How these Austinites have found their rhythm.
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S O N YA S C H E M E N T â&#x20AC;&#x192; I G : @ S O F I T _ S O N YA
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From the Director For this month’s cover story, I journeyed downtown to visit a place that best represents Austin’s fitness + music community: The Clubhouse on 6th. In the story, one of the Clubhouse Crew members describes it as “a microcosm of Austin” and I couldn’t have explained it better myself. With vinyls that line the walls, a music studio, a hangout area for runners, and even a kegerator — it’s truly a piece of the city, packed into one small, green house on West Sixth St. Our content this month is a great example of how our beloved music, health and fitness communities are seamlessly intertwined. In this issue, Indian dancer Anuradha Naimpally explains how she tells a story through dance; a few Austinites share their deep involvement in both the fitness industry and music community; Recovery Unplugged, an ATX rehab facility, shares how many have found healing through the power of music — and our stories don’t end there. Our editorial team has been working hard to give you more content, more often. To read additional October stories, visit AFM online for weekly, fresh content. As we continue to move forward during an unpredictable time, I challenge you to find your rhythm and discover what keeps you on your beat, as music keeps me on mine. Keep Austin Fit,
LIFE IS FULL OF LITTLE RHYTHMS.
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT
ike many, I find comfort in little, familiar rhythms: routine tasks throughout the day, catchy melodies to sing along with in the car, daily workouts, etc. We each have something that keeps us on track and on our daily beat. For me, it’s in an amazing workout playlist where I find my rhythm (I highly recommend Spotify’s Workout Hits playlist — you’ll be motivated for the rest of the day). To those who are capable of getting through a workout without music, I admire you. I wish I could — but I need, not only the beat of the music, but the motivational lyrics and rhythm to push me through to the end of my set. From the many runners and bikers that utilize Austin’s trails on a daily basis, to the local artists that fill our city with live music everyday (right now — virtually), Austin is a city made up of little rhythms.
MEET OUR NEW EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, MONICA HAND Hey Austin Fit readers! I’m the new editorial assistant and I couldn’t be more excited about working with the AFM team. So far, this issue has been one of my favorites to work on — being able to highlight the music community of Austin and all the ways that music and rhythms enrich our lives has been something of a dream. Though I miss them dearly, I am so excited for the live shows that will happen once we all work through this time together; imagine how amazing a concert will feel after so long without them.
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THE GOOD STUFF
FINDING A NEW BEAT
24 ASD AND MUSIC THERAPY OCTOBER 2020
64 RUNNING WITH MARATHON KIDS 8
Director of Content’s Letter 6 | Digital Content 10 | Rides and Races 72 | Events 74
THE LANGUAGE OF DANCE
PRACTICING MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH
WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: AUSTIN ROWING CLUB
Recipe of the Month 12 Healing Through Music 20 Intermittent Fasting 14 ASD and Music Therapy 24 Honoring the Female Rhythm 16 Finding a New Beat 28 How to Build an Empowering Morning Routine 32
Optimizing Sleep 48 Your Next Skincare Obsession: Light Therapy 50 Wellness FAQ: Sonex Orthopedics 54
Leading Double Lives 56 Strength on Pointe 60 Running with Marathon Kids 64
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RECIPE OF THE MONTH n Skip indulging in your Halloween candy cravings and prepare this healthy recipe — trust us, it’s yummy.
T UNA POK E F R OM CHI N ATOWN W E ST LAKE INGREDIENTS: 8 ounces Sushi-grade Tuna 4 tablespoons soy sauce 4 tablespoons water 4 tablespoons rice wine (Mirin) 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons sesame oil 2 pinches of thinly sliced scallions 1 ounce cucumber (thinly sliced) 1 ounce red onion (thinly sliced)
PREPARATION: Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and fold together until they are blended. Plate, serve and enjoy.
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A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO INTERMITTENT FASTING n Wanting to try out intermittent fasting? Here’s what you need to know.
or those who are not familiar with intermittent fasting, it may sound a little extreme or even just another trendy diet. However, the benefits of intermittent fasting go far beyond weight loss. It turns out, when you eat could be as important as what you eat. Just as the brain functions best on a schedule in line with the circadian rhythm, the digestive system also needs a schedule of rest and activity to function optimally. Intermittent fasting, like sleep, gives the body time to rest — which reduces inflammation and gives the organs a chance to recover.
eat until breakfast the next morning, around 8 or 9 a.m., in line with your circadian rhythm. Fasting means consuming nothing but water, herbal tea or black coffee, depending on the purpose of the fast.
More advanced versions of IF are the 16:8 or the 18:6 window, which means you will fast for 16 or 18 hours and eat between an 8- or 6-hour window. This could look like eating two meals each day between the hours of 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Our tip? Check out bulletproof coffee to keep you satisfied until lunch.
There are many different ways to practice intermittent fasting. One of the most common is a 12-14 hour fast. During this fast, you normally stop eating after an early dinner, around 6 p.m., and don’t
For those more experienced with fasting, there are different versions of 24-hour fasts that can be practiced. A 20:4 fast from dinner one evening until dinner the following evening prompts the body to use
glycogen, fat and glucose as energy. More intense fasts include fasting for 24 hours for two non-consecutive days of the week or even alternating days of eating and not eating every 24 hours.
According to functional medicine expert, Dr. Will Cole, menstruating women tend to be more sensitive to fasting than men due to higher levels of kisspeptin. Fasting could potentially disrupt a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hormones or her cycle. Unfortunately, many intermittent fasting studies have been done with men, and research regarding premenopausal women is still lacking. Another sensitivity people may run into from intermittent fasting is adrenal fatigue from an imbalance of cortisol. Before fasting, be sure to consult a doctor to ensure it is the best choice for you and your health needs. afm
Benefits of Fasting
The biggest benefit of fasting is that it reduces chronic inflammation; potentially reducing the risk of cancer; lowering blood pressure and triglycerides which are associated with heart disease; improving autoimmune conditions like lupus and multiple sclerosis; decreasing leptin resistance which is associated with weight gain; and reducing brain inflammation which is associated with anxiety, depression and brain fog.
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HONORING THE FEMALE RHYTHM n Nutritional therapy practitioner, Shannon Dolan, shares how to honor the rhythm of the menstrual cycle through nutrition and exercise.
hen balanced correctly, the menstrual cycle can work to the female athleteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s advantage. The menstrual cycle consists of four key phases. Each phase has different nutrition and physical needs to provide a woman with sufficient support. Below is a breakdown of each of these four phases along with tips for attaining balance and harmony throughout the process.
The menstruation phase starts on the first day of bleeding and lasts 3-7 days. During this period, the body is shedding the uterine lining that was built up over the course of oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cycle. This phase can give tremendous insight to the current health of a woman. At the start of menstruation, estrogen and progesterone are low, but gradually rise overtime. What to expect: On the first day of your period, energy may be low and your body may crave more foods due to the increase in metabolism that occurs from the luteal phase (see details below). PMS, cramps and heavy periods, while common, are not normal. If you are experiencing these symptoms, there is an underlying issue that needs to be managed.
Nutrition considerations: Pay attention to your protein intake, and consume foods that are rich in nutrients, such as grass-fed meats, bone broth, wildcaught fish and pasture-raised eggs. These animal protein sources have a higher bioavailability of iron and B vitamins, both of which are necessary for an increase in energy. Healthy fats are also valuable for their anti-inflammatory effects and their ability to synthesize hormones, which will be necessary throughout the cycle. Exercise considerations: After the first 2-3 days of low energy, estrogen levels begin to rise, causing an uptick in energy. As you proceed to the follicular phase, that energy matriculates, and you can incorporate more exercise, still being mindful to give your body appropriate rest when needed.
Ranging between 7-10 days, this is the phase when women usually feel their best. During this time, women feel more outgoing, motivated, productive and stronger. Use this to your advantage! Nutrition considerations: After menstruation, the metabolism will slow during the follicular phase, which causes women to feel less hungry. This can lead to under-eating. If athletic performance is a goal, it is a good time to track your food and make sure you are eating enough. Focus on consuming quality proteins, healthy fats, fiber-rich carbs and lots of whole foods to support the increased energy and higher activity level! Exercise considerations: Now is an excellent time to schedule a longer run, lift heavier weights and hit that PR! Make sure you are balancing your workouts with your lifestyle and avoid overexertion.
For those more experienced with fasting, there are different versions of 24-hour fasts that can be practiced. A 20:4 fast from dinner one evening until dinner the following evening prompts the body to use glycogen, fat and glucose as energy. More intense fasts include fasting for 24 hours for two non-consecutive days of the week or even alternating days of eating and not eating every 24 hours.
Ovulation is the peak of the menstrual cycle and lasts for about 3-4 days. This is when an egg gets released from the ovaries for fertilization, and hormones are at their highest. Ovulation is the only true time a woman can get pregnant due to the release of the egg. Keep this in mind when planning for a family.
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Nutrition considerations: Because the hormones are at their highest level, it is important to support your body appropriately so the hormones don’t peak too high. When this happens, women can feel “out of sorts.” Focusing on fiber-rich foods such as flaxseed, cruciferous veggies and liver-supporting herbs like milk thistle and dandelion root can help the body detox excess estrogens and rebalance hormones. Exercise considerations: During ovulation, women can still synthesize muscle, so maintaining your workout program from the follicular phase is fine.
Exercise considerations: The female body cannot grow and build new muscle during this time, so supporting the body with a maintenance program is necessary. An example of maintenance would be staying at current weights during a strength program and not adding extra distance for running workouts. Women may feel a further dip in energy 5-7 days before they start their period. Dropping intensity is necessary to regain balance. To start tracking the menstrual cycle, download one of the many free apps available, and familiarize yourself with your feelings/moods throughout the month. Pairing nutrition and exercise to meet the needs of the female body is imperative to unlocking potential that is often not utilized. If you notice symptoms such as PMS, mood swings, fatigue, heightened anxiety or depression occurring during your cycle, seek the help of a practitioner to help balance hormones. afm
The luteal phase lasts 10-14 days. During this time, there is a decline in estrogen with an uptick in progesterone as the body prepares for menstruation. There will also be an increase in metabolism (which is why you crave more carbs) and a possible decrease in energy. Women will often experience the need to withdraw or isolate, enhanced creativity and heightened focus on projects. Nutrition considerations: With the increase in metabolism (only about 200 calories extra), it’s necessary to support your body appropriately with adequate proteins and healthy fats. Consume fiberrich foods during ovulation to clear excess estrogens, allowing for a healthier menstruation phase.
Shannon Dolan is a nutritional therapy practitioner, personal trainer and owner of Health With Shannon.
Note: If you are on hormonal birth control, these phases will not occur due to the steady state of progesterone and estrogen causing a withdrawal bleed, which is not the same as a true menstrual phase.
DIGITAL WALK We are grateful for people, like you, who have worked with us relentlessly to build healthier communities for everyone, everywhere. In this new reality, there will be new challenges for all of us as we press forward TOGETHER to achieve our mission.
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HEALING THROUGH MUSIC n How one Austin treatment center is utilizing music to help people overcome addiction.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF RECOVERY UNPLUGGED AUSTIN
s the science around addiction grows, it’s becoming more clear that, with the right help, everyone has hope for recovery. This comes as a stark contrast to what was traditionally thought about addiction: that it was merely a character flaw, not a disease. It wasn’t until a series of studies from the 1970s by Dr. Bruce K. Alexander, which found that rats preferred activities and connections over drug use, that the medical world began reshaping the idea of what causes addiction. Now, it’s widely understood that having outlets for a full life and supportive, healthy relationships are key aspects to overcoming addiction. Basing their program off this idea, Recovery Unplugged, an Austin rehab facility, is creating connections through their unique program that relies on the universality of music. The treatment center utilizes music in ways that opens clients up and allows them to feel safe, understood and able to connect with others. In the program, music and treatment are intertwined for clients from the very start. Before they even show up on-site, the staff at Recovery Unplugged already knows each client’s favorite type of music and their favorite songs or artists. “When we first pick them up or they fill out paperwork, that’s what we listen to,” Joseph Gorordo, vice president of business development for Recovery Unplugged, says. “If it’s the Death Tones, we’re listening to the Death Tones. Hearing familiar music automatically just puts your defenses down, opens you up a little.”
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That idea of connection from the very start is a crucial part of the mission at Recovery Unplugged. Ashley Armstrong, a former Recovery Unplugged client and now alumni coordinator, says on her first day at Recovery Unplugged, one of the staff members who had seen her love of Elliott Smith found her to talk about the artist and his music with her. “When I first came to Recovery Unplugged, I was pretty guarded,” Armstrong explains. “But hearing someone else in the group say they like who I also like, it’s kind of like ‘Oh okay, you’re safe.’ It’s like how some people bond over sports teams.” Once in the detox phase, clients will fill out a form called “Songs of Life” which outlines the songs that influence them or touch them personally. “We ask them things like what their theme song is and what their recovery theme song is,” Gorordo says. “Songs that inspire them, songs that are sure to make them cry. And right there, you learn a lot about that client.”
The staff takes these songs and uses them to create playlists on the client’s MP3 player that the client will then keep with them throughout the program. Then, after the detox phase, clients will fill out the same form but this time in a group session. Here, clients share the reasons those songs made their lists, giving insight to who they are and what brings them there. “One client awhile back was going through a messy divorce and was worried about losing custody of his kids,” Gorordo says. “On his happy playlist, it was full of songs from the movie Frozen, because they reminded him of watching that with his daughter.” Having that group discussion of their favorite songs opens up the floor for making new connections through similar tastes and experiences. Armstrong explains that this allows clients to bond over things that don’t relate to anything that led them to substance abuse or any drug of choice which is common in treatment facilities — instead, it’s a bond through music.
“If you put a group of clients in a room, they’re going to be from all walks of life, all races, ethnicities, genders,” Gorordo says. “But it’s through music that they start to realize the things they have in common, and it allows them to connect with the people they may not have expected to have any connection with.” For Recovery Unplugged, it’s all about facilitating connection. Once formed, clients have not only a community they feel close to, but more incentive and confidence to persevere through treatment. “What helped me the most when I went through Recovery Unplugged was those connections, because I have a hard time relating to people,” Armstrong says. “It’s an out-of-the-box way to open people up and get in touch with their feelings.” But it doesn’t end with connections with each other. Each group and level of treatment has weekly Open Mic sessions guided by their primary physicians or therapists. At these, clients are encouraged to open up on stage in a way that makes them feel connected to their own experiences. They don’t have to be a trained
musician to perform, and this doesn’t always include music. “It can be anything from performing their favorite song in karaoke, changing lyrics of a song to fit more to their own story, even interpretive dancing,” Gorordo says. All of this inclusion of music and expression goes even deeper than just those connections. In fact, it gets down to the brain itself. Gorordo explains that the therapeutic benefits to music are built into humans, as listening to music stimulates more areas of the brain simultaneously than any other activity. In particular, he says it stimulates the prefrontal cortex, which deals with impulse control and decisionmaking, while it also stimulates the corpus callosum, which is the problem-solving center of the brain. It even helps with the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, two that the brain struggles to produce after prolonged drug use. “So, if we can build up the strength in those parts of the brain, we’re improving somebody’s chances of recovery,” Gorordo says. “And because of the unique approach, we give hope to those who may not have had success in other traditional treatment centers.” afm
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Courtesy of Julie Westerman
ASD AND MUSIC THERAPY n How rhythm and music can help children with autism spectrum disorder.
ive-year-old Emma Westerman loves sound. She is more intrigued by the noises her toys make when she clashes them together than by the function they were designed to perform. She is easily amused listening to a squeaky door rock back and forth on its hinges for hours, and the guitar solo at the beginning of “Thunderstruck” by ACDC always makes her freeze, while a smile spreads across her face as she recognizes her favorite song. “It’s pretty cute,” Emma’s mom, Julie Westerman says with a chuckle. “She is a dainty, petite, little thing, but she loves to play rough, and she likes heavy metal.” Emma Westerman was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a toddler. When her mom discovered the Center for Music Therapy in a Facebook group for families with kids who have autism, she decided to give it a try with Emma. Over a year later,
Julie says the way Emma responds to music — music therapy in particular — shows how much power is behind music. Throughout history, music therapy has enabled people with ASD to learn to relate to others, communicate feelings and establish rhythms and relationships in their daily lives. Emma is one of many patients who has seen dramatic lifestyle improvements once she turned to music for treatment. Hope Young, board-certified music therapist and president/owner of Center for Music Therapy, says the method of teaching through song and rhythm is a neurological phenomenon in which the whole brain activates at the same time. “You can speak a rhythmic pattern like ‘good morning’ three times, and this will activate one side of your brain,” Young says. “But, you sing that, and all of a
sudden, you get multiple areas in your brain working together. So, a child who couldn’t speak learns to sing, and by proxy, learns to speak much more quickly.” Julie says she is constantly singing to Emma and narrating what she is doing in threes so she learns words. Typically her songs are to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” “Some of the very first words she’s said consistently started coming when we started practicing pausing songs and filling in words in songs and melodies, which is a technique I learned from music therapy,” Julie says. “I sing so much around her, and those are the words she uses the most now. Even washing her hands I sing, ‘It’s time to ... dry, dry, dry,’ and she will echo that with me.” According to Young, rhythm and our ability to perceive rhythm is a highly advanced skill our brains, regardless of who you are, can recognize. This is part of the reason why music therapy is versatile in enabling patients to develop a range of skills from speech, attention to mobility and athletic enhancement. Music has the ability to exercise mechanisms referred to as cognitive attention and cognitive listening which allow us to connect in a deeply embedded thought process, Young says. This, combined with exercising autobiographical memory, is a powerful tool, especially for those with autism. Julie recognized the power of rhythm in daily life with her daughter through trial and error. She learned that saying words three times helped Emma better understand them, and Julie has noticed improvements in her speech and communication. “Whenever we’re introducing a new word. I usually do it in threes, and it just seems to really work for her,” Julie says. “Something good that happened in the past month has been that things are starting to click, and she’s understanding now that she can say anything. And she’s excited to talk. She doesn’t always know what she’s saying, but she’ll repeat anything, which means we have to be a little more careful with our language. It’s been awesome, and I thank all of her therapists for it and music, too.” Wendy Jimmerson says she has noticed a similar development in her daughter Abby who also has ASD. Over the 20 years she has been going to music therapy, Wendy says it never stops sparking new connections in her brain. “I’ve always known how beneficial music is for the brain, so when Abby was five years old, I decided it would be a great form of therapy to try and see what it could do for her development,” Jimmerson says. “It ended up being a really good decision, because it was what assisted her brain to be able to string words
together. In the last few years, they have combined her music input with gait training and endurance on the specialized treadmill they have in the clinic. It all works in tandem to get the results we want.” Despite these things, Young says there is a clear distinction between music therapy and the kind of music we have all been accustomed to, which is what Hope calls, “music for music sake,” or music for entertainment purposes. Music therapy, she says, is a doctor-ordered treatment for a disease, condition or diagnosis that is impairing a motor system or impairing perception of rhythm. “Music is such a natural and normal part of human existence that we take it for granted,” Young says. “But there are types of music to help people, to heal people and then there is music therapy, which is to treat people. And there is a clear line between the two when you’re talking about music therapy, verses when you’re talking about the power of music.” While most artists we know create music as a way to express emotions and feelings, the music used by the Center for Music Therapy is designed and prescribed for a specific purpose. Because the music prescribed to patients is meant to elicit a specific result, if unattained, the clinic could be held liable.
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Regardless, music is a common bridge that connects all people, whether designed to specifically treat patients or as a way to express emotion. Through her daughter and the joy music has brought Emma in music therapy, Julie says she has learned to let go of expectations and invest in encouraging Emma’s interests. “Music is something she loves, water is something she loves and so is movement,” Julie says. “So, our house is full of music toys and water toys and swings and slides and yoga balls and spinning chairs, which is a lot of fun.” Since COVID-19 put music therapy online, Julie says she noticed how pausing Emma’s busy schedule allowed her to establish a more natural rhythm in life, and of course, music therapy is still a part of that. “Emma’s face is just pure joy when she finishes a music session, and it’s worth every penny,” Julie says. “And whenever she has music in the morning, it almost seems to reset the whole day, and she’s in a good mood usually, so we’re super grateful.” Young says the Center’s tagline has become, “Music is our secret sauce of resiliency.” “Music helps us stop and feel more human and more connected than any other experience in the world,” Young says. “We cannot forget we have in our hands and in our bodies the power to sing, hum, carry a tune, whatever it is. We need to stop thinking that to do music we have to be at the level of an artist, when really, you just need to be human.” afm
I SING SO MUCH AROUND HER, AND THOSE ARE THE WORDS SHE USES THE MOST NOW. EVEN WASHING HER HANDS I SING, ‘IT’S TIME TO ... DRY, DRY, DRY,’ AND SHE WILL ECHO THAT WITH ME.”
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FINDING A NEW BEAT n How the SIMS Foundation is working tirelessly to provide affordable mental health and substance recovery care to the Austin music industry.
he SIMS Foundation was forged from a tragedy that rocked the Austin music community in 1995. Sims Ellison, a member of the band Pariah and beloved member of the local music community, died by suicide. From their grief, his father, Don Ellison, the founders of Austin Rehearsal Complex and others found a call to action â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they realized they needed to make a
WE WENT FROM BEING THE PLACE YOU CALLED WHEN IN A CRISIS TO BEING THE PLACE YOU ALSO WENT TO LEARN THE TOOLS TO AVOID THOSE CRISES. WITH THAT SWITCH, OUR CLIENT NUMBERS SPIKED. WE’RE ABLE TO REACH AND HELP SO MANY MORE PEOPLE NOW.”
change for the better in the Austin music community, to connect with struggling musicians. Thus, the SIMS Foundation was born, working to provide affordable mental health care and addiction recovery to as many in the industry as possible in the hopes of preventing similar losses. “Back then, it was something really unique to Austin and revolutionary,” Leslie Sisson, musician and long-time client of
SIMS, says. “Now, other cities are catching on and creating similar programs, but this is part of the reason so many musicians flock to Austin — they know they’ll be taken care of.” Over the years, the SIMS Foundation has grown and reorganized to better assist Austin musicians and cover their families’ needs as well. Eight years ago, the foundation even expanded its programs and its scope to cover not only musicians but also those who work in the industry in any way, such as sound techs and bartenders at venues and their families. Now, Patsy Dolan Bouressa heads the small team at the foundation as the executive director. Although she’s only been with the foundation for a little over three years, she’s seen and played a role in some of the bigger changes in the organization — one being the sheer amount of case management that the team takes on. “Even if we have someone come to us with something seemingly small, we quickly help them get into therapy and stay active in their case from then on,” Bouressa explains. “Essentially, from that first call, we wrap around the client and make sure they are getting their needs met and have continuity of service.”
Finding the right therapist or treatment is never easy for anyone, so having the team there to look after them every step of the way helps take away that barrier to true help. “We went from being the place you called when in a crisis to being the place you also went to learn the tools to avoid those crises,” Bouressa says. “And with that switch, our client numbers spiked. We’re able to reach and help so many more people now.” More recently, they’ve crafted programs dedicated to training venue staff and others on subjects such as what treatment looks like and how it’s different for everyone, how to handle crises like overdoses, and how to handle sexual harassment and trauma. “It’s always interesting when you see an audience getting confused, because you’re talking about a heroin overdose like it’s ‘whatever,’” Bouressa explains. “But that’s the thing, because it is whatever. It’s just part of a disease, and we need to have these conversations to help stop it.” Since 2015, the SIMS Foundation has helped over 3,000 clients and spent over 4,000 hours in case management alone. But the amount that this foundation has impacted the music community is not
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something easily put into a figure. It’s something seen in the fervent way that musicians talk about the foundation — and it’s something seen all over town in the SIMS benefit shows organized and led by musicians themselves, refusing to take anything but a small cut of the revenue and instead dedicating it to the foundation. “Most of our money comes from benefit events and concerts,” Bouressa says. “The community is very tight knit here in Austin.” Rightfully so, Bouressa and her team have become champions to those clients they work with. As mental health advocates, they work closely with the music community, being on call for emergencies and simply being there when it counts. In March of last year, Greg
Enlow, a big name in the music scene, was lost to suicide. Some of his friends decided to throw a concert in his honor that would give all proceeds to the SIMS Foundation. Without hesitation, Bouressa went to the event just to share a few words with the community that was still grieving. “She didn’t have to do that, you know? But she came just to share a few words with us,” Sisson says. “It’s things like that. They make sure we know that they really care, that they’re there in the trenches with us.” So many of those in the music industry here in Austin have stories about how SIMS has helped them. One such client is Tony Trevino, who first found SIMS on his road to recovery from
addiction. “Like a lot of musicians, my idols growing up were musicians that had died of overdose,” Trevino explains. “So, in my convoluted thinking, I had to be strung out to actually be a real musician.” Trevino says that he can sum up that period of his life through a few numbers. It was in the span of 10 years that he went to six treatment facilities, had four overdoses, was arrested three times on drug and alcohol related charges and was admitted to two mental institutions. “They say addiction will lead to one of three places: jail, mental institutions or death,” Trevino says. “But for me, it led to all three. It killed my music career and took everything from me, several times.”
For the final time that he got and stayed clean, it was through SIMS, who paid for his treatment center and sober living. Now he’s training as an MMA fighter at the top gym in the area while simultaneously helping those like him who are now in recovery and getting himself back into playing music professionally. “I owe my recovery to a lot of people,” Trevino says. “But at the top of that list is Patsy and the SIMS Foundation. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for them. I’m constantly flabbergasted with how happy I am now and what I’ve achieved since recovery.” The SIMS Foundation works with a diverse and vast network of mental health practitioners around the area to provide care at little to no cost. For many musicians, not having insurance means they will be unable to afford mental health care for anything from anxiety to addiction, but SIMS works hard to ensure the care of each client. Leslie Sisson has been working with the SIMS Foundation as a client for almost 10 years. When she first started seeing a therapist to process the unexpected loss of her mother, SIMS helped her find the right person. Then, when Sisson went through the nightmarish experience involving her violent kidnapping, the SIMS Foundation was still there. At first, the state appointed her to a therapist to help her with her post-traumatic stress disorder. But when that ran out, SIMS helped her to find the perfect trauma therapist, and she’s been working with her ever since. Even once Sisson began receiving insurance from her day job, SIMS made sure that she would still be able to see that same therapist. “I was worried this meant I’d no longer be able to see her since she
doesn’t take insurance,” Sisson said. “She’s talked me off so many ledges. I don’t know what would have happened if I had to stop seeing her.” Musicians are some of the most heavily hit when it comes to depression, anxiety and addiction. Not having the ability to get help for these issues only adds to the stress that created them in the first place. “Working to make a living as a musician isn’t glamorous,” Sisson says. “Some people do it because it’s all they know how to do, or, like me, it’s the only thing that gives
them catharsis. But it’s rough, and it’s not easy on anyone.” Sisson says that with every benefit show she plays, she rarely ever takes a cut of the proceeds. She doesn’t think any musician does unless it’s a small one, because they want to give back as much as they can. “They’ve done so much for us. It’s been hard not being able to play those shows during COVID. I would give them a million dollars and more if I could,” Sisson says. “I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for SIMS, I wouldn’t be here today. And I’m forever grateful.” afm
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HOW TO BUILD AN EMPOWERING MORNING ROUTINE n Motivational speaker and author Todd Whitthorne shares how a morning routine — like this one — could change your life.
outines are like a soft, comfortable sweater on a chilly day — they just feel good. Unfortunately, our regular routines were all thrown for a loop back in March. “Loop” is maybe not a strong enough word; it’s been more like a prolonged earthquake. Now, over six months later, we’ve all established new routines, some of which are healthy, and others, well, not so much. The COVID-19 data on health is not encouraging. While most everyone has heard of the pandemicrelated weight gain described as the “quarantine 15” or the “COVID curves,” the real concern should be the impact the virus has on our psychological health. A recent CDC study of over 5,400 adults found that almost 41 percent of Americans are struggling with mental health issues stemming from the pandemic. That study was soon followed by a paper in The
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicating “depression symptom prevalence was more than three-fold higher during the COVID-19 pandemic than before.” The authors also encouraged us to “recognize that these effects can be long-lasting, and to consider preventative action to help mitigate its effects.” My guess is none of these data points surprise you. In fact, you might be thinking that the numbers should even be more alarming. It’s been said we are all in the same storm, but in different boats. For some, the pandemic has been mildly inconvenient, but for others, it’s been devastating. Regardless, for each and every one of us — it’s been disruptive to our routines. Moving forward, how can you best create an environment that will maximize your ability to not just tread water, but to come out of this mess better and stronger than when you went in? With that in mind, I’d
like to share some strategies that have been extremely helpful for me personally over the past several months.
These “Big Three” are critical for both physical and emotional health, and, as we’ve talked about with past issues, you cannot outsource your health. Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself — especially if you are hoping to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
#1 Maximize your ability to “take a punch.”
Resilience is key. If you get knocked down eight times, can you get up nine? The answer should be, “ABSOLUTELY!” Life is not easy, and it never was, but it’s obviously been especially challenging in 2020. So what! Double down on the things you know will help you weather the storm. This applies to right now as well as when COVID-19 is eventually in our rear-view mirror. You already know the basics: a) Eat well (i.e. “cut the crap”) b) Move daily (hopefully outside) c) Prioritize sleep (try to never get less than seven hours a night)
#2 Establish a morning routine that allows you to come out of the gate strong.
When I first started running marathons and halfmarathons, my good friend Tim Church used to tell me, “Start fast and then pick up the pace.” That was obviously horrible advice for a distance race, but I do think it’s a marvelous strategy for us to start each and every day. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that you currently begin most of your mornings in a very similar manner, and that your weekday routine differs quite a bit from
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n LIFESTYLE your weekend norm. I encourage you to examine your regular routine, and then really consider if that’s working to your advantage.
#3 Nighty night!
It’s impossible to start the day off well without a good sleep the night before. As mentioned earlier, try to never get less than seven hours of sleep per night, but remember, quality is just as important as quantity. Of note, those who sleep less than seven hours per night are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who get more than seven hours per night. We don’t know yet if there is a similar connection to COVID-19, but my belief is that anything we can do right now to improve our overall immunity makes sense. One of the upsides of quarantine, according to the early research, is that it’s had a positive impact on what’s called “social jet lag,” or the difference between your Monday through Friday sleep routine and your weekend sleep schedule. A large disparity between the two has the same impact on your circadian rhythm as flying across multiple time zones would. We all have exactly one biological clock, not two. If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, then you must strive for a consistent schedule in regards to when you go to bed and when you get up. Regularity is critical. It’s also important to realize that alcohol is not a sleep aid. It does work as a sedative but, for the vast majority of us, it’s highly disruptive to the quality of our sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep in particular. If you’ve been struggling with issues such as uncertainty, fear or anxiety, which is absolutely understandable during this “chapter,” and you’ve been using alcohol to help take the edge off, you should recognize it may be having the opposite effect. If you want to take a deeper dive on the topic of sleep, I highly recommend Dr. Walker’s book as well as a recent conversation he had with Dr. Peter Attia on his podcast, The Drive.
to, “Try it. You’ll like it!” What I’m about to share may seem absolutely ridiculous, but I honestly believe if you’re willing to try it, then you’re most likely going to like it. Tomorrow when you wake up, do not look at your phone. See, you’re probably already thinking, “I’m out!” Do everything in your power to delay all technology (phone, computer, radio, television, etc.). Don’t touch it for at least five minutes. No email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc. Technology has very gradually changed the way we learn, interact, live, feel and, most importantly, think. If you doubt this, I encourage you to watch the new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma (Fair warning: while it’s nothing you’re most likely not already mindful of, the concentration of evidence is especially unnerving. Memorable quote: “You’re a lab rat. We’re all lab rats.”). Since COVID-19, I have made a very strong commitment to not let technology dictate how I start my day. I don’t want someone else, or more likely, something else (e.g. an algorithm) to control my day. I consider each day to be a gift, and I want to maximize how I experience it. Here’s what I’ve been doing for about six months now, and it’s been a game changer. I wake up (without the aid of an alarm clock whenever possible), I go to the bathroom, feed my dog, make a cup of tea or coffee, then sit down in a quiet location and think. That’s it, I just think for at least five minutes. Now, five minutes might not seem like a long time, but setting the bar low will dramatically increase your odds of being successful. Remember, repetition is the key to building a habit, and stringing together a series
#4 Rise and shine!
As the late, great Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.” If you want a different outcome, then you need to be open-minded to a new approach. If you are of a certain age, then you may remember the old Alka Seltzer commercial that encouraged you
LOWEST RATES NOW! of “wins” will up your odds of permanently changing your behavior. Often the five minutes becomes 10 or 20, but regardless of the length of time, I’m maniacal about protecting the way I begin my day. I always include some intentional breathing to make sure I’m getting plenty of oxygen deep into my lungs and brain. You might try the 4-7-8 technique. Breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. I also am mindful to focus on something I’m grateful for and someone I’m grateful for. The best way to learn to be grateful is to practice gratitude. There are all sorts of resources to help you with this including daily devotionals or books of quotes. You might also just try saying this to yourself: Today I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. The significance of intentionally starting your day by thinking of what you want to think about is important. In today’s world with the way social media is designed, we often wake up, immediately check our phone, and then instantly enter into a triggered, emotional state. Dr. Walker points out that doing this on a consistent basis disrupts the quality of our sleep by creating what’s referred to as “anticipatory anxiety.” There’s a good chance you’re not even aware of it because it has happened so gradually. A great way to avoid it is to simply not take your phone into the bedroom, and then refuse to even check it until you’re fully awake and have properly “set the stage” for your day. Each and every one of us have now spent over half a year living through a pandemic. No one asked for it, and none of us know how long it will last or, maybe more importantly, what the long-term impact will be. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s clear that from a health perspective “the deck” is environmentally stacked against us. In the same way we need to intentionally work on maintaining our physical health, the same commitment should be applied to our emotional health, especially during these days of unchartered waters. Establishing small ways to “win the day” will help increase your resilience, improve your mindset and hopefully allow you to approach 2021 with a full head of steam. Stay well! afm
Todd Whitthorne is an author, speaker and corporate wellness executive based in Dallas. He serves as the Chief Inspiration Officer for Naturally Slim and is the author of Fit Happens!...Simple Steps for a Healthier, More Productive Life! Todd also hosts a twice-weekly podcast, In Less Than a Minute, which you can find on his website, toddwhitthorne.com, or on your favorite platform including Facebook and YouTube.
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Language of Dance Austinite and Indian dancer, Anuradha Naimpally, shares how she tells a story and celebrates culture through the power of dance. AUTHOR CAROLINE BETIK PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN FITZSIMMONS
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With bare feet, colorful dresses and decorated faces, five women are positioned in a circle as their bodies and arms gracefully shift up and down like the pulse of a heart beat. As a flow of geometric and expressive body movements follow, the women dancing in Anuradha Naimpally’s production of Sacred Earth Stories capture the attention and imagination of everyone watching. The bells attached to the women’s ankles accent the rhythm of their stomping feet with a jingle. Their hand motions discreetly tell a vital story, changing with every beat of the rhythm. Their facial expressions capture the emotions of the story told throughout the performance. “Dance is an artform; it goes so far beyond the physical,” Naimpally says. ”When I am dancing, I feel like it is an out-of-body experience.” In 1991, Anuradha (Anu) Naimpally began hosting dancing lessons in her garage in Cedar Park. Now, almost 30 years later, her business established as Austin Dance India, Naimpally has made herself known as a producer, composer, mentor, teacher, dancer and performer around the world. Teaching the traditional Indian dance form called Bharata Natyam, Naimpally has built an organization focused on the mission of empowering others through dance. “This is my language,” Naimpally says. “So, if I’m going to express something, even something about a social issue, which is a human experience, I can express that through this movement language.” Throughout her career, Naimpally has used Bharata Natyam as a way to teach parables, introduce Indian culture and articulate timely social
issues. According to Naimpally, there are three basic proponents to this style of dance: the abstract movement, the drama of characters and storytelling. The abstract elements refer to the technical body movements, Naimpally says. The movements made with the arms, in addition to exaggerated facial expressions and stylized movements of the whole body, add dimension that complements the story being told through hand gestures. In addition to the complex footwork, perhaps the most intricate aspect of Bharata Natyam is the sign language dancers use to develop plot lines and carry the piece along in a chronological fashion. “Any human situation, any human emotion or relationship can be portrayed or depicted on stage with hand symbols made with one hand or two hands,” Naimpally says. “With this, we can say just about anything.” While Naimpally is passionate about performing and educating her audience and students on historically artistic traditions, Naimpally also can’t help but see the way her art form can be used to make a difference in the present and future. “Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s so much a part of what’s happening in world events,” Naimpally says. “There are certain things I see happening, and I just feel like I need to do something about it. It is very fulfilling to be able to reach people through this dance language.” Although Naimpally does not consider herself an activist, she has produced and performed many pieces which have brought awareness to different topics
and give the people involved an opportunity to take action. In 2016, Naimpally’s daughter, Purna Bajekal directed a video in which some girls from Austin Dance India recreated a video introducing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals presented by the United Nations in 2015. Dancing Bharata Natyam to the song “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, the one-and-ahalf-minute video educated and empowered people to take action on those specific goals. Following the video, Naimpally and her daughter co-produced and performed a show called Living on the Hyphen. Touching on specific issues including gender equality and quality education, Austin Dance India also partnered with organizations taking action. Throughout the show, information was provided to the audience on how they could get involved, volunteer or contribute to the causes. Naimpally says throughout the years she has collaborated with a variety of artists and organizations. Currently, Naimpally is working with local refugee teens on a story called Home: Where Do I Belong? “This piece will touch on migration, displacement and immigration,” Naimpally says. “We have so many stories of people who run away from violence and atrocities, or they have been displaced. This production will touch on certain questions: Where did he come from? How do they find where they belong? What is home for them?” As a teacher and mentor to her students over the decades, Naimpally has not only influenced many of her students to learn about social issues, but she has also
impacted the lives of her dancers on a personal level. Naimpally says this is one of the most fulfilling parts of her job. “I see girls from a young age and mentor them for sometimes 10 years,” Naimpally says. “I get to be an influence in their lives and see the power dance has to transform people and help them discover their own strengths and their inner beauty and see them empower themselves to feel empowered in their own bodies. That is what really keeps me going.” Soumya N. Ashok has been a student under Naimpally for over 10 years and considers Naimpally a part of her family. Ashok says over the years, she has gained stamina, mental focus and confidence in herself. “As a woman in today’s society, I have struggled with body image issues like many other women, sadly,” Ashok says. “Anu has really helped me to feel a sense of finding beauty in my own body and my own movement.” Ashok says she gains the most when practicing and training for performance. Her favorite memories, she says, have included practicing for productions such as the 2020 Sacred Earth Stories. “When working toward performance, Anu has reiterated the values my family always expected or shared with me and my sister growing up,” Ashok says. “And being able to put it into practice through dance has been a really foundational part of my life here in the states.” Originally from Chennai, India, Ashok says the music and the rhythmic patterns and dance inspired by scripture has been a big aspect of connecting with her culture.
“I am not a religious person, and Bharata Natyam is rooted more in mythological compositions about divinity,” Ashok says. “Studying Bharata Natyam has pushed me to dig for what the metaphors the stories and the mythological tales are trying to establish, and that has been a point of personal growth for
me to be able to understand.” Through Bharata Natyam, Naimpally has brought Indian culture close to many people. Through teaching and mentoring many South Asian girls, Naimpally continues to connect her students to their heritage, culture and traditions.
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CLIMBING GYMS ARE SET UP TO BE VERY ACCOMMODATING TO ALL CLIMBERS. SOME GYMS OFFER SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES BUT RELATIVELY EXIST FOR THE SAME REASON: GET PEOPLE CLIMBING.”
Since starting Austin Dance India, Naimpally says the Indian and South Asian community has grown. However, Naimpally says the opportunities she has to perform in front of a wide and diverse audience have been unique and transformative. Through the years, she has made a difference in the lives of her audience by introducing Indian art forms to diverse groups of people all over Austin and the world. Tom Mitchell is among one who reached out to Naimpally after her first production of Sacred Earth Stories in 2019. Mitchell’s wife had heard about the performance, which connects ancient mythologies with current climate issues, and decided to bring her husband along to watch. Mitchell says he was not
DANCE IS AN ARTFORM; IT GOES SO FAR BEYOND THE PHYSICAL,” NAIMPALLY SAYS. ”WHEN I AM DANCING, I FEEL LIKE IT IS AN OUT-OFBODY EXPERIENCE.” expecting to be so impacted by the performance, but was moved to tears by the dance and emotion that flowed through the show. “What really struck me was the story,” Mitchell says. “Our culture and most of our planet is rooted in a myth that inevitably leads to the death of our planet. But in Sacred Earth Stories, which Anu portrayed in such a heartfelt manner, is the story of the earth goddess providing abundant life and nurturing all forms of life.” Mitchell says since attending the performance, he has changed the way he lives in order to help do his part in saving the environment and spreading the word on how others can do the same. Naimpally says this is exactly what Bharata Natyam and dance
is supposed to do for the audience. Since the beginning traditions of the classic Indian dance form, Bharata Natyam was used in the temples as a form of worship and entertainment. As Naimpally has studied and cultivated this style of dance, she has learned more ways to bring people to a space beyond themselves. “Bharata Natyam and dance, it takes you to a space where it elevates you,” Naimpally says. “That is really the goal of Bharata Natyam — to elevate the heart to a higher place.” afm
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Musician and Austinite, Will von Rosenberg, opens a new hangout spot off West Sixth for Austinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fitness community. A U T H O R E M I LY E F F R E N
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Nestled off West Sixth St. is a small, green house originally built in 1910 as a wedding gift from a father to his daughter. Fast forward to 2020, it has been transformed into a local hangout spot for Austin’s fitness community called The Clubhouse on 6th. A wooden staircase leads up to a white front door, and inside there is a low hum of voices, talking and laughing amongst one another, accompanied by the comforting sound of a needle on a record coming from somewhere in the building. Directly in the entryway, one is greeted by a black and white, checkered floor and a “kegerator” dispensing cold beer for clubhouse frequenters. “It’s an old Victorian home, so it’s like a historical Austin landmark,” says musician and owner of The Clubhouse on 6th and the Clubhouse Outfitters
athleticwear brand, Will von Rosenberg. “It’s really cool.” Even though he comes from a background of oil and gas, Rosenberg says he has always wanted to create a brand that wasn’t confined to athleticwear or products, but a brand that would inspire others to live a happy, healthy and active lifestyle in the Austin community. “I knew I wanted to start something else — more than just trying to get the next deal done and make money — that’s all we did,” Rosenberg says. “I woke up, literally threw some stuff in my truck and headed back to Austin.” After months of nailing down clothing styles and fabrics, Rosenberg finally received his first set of inventory in October of 2019. In February, Rosenberg moved into The Clubhouse on 6th and began
renovating it to be the spot he always dreamed of. “I always wanted to have a clubhouse. Like, that’s the dream,” Rosenberg says. Inside the clubhouse, it’s easy to spot the Live Music Capital’s influence, with a mix of athletic frequenters, eclectic fabrics that hang from the walls, vintage finds and records that are in almost every room. “This is a cool, safe, open-minded community,” Rosenberg says. “You can come change into your shoes, run down the trail, get like a five-mile run and come back, have a beer, spin a record, hang out. That’s kind of what I want the Austin people to know, that that’s what we’re doing over here and that everybody’s welcome.” Walking deeper into the building, one can find a small store, lined with Clubhouse Outfitter’s inventory: hats, tank tops and running shorts for both men and
women. Only a couple paces away from the checkout counter is a record player with vinyls (hanging from clothing hangers) just above it. The Clubhouse’s collection includes everything from Ray Charles to Willie Nelson, and Rosenberg says he is always adding to the selection. “We have a really cool, old vintage record player from the 50s that I found. We do a Daily Spin, is what I call it, from the Clubhouse Instagram. We’ll spin a record and throw it on the story,” Rosenberg says. “We’ll always have music.” More records line the walls of The Clubhouse on 6th’s hangout room, in addition to giant, metal letters that read, “Hey Y’all.” “It’s definitely a shop and a store, but you don’t just come here if you want to buy something. It’s like, if you
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YOU CAN COME CHANGE INTO YOUR SHOES, RUN DOWN THE TRAIL, GET LIKE A FIVE-MILE RUN AND COME BACK, HAVE A BEER, SPIN A RECORD, HANG OUT.” and it’s a safe space, even if you’re just getting started in your athletic journey.” After getting involved with The Clubhouse on 6th, Whittle was even inspired to form her own community, The Clean Trail Club, which is dedicated to picking up trash on a few of Austin’s most popular running trails. “It’s motivated me to be more active in the community itself,” Whittle says. “It makes me feel activated.” Paras Shah, friend of Rosenberg and also a member of the Clubhouse Crew, says it’s been inspiring to see his friend’s passion and dream of the brand and clubhouse come to life in Austin, especially after making a career change. “You walk in and it’s like a microcosm of Austin. So, you got a vinyl player, you got a music room — Austin’s all about live music,” Shah says. Only a quarter mile from the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail, The Clubhouse on 6th is frequented by preand post-runners needing a spot to set their things down or meet a friend for a workout, Shah says. Directly in the entryway, there is also a set of black lockers to keep runners’ belongings safe as they journey out to the trail. “It’s a nice hangout, that isn’t like a stuffy running store,” Shah says. “Will’s done a really good job on the interior of making it a place to actually sit down for 30 minutes and drink a beer with somebody.” Shah says the brand’s mission also places an emphasis on giving back to the Austin community. “What good is making money unless you’re gonna put it back into the community?” Shah says. So far, Rosenberg has partnered with Back on My Feet, a non-profit dedicated to combating homelessness through running and community support, essential employment and housing resources. “I really wanted to create something where I can give back,” Rosenberg says. Rosenberg describes The Clubhouse on 6th’s community as a group of like-minded individuals that are not only dedicated to living an active lifestyle physically, but socially as well. “I’d say that’s the kind of lifestyle — people that give back and care about the community,” Rosenberg says. “And also like to have a good time and appreciate and love everything that Austin has to offer.” afm
want to hang out. I have friends that come in if they want to get away from the house to work from home,” Rosenberg says. In addition to the athleticwear brand and clubhouse, Rosenberg also began the Clubhouse Crew, which is a group of Austinites from a variety of athletic backgrounds that test the different products he is developing and give feedback. Jordan Whittle, part of the Clubhouse Crew, says she has enjoyed watching the brand grow and evolve since its infancy. “The Clubhouse atmosphere — it’s super inclusive, and we take a lot of pride in the city of Austin,” Whittle says. “We’re looking to kind of form a supportive culture where we can motivate one another, whether that be to run your first marathon or even run your first mile. We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable
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BALANCING YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM n Optimize your sleep schedule with these tips.
s we settle back into the grind of our busy lives with work and school, it’s easy to let go of those blissful self-care routines we finally had time to do. But while we might not have time to workout an hour a day or make a loaf of banana bread every week (thanks to quarantine), one thing we shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice is our sleep. Even if you’re getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night, if you’re not waking up refreshed, then you’re not getting good sleep. Plus, even if you are waking up refreshed, you still might benefit from a few of these tips to optimize your sleep.
Timing and Routine
Timing is everything when it comes to sleep. If you can get your circadian rhythm in check, you’re set to have the most restful sleep, thanks to hormonal regulation. This starts with a nighttime routine, so your body knows it’s time to relax. This could look like a warm bath with lavender essential oil to lower cortisol levels, a steamy shower, five minutes of meditation, stretching with some yoga, taking a magnesium glycinate supplement or turning down the thermostat as cold air helps the body relax. Although easier said than done, going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday is one of the best things to regulate your circadian rhythm. It creates routine, as does exclusively using the bed for sex and sleep.
Blue light stimulates the brain and keeps it awake by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Avoiding blue light is difficult. It’s everywhere — phones, TVs, computers, LED light bulbs and even inside refrigerators. It’s important to limit blue light exposure before bed, especially for older adults, as we lose melatonin with age. While it’s best to put away the phone two to three hours before bed and opt for a book over Netflix, blue-light-blocking glasses could be a good alternative for avoiding exposure, as can switching out nightlights from blue light to red. Just as sleeping in complete darkness can help with sleepwake cycles, exposure to sunlight within 20-30 minutes of waking can optimize the body’s biological clock. So, rather than scrolling through emails in bed, if you have time, go for a 20-minute walk or drink your morning coffee outside.
Coffee is not the enemy. That being said, it’s not entirely innocent either. Just like any stimulant, it’s important that we understand how it works. Adenosine 5’-triphosphate, or ATP, is the main way our bodies store and exchange energy. As the energy is used, it eventually breaks down into just adenosine, which compiles in the brain at the adenosine receptor site, triggering sleep. Caffeine is similarly shaped to adenosine and blocks the receptor site, which in turn causes that familiar feeling of wakefulness. Caffeine has a halflife of six hours, meaning only half of the caffeine consumed will leave
the body after six hours. Then, six hours after that, one-fourth of the caffeine will remain in the body and so on. For reference, 8 ounces of drip coffee typically has 96 milligrams of caffeine, and according to the Mayo Clinic, “Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered safe for most adults.” But it’s important to remember that 400 milligrams is not optimal and that some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. So, drinking too much coffee during the day can result in disrupted sleep, causing a wired but tired feeling, leading to more caffeine use and less quality sleep.
Humans are electric beings; we measure the electric signal of our hearts with EKGs and our brains with EEGs. It’s no surprise that with all of the phones and WiFi surrounding us, electromagnetic fields can strongly affect our bodies, including our sleep. A simple way to test this is by turning off your phone and WiFi at night, which may sound a little nuts, but there’s not really a need for it if you’re asleep anyway. If that’s still too difficult, you could put your phone on airplane mode to eliminate most EMF radiation. For more adventurous folks, going camping for one week could help to reset your circadian rhythm completely. Some people get the best sleep of their lives when they’re out in nature and away from all of the WiFi networks congesting cities. While it may take some time to adjust to your new sleep routine, a good night’s rest is well worth the effort. afm
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INTRODUCING YOUR NEXT SKINCARE OBSESSION: LIGHT THERAPY n Bet you didn’t know about this one, huh?
ight has always been a resource humans look to for restorative energy. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that light was discovered as a resource for therapy. In 1903, a scientist named Niels Finsen was given a Nobel Prize for his findings on the “therapeutic and physiological effects of light treatment from artificial light sources,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Fast forward to 2020, and one of the latest trends on the beauty and wellness market is light therapy,
and more specifically, tools and masks with different colored LED lights designed for skincare and rejuvenation. It’s common to see these new gadgets flooding social media feeds along with influencers recommending various skincare products and LED devices — here’s why. “It’s a light emitting diode, so it’s a certain wavelength that each color has and can penetrate in certain areas of concern. These masks are great because, one, it’s really not harmful for the skin. It just helps with the combination of skincare and treatments,”
Stephanie Molina, lead medical esthetician at Rejuvenate Austin says. Light therapy has been known to treat seasonal affective disorder, sleep disorders, dementia, depression, skin conditions and more with few side effects, according to Mayo Clinic. Diving deeper, different colors have different benefits.
“Red light is the most common, because it stimulates collagen and elastin, and that’s just kind of everyone’s go-to because, starting at the age of 25, we start losing collagen,” Molina says. With a lower wavelength, red light works to increase circulation, protect cells from damage, reduce fine lines, reduce pain, improve
Just as your diet needs its greens, so does your skin. Green light helps with pigmentation and also helps even the complexion of the skin by breaking up discoloration, Molina says. In addition to skincare, green light has been found to reduce chronic pain, such as migraines and fibromyalgia, according to an article in MDedge.
If you’re looking for the best light for recovery, try yellow light. According to LaserClinics.com, yellow light penetrates deep into the skin and is best used for wound healing, skin rejuvenation, rosacea and redness. Yellow light also helps to remove toxins (from the area being treated) and can stimulate the lymphatic system.
Purple Light facial texture and has antiinflammatory benefits, according to an article in Medical News Today.
Yes, blue light at night is known to interrupt your sleep schedule (enter: blue blockers), however if you suffer from bad breakouts, blue light may be able to help. “Blue light is an antibacterial, so it kills bacteria and helps to clear any blemishes on the face and control breakouts,” Molina says. Many LED tools on the market come with the option for just two lights, blue and red, because both can work together to fight acne. Blue light targets blemishes, and red light can reduce inflammation and redness, according to an article by Harvard Health.
Maybe you messed with that pimple a little too much. Or, maybe you’re experiencing some inflammation after your regular trip to the medspa. Either way, purple light could be here to save the day. The purple light wavelength is used to calm irritated skin and can be a helpful aid after a procedure, Molina says.
What to Know
“There’s obviously a difference in the medical grade ones that the spa uses and the home ones, as far as how deep the wavelengths can go. So, there’s just a little bit of a difference in that aspect, but ultimately they can do the same thing,” Molina says. For safety, Molina recommends wearing protective eye gear while using light therapy, as some colors can be damaging to the retina. In addition, it’s recommended to not directly place the light to the skin and to use each light in 20-minute increments. “Just hover as close as you can to where you feel the warmth of the light, depending on the medical spa ones. You just kind of stay under, and it sits on top of you, and it’s not really close, but I think the wavelength is stronger,” Molina says. “If it’s a smaller handheld or mask, you can control the distance.” Even though light therapy is beneficial for the skin, Molina says it is more effective when used in combination with other skincare products. “Standalone, it might be very slow to see a benefit in it, but if it’s in with other combinations, it’s great,” she says. afm
AU S T I N F I T M AG A Z I N E
Dr. Jing Fan
This special series of articles are written by faculty members from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine.
PRACTICING MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH n Say goodbye to back pain.
ack pain and general muscle soreness are common problems for many people. Understanding correct force postures and maintaining your musculoskeletal system will help to both treat and prevent pain and
also lead to spasms of the muscle and blood vessels which are not easily relieved, causing more metabolites to develop. Such an abundance of inflammatory substances is too much to be taken away by normal blood flow, leading to a vicious cycle of muscle contraction and metabolism dysfunction. Then, the body will feel soreness, pain, pressure and tingling. So, any methods which can increase blood circulation would be excellent ways to treat musculoskeletal pain!
What causes musculoskeletal pain?
The most common causes of musculoskeletal pain are soft tissue injuries (such as car accidents and sports injuries) and aging. In addition, qi stagnation, blood stasis, poor posture, lack of exercise, dietary factors, mental factors and other diseases such as cancer, gastrointestinal discomfort, dysmenorrhea, etc. can cause musculoskeletal pain. The above factors cause muscle contraction, an accumulation of inflammatory substances, vasospasm, lactic acid accumulation and nerve excitement. They
What are the correct postures to prevent musculoskeletal pain? The most common musculoskeletal pains, such as back pain, are due to poor posture. Being aware and practicing correct posture during all activities can prevent back pain, but most especially when: 1. Picking up items Bend your knees instead of bending your back. Avoid
your back from arching. Try not to slouch in the chair. This has the potential to cause cervical spondylosis and numbness of the hands. Such problems most often occur in people who use the computer for long periods of time. 4. Driving a car When in the car, make sure your seat is moved forward enough to keep the knees as high as the waist. If you experience back pain while driving, consider protecting your lower back by using seat cushions. Do not sit too far away from the pedal — this could cause excessive stretching of the body which can impact the curvature of the spine. 5. Sleeping A good sleep is crucial to easing back pain. Make sure you are using a firm mattress. When side sleeping, slightly bend your legs with a pillow placed between the knees. If you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow or a pad under the knees.
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Musculoskeletal Pain
Acupuncture, with the theory of “Pain to Shu,” finds the appropriate point of pain to do the needling, which often has a magical effect on pain. Modern studies have shown that acupuncture can improve blood circulation, increase endorphin levels and inhibit nerve conduction in order to relieve pain. Tuina, which is a type of traditional Asian bodywork therapy, can soothe fascia, activate meridians, promote muscle rigidity, improve fibrosis, relieve pain and fatigue and restore the original muscle function. Asian bodywork combined with acupressure can often achieve a better effect than either modality used alone. Herbal Fumigation and Hot Compress Therapy integrate hyperthermia and traditional Chinese herbal medicine to increase muscle blood circulation, reduce pain and restore the original muscle function. Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine teaches that pain comes from the stasis or malnutrition of qi (energy) and blood. Chinese herbal medicine can adjust the patient’s constitution to improve blood circulation and PH and strengthen bones and tendons. Commonly used herbal formulas for the treatment of pain can regulate qi, stimulate blood circulation, dispel wind, drain cold and dampness and tonify the liver and kidney. afm
lifting heavy items with a bent back and straight legs, and do not twist the body when lifting. Make sure the items are close to the body and practice lifting through the legs. In addition, try not to lift items that are too heavy higher than your chest. Next time, ask a friend to help you. 2. Standing and walking A good walking position is with a raised head and lowered chin, with the toes facing forward and wearing a pair of comfortable shoes. When you are standing, do not stand too long in one posture. Avoid bending back with straight legs. Do not wear high heels or flat shoes to walk or stand for a long period of time. 3. Sitting position Chair height should be moderate in order to keep the knees and buttocks at the same height, with the feet resting easily on the ground. Your back should be close to the back of the chair. Pay attention to the height of the chair armrest, and make sure your elbows rest naturally on each armrest. Do not sit in a chair that is too high or too far away from your desk in order to prevent your upper body from leaning forward and
Dr. Jing Fan, a practitioner at AOMA Clinics. AOMA Acupuncture Clinics offers all of the above Chinese Medicine treatment options, as well as the benefit of an herbal medicine store on site.
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WITH SONEX ORTHOPEDICS n AFM speaks with Dr. Ryan Sieg and Sean Vieira of Sonex Orthopedics about Shockwave Therapy.
AFM: What is Shockwave Therapy and why is it a better alternative than surgery?
and the next step is sometimes surgery. The surgery for overuse injuries is not great. The benefits of Shockwave Therapy are it is non-invasive, there is no downtime, it doesn’t hurt when you are done with it, and it doesn’t require stitches or anything like that so you don’t have the risk of infection. So the risks are so much lower. It’s FDA approved and shown on hundreds of studies to be safe and efficacious for patients.
VIEIRA: Shockwave Therapy is formally called
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy. It uses high energy acoustic waves to treat numerous musculoskeletal injuries; typically, chronic overuse injuries and osteoarthritis. It is non-invasive, considered an alternative to surgery, and FDA approved. As far as benefits over surgery, in 30 years of use and research with Shockwave Therapy, no serious or long term complication has ever been noted and there’s hundreds of studies backing its safety and efficacy — so more effective with none of the risks associated with surgery. A lot of people also really appreciate that there’s no downtime after the treatment, and most injuries only require a single treatment.
AFM: Why would a surgeon recommend a noninvasive procedure? SIEG: There are certain conditions where I definitely
recommend surgery; displaced fractures, hip fractures — things like that. However, many conditions patients have are chronic overuse injuries, so when you come in for chronic knee pain or foot pain, it is nice to have a non-invasive treatment method. There are lots of risks with surgery. You often have to be put to sleep, there can be a lot of scar tissue, and the outcomes are sometimes not that good.
SIEG: Typically for patients with chronic overuse
injuries, they have tried things like activity modification, anti-inflammatory medicines, bracing, and physical therapy. Sometimes those treatments are not effective,
OrthoWave is primarily for chronic overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis, jumper’s knee, tennis elbow — those sorts of things. OsteoWave is for osteoarthritis. We can treat knees, thumbs, ankles; really, any joint with osteoarthritis. AFM: What kind of injuries can shockwave therapy treat?
VIEIRA: Shockwave Therapy can treat a lot of injuries;
it can’t treat everything but it can treat a lot. The most common injuries we see are typically the injuries I previously mentioned along with meniscus tears and knee osteoarthritis. Really, almost any chronic overuse injury that has failed conservative treatments. AFM: How can OsteoWave help OA? SIEG: OsteoWave is a non-invasive treatment before
surgery, it gives patients an option to injections and medications. In general, when people think of osteoarthritis, they just think their cartilage, the squishy stuff on the end of their bone, is worn away but in reality, the entire joint is injured. This includes the bone just underneath the cartilage responsible for the cartilage’s blood and nutrition, the subchondral bone. The shockwaves treat that subchondral bone. It increases blood flow to the area and stimulates healing, thus remodels and regenerates the bone, and then the bone can support that soft cartilage on it. What it does for the patient is significantly decrease their pain and restore their function, and can give them lasting relief.
AFM: How does it work? VIEIRA: Shockwave Therapy works in three primary
ways. First, it breaks apart scar tissue and calcifications. A lot of times they’re impeding healing, causing pain; so it breaks that apart. Second, it causes vascular growth into the area. So, new blood flow is introduced to the injury, which of course is good. Third, most importantly, it actually stimulates the body’s own healing process, we like to say it tricks the body into thinking a catastrophic injury occurred. The body sends all the healing processes to the area, including the upregulation of stem cells and growth factors, to actually heal the injury — so it heals the injury, goes after the root cause, it doesn’t just cover the pain. Those mechanisms are what provide the long term results.
AFM: How often should one get treatments? VIEIRA: The number of treatments for Shockwave
Therapy — it’s typically one for most injuries, just a single session is required for chronic overuse injuries. With osteoarthritis, it is typically one treatment for mild early onset osteoarthritis, but moderate to severe requires a three treatment protocol. Basically we do the first treatment, two weeks later we do the second and then two weeks later we do the third. After the treatment is complete the injury is actually healed. So, you know, there aren’t treatments required in the future, unless of course you injure something else. afm
AFM: What are the differences between the OsteoWave and the OrthoWave? VIEIRA: OsteoWave and OrthoWave are both high-energy
Focused Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy treatments.
AU S T I N F I T M AG A Z I N E
LEADING DOUBLE LIVES n Meet these Austinites who are deeply rooted in both the music and the fitness communities of ATX.
eet a few Austinites who have found their rhythm not only in the music industry, but also in fitness. It can be a tough set of passions to balance, but these musicians have found their callings.
DRE W DAVIS
Drew Davis made her way to Austin after college to start her career in marketing. Although she had always been drawn to music, it had never seemed like a plausible career path — that is, until she arrived in Austin. “Because there are so many places that want live music, Austin creates this welcoming, collaborative atmosphere for musicians instead of a competitive one,” Davis says. “It’s something really unique to Austin.” Davis started picking up gigs all over town. In 2014, she took a year off from work to tour around the country, living out of her Toyota Corolla. Once back in Austin and working in marketing again, she started to find her nineto-five work days a little dull. Luckily, that’s when a yoga studio asked her to take over their marketing. The job would give her the freedom to continue her music while paying the bills. There, Davis had to take all of their classes and figure out the studio’s marketing strategy and what other classes to offer. Having spent every day at the studio, either in class or listening from outside, it was a no-brainer to get certified to lead classes herself. Within four days of completing her certification, she was leading a class — and rocking it. “My experience with music made a lot of aspects easier for me than for the other instructors,” Davis says. “Things like setting the right music, counting beats and keeping the flow of the experience full of energy.” Now, Davis works as a personal trainer and corporate group instructor for various companies. She’s a certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor, barre teacher, nutrition coach and pre- and post-partum fitness coach. As for music, she has all sorts of things going on. Pre-COVID-19, she was playing every night of the week all over town, either playing her own, original music or playing with the cover bands Matchmaker Band and PDA Band. She’s had songs featured in all kinds of TV shows, and she even writes and stars in some of Toyota’s digital commercials.
ORM I DE A RM S TR O NG
Ormide Armstrong started playing the trumpet when he was 11 years old. His older cousin would give him lessons every Saturday morning. “I chose the trumpet because I thought it was cool that someone famous — Louis Armstrong — played the trumpet,” Armstrong says. From then on, he continued to hone his skills as a jazz musician throughout middle and high school. He has since performed at Cancun Jazz Festival, Urban Music Festival, Austin Area Jazz Festival and even Super Bowl XLVII festivities in New Orleans, LA. “My favorite thing about playing music is creating and recreating,” Armstrong says. “Knowing and feeling that I’m actually producing sounds that affect my emotions and those of others is invigorating.” Teaching has always come natural to him. Even when he was 8 years old on the soccer field, he could be found helping his teammates with their footwork. So, it made sense that he found his way to Reagan High School to be its director of bands. Now, he’s the leader of the Boss Street Brass Band, The Empire and OB2 while also finding time to be the director of bands at Decker Middle School Fine Arts Academy in Manor, Texas. For a long time, he had been inspired by local legend Desiree Ficker to compete in triathlons, testing himself physically and mentally. But when he moved schools and his schedule became cluttered, fitness began to fall through the cracks. It wasn’t until 2016 that he decided it was time for a lasting change. It was then that Armstrong took up Bikram yoga, inspired by Austin’s own Monica LeBansky’s story. He has since ended Bikram but continues to practice on his own each day. Last year, while he was performing on a cruise ship, he could be found leading the crew members through sun salutations by the pool. Armstrong says he’s even seen the benefits change his stage presence. “When Boss Street performs, it’s a very high energy group, so it’s good to have the lungs to put on a show,” Armstrong says. “With my yoga background now, working out definitely helps with my lung capacity and to blow more and control my air flow while playing the trumpet.” Now that he’s back in Central Texas, he’s been setting up a meditation room and home gym to use during the pandemic. As his gigs come back with Austin slowly re-opening, Armstrong says he’s excited to see what lies ahead.
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n FITNESS Russell Warren Mayes may have started his careers of music and climbing in Nashville, Tennessee, but it didn’t take long for him to find his way back to his home state and favorite city: Austin, Texas. He moved to Tennessee when he was 22 with hopes of his music career finally taking off. Instead, what he found was a love for rock climbing and more reasons he belonged in Austin rather than Nashville. When his climbing mentor moved to Austin, it took only about a year before he followed. “That long-haired, wild kid did not fit into the marketable stereotypes of Nashville,” Mayes says. Once in Austin, he was surprised to find that there was an abundance of not only music opportunities but climbing routes as well. Since he had instructed in Nashville, he started working with Austin Rock Gym to earn some money and keep climbing. He used his experiences on the stage to create his own engaging style of instructing. “I learned to teach in an entertaining way,” Mayes explains. “One that relinquishes anxiety yet carries the messages and skills in ways that are effective and, importantly, unforgettable.” In 2009, he quit instructing to focus on his growing family and music. He continued climbing with some of the most prolific climbers, even being featured on the cover of Jim Hogge’s Austin Climbing Book in 2012 but was injured shortly after. Then, in 2015, a friend gave him a call. Adam Mitchell had bought Rock-About Climbing Adventures and wanted Mayes to work for him. Having grown out of shape and focused on his event band, Tone, he was reluctant. “That one gig, that one dude lit the fire again,” Mayes says. “I’ve been guiding and instructing for him, passionately, ever since.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF GNARLY PRESS, JOHN HOGGE.
RU S SE L L WA R R E N M AY E S
KATE RI N A PA PAC O S TAS
Katerina Papacostas, a Broadway star, moved to Austin to start a new home. After years of living in New York City, she found that the cut-throat environment was weighing on her ability to explore her own art. “I was most excited for the food, the music and the people,” Papacostas says. “Austin is a great place to be able to approach my art from another perspective and really learn new things about my own artistic style.” Papacostas grew up performing and even studied music at NYU. She has since been in productions like Broadway’s “Tootsie,” held lead understudies and lead roles and even worked alongside Julie Andrews. It was during the production of “Evita” that a fellow cast member mentioned barre class instruction. Papacostas quickly felt drawn to barre and its ability to tone without bulking — the kind of fitness most performers prefer. “Theater and fitness just go so hand in hand,” Papacostas says. “No matter if you’re a dancer or performer — it’s a big part of it all.” Since almost every artist needs some kind of supplemental income between shows, Papacostas decided that working as a barre instructor would be the perfect complement to theater. “Having a background in theater really drew me to the group classes,” Papacostas says. “Everyone in sync and letting the music move them, it’s a lot like a show.” Fitness instruction made its way into each aspect of her life. Even when she was in engineering school, she led mid-day movements for those stuck at their desks. Now, she’s excited for more opportunities once Austin fully opens back up. Until then, she’ll stick to her plan of slow integration into the community while continuing to write a musical with her husband and teaching engineering classes and free group workouts. afm
AU S T I N F I T M AG A Z I N E
Anne Marie Bloodgood
STRENGTH ON POINTE n Strength and flexibility are necessary for ballet dancers. Here’s how two men at Ballet Austin condition their bodies to perform gracefully.
o an audience, ballet may seem like a simple art, with dancers gliding across a stage in beautifully decorated tutus, jumping and twirling with grace and ease. However, it’s easy to be fooled — the art of ballet demands rigorous exercise and muscle building. From strength workouts to Pilates to ballet class, these male dancers at Ballet Austin manage to balance it all in a day’s time. Morgan Stillman, who started dancing around age six, spent three years at the Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas before coming to Texas and joining Ballet Austin as a company dancer. “The cross training really helps keep your body in good shape so that you can handle the extremities of ballet,” says Stillman. Ballet Austin typically has a company technique class from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. The class begins at the barre with pliés and tendus, which helps get the dancers’ bodies in alignment. Halfway through class, the ballet dancers come center to focus on turning, leaping and executing tricks without the barre. Once class is over, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. is allotted for rehearsal with a one-hour lunch break. The dancers are in rehearsal for parts of that time or for the entire duration. “When we’re in season, we’ll start rehearsing for the rest of the day,” Stillman says. “So, it’s a nine to five job.” Kevin Murdock-Waters, who began taking ballet
lessons when he was around five years old, says he tries to find ways to keep moving throughout the day and in between classes. He will use the time to hit the gym or run errands. “I do try to stay active,” Murdock-Waters says. “Maybe that’s when I go take a yoga class, because I’ll be keeping active, but it’s not putting so much pressure on my body. It’s more of a restorative workout.” In the morning, Stillman, who is also active throughout the day, tries to get in a 20-minute run outdoors to help with his endurance. Every other day, he includes weight training into his routine, because it helps him support his female partners when certain movements require him to
as doing a full split in the air and coming down gracefully, or jumping in the air, spinning twice and landing in a particular position. Stillman says he works on improving his jumps during Pilates with a jump board. “For me, this summer, because I’ve had time, it’s really been about working on my form and the way I use my leg muscles,” Stillman says. “A simple squat is really good to strengthen the backs of the legs and make sure you find the correct muscles. Then we do them rotated externally, so turned out, because all of ballet for the most part is turned out.” Before dancing, Murdock-Waters, also part of the Ballet Austin company, likes to incorporate yoga poses to get acquainted with using his body weight. Throughout the week, he also likes to do Pilates and go for runs in addition to his ballet classes. When Murdock-Waters is able to go to the gym, he enjoys weight training with a bench press, free weights and pull-down machines. He purchased a 10-pound mace and uses it for a resistance workout by doing certain poses and working to balance the weight with his body. “It helps when you have to do partnering. You have to be able to hold yourself before you hold someone else up,” Murdock-Waters says. “So, if I’m standing on one leg and trying to lift a woman up into the air, if my leg isn’t secure, if I’m not holding my core and I go to lift her, that’s probably not gonna happen.” Recently, Murdock-Waters says he has been focusing a
lift them over his head while they are dancing on pointe. Prior to the company class in the morning, Stillman enjoys doing Pilates on a reformer to get his heart rate going. In addition to dancing, Stillman is also a Pilates instructor at Ballet Austin and will try to do Pilates after his ballet class. “Specifically, Pilates is really good for everyone but very good for dancers of all kinds,” Stillman says. “You work on using the muscles correctly, and it’s very gentle. It can be like a rehabilitation practice after if you need to cool down.” The hardest movement in ballet for Stillman is jumping. The dancers have various jumps they do, such
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n FITNESS lot more on high-intensity interval training. This workout focuses on performing various exercises such as push-ups, crunches or leg lifts for 30-second intervals, then taking a short break before continuing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I do a lot of squats and lunges just to give my legs a workout in a different way that ballet doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t offer, because that also helps with our strength for jumping,â&#x20AC;? MurdockWaters adds. In addition to strength training, stretching is critical for ballet dancers. Stillman likes to do the quad stretch, where he grabs onto the front of his ankle behind his back to get a long stretch in the front of his leg. He also does the piriformis figure four stretch where he sits, crossing one leg over the other and leans forward, feeling it in his glutes. Murdock-Waters echoes Stillman and finds it imperative to stretch well.
W! NE “I like to do most of my stretching at the end of a work day as well, because that gives me a chance to relax and reset my body before the next day,” says Murdock-Waters, who joined Ballet Austin’s second company as a 19-year-old apprentice for two years before joining the main company. In addition to constant activity and strength training, strong core muscles are necessary to be successful as a ballet dancer. Core strength allows dancers to steady their movements as they glide through the air and perfect various movements, Murdock-Waters says. Having a strong center enables him to secure his balance when doing a turn and keeps him in place while executing it, careful not to fall over from the momentum. Strength and flexibility do not stop at the core for ballet dancers; it also includes their lower abs, back,
glutes, hips, legs and ankles for optimal performance. Being a ballet dancer requires diligently working on their bodies daily, but their hard work and perseverance pays off when performing their beautifully executed routines. “Especially the men do a lot of jumping and turning,” says Stillman, who is in his fourth year of dancing with Ballet Austin. “So we need really strong glutes, hamstrings and quads along with that nice, strong core to do our spins and look graceful and effortless at the same time.” afm
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RUNNING WITH MARATHON KIDS n How Marathon Kids is continuing to inspire others to live a healthy and active lifestyle — even in the virtual world.
t’s safe to say that, with the circumstances of the pandemic, many people have become more sedentary. With more time spent at home, it’s easy to skip a run or a workout and opt for a couple more episodes instead of hitting one’s daily step
goal. “We are really in a nationwide inactivity crisis — and we were there before COVID,” Cami Hawkins, CEO of Marathon Kids says. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one out of every three children are active everyday, and only one in three adults achieve the recommended amount of physical activity a week. “Marathon Kids is really founded on adults rolemodeling for kids, so we want to show that we not only talk the talk, but we also walk the walk,” Hawkins says. For children aged six through 17, the recommended amount of physical activity is at least 60 minutes a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That doesn’t mean 60 minutes in one setting. That means 60 minutes throughout the day,” Hawkins says. However, even before the pandemic, Marathon Kids had an application in the works that would promote physical activity and allow for virtual connectivity
through a cloud-based platform, called Marathon Kids Connect. “We were already kind of prepared to meet this challenge, and then, because of where we were, we were able to add a few features so that now we can reach these kids, regardless of the environment that they’re going to be in this school year, so it doesn’t matter whether they’re on campus, at home or something in between,” Hawkins says. With the struggles that flow in the pandemic’s wake, such as families having to adjust to online school, Marathon Kids decided to host their We Run the World virtual race throughout the month of September to motivate and encourage people to get active. To celebrate the nonprofit’s 25-year anniversary,
Marathon Kids set a goal of clocking 25,000 miles total by the end of the month of September, which is just over the total circumference of the earth. These miles were tracked through the Marathon Kids Connect app. “The idea is that we could bring a community of runners together — that if we made a goal to run the circumference of the earth, which is just under 25,000 miles, that would be a great way to show the kids how we’re behind them in their efforts during the school year,” Hawkins says. Even after the race, Marathon Kids’ mission is to continue to inspire kids to get active and stay active. “We’re so lucky in Austin. Marathon Kids is incorporated into the Austin Independent School District as a piece of their physical education
curriculum, and Austin ISD prioritizes physical activity in the elementary school,” Hawkins says. However, this is not the case for every Independent School District across the United States. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “seven in 10 parents say their child’s school does not provide daily physical education even though experts recommend 150 to 225 minutes per school week.” Hawkins echoes this fear. “My biggest fear is that we’ve done a great job and a lot of hard work. But just because of the circumstances that we’re in, we may not be able to reach the kids that need us the most,” Hawkins says. One way for parents, students and educators to ensure physical education and activity is part of a
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child’s everyday curriculum is to get in contact with their school and tell them about Marathon Kids. Once registered with the program, physical activity would be part of the child’s regular curriculum, and every student would have the opportunity to get in their activity every day. “If their school is registered with Marathon Kids, and they have access to the Connect app, then we can reach them wherever they are and keep them active and healthy,” Hawkins says. Megan Vasquez, now a PE teacher at Becker Elementary school, first learned about Marathon Kids when her own PE teacher implemented the program when she was in elementary school. In the years following, Vasquez continued to contribute to Marathon Kids by volunteering at races, even in college. “Marathon Kids introduced me to long distance running, showing me that any distance is possible if you put your mind to it. I went on to run track and cross
country in high school, in college at Rice University, and I went on to run the New York City Marathon,” Vasquez says. Even though she no longer runs competitively, Vasquez says the program has made her realize more benefits in addition to physical fitness. “Running is still a major part of my life. I’ve come to realize the emotional benefits are just as important as the physical benefits of exercising and spending time outdoors,” she adds. Hailey Walker, now a sixth-grader, was a Marathon Kid who ran almost 717.80 miles, (equal to about 27 marathons) and broke the previous record for the most miles run in a year. “Sitting and enjoying a little TV here and there is okay, but it is way better to get out and enjoy the day and to stay fit and active,” Walker says. “If you have an imagination, then you can imagine doing all sorts of things like playing basketball with a famous player or
running with a fellow athlete that you’ve looked up to.” As of mid-September, Marathon Kids has tracked 16,800 miles, which is just over the halfway mark of their goal. “I would just like the Austin community to know that we’ve been a nonprofit now in Austin, going on 25 years, and that we still need them. We still need their help. We still need their contributions,” Hawkins says. afm
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Austin Rowing Club
WORKOUT OF THE MONTH WITH AUSTIN ROWING CLUB n Get ready to row with these strength and technique exercises from Austin Rowing Club.
owing is a complex sport and requires full-body engagement. Additionally, the precision, balance and rhythm needed to move a boat well necessitates a high level of mental focus. Rowing forces athletes to train their bodies and minds for the rigors of the sport. There are four parts of the rowing stroke: catch, drive, release and recovery, and they all flow together in a smooth, continuous, powerful movement.
Each stroke begins with the catch. The blades enter the water with the athlete fully compressed, loaded like a spring.
The rower finishes the power phase of the stroke by quickly moving their hands into their body, which by this time is in a â&#x20AC;&#x153;laybackâ&#x20AC;? position. During the finish, the oar handle is moved down, and lifting the blades out of the water. At the same time, the rower feathers the oar, or turns the oar handle so that the blade changes from a vertical position to a horizontal one.
The oar remains out of the water as the rower begins the recovery, moving their hands away from the body and past the knees. The body follows the hands, and the sliding seat moves forward until, knees bent, the rower is ready for the next catch.
DR IV E
Once connected to the water, the athlete can propel the boat forward, almost lifting the shell out of the water by exerting pressure with their legs through the drive. The athlete then accelerates the boat by swinging their body and arms back toward the bow of the shell, building on the work done by the legs.
Throughout an entire row, the athlete must maintain good posture and a strong core in order to control the boat. Athletes must train in strength and technique continuously in order to prepare for 2,000-meter races. Workouts on the water are essential to building a clean rhythm in a rowing shell. Part of creating a smooth rhythm is putting together all of the parts of the stroke effectively. During a race, an athlete will take over 200 strokes that contain all parts listed (and pictured) above. The key is to make those strokes effective and quick. Therefore, athletes will practice at different rates (number of strokes per minute) in order to improve how well they can quickly take strokes. A common workout for rowers includes rate changes from low rates (less strokes per minute) to higher ones (more strokes per minute) in order to work on the transitions between all four parts of the stroke.
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WATE R WO R KO U T
⊲ 5’–10’ easy row to warm up ⊲ Sets of 10 strokes, adding pressure/10 strokes rowing easy, adding pressure and adding stroke rate throughout ⊲ 3’ X 12’; 4’ rest between; each piece has 3’ X 4’ building rates: 1) 18, 20, 22; 2) 20, 22, 24; 3) 18, 20, 22 ⊲ 1’ on/1’ easy X 4’; full pressure at rates 26, 28, 30, 32
L A ND WO R KO U T
⊲ 3 X 10: Kettlebell: Swings, shoulder push press, squats ⊲ 3 X 10: Kettlebell walking lunges; upright rows; ab figure eights ⊲ 3 X 10: Burpees, jumping switch lunges; ab windshield wipers
SHOULDER PUSH PRESS
BENEFITS OF INFRARED SAUNAS – Deeply Heats Human Tissue SQUATS
– Improves Immune System – Releases Built Up Toxins
AB FIGURE EIGHTS
– Boosts Nitric Oxide [Dilates Blood Vessels] – Provides Relaxation + Recovery – Improves Sleep + Overall Health
AB WINDSHIELD WIPERS
– Burns Calories + Promotes Faster Cell Regeneration [Anti-Aging]
INFRARED SAUNA DETOXIFICATION A WELLNESS MODALITY TRENDING FOR ITS MAGNITUDE OF BENEFITS NACKED
BY SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.
JUMPING SWITCH LUNGES
512 -494-4 8 00
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CALENDAR OCTOBER- D E E M B E R 2020
Submit your event online at austinfitmagazine.com
Rides & Races *Dates and Times are subject to changes or cancellation. Check event websites for more information.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HAUNTED HALF
HAUNTED HALF MARATHON & 5K Virtual
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Dripping Springs, TX
Hairy Man 5k
RED Arenaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 5k/10k Hill Country Trail Run OC TO BE R 2 4
The Runfield Texas Race Series (Race 5)
San Marcos, TX
OCTOBER 3-1 0
Survive Thrive Prevent 5k Virtual
Marble Falls, TX N OV E M B E R 7
Veterans Voyage Austin Austin, TX
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The Haunted Half Marathon & 5k Virtual
N OV E M B E R 8
Run for the Water Virtual
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Spooky Sprint Virtual
N OV E M B E R 7
The Hill Country Trivium
Bigfoot Trail Race
Friends of McKinney Falls 5k Virtual
Reimers Salmagundi Trail Race Dripping Springs, TX NOVEMBER 15
Run by the Creek 5k & 10k Dripping Springs, TX NOVEMBER 21
Turkey Trails Austin Round Rock, TX
Night Nation Run Austin, TX
Round Rock Turkey Trot Virtual
DECEMBER DECEMBER 5
Real Ale Brewing Co 5k Blanco, TX
Nonproﬁt. Community. Rowing. Due to COVID-19, some of these rides and races have limited space.
Austin’s largest non-profit community rowing club Private Lessons, adult programs as well as middle and high school rowing programs Home of Nationally ranked Regattas
74 Trinity Street
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CALENDAR OCTOBER 2020
Submit your event online at austinfitmagazine.com
Events *Dates and Times are subject to changes or cancellation. Check event websites for more information.
AUSTIN HEART AND STROKE WALK Virtual
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Texas Wine Month
Full Moon Paddle
Zumba at the Pavillion
Bring your passport! Just kidding â&#x20AC;&#x201D; we mean your winery passport! With the purchase of a winery passport from Texas Hill Country Wineries, each participant is able to visit up to four wineries a day for a tasting, plus added discounts on bottles. This event will last through the end of October and includes a virtual passport, making it easier to change your plans at your convenience.
Join Rowing Dock for a nighttime, moon-view paddle from 8-10 p.m. Each rental will come equipped with a boat light and a glow lanyard â&#x20AC;&#x201D; though the more glow the better, so come dressed to impress in your favorite glow gear! Tickets are limited, so get yours while you can!
Block House Creek residents are invited to sign up for a Zumba dance workout series at the Pavilion starting October 1st. Although the sign up is only required for the first class, each sign up gets you nine classes total. Hurry and register as the spots are limited!
Run Happy! O CTOBER 3-NOVEM B E R 2 9
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Texas Renaissance Festival
Soul Food Truck Festival
The magical season is upon us! Check out the several themed weekend events coming up with the Texas Renaissance Festival, including Roman Bacchanal, Pirate Adventure and All Hallows Eve. Tickets are weekend specific, and in the event of a cancellation of a weekend, ticket holders can roll over into 2021 or opt for their refund policy. O CTOBER 10
This festival isn’t just about amazing food. Here you can find fun for the whole family! A day packed with entertainment, activities and, of course, food, you don’t want to miss out. Find out more about tickets and updated schedule on their website. OC TOB E R 2 4
Austin Heart and Stroke Walk
Join in the traditional fun this October at the German Free School located in the Red River Cultural District. The day includes live polka music and performances, kids activities and deciduous German food and drinks.
Register yourself or your work as a team, and get walking in support of the American Heart Association! Now with a virtual activity tracker, it’s easier than ever to raise funds as you move. For more information on how to register, check out their website.
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Victory Cup Hot Air Balloon Festival & Polo Match
Texas Book Festival
Spend the day with the whole family (including dogs) at this event full of activities and entertainment. Watch the polo games and air balloons, try all sorts of foods from the seafood tents, listen to live music and so much more! Check out the event page for ticket pricing and more details. O CTOBER 17
O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship
This event has been going on for 43 years, the first taking place in 1977. Ever since, it’s drawn punsters from all around to compete in word-play fun! Located at the O. Henry Museum in Austin, stop by to watch this hilarious competition. Check out their website for updates and more information! O CTOBER 22-29
Austin Film Festival
This year, the largest film festival in North America goes virtual, meaning you can hear from 32 panels full of top writers for the lowest price ever! The purchase of a virtual badge includes five days of virtual panels and eight days of virtual film screenings. Perfect for anyone interested in the film world!
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For the first time, the Texas Book Festival will be held totally online, offering two whole weeks of free programming. This event is open to the public and has over 125 authors scheduled for virtual sessions. The Texas Teen Book Festival will include author conversions perfect for young readers! For a full schedule and line up, check out their website. OC TOB E R 3 1
Austin Symphony Orchestra Presents: Halloween Children’s Concert
The Austin Symphony Orchestra will put on a virtual show for families that includes scores from Harry Potter and Peter and the Wolf! A great way to add some spooky tunes to your halloween celebrations at home. For the event password, buy your tickets online at the event page.
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Halloweek: An Aerial Cabaret
S&S brings back the classic soldout show at the Belmont. With two shows on October 31st, you can choose either the early or late time to fit perfectly into your Halloween schedule. The show is filled with amazing performances of burlesque, trapeze, vocals and more! To find out more, or snag your ticket, check out their event page.
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