You seem to have encompassed your workout into a healthy and balanced lifestyle. What motivated you to start and how do you keep a good routine going?In terms of health and weight issues, sometimes, it seems, the very beginning of our lives sets on a course that we would not have chosen, if we had a choice, or even if our parents had a choice: the first years of my life were spent in a refugee camp in Germany following World War II, which meant starvation, no medical care, not even bare essentials. All of that impacted my life, in terms of health and disordered eating for decades, as it did my siblings and all my friends from that era. I struggled with disordered eating from my teenage years, for decades, with the deep-seated fear that, “If I don’t eat it now… all of it…. there won’t be any food tomorrow….’ and, for years, there was no food tomorrow. It has been a long journey toward determined health and fitness and I think the bottom-line advice I would give anyone, struggling with anything, is Never Ever Give Up!!!A few years ago, I returned to my homeland, Latvia, for the first time since being born there and having to flee because of WWII. It was an epiphany for me and that first trip has impacted my life in a powerful and wondrous way now for years. I was on my own; renting an apartment, walking miles daily, learning to adjust to weather issues, re-learning the Latvian language, creating new communities — all very challenging and very wonderful. I have always wanted to travel but circumstances were such that I couldn’t. Finally, in Latvia, I began to satisfy that hunger by taking bus trips all over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Those trips were mostly Senior Expeditions, so very reasonable and now I have been on more than 20 trips all over the Baltic countries and elsewhere, as well as fulfilling my dreams of climbing volcanoes in Iceland, climbing huge mountains in Iceland to view hidden waterfalls, climbing the Giants Causeway in Ireland, and most recently, a long ocean-going ‘raft’ ride in the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal, to view ancient ruins only visible from that wild ride. Absolutely exhilarating! Over the past few years, have conquered fear of flying.. now cannot wait to get on an airplane… fear of heights… no more… and the turbulent rafting trip in Portugal, dealt with my fear of being on turbulent waters, since I never learned to swim! Again, my advice to anyone is: Never, Ever Give Up!!!!You do a lot of traveling and stay on extended trips. Where do you go and how do you stay active while abroad? Share some of your favorite experiences.When choosing where to go, I purposefully look for a excursion which includes physical activity that is challenging – sitting on a bus is not very healthy, so when we arrive at our destination, or stops on the way, it has been absolutely thrilling for me to challenge myself with long hikes through primitive woods in Latvia, hours climbing steep cliffs, exploring islands where one would not be surprised to discover a sleeping dinosaur– non-meat eating, of course… because the setting is so isolated and primitive; hours hiking along boardwalks built over bogs for the purpose of sighting wildflowers, wild orchids in particular, hours walking to an isolated island to hang out with the wild horses who live there…. and my Bucket List is endless: I want to explore Greenland, Gotland, the Faroe Islands, more time climbing near glaciers in Iceland and more challenging sites, where fitness is important to be able to enjoy the setting.Tell me in a few words what “The Third Place” means?All of this is related to working out at the Fremont Health Club, my Third Place: I love books, so am thrilled when a new bookstore opens. When Third Place Books opened in Shoreline some years ago, their philosophy was and still is: we all need a Third Place: In community building, the third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the office (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place. The Fremont Health Club has been that gift to me, in countless ways. Too many of my friends in their 70s, with empty nests, no family close by, isolate themselves and develop unhealthy lifestyles. They need the Fremont Health Club!!!What did you do before you retired?I worked for the House and Senate in the Washington State Legislature, helped run – successful — political campaigns, and still love politics and those of my friends who are still in office or are involved in politics. We have many animated political discussions at the Fremont Health Club, and that adds to the energy and fun of that very important Third Place atmosphere: any point of view is accepted, even if not one’s own.Now that you have the time to do other things, what are some of your favorite activities?In terms of passions in addition to fitness efforts, I love being a Grandma and wish my grandchildren lived closer, so we could have adventures together; love to garden and there, also, fitness is important, as I have to haul huge bags of soil and compost from store to Queen Anne, up many stairs, dump in wheelbarrow and use in my flower beds! All wonderful FUN but not if one does not work out! I saw a sign in a gardening store some years ago that said, “Gardening Is Not For Cowards!” The same is said about aging and many other life challenges: working out at the Fremont Health Club has been such an important part of my determination to be that courageous Grandma who has many more mountains to climb, volcanoes to be awed-by, bogs to cross, wild horses to ride!!!! Thank you, Fremont Health Club, for contributing greatly, endlessly, to my life in a positive way!!!
We notice both of you here a lot. Outside of proximity, is there any reason why you’ve chosen FHC to train?
MEG: We love the feeling of community at the gym. I especially love the fact that people bring their kids and dogs to the gym as they work out, and that FHC is not just open to that but welcomes families, including companion animals. We also appreciate the diversity of the trainers (gender, racial), the variety of classes, and philosophies of health and fitness, as well as the range of ages and personalities so evident on the gym floor and in classes.
TL : From the beginning, we have liked the relaxed and friendly vibe at FHC. It is not a “grunt and groan” kind of place, but a welcoming space that has all kinds of people coming in, from your serious athletes to your middle-aged college professors. It is also nice that the team of trainers are not only really good at what they do, but clearly get along with each other and create a sense of community among them and us mere mortals. The diversity of the trainers and staff (including folks who are from various Indigenous, racial and ethnic groups, and includes women and men) is an important part of what make FHC special.
How does your exercise or training help you with your careers?
MEG: About one year after I had my son, I took on the directorship of an interdisciplinary program at the University of Washington. I had not anticipated the amount of administrative work this entailed, on top of my teaching, research, taking care of my son, and keeping things under control at home. Managing stress became (and continues to be) a high priority, and I quickly realized that working out helped me greatly. But it was not until I started taking Rebecca’s kickboxing classes, and then training with her, that I was really able to start breathing again. Working out, and especially taking cardio and strength classes with Kris Walters and Rebecca, helps me stay focused and better able to juggle work, home, and life.
TL: There is no question that I think better with exercise. Not only does it clear the cobwebs, but it also helps give me a place to work some stress out and also just feel better. I don’t go to the gym as much as ME does (she is hard to keep up with!), but regular work outs usually mean that I am happier and more productive.
Tony-you train with Manny a lot. Hearing you two work and have fun is one of my favorite things about working here. Why do you choose to train with him as opposed to some other method?
What can I say about Manny Dunham? He is an amazing teacher (says the middle-aged college professor)!
I have always been interested in boxing and followed it as a fan, but never had the chance to actually learn the finer, technical parts of the sport. Working with Manny has been fantastic. The guy is obviously incredibly talented, but he is also very smart and funny. Manny pushes me hard physically, way harder than I could push myself, but he has also helped me see just how much boxers need to use their brains. There is much about boxing that is counter-intuitive and thus takes some re-wiring upstairs in the head. Getting a combination right entails not only the order of the punches, but also an awareness of your body, a sweaty understanding of physics, and also an ability to laugh (as Manny will be making jokes during most of the session, especially when you are doing ab work, because that is when laughing hurts the most. The man is devious).
Working with Manny is fantastic. It has been the best part of working out at FHC.
MariaElena, You’re one of our most consistent students in class. You also take a variety of classes. What’s your philosophy about variety.
Until taking Rebecca’s kickboxing class almost 2 years ago, I much preferred working out on my own. But taking that class, I noticed that I pushed myself harder; I learned new things, and I felt accountable to the instructor and my fellow students. That motivated me, and with Rebecca’s encouragement, I began to branch out and try out different classes. Given the wonderful range of classes available at FHC, I now try to attend a variety of classes each week, combining cardio, strength, core, and stretching/lengthening. Attending such a mix of classes, and working with different instructors, has helped me think more holistically about my fitness, as well as allowing me the opportunity to learn new exercises in a challenging but supportive environment. I am also able to apply this to my own workouts, incorporating new techniques that help me push myself continuously.
Outside of FHC, where do you spend your free time?
MEG: There is such little free time! But we try to take family vacations whenever possible (San Diego is our son’s favorite destination), and spend time with friends. I love cooking and eating, so we try to have friends over regularly to share food, drink, and laughter. We also love going out to the many amazing restaurants this city has to offer, and taking Toñito to various museums, Seattle Children’s Theater and the Seattle Symphony. Now that the weather is getting nicer, we will spend many afternoons and weekends with our son in parks or out in our backyard.
TL: What is this “free time” you talk about? Actually, our little man has given us back the weekend, since he calls the shots when he is not in school. So on Saturday and Sunday, we are at some of the amazing museums in town (Burke, Mo Pop, Pacific Science Center, SAM and especially the Olympic Sculpture Park. Our son has also just gotten old enough to enjoy the movie theater, so we have seen every children’s movie that has come out in the last year. Power Rangers, I have to admit, was kind of awesome.
Is it important that you instill in your son your own dedication to fitness, or do you lead by example.
MEG: We try to live an active life, so we do make it a point to go out for walks or play in the park with our son as much as we can. We also find it important for him to see us taking the time to go to the gym or go for a run. For him, exercising is simply part of what we do each day, and something we clearly enjoy. This last part is important; whatever he does, we want him to have fun. One of his favorite things is to pick me up from a class at the gym, and to punch the heavy bag with Tony as they wait for me to finish.
TL: One of the advice parents get is that play is a kid’s job right now. For most kids, and Toñito for sure, play means running, jumping and pouncing. We definitely try to encourage him to do that a lot and especially be outside, but the truth is that we are just letting our kid be a kid. Chasing him around actually keeps us in shape!
Since I’ve been here at Fremont, the compliments and comments Katelyn Page has received have been plentiful. “She’s so creative” “She’s is so inclusive” are among some of the things I’ve heard. We finally have a moment and are able to get some comments from Katelyn herself. So, without much more ado, a few words from Katelyn:
So, it’s March and that means it’s the time when our hopes & goals from the new year start to maybe wane a bit and the day-to-day world kicks in. The endless rainy days, the not quite warm enough temps… Before we know it, the daily grind of getting through the last of Winter and into Spring leaves all those wakeup.kickass.repeat goals in the dust. But here is why this year is going to be different:
-Because you aren’t working out because you hate something about yourself.
-Because it’s not about the jiggle or the “extra” that you’ve convinced yourself you need to get rid of in order to be “happy”.
-Because this year, you are going to “Wakeup. Sweat. Run. Bike. Lift. Flex. Stretch. Dance. Move. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.” because, wait for it… … …
Because YOU LOVE YOUR BODY.
We will do all of those things for our healthy, strong selves that can take-on anything.
We will do them in order to wake up the next morning ready to tackle yet another day of life hitting at us.
The stronger our bodies, the stronger ourselves!
If you have taken a class with me, you probably can repeat my mind-body blah blah blah by heart as I talk a lot about connecting breath to movement, creating resistance in your body using your brain, using visuals to connect posture and form to an exercise, etc. But there is a reason I say it over & over!
This year, I’m challenging myself to use this same technique outside of the gym/studio. To connect breath to movement when my brain starts to slam my body. And resist the habit to use words of weakness and failure when talking about myself – refusing to let my mind bully my body. I will stand tall and graceful when I get stuck on a “flaw” in the mirror and instead I will recognize the power my body provides me.
So many of my students are working out with specific goals in mind: weddings, bikinis, lift goals, summer activities, etc. — just remember to respect and revere the body that allows you to work so hard. Do not slam it or talk down to it. Love it! Love it so much that you feel weak in the knees just thinking about it.
Then maybe, just maybe, those goals won’t be quite so difficult. Eating smart energy-fueled foods will be easier because you are loving & respecting your body by providing it nutrients. Stretching and foam rolling won’t be a chore you forget to add to your workout because you revere your body and support its need to recover. And the dreaded bursts of cardio in Tabata or HIIT will become your way of giving oxygen and power to your body, to tests it limits and challenge your body in a way that it deserves and desires. I (and YOU!) will embody our goals as a show of respect and not because of insecurity or hate.
In class, when I repeat cues and modifications, it is often because I need to hear them as a reminder as much as some students do. This lesson is no different. Repeat after me: “I am here sweating and working hard because I freaking love myself.”
As a burlesque performer, I am ridiculously proud of the community of different bodies that create art on a stage where you get to embrace every “flaw” as a perfection and treat the audience to that all-too-rare display of body/self-love. But as a fitness instructor, am I discouraging acceptance and instead helping my students to “change” or “correct” something about themselves they see as a weakness? And is this wrong?
For a long time these two worlds have always felt disconnected. But lately I have realized I am not helping you correct anything. I am helping you love and respect your body through safe and strengthening movement. Exactly the same thing I do as a performer and choreographer.
My work is to help myself and my students connect their brain and their bodies. To understand that accepting and loving your body doesn’t mean not wanting to challenge and change it in a healthy way that makes you happy. To discern that your definition of radiance isn’t necessarily mine nor the person next to you and that is awesome because then we all get to be unique and amazingly different. And my work is to support your decisions and determinations while driving you to see graceful strength in the mirror instead of the warped image society has dictated you to see.
I’ve been teaching for over five years now and in the past, I worked at several studios under the name “The Gracious Body”. It is time to reconnect to that brand by showing kindness to my body and being grateful for my strength. (And maybe even remembering to use this blog as a tool of connectivity.)
So there it is. Our goal together. This day and everyday after…
Get to the gym because our bodies deserve a reward for all the good they do.
Work hard when it feels right. Be kind when you need it most.
Say thank you with sweat.
I promise, it will thank you back.
I have spent the last fourteen years working professionally in the health and fitness industry. As a trainer and strength coach, a health and wellness coach, a hypnotherapist/life coach, and a corporate wellness program director, I can say that I have come in to contact with many different people with many different goals, and there is one question that almost every one of those people have in common:
Why do I not always act in ways consistent with my goals?
Of course, I experience this first hand as well. Even though I am a long time athlete and work in the health and fitness industry, it doesn’t change the fact that we are all fellow humans, dealing with the same psychological issues.
So, why do we fall short of our goals so often? There are many different aspects to address when attempting to answer that question; way more than I can write about here. But I would like to touch on just a few of them to see if maybe you can identify where you might be getting stuck.
To begin with, understand that it is common for most people to immediately look for an external cause to the problem; I need a better/harder routine, I need a different diet plan, I need more money, more time, more energy, fewer distractions, a nicer gym, better shoes, cheese and chocolate and wine need to be less delicious, etc… While some of these may be legitimate reasons (I mean, chocolate is delicious, after all), you will have much more success if you first look at your own behaviors.
Don’t believe me? Here is a simple example to show you that the “sticking spot” isn’t always “out there”:
How many of you know that you should eat more vegetables and drink more water? (You don’t have to raise your hands. First off, I can’t see them. And secondly, when you talk to enough people about this, you realize that most of them have their hands in the air.) Ok, now, how many of you DO eat more vegetables and drink more water? I am guessing that there aren’t as many hands in the air, right? Why is that? You already know the information, and you know what you should be doing. Hearing more and more experts tell you that you need to eat more vegetables and drink more water probably isn’t going to finally get you to do it, either.
But that’s what most of us do. We keep seeking out different/better sources, presumably waiting for that one special source that is finally going to magically stick and lead us to the promise land of a healthy and happy life. Except that we usually never find it, and we keep spinning in our old familiar cycle.
So where do we get stuck when it comes to following through on our health and fitness goals?
First, most of us tend to rely too much upon the feeling of motivation. Feeling motivated is an awesome experience. It is a mixture of joy and hope and determination. It makes you want to jump up and say “Yes!! Let’s go do this!!” (and then start punching and kicking the air).
Unfortunately, human feelings and emotions are fickle. They come and go like those patches of blue sky and sunshine on a rainy Seattle day. If we only acted in accordance to our goals when the sun was out, we would certainly never reach our destination. Goals are reached through consistent, sometimes boringly repetitive, action, regardless of how you are feeling.
The cumulative effect of those actions, however large or small, is what brings us closer to our goals, whether it is creating the routine of healthy eating, building muscle strength and size, or losing weight. Relying upon the feeling of motivation just isn’t enough. You have to determine the path to your goal and then commit to the action that it will take to get you there.
How do you get through those tough times and continue to act in ways consistent with your goals when you aren’t feeling motivated? That brings us to our second reason: your WHY.
Determining your WHY might be one of the most important things you can do when setting your goals. The strength of your WHY is what carries you through those hard moments, when you don’t feel like doing the right thing.
“I want to be healthier” is not a very strong WHY when you are tired and hungry, haven’t done your workout yet, and there is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s finest in the freezer. However, “I want to look good in my wedding dress, which I will be wearing in front of 150 people,” well, that might just give you the incentive you need to put in the necessary work. Or, if I tell you, “Do 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 times a week because it will improve your health,” you might get a few days in here and there. But If I tell you “Do 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 times a week because your labs are so bad right now that if you don’t do that amount of exercise you might die of a heart attack in the next 5 years,” I am guessing you might get six or seven days a week in.
Big difference, right? The point is, the more real and palpable meaning there is to your goals, the more likely it is to carry you through those days when you just don’t want to make the best choices.
The third reason that I will mention here is the “deeper conflict.” In this case, you have established a meaningful WHY to your goal, you understand that you can’t rely upon the feeling of motivation and have committed to an action plan…and yet…you keep acting in ways that take you further away from your goal instead of closer to it.
There are many things that can be explored when this happens, but oftentimes I have found that there is a deeper, potentially unconscious, goal operating underneath it all. It might be better explained by an example:
Imagine someone who seems to have a pretty decent WHY, and they are very diligent about keeping up with their workouts, but more often than not they participate in self-sabotaging behaviors, perhaps when it comes to eating. When questioned about it, they may even be perplexed about why they did what they did (and they might even say something like, “Well, part of me wanted to act in one way, but another part of me wanted to act in a different way.)
Usually, this signifies that the behavior that is not in alignment with the stated goal is satisfying a different goal. One possibility might be that the person has an issue with control. Perhaps they had a parent who was really controlling, and now they have a deep resentment around being told what to do. Even though they are being truthful about their stated goal, the deeper program that is running underneath it all is that when they are told how they should eat, they unconsciously rebel against it. The end result is an ongoing cycle of self-sabotage, and only by becoming conscious of the issue can they end the pattern.
Of course, this is just one of many possible explanations, and the three reasons I listed here are just a small sample of the types of things that can get in the way of achieving our goals.
If you need some assistance in this area, I offer training and coaching services in the Seattle area and to all members of the Fremont Health Club. Feel free to reach out to me to see how I might be able to assist you in reaching your goals.
Whether you work with me, with one of the other trainers at FHC, or go it on your own, I encourage you to take that first step. Ask yourself:
What can I do today that my future self will thank me for?
You will be happy that you did!
Free Rein Athletics
Who wants to #pound ? Pound is the most fun, creative and intense workout to come to Seattle in a long time. There’s still availability for our Tuesday FEB 7th class @7. Let’s make it a regular class by signing up for the Pound workout now. No gear or tools needed, we will have that all for you. We just need you, your desire to have fun and your sweat.
5 minute plank!? Ah! Okay, it’s not so drastic or bad! We have split that 5 minutes up among 3 different types of planks, and a boat hold.
Everyday for the month of March, we challenge you to accomplish these 4 planks.
- a regular plank for one minute
- two side planks (one on each side), each side for one minute
- a back plank for one minute
- a boat hold for one minute
Can you dedicate 5 minutes to fitness everyday this month? Don’t feel like you have to do a full minute at a time…take it in strides (20-30 seconds at a time…adding up to a full minute). Perhaps by the end of the month, your 5 minutes of planks will seem like a breeze. We have faith in you!
Have fun & Be Active!
Your friends from Build it for Life