Tag: fitness

Brown Girls Yoga

Date #349 – Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A: I was really bothered by this experience:

I recently got back into going to yoga (I go 2-5 times a week for months then stop… Bad!) and I rushed to Kula to catch a class. Yoga keeps me sane and I really needed it today. Because I was rushed, I looked at Tuesday’s schedule instead of Wednesday’s and, when I got there, the only class available was Brown Girls Yoga or hot yoga. Having asthma and anxiety, I can’t take hot yoga. “Can I take that class?” I asked, pointing at Brown Girls Yoga. The woman at reception just looked at me, pausing, then said, “No.” I said, “Because I’m not a brown girl?” I felt really angry. I wanted to say, “I have brown girlfriends.” I hated that I wanted to say that. To identify my friends only by their skin colour, just so I could be included. I was so angry at myself for messing up, for relying so much on needed to be there/to do yoga, and for not being able to take a class at a studio that is so inclusive.

I never thought about Brown Girls Yoga before. It didn’t bother me because I chose my schedule around that class. I get that it’s important to offer a safe space for those that feel excluded, but it was the strangest feeling to feel so extremely excluded myself, knowing that this feeling is exactly what the class was created for. Does that make sense? Yes, I am white, but, in my world, I don’t care what colour my skin is, or yours. I care that I am and you are nice and respected and supported and loved. I care that I and you feel safe and welcome and listened to. I care that we work together to create a great world, and a fun world. If it was queer yoga, I wouldn’t be turned away, I thought. If it was yoga for those with anxiety, or mental health squabbles, I would be able to go. I couldn’t help but think this class was for all the things that you can physically see. Well I felt excluded, and caught off guard. I left and passed a “brown girl” walking with her yoga mat and I felt so jealous. It was awful! I pretty much cried at B’s place, but he was really good at talking to me and making me feel okay about how I felt. I am happy that, of all places, I had his to go to.

B: Let me start by stating the obvious. A and I are white. We are not brown or of Indian descent and will never fully know the plight of brown women. For that matter, I will never fully know the prejudices, hate and other mean things women endure daily. I won’t know this about many groups. 

What I do know is that your skin colour does not limit your ability for empathy and understanding. Regardless of skin colour or sex or gender or pretty much anything else we have the ability to sympathize, try to understand, and lend a hand. 

Whoever programmed this class and made the “brown girls only” rule missed a great opportunity here. They missed an opportunity for a non-brown woman to walk into a class where she was the opportunity and for her to learn from her fellow human beings. The others in that class missed out on the opportunity to be shown that people of other races are willing to ask, “what unique challenges do you face as a brown woman in Toronto?”

I assume that this class was created in the best of intentions. It was created as a way to make more people feel welcome. I believe that the “brown girls only” rule was a simple mistake in short-sightedness. 

When I hear of this kind of segregation I think, “that is not what Ghandi died for.” That may be extreme and I may be missing something. Things may be so bad for brown women in Toronto that they feel they can’t do yoga with people of other races.

If that is the case it is horrible. 

I think we need to create safe spaces that acknowledge the imperfections in the world. I also think it is important to do this looking for more creative ways to create these spaces that are focused on inclusiveness.

We can’t try to create more segregated spaces while also trying to promote tolerance. It doesn’t work that way. 

After A told me about this experience I told her about how historically black colleges have been accepting people of other races while teaching a black-focused curriculum, and how women’s-only colleges are facing a similar dilemma with transgender applicants. 

We spoke about segregation and how in an attempt to create less of those negative actions, Kula somehow did the opposite.

People make mistakes and I am going to chalk it up to that. I hope A returns and I hope she gets to enjoy yoga with many people of all sorts.

Netflix & Running

Date #317 – Wednesdday, June 18, 2014

A: I went for a run before B and I spent the entire night watching Netflix and this crooked picture is the only one we could find for June 18th!

B doing crossfit motivates me to stay fit and healthy so much that, since he’s been doing physio and taking a break from workouts, I had to muster the inspiration all on my own. I believe my instagram caption was “UGH #RUNNING” but I’m glad I went. It was one of those weeks… You know…

B: A is amazing. It sucks not being able to workout and when I found out she woke up early and went for a run it made me hopeful for when we can work out together again…as long as its not in the morning – I hate early workouts.

Gym practice!

Date #290 – Thursday, May 22, 2014

A:I went to a free Nike Training Club class at the Academy of Lions where Brian was doing his own crossfit class. It was great to be active again. I want to go to more of these, and also start running. I have a bit of trouble motivating myself to run now that I live in the city and not along the Beaches boardwalk (I was SO spoiled last year!). If anyone has any tips on staying active in the city, I would love to hear them!

B: So I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I haven’t posted about working out in about a month. That, sadly, is because I haven’t been working out (at least at Academy of Lions). I have no real explanation except that I haven’t been feeling motivated. 

I think working out has a lot of cyclical effects. If you start working out (in a way that you enjoy and without injury) it feels great and you are motivated to go again. The more you go, the more you’re motivated. However, if you stop, you don’t feel as great, and then you’re not motivated to go.

This day I tried to break the cycle and it felt great. I can’t remember the entire WOD, but I know we worked up to our 1-rep max deadlift as part of our warmup. Despite being away I lifted 270lbs. Now I just need to get back into a routine.

It was great to be working out with A as well. Even if we weren’t doing the same thing, her being there for  my post-workout high was awesome.

B completes CrossFit Open 14.5

Date #240 – Sun Mar 30, 2014

B: The last workout of the CrossFit Open and it was brutal. 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of both 95lb Thrusters (a front squat + push-press) and bar-facing burpees (a burpee where you must jump over the bar). In total, 84 reps of each. I completed in 31:07.

I wanted to cry and die but I stayed focused and it was great. A and a friend came and cheered me on. I love how much A loves the gym and how, over the past 5 weeks, we all came together. 

A had a hang-over and so she left right after I competed while I stayed to cheer others on. She is so supportive.

A: Once again, I am so impressed with how B did. He got through and was so strong. My friend came to watch it with me but I was a total zombie from lack of sleep and… probably… all that whisky….

But I couldn’t miss the last day! After he finished, I went back to B’s and snuggled in bed feeling sorry for myself. Oh Sundays… The only thing that would’ve helped, I think, would have been a beer. I should’ve went to the bar with the gang after. #Regrets! (JK, no regrets. Sleep is better.)

B completes CrossFit Open 14.4

Date #231 – Mar 23, 2014

B: The second-last workout of the CrossFit Open had me doing as much as possible in 14-minutes of a 60 calorie row, 50 toes-to-bar (see pic above), 40 wall-balls (squatting and throwing a 20lb ball at a 10ft target), 30 cleans (lifting a barball from ground to chest) at 135lbs, and 20 muscle-ups. I got to complete 2 cleans, a score of 152.

This workout was super tiring and while kind-of-smiling in the picture above, I felt like crying. Everyone at the gym was super supportive, especially A. She came with a book and read and wished me luck and took photos. Having her there is such a calming presence. 

I also helped coach some of my teammates to fantastic results, and filmed the workout of another athlete who has a chance of moving on to regionals (filming in a requirement). A said she feels comfortable at Academy of Lions and I like that. The people there are like family.

After I took a hot epsom-salt bath and cold shower. Then A and I ate a party-pizza from Bitondo’s and biked to her place. A great day.

A: I told B I didn’t think we should get pizza every Sunday and he looked at me and said, “Is that because YOU don’t want to eat pizza every Sunday?” I said yes. And then Sunday rolled around and I said, “We should definitely get pizza.” How could I EVER think I WOULDN’T want pizza? Oh, Andrea.

Well we get the pizza because B is so awesome and works so hard. This workout actually scared me a little but everyone did so well. Each week I want to try to do what they’re all doing more and more. I am very competative, but mostly in an “I see these people building strength and overcoming obstacles and supporting one another and pushing themselves hard and well and I want to be a part of that too.” It’s definitely good motivation.

CrossFit Open 14.3

Date #225 – Sunday, Mar 16

B: I felt so prepared for this round of the CrossFit Open. In the third week I was faced with an 8 minute workout where I tried to complete as much as possible of 10 deadlifts at 135lbs – 15 24” box jumps – 15 deadlifts at 185lbs – 15 box jumps – 20 deadlifts at 225 lbs – 15 box jumps – 25 deadlifts at 275lbs – 15 box jumps….

My one rep max on deadlifts is 300 lbs, so I had a goal of 1 rep at 275lbs. I got 4 reps at 275lbs, or a score of 94. I felt like a superhero on each of the 4 275lb deadlifts. 

A stayed at her place and met me at Academy of Lions in time for my workout. It was great having her there and taking pictures of me. I gave her a big sweaty hug right after. 

Later we went to Dog and Bear with the rest of the team, a weekly tradition. It was fun talking with everyone. People kept asking A about her writing and I thought that was sweet.

A: It was sweet. B told me he corralled the entire gym to vote for my story in the deathmatch but I didn’t really know how much work he actually did until so. many. people. asked how my story did and told me I did a good job – because they read it! Woo wooo! This all made me feel really great and also welcomed which allowed me to relax a lot more. I sometimes feel like an outsider at the gym because everyone knows each other, etc. But I’m meeting more people and everyone is so incredibly nice that I shouldn’t let my own conviction harbour any ill-mannered thoughts.

In any case, B did SO well in the round. He beat his goal and we got some great pics. I always feel like I’m going to distract him by standing by his side so it’s nice to read that he thinks it’s great that I’m there. I mean, he tells me that too, but for some reason, if it’s in writing, it’s more solid than just saying it. 

B completes the CrossFit Open 14.1 workout

Date #213 – Mar 2, 2014

B: It’s the beginning of the CrossFit Open, which means I’ll be completing a very intense workout (more intense that most CrossFit workouts) every Sunday for the next 5 weeks. If you don’t know what the Open is, basically it’s a worldwide competition designed to both unite the CrossFit community and help decide who will move on to Regionals and eventually the CrossFit Games.

At my gym, academyoflions, we’ve decided to also hold an in-house competition along side the Open. I am the Captain of a 4-person team, and it is my role to help the other 3 through the Open, giving them guidance and additional coaching. 

The first workout was tough. It involved as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of 15 snatches (75lbs for men) and 30 double-unders (skipping). The toughest part was the metabolic effect of this wokrout. You want to move fast, but your muscles and lungs are exhausted.

A was with me the entire time and was very supportive. She was a calming presence as I prepared in the morning and while I warmed up. I’m looking forward to her cheering me on for the next 4 workouts.

Oh, that’s me taking a photo of my workout foods:

If you want to follow my progress and see my rankings, click here.

A: B really inspires me to be a better person. Since moving to Vancouver I’ve become a lot more health conscious, which only amped up when I came to Toronto (despite my love for poutine). So B is this dedicated, knowledgeable being that wants to take care of his body so much so that he’ll be able to climb mountains when he’s 90. And he wants the same for me. Admittingly, I want this too, but because both my parents are absolutely terrible at taking care of themselves, I’ve never had anyone to teach me or lead an example for me. For this, I am so happy that B is like this. When we first met, I was nervous because I like to indulge. Then he told me he gets party pizzas on his cheat days and eat the ENTIRE thing. All is well with the world, I thought. 

In any case, I’ve always know that what you put in your body can affect your mood 100% but I’ve never been encouraged enough to care more than a few times a week. 

And B did so good at the competition. I like being at his gym because surrounding ourselves with healthy, strong, positive, and community-encouraging people is a really good feeling. 

Crossfit!! – Date #168 – January 12th

A: After the epic breakfast pictured above (it really isn’t impossible to transition into better foods and both of us can catch over coffee if you’re keen) I did an intro class, which B did too, at Academy of Lions. It was awesome. I can definitely see how people can get really into the sport. It’s fun to fantasize about doing crossfit with B because this class was so fun and I think we push each other to try hard and work hard and to feel good. It’s important to both of us. One day when I’m rich I’ll be able to everything I want – yoga, crossfit, swimming…….. #goals! For now, other than swimming, B and I are doing some exercises at home.

We joked about recording our home sessions but I don’t think anyone wants to see us half naked and extremely haggard at 11pm doing yoga or skipping while trying to keep two cats off our mats. It is a pretty hilarious time, though.

B: For anyone who is wondering, the breakast is a mixture of Hemp, Chia, and Buckwheat with Hemp Milk. Here is the recipe. I also made some sport drinks with lemon juice, dates, coconut oil and more.

I’m happy A is so interested in Crossfit. I can tell that if she starts doing Crossfit it will push me a lot more. Which is awesome. The daily yoga we’re doing is great too!

Crossfit Competition – Date #127 – Nov 23, 2013

A: B did so amazing in this competition. I was really impressed with his positive attitude, awesome coaching, overall strength, and the fact that he has found a gym with such a strong sense of community. I had so much fun. My friend K was volunteering so it was nice to know a couple people, as well as all the super inviting friends B has at Academy. Also their team name was Run Burgundy which is not only clever, but timely. We watched Catching Fire and Don Jon later that night. Thankfully both were entertaining (Hunger Games was epic) enough to keep us awake after such a long day!! Also J Lawrence is awesome! (Had to..)

B: This day was really tough. 4 workouts in 6 hours, and a team relying in me. Running, lifting weights, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, handstand-push-ups and more. A was super supportive, my team did amazingly well, and I set a new personal record with a 175lb Clean. All-in-all, a fantastic day. A is so great!

Crossfit Competition – Date #127 – Nov 23, 2013

A: B did so amazing in this competition. I was really impressed with his positive attitude, awesome coaching, overall strength, and the fact that he has found a gym with such a strong sense of community. I had so much fun. My friend K was volunteering so it was nice to know a couple people, as well as all the super inviting friends B has at Academy. Also their team name was Run Burgundy which is not only clever, but timely. We watched Catching Fire and Don Jon later that night. Thankfully both were entertaining (Hunger Games was epic) enough to keep us awake after such a long day!! Also J Lawrence is awesome! (Had to..)

B: This day was really tough. 4 workouts in 6 hours, and a team relying in me. Running, lifting weights, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, handstand-push-ups and more. A was super supportive, my team did amazingly well, and I set a new personal record with a 175lb Clean. All-in-all, a fantastic day. A is so great!