Hello World; Here’s What’s Next

When I started my very first blog the short, yet profound, phrase ‘Hello World’ was sitting in the first draft post.  It sat, perfectly simple, in the wordpress template as if it were helping to push me along into the future, a little more open and a little less anxiously than would typically mark the beginning of the unknown.  Granted, I think everyone who started a blog had the same stock welcome note waiting for them on their first post, but in that moment the welcome felt very personal and very real.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about new beginnings – about the difficulties of wrapping up the past and stepping into the instability of the future – no matter how bright it might look.

If you’re standing at the edge of something new, no matter how much certainty you carry in the decision, you’re bound to feel vulnerable.  New jobs, new relationships, new businesses — and even just new routines.  It’s far too frequent that people tell me that they’d love to try out MAD, or they are really excited about b:core but they are afraid they wouldn’t be good at it, aren’t fit enough, or will try it ‘next month’ (when, clearly, all the rest of the world will have aligned around them to make the adjustments to their current schedule seamless and powerful).  Obviously I’m joking a bit there because I’ve never known any phase of my life, or even any day really, to perfectly align in a way that makes my goals easy (can goals be easy?).  If I learned anything during my tenure at lululemon and the hundred some goal setting sessions I conducted, it’s that if you’re not really reaching for a big goal– and maybe reaching, finding a step stool or ladder, and creating a pulley system to get to that top point — you’re not aiming high enough.  And if it scares the pants off of you? Great.  You’ll thank yourself later.  In short, you’ll have to create your own perfect alignment, your own power, and your own conviction to go after that next goal.

fuel sweat grow: b:core

Today as I sit here, amidst quite a bit of the anticipated ‘new’ and a list of far too many to-do’s, I’m embracing it all.  I have endless opportunities, a handful of things that are all building quickly, and powerfully, to lead to wherever it is I’m going to end up — but I can’t complain.  The good far outweighs the bad, the creative outweighs the mundane, and the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.  We are finally on the brink of being exactly where we anted to be with ALL the businesses, and it’s time to appreciate their energy, success, and communities – in a big way.

Today we announced another exciting piece of our b:core lineup – b:elite.  The b:elite program is geared towards developing high school and college athletes looking to build, or enhance, strength and endurance fundamentals through personalized and focused skills development and conditioning.

fuel sweat grow: b:elite programming

This training and programming is expertly developed, implemented, and paired to bring a well rounded and effective curriculum to the athletes it serves.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about the coaches programming, and partnership (yep, b:core and MAD will be teaming up to make sure these athletes are getting the benefit of the well rounded training regimen and lifestyle we promote through our barre, core, and interval programming. Questions? email belite[at]bcoremethods.com for more information or to sign up.

This summer is already off to a full and amazing start, and it’s just the beginning of May — not too shabby.  Between our MAD locations in Charlottesville and Charleston, b:core coming also to Charlottesville, and a few other things up our sleeves, there’s never a dull moment, but there are a lot of exciting moments filled with amazing friends, exciting new partnerships, and of course…..fitness + food.

Hello (again) World; I’m back and it’s time to embrace all the positive that comes with change, and walk eyes wide open into the next chapter.  Things will never be the same, but sometimes can mean a lot of beautiful things.

b:core – THE Announcement

So here it is: the announcement you’ve been waiting for…or really the one we have been itching to get out for a long time.  b: is for barre, but core is for….Lagree.

We’ve been following this method for a while now, both at it’s foundational level through creator Sebastien Lagree, and also through some of the current top-trending brands that deliver the method globally (try: solidcore, core40, SLT, and over 100 others).  If you’re dialed in to the fitness scene even just a little bit, you’ve heard of it — and if you really have your finger on that pulse, you’ve probably gone out of your way to sweat your face off in a class somewhere, just like we did.

Want to learn a little more? Check out some of these articles from well+good that can give you a little bit more info on some of their top Lagree studios and why they love to sweat at them.  Our studio will have our local b:core branding and a strong athletic vibe, so you can expect some intense sweating to perfectly compliment everything else that you do — at least that’s what my plan is.

When I left Charlottesville after college and began my fitness career outside of college athletics (in tandem with my business career) I viewed the combination as part of my ‘real world’ immersion.  It began as a way to create balance in my new grown up life, and quickly started to set the foundation for my lifestyle.  I travelled often, always finding the ‘best’ place to sweat wherever I was, and was lucky to live in both Philadelphia and Charlotte where fitness is both a focus and something that is done exceptionally well.  I learned the importance of investing in my health, and tapped into my passion for not only teaching, but also building community with that same lifestyle focus.  Part of that path was  pushing myself physically to try everything while continuously learning and evolving beyond passion to establish that solid base for what I believed in and why.  That part of course has continued to evolve, and will hopefully only get stronger.

fuel sweat grow: lagree fitness b:core

The other side of that path was the one leading me back to Charlottesville.  I wanted to live here, that was without question, but I wasn’t willing to give up the fitness and health aspect of my lifestyle to make that happen.  So, of course, the only real logical course of action was to build what I wanted in Charlottesville, and that’s the root of this all.  Basically, what we have now is my ideal world, paired with Dar’s own dimensions and passions, and a community that is transforming before our very eyes.  I think I can also speak for Dar here when I say that we could not be more excited to finally have what we believe are the top foundational, innovative, and expertly designed methods out there all perfectly packaged to compliment each other — and we promise, we’ll never be complacent.

We’ve still got a lot more brewing over here, but now that this cat’s out of the bag, it will all make much more sense.  Charlottesville I hope you’re ready, because things are about to get pretty intense….in a good way.

Primal Education: Function to Movement

Secretly, or I guess not to secretly now, I have this dream that I live in a world where there are 26 hours in a day.  I’m not wishing for longer ‘work’ days — truly — I’m talking about two bonus hours that exist separate to any other possible commitments, interruptions, or demands to just simply catch up on the world.  Extra sleep would be great, sure, but there is so much other consumable information out there that is constantly evolving, thought provoking, and currently stockpiling up in my blog feed that I just want it to reasonably fit into my life.  I have these long lists of bookmarked and flagged articles ranging from fitness trends, to clean eating, to lifestyle….you name it… that I literally binge read once or twice a week to the point that my head feels like it might explode.

fuel sweat grow: reading

These days when I don’t get to read anything of particular interest or pleasure to me from 8-5, having these supplements to my development really caps off the day perfectly.  I use a few different readers, following my fair share of the larger industry publishers and (probably too many) individual voices whose views I respect and believe in, and a few that I don’t — which I look at as philosophical diversity.  It’s always a different perspective, a variety of information, and with the ones I really get into, either an integrated take on something so functionally relevant to what we do at MAD (and b:core), or something completely new that challenges my thinking.

Whatever the connection (or dis-connection) point, I love where each piece takes me.  This week I finally rolled across this post on the Whole 9 blog talking primal movements — or I guess I intentionally found that post after stumbling across this follow up on how the 7 primal movements in the first article are put into practice for balanced, total body progressions.  So much of what we do at MAD is based off of our 5 functions, creating a primal focus in every interval….and hopefully, if you’re paying attention, in every movement.  Our b:core training (barre certification from Exhale Spa) is deeply rooted in the same principles, in functional movement patterns, and the ‘why’ behind what we do and do not believe in.  Once again, rooted in kinesiology and movement principles, it’s all about the body, how it is assembled, how it moves, and what patterns are functionally sound to increase ability and reduce injury.  That’s kind of a mouthful, but essentially that’s what the goal is, and that’s what we strive to engrain in our staff, and love to learn more about from them.  We’re so crazy lucky with the teams we have for all businesses, and are constantly blown away not only by their knowledge and ability, but also their thirst for more functional knowledge to make them better at what they do.  That’s the true making of a fitness professional versus an instructor, and it’s such a hard thing to find in a small town like this.

In the last few years Dar and I have geeked out pretty hard on functional movement certifications and trainings not to mention a million hours of reading and practical implementation, so we’re pretty pumped to be bringing the best that we’ve found to Charlottesville.  From FMS to movnat, Strong First to barre by Exhale/Core Fusion, and of course the ___________ method being announced this week….we’ve essentially brought everything we believe in to one consolidated market, and we could not be more excited.  Stay tuned for some updates on each, including our latest adventures with the FMS screen and what it’s going to mean for our clients.

Charlottesville, you’re pretty freaking lucky — and we feel the same.  Now, if I just had those 2 extra hours to read my stories, my life here would be soon be complete.

3 Ways to Push Through Wednesday + MADabolic Innovation

Welcome to Wednesday, otherwise known as the day that simultaneously sells you on a ‘slow descent into Friday’ and slams you with all the things at once.  The only thing you can do is slam it right back (with maybe a little more force?) and take that sweet little ride into the weekend.

Three things happen to me on days like this:

1. Hyper-structuring.  Every moment is accounted for, every detail is organized, and edges are just a little sharper.  It’s about getting things done and propelling forward, because honestly, there’s no other option.

2. Food becomes fuel.  Efficiency is the goal, and that includes meals.  Somehow with limited time meals seem to come together with a greater purpose — and that purpose is to fuel me through the next phase of motion without a crash.  I don’t know why (or how) but the most innovative and delicious combinations always come out of these days.

3. Definitive thinking. Hyper structure typically breeds more than just sharp edges.  Thoughts become more black and white, capacity for the unnecessary is limited, and emails tend to have a little extra bite to them.  It’s business time y’all, and apparently there is no more space for the grey area.

So, lets be honest, while today started off presenting as a bear of a day, it has since been defeated thanks to some great developments on all sides of my world — beginning with our exciting morning news that greatist named MADabolic as one of The Top 28 Most Innovative Gyms in America.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

This was definitely a big endorsement and an awesome compliment coming from the greatist blog which happens to be one of my own top 28 blogs to follow (and that full list is a lengthy one).  Just over three years ago when Dar and I went to the first preview class at the MAD headquarters in Charlotte we knew that it was the next thing — with the crux being the program design and science that goes into it.  We both immediately began to resent the other fitness concepts we were knee deep in opening and knew it was only a matter of time before we would have to make a change to bring the MADness to Charlottesville.

You live and you learn I suppose, and it didn’t take us much time at all to find a way to get back to the roots.  I think that’s what I love the most – the science behind the programming, the functional elements, and the informed reasons behind those patterns.  It’s really hard to find methods that are smart when it comes to functional movement patterns or the ‘why’ behind it all, and that’s definitely not something I will ever compromise on again.

So, here we sit two years later, and all we have to show for it is an amazing community (communities, really) of MADones, healthier lifestyles all around, and a brand growing in both power and numbers.  Not a bad place to be if you ask me.

After this morning news peak my focus thankfully remained and I was able to leverage hyper-structuring mode to get some more ducks in a row.  I can only hope to be all set for mother nature’s next slap in the face.  Tomorrow is looking like it will be a pretty definite snow day, so here’s to keeping things in high gear, fuel included, to march hard into Friday and a three-day weekend.

Catching up on last week: fuel + barre

It’s been a while since I had a spare minute, so updates have been a little sparse, but believe me, good food has not.

Last week kicked off with a trip to the ER when Dar had kidney stones that presented like they might be appendicitis, or what she described as ‘an alien living inside’ of her (good thing that proved to be a misdiagnosis). The week ended (and the new one began) with the most intensive 5 day certification I’ve ever been to with our unbelievable team for the barre portion of our new studio concept in Charlottesville (b:core methods).  We were all trained by Exhale/Core Fusion co-founder Fred DeVito (who basically established Barre in the US with the Lotte Berk Method before creating Core Fusion — you’re welcome America), and it could not have been more exceptional.

fuel sweat grow: b:core core fusion training by exhale

I will be sharing a far more extensive history of the method, updates from the weekend and my recap of the experience in the next week or so, but in short, it was better than I could have hoped for from an truly educational, and functionally sound perspective.  Our teachers were all amazing right from the beginning, not only getting right into teaching like rock stars (seriously, all of them. rock stars) but also in how they embraced and dug into the kinesiology and anatomy sections, which was the most important part to Dar and I. Everyone got two manuals, one for the method and class structure (etc.) and a second THICK manual detailing out the ‘why’ behind each nuance, movement, and modification that has been developed and improved in line with physical therapists, professors, and doctors of varying specialties.  Twenty years of expertise, evolution, and technique all wrapped up into 5 long days of intensives.

It’s now four days later and I’m still applying new tidbits not only to how I think about barre on the whole, but also how I think about coaching and performing at MADabolic — and it’s already made a huge difference.

When I haven’t been at this training, at MAD, or you know, working at my day job, we’ve been (of course) working on another pretty exciting collaboration (or three) with some folks locally, and I can’t wait to announce all of them in the next month or so.  Lots of amazing things are about to unleash themselves in Charlottesville, and a few other choice locations.  I guess when it rains it pours, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Through all of the scurrying, training, and building, one thing has remained constant: good food.  We’ve been lucky to have the time and ability to stay in Cville rather than having to travel for training, and through that have had some amazing meals both at home and with friends.

Here are a few clean and awesome meals that helped to keep things in a ‘go’ status:

Grilled Flank Steak Fajita Wraps w/ fresh guacamole, that I believe may have been an offspring of this recipe from Paleo Kitchen, and happened to also be paired with the most amazing mexican cauliflower rice thanks to two of our awesome MAD members.

fuel sweat grow: paleo dinner club

This soup was a hybrid product, existing somewhere between the Whole Food’s Turkey Chili made paleo that Todd and Kiks made a few weeks ago, a general vegetable soup, and a basic dump in of everything left in the fridge.

Here’s what we had: sautéd onion with ground turkey, zucchini and yellow squash, kale, chicken stock, and mushrooms added to the boil.  The only spices added were garlic salt (from the grinder) and black pepper — and that’s all that it needed.

fuel sweat grow: chili soup

Monday night, at the end of our final training day, I decompressed with one of my favorite staple meals; flank steak, calciferous kale and green onion slaw (dressed in lime juice, olive oil + sea salt) with a side of avocado.

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner

This is definitely one of my favorite meal combo’s and have had it in several different iterations over the last few weeks, including last night again when we had two of our MADmen over for dinner + development.

fuel sweat grow: steak / salad

This weekend I’m looking forward to laying low, and I actually head to Charlotte on Sunday night for most of next week, but as we all know, a week in my office in charlotte = a full weekend day prepping meals and making sure I’m fully stocked for a week of work life imbalance.

Recover + Recharge: Holidays in Charlottesville

There have been years when the holidays have been hectic; lots of travel, gift hunting, and a million to-do’s that all collide with each other generating a little more stress than usual.  Since this year has been full of all things hectic (plenty of travel and to-do’s included), it was a nice change of pace to stay planted in Charlottesville, and take the time to recover, recharge, and settle fully into the warmth of a holiday at home.

With work winding down, I took a couple extra days off to do all of the things I love about living in such a locally driven town; exploring locally owned businesses, hand picking gifts, coffee with friends, and of course, one of my favorite treats: sweethaus cupcakes.

fuel sweat grow: sweethaus cupcakes

Tuesday night was filled with mini-cupcakes, great friends, and warm holiday spirit. This time the party was at HOME, which was a welcomed change from the crazy holiday party circuit that has dominated the last few weeks.  This year has been one with challenges, change, and so many amazing people, old friends and brand new, that make it impossible not to have an (over) full heart.

After a great night of celebrating, the 7am class at MADabolic Cville followed by 75 minutes of Rasa Yoga Lab / myofascial release at Opal Yoga with Mia paired up to be the perfect complement for a little extra recovery.

fuel sweat grow: Christmas Eve Opal Yoga

The more I put on myself, physically and mentally, a load that seems to increase by the year, the more important it has become to know what it needs to recover.  Years ago when I started exploring different practices, methods, and the balance of them, my main goal was to figure out the perfect compliments for my own body and lifestyle.  While that’s still the goal, over time I realized that there’s no ‘perfect’ forever combination, but there’s a definite formula for the intelligent pairings of building and releasing strength, stress, and space.  The formula forces self-education, intelligent pairings and cyclical change over time.

The combination of Mia’s class – the yoga (flow + yin) to warm the muscles, and the myofascial release with blocks and tennis (or lacrosse) balls to release – was exactly what I was needing this week, and allowed so much more of a mental release than hurried stretch or foam/PVC rolling on my own (pre or post sweat).

We found our post-sweat / post-release recovery bliss in an almond milk latte at Milli Joe, nerdish conversation about the body, fitness philosophies, and life’s evolutions – in both body and mind.  It was a great Wednesday out of the routine, and a sweet recharge to kick off the holiday.

I’m excited to get back to a little routine and structure tomorrow, but it will definitely be nice to have a few more days off from work to enjoy the easy balance before real life weighs back in.