Holistic fitness classes for Women dealing with Breast Cancer
At Urbanfitt, we believe that EVERYONE deserves to feel powerful and fit.
We have been blessed to work with several clients going through treatment and post treatment. We believe that everyone can create improved vitality with appropriate exercise and improved mind body connection. Personally, I am truly grateful for the way these clients have expanded my day to day milking the joy out of life mandate.
We feel so passionate about the impact exercise has on the outcome of a major illness, that we are now offering FREE classes for these courageous warrior women. Anyone in treatment or post treatment is welcome. If you feel like moving and sweating a little, you're ready to try Warrior Within.
"SICKNESS IMPLIES A CONTRACTION OF LIFE, BUT SUCH CONTRACTIONS DO NOT HAVE TO OCCUR" Oliver Sacks
Not everyone can afford the big bucks to see me or another Urbanfitt trainer privately so we want to give a little back and offer our time and expertise and share our positive environment with those who need it the most.
Warrior Within is a holistic fitness workshop that is appropriate for any woman feeling ready to start moving during or post breat cancer treatment.
Like all of our other classes and workshops, group sizes will be kept to a maximum of 10 people so each individual will get the attention, modifications and support they need to effectively and safely participate in class.
The American Council of Sports Medicine recently released exercise guideliness for cancer patients. Kathryn Schmitz, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and a member of Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine headed up a 13-person American College of Sports Medicine panel that devised the exercise recommendations based on a number of published studies looking at the safety and effectiveness of physical activity during and after cancer therapy. The panel focused on studies about exercise for people with breast, prostate, hematologic, colon and gynecologic cancers.
Research has shown that regular exercise can improve quality of life for many cancer patients, giving them more energy and making it less arduous to go through treatments such as chemotherapy.
Although the same 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity suggested for the general population is also recommended for people with cancer, the prescription is not one-size-fits-all. The panel noted that although most forms of moderate exercise, such as strength training, yoga and swimming, are good for cancer patients, exercise regimens should be tailored to accommodate fitness levels, diagnoses and safety requirements.
Said Schmitz, "We now have a compelling body of high-quality evidence that exercise during and after treatment is safe and beneficial for these patients, even those undergoing complex procedures such as stem cell transplants. If physicians want to avoid doing harm, they need to incorporate these guidelines into their clinical practice in a systematic way."
Starts Wed September 8th
Wednesdays 1-2 Thursdays 8am-9am
Registration required. Space reserved on first come basis.
Please phone 416.964.3309 to reserve your space.
LOCATION: 559 College St #204
1) Dynamic warm up focusing on improving mobility particularly in upper body 2) Strength and core training focused on building body awareness and improving posture and alignment. We utilize cutting edge fitness tools you might not see at a big box gym! 3) Myofascial release, yin yoga postures and detoxifying stretch.
We are experts at providing modifications for people needing them. Our philosophy: it's better to move than not at all so we will find a way to make sure you can participate in a manner that suits you as an individual.
FREE! or $15 donation per class to
BENEFITS OF WARRIOR WITHIN: Address mobility issues in upper body Improve lean body mass and decrease risk of osteoporosis Immediate improvement in mood with a little jolt of endorphins Expand social ties and prevent isolation (strong predictor of health outcomes!) Decrease risk of recurrence Decrease nausea Improve quality of life during and after treatment Exercise is an essential part of the Complete Congestive Therapy (CDT) program that manages the swelling of lymphedema. Help you get your MOJO back!!!!
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE YOU KNOW WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED!
I took the Core Tabata class to Clinton school for a little workout today. We lugged some stuff with us, the battle ropes, a 35lb kettlebell and a 10 lbs medicine ball and did a tabata circuit. Everyone had to take turns carrying the 35lb kettlebell. It was heavy and somewhat awkward. It really slowed down whoever had it. Got me thinking how a simple two block walk up the street with an extra 35lbs on a frame would slow anyone down.
4 minutes at each station with 20 second sets and 10 second rests.
1) Battle ropes 2) Burpies with medicine ball 3) Kettlebell swing tosses down the field 4) Box jumps or single leg step ups
Then we finished off with a set of tabata sprints around the track.
Needless, to say at least one person was left feeling a little queasy.
On our way back, I sucked it up and carried the kettlebell back myself. I tried to centre it in the middle of my body to make it as easy as possible. I could feel my heart rate getting up there WAY faster than it would have without that weight.
Someone took the 10 lb medicine ball back and remarked at how it felt like carrying a tennis ball compared to the kettlebell.
I've never lost more than 15 pounds. I can't say I have personal experience with what it feels like to lose a significant amount of weight. But I can imagine that every day activities get a whole lot easier and walking down the street doesn't feel like the workout it might have once. I am so inspired by the clients I know that have dropped significant weight. I live vicariously through their renewed vitality.
If people come to me overweight or obese, we normally set a really achievable goal like say 10% of their body weight. So a woman who is 200 lbs might need to lose 70 pounds to get to an IDEAL body weight. What is ideal for one person might not be for another. Incremental sustainable improvement might be the most prudent way to approach someone's health journey. Dropping even 10% of body weight will:
Reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Lower your total cholesterol. Lower your blood pressure. Reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Reduce your risk for heart attack. Stop the need of taking one or more medications. Reduce pain and inflammation.
Reaching for an ideal body misses the big picture. Reaching for improvement in health and vitality. That's the ticket.
This is the first installment of my musings regarding feminism and obesity. Given that I see many very powerful feminists, I'm constantly confronted with how to make the pursuit of health and weight loss an empowering experience. I don't like labeling myself as one thing or another but it is easy for me to say that I don't like conformist approaches to much of anything.
I'm an extremely independent person and if a man makes any suggestions about how I can look to please him more, my back goes WAY up. It might be linked to growing up in a very righty family where respect for women really wasn't at the top of the list. My looks were always emphasized and even focused on by my father. Even to this day, I feel like I might swat Jim if he makes another comment about my weight or appearance. I grew up with the rhetoric that women should never put their kids before their husbands and that kids really don't have a chance in the world without a strong marriage. Gag.
I don't think I even met a feminist until I was in my early 20s working for a trade union. Learned so much from my mentors there. Thank you! I crossed over to corporate labour relations for some stupid reason I can't remember. After working at a brewery in management and getting whistled at as I walked through the factory floor, I quickly joined and started volunteering with Vancouver Status of Women and shoved the implementation of a human rights policy down the big wigs' throats under threat of a law suit. The union boys weren't too happy when I made them take their nudy pics down. Within a month, they were offering human rights training (AKA sensitivity training) to everyone in the brewery. I was young and naive and thought I could make change happen quickly. My view of feminism is constantly evolving and coming into myself as a woman has been a growth process.
I don't have a paternalistic approach to how I work with people at Urbanfitt. Maybe that's why strong feminists like it at the studio. I am honest and value authenticity almost more than any other quality. Not saying I've got it perfected. So if someone, man or woman, is overweight or obese and it is clearly impacting their well being, I'm going to lay out the risks in a factual way. But if an overweight or obese woman starts working with me and makes it clear that weight loss is not a goal, I don't bring it up again unless she brings it up. I understand the historical body image and food issues women travel with everyday. However, If a woman comes in and doesn't want to discuss weight loss but constantly complains about her body, I get a little irritated. I have a 'self righting' nature. If something isn't working, I'm going to try to fix it. The pursuit of body perfection is one thing.
The pursuit of healthy body weight and well being is feminist friendly.
Fat feminists might want to ring my neck for assuming someone can't be healthy and overweight at the same time. What is fat feminism?
Fat feminism or fat-positive feminism is a form of feminism that argues overweight women are economically, educationally, socially and physically disadvantaged due to their weight. Because of this, fat-positive feminists promote acceptance for women of all sizes and oppose any form of size discrimination. Fat feminism originated during second-wave feminism, and has not met mainstream acceptance. While very closely affiliated with the fat acceptance movement, fat feminists focus on women who are discriminated against because of their size.
I'm going to address this debate in detail in a later post. But thought I ought to put it out there that I know I'm pissing some feminists off by saying everyone should get to a healthy body weight to improve their health and well being. I'm not fat phobic. I'm just more experienced than they are with the impacts of excess weight.
I started my exploration of this topic by googling feminism and obesity and came up with some very interesting stuff. In fact, this crap was at the top of the google search. Today, all I'm going to do is make some of you mad, not because of anything I said. I hope.
Did you know that a good portion of right wing freaks actually blame feminism for the obesity epidemic? Seriously.
Basically their argument is if women just didn't need to join the labour force and stayed at home and cooked, their men and their children wouldn't be the fat ladened human beings they are now. What about single parents, same sex couples and anyone who doesn't belong in a traditional family. I guess these critics don't take into account that the divorce rate is over 50% or maybe they blame feminism for that as well.
Here are some quotes I found:
1. According to the American Obesity Association, 34.5 percent of Americans are obese; a staggering figure that seems to increase every year.
2. At the same time we have seen the percentage of women, both married and unmarried, who are entering the workforce swell from thirty-eight percent in 1960 to sixty-four percent in 2000 nearly doubling just as obesity rates have during the past 40 years (an R-squared value of .968 for you stats geeks).
So whats the connection you ask? Well, back in the good-old days, women were the backbone of the American diet, cooking up wonderful meals made with fresh, healthy foods. In the modern, "liberated" world, women are too busy having careers and book clubs to concentrate on cooking, so one is left with only a few options to feed the family: 1) Fast food, 2) processed foods, 3) one could allow the kids, who will eat only candy and pizza, to feed themselves.
Stats have proven the American feminist movement and arguing for a life a laziness. You work less hours then men (and complain about pay) and are more likely to obese than anyone else in this world.
Bottom line: men want attractive chicks. Chicks want money. It may not be fair, but thats life.
For some twisted reason, women are proud of this so-called liberation that allows them to work, but causes their families to bloat into jiggling tubs of inactivity. Liberation? Sounds more like subjugation…..to being fat!”
Without feminism, there'd be no obesity epidemic, because women would be at home cooking for their families where they belong, instead of relying on takeout and convenience meals!
Pretty funny stuff hey! The obesity epidemic is so complex and the debate shouldn't be left in the hands of people who must have suffered some type of serious head injury at some point.
Looking forward to continuing the discussion with posts to follow.
Tuesday night I went to a friend's birthday party and met a 48 year old woman. It was clear she is a kind, gentle and thoughtful woman. I could see from looking into her eyes that she wasn't feeling all that hot about life in general. I would even say that perhaps she is suffering from depression.
We spoke for a few minutes and given that I help people with their health, we started talking about her current struggles with her body. Usually these types of conversations happen in most environments I enter. People want to share with people who want to listen and subconsciously are looking for positive affirmation or encouragement whether they know it or not.
Turns out she had entered perimenopause and was feeling like her body wasn't her own anymore, that changes were happening totally outside her control. In addition, she had major sleep issues and after spending time at a sleep disorder centre had been prescribed a CPAP device to help her with sleep apnea.
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine was initially used mainly by patients for the treatment of sleep apnea at home, but now is in widespread use across intensive care units as a form of ventilation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway becomes narrow as the muscles relax naturally during sleep. This reduces oxygen in the blood and causes arousal from sleep. The CPAP machine stops this phenomenon by delivering a stream of compressed air via a hose to a nasal pillow, nose mask or full-face mask, splinting the airway (keeping it open under air pressure) so that unobstructed breathing becomes possible, reducing and/or preventing apneas and hypopneas.
One of the first things I talk to new clients about is sleep. If people have major sleep issues chances are we will make little progress towards improved health and increased strength until these sleep issues get under control. Here's the tricky part though. Sometimes exercise and types of releasing/relaxation work can improve sleep issues. As well, sleep issues can be helped by seeing alternative health practitioners who focus on health optimization and bringing our bodies back into balance. These folks can also help women struggling through perimenopause as well. Traditional medicine focuses on treating disease, not improving vitality. Anyone who isn't exercising regularly is likely out of physical balance moving further and further away from optimal health.
What broke my heart was when she said, "I feel like I have one foot in the grave having to use this thing." I wanted to take her with me and just start working with her right then and there. I gave her my heart felt speech that anyone, regardless of their restrictions, medical issues or limitations can feel vital and deserves to feel vital. That life is too short to feel so crappy. It was clear she felt embarrassed having shared so much with me and quickly changed the subject.
But the truth is life is too short. Yesterday morning my 8am client didn't show up for her session. Today I received an email explaining what had happened.
"I'm sorry I did not make my appt yesterday. As I was walking out to the car my neighbour came out to tell me that his wife (and my friend) had died suddenly on Monday. She was 40. We just stood and talked and had a little cry together but it was almost 9 by the time I came back into the house. Life changes so quickly, it takes my breath away."
We have to fight for our right to feel powerful, fit and vital. Don't let yourself sit in crap for too long. We have no guarantees how long we're going to be here. Might as well make the most of it.
Sometimes I just get plain tired of reading about the next best way to get fit. I'm guilty of falling into trends sometimes, yes. Sometimes I exploit these trends to get new folks into the studio. I have a much broader definition of health than some fitness professionals might have.
This tendency to focus on a myopic view of what it means to be fit is really just plain boring to me. Albeit knowing how to choose exercises and how to coach each individual in a personalized way is extremely important, that's the easy part really. The true work is in helping people get in touch with their true selves again, the part of them that shines, blossoms and experiences increased joy in life. That can come through sweating more for sure but continually moving forward with what I consider to be true health requires work that keeps going deeper and deeper beyond our muscles and skeletons and right into the centre of our hearts and souls if you believe in such a thing.
Now this brings me to what I mean by sense of self. To be honest, I don't know exactly because as I continue to work on being the person I was meant to be on this planet, I keep coming up with more questions.
Developing a sense of self often means undoing much of the damage done in our childhood. I know all too well about these things. I admit my scars run pretty darn deep. But becoming aware of them is a really important first step. As you can gather, doing push ups and lunges won't necessarily help with this particular endeavor.
No one is perfect. Nor can one ever hope to be. What we can do is to become more truly who we are. We can strive to accept our limitations and to enhance our strengths. It is also possible to sculpt ourselves into an individual to be proud of, in accordance with our personal concept of success, and thereby being more satisfied with who we are. Forming an accurate picture of whom we are is difficult. Identifying the personality is different than determining an identity. We may project an outgoing personality when being evaluated by the outside world, yet could have a preference for quiet contemplation. We may be a mixture of both. Yet who we are when there is no one and nothing judging us is the core of what we must strive to uncover and to develop...and to accept.
The struggle to understand ourselves is to a large degree an exercise in discovering who we are, where we fit in, and deciding if our identities are in line with societal expectations. Many times, we define ourselves according to who we think we should be or who society thinks we should be rather than what our nature dictates. The identity is mistakenly tied to an occupation, role, or the expectations of others. We formulate a false identity by assimilating or rejecting the belief systems around us based on their prominence in the environment.
We are inundated with people living in a false sense of self everywhere we go and every time we turn on the TV, buy groceries or sit in corporate meetings. People are rewarded with fame and fortune for creating images and personas. Celebrity is all about worshipping the false sense of self. Fake tits, plastic surgery and airbrushed magazine covers are a perfect example.
So why am I going on about this? I am by no means diminishing the importance of exercise in the process of self discovery. It is an essential part of self care and can help root us in healthy routines. But self care and deep personal work are two different things. Without balanced self care, it's next to impossible to have the strength to move forward in a lasting way. And without doing personal work on ourselves, it's harder to make decision to help us stay true to what we really need.
What I see more and more in this world is a sickness in that people create a split between their true selves and who they are trying to project out into the world. The more ingrained this split becomes the more difficult it is to get back to our true selves. I've seen many clients just coming out of major health crisis, relationship disasters and splits and major personal struggles. These life events often become a catalyst to us finding out who we really are and dropping our projected image we would rather be.
But if we can engage in regular self care and work towards self exploration and self awareness, chances are we will find an excellent balance in our minds and bodies. To me, the quest for this particular type of balance is what leads people towards better health in the long run.
I'm an urban gal through and through despite the fact I grew up on Vancouver Island. Growing up on a island is not that similar to growing up in a big sprawling suburb. Island folk can have a bit of an eccentric edge that suburban folks might look at as just plain weird. So I might have evolved into a city gal but I still came from a unique edge of the world ripe with twisted experiences.
I recently ventured outside my normal geographical range to try something new and it was clear very quickly that many urban suburban stereotypes can often hold true. I'm not saying always but often. Of course, there are some city folk who act like burb folk and vice versa. I'm treading on delicate territory in this post. I don't want to come across as geographically prejudice. I'm just saying there is something valid about emotional geography, an emerging discipline in the field of geography.
What is emotional geography?
The study of the location of emotions in both bodies and places; the emotional relations between people and environments; and the task of representing emotional geographies.. Emotional geography has ‘a common concern with the spatiality and temporality of emotions, with the way they coalesce around and within certain places. One of its central themes is the examination of how feelings mediate both our conscious and unconscious behaviours in the places where we live out, or ‘enact’, our lives
Now let me intro the Hungry Girl.
LISA LILLIEN, the Internet weight-loss goddess also known as Hungry Girl, is into French manicures and Brazilian hair straightening. But her palate is American to the core, right down to its weakness for a signature dish served at Planet Hollywood restaurants.
Almost a million people subscribe to Ms. Lillien’s free daily e-mail newsletter, putting her among the most influential figures in what digital marketers call “the diet space.” The e-mail message, liberally sprinkled with exclamation points, OMG’s and BTW’s, is a mashup of advice and opinion on how to consume as few calories as possible while filling up on approximations of pizza, Buffalo wings, fettuccine Alfredo, Slim Jims, Fritos and vanilla pudding.
Ms. Lillien, 44, describes herself as a noncook, but her last two cookbooks, “Hungry Girl 1-2-3” (2010) and “Hungry Girl 200 Under 200” (2009), both published by St. Martin’s Press, nonetheless debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list for advice and how-to books. Fit but not skinny, short and dark-haired, she looks like thousands of other women in the tristate area, only with better biceps (she has a trainer in Los Angeles, where she lives) and more than 200,000 Facebook fans.
Ms. Lillien has been criticized for advocating a path to weight loss that is slippery with Cool Whip Lite, onion soup mix and other foods of debatable nutritional value. She says that the recipes reflect the reality of what American women eat, sometimes despite their best intentions. “I live in the middle of the supermarket,” she said: the aisles that are stocked with packaged processed foods, many of which are loathed by locavores and nutritionists alike.
So clearly her diet and weight loss advice resonates with many people. Any urbanites know anyone who use onion soup mix for anything? I mean, my mom used to use it for chip dip when we were kids. But I thought as a culture we had moved passed any kind of soup mix as a staple. Planet Hollywood is like armagedon to me, not a place I can't wait to go and indulge.
Perhaps Hungry Girl's followers are folks I don't understand that well AKA suburbanites or middle Americans that probably think my tattoos are tacky and my favourite films 'too out there'. Maybe emotional geography can help us understand the huge cultural divide in how we choose to eat, how we choose to lose weight and quite frankly what foods are worth a little extra hard work out to earn.
The cheese cave and wine list at Enoteca Sociale makes me want to sweat a little harder. I can go without the Fritos.