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.

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Time + Trigger Points

You know that saying, ‘where does the time go’? Like a questioning of how time could possibly be evaporating into the ether; mysterious and elusive.  I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but I know exactly where my time is going because it’s all blocked out on my planner between work, to-do’s, meetings, projects, and the inevitable MADness that consumes my week. And I couldn’t live any other way.

I’m front loading this week with everything – sweats, organization, work.  Everything that legitimately needs to get done  from a real life perspective will be happening between now and Thursday morning.  I was slow on registering for MAD this week, so of course I couldn’t get in to the 6am, but luckily was able to snag one of the last spots in the 7am to fully kick off Momentum Month.

fuel sweat grow: Sweat Schedule

The last few weeks have been a complete blur of travel, organization and system completion for the next big thing we have happening around here, and we’re just about at the point of sharing those details with everyone….ALL the details, which is more than what even our new team is aware of.  We just need a few more days to make sure all the details are fully cooked and ready to go, so that’s exactly what we’re working on.  This has been by far the most fun, exciting, and inspiring of all my ventures, and as promised at our 1 year anniversary of MAD, it is the combined product of all of the successes, failures, and learnings from the last 5 years of business owning, operating, buying and selling.  The commitment was to building each one better and smarter than the one before — in both practice and strategy.  And so far, so good.

Since the build is always the hardest part, things have been a little nuttier than normal, and I’m so thankful for the community and support that everyone provided through The Whole Damn Thing.  Seriously, it helped to stay motivated and on track when organization seemed was most challenging and most necessary.  In tandem with that, we had some amazing community vibes happening around here hitting up class at Opal Yoga, Hot Yoga Charlottesville, truPILATES, and  back in the MAD house for a little Yin Yoga/Myofascial Release with Mia Hamza on Saturday.  And some day soon I’ll fill you in on where I’ve been going when I’m NOT in Charlottesville, because that has been the most fun of all.

fuel sweat grow: Myofascial release Yin Yoga

fuel sweat grow: yin yoga myofascial release

We had an awesome crew join for the 2 hour (2.5 if you were really counting) workshop after 4 crazy packed MAD classes, and we most definitely found some release.  For our athletes at MADabolic, and athletes anywhere, it’s so critical to remember that their health is a full circle lifestyle — we’ve covered a ton of the eating part, and in our intervals we cover the strength, cardio, endurance and stabilized training methods, but we can’t forget the nuances of what we still need and often overlook — it’s the strengthening, challenging, and lengthening the smaller and more attention needy muscles that allow us to play big when we want to.

We started with Yin Yoga to warm up our muscles and get a few of the kinks and cobwebs out, and then went right into the education and practice of myofascial release, and finding the trigger points that our bodies crave to have worked out.

fuel sweat grow: Yin Yoga + Myofascial release with Mia Hamza

The hardest thing to adapt to is the very apparent feeling of nausea that can sometimes come out of releasing a point where stress has been building.  The feeling is different for everyone, and so is the trigger.  I’ve always known through my perpetual massage habit that my traps and neck carry tons of stress for me in my life, but what I sometimes forget is just how much of a load lands and stays in my quads.  That’s my most sensitive and trigger rich area, so it requires the most breathing and conscious relaxation (yep, that’s a thing) to get through….always with the hope of not barfing.

While I was just so thrilled to be offering this to the community (and some other stretch options soon to be hitting the plate of our MAD members), there was still the question of how everyone would respond to it.  We’re of course always trying to figure out what our clients need more of, less of, and what additional resources and education we can provide to make sure they’re LEARNING the WHY and not just going through the motions because we told them to.  After a short recovery coffee and some food to keep the machine functioning, I received a text from our awesome friend and client Abby with the following text: ‘I was just able to bend over with my legs relatively straight and touch the ground.  It has literally been forever since I could do that!!!’ which was an awesome testimonial after just one workshop, and really great to know that it’s not just Dar and I who believe in, and benefit from it.

Of course the hope is to make this a habit to have lasting and not just feigning results….so expect to see some more deep, loving, and in the words of Robin, ‘yummy’ stretch sessions happening around MAD – very soon.

So with that all behind me, including this morning’s 7am MAD class, we’re about a third of the way into the ‘get ‘er done’ section of the week.  Here’s to hoping I made enough of a dent in the to-do’s today to prevent any heavy back loading on Wednesday so I can stay on top of where all my time went, and where it’s going from here.

The Whole Damn Lifestyle: Beyond the Trend

Today was day 28.  The final day of the hard push, and just another day further along in sustaining a lifestyle that slowly starts to feel ordinary.  I think the whole point of developing a lifestyle is to create habits that become the standard of ‘normalcy,’ or the standardization of the typical — but that’s not really what we’re going for here.

I don’t think there’s anything ‘typical’ about what our community has accomplished.  The words that come to mind are more like extraordinary…incredible…committed…supportive….and most of all inspiring.  Everyone began this challenge for different reasons and from different places.  The changes to each of our routines has been different, our new routines continue with difference, and our outcomes could not be any less standardized. There’s no single or exact outcome, but it doesn’t matter.  From where we stand now, different is still nothing short of amazing.  I’m so proud of everyone who participated, and everyone who supported this community shift.  The impact has been far larger than we ever could have imagined, and has truly created a lifestyle movement that’s beyond any trendy hype, and simply based in honest results that are changing lives for the healthier.

fuel sweat grow: the whole damn thing

I think if there is one big moral that I’d hope is apparent to everyone who participated, and I want to integrate into the understanding of anyone who didn’t (but is still listening), it’s that it isn’t really about weight loss or even fitting better into clothes.  It’s about giving yourself better odds and living a whole (full) damn life. The rest is just a bonus. The chemicals, sugars, and horrible additives that exist in processed foods aren’t just pushing forward obesity in this country, it’s actually killing us.  It’s killing active, ‘toned,’ people who didn’t realize what it was doing to their body internally and how it was triggering disease and illness.  It’s so easy to throw around the concept of a healthy ‘lifestyle’ these days – and it’s a trend that had lost meaning to me for a while.  It’s easy to preach a healthy lifestyle, to grasp at inclusion and community through vocabulary and hype, but without living it you’re doing yourself a disservice.  You’re a high performance sports care and you’re putting low-octane gas in your tank expecting to win — it doesn’t matter how good you look on the outside, none of that matters if your engine is clogged.  You also aren’t going to be able to go if you don’t put in any gas at all.

It’s too easy in our culture to get calorie and fat obsessed, but that’s the least of our worries.  Cut the crap out of your diet, learn where your foods come from, and clean it up, And if you have any questions, we’ve got about 85 folks who just participated (probably more) in a month of cleaning out our own engines, and it’s looking like it’s going to be an amazing year.  So, let me step off of the soap box for just a moment and re-iterate just how inspired I am by our community and all of the amazing meals, strategies, connections, and support that they brought to the table for this challenge.  I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished, and even more excited at the visible shift I’m seeing define such amazing new lifestyles.   Thank you all for sharing it with me.

i Heart Walking

My heartstrings have always been easily pulled by compelling causes, the struggles of friends, and the many health threats that seem both impossible and too easy to cure.  I’m lucky to have so many friends and family that are committed to health and fitness not only as a part of their own healthy active lifestyles, but as a lifestyle and commitment that they share with others.  It’s such an amazing community, and one that can touch so many people in very powerful ways.

On September 21st I’m participating in the Charlotte Heart Walk, as the team leader for ‘i Heart Walking’ team.  My goal isn’t a monetary one, necessarily, but a goal of connecting all of my friends (and their friends) from the fitness community in Charlotte to walk in solidarity for stronger hearts and healthier lives.  We all live, promote, and spread our active lifestyles for the same reason – because we feel passionately about health, a health that goes deeper than appearance, and impacts the quality and and length of our lives.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, and a former fellow lemon (translation: we worked together for lululemon) shared this incredible video that documents one of her family member’s battles with an acute heart disease.  Please take a moment to watch it and share in her experience.

We don’t always think about heart disease impacting us at younger ages — its so easy to place it in a different age category and out of our minds.  The reality is that heart disease, and it’s varying levels of acuteness, impacts all age groups.   Lauren’s video, very powerfully, conveys this message and her story shares the harsh reality of how important heart health and the work of the American Heart Association really is.    The work of the American Heart Association benefits an incredible number of heart related illnesses, support programs, and individuals, all with their own stories, struggles, and battles to keep on beating.

Save Lauren's Heart

Please join my team, donate, or spread the word to make a difference at this year’s Heart Walk in Charlotte.   I would love nothing more than to walk in a sea of my favorite Charlotte fitness enthusiasts, and friends, all representing their fitness families as one united community committed to heart health, and active lifestyles.

I will be there representing my own MADlifestyle with a full and hopeful heart.

Full Health + 1/2 Birthdays: Celebrating the Good

The total chaos of the past few weeks left little time for grocery shopping, and even less time for at-home food preparation.  The unfortunate consequence of all this was that meals became few and far between, and resulted in frequent meals out.  On the other hand, the fortunate upside is that living in Charlottesville allows for pretty awesome clean eating (if that’s your thing).

Still on my kale binge, I was beyond excited to walk into The Farm and see these fresh Kale salad’s being set out for lunch.

Kale from the farm

I grabbed a huge water (since coffee had been overly dominant in my total beverage intake), a banana to add a little more to the meal, and happily set up back at the office.

There were carrots, sunflower seeds (my favorite) and a lemon juice and salt dressing.  I’m a huge fan of citrus dressing on Kale salads, and if it sits for a little while prior to eating it, it softens the leaf so it’s not such a huge dry crunch.  My dad actually gave me that tip and has an orange kale salad that is on my short list to make this fall.

kale lemon salad

The week I discovered this amazing lunch option at The Farm happened to be two weeks prior to opening the Charlottesville location, and the week that my parents were coming to visit.

One of the most exciting summer traditions in my parent’s lives (that sounds sad, but it’s not…) is my dad’s garden.  Growing up we always had an overflow of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and whatever other vegetables we chose to plant that year.  In the last few years my dad has started growing Kale, and it yields such a huge and continuous crop that he some with him.

Ralph Kale

This is just a small bunch from the huge bag he brought, and went into a number of meals, smoothies, and salads over the following two weeks.   But that all happened after my parents left. While they were here, the food tour of Charlottesville continued — and hit it’s peak during Dar’s 1/2 birthday party.

Since life has been crazy, and work has been even crazier, our clients, friends, and all of Dar’s boyfriends (with their significant others) met at Champion Brewing Co for a surprise 1/2 Birthday + 1 year in Charlottesville night of fun.

Dar Birthday at Champion

It was a great distraction from the (then) half-complete build out, and an amazing group of people.

Champion: Dar's birthday

After we left Champion, we all walked over to one of my favorite local spots – Mono Loco – to continue the fun, just with food.   Dar led the way, ‘Up-style’ with the balloons Uday got her, attached to her belt.

Dar's 1/2 birthday

Throw in some bubbles and Dar was a happy 1/2 birthday girl.

Bubbles

Surprise parties, beer, and bubbles aside, the night was desperately needed.  There are times in life when everything collides at once: stress, work, and anxiety; and we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should.  Sometimes that means not eating well, other times it comes from sacrificing our own workouts, and most times, it means we’ve deprived ourselves of the happy and fulfilling stimulus of being surrounded by friends and conversation.

food blog: mono loco

food blog: mono loco

I think that’s the  piece of the ‘health’ recipe that we sometimes miss – the complete and total human need for other humans.  For friends, for connections, and for the ability to escape the stress of regularly scheduled life.

mono loco

The last few weeks, through our opening, it has been this third element of health, and life, that has been so critical in keeping things in perspective– lessening the weight of all we have to do.  I am so grateful for all of the support from friends, family, and our new growing community — seriously thank you all, it has truly made all of the chaos worthwhile.

Today marked the end of the 1st week of business, and was met with a full 9:30am class – full of bodies and full of energy –  which made for an amazing morning.  Tomorrow begins week 2, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.  I’m thinking that more friends and less stress are exactly what’s on the menu.  Plus, I finally managed a full-restock of the fridge, so things are definitely looking up.

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.