weekend at the SFG helped me notice that the pendulum had swung a bit too far in that direction, and that a sense of yes. no. black. white. correct. incorrect. is also a very valuable thing.

I re-learned Strength.

l don’t believe that strength = brute force.  In my experience, strength is CHECKING IN, addressing what arises AND MOVING FORWARD intelligently.

  • Meeting the thought “I can’t” with curiosity
  • Noticing without attachment the thought “this shouldn’t be so hard”
  • Addressing resistance as it comes and STILL COMPLETING THE LIFT with integrity

When I approached strength with the willingness to look inward and STILL MOVE FORWARD, my body surprised me.  “Holy DAMN. Did I really just do that?” was a regularly occurring thought over the long days.

I found an untapped well of strength in quiet confidence in my ability to walk the line between “ignore the thoughts” and “give in to the doubt.” I KNEW I could finish this weekend with grace and integrity.  I KNEW that I could own the snatch test.  And because I had that tucked away — I found all kinds of space for compassion and energy for those around me.  Even the people I never spoke to, I had a connection with that wasn’t possible when I was wrapped up in “I’m afraid I’ll fail.”

I remembered the power of FAMILY.  The first day I ran into several men that were at my first RKC in San Jose.  We had no other connection but there was a bond: “We’ve been through this together.”  I got to eat lunch with Sergio, a kettlebell brother and the man who adopted many of my San Jose clients when I moved.  I got to cheer on women who were shaking the first day (that first arm hang is *intimidating*!) …and cheer them on again when they nailed their snatch tests. My training partner for the weekend was a ROCK and my roommate is a sister.  All because we believe in the same value: Strength First. All else will follow.

There is nothing like the power of 200 voices in unison stating with complete certainty that they are “SFG” or the energy of 200 bodies generating the power of the Hardstyle Swing.

I decided to re-certify at Level 1 in Chicago instead of continuing on to Level 2 because the move and several family emergencies this year kept me from training the way I wanted to. I thought “No worries.  It’ll be there in 2 years.”

But I cannot stop here.  Not knowing the raw power of my strength coupled with a call to excellence…especially when its wrapped in grace and compassion.  See you all at SFG II… I’m coming for you, Philly.

 

Why YOU Should Feel Good

bodyfeelgood

Even as I continue to see the body love movement grow in the fitness field, I am reminded daily that this is still the case.  Women are still counting calories and skipping meals.  Our culture is trapped in the cycle of what they shouldn’t eat and how much they should abuse themselves in the gym this week.  Yoga students come to their mat and are disappointed when they leave feeling like they didn’t just finish a spin class.

When did your body feel its absolute best?  Not its skinniest or your strongest…but most vibrant and alive.  When did you last feel GOOD??  My hope for you is that you can say right NOW.  And if that is not the case — what can you do today to make that happen?

Sometimes that means drinking green juice and going for a run… seeking out a good hug and taking a nap…taking a walk and a juicy yoga class.  With so many ways to feel good, why seek out ways to feel drained and deprived?

Up until a few weeks ago when an amazing coach reminded me of this, I was spending an awful lot of time making sure I felt worked…instead of feeling good.  My gratitude and love goes out to him (if you’re in Seattle, find this guy!) because in my last weeks of SFG re-certification preparation, I feel GOOD.  Strong.  Balanced.  Well rested and vibrant.

SO … what are you going to do TODAY.  RIGHT NOW.  to learn just how good your body is designed to feel?

 

Why I’m Not a “Positive Thinker”

birds“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing. (136-137)”

~ Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

I’m not a member of the positive thinking camp. I certainly don’t recommend wallowing in the depths and depressions, but without space for everything that arises we stifle parts of ourselves that are dear and precious. My darkest hours create beautiful art and prose.

The valleys in my life initiate ascension. My “worst” self gives me the nutrient rich compost in which I am able to grow a garden of awareness and contemplative practice. My teacher offers the invitation to “include and transcend” as we change, a phrase that continues to echo in my mind as I read and re-read this Sutra…

Read the full article here on Elephant Journal!