Curl Control

Curl Control

Allowing my natural curly hair to be… well, curly has been a powerful lesson in letting go of control. 

Which is NOT my natural impulse. I like things better when they are controllable. Decide-on-able. When each element can be arranged just so. This is not possible with natural curls. 

Thanks to the relationship with my mane, I’m realizing that “control” is an illusion, in most areas of life. 

We like to think we can control our bodies.

I hear this notion most often with clients who have had chronic pain. They’ve worked out certain positions in which they can successfully not feel their pain, and mistake that to mean that the pain is gone.

(Not the same thing, at all.)

Where Should I Start?

OK, here’s what I do: I meet someone who wants to change their body, either functionally or aesthetically (actually most often it’s actually a complex, opaque amalgamation of the two). After determining where they are, physically-speaking, I decide how I can help them go where they want to go, and try to communicate that to them.

As such, I spend about half my time understanding where someone is currently--the industry term is “assessment”--and the other half thinking about what they can do to change (fit-biz term: “intervention”).

 And then we get to work.

We talk, we laugh, we move, we cry, we sweat, we think, we make plans, and we abandon them. We shed the parts that don’t serve us, and we hone in on the stuff that works. Together we are actively creating change, as specific as possible to that person.

Meaningful Measurement

When facing the question of whether or not to measure someone's work in the gym, we must contend with these two, contradictory world-views... Do we measure doggedly, to "prove" that the physical work results, over time, in trackable results? Or do we allow someone's internal environment/experience to take precedence, with all the randomness and uncertainty that goes along with it? We Fitness Alchemists have a simple answer: BOTH

Lessons in Intuition: Part 2

I wanted to follow up on the email about my backpack (and laptop) getting stolen a few weeks ago. As I have been telling the story to those closest to me, I've realized there is a key part of it that didn’t make it into my email to you. It might be the best part of the whole story. 

Opting Out of "Thin"

In this post, Coach Hannah shares her experience of redefining fitness goals based on her own desires, rather than blindly adhering to cultural norms. Enjoy!

For a long time I was running the race to be THIN.

(For most of my life, it didn't feel like there was any other choice.)

As a woman in America, it comes at you from all angles:

Thin is healthy.
Thin is attractive. 
Thin is achievable (if you aren't thin, you aren't trying hard enough, and you're probably lazy). 
Thin is the only worthy goal for your female body. 
Thin is
measurable (by the number on the scale, by calories in and out, by the size on your clothing tags.)

...And you'll never know if you are thin ENOUGH, so keep hustling.

And hustle I did.

To be honest, I started strength training as part of my pursuit of thin-ness.

But luckily there are are some key differences in the pursuit of strength, that helped me widen my perspective. 

Strong is healthy
Strong is attractive
Strong is achievable (this is actually true, any body can get stronger, whereas not every body is meant to look like our cultural standard of "thin")
Strong is also measurable. (By how much weight you lift. By how many reps and sets you do.)

But here's my favorite part:

Strong is relative. 

Strong is not one size.

Make Your Mornings Suck Less: Part 4

Today I want to talk to you about a concept that I call "Smoothing the Path."

I know that I am generally grumpy toddler when I wake up. It is often dark, and cold. There are lots of reasons to want to stay in bed, or to resent having to get moving. Especially when you are forced to wake up early. Toddler tantrums are a serious risk here.

At night, before bed, I am a grown-ass adult woman, and I have the bandwidth to make some mature and reasonable choices.

I have found it useful to leverage this fact to help my morning toddler deal with her shit.