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#HowIPerformForLife : Gloria

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#HowIPerformForLife : Gloria

How do you exercise/socialize/revitalize?

I come to P4L probably 4 group classes a week. I run a couple days a week. I had an injury recently, and I realized how much I appreciated the social aspects of working out, too. We know each other on a first-name basis. We know each other, and we know when one is missing in class. We look out for each other, and the trainers know my injuries. It’s a very social, inclusive fun place to work out. It never feels like I’m just going to grind through a workout. Everyone says hello when you come in and goodbye when you leave.

When did health and wellness become an important part of your life?

When I turned 30, I realized that I could no longer run 6 days a week, I needed to add different things to my workout. I was running about 35 miles a week, and I did that for years. I started looking around for gyms that I wanted to go to. I tried a bunch of big box gyms, and I joined and I would go, but I just didn’t like it. I kept up with running, and I would hardly go to the gym. I found Perform for Life, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been to the gym consistently - numerous times a week. You know when I would take group classes at Crunch or Gold’s , there would be like 30 people, the guy was yelling at us, and there was no quality control. It was crazy. It felt like an injury waiting to happen.

What has kept you here for the past 4 years?

Honestly, I joined because it was nearby, but I have stayed because of the community and the quality of the trainers. I love Bryant and Justine, and everyone who works here is super great. It’s super great.

At your weakest point, what kept you going?

I’d say I’m a pretty stubborn, motivated kind of dedicated person just by personality. So even when you feel like you’re not going to get better or things aren’t going to get better, you just have to dedicate yourself to the next thing until it’s over. You can get overwhelmed if you try to take on the whole burden all at once.

Song that gets you excited about working out

They always tease me, because I love 90's rap. I love working out to 90's rap! What’s that one Mary J. Blige song “Family Affair”? I cannot stand working out to pop music, because it’s like a product that’s not real. People who are working out are doing something real, and most of the 90's hip hop and rap was real. Pop music is not art, and I just feel like people who are working hard should get something authentic.

When was the last time you were proud of yourself? 

I had a serious back injury. I had to go to the doctor 4 days a week for 4 months. I had to take a leave of absence from here. I was in traction. My back is a lot better. One of my goals was to come back here and get back to my old life. I finally did it! I’m back and running again. I’m back at P4L 3-4 classes a week. It was depressing, and I missed this place. I missed working out.

What's a misconception people have about you?

I think some of the newer trainers around here think that I’m not strong because I look older. After working out with them a while, I prove to them that older people can be strong and fit, too.

What are your next goals? Where do you want to go from here?

Before I had to have all this treatment on my back probably because I was pushing myself too hard. Now that this treatment worked, and I’m back at P4L. I realize how precious it is to be able to do this. I’m going to listen to my body and pace myself. I’m not going to overtrain or push too hard. When you’re a Type A person, it’s hard to not push as hard as you can. You have to listen to your body. You have to honor your limits. I want to be able to maintain and continue this way forever.

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Lessons on Loving Yourself

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Lessons on Loving Yourself

A DAY IN THE LIFE

My average day looks a little like this -  It starts with a 20-30 minute commute to work. I clock in, check my inboxes, and get to work. Four hours later, I tend to get hungry, so I might go walk to a nearby cafe or grocery store to grab a quick bite to eat. Back to work, and I'm grinding until it's 5 PM, and now I'm getting "hangry" and restless, but it's almost time to go home. 6 PM -it's time to clock out. My eyes are fried from looking at the screen all day. My fingertips have probably punched thousands of keys. My index finger feels lost without my trackpad, and my body is sore from sitting at a desk.

My name is Emily, and I am the Marketing and Graphic Design Coordinator here at Perform for Life. Before I start talking about my journey to healthyness, I'll give you a little background on who I am and what my life is like. I recently graduated from the University of San Francisco, and I quickly jumped into "adulting." My way of doing that was working multiple jobs to pay for rent for the first time in my life, but working at this gym specifically has made me realize how unhealthy and unbalanced my life has been.

When you read the P4L blogs, you're used to hearing from an expert. I am just an everyday person, and honestly, I've never been fit or athletic. Let's take it back in time - I was the kid who was picked last or finished last in the mile. The other kids used to make fun of me and say, "You're skinny, why are you last?" This made me even more shy about exercising because I felt that my body type gave people the expectation that I must be fit. 

In college, I was blessed with gym membership at Koret...but I only went to eat their sandwiches. I was intimidated by all the "gym rats," and I couldn't even bring myself to work out with my friends, because I was self-conscious about the way my body moved or that I was doing it wrong. Long story short - I've never worked out and this needed to change.


THE WHY

I decided to embark on this journey for a few reasons.

  1. Simply put, I need to move more! A sedentary life makes me restless and damages my body in the process. If I'm in my twenties, why do I feel like such a grandma on the inside? 
  2. My energy tank is feeling low, and I'm going to have to start paying attention to what I'm eating. Was the food I was eating making me feel sluggish?
  3. I want to look and feel good. I want to feel confident in my body as a whole and comfortable in my own skin. My overall goal is to have a better relationship with my body.

THE PLAN

  • Personal training once a week for 3 months.
  • Swing dancing or another form of exercise at least once a week for 3 months.
  • A focus on a low-glycemic diet every day for 3 months to help me store less fat and get more complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars. 
  • Cutting down on some of my guilty pleasures - cookies, pastries, and boba.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED IN 2 WEEKS

1. The more people there are involved, the more exciting it is. Happiness and healthyness are contagious. My boyfriend felt inspired and joined me along the way, my bosses are helping me figure out ways to eat better, and sometimes people occasionally cheer me on or check up on me. If you're doing it alone, it's harder to keep yourself accountable.

2. Being healthy is an investment in yourself and your future. Everything adds up quickly, especially as someone who didn't have a good diet or workout routine as a part of her life before. I bought new shoes, new clothes, and new food. Plus, if I wasn't already working here, I would've had to search and pay for a gym and personal trainer.

3. It's super hard to be a one woman crew with a whole lot of extras. Now, this is more on the technical side, but working out while recording myself or just editing the videos, in general, is a lot of work to manage on my own.

 
This is an example of one of my set-ups.

This is an example of one of my set-ups.

 

4. You're stronger than you believe. I'll admit, I am a carb queen! I love love love bread, and I've always loved sweets. It's been hard for me to resist sugar, because I never realized how many things had added sugars.

5. Social settings can be hard, and I feel like there's a stigma around being on a "diet." I put it in quotation marks because I'm basically weaning myself off of processed foods. I also often feel shy about telling people I'm changing my diet, because from my exterior appearance, they would assume I am trying to get skinnier. Let's face it - here in San Francisco, we've got a lot of great food, and it's hard to go out with friends and not eat all of the things I used to eat so freely. The first day of my low-glycemic diet my boyfriend decided to take me out on a date - let's just say I started the diet the next day.

6. These minor changes have fueled the foundation for a better me. It's like Emily 2.0. Upon exercising and eating healthier, I started wanting to do more to keep improving myself and taking better care of my body.

7. I really crave the taste and feeling of eating cookies. My favorite dessert is a freshly baked, chewy chocolate chip cookie, and I've been thinking about it every day since I started. Dark chocolate alone and Arctic Zero just aren't enough.

8. It's challenging to prioritize meal prepping. For one, I don't usually like eating the same thing all week. Plus, by the time I get home, I'm exhausted. As someone who works an office job, I find myself eating out more often than not, but I'm working on it!

 
 

9. I'm crooked! In high school, my godmother stopped making a dress for me, because she said my shoulders were uneven. During my first session with Brandon, I discovered she was right! One of my shoulders is higher from the other (as seen in the photos below), so we're working on correcting that.

10. Cheat day turns into cheat week, and suddenly, you've fallen off the tracks. My best friend and I went to Ghiradelli Square this past weekend, and I caved. I got a strawberry nutella crepe AND clam chowder bread bowl. From that day on, I had been craving cookies more often and found myself cheating more frequently. Justine has reminded me of the 80/20 rule (or sometimes 70/30), which allows me to eat the things that I loved before but in moderation and to not judge myself for it. We're all human. This is a process.

 
This is the smile of someone who was overjoyed to be eating a crepe after over a week or not having sugar.

This is the smile of someone who was overjoyed to be eating a crepe after over a week or not having sugar.

 

Follow Emily's P4L journey on our Instagram and Snapchat to see more videos like this!


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Exercise : Work or Play? You Decide!

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Exercise : Work or Play? You Decide!

Exercise, for me, has always been a necessity. Although most people think of me as a “strength guy”, I do choose to exercise in different ways. Most people associate cardiovascular training with running and seem to think that it’s the only way to get their conditioning in. However, my fellow movement specialists at P4L have seen time and time again, running isn't for everyone.

During my time in competitive powerlifting, my coach didn't allow us to run because endurance training (long, steady runs) can actually reduce overall strength and power. Because of this, I found other ways to condition myself: taking fewer breaks during training, playing basketball or football with my siblings, or just tiring out my dogs. All of these involved running to a degree, but they also involved quick and athletic movements, which helped me in my training to develop more power during lifts. Most importantly, though, they were fun.

Pictured :  Coach Charles

Pictured : Coach Charles

Running first became something I thought of as fun when I was in boot camp - honestly, it was our only way of having fun. After boot camp, when I joined the Naval Fleet, we had to run in order to meet the requirements of our physical assessments. I found, once again, that doing endless push-ups and miles of running weren't fun for me.

Exercise can be tough at times, especially when you don't want to do it! So why not make it into something that is fun?
Pictured :  Coach Cheri

Pictured : Coach Cheri

As a movement specialist at Perform for Life, I try to ensure that the exercises I prescribe are fun and enjoyable! I think I can speak for my fellow movement specialists when I say that they aim to do the same.  When people are having fun, they work harder. All of us try to make the hour with our clients an hour that they can look forward to, and an hour in which they genuinely enjoy exercising. Having this outlook encourages people to come back, and most importantly, it makes them happy.

Pictured :  Coach Brandon  and Coach Randall

Pictured : Coach Brandon and Coach Randall

Because I love powerlifting, I always encourage others to try it. Most people think of powerlifting as only the “big 3” - squat, bench, and deadlift - and lifting as much weight as possible.  But in order to get the most out of your training (for powerlifting or anything else) it’s important to mix it up. Training can be done using dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, cables, and many other modalities. Mixing up your routines can make exercise more enjoyable. Not only this, but it can yield better results. Exercise, simply put, is a stimulus that your body must respond to. Without variety in exercises or weights, your body will adapt to the exercise you do and plateau when it has responded appropriately (by losing a corresponding amount of fat or gaining a corresponding amount of muscle, etc). By adding variety to your routine, your body will have to adapt to this new stimulus and respond to it by producing new and appropriate results.

Exercise should NOT be a burden, and my P4L family and I realize exactly that - we aim to make it a lifestyle. Do what works best with your body, and most importantly, do types of exercise that you enjoy. Whether you decide to take a walk in Golden Gate Park or jog down Ocean Beach during an incredible sunset, just get out there and have some fun!

And if you don't know where to start, scroll down the "Small Group" page on our website to see when you can drop into a class with me. I can give you tips on how to rethink the way you see exercise through functional strength and athletic conditioning.



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All About Posture: The T-Spine

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All About Posture: The T-Spine

WHAT IS IT?

The thoracic spine resides in the mid and upper back, between the cervical and lumbar spines. This is an area of the body that is supposed to have a lot of mobility in a completely healthy person. Figure 1 shows via a joint by joint analysis of the human body that thoracic spine should be mobile while the cervical and lumbar are stable.

Learn more about Coach Amber hereLearn more about Coach Amber hereWHO USES IT ON A DAILY BASIS?

You! The human body will adapt to something it does repeatedly, even sometimes if it isn't in our greatest interest. In today's society it's pretty hard to avoid doing say, driving, sitting at desk, or just leaning forward to look at your phone. These are all habits that, unless great posture is kept, can each worsen shoulder slumping and thoracic mobility. Think about how much time you personally spend in a chair each day, do you keep good posture the whole time? That is how life is in this day and age, always moving or leaning forward.

HOW DO I WORK TO IMPROVE MY POSTURE?

 Check out the video above this post to see a couple simple exercises that can be done just about anywhere!

IF MY BACK DOESN'T EVEN HURT, THEN WHY SHOULD I DO IT?

Thoracic immobility can stem into pain in multiple spots. Like stated above in the joint by joint analysis the cervical and lumbar spines should be stable, but when the thoracic spine is immobile one or both of these can become mobile. Mobility in these spots can be bad news, leading to chronic issues in the neck and lower back, or even a larger acute injury. By adding corrective exercises to your training routine that are aimed at increasing thoracic mobility, you can reduce pain and increase performance of most measures.

 

 

 

Learn more about Coach Anthony here

 

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To Travel or Not to Travel?

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To Travel or Not to Travel?

Everybody travels.

Whether it’s for business, pleasure, or vacation, at some point, we all depart from the comfort of our homes to another location.  It might be a quick trip to the next town over or a thrilling adventure halfway around the world.  No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing stays true:

Our normal routines get thrown out the window when traveling because:

    •       If you work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment.

    •       If you run around your neighborhood, you now no longer have a familiar path.

    •       If you usually prepare your own meals, you don’t have access to a kitchen or fridge.

    •       If you’re used to a good night’s sleep, you’re faced with odd hours in different time zones.

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