Showing posts with label health and fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health and fitness. Show all posts

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! 

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.

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, 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 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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stonewall Fitness: Exercise Doesn't Discriminate and Neither Should You

By David Smith
PictureLGBT+ Sporting Events Celebrate Diversity through Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best
10-20+ years ago, the LGBT+ community faced a lot more discrimination and anti-LGBT+ harassment. While we are not totally free from that today, it is clear that the safe havens of gay bars and such don’t quite serve the same purpose as they once did. Are LGBT+ oriented bars and businesses going away? Not quite.

Exercise and fitness are non-discriminatory. However people in the exercise and fitness industry are. For generations a lot of false myths and bad advice in regards to exercise have floated around based on racist, sexist, anti-LGBT+ stigmas that have long held people back from achieving their true physical potential. 

​However nothing can discriminate against hard work, we’re all human and our bodies are designed to perform the same functions regardless of race, gender orientation, sexual identity, religion, age or nationality. When it comes time to exercise and train, everybody is on the same level. By level I mean everybody should be willing and ready to put in the same amount of work to accomplish their personal best.

Everybody exists at different planes of fitness, yes. Some people are faster, others can jump higher or lift more weight; they could be taller, shorter, different body type or more genetically inclined to succeed at certain tasks. There are people just starting out and others who are experienced. In the end though none of that matters, because everybody succeeds on the same level. Somebody might be struggling to lift over 100lbs, the person next to them might max out at only 10lbs. Even though there is 90lbs separating them, they are both working equally as hard to accomplishing the same task. Thus, they are training on the same level. 

​Everybody has started from the bottom and got to where they are on their own through dedication or hard work. They did not become the best through talent, nor because of their race, gender orientation, sexual identity, financial status, age or nationality. Stigmas and stereotypes exist and even scientific data might lend some level of truth to them, however history has consistently shown that people who’ve long been assumed to be weak have overcome such barriers and become just as strong and fit, if not more than their more privileged counterparts.

Is there need for “safe space” gyms? Yes, and by that a facility that is physically designed to accommodate the needs of a very diverse LGBT+ clientele. Gyms can be quite discriminating places, from weight selection, colors, layout. All based on old, long debunked myths and stereotypes that still separate us; especially among gender.

The environmental aspects of a gym should not create a barrier that is preventing you from accomplishing your fitness goals; going in with a plan, attitude to achieve and confidence within yourself to succeed and you as an individual can help overcome those things that separate us.

​A “safe space” is no longer just enough; either everybody succeeds or nobody succeeds. The differences that separate us should be left outside. When in the gym, the only goal is to do our best and succeed at our best, to succeed together. 

Photo courtesy of Liger Fitness
​Walk into any gym and take note of all the diverse people you see. Different body types, different levels of fitness, different genders, religions, income levels races, nationalities and sexual orientations. So many things that are different but what is common about all those people? They are at the gym for the same reason, to be active and fit. No matter the differences, we’re all their for the same reason; to do our best.

Picture David Smith is a coach,  exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness. He is a certified personal trainer and holds a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Stonewall Fitness: What’s at the Top of the Rope? Why Fitness Matters.

By David Smith

In school, a common fitness test was to climb to the top of the rope and you were measured on how high you could go. Many kids didn’t make it to the top, and many more would often question why climbing to the top important.

On September 11th during the evacuation of the twin towers, many people had to descend hundreds of flights of stairs in order to get out of the building. One of the biggest problems however was that a lot of the people simply weren’t physically conditioned for such a substantial effort and had to move at a slower pace. At the same time, firefighters and emergency personnel, in full gear would ascend those same stairs to expedite the evacuation.

With the majority of people working in an office, spending most of their time being sedentary in their daily lives the demand of descending hundreds of flight of stairs was simply too much. Having to take a slower pace and with a lot of rest, their chances making it out in time were significantly decreased. The firefighters were able to ascend and descend the stairs many times, even carrying people down who couldn’t make it themselves. These men and women are heroes and in that one crucial moment, their training and physical conditioning is what helped save lives.

Now we’ve all heard the usual reasons why we should go to the exercise (hypertension, diabetes, risk of heart attack etc.) but it’s like telling a smoker to quit because it causes cancer. During those crucial moments people’s physical fitness made a difference. It wasn’t about how you looked or your aesthetics, it was about how fit you were to do what you needed to.

There is no shortage of reasons why people in general need to exercise more, but for you as an individual it has to be personal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stonewall Fitness: Carbohydrates: Good For You or Spawn of the Devil?

By David Smith

If you have been conscious in the late 90s early 00s you probably remember diet fads such as Atkin’s that promote a low carb/high protein diets. The idea behind it is that since carbs (sugars and starches) are your primary fuel source, if you restrict your carbohydrate intake your body will be need another fuel source to function and will burn fat instead. If you burn more fat throughout the day then you lose weight right? This process is called ketosis, when the body burns fat to maintain it’s function. Ketosis primarily occurs when you are asleep to help the body and mind restore and repair itself however ketosis may occur when you’re awake as well if your carbohydrate stores are empty.

It all sounds great in theory however ketosis when you’re awake is not good for the body and can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and lethargy. Your body and especially your brain’s primary fuel source is carbs, especially the glucose (sugar) in your blood to give it energy to keep you awake and functioning throughout your day. They are also important for super intense bursts of energy when your body needs the calories really fast, this could be sprint exercise, reflexes from a fall or being startled by an obnoxious kid.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Stonewall Fitness: Too Sore, Can't Move.

By David Smith

Nothing like a good, strong, challenging workout to really get the blood pumping and the body moving, but why the hell am I so sore the day after?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is the body’s response to increased stress and pressure put on your muscle, it’s that feeling of being stiff, feeling like an old man and if your lucky, being able to sit on the toilet without falling off. It occurs after a particularly challenging workout and especially after engaging in a new exercise routine. DOMS can occur after any kind of workout, as long as the muscles are pushed and engaged at a level higher and different then what they are familiar with. Did you push that extra mile in your run? Started swimming again? Added an extra 10lbs to your weight stack? Get ready to feel sore!

A long held belief regarding DOMS is the production of lactic acid within the muscle is what causes it and the more lactic acid you have the more sore you are, right? Wrong. Lactic acid if often associated with muscle soreness because it’s responsible for muscular fatigue or “the burn” you feel during exercise. The burn is the result of the production of lactic acid overcoming the body’s ability to flush it out and making the use of oxygen within the muscle impossible. This explains why that extra pushup may or may not happen. However lactic acid is flushed entirely out of the body within 30-45 minutes following your workout.

Muscle soreness is the result of a traumatic process of your muscle essentially being ripped apart to shreds within your body as a result of your exercise. The muscle fibers themselves remain intact but the connective tissue that holds all the fibers together gets all ripped apart and the soreness is essentially the pain of this. If you get a cut on the skin, part of the skin gets torn up and you’ll feel the pain of the cut as the body works to repair itself, in the days following the cut the pain subsides right? The same thing happening with your muscles when they get sore.

It hurts yes, but muscle soreness isn’t always a bad thing, it definitely is more painful at first and doing things like washing your hair, sitting down on a toilet and such are more difficult. During the repair process, your muscle will regenerate the connective tissue to be stronger and better prepared to handle the increased load you are placing on it. Constantly engaging and loading the muscle in this fashion is what increases strength, endurance, power, mass and overall fitness. You’ll find the more you complete the exercise at the same intensity the less sore you’ll feel, that’s when it’s time to take it to the next level!

Soreness is great but it can definitely slow you down, what can you do to reduce it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: Killed for Convenience

By David Smith

Not many people realize how our lives are affected by the design and availability of such modern conveniences. The standard advice you’ll hear for improving your physical activity usually include taking the stairs and parking farther away right? However in the design of many buildings and public places, this is easier said than done. Most multi-level major centers including skyscrapers, malls, parking garages, bus/ train stations, airports and such have very prominent access to elevators and escalators but where are the stairs? Most of the time they are tucked away into a creepy, dark and cold corridor off the main path, now who in their right mind would you want to go through all that effort and energy when there is a more convenient and welcoming option available. Well consider your health and what may seem like a harmless trip up the escalator not only reflects your mental and physical approach to better health but also our society’s contribution to health and combating obesity.

I am sure you are wondering why I am thinking so much into this but considering even taking the stairs over the escalator can contribute greatly to cardiovascular and muscular health, it is what separates the lazy from the motivated. We live in a society that consumes twice as much energy as we expend and when this energy isn’t expended it’s stored. As a result people get fatter, this puts significant amount of weight and pressure on the joints, bones, blood vessels, heart, brain and the rest of the body. Weakening the body and making us more susceptible to disease and degeneration. Deconditioned individuals in this state have a much lower lifespan and are are increased risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, heart arrhythmias and many other things, especially at a younger age than these issues would otherwise become apparent!

The little things always count and it doesn’t have to take a big change in your habits to have an impact, even something as small as parking farther away and walking everyday can have a significant impact on your health.

Unfortunately as a society we have allowed these conveniences to take over our lives and we are reeling in the consequences. We spend so much time driving around a parking lot to find a close spot when it would actually be faster to park farther away and walk.

Many “conveniences” were originally in place to assist physically challenged individuals into being able to operate independently but are being used by the general population due our natural instinct to find the easiest option. Why pull open the heavy door when you can push the blue button that’ll open it for you? Your health depends on it! We are not a society of hunters and gatherers, food is much more abundant and we are not expending nearly as much energy as we need to. As a result people are getting bigger and lazier as the designers and builders of our infrastructure continue to construct ways to contribute to this:

Moving walkways at the airport for example, have absolutely no real purpose then to help you get to where your going faster and easier but what is it really doing to us? Taking 5 minutes off your walk through the airport just to sit at the gate for longer, did you know that extra 5 minutes of walking and carrying the suitcase or backpack can burn more calories? Even more it allows you to relax a bit more and just enjoy where your at without stressing so much to get where your going!

The United States has a pretty strong car culture and with that comes the “convenience” of getting things done without getting out of the car. Drive thru and Drive In restaurants allow us to acquire and consuming unhealthy food for energy with minimal expenditure, next time you wonder why your so fat, slap yourself in the face, it’s that obvious! People will wait in a long line at a drive thru when the restaurant inside is empty, park your car, get off your butt and walk in, chances are you need the exercise anyway. When your car is ready for a wash, don’t take it to the car wash, do it yourself! Did you know you could burn up to 400 extra calories a day? (LiveStrong)

From automatic doors, drive thrus, moving walkways, highways, elevators, valet parking, and such, convenience may be less effort but it’s at a cost to your health. It takes an active and conscious effort to seek out the better option, even if you have to ask where the stairs are, it’ll also take a couple extra minutes out of your day but you’ll find yourself with more energy, living healthier, feeling stronger and overall stepping above and beyond the lazy people for the better.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: But David, I want results NOW!

By David Smith

One of the biggest misconceptions within the health and fitness industry, one that is commonly advertised and pushed by companies trying to sell product is that it is possible to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. There are countless pills, products, devices, creams and other random and funky products that promise miracle weight loss and people are pushed into believing that you can lose significant amounts of weight in a short period time.

As an exercise professional and personal trainer I have worked with a wide variety of people that are as diverse as the world itself. It is no secret women and gay men particularly have a lot of body image issues, based on the sexual content of advertising we see often. It’s certainly understandable to want to look like that and many people are willing to do whatever it takes, take whatever product or supplement to achieve a desired look as fast as possible.

If you’re exercising to have those perfect abs and look like a male model and you want the results quickly, you will be highly disappointed and even a bit frustrated. Losing weight is great and as a country we certainly need to do that however it is not something that can be done in the short term. You can’t “kickstart” anything with one of the fad diets, products or workouts because once it’s over you can’t sustain it. Could you really live on smoothies for the rest of your life? I am sure you’ve heard “but it’s a lifestyle change” and that is true, now take that snarky voice out of your head and realize. Losing weight, building muscle and overall fitness and health only is possible if you work for it.

If you commit the time and energy in what you eat, how and when you exercise as well as minding other factors in your life such as reducing stress. It’ll make a big difference but tt won’t happen overnight. In fact it won’t even happen in a month. If you want the results you have to hold yourself accountable for it and commit to it. Not for a month, a week or whatever time that is advertised on your “miracle” weight loss pill/ supplement. If you can’t sustain it, you won’t ever achieve it.

Here’s some tips…

1. Put your workout on your calendar and make it a priority. It’s not something you can just skip if something better comes along. Make it important and stick with it. If you have a conflict then work around it but don’t cancel your workout.

2. Find an accountability buddy or hire a personal trainer. Someone to workout with and meet them at the gym. They are showing up and setting aside time in their day to workout with you, do the same.

3. Keep track of your daily food intake. Write down what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. There are hundreds of apps out there that can help you log the information and give you a clear picture on what your putting in your body.

4. Forgo alcohol and other high calorie drinks for water. Cut the number of drinks you’d normally have in half and replace it with water instead. Water not only hydrates the body but can help you better digest food, deliver oxygen to your muscles and keep you more alert throughout the day.

5. Make small changes to add physical activity throughout your day:
a. Use stairs instead of elevators/ escalators
b. Leave your car parked and walk or bike to more places.
c. Go for a daily walk
d. Sitting much? Try some of the same tasks while standing.
Read my the article "Killed for Convenience" to learn more!

6. Join an LGBT Fitness group or sports league. There are many ways to get involved and increase your physical activity without even making it a “workout” a sports team or group is a great way to meet new people, become more involved and exercise, plus it’s a lot of fun!

7. Get rid of stress! Exercise has been shown to reduce chronic stress but it doesn’t do much if you’re constantly stressing yourself out. Find what your stress instigators are and change them.

These are just a few of many ways you can increase your results, remember though only YOU are accountable. Regardless if you hire a trainer, have a stressful job, workout buddy always flakes or can’t afford healthier food don’t go finding excuses or blaming others for your lack of progress. If you’re not happy with your results, then figure out what you need to do to change that.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

4 Top Fitness Tips from Instinct Cover Model and Celebrity Trainer, Ty Vincent

Whether heading to a beachfront resort or a cabin in the mountains, keeping fit while traveling can be a seemingly impossible task. To help, Ty Vincent, LGBT owner of LA's CrossFit Sunset and this month's Instinct magazine cover model, has come up with some expert advice to help travelers navigate the pitfalls of indulgent meals, unstructured schedules or lack of an accessible gym equipment. Here are a few tips:

1. You can bring it with you. Be sure to toss a jump rope and some ankle/wrist weights into your suitcase. They are great, easily transportable tools that can be used almost anywhere that can enhance a workout, even when options are somewhat limited.

2. Fitting in fitness. While away from home, it is important to work fitness time into your schedule - even if it's only half an hour a day. The goal here isn't really to break new ground, it's maintenance of the hard work you've put in the rest of the year. A great trick is to set a cell phone calendar reminder for each day traveling.

3. Do-it-yourself workouts. Double-unders, air squats, burpees and sit-ups are just a few great exercises that work multiple parts of your body and require little to no equipment, meaning they can be done anywhere from a nearby park or the hotel gym. 

4.Snack attack. Food is definitely one of the great joys of the traveling, but traversing the town without overdoing it can be difficult. "The key here is portion control. I recommend taking what my mom would call a 'no thank you helping' of anything rich," offers Ty. "Imagine the small scoop of a dish your relative made that you hated as a kid, but your mom made you take anyway out of politeness. That's a 'no thank you helping.''"

Friday, July 11, 2014

New LGBT Fitness Class Offered

Come on OUT to O2EA, also known as the home of Stonewall Fitness on Wednesdays at 6pm for a H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) class. It's a fun and intense class for the LGBT community designed to help you push your limits, no matter your fitness level! $10 drop in fee.

Friday, June 6, 2014

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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: Exercise and living with HIV/AIDS

By David Smith 

It’s no doubt that HIV/AIDS has had a huge impact on the GLBT community; it has affected many people within our community. Today over 1.3 million people (World Health Organization 2011) are living with HIV/AIDS and there have been many advancements in educational, prevention and treatment services offered that have turned the disease from a death sentence to on the verge of a cure.

Living a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly can have many benefits for people who live with HIV/AIDS. Greg Louganis for example was diagnosed with HIV shortly before the 1988 Olympics, he stated in his book that he was afraid he would be too sick to compete and almost called it quits. However the fact that he was exercising regularly and staying consistent with a healthy diet not only helped to keep the virus at bay but to keep his immune system strong, to the point he was able to fight off other infections such as the flu a lot quicker than his HIV negative teammates. (Louganis. G Breaking the Surface 1996).

Friday, May 16, 2014

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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: Eating and Exercise?

By David Smith

When is the best time to eat and exercise? I’ve been asked this a lot and it’s definitely something a lot of people seem unable to find a straight (but not entirely :P) answer to.

Well a simple answer is to exercise and then eat.

As I am sure you know though, nothing is quite that simple so let’s break it down a little more.

No matter when you exercise, it is always good to follow a consistent eating pattern so that your body can best take advantage of the nutrients and calories in the food, help you exercise at your best and most importantly help you achieve your goals.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: Why I Don't Want, Or Need, Six-Pack Abs!

By David Smith

It's always been humorous to me when people see me and expect that I have a super ripped body, only to be a bit let down when they lift up my shirt and realize they have to scrub their laundry elsewhere. 

With the countless hours of training and exercise I do, it's a wonder that I am not a walking cover of Men's Fitness but it's not my focus or care. I often ask friends, clients, and even random people what their goals are for fitness, many of them gay, bi, straight, trans or whatever. The most common response among men, especially gay men, is that they want six-pack abs. They want to be ripped and have that nice body that our culture has come to expect. Like most gay men, I myself suffer from body image issues as well.

It is no secret that sex sells, which is why ads and marketing material often contain images of hot people with hot bodies, mostly nude! Every once in a while I will stop myself and look at my body. No matter how it looks to others or where I am at in my training, I often still see my old, 190lb self that I had long shed. Yet this journey has never really been about how I look, it's been about how I feel about myself and really about what I can do and accomplish.

For most people to get a six-pack one needs to follow a strict regime of diet and intense exercise. To achieve a body such as that you must rid yourself of all those little treats that life offers you. You sacrifice so much to have the perfect body, but for who? For the guy at the bar who won't call you back the next day?

I have never had a six-pack nor do I care to. 90 percent of my daily diet consists of healthy foods. I eat clean but I am also not afraid to treat myself to some naughty sweets either. I can train up to 5 or 6 hours a day but as an athlete training for the chance to compete at the Olympic Games, each mile I put in, each drop of sweat, is for that greater purpose. In the end my body is a reflection of my habits, my goals and my actions. It's a part of who I am. Instead of trying to please others, it's important that we think about ourselves. Your goals, your dreams, your passions. It should be about what makes you feel good, not what you think other people want to see. There's so much I could go on about this subject but for now I think I will end it here.

Stay active, my friends! 

David Smith is the owner of Stonewall Fitness, holds a degree in exercise science from Metropolitan State University of Denver and holds several fitness certifications including ACSM Personal Trainer and Group Fitness.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Stonewall Fitness: By, For, and About the Gay Community!

David Smith, the owner of Stonewall Fitness, holds a degree in exercise science from Metropolitan State University of Denver, several fitness certifications including ACSM Personal Trainer and Group Fitness.

Smith specializes in exercise, nutrition and wellness programs for the GLBT community and leads a variety of different programs, including group fitness classes, personal training, athletic conditioning programs, educational seminars and workshops.

His passion lies in promoting the physical, mental and social benefits of exercise and healthy diet to the community by breaking down the barriers often associated with a healthy lifestyle to make it accessible for everybody.