The next round of Summer Strong online training starts next Monday, June 8. Everyone is welcome. With all that’s going on with racism, protests, and pandemic in the world right now I questioned for a minute if I should be taking up space here to tell you about it or not. Sometimes fitness feels superficial. But it’s not. Truth is these workouts are what help me and my clients stay resilient in these challenging times. They help us burn off the fire from our rage so we can do something helpful with that energy instead of letting it burn our insides. These workouts help us get strong & sturdy so we can do this work for the long-haul. And they help us connect to our joy in the mountains so we don’t burn out or get injured or lose hope or give up. All this is important and necessary. As my teacher @imdrtee says, “in a context of pervasive oppression, to care for one’s self and ensure your own health & well being is one of the most loving, revolutionary and liberatory acts that any human can engage in. Doing so is a direct contradiction to the very fiber of systems of oppression, which places no value on the people they target.”
I am in the process of learning how to show up for Black people. Also for Indigenous people, fat people, poor people. All oppressed and marginalized people. Our systems are screwing you over & I'm mad about it. And I'm committed to being part of the change. Now, most of you here are white and/or have other dominant identities. You, I want to call into this work with me. Let’s be a part of this change together. We're not taught how to show up. My teacher @imdrtee teaches that systems of oppression actually collude to keep this information away from us. We're taught to uphold the system. So if we want to do it differently, we have some learning to do. Dr Tee teaches from a Liberation perspective, which teaches that allyship is developmental. It’s all learned. We have to study & practice liberation, in order to enact it effectively. Everyone I know who is speaking up about racism right now (in a non-harmful way!) has actively studied social justice. Personally, my process has involved learning how to feel okay in conflict. To allow myself to make mistakes. I've had to learn how to repair when I make mistakes, since they’re inevitable in this work. To feel my feelings without freezing up. To act, imperfectly. It’s been a challenging process, and a healing one. Your process might look different from mine. But I started working with Dr Tee one year ago. I've taken three classes with him now. Our current Allyship cohort is keeping me afloat these days. 🙏🏼 I'm also currently studying nervous system healing with @theblackdoula which is amazing too. IG is going to cut me off if I write more but basically I want you to be in this for the long hall with me. Start some version of both internal work & direct action, now! We can do this together at a sustainable pace & care for ourselves along the way so we don’t stress ourselves out or burn out. 1) learn from black people 2) know that this shit takes time & commitment 3) put in the work 4) take direct action now too: donate & make calls & support action in your community
In the face of frustration, anger, fear, grief, shame, and everything else that's hard-- our sturdiness can help. In the unlearning of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ablism, all the other -isms we've been taught -- our sturdiness is critical. As our bodies change, our lives change, we lose the things we love, we don't get the things we want -- our sturdiness pulls us through. When the weather is shitty & our bodies are tired & we have more miles to go -- we need our sturdiness. The kind of sturdiness I'm talking about isn't what society teaches us. It's not the I-feel-no-pain or all-or-nothing kind. It's a sturdiness that is also soft, honest, feels its feelings, and is resilient because of that. A simple recipe for building sturdiness: ➡️Face difficulty (in manageable doses) ➡️Rise to the challenge (sometimes this is internal work & you may have nothing to 'show' for it) ➡️Notice that you did it (feel your sturdiness) ➡️Rest in between challenges (this is when the growth happens) and on and on forever. Looks a lot like interval training to me! Let me know how you’re gettin’ sturdy 👇🏼 Sturdy Girl shirt by @negharfonooni at @saltandsorcery ✨
Find your balance. Sometimes it’s shakey. Keep moving forward. Sometimes it’s hard. Look around you. There is beauty. One step at a time. Sometimes progress is slow. Moving is winning. Small steps count too. You are strong. You can do hard things. You’ve got this. 💗 Messages from the mountains. 🏔 Have any to add? 👇🏼
I don’t really do before & afters because I believe that all bodies are awesome. But sometimes even I forget the MOOD impact that #summerstrongtraining workouts can have— a totally different sort of before & after that I’m way more into. 🤷🏼♀️This morning: grouchy. 🌈After my workout: feeling psyched. Such a dramatic change that I surprised even myself. And even though I also believe that all emotions are important & healthy & welcome— a mood boost before & after like this is one I can get excited about! Does this happen for you too? 👇🏼
What do you carry? How do you carry it? It's been hot & sunny here & I've been bringing the bare minimum with me on these short local hikes. Soaking up the ability to hike without a backpack while I can -- we have some backpacking trips planned & those shoulders will have plenty of weight on them but right now it feels so good to travel extra-light! Last summer I had an allergic reaction to a bee sting so trying to be extra diligent to carry my epi-pen & Benedryl even on these quick hits of mountain time. Happily, this waist-belt system has just enough room for bear spray, epi-pen, phone & keys & is stable enough for summit jumps! I'm psyched with this system and wanted to share-- and am curious to know what's working for you! What do you carry on your hikes? What's your system for carrying it all? I'd love to know 👇🏼
Hammock life is a good life. I believe this is the first time I’ve ever hung a hammock up outside in Alaska. It’s not usually this warm. Especially this early in the summer. I’m not complaining... I love the sunshine & the heat. I’m getting a tan! The last few weeks and months have felt heavy and i’m so grateful for the pleasure & comfort from this hammock in the sunshine. And also— what do these temperatures mean for our summer? Our #Alaska? Our glaciers? Our permafrost? Our fish? I am soaking the sun into my skin & bones, which have been starved for warmth & vitamin D all winter long. A strange new Alaska. #hammocklife #climatechange
Surviving a fall without an injury When we're in the mountains, we're going to fall. That's just part of it. Unexpected things happen. Conditions are always changing, and we're often being challenged. Everyone falls. But not all falls end in injury. Mine this week: I slipped on a root descending on a steep trail. Right leg slid left & I landed on my right hip. And on a stick. But thankfully I caught myself with my right arm & was able to save that stick from totally destroying my quad, which is what happened to @lucmehl a couple of summers ago. He ended up having a deep quad bruise that nagged him through our Noatak-Unakleet trip that summer. So how do we fall, without getting hurt? A big part of falling without injury is luck. I fell uphill onto my stick and Luc fell downhill into his. Accidents happen and so do injuries. If you're injured right now, no guilt-tripping yourself -- not everything is preventable. Factors you can control: -- strength (ability control a fall) -- body mass (ability to absorb a fall) -- agility (ability to bounce/flow through a fall) -- style (how you moved as you fell) -- resiliency (how your body absorbs impact) Check out the list 👆🏼 & let me know your strengths & weaknesses! 👇🏼 And if you want to check out my bruise, swipe left 🙃
It's been a week/month/lifetime, right? So instead of a thoughtful post today, let's play! Thanks @among_the_wildflowers for this idea. If you were a plant, who would you be? Don't overthink it. I would be arnica. I love its sunniness and of course healing properties. ☀️✨🌱🌼 @maiden_alaska_herbals introduced me to arnica in Skagway- thank you friend!
Monday inspiration: Be like this tree! And find a way to adapt to the situation you find yourself in. I'm pretty sure this tree didn't plan to grow horizontally out on to the beach and then start it's journey up -- It probably had nice solid ground underneath it for a while. It had a plan, and it was a good one! But then things changed, the earth shifted, erosion happened, and it found itself in a new situation. Like many of us these days. I'm inspired by this tree & hope you are too! It found a way to make its new situation work -- and it did it beautifully. How's your adaptation going? 👇🏼🌲🌱
[TROUBLESHOOTING PAINFUL MOVEMENTS] My Intern, Amanda, was telling me about some pain in the back of her knee during side lunges. She's been focusing her efforts on strengthening up her power muscles (quads, hamstrings, glutes), but while she bends into the left knee the right leg feels tight & painful. What she's found is a MOBILITY BARRIER. Her hip & leg mobility is preventing the deepening of her range of motion in this exercise. Mobility Barriers are super normal & happen to all of us. They're especially common when working in the less-common movement patterns- like sideways motion aka lateral lunges. Steps to address Mobility Barriers: ➡️Find them. They're often above or below the pain-point, but not always. Look for a chain reaction that's contributing to the pain, then look for the source. Professional expertise may help here. ➡️De-emphasize your big-muscle strength work and emphasize mobility work. It may not be ideal to go as deep or push as hard while you're in this phase. ➡️Take your exercise to the range of motion that nudges into the pain point, but don't fully go into it. Pain is usually there for a reason and in most cases it's not helpful to push through it. ➡️Stretching, myofascial release, and self-massage for the area that’s impacted (and often the joints above and below it as well) ➡️A good rule of thumb for increasing range of motion: if joint soreness lasts less than 48 hours, you likely introduced an appropriate amount of challenge. If it lasts over 48 hours, you may have overdone it. Got any pain in your movement patterns? Let me know, we can troubleshoot here 👇🏼
Hi 👋🏼 I’m hanging in here, feeling things, doing things, working some, moving some, resting some. It’s a lot (and anyone who feels like it’s not gets a serious side-eye 👀 from me). How about you?
Pick a theme from this sunshiney spring weekend: ➡️Alaska is always Alaska! or ➡️It was really good, until it wasn't. or ➡️Lessons from shoulder season 1) Gorgeous campsite with ocean views and peaceful waves... turned into 2) ...gunfire after sunset from a group very close to our tent, including automatics 😳 3) Beautiful high alpine hike with more gorgeous views. Ran into a friend who had a big loop planned which we decided to join for. 4) it was lovely... 5) until it wasn't! Turned into miles of downfall jumbles with devil's club consequences. Find @lucmehl & @beyondcrowds 6) Don't miss a step! more details in my IG story, but the happy ending is that we did eventually sleep, hike, & finished feeling like we'd accomplished something. And now I'm reflecting: ➡️I've been caught underprepared a few times already in the transition from winter to summer. We plan for a short hike & then get sucked into the next peak, next ridge, make it a loop, etc. Also I think I have a cognitive bias toward thinking of summer as easier than winter so don't prepare as thoroughly but it turns out that’s not true. ➡️it's hard to prepare for the 'unexpected' since by definition it's unexpected, but maybe we can get better at remembering how often unexpected things do happen? And then be better prepared for whatever does happen? ➡️Fast & light & only bringing what you need is great, if you stick to the plan and everything goes according to plan. But if the plan changes or if something goes wrong, it can be nice to have a few extras along. Years of traveling fast & light have shown me I can get by with very little if necessary.. but it demands that my body work at a deficit, puts it into survival mode. I'm actively trying to be kinder to my body these days so it's time to bring more snacks & more water even if its heavier. ➡️The good stuff often comes with some of the less-good, doesn't it? Sometimes I think this is an Alaska wilderness thing, keeping us humble.. but maybe it's bigger than that. How's shoulder season treating YOU so far? Any lessons to pass along?
Summer Strong care packages are on their way! My sweet assistant @katiefranciosi packed them all up this week & made this video in the process. Isn't she the BEST?!! We send out star charts, star stickers, and Summer Strong stickers to folks each round so you've got an easy visual for tracking progress. AND it might seem cheesy but the mini-reward of giving yourself a gold star after a workout is a pretty darn effective brain-trick for building sustainable habits. It's a way of integrating celebration (of even the smallest of steps!) and creating positive associations with movement, which is especially important after the first couple weeks of excitement & novelty wear off & the work of consistency begins. Check your mailbox this week/end if you're in #summerstrongtraining ! -s
It is the time of year to find the nests in your neighborhood-- before the trees leaf-out and the nests are hidden again! I'm going to watch these three through spring & summer & hope to see some bird-babies. Anyone know what kind of bird these might belong to? Some of them have what looks like a roof! Happy Earth Day ya'll. 💗🌍 🐥📍Dena’ina Land
It's not all rainbows and unicorns 🦄 You may have noticed that I've been super amped up over the last couple of weeks! I've been singing the praises of Summer Strong, having fun putting this project I've worked so hard on into the world, & excited to see all the amazing people signing up. And there's a swing of energy now that Summer Strong is up and running. I'm tired, & I've got brain-fog. Feeling the aftermath of putting myself out there in a bigger way than I've ever done before. But why am I writing about this? It's way too easy to compare ourselves to others on social media who's highlight reel might make it look like there's a way to do life that's easy, fun, bright & shiny. As far as I know, that's not reality. It's definitely not my reality. And I never want my little corner of the social media world feel like it's in any way pressure to be feeling differently than you're actually feeling right now. Last week was super fun: watching people join Summer Strong, donate to local causes and our sistering program, & reading notes from those who courageously received sistering support filled my heart over and over again. And today I'm taking it easy, sitting by our fake fireplace with a cup of tea. Feeling the dark & twisty side of things, which is a part of it all too. Quiet days, rest days, dark & twisty days have their place too. You're not doing it wrong if you need one, or lots of them. Even if these days if you feel like you're not doing anything -- the mental and emotional energy we're using to adapt is real, and still creates fatigue, overwhelm, burnout. Nothing lasts forever, and you're not doing this wrong. 💗
I made these cool graphics for my IG story and realized I should also share them here! 💗 #summerstrongtraining
Summer Strong starts today! Online training for summer adventures, functional fitness fun to get your body strong, prevent injuries, and improve mood & energy. Challenge-by-choice difficulty levels, living-room workouts, & an incredible community of like-minded folks to do it with. See you inside?? 🤞🏼
For your Sunday night entertainment! @lucmehl joined me for one song of @dance_church and I was so thrilled I turned the camera on...and then it got even better. Posted with permission and lots of belly laughs. I think my abs are sore today from laughing so hard.
Why train the body and mind together? Because they inform each other, all the time. And when we work with them together, super cool things can shift! A story about what I mean: This spring I was skiing at Alyeska. I'd been skiing laps all day. And as I rounded the last corner headed to the lift, a big wave of FEAR flushed through my body. Fear is something I deal with a lot in the mountains, whether it's on skis, in my packraft, or on an exposed hiking trail. It often puts me in a freeze, where my body tenses up & I can't think clearly. Or I'll lash out, in my head: why did you think you could do this?! you obviously can't... It's not pretty. Now here's the cool thing about this particular time: because I've been training my mind & body together in #skibabestraining and #summerstrong, I was able to recognize the fear before I went into an autopilot reaction. And in that pause, I got a second to check my fear. Fear is an important emotion in the mountains-- sometimes listening to that instinct is what keeps us alive. And sometimes fear is a body-reaction to muscles being tired, being low on calories, or an over-reaction to something scary from the past. This time it was fatigue, and because I could see it I could choose a functional response, instead of an auto-pilot reaction. Slow down. Take a break. Eat a snack. And because of THAT, I ended the day on a high note, ready for more next time. Instead of shut-down and unsure of my abilities. The things that hold us back in the mountains ALWAYS have a mental component. Whether it’s frustration from trying to keep up with super-strong partners (Weakest Link Syndrome), difficulty trusting your body after an injury, or any of the other difficulties that nature throws our way… Training the mind with the body can help. The feelings might not go away, but you might find yourself able to respond instead of react to them. Cool? Cool. …. ☀️ Summer Strong: Online training for Summer Adventures starts tomorrow! Link in my bio 📷: @lucmehl en route to Melozi Hot Springs, 📍Koyukon Land
The joy of spring! Yesterday we hiked up Bird Ridge and it was glorious. The views were incredible, the air warm enough for a tank-top, and we ran into a bunch of friends (gave lots of air-hugs from a distance). Feeling the dirt under my shoes and the warm air on my skin made me super excited for SUMMER! It's the shoulder season for sure, with a mix of dirt, mud, and snow underfoot. I was grateful for strong legs on the way up (and feeling the burn, ready to get stronger!) and for balance & stability on the slippery way down. And for the fun butt-slide sections! Listen, it's a funky time. We're so lucky up here that trail access isn't closed, like it is in so many other places. I know things are rough right now, and I also know there are moments of joy. Holding both truths at once feels like a balancing act, an important one these days. Have you been feeling it? The joy of spring? Tell me 👇🏼 ...... ☀️ Summer Strong starts tomorrow! Online training for Summer Adventures, build mind & body strength so outside time is more fun. Link in my bio!