Hello Charleston, Lets Get MAD

Where to begin? I think it was Alice in Wonderland that taught us all that it’s usually best to begin at the beginning, so, I will.

I spent the first half of the week in Charlotte tying up every loose end I could think of, preparing to head down to Charleston by Wednesday.  I had my mobile workstation in tow, and with the help of the coffee/smoothie bar at Whole Foods, I powered through everything on my list (I hope).

fuel sweat grow: working morning

By the time Thursday afternoon rolled around and I was officially on PTO, I was so very ready to shut down my mobile work station and take in our new home of the MADness — and the girl was there, awaiting my arrival.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston welcome entrance

We have been pretty delayed in our buildout which has (and always has) led to some anxiety and discontent in the ranks, but we started to get back on track Thursday and can hopefully set our preview week (FREE class) schedule in the next couple of days.  The bright side of the extra time is that we’ve had full availability to spend more time with our trainers to fine tune their coaching, our methods, and the operational procedures that we’ve developed over time in Charlottesville that can luckily kick off day 1 at this location.

fuel sweat grow: trainer training

The past 6 days have been constant work, development, learning, and thankfully, training for this whole group.  We don’t hire ‘trainers,’ or ‘fitness professionals,’ because we’re not just a gym with exercise classes (and because both terms are so generic and overused that they’re virtually meaningless at this point).  We’re a training facility, with a focus on training the everyday athlete.   Our target market ranges from the recreational sweater to the elite level athlete, and everyone in between. And as such, we require coaches – real, knowledgable, credible, fit and inspiring coaches – and that requires not only finding the right people, but providing perpetual training, development, and opportunities for them to better reflect and embody the product and lifestyle that we believe in.

I shot the below photo during one of our board talk/interval training segments, and just can’t get past the symbolic nature of the lighting.  This team, and this facility is still living in the shadows: of the hype, of the branding, and of all the unknown that exists outside of these four walls and these 6 coaches.

fuel sweat grow: trainers

In the next two weeks the doors are going to open, the classes will begin, and all the bodies that walk in the doors will be experiencing the product (obviously) but more importantly they will experience the community, the structure, and overall energy feed that we aim to deliver.

We’ve been so spoiled with our staff in Charlottesville that it’s unreal.  We have the best coaches we could have hoped for, and they make us better every single day.  They are the energy that our clients’ experiences and that our overall success is derived from.  The staff in Charleston is going to be amazing, and they are ready, but still don’t know what they don’t know — and that’s the most exciting part.  The next month is going to be crazy fast, and before we know it we’ll all be standing at the Grand Opening party with our brand new community, and a full month of new learnings, and a wide open road ahead.  I remember the beginning so vividly in Charlottesville that it’s completely insane to me that it’s almost been a year.

Which brings me to the much needed, never-long-enough, and just plain delightful non-work portion of this ‘vacation.’

fuel sweat grow: Charleston pool time

I’ll touch back more fully on this later, but we’re staying at the Wild Dunes Resort (I know, cry for me), just for a few days to break up the trip, and it is exactly what I needed.  Sun, beach, pool, and drinks – it was definitely not a bad way to start the weekend.

This morning was another training morning up at the space with a couple hours of coaching discussion and demoing, followed by the same interval that was being done in the other (open) locations this morning…just so no one felt left out.   While it was definitely more of a day of work than a day of rest, it was awesome to sweat with the group and detox from all of the absolutely killer food (+ wine) i’ve been consuming since I got here.  Restaurant reviews are a must, and will definitely not disappoint, since I’m pretty sure I’ve been eating better than anyone on the planet the last few days.

If we weren’t missing our Charlottesville group so much, we might never leave.  But, we are, and I can’t WAIT for the MADrave coming up on June 7th at our Charlottesville space in the IX building, so if you haven’t signed up already, get on it.  I’ll be there, glowing brighter than the sun.

 

It’s All Business: Lessons from Bug & Tank

If there were a canine version of The Godfather I’m pretty sure Bug and Tank would be the main characters.  Beyond their creepy co-dependence with each other and the fact that Tank’s snaggle tooth and collar bling makes him the best mob-style short Italian dude ever, I’m constantly finding animal heads in their beds and strewn about the house.

Fuel sweat grow: tank the godfather

Last week I had both dogs with me in Charlotte they must have torn through at least two new babies a day.  The mistake was definitely mine because I gave them too many new things up front — by friday the house was full of empty, lifeless carcasses of once fluffy toys.

As tedious as it is to constantly pick loose fluff off the floor (and out of the carpet), I have to respect their spirit.  These dogs have never met a challenge to large, a toy too durable, or anyone impressive enough cause them even the slightest misstep on the way to achieving their goals of destruction.  They’re all business.

Lately I’ve felt like my life is all business as well – transitioning from one job to the other, slowly transforming into that ‘face behind the computer screen.’  All projects and business items are in the ‘build and stand up’ phase, which is actually what I love the most, but with it all converging at the same time work days seem like continuous cycles just broken up into 24 hour phases with short interruptions for food, other obligations, and physical activity when at all possible.  Last week I hit up Flywheel in Charlotte twice to salvage what I could of my cardio endurance, and squeezed some short runs and walks into other available windows.

I could not be more excited for our MAD Charleston location to be open, and for the really fun parts to begin; welcoming new clients, planning the grand opening party, and connecting with the community that has already been creating so much buzz for us.  In Charlottesville we’ve hit a really amazing tipping point with new clients and energy in the space, the MADrave with TruPilates and Opal Yoga coming up in June, and then our 1 year Anniversary party on August 16th.  The things on the horizon are definitely appealing, now is just the business of getting there.

This week Dar is in Charleston to check on the last phases of buildout, work through layout, and stand up some of the major operational pieces, so, in the spirit of keeping all of our bases covered and continuing the momentum across the board, I’m holding it down in Charlottesville working remotely for my (other) job by day and working it ALL out by night.

Last night I got to squeeze in a little more of the fun part — coaching – with packed evening classes (and thank you to Elly for being back up at the Front!).  I’ve only been on the schedule a handful of times in the last couple of months, so it was so fun to return to the floor and experience the energy of the workout on the other end.

fuel sweat grow: MADville MADabolic Cville

Clients that were ‘new’ in the beginning of 2014 are now moving like seasoned veterans of the MADness, and everyone has managed to really engage mentally in the business and intention of the work at hand, without sacrificing the social and charismatic vibe that makes us all want to be there day after day.  In these moments, whether coaching or taking, every hour spent on back office planning and tasks all seem so worthwhile.

Accompanying my return to coaching has been my return to working out, and I’ve managed to squeeze in the Monday and Tuesday intervals.  I’m still in the debating stage of whether today will happen or not, but I’m going to err on the side of it happening since I need something to counterbalance the last three days of absolutely dreary and horrendous rain.  The other way I’ve been fighting the rainy day blues is by getting back into the kitchen.

Happy Spring Salad: romaine, snap peas, heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds.

fuel sweat grow: spring salad

I’ve also been incorporating more grains into my meals, not every day, and on a moderate scale, but it has changed everything about my energy level.  I’m definitely not a carb fiend, but every once in a while I need it for that recovery — just usually in the form of quinoa, or products made with brown rice.   So, last night, to go with my ground beef, zucchini, and Keswick Gourmet Sauce, I threw in some brown rice fettuccine and tossed it all together.

fuel sweat grow: fettuccine w/meat sauce

 

I’m actually in Charlottesville through the middle of next week, so I’m pretty psyched to hit up the city market this weekend and put together some new local meals that hopefully can be paired with actual spring weather.   But for now, it’s all business, and like Bug and Tank, I’ve got my eye on the end goal.

I’m Dar. You Can Call Me, Coach Dar.

fitness blog - darWelcome to Fuel Sweat Grow, I’m Dar.  You can read the guts of my bio on the sweatworker page, but I wanted to share a little bit more of the personal side of me, and my passion for fitness.

I’m motivated by human interaction.  There’s nothing better than to work with an individual or a small group of people to motivate, educate and coach them to achieve their goals, feel better and even look better. I have strong convictions when it comes to fitness, but mostly this is based on years of trial and error, working with hundreds of individuals and experiencing first hand things that work, and things that don’t. I’m always working on my own fitness goals, welcoming new challenges, and trying to get a little stronger in my weaker areas.

I spent the last year trying to master double unders.  mission (mostly) accomplished.
I spent the last year trying to master double unders. mission (mostly) accomplished.

Any blogs or articles that I can find, I read, and I am always attending trainings and seminars to evolve with new methods.  I’ve done it all or at least tried it once.  Ok, that’s a lie – I never did step aerobics in the 80s and refuse to do any step class.  I never have done Zumba and you wouldn’t catch me in a Zumba work out.  It’s not because these workouts don’t work – it’s because I lack coordination and rhythm. Then again, I said I’d never take Pure Barre and as someone well on their way into the 100 class club, I should probably never say never.

The people are truly what make working in fitness so rewarding for me.  I love working with awesome people who are passionate and motivated in the same areas as I am, and are invested in building stronger and healthier lives.  It’s a very personal journey with each client, and I really value the personal relationships and connections that grow out of the shared experience. When my boot campers call me Coach Dar, I love it, but really, that’s just a bonus.

fitness blog - dar training
one of my favorite all-time WOD buddies

My contribution(s) to the blog will be focused greatly around the “Sweat” section, with a few guest appearances in the fuel pics.  My cooking has historically been boring to others and mainly features the same three ingredients on a steady rotation, but I’ve been working on my own personal ‘growth’ in the kitchen, so you never know, I may shock everyone with an amazing culinary masterpiece.

To wrap this up and keep in short, I’ve always been active.  My real personal fitness journey started in my college weight room back in the ‘80s, and I didn’t know just how much it would change my life.  I’m lucky and very fortunate to do what I love.  For a long time, fitness was something I did as a personal passion and interest, planned around my regularly scheduled ‘9-5’ life.  It wasn’t until recently, in the last five years, that I took that passion and transformed it into a lifestyle and career of working with others.

I’m excited to share my passion and sweats on the blog, and am so glad that you’ve clicked over to see what we’re up to.