On Building the New + Loving What Already Is

The first two weeks of August are typically the slowest, the quietest, and at times the sweetest weeks of the year in Charlottesville.  That pattern probably persisted again this year(traffic has been lighter, downtown has had parking) however, in the eye of the storm that is opening a new business, things have been a little different for me — again.

fuel sweat grow: b:core methods opening

Each year, for the last 4 years, most of my energy has been devoted to opening a new business between June and August, which I’m just starting to realize does have a serious impact on my summer-ing, but I still don’t think I would have it any other way.  We’re just about two weeks out from opening, and there’s no amount of pool time or day drinking that could compare with how it feels to open the doors to the warm air as we welcome our new community, new schedules, and new chapters in all of our lives.

Last week our b:core barre team met up for wine, cupcakes, and conversation around personal branding with a little touch of team building.  So pretty much we met up for all the things I love most in life, with some of the people that I love most, and it was everything.

fuel sweat grow: b:core personal branding

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve taken classes from our teachers and been completely blown away by their poise, confidence and just general mastery of their classes from the foundations of the method all the way down to the intricacies of their personal class and voice.  I’m not only incredibly impressed with the work and focus they’ve put into building their expertise, but I’m also feeling SO grateful that I have such an amazing staff that I’ll be constantly pushed to be better and to know more — and we’ll call that a goal accomplished.

fuel sweat grow: b:core barre photos

We’ve been very aware of how incredibly fortunate we’ve been to have found the coaches we did at MADabolic, how eager and invested they are in the programming, clients, and lifestyle, so now to have another completely boss staff of barre teachers, I almost can’t believe it.

This upcoming weekend is MADabolic Cville’s 2nd Birthday, so while I’m feeling up to my neck in b:core things, I’m focused on taking time out to celebrate everything that this milestone represents for our team internally, the community, and our lives on the whole.  Before we opened MAD two years ago I asked Dar to take a minute to clear space for all the things to come; all the moments of ‘firsts’, the challenges, and the people that we don’t know yet, but that were about to flood our lives with so much good that we would never be the same again.  And that’s exactly what happened.  While I’m excited to do the same again, to embrace all the new-ness that’s going to be born along with b:core, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by looking back and celebrating all of the amazing twists and turns that came with the last two years of MADness, and all of the beautiful souls that have made it so worthwhile, and still do, every.damn.day.

So, while August can feel a little slow sometimes, we’re cranking things up over here, keeping the engines running, and preparing for the new.  I can’t wait to share some of the most exciting updates (including the new WEBSITE + b:core blog!!!!) coming this week, as we count down to the open. It’s going to be a seriously powerful kind of love coming out of the IX building downtown, and that’s the most certain thing I know.

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Vacation and Barre + Conchella and Table 7: June Revisited

It’s been a while since I’ve had a few minutes to sit, process, and share anything more than just a single moment in time.  The last month has been filled with celebrations, construction, some serious bouts of hard core work, and the significant kind of family time that can only come from celebrations of life and love.

After celebrating Year 1 of MADabolic Charleston being open, it was time for vacation…and one that had been long since due.  Since I’m historically (and deeply) terrible at committing to vacation, it was incredibly important that this trip had deep roots, and thankfully, this one had the deepest kind of roots I could ask for – Morini Roots.

My dad’s the oldest of 5 kids in his (Italian) family, and his youngest brother Mikey (aka Big Mike) was getting married, so you better believe the M side rolled in strong for the occasion.   Neither the photos or my words will be able to do the setting or experience justice, but I’ll certainly throw out a few feeble attempts to at least tee it up.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and CaicosThis is the Gansevoort in Turks and Caicos, arguably one of the best places you could go if you’re looking for beauty and relaxation with both a pool and beach setting.   It also happens to be the partner resort for the Exhale Spa in Turks, which means all the life forces in my life converged (just missing MADabolic) and set up a vacation scenario that would be next to impossible to argue with.  In addition to their regular spa treatments, they also have twice a day classes at the outdoor studio, offering Exhale’s signature barre, cardio barre, sport, and yoga classes, which we’re so pumped is the same programming and training we’re bringing to b:core methods in Charlottesville. So basically, this was a business trip, or at least that’s what I’m going to try and sell my accountant on.

Envisioning the studio during my pre-vacation daydreams, I never considered an outdoor space, so I was a little caught off guard when we headed to our first class and found this al fresco setting for our morning sweat.

fuel sweat grow: exhale barre studio Turks and caicos

fuel sweat grow: Exhale barre studio Turks and CaicosThat being said, I absolutely loved it.  While I’m not really living in a geographic market that could ever sustain a full blown outdoor studio, the whole setting really played into the island lifestyle, the absolutely euphoric fresh salt air, and quite honestly my need for some real good sweating to detox from all the food and wine.  The instructors we had were awesome (what up Kim and Josie!) and were so welcoming and open to to Dar and I especially, knowing that we’re just weeks away from bringing this same method and class to life in Cville.  The universal language of barre as it’s been so fully and authentically taught to us by the founders and pillars of the method, is on the whole is something that is pretty incomparable these days in fitness, so we feel beyond grateful to be able to deepen these connections away from the home base.

After class our typical routine was to have ‘second breakfast,’ the better half of ‘first breakfast’ which was largely made up of coffee and just the basic ‘barre class survival’ fruits that were absolutely necessary to survive cardio barre.  Second breakfast included more coffee (obviously), fresh fruit, egg scramble or omelets (MTO), a side of bacon, and of course, my iPad so I could keep up with email, the MAD communities, and our b:core buildout.

fuel sweat grow: Turks and Caicos and b:core buildout

The rest of the day was a combination of pooling, beaching, napping, and showering before assembling the family again for the schedule of nightly events (both leading up to and following the actual wedding).  The family update will come at a later date since there’s some more reflection to be had there, but here are a few of my favorite shots from the wedding events, so eat your hearts out instafriends.

fuel sweat grow: Conchella at Da Conch Shack Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicosfuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

If you’re up for the full scope look at what went down on that island, well, too bad, you’re going to have to settle for my piecemeal accounts and photos, or the slightly more diverse instagram version by streaming #conchella and getting a glimpse into more perspectives.  Or, if you’re really into it, go to about 7:10 in to this clip, and get another first hand account of the wedding week.  Mmm hmm, yeah.

That’s the quick and dirty of vacation barre / wedding-ing, minus the deep thoughts and over-sensitive feelers surrounding all things family at the moment, and the million+ things that are on the docket for the now and upcoming moments of life.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Until next time, good night, and sleep tight.  Turks, I miss you even more terribly now that I’ve forced myself to look at all these pictures again. Sigh.

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.

We Got Stoned Last Week [a resurrected life recap]

So, I love writing.  Even when I’m not in a place to post I’ll frequently spew out a draft and either save it or delete it – it’s cathartic for me.  And then sometimes, I write full posts and completely forget that it ever happened — like I did with the below post that I apparently wrote last week.  I wrote it last Wednesday right after the ER trauma, and right before our training for b:core, and while part of me thought maybe I should hit delete and leave it in the past….I’m going to honor the dear diary moment that it was since it leads directly into my upcoming recap of training, the methodology, and what I’m now referring to as the wonder team because they’re all so freaking amazing.

So here it is….

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Seriously, but not seriously, we got stoned this week — kidney stoned (or Dar did)– and it was not cool.  It was not cool because it’s never cool to get severe pain in your kidneys, or to throw up your whole life in front of your dog, or to have to take a not-so-joy ride in an ambulance because you can’t walk or move.  Those things are mostly not cool for the person going through the actual ‘pain’ process, but it’s also not cool to be the person calling 911, exhausted enough to start wondering if their questions about ebola might actually be relevant to the situation (has Dar been in close contact with animal blood from West Africa recently? I don’t know! Maybe?); or did it just sound too appealing to have a root cause for why the person keeled over next to you seems to believe there is an alien trying to escape their abdomen.  I mean, I guess there are just some things we will never know?

Regardless, Monday night through most of Tuesday is a complete blur, and all of the front loading of work that I had planned kind of evaporated while coping mechanisms took over.  If there was one serious positive about the whole thing it was definitely the reiteration of something that was already pretty understood – we’ve got the best community ever, and our friends are unbelievably awesome.

From quickly picking up classes at MAD to delivering dinner two nights in a row (ehem, Anita) and to the constant check in’s to make sure everything was going smoothly, there was never a lonely moment, and for that I thank you.  I may currently look like a homeless insomniac, but I am chock full of gratitude for all of the sweet people that we are lucky to know.

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Today was the first full day back in life and I’m pretty sure while my body completed some overtime (I had actually worked from 2pm-11pm yesterday to make up for my life evaporation), my brain was still on break for the first couple hours of the day.  I finally started to feel less foggy by 10am, and that is exactly when the flood gates all opened.  One million emails? check.  Three somewhat illogical fire drills? mmhmm.  And of course, there was the anxious yet exciting status reports on the next business to join the family, so I was back on all-cylindars digging out.

Tomorrow is going to be epic, and the first of several PTO days that could not be more well spent.  It’s foundation building time, and I could not be more excited about completing that stage.  I’ve got so many updates, so much crazy news, and of course some already stored content to publish when I have the green light to share the final pieces of what feels like an incomplete puzzle at the moment.  All in due time I suppose — but patience never was a virtue of mine.

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So, there you have it.  The exhale of some stress, and the inhale of a new experience that has proven to be far better than anything I could have hoped for.  We’re still concealing three big surprises with b:core, but at least the barre piece is out there and our teachers are able to fully realize their own passions, dynamic personal brands, and so much more.

fuel sweat grow: barre training b:core

This is just the beginning, and that’s what makes it so much more fun to get up every day and hop right on the grind.

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.