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i have thought about urban poling off and on for years. i did some on-line research and thought about how fun it might be in a city setting and how accessible an activity it would be for the general public.
as i age, i look toward fun activities i can participate in safely. urban poling seemed to be another of those.
i wondered whether it would work for a barefooter, like me.
several months ago i was contacted by Barb Gormley of Fitness Business Canada Magazine regarding an article they were writing. i quickly recognized her name as connected with urban poling and took the op to ask a few questions. that brief conversation was all i needed.
so now, here i am, in the process of writing my exam for Level 1 Nordic Walking Certification. it is good stuff.
from Canadian Living on line:
because you’re using your upper and lower body, you’re targeting more muscles than you do when just walking – and getting a better cardio workout. studies show that Nordic walking burns 25 to 40 per cent more calories than regular walking, while helping to improve your posture, strengthen your core and tone your arms, legs and butt. It’s also a great rehabilitation tool, especially for anyone with knee or hip issues … because it helps relieve stress on the joints.
the sun was shining bright today. one of our first warmish and warming spring days. and, i finished work early. so there it was, my first opportunity to test drive my nordic walking poles. they are sleek, easy to adjust for height, light weight, and there is a short learning curve.
all the urban poling literature and videos make reference to the ‘heel to toe’ foot strike. as a barefooter, i no longer heel strike, not even when walking. i was jubilant to find i could still strike midfoot and use the poles efficiently.
80 minutes of walking, with a few stops to listen to woodpeckers, snap a photo, bask in the sun upon my face, offer gratitude for a haymarket martyrs and all since who have been courageous warriors for workers’ rights.
i have never met a wednesday with a hump in it.
it is also the time of year when i scale back my Kettlebell Skills Clinics, so if you don’t jump on one soon, you might not have another opportunity before fall to find out just how fantastic kettlebells are as a tool for transforming your body, even your mind. truly.
one kettlebeller says:
in kettlebell class i feel the strongest i’ve ever felt, like i can move mountains … and take on the world … one swing at a time. it’s the single best exercise class i’ve ever experienced.
the Kettlebells Skills Clinic will allow you to learn the basic movement patterns of kettlebell training. when properly programmed, kettlebell training provides cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, endurance, power, flexibility, balance and core conditioning all in one intense workout.
the next clinic is scheduled for:
9:30am saturday may 4th
please call wendy at 894-8943 or by email at email@example.com to register
i’ve been itching to spread my toes in an outdoor run. today, a rare day off, the sun was shining and enticing and my elbow was rubber.
i did not head out early. i needed the sunshine to take the sharp edge of chill off the asphalt and i hoped for the temperature to climb a couple of degrees.
at noon time, with a temperature of 0℃ and a pair of thermals covering my happy backside, i headed out.
the driveway was amazing underfoot. the cold, smooth mud of early spring, framed by squishy wet moss borders and dotted by ice-skimmed puddles, inspired me instantly.
there was a gusty nnw wind, on my right on the way out. a bit biting when the road was opened to not yet awakened farm fields. nipping the bits of my earlobe that pushed out of my cap. the asphalt, though, was warmed by the sun, dry and happy to be tickled by my toes. when the trees gathered along the shoulder, they cast patterns of chilly shadows to entertain me.
the run was short, sweet and satisfying. i was able to practice the chirunning form, focusing today mainly on my pesky shoulders which know not how to properly relax and allow my arms to be along just for the ride. adding the chirunning to the concepts of running with the mind of meditation made for a wonderful running experience.
so many blessings. such a good friday.
a kettlebell skills clinic allows you to learn the basic movement patterns of kettlebell training. once you execute the movements properly, you’ve given yourself the gift of an amazing new training method. really, a way to create profound change in your life.
kettlebell training, when properly programmed, provides cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, endurance, power, flexibility, balance and core conditioning all in one intense workout.
if you’re looking for metabolic conditioning, this is where you’ll find it.
the next clinic is scheduled for:
saturday april 13th
please call wendy at 894-8943 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this clinic
you won’t regret it
a kettlebell skills clinic allows you to learn the basic movement patterns of kettlebell training. once you execute the movements properly, you’ve given yourself the gift of an amazing new training method.
kettlebell training provides cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, power training, endurance, flexibility, balance and core conditioning all in one intense workout. if you’re looking for metabolic conditioning with endless variety, this is where you’ll find it!
the next kettlebell skills clinic is scheduled for:
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 17TH
1:30PM – 2:45 PM
at the whole way health & fitness studio
pre-registration is required. please contact wendy for information or to attend: 894-8943 or email@example.com
hope to see you there!
i first read ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer in 2005. i have spent parts of the past dozen years of my life running, but i am not a runner. when i would run consistently and attempt to add volume to my weekly distances, i inevitably would experience injury, of some sort or another. my shift into easier running came when i began barefoot running and worked at changing my running style – my gait, my foot fall, my cadence, my mindfulness. i still am not a runner, but i do love running.
i recently came upon ChiRunning Coach Eric Collard on twitter when there was a feed about him offering a ChiRunning Workshop in Halifax which i wanted, but was unable, to attend. one tweet led to another, and Eric Collard will be in Charlottetown on February 23rd serving up 4 hours of running sweetness.
Eric Collard is one of 11 certified ChiRunning instructors in Canada and has taught the technique to over 350 people from coast to coast over the past two years. he is also an NCCP-certified triathlon coach, a Running Injury Prevention Specialist and a lululemon Alumni Running Ambassador.
for more information, you can simply check out his site at www.ecinc.ca or better yet, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
here’s what he has to say about ChiRunning and his workshop:
What is ChiRunning? Why should I care?
A lot of folks ask me what ChiRunning is all about. No, you don’t do Tai Chi while you run and no, it’s not that you move around with a chai latte in your hands either!
ChiRunning combines the principles of tai chi while teaching proper running biomechanics. It simply goes back to basics, moving the way we used to when we were kids. It’s a great way to get started as a runner and if you’re experienced, to simply improve your technique. Everything in ChiRunning goes back to the guiding principles of energy efficiency and injury prevention.
With proper posture (aligning your shoulders, hips and ankles all in a straight line), a slight lean and relaxed ankles you can start to feel the pull of gravity when you run. It makes a huge difference in terms of efficiency and injury prevention, as you will not be relying on muscles for the main source of propulsion. One of the great benefits of the technique is that it really teaches participants how to be gentle to the body, as there is less pounding on the joints. If you’re lighter on your feet, not only will your body thank you down the road but you will also enjoy your activity a lot more and more likely to incorporate it into your day-to-day.
Another great advantage of the technique is the mind-body connection. It changes running from a sport to more a practice, very similar to yoga. It also makes you go inside yourself so you’re more aware of how your body moves, instead of muscling the miles away.
the 4 hour workshop will be held
1pm – 5pm
saturday, february 23rd
the whole way health & fitness studio
306 university avenue, charlottetown
registration is on line at Eric’s website
this dance with kettlebells began with an interview and photo spread of Andrea DuCane in Oxygen Magazine in 2005. it has whirled me through a half dozen training workshops and certifications. it has dervished me into opening a training studio.
and still, it cartwheels and sashays me in all sorts of fascinating and interesting and exciting directions.
like kbell jam.
one of this country’s finer providers of kettlebell certification is the kbell training academy, run under the thoughtful and skilled tutelage of ajamu bernard. i took ajamu’s kbell trainer specialist cert a while back and have had some contact with him sporadically over the last few years.
about 2.5 months ago i decided to check out his kbell jam group trainer specialist certification. admittedly, it did not, on the surface, really seem like my kind of thing. i mean, he mentioned using music in a group kettlebell class. in my mind there isn’t much of a place, let alone need, for music when you’ve got a kettlebell in your hand.
besides, for no good reason, i have an aversion to shortening ‘kettlebell’ to ‘kbell’. did he have to call this whatever-it-was-program kbell jam? i never find myself saying dbell (dumbbell) or bbell (barbell) or cbell (clubbell). really? kbell? there is only one additional syllable to stumble over if you were to say kettlebell. really.
of course, i couldn’t allow such an insignificant issue to influence me. with a bit of mental tap dancing, i shoved myself past the kbell induced glottal balking. i wanted to remain open and i was intrigued.
off to toronto i jetted.
it was a weekend without regrets.
so, what the heck is kbell jam?
- it is a 12 week pre-formatted program
- 4 weeks focus on edurance
- 4 weeks focus on strength
- 4 weeks focus on power
- regression and progression sequences make it suitable for most fitness levels
- music may be used (i’m still debating this!)
- it is a group, a community, of like-minded folks getting together to dance their lives in healthy directions
- and, in the studio, it is an exciting 8 or 12 week event; a shared experience where personal awarenesses may shift and shake and shimmy
and, from the kbell jam website:
kbell jam is a functional fitness program based on the principles used to develop young athletes. participants will develop the skill to successfully perform kettlebell lifting techniques in a fun group environment. in kbell jam, performance and body transformation go hand-in-hand. as you master the skill of using your entire body to move a kbell weight, you will see tremendous improvements in your core strength. as you develop the stamina to complete a kbell jam workout, body fat will melt away.
the result is a sleekier, sexier you with more energy and more strength.
i am really excited to be launching kbell jam in two and a half weeks. i got so psyched by the potential of this group kettlebell format that i rolled out a broadly-based health & wellness challenge as part of the launch.
you can find program details on the facebook event page: kbell jam transformation – 8 or 12 week challenge programs for 2013
the 6:00am spaces are filled. but there are still a few spots open in the 6:00pm group.
this may be the place where your wellness needs and goals find partnership with healthful habits, fitness and fun to trip the light fantastic.
’tis the season.
you know, for moderately- to flat-out-filled social calendars, dipping into credit lines, indulging in gastronomic delights and potent potables (thank you Alex Trebek), and increased familial/colleagial/bestie demands.
so, you may just find yourself caught up in the festive frenzy, like i am wont myself. eating more — of what you should or perhaps more of what you shouldn’t, or but more nonetheless – sipping too many cocktails or eggnog lattes, shorting yourself on sleep. you know, not finding time in each day for you, for your usual withdraw & rejuvenate rituals. maybe you even allow that self-critical soundtrack in your head to loop on about how you aren’t looking after yourself, just crashing through the season to burn out in the aftermath.
what’s to be done about it then? how do you remain patient and feel peaceful, stay connected to the joy that lives within you? how do you look after your self?
to yourself. first thing in the morning give voice to loving yourself, really caring about yourself. set an intention for one act of self-kindness during the day. be specific about it. i will take 10 minutes away from that pile of reports/laundry/dishes to meditate/breathe/walk. i will go to bed 10 minutes earlier than usual tonight. i will take a long soak in a sweetly fragranced tub this evening. i will make sure i drink plenty of water today. and, whenever you notice that you are not being kind to yourself, smile at your folly and set out again.
- to others. stop by the local humane society with a donation of cat food. make a double portion of supper and bring one portion to a neighbour. stop by a friend’s office with a freshly brewed cup of tea – stay and chat a while. smile and say thank you to every person who serves you today. spend time with someone you haven’t spent enough time with lately. leave a note in a loved one’s pocket.
- maintain your own flair in entertaining, decorating, holidaying. do what comes from your heart not what looks so fabulous in your best friend’s living room. check in with your personal values and allow them to guide your decisions.
- be mindful in your daily activities. the food you prepare is love and nourishment for those who eat it. the staff room counter that you wipe provides space for a co-worker to prepare lunch. a slight hesitation on the gas pedal invites that car to merge in front of you and allows that driver to make the light that brings him/her home sooner to family. even the smallest of acts and what appears to be minor decisions can be offered with great love and thoughtfulness. bringing the intention of service to others into your chores and routines will shift your world.
- practice gratitude. end your day by thinking of three things from the day for which you are grateful. share this gratitude practice with friends or family – make it a lively conversation over the evening meal or when chatting with your cherished friend.
- plan & divvy up duties and responsibilities. well in advance, decide on menus for larger gatherings you might have and create the shopping list. list errands and delegate some of the go-gets. ask for help when you need it. have others feel involved by not doing it all yourself.
- find a chore you enjoy doing and find time to do it by yourself, in an unhurried way.
- let go of the ‘shoulds’, try shrugging off ownership of the judgements of others, relax into the hubbub around you, surrender to grace.
the best that you can offer others is yourself. your self, present.
it isn’t what they unwrap that is most important.
it is you, smiling and ready with a kindness.
it is you, laughing at yourself.
it is you, caught twirling in the music and sparkling in the light.
it is you, mesmerized by the beauty that is them.
this season, do mesmerized and hold joy.
this guest post is by the most amazing Christine Gordon-Manley. as you are about to discover, Christine is a fit mama awaiting babe number two. in addition to being mom to the sweetest of little girls, Christine is a partner-owner at Manley Mann Media where she spins both amazing word webs and amazing web words. as a strong woman who challenges herself physically, she is known around the studio as the Shame Machine – you best be doing full push ups if that pregnant lady Christine next to you is! i am blessed to know Christine, inspired by her inner fire, and so grateful she is today’s guest blogger!
I became pregnant for the second time in May 2012 and immediately decided to sign myself up for an experiment. I don’t know if you’d call it a social one or a psychological one, or heck even a valid one, really, since I am both the subject and the conductor of this study, but an experiment it is.
My first pregnancy, five years ago, saw me lethargic, sore, cranky, and basically a lump on the couch for 42 weeks. My physical activity levels basically consisted of floating in a pool 1-2 times a week, pretending to swim a lap or two whenever a fellow swimmer would join me (but, mostly, I just enjoyed floating), and walking in grocery stores, malls, and big-box stores that consumed much of our weekend schedule back when we lived in Ontario.
My daughter was born almost 2 weeks past her due date (ouch), after approximately 33.5 hours of labour (but who’s counting?). I experienced back labour and some pretty graphic internal stuff I shall spare you from reading about. Let’s just say that I still haven’t forgotten the experience despite common folklore suggesting I should have long ago replaced these details with visions of rainbows and sunshine.
Recovery was a bit on the slow side, and it’s safe to say that the shell-shocked state of New Parents Syndrome kept me housebound the better part of a year. It took me forever to get back to the gym, to become fit again, to feel like me.
In 2010, I found myself looking for a new fitness routine. My family had settled into some state of normalcy after a few years of chaos, and my half-ass gym workouts and infrequent running schedule just wasn’t cutting it. Kettlebells was recommended and so I signed up to try.
Two years later and I am addicted. Not only is kettlebells a fantastic workout and not only does Wendy continually mix it up (it’s safe to say we’re never bored), but the mix of camaraderie and community that is experienced at Wendy’s studio is something I’ve never experienced before. I’ve long ago given up my gym membership (where I often felt alone and intimidated). With Wendy, we’re always challenged, and even when we grumble (and do we grumble!), it’s usually with a smile on our faces. Usually.
I’ve never been happier with my physical appearance and level of fitness than I have been this past year. I credit Wendy and kettlebells for this.
So, when I decided to add Child #2 to the mix of my already busy life, it was with the caveat that I try as hard as I could to maintain my sanity. I did not want to lose myself, and for me, this meant maintaining my fitness levels as much as I could. I was curious as to just how long I could continue swinging with a growing belly, and if doing so would affect my overall well being.
I’m proud to say that, other than a few weeks at the beginning, where constant nausea plagued me and my level of physical activity consisted of keeping my eyelids open, I have managed to maintain something of a regular kettlebell schedule.
Push-ups. Swings. Jump rope. Even burpees. So far, I’m doing it all. I’m now in trimester #3 and have started making some modifications. Not really because I can’t handle it . . . but moreso that there is a certain obstacle in my way. (Ever try mountain climbers with a giant belly in the way? Case in point.) I’ve also cut out attending circuit classes now that I get winded by simply walking up stairs (thank you unborn child for squishing my lungs), and some moves present additional balance issues that I didn’t have to adjust for before, but other than that, I continue to go and swing with the rest. My stubborn l’il self refuses to modify too much, as part of the fun of the class is keeping up with everyone else!
This pregnancy has been so much easier than the first and I credit placing such an importance on my physical activity levels. I’m not known as the “lump of the couch” around the house and I generally have more energy than I did when pregnant the first time around. I honestly can’t believe that I’m 30 weeks pregnant already! I also like the way I look, which didn’t happen much during pregnancy number one, where I often felt clumsy, large, and ugly.
So far, the experiment is working. I still have 10 weeks to go and I’m sure more modifications will have to be made along the way, but my original goal of “let’s just try kettlebells until Christmas” has already been changed to “let’s keep going as long as I can.”
My fellow kettlebell swingers joke that this child will emerge looking like a bell and swing right on out of me. I’m not quite sure about that, but I do hope I have an easier labour this time around. I’m being realistic with that expectation, but I do know that my overall health is much more positive and even maintaining a good mental health can contribute to the birth experience. And, once baby is born, I plan on returning to Wendy’s studio as soon as I can, swinging my way back to the pre-pregnancy body that I was so proud of. Pregnancy is no reason to stop being active, especially if fitness is already part of your life. Sheesh, if those ancient women in the rice fields could keep on working right up until they gave birth, there’s no reason I can’t swing a bell (or two).
healthy, fit bodies require good food, regular sleep, loving companionship, intellectual stimulation, a sense of purpose and kettlebell training.
learn all you need to know about kettlebell training at a complimentary Kettlebell Skills Clinic.
Saturday September 15th at 12:30pm
Tuesday September 25th at 5:50pm
please register in advance by contacting wendy. 902.894.8943 or email@example.com
it is time to let Kettlebell Training change how you think about fitness, exercise, and your wellbeing!
jane found kettlebells 3 years ago. (yeah, that’s her in the picture, laying on the floor, in a kettlebell workout bliss). she is still hooked on them as tools of transformation. though her addiction has waxed and waned over the past year, if you come to class, you’ll meet her and her disruptive spirit. everyone needs a jane in their workout day. take a moment to read her story.
p.s. tell your friends about the clinic, i bet they are interested!