Plato, Aristotle, and Your Fitness

What a title, right? 

Before you turn your nose up at a dry, academic, metaphysical interpretation of wellness in modern society, give me a chance to break this one down.

… And use it at your next dinner party, you’ll sound super smart.

Aristotle and Plato were two brilliant men who came to two very different interpretations on the nature of things.
Plato, with a heavy affinity for idealism, came to understand things as innate, free-floating ideas from which all variations were derived.
Aristotle with a passion for logic and metaphysics, came to understand the opposite -that the idea of things was composed of our embodied experiences with all of the things we categorize as “similar to”.

Modern Wellness Culture, as it stands, walks a fine line between these two approaches. If I were to ask you which of these philosophers’ ideas of “thingness” you agreed with, most of you would probably agree with Aristotle.

Where I think we start to trip up, and where I find my clients often get confused, is when we talk about wellness. How often have you heard the phrase, “this is supposed to be super good for you,” or  its million variants?  It is an incredibly platonic phrase. It assumes that there is some sort of innate wellness smoothie floating in the sky from which we can derive wellness upon consumption.

Do you see the problem?

Here’s an example from my life:
My little brother and I have great fights about what’s healthy and our conversation looks like this…

Him: “Tell me something healthy I can have for dinner.” <-Plato
Me: “I dunno, what did you do/eat today?” <-Aristotle
Him: “Just tell me what to eat, K?” <- Stubborn little brother who is sick of Aristotle

Just because something makes sense for me, doesn’t mean it automatically makes sense for you. Somehow, even though we agree with Aristotle, we talk about wellness as though we were more aligned with Plato. Next time you catch yourself talking about something’s healthfulness, ask yourself, are you Plato? Or are you Aristotle?

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My Body Couture and Model Intentions

Guys, it’s Facebook official, Model Intentions and My Body Couture are tying the knot.

Janis and I are each others’ fitness yin and yang, and after years of banter and working together, we’ve decided to “get serious” and move in together.

Model Intentions will continue to be my brand, blog, newsletter, and calendar for all rowing, modeling, and group fitness events. So, please, continue to follow along!

For you, this move in means two things:
-an increase in super cool offerings and access to more practicioners
– expedited results (in one location with only one set of paper work! Yaaaaas)

So, follow along at:
https://www.facebook.com/mybodycouture/
https://twitter.com/MyBodyCouture
and Insta, we promise, will be up and running soon.

Xo
Danika

Want to Make: greater than or equal to Want to Eat

Thank you people for continuing to inspire me to write cool things about the culture of wellness and how we participate in it. On to this blog’s topic…

A recurring conversation that I have is:
Friend, “Well, what do you eat?”
Me, “Honestly? I just eat what I want.”
Friend, “Lucky!”
Me, “Noooo, not really.”
Friend, “If I ate what I wanted, I’d just eat junk.”
Me, “Noooo, I don’t think you would.”

I feel that quite often there is a fundamental misunderstanding over what we want to eat and what we want to make to eat. 

You and your body are super smart (most of the time).
You and your body probably agree on what you want to eat more often than you think you do. What you might disagree on is how much time and effort you are willing to put in to nourishing yourself.

If you had a world class chief and a cornucopia of amazing foods available to you at all times… Would you really only eat that giant bag of potato chips for supper?

Maybe. Maayyyyybe once in a blue moon… after having run an ultra marathon or something.

Really, it’s far more likely that you’d order something delicious, that met all your cravings and needs… and then you might add on a small snack after supper of something sweet or salty (depending on your leanings).

Please, toss that self-depricating language in the garbage; you’re better than that.

If you ate what you wanted, I’m certain you’d eat far better than you think you would; you might just need to do a little clarification.
Next time you’re getting ready to nosh, clarify what it is that you’re doing. Are you eating what it is that you want? Or are you making what it is that you’re willing to make?

Is “wanting to make” greater than or equal to “wanting to eat”?

Spring Spirits

It’s the time of year in which I begin anxiously eying up my tulip bed. 
Don’t sprout too early, you gorgeous things, the prairies are a dastardly place in the spring. 

Speaking of gorgeous spring things, here’s my spring update:

For summer athletes, spring means things are about to get crazy!
On top of jumping back on the water as soon as possible, here are some shifts and some continuities for my spring schedule:

Indoor Cycling: 

My indoor cycling services are currently being offered out of the Cochrane Health and Fitness Centre on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. If the current times don’t work for you and you’d like to attend, give me a shout! I’m always happy to consider adding to or changing up my weekly schedule.

Private and Group Rowing Lessons:

Want to get back on the water, or even get on the water for the first time?
I’m happy to announce that the Calgary Rowing Club and I have partnered up again to provide private, in-depth and flexible instruction to help you get where you want to be on the water. The club reopens with a bang on May 1st so, make sure you contact the club manager in advance for bookings!

Indoor Rowing:

Interested in the toning and health properties of rowing but not so interested in the rain, water or boats? Well, lucky for you, I’ve taken on a position instructing classes at Canada’s first and only dedicated indoor rowing studio, Row 17! You can access all my knowledge and expertise on how to row without stepping foot in a boat.
The studio opens Saturday, April 2nd at 9:30am. Come on down and check us out!

Change of Studio:

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in my training career is my partnership with Janis Isaman of My Body Couture. The website, in part because of my joining the team, is currently under construction so, stay tuned for the re-release of the website and, of course, my offerings in the studio. The studio is located in the historic Devenish building on 17th Ave, SW, in downtown Calgary. It’s conveniently right across the street from Row 17 and only slightly east of one of the main vegetarian restaurants in the city (score!).
For me, personally, there are fashion weeks and photoshoots on the horizon, new certifications to obtain and even an acting opportunity to pursue.

Spring is always so much fun.

See you soon!

xx
DK

Healthful Holidays

Managing your expectations for the holidays, and yourself, is always an interesting exercise in reflexivity.

My first instinct is to string up all the lights, bake all the cookies, attend all the parties, write all the cards and doing all the day dreaming…. while still eating mindfully and working out regularly.

And sometimes, I manage to do it all.
Most of the time, this is at the expense of my partner’s sanity (thanks, manfriend; sorry, manfriend).

So, first and foremost, let’s address the thing that will set us up for failure or success, our calendars. 

It’s important to decide which activities this holiday season are most important to you. If it’s the special holiday events that make you sparkle most, jot those into your day planner first. If it’s maintaining your workout regime or diet, plot out the time to address those priorities first.

If you decide that the holidays have precedence, even to the “detriment” of your exercise practices, stick to it. Have the Holiday-est Holiday anyone has ever seen. See:  To Exercise or Not

Once you’ve set up your calendar to reflect the time needed to do the thing you value most, season it with everything else. If your work, yoga, gym and cardio mean you’re often up early and putting in long days, then that should be the bulk of your calendar soup. Add in your holiday adventures in a way that won’t impede the lifestyle you want to have, for example:
If yoga class is at 5:30 am Monday morning, it is unlikely that I will eat particularly poorly or stay up late at a Christmas party Sunday night.

However, if it is my best friend’s Christmas party and I can’t imagine missing it, I will reschedule yoga for another day that week… or even just drop it. There’s no point in setting my alarm clock for 4:45 and then feeling the fatigue and guilt of not going for hours afterwards.

So, be honest with yourself and what you care about and don’t be afraid to drop the ball on certain things. They are, after all, your holidays. You should do with them as you please.

Coping with Chronic/Debilitating Injuries and Health

Dealing with chronic and debilitating injuries and health is one of the most demoralizing things a person can experience. 

Being able to walk up the stairs, push in the clutch, hold a cup or lift up a basket of laundry can become nearly insurmountable tasks and the ubiquitous presence of the tasks in daily routine makes it so that we can’t ignore our injuries. We feel broken and for some of us, we might even begin to be defined by our peers as broken. Our identity shifts.

For some of us, as soon as we’re robbed of our freedom to move, our freedom to do, we knowledge seek and work away at the problem with painstaking determination.

But, some of us don’t even have a place to start.
It’s not about laziness or a lack of motivation; it’s about not knowing.

Knowing that we can do something about our health and having enough knowledge to seek out answers as to what it is exactly that we can do is a tremendous blessing.
Regardless of who you are: don’t be afraid to take on knowledge from different spheres. Try it on, discard what doesn’t work for you and search out new sources of data.

You are, of course, welcome to accept your limitations and your body as it is.
But, if any of you rejects the limitations that you’re facing, don’t be afraid to reach out.

We’re all here, wanting to help you be the you that you want to be.

Wellness is not Separate

“I could never do that”
“I’m going on a diet” 
“I’m trying to eat clean”
“I went for a run today”
“New day, new you”

We are inundated with messages of wellness as other, or separate, from normal/average practices. We speak of clean eating as though everyone else is eating dirt, we speak of making exercise changes as if what we were doing before was absolute inactivity, we give up “bad habits” for “good” ones.

What if this forced dichotomy isn’t quite true?

What if real, sustainable wellness comes in the form of noshing on beaver tails while walking around the zoo?

Although we talk about lifestyle blogs, urban and rural lifestyles, athletic lifestyles, student lifestyles and many other descriptor variants of “lifestyle,” the idea of lifestyle rarely seems to encapsulate what, by definition, a life style is.
The pursuit of health or wellness is a component of many different lifestyles but, it is rarely (with the obvious exception of athletes) considered as an integral component of absolutely everything that an individual is already doing.

So, dodge that diet change and skip the guilt trip about the gym and start unpacking all of the ways that you pursue wellness in your day to day life.

For me, it involves not only my identity as an athlete but my decision to cook my food from scratch, my walks with my dog, walking to work, being obsessed with tea, gardening in the evening with my partner and running away to play in the mountains as frequently as possible.

With all that on my plate, it hardly matters (from a wellness perspective) if I miss a date at the gym.