POWerful Outdoor Women's Series- Zofia Reych

POW!
POWerful Outdoor Women's Series

“If and when you encounter sexism, call it out. Some people won’t like you for it, but you’re likely to like yourself better.” - Zofia Reych

A word on women: For too long we’ve been expected to be silent - to watch and be told how to act. But we want to do. We want to see. We want to be loud! Our desire to explore has finally overcome our desire not to be sidelined. At POINT Gym and Kitchen we encourage women to stop the cycle of self-doubt, to take risks, to fall and get back up… to take up space. Without role models that have come before us, venturing into new territory can be intimidating. It is with great excitement that we bring you our POW (Powerful Outdoor Women) Series. Over the next few months we will feature women in the outdoors who are taking chances, being bold, and blazing paths to show the world we are strong, we are mighty, and we are POWerful! 

-Coaches KB and Mel

Meet POWerful Outdoor Woman Zofia Reych:

Photo by andyday.com / @kiellgram 

Photo by andyday.com / @kiellgram 

Zofia is a very special guest on this project; not only is she a big part of the climbing world itself, she also wrote her MA thesis on climbing women and the media. She truly embodies what it means to be a POW by working to empower the women within her community.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself:

A: I’m a trained anthropologist and I work freelance as a writer and an online marketer. Freelancing allows me to travel and work on the road, so it’s the perfect arrangement for me. At the moment I’m in Bulgaria. I just came back from France, where I spent two months and next month I’m heading to RSA for a month and then to Poland. It can sometimes get a little complicated, especially that I have a little dog, but between myself and my partner Andy we somehow make it happen.

Q: What is your sport or job of choice in the outdoors (1-3 different ones)?

A: I’m into rock climbing, mostly bouldering, but every now and then I like to dabble in other types of climbing. If I had it my way, I would train and climb almost full-time and then spend my evenings writing a bestselling novel. That’s the dream but I’m not going to be massively upset if it never happens. I’m pretty content with things as they are now. And I haven't yet started writing the novel ;)

Q: How did you learn about/crack into this activity?

A: When I was a kid my mum used to take me to hike and scramble in the Polish mountains. One day I saw people heading toward sheer, granite faces with ropes and all sorts of rattling gear and I wanted to know what they were up to. As soon as I turned 16, which used to be a legal requirement, I enrolled in a climbing course with the goal to become a mountaineer. Ironically, got sucked in with bouldering, which is the vary opposite of climbing high mountains.

Q: What have been your greatest challenges to move up or continue with the sport?

A: First it were my injuries. For years I was struggling with bad shoulders but I think it’s all in the past now. Although you never know for sure.

In addition, when I first started climbing in Poland, I wasn’t too fond of the community. It was the first time in my life that I really experienced sexism, although it was only years after that I realised that’s what it was.

Another thing was what the society perceives as normal, or a desirable lifestyle. You know, the general perception of what success is, etc. I thought I wanted a dynamic career in a PR agency, or something like that. I was studying for my Masters and working part time for a London based agency, and I nearly got stuck in with the corporate life. Then I realised how slowly people were climbing up the corporate ladder and it just seemed like a massive waste of time.

I traded stability for having a little bit more fun in life, but there certainly was that moment when it could have gone either way.

Q: What made you stick with it?

A: I guess it wasn’t me that stuck with it but the other way. It stuck with me. I just couldn't shake it off.

Q: What advice would you give to another women struggling to start or to find her place in a male dominated arena?

A: You need a little bit of that “f*ck it” attitude. Don’t be afraid to ask loudly for what you need and want. I think a lot of women just try to be nice way too much. If and when you encounter sexism, call it out. Some people won’t like you for it, but you’re likely to like yourself better. And you’ll find the people that are really worth spending time with that way.

It's also important to recognise that plenty of those worthwhile people aren't female. There's no point in creating a new divide between genders, that's the very opposite of what we as a society need.

Q: Who have been your inspirations in the outdoor world?

A: Definitely my mum, because she just has this pure, simple love for the mountains, even though she doesn’t climb. She’s a confident scrambler and a skier though, and it’s pretty amazing that she was doing both as a single mother with a toddler in tow!

Lynn Hill and Mayan Smith-Gobat. They both climb huge things, like El Capitan in Yosemite or crazy walls in Patagonia. Maybe it’s an indication that later in life I will get into climbing big walls, but now it’s completely unimaginable. Hill is a legend and both her and Smith-Gobat just seem like very badass individuals, focused on their goals. I look up to that kind of attitude.

And then I’m massively inspired by Alex Puccio. It’s a bit weird cause she’s my contemporary and younger than me, but she’s the strongest climbing athlete I know of, and I’m just inspired by the simplicity of it. She also shares a lot of her training on social media, so it’s clear that she wasn’t just born with guns, she had to work for everything. Even though I started training for climbing very late in life, it makes me feel that if I work hard, there are still huge gains to be made.

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PLEASE READ this article written by Zofia entitled “The Problem of Female Athletes” posted by the Outdoor Women’s Alliance - http://www.outdoorwomensalliance.com/female-athletes-in-media/

You can keep up with Zofia on her blog Up That Rock and Twitter. She also runs a Facebook page celebrating women in climbing.

POWerful Outdoor Women's Series - Julie Angel

POW!
POWerful Outdoor Women Series

“Every training day and experience is different because it gives me a snapshot of where I’m at. Some days strong, others tired or timid; it’s a mixed bag so there’s always something new to explore.” - Julie Angel

A word on women: For too long we’ve been expected to be silent - to watch and be told how to act. But we want to do. We want to see. We want to be loud! Our desire to explore has finally overcome our desire not to be sidelined. At POINT Gym and Kitchen we encourage women to stop the cycle of self-doubt, to take risks, to fall and get back up… to take up space. Without role models that have come before us, venturing into new territory can be intimidating. It is with great excitement that we bring you our POW (Powerful Outdoor Women) Series. Over the next few months we will feature women in the outdoors who are taking chances, being bold, and blazing paths to show the world we are strong, we are mighty, and we are POWerful!

- Coaches KB and Mel 

Our featured POWerful Outdoor Woman is parkour extraordinaire Julie Angel!

Photo by Andy Day 

Photo by Andy Day 

Creator of the Strong Body Strong Mind online course, Filmmaker, photographer, author of “Breaking the Jump,”  movement coach, and owner of the world’s first Parkour themed Ph.D.

Q: What is your sport or job of choice in the outdoors?

A: Parkour & Movement Trainer, filmmaker, photographer

Q: How did you learn about/crack into this activity?

A. Doing a Practice based visual anthropology PhD in London about unregulated physical and creative practices.

Q: What have been your greatest challenges to move up or continue with the sport?

A: Parkour and natural movement are part of a long-term mindset to move and be active so no problems with continuing to learn and move.

Q: What made you stick with it?

A: Every training day and experience is different because it gives me a snapshot of where I’m at. Some days strong, others tired or timid; it’s a mixed bag so there’s always something new to explore.

Q: What advice would you give to another women struggling to start or to find her place in a male dominated arena?

A: Find a space, place, or person that you feel good to train or learn with and from. Connecting with positive people or groups makes all the difference.

Q: Who have been your inspirations in the outdoor world?

A: My friends who I see share their passions non-competitively and continue to participate and find joy within what they are doing.

 

Check out Julie's site http://www.see-do.com/ and see videos, blogs, and more to get you ready to take a jump where others typically walk. 

POWerful Outdoor Women's Series - Anna Frost

POW!

“It isn’t about the sport being male dominated. It is about our own confidence to give something a go.”

- Anna Frost

A word on women: For too long we’ve been expected to be silent - to watch and be told how to act. But we want to do. We want to see. We want to be loud! Our desire to explore has finally overcome our desire not to be sidelined. At POINT Gym and Kitchen we encourage women to stop the cycle of self-doubt, to take risks, to fall and get back up… to take up space. Without role models that have come before us, venturing into new territory can be intimidating. It is with great excitement that we bring you our POW (Powerful Outdoor Women) Series. Over the next few months we will feature women in the outdoors who are taking chances, being bold, and blazing paths to show the world we are strong, we are mighty, and we are POWerful!          

- Coaches KB and Mel

Meet POWerful Outdoor Woman Anna Frost, aka “Frosty."

anna frost .jpg

Anna Frost is a Salomon sponsored ultra-running champion from New Zealand and all around inspiring person with or without her running shoes on. Recently, she won the 2016 Hardrock 100-mile mountain race for the second consecutive year - a race through the San Juan mountains in a time of 29 hours at 14,000ft. Whoa.

Even more than her long list of accomplishments, what makes Anna so special and such an obvious POWerful woman in our eyes is her awareness that what you do does not determine who you are and her belief that the reasons you pursue sport and adventure or any other passions should be for the love you have for them. 

Check out this video posted by Salomon Running detailing Anna's love, struggles, and realizations about running. Be inspired by her words and reflect on your own purpose behind what you choose to do.

Q: What is your sport or job of choice in the outdoors?

A: Runner, jewelry maker, yoga/strength conditioning teacher

Q: How did you learn about/crack into this activity?

A. I grew up in NZ in a very active lifestyle: camping, hiking, fishing, play sports from field hockey to rowing, triathlon and running. I found mountain running and fell in love with the mountains, the travel, the culture and the people involved.

Q: What have been your greatest challenges to move up in or continue with the sport?

A: The constant travel has been challenging and there are always injuries that get in the way, but because I am so passionate about running it is easy to overcome these challenges.

Q: What made you stick with it?

A: The love for it! It has to come from your heart

Q: What advice would you give to another women struggling to start or to find her place in a male dominated arena?

A:  it isn't about the sport being male dominated. It is about our own confidence to give something a go.

Q: Who have been your inspirations in the outdoor world?

A: Anyone that does what they love in the outdoors is an inspiration to me.

A closing fun fact about Anna is that there is a children's book written about her; "Fearless Frosty: The Mighty Story of Mountain Runner Anna Frost."

From the Inside Flap

"Fearless Frosty tells the tale of New Zealander Anna Frost and how she chased her dream to become a professional mountain runner. "Whatever it is, go after it. Find the thing that makes you fly! Because one thing is for certain: You'll never know unless you try." SisuGirls is a global movement encouraging girls to step into themselves through sport and adventure. Sisu is a Finnish term for determination, bravery and resilience. We want all girls to have the self-belief and conviction to try new things, the tenacity to endure, and the bravery to push boundaries. We want girls to discover the outdoors, adventure and sports. Not always to compete, but to be involved, be active and most importantly to learn about themselves and others. We want girls to develop strong foundations of confidence, so they have the self-belief to follow their dreams, with sisu. Fearless Frosty is the first book in our collection of stories about fearless females."

About the Author

Chloe Chick is the founder of SisuGirls, co-founder of Peaks Foundation and contributing founder of No Barriers Women. She is passionate about inspiring sisu in women and girls.

 

Thank you, Anna! 

POWerful Outdoor Women Series - Emily Johnston

POW!

“I fell in a crevasse, got pulled out, and remember thinking how cool that was. I was hooked!”
- Emily Johnston

A word on women: For too long we’ve been expected to be silent - to watch and be told how to act. But we want to do. We want to see. We want to be loud! Our desire to explore has finally overcome our desire not to be sidelined. At POINT Gym and Kitchen we encourage women to stop the cycle of self-doubt, to take risks, to fall and get back up… to take up space. Without role models that have come before us, venturing into new territory can be intimidating. It is with great excitement that we bring you our POW (Powerful Outdoor Women) Series. Over the next few months we will feature women in the outdoors who are taking chances, being bold, and blazing paths to show the world we are strong, we are mighty, and we are POWerful!

- Coaches KB and Mel
 

Meet POWerful Outdoor Woman Emily Johnston.

Q: What is your sport or job of choice in the outdoors?

A: Mountain guide, whitewater guide, ski patroller

Q: How did you learn about/crack into this activity?

A. Mountaineering. I learned mountaineering and rock climbing at a summer camp when I was 12. I got to learn how to use an ice axe, crampons, ropes, etc to climb Glacier Peak in Washington. I fell in a crevasse, got pulled out, and remember thinking how cool that was. I was hooked! I found a small group of friends in high school who were climbers as well, and we went on wild, unsupervised adventures in the North Cascades. In retrospect, it’s amazing that we survived. We brought along a couple of climbing books and were literally reading about knots and rope systems while we were climbing. When I was 26, I got a job working as a guide on Mt. Rainier and it’s just continued from there . . . *Emily now is a Guide on Mt. Everest as of 2015. 

Whitewater guide - I saw a random ad for whitewater guide training on the back page of the Seattle Weekly. I signed up, and trained with Orion Expeditions in Washington, and loved it. I’ve since run rivers/guided in the US, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Turkey, Indonesia, and Peru.

Ski Patroller - I got hired to be a ski patroller at Crystal Mountain, WA when I was 24. I loved all aspects of the job: avalanche control work, first aid, maintenance, and skiing! I realized that I had discovered my tribe and have now have patrolled for almost 30 years.

Q: What have been your greatest challenges to move up or continue with the sport? What made you stick with it?

A: Being female, and small, has definitely been a challenge in mountain guiding. I was one of the first few women to work as a guide on Mt. Rainier, and the culture was definitely testosterone-laden.  Honestly, once the male guides got to know me, and saw that I could do the job, they were great to work with. It’s the clients that tend to be more difficult about it now.

I stuck with it because it’s what I love to do, and I know I have the strength and smarts to do a good job!

I was fortunate in whitewater guiding and ski patrolling. Both companies that I work for have a long tradition of gender equality, and have women in leadership roles. It really wasn’t an issue there.

Q: What advice would you give to another women struggling to start or to find her place in a male dominated arena?

A: Do your job well, and don’t worry about what others think. They will come to respect you. Be careful not to expect, or accept, any special treatment because you’re female. Avoid drama like the plague! Be unflappable, and don’t get offended. Just be quietly competent, have a good sense of humor, and it will all work out.

Q: Who have been your inspirations in the outdoor world?

A: Marty Hoey - She was the first female guide on Mt. Rainier. I knew about her, and met her once. When she died on Everest in 1982, I remember thinking that those would be tough shoes to fill, but I had a feeling that I was going to give it try. Seven years later, I started guiding on Mt. Rainier. Thirty Three Years later I guided on Everest. 

My high school cross country coach, Hugh Tower, truly taught me to “transcend pain . . . into sheer agony”. As a climber, you have to be comfortable with suffering . . . in fact, you need to embrace it! He was very inspirational and supportive.






 

Non-Toxic Homecare - Laundry Detergent

By Coach KB

Starting out on a chemical free homecare journey can be daunting. All the pretty blogs say it is so easy and then you feel dumb for being scared to mess it up. Well, I think it is pretty dumb that all of the home “care” companies use toxic chemicals, dyes, and fragrances to trick us into buying expensive products we don’t need and actually do the opposite of “care” for us - Did you know that artificially scented products are one of the main causes of indoor air pollution? NOTHANKYOU!

If you want to dive into a more natural (and budget friendly!) approach to homecare, laundry detergent is the easiest place to start, in my opinion. It’s a bonus that I also think it’s one of the most important since our clothes rub on our skin all day long and the residual chemicals have to go somewhere! Hopefully this post will outline how to fearlessly make your own detergent. If it doesn’t answer all your questions just freaking ask me because I am human and I won’t make fun of you.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED, pictured from left to right (and I swear even though there are 10 things on the list it is not complicated - some items are optional):

  1. A container to store your detergent in once you have made it.

  2. A bar of Dr. Bronners (or similar) pure castile soap, any flavor you want (your clothes won’t actually smell like much of anything after they are washed, anyway, which is exactly how you want it!). Other options could be Fels Naptha or Kirk’s Castile.

  3. A bag of Washing Soda (or Soda Ash). I get mine at the Portland Homestead Supply Co.

  4. Good ol’ fashioned Borax, a traditional laundry booster and general cleaning supply. You can get this at Fred Meyer or probably wherever you get your groceries, honestly.

  5. Baking soda (optional). Mine is a giant bag from Costco but the regular sized box from the grocery store is one pound, which is twice as much you will need for one batch of detergent, which means you will have enough leftovers to bake lots of cookies!

  6. A food processor or a hand-grater if you like to work hard. You could possibly use a blender if you don’t have a food processor but if you are hand-grating your soap I wouldn’t go to the trouble of getting out another contraption. But don’t worry about getting so many dishes dirty… It’s all just soap so you can just rinse it off and put it back - easy peasy!

  7. Essential oil (optional) if you really want to try to scent your laundry (no, you are not crazy - this is not actually pictured above, but it is in the photo below).

  8. A mixing bowl, if using a food processor.

  9. A kitchen scale (totally optional since we all know a cup = 8oz so when I say one pound you can just use two cups).

  10. A dish towel (optional if you are using a food processor).

EASY STEPS TO MAKE LAUNDRY DETERGENT, as pictured:

  1. Dump 1lb or 2C washing soda, 1lb or 2C borax, and optional ½ lb or 1C baking soda into the mixing bowl.

  2. Grate the soap using the grater-disc insert in the food processor. Just push it down like you would any vegetable. If using a hand-grater, grate the soap on the finest grind… like a zest. The smaller the pieces of soap, the more easily they dissolve in water, especially if you don’t wash your clothes in hot water.

  3. If you grate by hand into fine soap pieces, you are basically done - Skip to #4.
    If you used a food processor, dump the grated soap in the bowl with the other “ingredients,” replace the grating blade with the regular blade, pour everything back in, add optional essential oil (20-40 drops), and blend. Stir once to make sure none of the soap got stuck on the bottom (I’ve never actually had this happen but I’m paranoid so I do it every time.)
    PRO-TIP - Cover your food processor with a dish towel while blending. The detergent particles are very fine and float out the top of the processor and billow onto your countertops.

  4. Pour everything into your container (if you hand-grated your soap this is where you would add 20-40 drops of essential oil), shake it up to combine, and VIOLA! Your detergent is ready to use. Two tablespoons per large load is all you need. Turn the water on and add the detergent first to make sure all the particles dissolve. It only takes a little bit of water for this to happen so you can pretty much add your clothes immediately.

OTHER NOTES:

  1. Obviously this only works if your washing machine can use powdered detergent.

  2. If you care, the washing soda and Borax are the primary cleaners; the soap does most of any stain-removing; and baking soda cleans a little but is a good fabric softener.

  3. In this batch my soap was lavender and my essential oil was grapefruit. For soap I’ve also used citrus, almond, and rose varieties. For essential oils I’ve used rosemary, lavender, or none at all.

  4. Consider if your clothes are ever actually dirty enough to warrant a "normal" wash cycle. I almost always wash my clothes on the "light" cycle to save on water and on energy. 

Leave a comment to let me know how it goes or ask any questions you have. I’m so excited to do more posts on non-toxic homecare and take all of you down the rabbit-hole with me!

Real Food = Time + Money

By Coach Mel

When I was a kid I remember my mom saying, “I just hate spending money on food.” Every single time we left the grocery store she would utter these words. “It’s such a waste; you buy it and then it’s gone.”

Hearing anything weekly as a child leaves an impression of some sort. I took with me that food was a waste of money and tried to buy as cheaply as I could once I was responsible for purchasing my own groceries starting in college. While this is not a blog about all the unhealthy things we do to our bodies in college, suffice it to say, I didn’t need to add shitty food to the list.

I believe a lot of things have led to the degeneration of our food and its sources but I think that two things can take credit for 90% of the problem: time and money. We are a culture that has become obsessed with the novelty of hoarding both of those things. We want instant gratification as cheaply as possible with everything. This is admittedly helpful in some arenas (Google is way better than the Dewey Decimal System) but I am certain it is of detriment to our health when related to food.

Humans used to spend their entire day hunting and gathering food only to spend the rest of their days preparing it. It was everything. I am not suggesting we start roaming our streets for squirrels or going into our neighbors’ yards and stealing from their gardens; I realize times have changed and we must adapt. But must we adapt so poorly?

I think about this concept of money as it relates to food now and realize that my mom’s line of thought is definitely in the majority. Why else would dollar menus and 5/$5 frozen pizza specials exist? Well, they exist for two reasons: 1) we don’t want to spend money on food and 2) we don’t want to spend time preparing it.

While it belongs on some sort of inspirational poster or stitched on a pillow I am a firm believer in the idea that “We have time for what is important to us.” Is keeping caught up with a TV show important every week? If so, we watch it. Is hitting happy hour after work important? If so, we do it. Is getting our gym class in important? If so, we go. But food is getting left behind and what we have left is unrecognizable ingredients in large abundance.

A lot of times we are not willing or can not give a lot of both - time and money. As opposed to the entire day people used to spend on their food, now, we spend minutes of our day. I belive we can create more time if we want but I understand that money doesn’t just appear. So if we don’t have much money we need to be willing to carve out even more time. I was on food stamps for the first two years of opening the gym and so while I did not have a lot of money to spend on food (or time for that matter) I made extra time and found the best quality sources for less money or spent time going to three different grocery stores because each had better deals on X,Y and Z. We make what is important to us work. Our health and our families health should be important to us. It just should be.

“You buy it and then it is gone” I am sorry, Linda Sher (mom), I love you but that is simply a terrible thing to teach your child. You buy it and then it goes into your body and it either nourishes it or it depletes it. That, day after day, year after year, leads to health or disease. That, decade after decade leads to a thriving happy life or a life spent going from doctor to doctor taking medication after medication to feel a semblance of health. This sounds dramatic but I believe it to be 100% true. Sure, other things can lead to disease but our food, what we choose to put in our bodies, is what we have control over.

Money and time. How do you want to spend yours? I sometimes cringe at the fact that I could sit on my couch and have my food delivered to me. I would only have to walk from the couch to the door to get a meal. I don’t have to run an animal down, I don't have to gather all day, I don’t have to do anything. While this luxury can be awesome once in awhile, I am sort of embarrassed by how easy, in terms of movement and “food” availability,  our lives in America  have become. Humans would spend all day expending energy trying to catch food to reenergize with.  We can go to a grocery store and fill our carts with calories without expending any more energy than walking. We can even have our groceries delivered because “we have no time” to even shop anymore. But what calories will we fill our carts with or have in the bags delivered to us? Nutrient dense calories or empty ones?

It starts one person at a time. Buy local and organic as much as possible, stop funding the large corporations feeding us “food-like” products. Prepare your meals. If you have kids bring them in on the process... it always tastes better when you’ve (they’ve) cooked it. Pay attention to your body; how do you feel after you’ve eaten a Dorito vs. anything nutrient dense.  Unsure where to start? You’re not alone. Just remember time and money. How do you want to spend yours? You have to give up a little or a lot of both for optimal health but I promise you, it pays off.

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #19

Runner.jpg

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

“If you watch novice runners running, you will see them doing a lot of idiosyncratic things - the way their foot is swinging or their limbs are swinging - but if you watch elite athletes move, you will see much less variation in their movement.”  

-Todd Hargrove, author of A Guide to Better Movement and creator of www.bettermovement.org.

This quote is meant to illustrate that it is often not strength or power that is lacking in our movement; it’s efficiency. Novice movers use a lot of unnecessary muscular tension, from moving an area of their body that is not involved in the particular exercise or grimacing their faces during a difficult exercise. Good movers don’t have a lot of unnecessary movement or tension - they make it look effortless!

This is due to advanced motor control. Motor control is an amazing (and mostly unconscious) feat of our brains that separates us from even the most advanced robots. A robot can be built to be as smart as we are but one has yet to be built that can move as well as we can. It can be deduced that our brain, in large part, is really designed to move us around. Consider that we have so many different muscle groups that are each broken down into different motor units that can contract and relax separately… and that the nervous system dictates which ones to contract and relax and when. It’s an amazingly complex system that requires a ton of information processing and intelligent decision-making.

A skillful mover has trained this system to become very efficient at this decision-making. Consider how effortless it is for you to open a door or pick up a head of lettuce, put it in a produce bag, and place it in your cart. These are complex movements that you have done hundreds (thousands?) of times - so frequently that you don’t even have to think about what you are doing - your unconscious brain has taken charge of those tasks. But think about how hard you have to concentrate when learning a new movement pattern, like skate-skiing or doing a power clean. This goes back to that unnecessary muscular tension. Skillful movers have practiced moving in so many ways that, even if they have never skate-skied or power-cleaned before, they are able to inhibit that unnecessary tension easily, contract and relax the appropriate muscle groups, and learn those activities much faster.

This brings me to this week’s Movement Minute challenge: If you want to be a skillful mover you have to practice. Since we discussed contracting and relaxing different muscle groups the challenge for this week is to spend at least one minute each day going up and down your body and see if you can flex one arm and completely relax the other arm, or scrunch up one set of toes and completely relax the other foot. If you notice that your shoulders or your jaw or another body part also tenses up you need to practice until you can recruit one area without another one.

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 25 of the Liberated Body podcast.




 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #18

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

As many of you know I have lots of WTF thoughts about the way we are led to believe we should live our lives, eat our food, and engage in movement so I was interested to learn more about Gary Ward’s book, What the Foot? Gary is the founder of Anatomy in Motion and believes that changes in the way the body moves and feels can happen in a matter of minutes, so for all you chronic body sufferers out there, there is hope. Gary has a lot to say about stretching (if you’ve been following the MM you won’t be surprised that he hates it) and how he is not a fan of the popular word “neutral” to describe posture (he prefers the word center, as it describes a position we move through and not to) but I have already written a lot about stretching and posture so I will focus on the feet.

A crazy little factoid for you: in a single step when we walk (we’re talking in a span of just 0.6-0.8 seconds for most of us) every single joint in our bodies moves. Every. Single. Joint.... In one single step! And the way the feet strike the ground influences how the rest of the joints above them move so it makes sense to address them first. There are 206 bones in the adult human body and 52 (25%!!!) of them are in our feet. Each foot alone has 33 joints, which means our feet have a lot of ability to move. Unfortunately, we don’t allow our feet to move the way they are designed to. We cram them into shoes of all kinds, put orthotics in our sneakers to prop them up, and just generally don’t move our feet a lot with all the time we spend sitting these days. We know that if we want strong arms and legs we have to move and use our arms and legs. If we want strong feet, and therefore a strong foundation for everything else on top of them, we have to move and use our feet, which brings me to this week’s Movement Minute. This week I have a two-part challenge:

  1. Spend at least a minute each day walking barefoot (in your house or outside), but it has to be walking, not just being barefoot.)

  2. If you want to get crazy, walk for the minute and then interlace your fingers into your toes for 30 seconds or so (this can be intense!) and then wiggle your foot around with your fingers still interlaced for another 30 seconds. Repeat on the other foot and then try walking again and see how different it feels. (Here is a video if you need a visual.)

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 23 of the Liberated Body podcast.

8 Tips to Progress Toward Health

By Coach KB

One of the most powerful things I learned from my time as an administrator working in the public schools was to “presume positive intentions.” This was one of a list of seven norms we were asked to practice when we met in groups and discussed observations we conducted of teachers in their classrooms. No teacher shows up at work and decides, “I am going to aim for mediocrity today. I want to give these children the minimum amount of effort that I have.” This would especially true on a day they know they are being observed. Presuming the teachers thought they were doing the absolute best they knew how set the post-conversation up to be non-judgemental and focused on the facts of what happened, rather than how we felt about it.

I have taken this concept of presuming positive intentions with me into other areas of my life - in my marriage, when I’m driving, on Facebook… anytime inklings of judgement creep up I redirect my thoughts to what their positive intentions may be. Practicing this habit had made me a more empathic person and reduced the amount of unnecessary negativity in my life.

One area where I still get worked up, though, is in the area of nutrition. I can believe the positive intentions the Kellogg brothers had when they started making cereals in the late 1800’s and certainly John Pemberton, the creator of Coca Cola, but what I cannot understand is how now, after there is so much evidence that over-consuming processed foods is linked to so many diseases, everyone in the business puts their pocketbook (the only positive intention I can surmise) over the health of the rest of their neighbors. Here are a couple crazy statistics for you from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012):

68.1% of the food Americans buy is highly processed* (ready to eat) and 15.2% is moderately processed* (ready to heat).

Nearly 1000 calories per day of a person’s diet come solely from highly processed foods.

The study also found that the preference for highly processed foods was consistent from 2000-2012, which has major implications for our health, since highly processed foods are way higher in sugars, processed grains and salts, and hydrogenated or poor quality fats than other foods. Shockingly, no U.S. study has looked at the link between highly processed food and health outcomes like obesity and diabetes (at least not by 2015 when the study was published).

WTACTUALF!!! I have a very hard time presuming positive intentions here.

Given that I presume you all have positive intentions when it comes to your health (no one WANTS to feel terrible and be sick, right?) I am going to give you some nutrition tips to beat the greed of the food industry. As much as I love the gym, an hour a day doesn’t cancel out what we put in our bodies the rest of the hours. Pick one or two to start with (I listed the two easiest/”free-est” ones first) and build a habit. You’ve spent 20? 30? 40? 50? years getting to where you are. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Let your positive intentions be your guide and progress toward improving your health.

  1. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Ideally, chew your food until it is liquidy (yes, freal). Smaller pieces are easier to digest than large ones and your saliva has enzymes that break down your food, so your digestion will be easier, more nutrients will be absorbed, and gas/bloating will be reduced.

  2. Drink about half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. Water keeps your cells hydrated and protected, eliminates waste, and ensures the health of your mucus membranes. Adequate hydration can improve a number of health problems including sinusitis, constipation, inflammation, allergies, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, back pain… Given that the majority of our body is water, adequate water intake helps pretty much everything.

  3. Eat TONS of vegetables (“tons” means at least half of the food you eat, by volume) Vegetables slow the absorption of fats, normalize cholesterol levels, nourish your gut bacteria, reduce bowel toxicity, aid in the production of serotonin, increase energy, help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, improve symptoms of allergies, asthma, arthritis, skin problems, sinusitis, chronic pain… Do I need to keep going? Eat. Your. Vegetables.

  4. Avoid refined sugar. Refined sugar increases insulin and adrenal hormone production and is linked to other health problems like IBS, Candidasis, vitamin deficiency, hypoglycemia, diabetes, inflammation, allergies, asthma, sinusitis, headaches and migraines, fatigue, depression, heart disease… I could go on…
    Just don’t eat refined sugar. Eat fruit instead, okay?

  5. Fat is not bad but you should avoid deep fried food, partially‐hydrogenated oil, and hydrogenated oil. These have been linked to a number of health problems such as cancer, heart disease, pain and inflammation, immune system problems, ADD and depression. Instead, eat use coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, butter, ghee, and raw nuts.

  6. Avoid refined carbohydrates. This is what the above statistic was primarily talking about. Processing grains means that all the nutrients have been stripped and you are left with just the starch, so they fill you up but with a lack of vitamins and minerals. This stresses your digestive system and your endocrine system. Use brown rice instead of white rice. Eat whole oats instead of instant oatmeal and try something you’ve never tried before that is widely available now, like amaranth, millet, and quinoa.

  7. Avoid chemical additives. There’s a lot to say about these that I will save for the next blog post but, suffice it to say, if you can’t easily pronounce it, have never seen the word used on anything but a food label, or it has a color with a number after it, do not eat it.

  8. Drink coffee, tea, and alcohol in moderation. Each on its own has been shown to have health benefits in moderation, but even herbal teas can be diuretic, which will leave you dehydrated.
     

*If you’re curious about what foods constitute moderately- and highly-processed, 1.2 million products were placed into one of four categories:

Minimally processed—products with very little alteration, like bagged salad, frozen meat, and eggs

Basic processed—single-ingredient foods but changed in some way, like oil, flour, and sugar

Moderately processed—still recognizable as its original plant or animal source, but with additives (think TV dinners)

Highly processed—multi-ingredient industrial mixtures that are no longer recognizable as their original plant or animal source (crackers, chips, cereals, cookies, bread, soda, energy drinks, juice…)

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #17

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

Another MM about stretching... What in the heck is it about stretching?!! Everyone is obsessed with the notion that if they feel “tight” in an area they should “stretch” it. Tight hips... tight shoulders... tight hamstrings… and the inevitable question of the best stretch for that particular body part. Here are two more experts that say that stretching (flexibility/mobility/range of motion) is not about length; it’s about strength! Today I will briefly discuss Anne Tierney and Steve Sierra’s Ki-Hara Resistance Stretching method (Ki-Hara defined below), which focuses on eccentric training to balance muscle groups.

It is pretty common knowledge (among body-nerds) that muscle imbalances cause a lot of the sensation of “tightness.” In the Ki-Hara method the muscles are being simultaneously lengthened and contracted (eccentric strength training). The idea is that, instead of relaxing into a stretch, you contract your muscle so you develop strength through that range and you don’t over-stretch the connective tissue. The coolest piece I got from this interview was the illustration that, if you have the “flexibility” to get into the splits, for example, but not the strength to fire your muscles at their end-ranges enough to get out of the splits the same way you got into them, then you actually have a damaged muscle that isn’t working properly. Similarly, if you can do a negative (eccentric) pull-up (starting at the top and lowering down) but not a regular pull-up, there is an imbalance.

How do I eccentrically strengthen my muscles during stretching? Great question! The answer is this week’s Movement Minute. Here are three short videos on how to use the Ki-Hara method stretch/strengthen our favorite… the hamstrings! Take at least one minute per day this week to go through each.

Medial Hamstring
Central Hamstring
Lateral Hamstring

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 22 of the Liberated Body podcast.

Ki: the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things

Hara: The vital centre of the self, the focus of existence. The hara designates the part of the lower abdomen and pelvis region located one and a half inch below the navel and one and a half inches inward toward the spine. This point also happens to be the body’s central axis (centre of gravity / balancing point). Energy (chi/ki/prana) is stored in the hara where it is heated before spreading throughout the body - hence a warm glowing feeling.

MOVEMENT MINUTE #16

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

I am so so so so so excited to write this Movement Minute (and will definitely go over a minute but it is just because I am so in love with the inspiration for this week’s Movement Minute - Katy Bowman). Basically, Katy Bowman is a total BOSS biomechanist (and overall human) and has a lot of good things to say so I will just get right into it without introduction and let her ideas speak for themselves. (PS - She has written a bunch of books that you should totally read.)

The first cool thing is really relevant as more and more articles are being written about the importance of daily movement, generally, rather than what specific movements you are doing. I hate to break it to you - good health is not just about moving a lot. Here’s an example:

An Orca whale is a beautiful, strong, majestic creatures with a proud dorsal fin on its back. At least, that is the case when it is in its natural environment, swimming freely in the ocean. It stands to reason that if an Orca can swim in the ocean it can swim in a tank and thrive because the “swimming box” is checked in its list of necessities for survival. But Orcas that live in tanks in captivity often develop a floppy dorsal fin as a disease of mechanotransduction. What zookeepers so often fail to explore beyond just that "an Orca needs to swim" are the distances, speeds, and variety of directions they swim in the oceans. Is it normal for an Orca to swim in circles in the ocean? So if the Orca in captivity is starting to lose its fitness or develop diseases of mechanotransduction like the floppy fin, would it be helpful to just tell it to swim more circles in its tank? NO! This would just increase the forces that brought on the diseases in the first place and the symptoms would likely worsen. Not swimming enough wasn’t the problem. Think about this as it relates to human movement: “Just move more!” we are told. But if we move more in the wrong ways we will end up just like the Orca. “And be sure to get your cardio, so just move faster!”... and then we end up highlighting the diseases of mechanotransduction even faster. BOOM!

The second cool thing I want to highlight that Katy talks about is the way we think about loading. We are always loaded by gravity and can additionally load ourselves by picking up a bag, a box, a bar, a ball, or a baby. Loads are the effect of applied forces. This is relevant for us because we load ourselves often at POINT. So often people think only about the load itself (the applied force - the bag, box, bar, ball, or baby). But the way we orient our bodies dictates what load occurs. I often say in class that it’s not how much you lift but how you lift (and if you focus on how you lift then you can talk about how much you lift). It’s not the weight but how you carry it.  

Lifting aside, a simple example that many of us have experience with: Knee Pain. So often knee pain is reduced to being overweight - that if that person just lost some weight then their knees wouldn’t hurt… it’s just that the load is too great for the knee joints. But there are all sorts of things that affect the load to the knee - what’s on your foot, the position of your feet, ankles, knees and hips, and your position relative to gravity. So, whether it’s 45 lbs of extra weight or a 45 lb bar, it’s not the weight, it’s how you carry it! BOOM!

So what do we do? We don’t want to be an Orca with a floppy fin and we don’t want pain in our joints… What program should we follow? We are under no illusion that POINT is the end-all, be-all for your movement life. It’s a great place to start and a great place to learn how your body moves and practice movements so you feel comfortable using them in your day-to-day lives. It’s also a great place to learn what some of your limits currently are and train to go beyond them. POINT is great for your “strength and fitness” but if you want to be truly healthy and thrive like the Orca that swims freely in its natural environment of the ocean, you need to, as much as reasonably possible in our modern life, act as you would in our natural environment of the earth. How would you move if there were no cars, no beds, no refrigerators, and no desks or countertops?  

It is imperative that we think like this. Just as the Orca jumps through hoops and swims backwards for an hour daily performance, we go to the gym for an hour a day and “perform” our movement tricks. At the end of the day, though, the Orca still goes home to a small, circular tank and we still go home to our climate-controlled houses with our convenient furniture. We can get massage and do the corrective exercises to improve knee pain or shoulder mobility that our coaches and PTs recommend but, if we are ultimately still swimming around in the same circular tank none of that will do anything. We have to make conscious choices during the day to move naturally, which brings me to this week’s Movement Minute. This week, take at least a minute per day to:

  • Get off the couch and sit on the floor.

  • Walk on the grass next to the sidewalk.

  • Move your cutting board to the floor and chop your vegetables while squatting in the kitchen.

  • Walk up and down the stairs in your house while you talk to your mom on the phone.

  • Get a squatty-potty and poop with your knees up (or save some money and use some old shoe boxes).

You can’t exercise all day long but you can certainly move all day long… and movement doesn’t require a special outfit or a shower after you are done! And these choices for movement do not take away from the other things you are trying to accomplish (watching your show, walking to your car, making dinner, talking to your mom, pooping, etc.). Re-train your brain to enjoy moving. It’s amazing how good your body will feel when you start making the conscious effort to get out of your tank.

*This Movement Minute was inspired by and some of the language was taken from Episode 20 of the Liberated Body podcast.

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #15

By Coach KB (and I apologize for the image... it was too good not to use)

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

I spent a brief few years of my early adult life as a dancer and our artistic director was trained in the Alexander Technique. I was so busy doing-doing-doing at that time in my life I didn’t understand it - when she talked about her practice it just didn’t seem like it was doing anything. I was so caught up in doing all the time I was oblivious to the most important foundational component of our humanity - BEING.

I will piece together a brief explanation about the Alexander Technique from Constance Clare-Newman, an Alexander Technique Teacher: It’s a practice of mindfulness that begins with the body. It’s a practice of neuroplasticity applied to everyday life that includes movement, posture, sensation, gesture, breath, voice, expression, energy, thought, emotion… Ultimately, the Alexander work is about undoing your habits, whether those patterns are movement or postural habits, or habits of thinking or reacting, to what works better for you in your life.  

I, of course, was not alone in my doing… We are a nation of doers. So much so that most of us just fall apart when we stop doing - we do all day long and then collapse, totally drained at the end of the day. The part of this that I have been most interested in lately is with posture. Most of us are doing posture - we have been told to stand up straight, shoulders back, chest proud, head held high. The problem is that we are doing this rather than being this. Everyone is trying so hard to do it right - we HOLD this posture until it is too uncomfortable and then we just collapse into slouching because it is unsustainable. So we go through the day vacillating between this “good” posture and “bad” posture - What if “good” posture was simply about being in balance while being upright?

LET’S PRACTICE! In order to be in good posture we have to UN-do a lot of what we have taught our bodies over the years. The Movement Minute this week is an exercise about how to stand into balance and length, rather than holding ourselves there. Check out the one-minute exercise Constance developed and practice each day this week.


*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 19 of the Liberated Body podcast.

What is "Snack Food?"

By Coach Mel

What can I eat for a snack?

This is a question we get a lot at POINT Kitchen. And it is a valid question. The food industry has conditioned our brains to believe that there is snack food and then there is food food. Not unlike the thinking that goes behind “breakfast food” “lunch food” and “dinner food”. Guys, come in close now I’m gonna tell you a secret, **whispered** “it’s all just food.”  Well, if we are getting technical I suppose it is not “all just food.” The “snack” items we have to select from in the stores include a host of options, few of which, however, are actually “food.”

So, still the question remains, What can I eat for a snack? You can eat any food! The main complication when it comes to snacking is that it typically it needs to be portable. This is why Food Giants have made so much profit with “on-the-go,” individually-packed, and preservatives (but let’s just call a spade a spade - chemicals). I was just home in St. Louis, where the inspiration for this blog came, and I opened my parent’s cabinets. Before my eyes lay a spread of food-like products none of which actually containing real food ingredients. Obviously, unable to keep my mouth shut and just have some Cheez Its I said to my mom, “Why do you buy all this stuff?” To which she responded, “well, we need snack things around.” Oh. So I ate a handful because...live a little and they are delicious and it was “what was around” and I didn’t want to be a jerk. But it got me thinking, Why do we need to compartmentalize our food into meal-food and between-meal-food?

My one tip for success in life: Pack your food. Pack your food. Always have food (aka “snacks”) handy.

So, instead of What can I eat for a snack? the question really should be, What is the best container to put my food in for when I get hungry during the day? I recommend Snapware containers for light and tight sealed travel. They come in all shapes and sizes! And you can get a variety pack at Costco - they have both the glass and the BPA-free plastic variety - and they both go on sale every couple months or so. It’s not too late to put this on your Christmas list! Use the big containers for leftover meals and the small ones to pack food (aka snacks) in at the beginning of the week! Then you can grab-and-go just as easily as grabbing those snack-packs from the 90’s with the cracker sticks and the little side of “cheese.” Remember those?

As for food; anything that is actually food goes. Try and aim for a nice mix of macronutrients, carbs, fats, and proteins. Think Lunchables, but with actual food! Go crazy!

Here are just a few snack-food ideas for you:

     1.   Hard boiled eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of quality fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals  And totally portable. You can peel them and salt them and have them stored in your small container.

     2.  Apple and almond butter. Pre-slice your apple. You can put a little lemon juice on them to keep them from browning. Add a side of almond butter for a fat-/protein-/carb-rich snack

    3.  Leftovers. Put a smaller portion of your leftover awesome dinner in a container and eat off of it during the day!

That’s should be a good start. For endless awesome recipes and health tips join our January E.A.T. (Eat Actual Things) challenge starting December 9th. 28 days of recipes/shopping lists/support and health. There will be a couple info meetings before it starts so keep following us for all the details. 

In closing, remember that good food is good food and your body will recognize it as such, regardless of time of day. So go crazy and have “breakfast for dinner” or dare I say have it for a snack! Run wild! Just eat it good food that energizes and nourishes you.

 

DECEMBER DONATION OPTIONS

doantions.jpeg

By Coach Mel

Before visions of sugar plums get too wild in your head remember that oh so many people/animals (that’s right) need our help now and all the time for that matter. It’s a stressful time of year… it always is. Maybe this year more than ever due to recent political events. I will say this, though - one good thing that has come of “recent events” is a lot people within my personal community want to know how the heck they can help. Donations are huge, volunteering is becoming a thing again, and when people don’t have money or much time to donate I have even seen hugs offered. Let’s continue this trend through the holidays and beyond.  I am so privileged and if you are reading this blog you probably are too. That is not meant to be a guilt-trip into donating, but I know I need the “I’m privileged” reminder sometimes so we can just call it a self-serving comment.  

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again… I continue to be so thankful to have a community and platform from which to ask for help and get support. At POINT we are going to help you out by creating a place and options for donations and helping others this holiday season. It is pretty overwhelming right now to think of all the organizations and causes that need our help. Kimberly and I are both passionate about many different organizations so we have decided to choose a few we love the most so that you have an option to donate to one or all!

We will be donating to SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Center), OTAT PDX (One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue), and p:ear (Project: Education, Art, Recreation). Below is what you could donate for one or all. Please bring items to the gym and label the bag they are in with what organization you want them to go.

Here is a little about each, why they are important to us, and what you can do:

SARC - Sexual Assault Resource Center was founded by two sexual assault victims in 1977. We need more than ever to continue the war against rape-culture and promote equality. Helping women feel more powerful is something we are so passionate about at POINT. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault but I will be so bold as to say 100% of women have to live day to day with the thought either at the back or front of their minds that “it could be her” that day.  Every time we walk alone, go out at night, or let’s be honest - just exist, we think about this and we worry how we might be the ones blamed for it. How ridiculous is that? And those who are never physically assaulted have most likely at some point been verbally assaulted. We want to do what we can to help those who have had it the worst and start preventing the culture that enables it.

This wonderful non-profit’s mission is to “promote social justice by eliminating sexual violence in our community through education, support, and advocacy.” SARC uses the word “survivor” and not victim. They work to empower the survivor and recognize that sexual assault is based in anger, power, and control. The survivor is not to blame. Their philosophy reflects the knowledge that sexual assault “has no boundaries of race, age, language, gender, economic class, disability, or religion. We believe that the survivor need not be alone during their healing process.”

ITEMS OF NEED:

GIFT CARDS
Survivors need gift cards to places where they can get emergency resources, such as:
Fred Meyer
Safeway
New Seasons
Trader Joes
Gas stations
Affordable chain restaurants
etc…

OTAT - One Tail at a Time is a local dog rescue in PDX headed up by a former POINT member. This organization is the reason you all know and love gym dogs Henni and Elton Joan. Henni and Elton will surely be donating a portion of their holiday toys to dogs in need just like they once were. Dogs need help too! The more supplies OTAT has, the more dogs they can rescue from the overpopulated high-kill shelters and place them into loving foster homes before adoption. If you want to donate to OTAT check the following list:

ITEMS OF NEED:

MONEY AND SUPPLIES
Money:
Become a member for just $10 a month! - Free gift included… a OTAT beanie! Ask us about this option; we’ll give you the deets.

$25 provides two weeks of healthy dog food
$75 covers treatment for kennel cough, parasites, or other common shelter illnesses
$150 offsets costs of routine spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, and vaccinations
$300 defrays treatment costs of extensive medical issues, such as for heartworm, pneumonia, or surgery
$500 assists with dental surgery for a neglected puppy mill dog

Supplies:
Toys
Leashes/Collars/Harnesses
Food (unopened bags or cans only)
Bowls
Beds
Crates
Etc… (just think “could a dog use this?”)

p:ear - There is a lot of controversy around homelessness in Portland. Youth can be homeless for a number of reasons such as being kicked out of their home due to sexual orientation, not enough income for the family to be housed, rent spikes, leaving due to physical or sexual abuse, and many other reasons. One of the most important things we can do is educate our youth no matter their circumstances. p:ear is a wonderful organization dedicated to just this.  

“p:ear builds positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth through education, art and recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives. Each year our programs serve almost 900 homeless and transitional young people ages 15 to 24. To truly exit homelessness, kids must develop the internal strength, skills, and foresight to make healthy choices. p:ear provides a safe, non-judgmental environment in which youth are trusted to outgrow unproductive and harmful behaviors. We offer individualized mentoring and education programs in a safe, reliable setting designed to foster trust, build self-esteem and to teach homeless and transitional kids – who all too often are regarded by society as disposable, “hopeless cases” – that they are valuable individuals with a future who have something vital to contribute to this community. p:ear staff and volunteers serve as mentors, friends, and role models, while p:ear’s unique programs create opportunities for young people to grow intellectually, express themselves constructively, communicate in positive ways and engage in meaningful interactions with the larger community of Portland. This is not work that can be accomplished in the short-term. These are relationships based on trust that take years to cultivate and require enormous dedication to sustain.”

ITEMS OF NEED:

SUPPLIES FOR...

Space:

$125 for lunch for 50-60 youth
Bus tickets
="Kitchen items: any dairy (milk, cheese, cream cheese, butter), meat and eggs, fruit, tea, fruit juice, Emergen-C, flours, rice
Gift certificates to Rite-Aid, Ace Hardware, New Seasons, Whole Foods, Fred Meyer & True Value Hardware (to meet daily needs from milk to first-aid supplies to light bulbs!)
Feminine hygiene products: tampons (no pads or panty liners)
Hair clippers, combs/brushes and hair-ties
Disposable razors and shaving cream
Deodorant, shampoo, lotion
Betadine Antiseptic, travel-size hand sanitizer
Travel size toothpaste
Moist towelettes
First Aid: Antibiotic Cream (preferably single packs), Medical Tape, Ace Bandages, Instant Cold Packs, gauze wraps and pads

Education:

Sponsor a youth taking the GED at $125
Spiral notebooks/journals
Calculators, rulers, pens, compasses, etc.
Financial scholarships for further education
Gift certificates to Office Depot/Max, Ikea, Apple App Store and Powell's Books

Arts:

Gift certificates to Michael’s or Dick Blick
Acrylic paints
Inks/watercolors
Brushes
New frames and canvases
Beading and sewing supplies
Scissors, glues, glitters
Paint pens
Guitar strings, Picks
Drum Sticks
1/4" Chords
Sheet Music
Shakers
Gift Certs to Trade up Music, Musicans Friend.com or Guitar Center.
Silk screening needs: 11" x 17" Screens Emulsion Stencil Remover /emulsion remover Blockout silk screen pens AWT Red Polyethylene Screen Tape 8.5" x 11" and 11" x 17" clear velum 11" plastic silk screen Squeegee, Table top silk screen printer.
11" x 17" -100 point cardstock in white, grey and black
8.5" x 11"- 100 point cardstock in varying colors
Black and white t-shirts in varying sizes (M, L, XL, 2XL) for silk screening

Recreation:

Bike stuff: 700x18-25mm presta valve bike inner tubes, patch kits and glue
Waterproof rain pants, jackets, shells (new or used)
Gift cards to REI, Sellwood Cycles, (bike or outdoor recreation stores)
Full finger cycling gloves
New Seasons gift cards for lunch on trips
Trekking poles

Transition:

Cleaning supplies and basic kitchen items (soap: bar, hand, dish, bleach, glass cleaner)
$20 purchases a new Birth Certificate, $39.50 gets an Oregon ID
Baby wipes
Gift cards to H&M, Ross, Fred Meyer for clothing who youth have have job interviews or work needs

Thank you all so much for reading and for considering a donation to one of these three wonderful organizations. We know the holidays are busy and money is tight. You could look at this as a learning experience in social justice for any of your friends/family members and gift them a shiny donation to one of the organizations.

Happy Holidays! See you at POINT!

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #14

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

FREE THE BUTT! RELEASE THE PSOAS!

This week’s Movement Minute is brought to you by Jonathan FitzGordon, creator of the CoreWalking Method… and also of the workshop brilliantly titled The Psoas Release Party. Walking and our psoas are intricately connected and lots of chronic pain (back, knee, shoulders, etc.) are tied to our repeated pattern of walking incorrectly. The psoas (our main hip-flexor) is one of the muscles that brought us up to a bipedal standing position and allows us to walk. Since many of us walk incorrectly (usually meaning we lean backwards) the psoas is not aligned correctly and our entire posterior chain is disengaged. Learning to walk correctly is one of the best ways to release the psoas and, therefore, reduce pain throughout the body.

This brings me to the Movement Minute Challenge: This week I would like you to spend one minute each day examining how you walk:
1) Examine how you currently walk (just “feeling” it while it’s happening or, my recommendation, take a video of yourself walking... barefoot, in your work shoes, in your running shoes, in your favorite flip-flops... any shoes you typically walk in... and on carpet, on concrete, up stairs... a variety of terrains).  
2) Then practice walking with your butt sticking out. In other words, relax your butt muscles and get your legs under your hip sockets instead of setting your butt on top of your hamstrings (Note - this is different than arching your back!). You can practice this just standing, too. If you are someone whose back starts to hurt after standing a long time in line or chopping veggies in the kitchen, it may be for the exact same reasons. 
FREE THE BUTT! RELEASE THE PSOAS! 

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 18 of the Liberated Body podcast.

 

POINT Gratitude

By Coaches KB and Mel

We have so much to be thankful for in our lives. Melissa and I want to extend out utmost appreciation and respect for all of you. You not only come in regularly because you have made a commitment to your own health but, in so doing, you also are committing to the overall health of our world. Simply put, we are better because you are better and, for that, we thank you. 

Many of you took the opportunity over the last few weeks to share your gratitude with the POINT community. We have compiled all your words into one big reminder that life is great and, even in the worst of times, we can find things to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

MUCH GRATITUDE FOR:
My strong (and getting stronger) body
Butter
Healing and rebirth
Yoga + Dogs
POINT Coaches
Cleansing sweat
My beautiful puppy
All the badass ladies in my life
My girlfriend who loves and supports me <3
My family
Health
Job
Beautiful Oregon
Being part of the best gym in Portland
One Tail at a Time
Positive peer pressure
Elton's sweet face
Strong network of family and friends
Ability to travel
POINT to get me up in the morning! 
My courage to take risks
POINT! 
Having my limits pushed each day - physically, emotionally, intellectually
The opportunity to go back to school
POINT  
Help
Health
Freedom
Love
Dogs
Family
Friends
Steve
Health
Family
POINT!!
My loving and supportive adventure partner Rohan!
My health
Good friends
Alex
Wine
Dogs
I'm thankful for positive coaches who want me to do the best that I can!
Healthy eating
Workout buddies
Not planks
Light medicine balls
The healthy birth of my newborn son
A supportive team all working toward the same goal. XOXO
Health
Family
Sun/Rain
Gym
Pets
Nature
15 miles per week and increasing
Family
Girlfriend
Dirtbikes
Skiing
Duck hunting
My job
My health
I'm thankful to have Portland's best gym right by my house. 
Family
Friends
C
Niko
Candy
Beer
Health
I'm thankful for a supportive, encouraging community to come to every day. 
A strong body
Kimberly and Melissa
Healthy and happy kiddos!
My family
Jacob
My health
My friends

 

THE UPRISING! (a special edition Movement Minute)

Uprising.jpg

By Coach KB

Be strong to be powerful.
Be strong to be useful.
Be strong to be helpful.
Be strong to be resilient.
Be strong to be loving.

Be strong to be peaceful.
Be strong to be agile.
Be strong to be balanced.
Be strong to be enduring.
Be strong to be brave.
Be strong to be supportive.
Be strong to be tenacious.
Be strong to be coordinated.
Be strong to be proud.
Be strong to be human..
Be strong to be you.

I have been joking about training for the uprising since the day after the election but here’s a little secret: I’m not joking. I’M. NOT. JOKING.

The uprising I am talking about is not a revolution in the historical war sense. It's literally a movement... of our bodies. Let me explain - When I called on you on November 9 to train with a renewed purpose to be a stronger version of yourself I was not calling for yoked out beefcakes to come with me to F some S up. What I am talking about is all of us rising up as individuals to move and to train with purpose so we can live our lives with purpose and become stronger versions of ourselves: THE UPRISING.

Simply put, we, as a culture, are losing our humanity… and I mean this in the way that it means kind and sympathetic but I also mean it in the way that it literally means to be human… and I believe the latter directly impacts the former. Here is what I know: our bodies are meant to move and do work and we evolved to live in a community where each individual survives based on the work of the others. But our “progress” has stopped us from fulfilling these necessary human requirements: we don’t need to move all day anymore to complete survival tasks -  I’ll bet you can go an entire week (month?) without ever having to get up off of the floor or reach your arms over your head - and, while we still depend on the work of others to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs, we don’t actually have to interact with a human to get those things. We have forgotten about the human community element of our own survival.

This has to stop. We need an uprising against the neglect of our own humanity. There are two parts to the uprising and I believe if we all commit to the tasks, our world will be a kinder, healthier, more cohesive place to live. I would go so far as to say truly all our troubles stem from a neglect of those two evolutionary components of our humanity.

PART 1 of the uprising addresses the first evolutionary requirement - we are meant to move all day in a variety of ways. This is non-negotiable. Even if you are not “a sports person” and you prefer curling up with a book, you must move your body often in order to function well and be healthy. You may hate it now but your body will learn to crave what it was designed to do. And you are worth all the health and well-being this commitment brings. When our bodies don’t have opportunity to move in all their intended ways throughout the day, they stop functioning as well… YOU stop functioning as well. Yes, you may be able to complete tasks associated with your job and drive your car, but we lose the capacity for physical and emotional work all the way down to the cellular level. When our cells don’t move, they reduce their work capacity and become numb, which leads to us being less self aware and less able to perform the very tasks that make us human.

Somewhere along the line we stopped caring about ourselves enough to prioritize our own health and humanity. I will repeat: You are worth it. You are worth feeling strong and capable of completing tasks without compensation or pain. You are worth the resilience and tenacity you build through physical training - overcoming obstacles gives us pride in the best way. When you are proud of who you are you are powerful enough to endure uncontrollable changes. Yes, there is an uprising spawned from the election - the world terrain for the next four years will be uncertain. You deserve a strong mind and a strong body to weather the changes. But the uprising goes beyond the election, You deserve health and confidence regardless of who is president.

Your friends and community members also deserve for their neighbors to be healthy and strong. The journey to believing you, personally, are worth health and strength and fulfilling your own humanity is a tough one for many of us, but what if I also told you that your commitment to your own humanity is important so you can be there for other people when they need you? This is PART 2 of the uprising. When you are strong for yourself you are able to be strong for others. If you need to train with a purpose beyond yourself, train because you know that when we are able to work through challenges it gives us a greater ability to empathize with the challenges other face. Train because you want to be someone in the community who helps others, who is useful to others. Would you rather help pull people from the rubble and build sandbag walls after the earthquake or be physically unable and require the assistance of others to secure your safety? This is an extreme example but it’s not an unfair one. A gentler version is just to treat your life and your job as important to someone else’s survival. Find ways to draw these connections if they are not as obvious as a teacher’s or a social worker’s or the president’s because they are there. You are an integral part of someone’s experience, even if you have never met. You are important. You matter. And your community depends on you. We each deserve for the other to be at their best. Part 2 of the uprising is using your newly found literal humanity (move, do work, be an interdependent member of your community) to engage in humanitarian (kind, compassionate, working to improve the quality of life) efforts in your own community. When we fulfill both of these in evolutionary synchronicity, we are each capable of great things.

Now, my call to action: Get out there and do it! Move all day in a variety of ways and train with a purpose. Make a plan. Get stronger. Move more. Be better. Love lots. You will still be you, just a more human version of you. And that is what we need right now: More humans. Fewer monsters. THE UPRISING!

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #13

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

This week’s Movement Minute is inspired by Darryl Edwards, founder of the PRIMAL Play methodology and author of Paleo Fitness. My short version of his bio probably sounds familiar to many of us - he was working in technology in banking and had several health issues and was unhappy. He sat all day long and hated the idea of going to a “big box gym” like 24-Hour Fitness to work out. I’m sure by now we are all familiar with the studies showing that sitting all the time is horrible for our health so I’ll spare you the details, but, long story short, he left his job and regained his health through developing his PRIMAL Play model and focusing on his nutrition. Rather than give my own take on it, I think his words speak exactly to what this MM is all about. PRIMALITY is his acronym for how our movement should interact with our surroundings. Here is how he describes it on his Liberated Body podcast interview:

P is for play-based movement.

R is movement that should be regenerative. A lot of movement practices we follow tend to be quite destructive and are making us prone to injury. It should be promoting youthfulness.

I is for instinctive movement. A lot of those movements we have completely lost touch with: climbing, crawling, etc. We can lose those abilities.

M is for mindfulness when it comes to movement. It’s about a meditation; you have to get into the zone. If you’re so focused on the moment and time disappears and you are just enjoying what you are doing in the moment- that’s very natural. It’s a return to what we had as a child. As opposed to being focused on the end result, or the workout ending.

A is for adaptation. As omnivores when it comes to food, we should be omnivores with movement too. We are designed to be movement generalists, not movement specialists. We need that diversity and range of movements.

L is life-giving and life-enhancing. It should make you feel alive, and not make you feel as if you want to die!

I is about integration of movement. Rather than thinking about the biceps or triceps, or back, etc, asking how you can get your whole body engaged. And also integration into your day. Instead of being sedentary for most of the day and then having 30 minutes when you exercise, trying to be opportunistic about your movement.

T is for tactical. Or doing whatever you can do to improve where you are.

Y is what really fascinates me: youthfulness and the vitality that comes from moving. What I realize I really want from movement is to be independent for as long as possible.

This week, my Movement Minute Challenge for all of you is to spend AT LEAST one minute engaging in play-based movement. This is easy at a playground with your kids. It is a little harder at a playground with another adult because you have to let go of your ego. If you are not at a playground, find someone else to engage with you in one of these two ways:

1) Non-contact, slo-mo, play fighting with sound effects!

2) Crouch/squat super low to the ground and jump up and high-five each other! Alternate hands. Spin around. Have fun!

 

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 16 of the Liberated Body podcast. Unlike the other MMs I copied and pasted content from this episode’s show notes because of the nature of the material.

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #12

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

This week’s Movement Minute Challenge is inspired by Steve Haines, an expert in biodynamic craniosacral therapy and concepts called “body-mapping” and “interoception,” which are what I’ll be breaking down today. It starts out a little woo-woo, so stay with me...

You all know we are nothing if not aficionados of the high-five… for lots of reasons. Well, recently I was talking with someone about high-fiving at the end of class and it turns out she might be an expert on body-mapping without even knowing it! She mentioned that (and I am probably equal parts paraphrasing and putting words in her mouth), due the nature of her days, the high five might be the only time she has human contact with anyone besides her family and it’s more than a celebration; it's a connection… an act that signifies we are all in this world together and working hard for a common good. In short, when we high-five we touch more than just hands. This concept - that whenever we touch someone we are touching a whole person; not just a hand or an arm - is what lays the groundwork for interoception.

A body is one whole living, breathing, and pulsing entity. We’ve already established in previous MMs that everything is interconnected and our brains have a schema of how everything is supposed to look and feel. How crazy is it that people who lose limbs still feel a “phantom” sensation of it being there even though there are no nerve signals sending information back to the brain (or how many of you have seen the fake hand trick?). We know that proprioception is the awareness of our body in space (can we hold our arm out, close our eyes, and touch our nose?) but if we hold our arm out and close our eyes, how do we know our arm is still there? That is interoception. Our brains have a map of the body and these interstitial receptors carry way more information than for proprioception (like 7 to 1!).

The VERY short of it is that the fascia and the vagal nerve are the two key players in body-mapping and people who have high vagal tone are usually happier and more trustworthy (for real… it’s crazy; check the resources in the link below). We all want to be happier, right? So let’s practice stimulating vagal tone! This week’s Movement Minute Challenge is to spend at least one minute each day: lying on the ground with your eyes closed and pressing your back into the ground (Level 1); stretching and reaching into space with your eyes closed (Level 2); or hanging and swinging from monkey bars or a pullup bar with your eyes closed (Level 3).

This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 15 of the Liberated Body podcast.

 

MOVEMENT MINUTE #11

By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

This week’s Movement Minute is inspired by the work of Judith Hanson Lasater, a PhD, PT, and one of BKS Iyengar’s first students (he is a super famous yoga instructor and founder of the Iyengar style of yoga). Immediately half of you will be super intrigued and half of you will want to stop reading at the sight of the word yoga. Just keep reading… it’ll only take a minute. ;)

Our culture is a conundrum to me… How can we be so fast-paced when we sit all the time? With stress, anxiety, and depression so prevalent in society our yoga practice should not be a place that fosters more of those feelings! Unfortunately it can be! We have even developed a type of yoga called “Power Vinyasa” (which don’t get me wrong, I love from time to time). Power Vinyasa is a constantly moving practice that requires a lot of strength - both things that can conjure up the same feelings we are trying to avoid - stress, anxiety, and depression. Judith is a proponent of Restorative Yoga, a type of yoga centered around resting in poses rather than pushing to “your edge” all the time, which is just another distraction for us. Restorative yoga manipulates the nervous system to send us into a more parasympathetic state. Judith says, “There is something spiritually profound about being still and watching your mind… Lying on the floor and letting go, every day for 20 minutes, is life-changing.”

This week, my Movement Minute challenge for you is to spend AT LEAST one minute (20 is better!) each day lying completely still. If you already know some Restorative poses, pick one to do. If you don’t, then just lie on your back with your arms palms-up by your sides and your feet splayed open. Your eyes can be open or closed. Don’t think; just breathe. If your mind starts wandering then you can time your minute by counting your breaths. If you breathe in deeply for 5 slow counts and out for 5 more, then one minute will be just six breaths. Try it anywhere - right when you wake up and are still in bed, behind your desk in your office at work, on your living room floor when you get home, in bed before you go to sleep… Or maybe each one throughout your day. It’s incredible that this might be the most challenging “movement” minute of them all!

*This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 14 of the Liberated Body podcast.