For far too long, the gym has not been a welcoming place for women. In my almost 10 years as a coach, I’ve noticed that despite many great changes, this remains the same. I’ve spoken with so many women that simply don’t feel comfortable in the fitness space. There are a plethora of awesome coaches that are working to change this, but we can and need to do better.
As a personal trainer, it’s my job to foster a healthy environment for my clients. It continues to amaze me how similar my role is as both a coach and a Dad. Life, as it seems, comes full-circle with many “aha” moments.
I’m very fortunate to be in a position to make what might seem like a small change. I can raise Vivi in a fitness environment in which she is welcomed and celebrated for her achievements. She can grow-up watching strong, empowered women lifting heavy ass weights Ronnie Coleman style. In fact, we’ve both been yelling “Yeah Buddy!” in the gym and exchanging fist-bumps. Vivi is growing-up in an space where women training like warriors is completely normal. It absolutely warms my heart for Vivi to see people training hard and becoming their best selves. Just last week, one of my clients was performing a one arm one leg push up. She walked over to one of the plyo boxes and attempted to mimic his movements. It was a pretty awesome moment. So, in the spirit of trying to raise a strong and empowered little ass-kicker, here is Vivi’s current training update.
- Pull-ups: When Vivi turned a year-old, I started letting her try to do pull-ups with me. So far, this has simply consisted of her performing a dead-hang. Her grip strength is improving rapidly and she’s now able to hang on the bar with her knees up for about 15-seconds. This has been a fun activity to do both at the gym and the playground.
- Deadlift: Vivi keeps walking up to my 48Kg “Beast” and really wants to pick it up. Right now, her deadlift PR is 4Kg (8.8lb’s). This is about ⅓ of her body weight, so pretty solid. She’ll be ready for the Beast soon.
- Kettlebell Swing: Vivi has been mimicking the kettlebell swing with her toy kettlebell that was gifted by a good friend. Her back-swing position is strong and she’s using the biomechanical breathing pattern. I have a freaking adorable video of her pulling herself to stand with one of my big bells and pumping her hips while doing the breathing.
- Depth Jumps: Vivi has been jumping down from about a 6-inch height consistently. Her landing mechanics are awesome, slightly bending the knees on impact to better absorb the force of impact. This will be especially useful when she’s jumping rooftops as a crime-fighter in the future.
- Somersault: Vivi is now performing a somersault on a padded ramp in her gymnastics class. She was afraid to try it at first but gave it a go after seeing the other kids having so much fun. She’s still new to this movement but showing great progress. When she starts her career as Batgirl, it will be important for her to make a dramatic entrance. I envision her jumping through a window then rolling forward into a standing position to save the day.
- Farmers Carry: Vivi can currently walk about 10 paces with 2Kg (4.4lb’s) in each hand. She’s standing tall with great posture.
While the topic of this week’s blog might seem pretty fun and light, there are a few key points I want to hammer home. First of all, I do not view exercise or movement as punishment. We are not here to fix ourselves or to conform to some bullshit standard of what “fit” and “healthy” are. The outdated “Globo Gym” mentality has no place here. Second, I don’t force Vivi to do anything. I expose her to the fitness space regularly and let her play. She tries things out, has fun exploring and I give her positive feedback. We’re simply here to become our strongest selves and have fun along the way. Okay fine, I envision a Dark Knight Returns scenario where I’m the old, beat-up Batman with the kickass girl Robin at my side. Guilty as charged…
To your lifelong health and success,