Showing posts with label Stonewall Fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonewall Fitness. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: But It's Just Master's, Who Cares?

By Dirk Smith 
99 Year Old George Carone after breaking the 100m Freestyle World Record.
For most Masters athletes, the story seems to go that involvement in their particular sport (often swimming, track and field, or other sports that don’t have formalized leagues) starts with youth/ age group competition, high school, college and if they’re good enough then elite level competition. Master’s is what happens after all that and is a great way for adult athletes, whether experienced or otherwise new, to continue pursuit of competitive sport well into their… well as long as they can go for!

As a Master’s swimmer, I have attended many levels of competitions, from local and state to national and international competitions. Having joined many different clubs and teams for practice I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing people who have challenged me physically and mentally as an athlete, always in pursuit of becoming a stronger and better swimmer. ​

While I have an overwhelmingly positive and supportive view of Master’s, I have often experienced a certain attitude that is quite prevalent within the community that tends to nag away at me. “But it’s Master’s, Who Cares? Do whatever you want!” Usually comes up, conveniently when a coach has a particularly hard set on the board or is taking a new approach people aren’t familiar with or open to.

I always ask myself, “Well if it doesn’t matter to you, why bother showing up then?” Sure, the majority of athletes are past their prime, they’re not training to achieve a scholarship or to qualify for a national team. We’re all there to swim, to engage in exercise, socialize and so on. That doesn’t mean that when something challenges you, it is something to quickly disregard.

Every Master’s Nationals I attend the same thing always happens. A swimmer well into his/her years, usually 75, 80, 85, 90+ years old enters into the more challenging events. Be it the 1650y Free, 1500m Free, 200 Fly, 400 IM, etc. (Those are very hard events for you non-swimmers to note). It is always inspirational to watch these people swim an event that isn’t easy even when you're 20. More often than not, the advanced aged swimmer will break a Master’s world record as they finish with a standing ovation from the crowd. (Are they clapping for the accomplishment or because 20 minutes later, we can move to the next event?) Not bad for a person who we weren’t sure could even make it to the block to start with; they are a champion in every sense of the word.

So what’s the difference between great grandpa racing in a 200 fly and the rest of us? Attitude. Can everybody swim a 200 fly or 400 IM? No. But you sure can’t say they can’t do it because of age. In a community where people are sometimes afraid to take on new challenges because they’re past their prime, don’t always recognize the opportunity and potential that lies ahead.

So who cares? Well tell that too Great Grandpa when he finishes his 200 fly, or to Great Grandma who just broke the Master’s World Records in the 1500, 800, 400, 200 and 100 Freestyle all in a single race. Studies have shown that challenging yourself physically and mentally as you age is not only good for your health, it also significantly slows down if not outright prevents cognitive decline (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). It also can have a positive impact on your level of strength, independence and resiliency to continue to accomplish new and amazing things. While some might say their “best years” are behind them, for others their best years are still ahead of them. No matter their age.

Whether you’re a swimmer, runner, cyclist, rugby player, soccer player, or any other athlete really. Even if your “best years” are behind you and you face yourself with a challenge that frankly, you probably can’t take on. Instead of chalking it up to “Master’s, who cares?” Take it on instead. Your attitude from right now will carry you forward to the future. Instead of reading the inspirational story of great grandma or grandpa accomplishing something seemingly beyond their years, you can be that inspirational story. Go out there and get it. ​


Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training? If you have an event coming up or are looking for new ideas to get fit. Check out Online Coaching! David trains people all over the world and can get you ready for the next Gay Games, Championship, or whatever is in your future! Get more info here

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club

The Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club strives to help empower people by building confidence, self esteem and community support through developing skills and training for competitive Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting.

Every week they get together to learn and practice how to lift properly, maximizing safety through good form and loads appropriate for each persons' own fitness and experience. The lifts we practice are based on 2 disciplines, Powerlifting (Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift) and Olympic Lifting (Clean and Jerk, Snatch).


The group is open to all. No experience necessary with all instruction and coaching provided by Coach Dirk. Practices are every Sunday at 10am at Gym Uptown on 1900 Grant St. $15 Drop In. Join them on Facebook for up to date announcements, events and competitions.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club

The Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club strives to help empower people by building confidence, self esteem and community support through developing skills and training for competitive Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting.

Every week they get together to learn and practice how to lift properly, maximizing safety through good form and loads appropriate for each persons' own fitness and experience. The lifts we practice are based on 2 disciplines, Powerlifting (Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift) and Olympic Lifting (Clean and Jerk, Snatch).


The group is open to all. No experience necessary with all instruction and coaching provided by Coach Dirk. Practices are every Sunday at 10am at Gym Uptown on 1900 Grant St. $15 Drop In. Join them on Facebook for up to date announcements, events and competitions.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Grrridiron Girl

By Dirk Smith 

At my writing gig with Compete Magazine we’ve been talking a lot and sharing the story of Dr. Jen Welter whom (if you’ve been keeping up with Compete Magazine) has recently released her book “Play Big” to share her story of being the first female coach of the NFL on the sidelines with the Arizona Cardinals and the first woman to play professional American Football in a men’s league when she took the field with the Texas Revolution.

About 2 months ago, I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Welter at the 2017 Compete Magazine Sports Diversity Awards where she was being honored for her impact and leading the way for young girls and woman to defy gender stereotypes and become anything they truly want to be. Although I didn’t know much about her when I met her, my first impression was that she was unapologetically authentic and a very confident, kind, person that you can immediately establish a personal connection with.

Of course she brought copies of her new book “Play Big” and of course with my favorite reading topics tend to be sports and sports autobiographies, I had to get my hands on a copy. (She even autographed it for me, Thanks Dr. Jen!) Having just finished reading it, I can tell you I really appreciated learning her story and hearing about her experiences as a woman breaking into the ultimate “man’s world.” While I will leave the details for you to read yourself, she talks about her famous notecards that she wrote for each player of the Cardinals during her time coaching with them and the impact that they had on each player. She also leaves “notecards” and insights into her philosophy throughout the book that the reader can apply to their own lives. Her insights always come with a personal reflection or story that she describes in the book and all from lessons that she has learned in her own experiences. Adding a personal perspective to her philosophy and advice as a coach, player, woman and person you can better understand the kind of impact and insight she had and continues to have.

The biggest thing I took away from Dr. Jen Welter’s story, besides her awesome “Flaming Manicure” story, is that no matter what you do or pursue in your life; you must always be 100% your authentic self. No matter who you are or what you do, the most important thing is you going for you is the things that make you unique as a person. We all have strengths and weaknesses and Dr. Jen remarks that by using your strengths to your best effort while working on your weaknesses, you can establish yourself in whatever it is you’re doing. Dr. Jen recognizes that if she had been anything less then her authentic self, she would have never made it to the NFL. Again using her personal experiences to establish a personal connection with her readers, just like she has done with her athletes, fellow coaches, teammates, friends and family.

What I’ve learned most from “Play Big” is that you can truly have an impact with taking action. Dr. Jen never sought to break the “glass ceiling (sideline?)” because all she wanted to do was play some football for the love of the sport. Playing 15 years of professional women’s football and what her and her teammates had to do to make that happen really makes it a passion of theirs. By taking every opportunity that came her way and going forward to “play big” with her 100% best effort, she let her passion carry her beyond any limits and anybody that might have tried to stop her.

Check her out at https://www.jenwelter.com/!


Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training? Check out Online Coaching! Dirk trains people all over the world and can get you ready for the next Gay Games, Championship, or whatever is in your future!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Exrcise for Mental Health

By Dirk SmithGrowing up in suburban America in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was witness to the emerging trends of kids taking a host of medications to treat their behavioral issues and disorders. It was a common trend for my classmates to have to take pills throughout the school day to treat everything from ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Sensory Integration Disorder, Bipolar disorder and the lot. Remember, these kids are just that; kids.

Now I am not trying to discount that these are real issues that people face which can have devastating impacts on a person’s quality of life. Yet, it seems liked more often than not, my classmates all had a cocktail of pills they had to take for these issues. I felt like one of the few kids at the school who didn’t have a daily medication to take. Clearly I had missed the bus on what was cool, as if mental disease and disorders were considered trendy and you weren’t otherwise considered special if you didn’t have to take drugs for your unique “condition” or had I? ​

With more and more children being diagnosed with ADHD, Depression, Anxiety and other mental health and behavioral disorders, frankly, what is going on? It is no secret that western medicine takes quick and easy approach to “fixing” our problems simply by masking the symptoms. Have a problem? Take a pill. Feeling depressed? Here’s a pill. Do you have chronic inflammation that is likely to result in a heart attack or some other debilitating condition that’ll probably kill you? Take a pill. Oh by the way, that pill also has a host of side effects that despite helping your initial condition will create many new conditions that are just as bad if not worse.

Many anti-depressant medications include a “Warning, this pill my cause thoughts of suicide in children and young adults.” WTF?? Isn’t the idea supposed to be to improve the symptoms of depression, not make it worse? In addition to a host of other side effects, an important thing to consider about these treatments, and western medicine in general is that it only treats the symptoms. Thus you can take the medication all your life, but is it going to fix the cause and thus end the disease for you in the long run?

The current view of our society in general is that the body and the mind are separate. That we can treat them as separate halves of a whole. But that’s simply too easy. Let’s take depression for example. Whenever you see a commercial for an anti-depressant, you’ll see these cute little animations about how depression causes a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes you depressed. It’ll then show you how the drug being advertised can fix your depression by balancing out said chemical imbalance. Simple right?

If depression is purely the result of a physiological imbalance, then why is it considered a “mental” health issue? Because the physiological responses are just another symptom that exasperates the initial cause and making the overall conditioning growing increasingly worse. Depression has many causes, everything from chronic stress, traumatic life changes, physical and mental abuse, genetics, medications, the list goes on and on.

Exercise has been shown to “balance” out the chemical imbalance created by many mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, ADHD and such. (1, 2, 3) Treating the physiological imbalance that is either created by or causes such mental health issues but it also has an impact from the cognitive (mental) side of the disorder as well. By helping to release stress, anxiety and allowing the brain to rewire itself in addition to therapy practices. It can also improve self-esteem, confidence and self-efficacy; which are further improved through regular exercise.

The rise of diagnoses for mental disorders is not surprising as the number of overweight and obese people continue to climb. Our increasingly sedentary population with an over abundance of food, increased work load and increased stress, has helped to set the stage for mental disorders to start to have a truly substantial impact on our quality of life. Taking a dedicated 30-60 minutes every day and using it toward consistent exercise can help turn the tide for a person to not just cope with, but have a firm grasp on their own mental health.

In addition to releasing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Which if you remember from your Zoloft commercial (not a paid endorsement) are the neurotransmitters that when, out of balance, can lead to symptoms of depression. While anti-depressants tend to treat each one of these imbalances individually, regular aerobic exercise has been shown to improve the production, balance and impact of all 3 neurotransmitters together. In addition to a host of other hormones and neurotransmitters that aren’t covered by your doctor’s prescription or a commercial.

Stress can cause anxiety, anxiety creates physical tension which manifests itself into everything from high blood pressure, increased heart rate, tense muscles, trouble breathing and the onset of panic attacks and hyper ventilation. This can lead up to negative thoughts of self-doubt, fear, lack of confidence and worry which only feed back into the stress and make the problem worse. In the worst of episodes, you might think you’re having a heart attack, even if there is nothing wrong with your heart. A common thing a good-intentioned friend might tell you is simply to relax. But it’s not that easy, if we could just let ourselves relax, there wouldn’t stress in the first place right?

Stress increases in part by a hormone called Cortisol which is a hormone that activates your sympathetic nervous system. In short, when you feel the physical symptoms of anxiety like I described above, you will find your good friend Cortisol is there helping to cause it. Cortisol is not entirely bad however, it plays a key role in your “Flight or Fight” ability to sense danger and your response to it. For example, if you see a bear in the woods and it stands up on it’s hind legs toward you, are you going to try and run or are you going to confront the bear? Your “Flight or Fight” instinct is what helps you make that decision.

So to sum up, when confronted by a bear, Cortisol is good. When you are dealing with the physical manifestations of anxiety due to chronic stress, Cortisol is bad.

When you exercise, you contract and relax muscles, your heart rate increases and so does your blood flow. In addition to increasing production of all those feel good neurotransmitters that are now flowing through your nervous system and increasing the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, that includes the release of Cortisol. Often times the body's acute response to exercise is mistaken for that of a panic attack, which if you suffer from chronic anxiety is definitely not fun. While it takes a lot of time and mental will to overcome those feelings, once you engage in a regular exercise program, you'll find that exercise can, in fact, help reduce chronic anxiety.

Within your tendons and muscles themselves, you have structures called "Muscle Spindles" which are basically sensory receptors that are sensitive to changes in muscle length. These are good because they keep your muscles from ripping your tendons out of your bone and causing you to tear yourself apart. Essentially when you contract a muscle, the muscle pulls on the tendon, which pulls on the bone and allows you to move. The muscle spindle, helps you to regulate the force in which you move so that you don't inadvertently hurt yourself by pulling to hard. In addition, the muscle spindles are what holds your tension in your muscle. Tight muscles can happen due to challenging workouts, stress, anxiety, sickness or anything else really and is often a physical manifestation of those issues. When you exercise, however, such as cardiovascular exercise or stretching. You are physically engaging your muscle spindles to release the tension. This is why, when you are particularly sore after a workout, it is good to go for a walk, run, swim, bike ride or other low intensity activity. Not only does it help increase blood flow to repair your muscle tissue, but it releases the tension.

In the end, while exercise certainly isn't a "cure all" for any mental health conditions, it is certainly beneficial toward preventing and treating mental illness, it should be apart of everybody's daily routine, especially for kids. Yet with our increasingly sedentary habits and modern conveniences, in addition to paranoia of our current socio-political climate. It is very challenging for kids and adults to find their recess where they can release and express themselves physically. It is very important that we make it a part of our life.
Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training?  Check out Online Coaching with Stonewall! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Hacks of "Health Hacks"

By Dirk Smith
Every few weeks, if not days there is always an article floating around social media and the internet. Often titled “top health hacks” or some variation of the sort. Now with the increasing cost of health care and lack of access for it, it’s easy for us to click on the link and hope to discover the little tricks and secrets we can use to be healthy and prevent disease.

Everything from onions in the socks, rubbing banana peels on our faces, essential oils, PH balanced water, lemon-honey-ginger-water, doing that little finger exercise program that the old lady on PBS in her wind breaker use to have, Kegels. There was even a weird one that had you drinking Olive Oil straight from the bottle in between meals. Even to some of the more mainstream things like “Reverse Osmosis Filtered Water” to sitting on an exercise ball at work and yes… even standing desks. There is no short of whacky and outright weird things people will do all in the name of better health. They’re not all necessarily bad either, but while it is easy to think that you can cure cancer with PH balanced water or onions on your face. People often will turn right around and fill their body with junk food while sitting on the couch and negating any supposed “benefit” that their cheap health hacks might have. ​

Going back to the old school, it all comes down to healthy eating habits and exercise. I am sure you’re rolling your eyes right now because that’s what everybody says, but it requires work and doesn’t always include cookies. Your body has the infrastructure and ability to fight almost any kind of disease it comes across, from the flu to cancer, Parkinson’s and depression. Eating junk food and living a sedentary lifestyle, that infrastructure starts to degrade and slows down, lessening the body’s ability to prevent and fight disease, making you more prone to infection.

The body lives by a rule, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Everything from muscle strength, brain cells, blood cells and even muscle, bones, and yes… you’re immune system too. When you exercise, you are creating minor stress on the body that acts as a “rehearsal” in that your body breaks down in many ways to rebuild itself bigger, stronger and faster. It gets rid of the old and brings in the new. This is a “rehearsal” in the way that when something tries to infect the body, such as a virus, bacteria and even cancer. The body is better prepared to fight it off, destroy it and dispose of it. In addition whatever damage might be done the body can help rebuild it. This is the same concept that makes vaccines effective. With vaccines, you introduce a dead virus into your body and it activates the immune system to create anti-bodies to fight and kill it. The vaccine acts as a “rehearsal” for the body so that if a live version of the vaccine virus attempts to infect you, the body is ready to fight it off.
Through healthy eating habits and daily exercise/ physical activity, you are building your body’s infrastructure to be more strong, resilient and better prepared to combat disease. This is the best health hack you can give yourself because you’re filling your gas tank with premium fuel and not cooking grease. The so called “health hacks” might be effective, but if you don’t give your body every opportunity to do what it does best, the “health hack” ultimately achieves nothing. ​Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training? If you have an event coming up or are looking for new ideas to get fit check out Online Coaching with Stonewall Fitness.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stonewall Fitness: Sports for Rights


By Dirk Smith
There is a lot of discussion surrounding the role of activism and politics within the realm of sports. This is a discussion that has been happening for well over a hundred years and no doubt will continue well past our lifetime. With large scale events like The Olympic Games bringing together people for all over the world to compete in sport, oftentimes people who don’t always get along and despite everybody’s best effort. There is bound to tension, discussions, arguments, boycotts and other conflicts. Human rights aren’t always political, but yet they are and often dominate political discussions on all levels. Everything from the NCAA hosting events in states that have adopted Anti-Trans legislation, NFL players kneeling to the national anthem to protest racial injustice, football (soccer) clubs with fans often chanting prejudicial things.

​The Olympic Games themselves are no stranger to these debates, everything from where the games are hosted, who should be allowed to compete, role of doping and many other discussions. Needless to say there is a lot to unpack to fully understand that sports and politics will often intersect, especially when it comes to human rights.

However, let’s look at it from a different angle. How has sport helped advance human rights? Specifically we’ll talk about the Gay Games and the role that the largest, non-Olympic, quadrennial, multi-sport event, has played toward helping to empower and advance LGBTQ+ rughts and causes since it’s inception.

The first Gay Games was held in 1982 in San Francisco, a very active city for LGBTQ+ activism and was the brainchild of Dr. Tom Waddell. Taking inspiration from his own experience as a decathlete at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City as well as the formation of early LGBTQ+ sports clubs (namely bowling) in the 1970s. Waddell wanted to bring the same feelings he experienced as an Olympian to the LGBTQ+ community while creating a place and event where LGBTQ+ people could participate and compete openly and without worry for homophobia and transphobia that were so prevalent in sport. Initially called the “Gay Olympic Games” the name was shortened simply to “Gay Games” after the International Olympic Committee threatened Waddell with a lawsuit regarding use of the word “Olympic” despite little action on the IOC against the use of the word in other (non-lgbtq+) events. Despite this set back, the first Gay Games was a success and each subsequent event continued to grow in 1986 and 1990. Inspiring and empowering LGBTQ+ people to come together outside of bars and clubs to take part.

The 1994 Gay Games were a turning point for the movement, scheduled to be held in New York City on the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Federation of the Gay Games worked with the IOC to persuade the United States Federal Government to temporarily lift their ban on individuals who were HIV positive from entering the country. They succeeded in opening the door for athletes with HIV/AIDS to participate at both the 1994 Gay Games and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, helping to break many of the stigmas about HIV/AIDs that still persisted.

In addition, Greg Louganis officially “came out” as an openly gay and HIV+ athlete at the opening ceremonies as well as took an active role in the diving competition. While Louganis was retired from the sport, his subsequent coming out led to him being blacklisted by the diving community. Although he was embraced as a role model and inspiration for up and coming LGBTQ+ athletes around the world. The 1994 Gay Games set the record for the largest number of registered participants with over 15,000. Exceeding the size of both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

In 2003 The IOC convened to establish and adopt it’s first ever set of transgender inclusive policies that ended the unethical practice of sex verification testing and opened the door for transgender athletes to participate openly at the 2004 Olympic Games. Their initial policy was based on that of the Federation of Gay Games policies which have encouraged transgender participation since it’s inception. These policies were recently updated in 2016.

In addition, with the Gay Games being hosted in cities and countries of various political backgrounds it has helped influence the local communities (LGBTQ+ and not) in “changing hearts and minds” towards LGBTQ+ people as the hosts of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland would say.

As the movement continues to move forward, facing its own growing pains on the way. It has been actively showing the word that LGBTQ+ people don’t always fit the mode. Through participation in sport it has led the way in breaking the stigmas and stereotypes of LGBTQ+ people, especially athletes.

Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training? If you have an event coming up or are looking for new ideas to get fit. Check out Online Coaching! Dirk trains people all over the world and can get you ready for the next Gay Games, Championship, or whatever is in your future! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Introducing the Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club

By Dirk Smith

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club. My name is Dirk (sometimes known as David) Smith. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I have been working as a trainer, coach and instructor in Denver for seven years.


I decided to start an LGBTQ+ Weightlifting club here in Denver for many reasons. I have always wanted to work with the LGBTQ+ community in terms of encouraging people to be more active and fit. There are many physical, mental and spiritual health benefits to exercise and fitness. Exercise has been shown to help strengthen the immune system to better combat HIV/AIDS and Cancer as well as treat and reduce the risk of developing diseases like diabetes and hypertension among many others. It is no secret that people within the LGBTQ+ community often face many issues that affect their mental health, from depression, anxiety, stress, body image, eating disorders, even suicide. Consistent exercise has been shown to have a positive impact in helping people handle those issues.
Those are great reasons for LGBTQ+ people to take up exercise but I’d like to share with you why it’s so important to me and specifically why I chose weightlifting.

The first reason is I have firsthand experience in this myself, at one point I was very depressed and overweight. I had a hard time really dealing with the world because I didn’t feel good about myself. I often see this in many of my friends and people that I meet going through the same things I did.


The second reason is there seems to be a lot of crappy shit happening in the world and frankly, it’s depressing. I don’t like politics regardless of whoever is in office, and I try to stay out of political discussions; but it doesn’t mean I don’t care. How can I change the world as an individual when it seems like so many bad things are happening to our community? I can’t. But what I can do as an individual is to help empower the people within our community to stand up for what we believe in and perhaps to be able to better process current events a little more… optimistically. The best way I know how to do that is through exercise!


Thirdly (Is that a word?) A big problem with the fitness industry is the heavy focus on aesthetics. People associate exercise with looking better, because we are constantly shamed to think of ourselves as ugly. Aesthetics doesn’t mean better health. The LGBTQ+ community faces a lot of body image issues that contribute to depression and anxiety issues that are already so prevalent. Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder, and it all comes down to confidence. Exercise builds confidence, confidence builds self-image, people with better self-image are naturally more attractive; regardless of the firmness of your abs or plumpness of your booty. My goal is to help people build confidence within themselves through weightlifting. I don’t care how much you weigh, how you look, or even how much you can lift. What matters to me is that when you lift; you put in your best effort every time.​


But how can lifting things up and putting them down build self-confidence? Well, when two people love each other… haha kidding! In my experience, working at many different types of gyms and facilities, you tend to see the same types of people. Specifically I understand people are intimidated by gyms and exercise in general, because when you walk in you suddenly realize you have no idea what the f*ck to do. What the hell is that guy over there making so much noise for? Damn that girl is running so fast! Is this some kind of medieval torture device?! I am pretty sure that person over there is laughing at me! What the hell am I doing here? It is quite humbling to say the least, and without purpose and focus for your visit to the gym, it is quite easy to lose motivation despite your best intentions to improve your fitness.


Fourthly, my goal is to help you find your ultimate “why?”, as in “Why are you even here?” Gyms are… unique places, to say the least. However, they are also full of opportunity for each person who walks into one to discover their true potential. You don’t have to be athletic to be an athlete. A gym might seem like a big place at first, but when you come in with a specific focus and readiness to push your limits, you’ll realize that everybody is there for the same reason, to better ourselves.


Fifthly, to focus on the journey; not the destination. Have you ever caught yourself admiring something/ someone cool and said “There is no way I could ever do that?”, yes you have! We all have! It’s easy to see a person’s accomplishments, but what we don’t see is how much work they put into their achievement. Do you think Michael Phelps popped out of his mother and went on to win 23 Olympic Gold Medals? Of course not, it was the result of years of discipline and hard work. Weightlifting is not something you can achieve in a day, to learn the proper technique for each lift alone requires a lot of time and practice. It’s a process, a journey and one if you stick with, you will discover the amazing places that it will take you.


The Denver LGBTQ+ Weightlifting Club is a new venture for me just as much as it is for you. I want to learn how to become a stronger coach and more effective leader. This club will help me to better understand how I can better contribute to the LGBTQ+ community and movement by meeting and learning from people who might face issues and needs that I otherwise wouldn’t understand. It’s a process for me just as much as it is for you, and my goal is to learn and grow not only as a professional, but as an individual.There are two disciplines in competitive weight lifting. Power lifting which comprises of the Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift. Then there is Olympic Lifting which comprises of the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch (teehee). These lifts represent the most basic movements to develop muscular strength and power. By teaching you how to do these lifts properly and help guide you to achieving your physical potential in performing these lifts, my hope is to help you find the focus, guidance and confidence to move forward in all aspects of your life.

“Is this like Crossfit?” No, and I will smack you for thinking it is. Crossfit is its own program, style, methodology or whatever you want to call it. Keep in mind the sport of weightlifting has been around for over 120 years, Crossfit has only been around since 2000. While Crossfit does take a lot of inspiration from weightlifting, it is evolved into it’s own, distinct and very different style.


Do I have to lift as much as the next person? Nope! All I care about is the weight that you lift is realistic in terms of your conditioning (We don’t want injuries now) but is still challenging for you. It doesn’t matter if you can lift 50lbs or 500lbs. If it challenges you and you put in your best effort, that’s all I can ask for.


I don’t fit the (ideal standard for a Greek God), will I be able to participate? Yes! If you can move your body, you can exercise. The human body is physically capable then any of us will be able to comprehend. Even if you have any limitations that might prevent you from doing certain things, remember there is ALWAYS something you can do. The more you practice and work at it, your body will adapt to the demands you place on it. This is how we build strength, endurance and power. Exercise does not discriminate. The weights will always weigh the same regardless of your age, gender identity, sexual orientation, skin color, physical abilities or conditioning. By participating you will learn how to use those weights to achieve the things you set out to do.Sounds like a lot for just lifting things up and putting them down, doesn’t it? It’s certainly is important to me and I hope I can help it be important to you too. Every Sunday we will get together to “lift each other up” (cheesy pun!) by building a community of support through encouragement and hard work.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Diet Versus Working Out

By Dirk Smith
Picture
The internet, oh the internet… Is full of fitspiration memes with motivational quotes pasted on a picture of someone showing off their ass or cleavage. Between all that cleavage is no shortage of fitness and nutrition advice on how to have a body just like that. From so called “health tonics” (lemon water anyone?) to everybody’s special “Butt Blaster” fitness challenges and the like. With all this information out there, there is no shortage of resources and places to help you find programs and advice to help you work toward achieving your fitness goals.

Most of it is bullshit however. While it doesn’t hurt to try new things and everybody is unique in the way that there is no “one solution” toward achieving anything, what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. Unfortunately my computer doesn’t have nearly enough memory to cover all the bullshit so we’re going to narrow the focus on a topic I have had many discussions about.

Picture
What percentage of your effort should be devoted to diet versus exercise when it comes to “slimming down” or getting those abs we all seek to do our laundry on. I’ve seen many memes and “fitspiration” posts that’ll say “70% Diet, 30% gym” or perhaps “Abs are made in the kitchen” or some variation of that. (I mean I have looked all over my kitchen and I have not found any trolls producing sexy ab muscles.)

As much as I am an advocate for fitness purely for aesthetics (I am not), I can tell you that there is no magic number of how much time and energy should be devoted to eating healthy and exercising in order to achieve your ideal physique. Like I said, every individual is unique in the way that what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you.

But did you go through all that effort to click the link and read this far just to hear that? No.

No matter what your pursuit in fitness, aesthetics, work, relationships, life or whatever else. The one constant that we can all universally control within ourselves is our effort. “80% Diet, 20% Gym” or whatever the numbers you might see are bullshit. It is 100% Diet, 100% Gym. As in you put your absolute 100% best effort in your eating habits and training routine. Just like you would put 100% of your best effort in all aspects of your life.

True champions approach every opportunity and tackle every challenge at their personal best. Your best effort should be applied in all aspects of your life, and especially in the things that you pursue. Anything that suggests anything less than your best is simply not worth your time.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Come Out. Get Fit With Stonewall Fitness.

Looking for more guidance and direction at the gym? Someone who can help you design a workout to maximize each workout at the gym so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible? Check out Stonewall Fitness. Whether you're just starting out or looking to mix up your current routine, no matter if your gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you can be a part of it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Where Does the Fat Go?


Food is fuel... literally.
By David Smith

Fat loss is one of the most common goals in exercise and fitness. Every day on social media and out in the world you will see people bragging about losing weight, articles and articles giving you the latest “quickest way to weight loss” tips. So we all want to shed the pounds and lose the fat right? So where does the fat go? Well, just like Felicia, it’s going places; but not where you might expect.


The majority of fat and general calories/ energy you burn is expelled as CO2 through your breath. Every time you exhale in fact. In the past it was a common thought that the energy you burned was converted to heat, sweat or some other factor but nobody really knew for sure. A couple of scientists named Meermen and Brown wanted to find out, they performed a study designed to break down exactly what happens to a fat molecule; how it’s broken down and where it all goes during exercise.

As the study reports, 84% of energy expenditure is through the lungs, 16% through water. The lungs conveniently is also where energy production begins (through the inhalation of oxygen). To simplify things a bit for us all, all living animals need oxygen in some form or another to survive. This is because oxygen is a crucial component toward energy production. Your body utilizes oxygen to break down fat, carb and protein molecules to formulate Adenosine Triposphate (ATP) which is the source of raw energy the body uses to function. Your body is doing this all throughout the day and night, utilizing fat as it’s primary source of energy to maintain daily functions (walking, breathing, pooping, eating, etc.). This process is called Aerobic Oxidation and it is the same system you might use during long, endurance cardio (running a marathon, triathlon etc.). During endurance exercise, the Aerobic Oxidation goes into a zone known as “steady state” which is when the body consumes the amount of oxygen necessary to sustain that intensity level for a seemingly infinite amount of time (depending of course on your fitness level).
Picture
Carbohydrates are a more potent energy source the body keeps on reserve when the body needs a lot of energy in a quick moment (sprinting, lifting, even standing up). This is known as glycolysis and the body typically stores glycogen (carbohydrates) in muscle and liver tissue for quick access when needed.

A third energy system which is even faster in response than Glycolysis stores ATP molecules directly for immediate use, this is known as the Phosphagen System.

When you start any kind of formal exercise activity, all 3 energy systems activate together, however only one system is the dominant energy source at any given moment while the other two continue to operate in the background. 0-30 seconds is the Phosphagen system (high intensity exercise), 30 seconds – 2 minutes is Glycolysis (moderate to high intensity exercise) and anything over 2 minutes is primarily Aerobic Oxidation (low to moderate intensity exercise). The only system that utilizes oxygen directly is Aerobic Oxidation. While it can get a bit technical, the Aerobic Oxidation system creates ATP from two different sources, fat and glycogen (carbs). Piggy backing off of Glycolysis it utilizes oxygen to take up Hydrogen atoms from the Electron Transport Chain and it turns into H2O (water). When these molecules are exchanged, the resulting effect is what creates ATP, the energy source of the body. This process is known as Oxidative Phosphorylation (spelled right on the first try!) 


PictureNom nom nom
Both Glycogen and Fat prior to entering the Electron Transport Chain must go through the Kreb’s Cycle (cue dramatic gameshow music) which breaks down the molecules to their basic elements through a series of chemical reactions which then enters the Electron Transport Chain to generate ATP.

So you might be wondering, during short, intense bursts of exercises only lasting a couple of seconds… why are you breathing so hard? Such as running up a flight of stairs, power lifting, etc. During those intense bursts, you are utilizing either the Phosphagen system and/or Glycolysis which don’t utilize oxygen to generate ATP. However, Aerobic Oxidation is still occurring in the background and immediately following the activity starts to ramp up production not only to continue producing energy should the activity continue, but to restore and replenish the reserves you just utilized. This is known as Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours following intense exercise (depending on how long and how hard you were working). You can train this process to become quicker and more efficient as you train and subsequently become stronger and fitter in your selected task. 



Which finally brings us back to our original question. Where does the fat go? 

PictureA VO2 Max Test is an accurate indicator for measuring how much energy is expended
It’s expelled primary as CO2 remember? A fat molecule is better known as a Triglyceride which consists of three basic elements, Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. During the Kreb’s Cycle, the triglyceride is broken into it’s 3 basic elements. The Hydrogen molecule, as explained before is sent through the Electron Transport Chain and attached to a separate set of Oxygen molecules (the Oxygen we inhale, remember?) where it creates ATP. So what’s left of the triglyceride? Carbon and Oxygen which becomes CO2. This is the CO2 that we exhale, not just during exercise but during every living moment of our lives. Also remember the Hydrogen atoms that combine with the Oxygen we inhale and turns into water? That water is utilized and eventually excreted by in a variety of ways (blood, sweat, urine, tears, etc.)

Don’t be fooled though, you can’t burn more fat simply by breathing hard, sadly it doesn’t work like that. Remember it’s all about increasing the demand for energy production! Therefore to burn more fat and lose more weight, you will need to expend more energy through daily exercise and physical activity. In addition, keeping more control on how many calories you consume (fat, carbs, proteins, alcohol) to keep you from consuming and storing more energy than you are subsequently utilizing.

Scientifically speaking, the best way to enact long term, healthy weight loss is a combination of increased exercise and physical activity coupled with healthy eating habits and moderation. You can burn calories through aerobic fitness (cardio) and strength training effectively to enhance weight loss. So get to work!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Maintaining Balance in Life as an Active Activist

Photo By Dustin Krier w/ PFLAG Denver
By Dirk Smith

Our society is on an ever-changing landscape, the political, social and cultural aspects are always at the forefront of discussion. Everybody has a cause and we are all passionate about changing the world for the better in the best way we know how, fighting for your cause is one of the most important things you can do. It is important to be passionate about it and give it your all to enact positive change on our society. Yet we can find ourselves so involved with our cause that it’s easy to forget about the most important thing in our world, ourselves.

Activism is stressful work, no doubt. It can take a serious toll on the mind and the body. If we are to truly have an impact on the world around us, it is most important that we are the most healthy and capable that we can be to take on the challenges and stress that come with activism. Here are a few ideas to help you be as ready as you can be to take on the world!

Maintain a Regular and Consistent Exercise Routine

Protest rallies and marches require a lot of time on your feet, holding up signs, marching for long distance and many can last for hours if not days. Regular exercise and training can help you build the endurance and stamina to march and rally your heart out without getting exhausted and sore. 

With all the emotion and passion that comes with activism, taking the time away to exercise can help you relieve the stress and release those emotions in a healthy and productive manner.

Drink Water!
Spending hours on your feet, marching, shouting and talking, often in the hot sun. Dehydration is common and can lead to heat exhaustion and potential heat stroke. Keep water with you in a camelback or bottle to stay hydrated throughout your rally. It will keep you hydrated, safe and moving forward.

Photo By Dustin Krier w/ PFLAG Denver

Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as "the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.
Using meditation techniques, one can practice and learn mindfulness and apply it both outside of activism as well as during activism. Having a clear head and focused on the moment can help you better stay in the zone and not to let the emotion and passion of the event overwhelm you. Once the event is over, leave it there. Don't take it with you. Take the time to focus on other interests in your life and focus on your task at hand. The activism will always be ready for you when you return, but taking the stress and emotion of it wherever you go will bleed into other areas of your life. It could affect everything from friendships, work, hobbies, and even other goals. It's great to have a passion and cause, but don't let it consume you and bring you down. Like Elsa sung... "Let it go!"
 
BreatheTake the time to practice long, deep breathing. Not only is it a form of meditation that can help you practice mindfulness but it also is an easy and quick way to release tension and stress.When you find yourself feeling tense, anxious, stressed or any other emotion. Take a few big, deep breathes in and out. Recognize your current state of emotion and take a step back. A good technique is to inhale through your nose for 5 counts, hold it for 1-2 counts and then exhale for 8 counts through your mouth. Repeat this 4-5 times.

Let it Go
Outside of activism, pursue other interests and things in your life. Leave the passion and emotion you have at the march, rally or protest. When you are there, give it all you got and when it's over, leave it there. Your other interests and passions are just as important, so take the time to develop those as well and separate yourself from your cause until it is time to give it your all again. 

Don't read into comment threads on the internet. As someone once said "Arguing on the internet is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are, its just going to knock over the pieces, shit on the board and strut around like it won." As much as we might hope so, we are likely not going to change anybody's mind trying to argue on social media. So don't even try, instead channel your passion and effort into your causes and outlets where you can make a difference. Getting caught up in arguments only causes stress and anger but doesn't accomplish anything productive.

Remember, it's okay to walk away.



Stay Positive​
Lift each other up! As a community we must always be supportive each other. Extending a compliment, words of encouragement or even just a smile can accomplish a lot. It also will bring us even closer together. Unity is a powerful force. 


Remember there is always something positive out of every circumstance, no matter how dire. Pandora's box contained all the horrors and darkness in the world but remember what was hidden at the bottom? Hope! Seek the positive aspects out of every situation.
Always find an opportunity to grow and learn. We all face setbacks and defeats, but does that mean we should give up? No, it just means we are primed for an even bigger come back.


Activism can be quite stressful. There's a lot of shit happening in the world and it's easy to get discouraged. Remind yourself "Why". Why is this cause so important to you? You don't need to take on every cause in the world, just the one that is important to you. 


Go For a Walk

 
If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or stressed out. Put a pause on everything your doing and take a walk. Even 15-20 minutes can help you release and disconnect so you can reset yourself and be ready to take on the next challenge. It's easier to face a challenge when you have a clear head. 


Activism is how we change the world, so to be the best activists we can be it is important that we practice techniques to help us maintain our health and enthusiasm. The world seems to be growing quite harsh, but maintaining a positive attitude and building our own self-confidence can not only help us become better activists but allow our activism to have an even bigger impact.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Diet Versus Working Out

Picture
By Dirk Smith
 
The internet, oh the internet… Is full of fitspiration memes with motivational quotes pasted on a picture of someone showing off their ass or cleavage. Between all that cleavage is no shortage of fitness and nutrition advice on how to have a body just like that. From so called “health tonics” (lemon water anyone?) to everybody’s special “Butt Blaster” fitness challenges and the like. With all this information out there, there is no shortage of resources and places to help you find programs and advice to help you work toward achieving your fitness goals.

Most of it is bullshit however. While it doesn’t hurt to try new things and everybody is unique in the way that there is no “one solution” toward achieving anything, what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. Unfortunately my computer doesn’t have nearly enough memory to cover all the bullshit so we’re going to narrow the focus on a topic I have had many discussions about.

Picture
What percentage of your effort should be devoted to diet versus exercise when it comes to “slimming down” or getting those abs we all seek to do our laundry on. I’ve seen many memes and “fitspiration” posts that’ll say “70% Diet, 30% gym” or perhaps “Abs are made in the kitchen” or some variation of that. (I mean I have looked all over my kitchen and I have not found any trolls producing sexy ab muscles.)

As much as I am an advocate for fitness purely for aesthetics (I am not), I can tell you that there is no magic number of how much time and energy should be devoted to eating healthy and exercising in order to achieve your ideal physique. Like I said, every individual is unique in the way that what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you.

But did you go through all that effort to click the link and read this far just to hear that? No.

No matter what your pursuit in fitness, aesthetics, work, relationships, life or whatever else. The one constant that we can all universally control within ourselves is our effort. “80% Diet, 20% Gym” or whatever the numbers you might see are bullshit. It is 100% Diet, 100% Gym. As in you put your absolute 100% best effort in your eating habits and training routine. Just like you would put 100% of your best effort in all aspects of your life.

True champions approach every opportunity and tackle every challenge at their personal best. Your best effort should be applied in all aspects of your life, and especially in the things that you pursue. Anything that suggests anything less than your best is simply not worth your time.