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

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).
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

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.

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.

Friday, September 1, 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, August 15, 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.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Keys to Mental and Physical Successes in Training

By David Smith

When it comes to training, it is important that we ready ourselves to accomplish our personal best, each and every session. There are days where we all struggle with motivation, sometimes our best is simply showing up. As they say… “Nobody regrets a workout when it’s done.” So if you can manage to make it to the gym, where do you go from there?

As an exercise professional and coach, I have always stressed the importance of a consistent, comprehensive and sometimes long warm up session. A good warm up set should consist of…

Dynamic Stretches  

Increase Range of Motion (ROM) with active movement within the muscle.

Full Body/ General Exercises
Exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time, upper body, lower body and core. Even if session won’t utilize those muscle groups otherwise.

Specific Exercises as related to your goals of the session.

For example, if your set involves heavy squats, incorporating body weight squats for your warm up is a good idea.

​The warm up set should be consistent for every session, with slight adjustments to the “Specific Exercises” based on the goals of the session. Remember, you are not trying for any PRs or 1RMs during the warm up set. The goal of the warm up set is to get you into the zone, allow you to shed all the external stresses (work, relationships, general life stress, etc.) So when it comes time to start on your main set, you can exists solely within the moment, focusing only on the task at hand.

Mindfulness is the state of mind where you exist completely within the present moment. What has past and what has to come is irrelevant because you only focus on what is right now. Simply put, if you are climbing a stair case. You don’t focus on the steps behind you nor the steps above you. Your only focused on taking each step. Hence you “take one step at a time”.

​Your warm up should be designed to get you into “the zone”. In essence the warm up is really the hardest part of the workout. Taking a bunch of cold muscles and putting them to work while simultaneously taking all the distractions of the outside world and temporarily pushing them aside. It’s a lot to undertake and people generally skip the warm up as a result. When you skip the warm up, your body still has to “warm up” as it were, but you won’t necessarily see the kind of performance gains and improvements during those first few sets that you might otherwise hope. In addition for untrained/ deconditioned individuals might not see performance improvements at all.

A proper warm up is more than just about preventing injury. It’s putting yourself into “The Zone” where your body and mind work in harmony to accomplish the task at hand (set, lift, repetition, etc.) The “Runner’s High” is a perfect example of “The Zone”, yet it usually takes experienced runners a few miles of grueling, strenuous running before they achieve it (warm up). However once you experience the “Runner’s High” it’s like an endophin rush akin to getting high. (Hence it’s the Runner’s High). In this zone you feel like you can run forever, that it almost feels effortless. The sooner you can get into that zone, the more you are capable of putting in your 100% Best Effort and the more likely you are to reach PRs and ultimately, improvements and results. More advanced athletes can get into this zone much quicker due to the number of hours they spend training and practicing. The more time and effort you commit to training, the quicker your body will adapt and sooner you’ll find yourself in the same zone. ​Learn to “Embrace the Suck” as it were when it comes to warm up. Yes, warm ups should feel challenging, strenous and repetitively annoying. Yet it allows you to get all of that moaning and groaning out of your system first so you can get into your zone and accomplish what you are there to accomplish. Get it done.

Tuesday, August 8, 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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: What's With the Name?

By David/Dirk Smith

If you’ve followed me on Facebook and Instagram over the past year, you might have found yourself confused with me… is it David or Dirk? What should you call me? Who the hell am I?

No doubt even something as simple as a name change on social media can have a tremendous impact on one’s identity toward their network of friends. Many people have asked me why I changed my name, when will I change it back and most of all… Do I go by David or Dirk?

The simple answer, at least to the last question… while many people might know me as David, I really like the name Dirk (and the German pronounciation of it “DEER-CK” like Deer (the animal) and a CK). David Smith is a very… VERY common name in the United States. Too common in fact and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I feel it’s time for something new.

When I initially changed the name, I wanted people to call me Dirk. However being as established as I am here in Denver, it is not exactly an easy transition and I started to forget to whom and how I introduced myself to people, thus I got more confused myself than others have. So, I have told people that while I prefer Dirk, I respond to both.​
It is difficult to adopt such a significant shift in identity. With everything from official IDs, Business Cards, Addresses, Credit Cards, and just even my own space cadet kind of memory, it is definitely a kind of transition that can throw a lot of people off.
The change represents the precursor to a major impending life change for me. To end one chapter and begin anew. While I am not entirely sure what that will fully entail, it does include leaving Denver and starting somewhere new and with a clean slate but when and where? Who knows! All I know it is including a new name, Dirk. ​
With that I am excited at the new opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead. My passion and cause has never been stronger as I continue to grow and expand Stonewall Fitness and Fit with PRIDE to encompass new ideas and approaches toward helping unite the LGBTQ+ community through exercise, fitness and sport. By growing opportunities to write and share my insight into exercise and fitness as well as building my online training and coaching programs. No matter where in the world I might go, I will always have a community that I feel apart of and can continue to help bring together in our common pursuit of better health, fitness and wellness.

Monday, July 31, 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, July 28, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Water, for When You're ... Thirsty

Photos By Ariel Marie at AMS Creative Imaging
By David Smith

​Feeling hungover? Your headache is most likely caused by dehydration and now your feeling the consequences. In fact the majority (if not all) headaches are symptoms of dehydration and lack of water intake. You’ll see lots of products and hear lots of people who all of a sudden turn into “experts” but in the end you need to drink more water!

There are a variety of factors that will lead to dehydration such as hot/ cold environments; high sodium intake, high caffeine/ high alcohol intake, exercise and well… the reasons are endless.

​Headaches aren’t the only symptom of dehydration either, fatigue, lack of energy, bad breath, dry mouth, thirst, poor circulation, headaches, poor coordination, fainting, lack of sweat/ urine, sluggishness. Your body consists mostly of water so it’s important that you are constantly keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day.

“But how much water should I drink?”

The old rule of thumb “drink 8 glasses of water a day” is as old and out of date as a washed up music group from the 70s. Especially because it doesn’t adapt to different types of people and different lifestyles. The best and most basic way is to keep track of your pee! You should be peeing consistently throughout the day and should be clear with a slight yellow tint. If it is clearer than water you may be over hydrated, if it’s significantly yellow or dark, you need to drink more! The only exception is for those who take a multi-vitamin, which tends to turn pee into a fluorescent color.

There are times in your day where it is beneficial to drink more water, particularly right when you wake up to help encourage blood flow and because you are dehydrated from your sleep. During meals to help with digestion and circulation as well to encourage slower eating and discourage binge eating. During a workout/ exercise due to the increased workload and to due to increase sweat loss. As well in the LGBTQ+ community drinking alcohol is very commonplace so it is important to balance your alcohol intake with water as well. Alcohol can quickly contribute to dehydration as well as intoxication. Balancing your intake with water will help you not feel as drunk and will significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate your hangover.

Benefits of Drinking Water
Increased energy.

Keeps you looking and feeling young.

Enhances to weight loss.

Contributes to muscle/ strength gains.

Promotes brain function and health
Strengthens joint.+ So much more!Bottle vs Tap Water? No matter what your source is, drinking straight H2O with no extra flavors or additives is much cheaper and more beneficial than those high fat/ high sugar drinks from the coffee shop. Drinking it right out of the tap also helps you get important vitamins and minerals that otherwise might be filtered out in bottle water, as well it is much cheaper and more accessible. Drinking from the tap also helps to boost your immune system. In the end, there really isn’t much water can’t help you with, so drink up!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Sports for Change

PictureBy Dirk Smith
There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding the role that sports play in greater political causes. With athletes like Colin Kaepernick who use their platform as professional athletes to make a statement for a particular cause and other athletes like Michael Sam whom make a statement just by participating in their sport as an openly gay individual.

The question lies here, do sports create an effective platform for enacting real world change within a community on the local, national and international level?

The Olympic movement itself was built upon this ideal…

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

While some might argue that this goal while with good intentions, hasn’t been nearly as successful as it may seem. After all, despite the existence and growth of the Modern Olympic Games over the past 120 years yet we still commonly face issues of discrimination, enmity and war. On the flip side, the Olympic movement has also brought those who might otherwise be enemies together on the world stage to share a friendly spirit of competition. So where does sport truly lie in the role it takes toward creating a positive change within the world?
Within the LGBTQ+ Community itself lies many different types of events and organizations for the community to come together with a common purpose, that is the sport itself. Through the organization of national and international level gatherings of sports, be it one sport or multi-sport events. The unifying factor to bring people together from all over the planet is for the common goal of participating in sport itself. This has the potential to create a very positive and empowering impact on the LGBTQ+ and has already changed the community in many ways.

In 1982, the first of now man,y large-scale LGBTQ+ sporting events took place in San Francisco. The brainchild of one Dr. Tom Waddell, an 1968 Olympic Decathlete had organized the first ever “Gay Games” a large, quadrennial, gay and lesbian multi-sport event that sought to

“Foster and augment the self-respect of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all sexually-fluid or gender-variant individuals (LGBT+) throughout the world and to promote respect and understanding from others, primarily by organizing and administering the international quadrennial sport and cultural event known as the “Gay Games.”

In the 35+ years since the Gay Games begun, the movement has continued to grow and inspired countless other LGBT+ sporting events which seek a similar goal and purpose. Since the 1980s the LGBTQ+ community has undergone a lot of turbulent times but with that a significant period of growth and expansion as more people starting coming out of the closet. Taking action to advocate for equality and taking the risks (sometimes with fatal consequences) to simply be and live as who they are.

While Gay Games and most other LGBT+ sport events have not taken any specific stance or action on political issues, they have played a significant role in inspiring and empowering generations of LGBTQ+ people to live and thrive as an individual. Simply by creating an inclusive environment that offers the opportunity for participation and to achieve their personal best, LGBT+ sports have made a big impact on where our LGBTQ+ community stands today.
A lot of people have questioned, why do we need a “Gay Games” anyway. Simply put, because the need for it is still there. A large majority of participants at such events tend to come from Europe and North America where we now live in the most inclusive and equal time in recent history for LGBTQ+ people.  However the Gay Games feels more exclusive toward those who, frankly, can afford the trip. Yet the purpose and mission of the Games is still very much relevant, the question is how can we increase participation from countries and communities where being LGBTQ+ is still grounds for prosecution, harassment and even execution?

Can communities from countries like Russia, Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica and China benefit from participation and representation in Gay Games and other similar, legitimate LGBTQ+ sporting events? You bet they can. With homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination still very much prevalent, those communities need the opportunity and support to take part in the games. Gay Games offers a welcoming, inclusive environment that has inspired and empowered LGBTQ+ youth for generations to be more involved. The same is still very much true today and by increasing the participation and representation from countries and communities where LGBTQ+ people face significant harassment and prosecution. We can continue to inspire and empower them to return home with the courage to take a stand against the discrimination and harassment they face every day. 
All that simply comes, not from making any political statement or gesture, but by simply taking part in sport. It shows that the true power of sport lies within the game itself. Taking true action simply by playing a game, or in a race. Through participation, inclusion and personal best we can enact real and positive change in the world. That is the future of LGBTQ+ sport.
Donate to the Gay Games scholarship fund which exists specifically for this reason, to provide the financial support for athletes from underrepresented communities to be able to take part and participate at the 2018 Gay Games in Paris. Click Here for More Info and donate to Dirk's Gay Games Scholarship Fundraiser here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Swim for Love. Swim for Life.

By David Smith

June 12th, 2016 I woke up to the news that the Pulse Orlando Nightclub was the scene of a horrific mass shooting. At first I thought, “oh great, here we go again” as mass shootings have come so commonplace in the United States that I’ve almost numbed to it.

This one was different however. I have never been to Pulse or even to Orlando that matter. I didn’t know anybody who was at the club that night nor had any real close connection to the event. However the more I learned about the events that unfolded. The people who were there and the victims that were so brutally assaulted by a coward I couldn’t help but put myself there and I cried. While I didn’t personally know those people, I felt a connection to them. LGBT brothers and sisters that only a year before we all fought and celebrated together when marriage equality was legalized in all 50 states, People that I felt the pain with after Mathew Shepherd’s death when I was younger. Here I was thousands of miles away in Colorado, crying over people I didn’t know but felt like family. 

I wanted to do something, anything I could do to support my family and bring something positive out of such a horrific event. Even if it was a small effort, I wanted to do my part. I chose to channel my passion for swimming into a fundraiser. A way to help raise some cash that will help people who are recovering and still facing many struggles, even 6 months later.

Swimming 100x100s while no easy effort certainly was a challenge. I had done it in the past, for myself but this was different. For the first time I was doing it for someone else. I pledged to swim 100m for every $1 raised on January 1st, 2017. Originally I wanted 100m for $100 raised but quickly realized that goal was not realistic. I was going to swim 10,000m and raise $1,000. Of course like any fundraising campaign on social media, most went ignored for the first month and slowly donations trickled in. 

A month out before the swim I ended up not doing any swimming due to many issues from an injury to food poisoning. The week before the swim I was nervous. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish the 100x100s and while I was confident I would hit the $1000 fundraising goal. I wanted to swim the full distance I had said I would.

The day of the swim, I posted a video explaining what was about to happen and how the 100x100s would work. Within only a few minutes I started to see dozens of responses and shares. Suddenly people were donating like crazy and it seemed never-ending! In that day alone we raised over $400 and surpassed the $1000 goal by several hundred dollars! I guess this means it’s time to swim.

I started the 100x100s with 13 other people from the DU Masters group and while swimming I replayed the events of June 12th in my head as I read them. I thought about the people at the nightclub and their families. The victims and how scary the whole situation was. I didn’t know it was possible but I cried underwater. 

As the 100x100s continued, more and more people started quitting, too tired or exhausted to continue they weren’t going to make it to 10,000m but I was determined too. Despite being out of shape, I wasn’t doing it just for myself. The 49th 100 really gave me chills as 49 people were killed in the nightclub on that fateful night. That particular set of 10x100s we did fly and it felt appropriate. For swimming one of the most challenging strokes is the butterfly and swimming my 49th 100 as butterfly I pushed myself through using my passion and emotion to drive me forward. Reminding myself that no matter how this felt, it was nothing compared to what the victims have gone through. This was all about supporting the 49 beautiful souls, their family, friends and legacy.

By the 80th 100 all had quit except 4 of us including myself. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, my muscles were hurting but I wasn’t going to stop so short to the end. The other 3 contemplated quitting but I convinced them otherwise, I mean how could you come so close to the end and just give up? The last 2000m certainly felt like the longest but it was the most rewarding. For having hit the fundraising goal and my distance goal, I could climb out of the pool and say “we did it”. Yet despite my pain and ravenous hunger that soon followed. I continued to reflect on why we were there in the first place. Not just for personal accomplishment but to do something to help others. Millions of dollars have been raised after the shootings and thousands of people have channeled their passion into making a difference to ensure that another Pulse, another Mathew Shephard or anything else ever happens again. 

If we continue to do our part and channel the very best within each of us toward creating a positive impact on the world, we can ensure that the 49 beautiful people we lost on that fateful day will not have died in vein. They will always be honored and remembered. Their legacy will live on as we create a better and safer world for all our LGBT family.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: How Do You Know If You're Making Progress?

By David Smith

There is no secret that the focus of most people’s fitness is weight loss. In talking with clients, class participants, gym members and friends, especially in the LGBTQ community the first goal people tell me is that they want to lose weight, get lean/tone up or become more “defined”. However more often then not I see people who are discouraged and mad at themselves because they don’t see the progress that they expect and they numbers they want, especially in regards to weight loss. To not consistently be dropping pounds seems to be a sign of failure in the midst of all the sweat and exhaustion that has come from the countless hours at the gym. Are you not losing the weight or making the gains you expected? Let me tell you, it’s perfectly okay and it certainly doesn’t mean you should stop.

When I started my journey toward better physical fitness and on my quest to earn a spot on the Olympic Team, I was 50lbs heavier and very much motivated. However in the 5.5 years since I started, initially I used weight to measure my progress but after the first 4 months my weight had plateaued and I wasn’t seeing the kind of changes on the scale that I was. I didn’t even look very defined either. Now there are no “weight” standards per se to be on the Olympic Team since you are judged on your performance and abilities rather than you’re size and looks but that’s not to say that most Olympians don’t look really good and hot. It’s important to remember that their looks, body types and muscles, especially on swimmers (hence the sports popularity!) are a side effect of all the hard training and discipline that they put in to push themselves to compete at that level.

If you’re feeling discouraged because you are not seeing the weight loss or the definition or the progress you were expecting, think about it in different terms. Compare yourself now to where you were when you started, think about an exercise you really struggled with, pushups for example. How many pushups were you able to do the first time? How many can you do now? Do you take fitness classes? Zumba is a great example of a fitness class that many people have a hard time with at first. My first Zumba class I was so uncoordinated and felt like an idiot, I struggled to get the moves down and felt like a spider trying to dance. In addition it was a challenge just to keep up, thinking that my heart was going to rip out of my chest like a scene from Alien. When I went back again and took another class I found not only was I more coordinated and knew the moves a bit better but I could keep up better and found that I was actually getting into the dance. That is the definition of progress!

Being able to do even one more pushup than last time, that’s progress! Not having to stop and rest so many times, or even not having to rest as long as you did last time? Progress. Being able to maintain your balance for longer? PROGRESS! Your body is capable of so much more that limiting your definition of progress solely to weight loss only limits the capabilities of your body and mind.

Looking thin and hot won’t get you as far as the you’d like to think because at some point you’ll be expected to do more right? Not to say weight loss doesn’t have dozens of benefits but better overall physical fitness has been shown to improve people’s life in all other aspects. It’s important to see your fitness from a broader perspective and how your weight loss can tie into other aspects of your life. From helping a singer expand his vocal range to lifting people out of depression, being able to function more in daily life and get through the day with more energy. I’ve seen people go from not being able to run a mile without stopping to running a full marathon in less than a year and they did not lose a single pound nor do they look like a Greek god. What’s more interesting and motivating than how you look? How about those little things you can easily do now that was a struggle before. Think about how far you’ve come since you’ve started, all those little things that were outside your comfort zone and now people look at you in awe, impressed and wondering what your secret is. Most importantly it’s about accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.

Next time your feeling discouraged, don’t be mad because you only lost one pound or seemed to plateau and aren’t making progress because you are. It’s the little things that count right? :-)

David Smith is an exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness

Friday, April 21, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Do Fitness Trackers Really Improve Fitness?

By David Smith

Fitness trackers such as the FitBit and Apple Watch have become very popular no doubt, they can do everything from tracking steps, calories and heart rate to giving you an almost complete profile of your bodily processes throughout the day and night. While the technology has certainly become more advanced, it’s hardly anything new. Endurance athletes have been using heart rate monitors for years and I am sure a lot of people will remember the step counters from the mid 2000s. Yet how will your average gym goer or person looking to improve fitness benefit from all this data?

​One of the basic functions of wearable fitness trackers is to track steps. After wearing it for a day or so, a lot of people are surprised at the number of steps they take, usually between 7000-10,000 steps a day. Thus the first goal someone will make is to reach a certain number of steps per day, even if that means walking laps around your living room at the end of the day to see that final number appear. The same process might happen when you track your calories burned or even your average HR (heart rate) through physical activity. Many gyms even have posters and charts for “HR Zones” that provide a point of reference for the number you might be seeing.

​While all this data might be great to see, it’s important to understand what it means and how to utilize it toward improving your fitness. A wearable fitness tracker is simply a tool, nothing more. While you can accomplish the same results with or without the device; if you plan on using one, be sure you get your money’s worth!

Wear your fitness tracker for a week or so and go about your daily routine, establish a baseline of your daily physical activity. This is also a good opportunity to learn how it works, play around with the settings and get used to wearing it.

Tuesday, April 18, 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.

Wednesday, April 12, 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, April 11, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Preparing to Succeed On and Off the Field in Sport

By David Smith

With World OutGames Miami 2017 coming up in just a few short weeks and the Gay Games Paris 2018 a little over a year away. Many athletes are starting to think about how they can best prepare and train to achieve their personal best on and off the field.

If you’re investing the money and time for the trip to Miami and onto Paris, or any other big sporting event; be sure to invest in your own training, fitness and well being as an athlete. When you arrive in Miami and in Paris and get ready to compete, don’t you want to be there feeling like you’re investment was worth it? Better yet, feel like all your hard work paid off! There’s no greater feeling than that. 

​Sports’ training doesn’t just take place on the field (or court, pool, track, etc.). What you do off the field can have just as much of an impact. Improving your overall fitness level, eating habits and attitude by adopting a program that is more specific to your sport will not only help you prevent injuries but you will develop conditioning, strength, stamina and balance and mental readiness you will need to arrive ready to succeed in Miami or Paris. You might even look good and ready for the beach too! Most importantly, you will be as ready as ever to take on the competition and accomplish your goals. 

​That’s what being a champion is all about!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Are You Training or Working Out?

By David Smith
Well, what’s the difference? You might ask. Next time your at the gym, look around and take note of all the different people you see. What are they doing? Are they really getting into it or do they look bored or distracted? How hard are they working?

The difference between training and working out is when you are training; you give your fitness a greater purpose. You step foot into the gym with a plan and a purpose. You are there to put in the grind and accomplish your goals for the day. Most importantly you are there because you want to be. Often times “working out” is seen as a chore, and it is. You show up, do the minimum and then go and binge eat on naughty food afterwards. Working out is a necessary evil that one must do in order to succeed in life, or so they say...

​When you are training, you are always striving to do your best, perform at your best and push the limits of your body and mind to achieve the next step on your journey.

By working out, you are content with the bare minimum of work needed to get the job done. Sticking to the basics of what you know but you’re not quite ready to step outside your comfort zone and push yourself harder. Why? It’s uncomfortable; and we don’t like being uncomfortable.

Breaking through our comfort zone, taking a leap of faith and trying something new are the essence of human existence. It’s taken us to the moon and back and it’s a principle we should all take to heart. 
​Everybody has goals of course, but are your goals enough to keep your momentum going? Remember motivation tends to wane, which is why we need a daily dose. When I say “fitness with a greater purpose” I mean the end result isn’t something as simple as “toned body” or “weight loss” it’s about achieving something you never accomplished before. Be it a Personal Record in lifting, a certain time in a race, climbing a mountain or whatever it is for you. 

You can have excuses, or you can have results. 
To show up at the gym every day, knowing that what you do will get you one step closer to achieving that goal, you are motivated to put in the extra work and to push your limits one step further every time.

You are not focused on the destination; you are focused on the journey. Every step of that journey is one step further than you’ve ever gone before and it is one step closer to where you want to go. 

​Next time you arrive at the gym, ask yourself the ultimate question. “Why?” Why are you here? Why are you doing this? If you start your answer with “I need” then don’t even bother taking another step. Take a deep breath and start your answer with “I want”. As in “I want to accomplish more than I ever thought possible” and remind yourself of that every day.

David Smith is a coach,  exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness.