May/June 2018 - The Fittest Dog Issue

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nfm fittest dogs




Exposure Sena Agbeko training near the Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Nashville. @assassi_nation PHOTO CREDIT: Lindsay Binkley @lindsay_binkley

Send in your hi-res, healthy lifestyle photos to for a chance to be published.


Exposure / 4 Publisher’s Letter / 8 Contributors / 10 Happenings / 12 #MusicCityFit / 14 New to Nashville / 20



The Art of Forest Bathing / 54


The Best Stuff I Ever Ate / 16 Urban Gardening / 18

A Tourist In Your Hometown / 56 Don’t Call It A Comeback / 58 Dial in Your Damper Settings / 66 The HardWin Adventurers / 68 SUP Yoga / 70 Fit Field Trips / 74


Events & Races / 76


Local Couple Traverses CDT / 22 Fit & Inked / 28 Camping with Kimberly / 36 NFM Fittest Dogs / 38 A Family of Fitness / 48


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Publisher’s Letter


t’s easy to see that Nashvillians love their dogs. What continues to amaze me though is how much these “Underdogs” can keep up with their active owners. From trail running to marathons, paddle boarding and swimming, man’s best friend has a special place by our side when it comes to fitness.

Seeing as how I don’t have a dog of my own, I always look forward to reading through all of the Fittest Dog submissions and our photoshoot. So many different breeds, tricks, and toys all wrapped up into one hairy day. We had over thirty entries this year and carefully narrowed it down to ten talented canines, including our cover shoot which took place at Beaman Park. Along with our four-legged friends, Nashville Fit Magazine loves getting our audience outdoors. We have our fair share of activities under the sun here and we’re showcasing a few of them in this issue, plus some Fit Field Trips if you find yourself itching to get out of town for a few days. For the second year in a row, the CrossFit Regional Games are being held at the Music City Center at the end of May. If you didn’t get a chance to attend last year, I’d highly recommend it. There’s nothing quite like watching these Olympian-like gladiators up close. If you’re not already excited about the upcoming weather (crossing my fingers it comes sooner than later) this issue will get you going!

Stay Music City Fit,

Ryan Freebing, Owner 8

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DON’T MISS THE SUMMER’S LARGEST YOGA EVENT! Join hundreds of Nashvillians under the city’s skyline to celebrate:


Thursday, June 21 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.

Registration and details: SMALLWORLDYOGA.ORG

$5 suggested donation to

support Small World Yoga’s local community outreach


Thank you to NFM’s contributors who make this magazine a worthy source of health and wellness information in Nashville.




Joe Fleenor

Stephanie Loftin

Kimberly Novosel




David Joniak

Melissa Beth Wesley

William Harwood

Joe Fleenor Joe is the Owner and USA Triathlon Certified Race Director for local race management company, Above The Fold Events & Sport Promotions. When he’s not directing triathlons or road races, Joe is operating “sightrunning” tours for Music City tourists through his other venture, Nashville Running Tours.

David Joniak David is a passionate trainer, athlete, and veteran here in Nashville who rows for Nashville Rowing and coaches at Orangetheory Fitness Nashville West. He has over 10 years of experience in fitness and rehabilitation. David also served in the U.S. Military as a Fitness Specialist for 8 years.

Stephanie Loftin Stephanie is a fitness instructor, foodie, free spirit, and full health enthusiast. Gardening is a daily hobby and she loves knowing where her food comes from. We all, at our core, crave something that helps us feel balanced, connected, and moving in the direction of prosperity. Find her at

Melissa Beth Wesley Melissa is the founder of UNplugged in Nashville and has been adventuring in the outdoors since childhood. She is the studio manager of Barry’s Bootcamp and yoga assists at Shakti Power Yoga. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, HIIT, and volunteering for Small World Yoga and Daybreaker Nashville.

Kimberly Novosel Kimberly is a Co-owner at Verticity indoor cycling studio and at Alternate Routes adventure travel company. A selfdevelopment writer and speaker, she’s launching a website and podcast this summer called Be Elsewhere, where her followers can access more of her business and personal development guidance.

William Harwood When not trail running, or recovering from trail running, or dreaming of trail running, William Harwood is generally hanging with his sons, or writing for magazines, or looking for a girlfriend, or grading his college students’ history essays, or playing with the cat, or getting ready for a trail run.


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Nashville Fit Magazine assumes no responsibility for the content of articles or advertisements, in that the views expressed therein may not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or any magazine employee or contributor. This publication and all of its contents are copyrighted. PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE



Back by popular demand. Saturday, July 21st at the Vanderbilt Recreational Center, join us for a day of fitness, food, and fun. New to this year’s expo, the introduction of the Calisthenics Games. You won’t want to miss it! Register as a vendor at or email for more information.


Saturday, May 12th at Ted Rhodes Fields, male and female athletes will compete in 10 fitness tests. Registration is closed, but you can still sign up as a volunteer or come out and cheer everyone on. Find more details at #NFMFITTEST


Just in time for summer. Nothing motivates a tough workout more than fresh apparel you look good in. Get your #MusicCityFit tee now, and let the city know who runs it.


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find more fittest dogs on pg. 38


3-year-old Blue Heeler Roy is the ultimate running companion (both trail and roads) and is equally at home hanging at the crag while his dad, Randy, climbs or floats down the Buffalo River in either canoe or kayak. He recently completed the Music City Ultra 27K trail race in Pegram with his mom, Donica, who is 22 weeks pregnant. It may have been a little crazy, but he enjoyed every minute of it, swimming in the many creeks and cooling off in mud holes along the way. His biggest fitness accomplishment to date is a “fast packing” trip through Shenandoah National Park over Thanksgiving 2017. Fast packing is a supported run with all of your gear where you cover a lot more mileage then hiking. Roy did 24.9 miles Day 1 and 26.3 miles on Day 2. He carried a small pack with food, snacks, and a water dish and slept in the tent with us. When he’s not on an adventure, Roy loves to snuggle with his owners and sister Ava and is glued to them like velcro.

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How are you











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@yourlifewontwait M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 • N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E






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Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Yield: 8-12 servings

Fuel a long hike with this nut-free trail mix, full of sweet and savory flavors and soft and crunchy textures. 100% food allergy friendly! But be sure to pre-package individual servings, because I’m warning you, this stuff is addictive. Vegan. Gluten free. Dairy free. Nut free. Vegetarian. Paleo. Enjoy! Ingredients: For the trail mix: 1 cup raw and unsalted sunflower seeds 1 cup chili-rubbed roasted pepitas 1/4 cup golden raisins 1/4 cup unsweetened, dried cherries 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips For the chili-rubbed roasted pepitas: 1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 1/4 cup chia seeds 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon chili powder Dash sea salt or Himalayan pink salt Dash of black or white pepper Pinch of garlic powder Instructions: For the Trail Mix: 1. In an air-tight container or glass jar, combine all ingredients, shake, and store in a cool and dry place

Sustainable food, sourced locally first and always organic.

For the Chili-rubbed Roasted Pepitas: 1. Preheat oven to 325ºF 2. In a small bowl, combine raw pepitas, chia seeds, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add water so mixture is damp, but not soaked 3. Evenly distribute seed mixture on a baking sheet in a thin layer 4. Bake for 10 minutes, just until the color begins to darken. Remove from oven and flip seeds, then bake for another 5-7 minutes 5. Be sure not to overcook the seeds! Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet



URBAN GARDENING Urban gardening is defined exactly how it sounds; the process of growing plants in an urban environment. It has become one of the most promising agriculture trends due to the growing attention on food quality. It gives those in a city setting the possibility of having food right from their own home. Starting a garden on the ledge of your apartment may seem like a challenging task, but I have the basic four P’s to get you started and focused on what’s important.

First P: Prep Start with the right kind of soil. The correct PH level is everything when it comes to gardening,

especially in an urban setting. If you are starting with a raised bed, you should buy organic gardening soil. If you have an area that is open already, make sure the soil is at the correct PH levels and well fertilized before planting. Just because there is dirt, doesn’t mean it will yield the most flowers. You should prep your soil with home made compost and or a mushroom soil mixture.


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second p: plant Make sure when planting that you pay attention to


the last frost dates. The bag of seeds or vegetable container will let you know when the best time to plant. An easy variety plant to start off with are tomatoes. If you want to start from seeds, beets and lettuce varieties are generally fruitful with a little bit of care and attention. Some can be very easy and some temperamental, these details you will learn through experience. Try challenging yourself with one new item a year. Don’t forget your plants won’t grow without lots of water and love!

“Garden planning! #healthyliving”

Third P: Protect Protecting vegetables and seeds is extremely

important, but actually not as high maintenance as you may think. Plant food and organic fertilizers are great to incorporate for best growth results. It’s also important to pay attention to weather conditions. When it rains you won’t have to water! If temperatures drop suddenly a veritable cover is required. If you want an organic way to protect plants, Dr.Bonner Castille soap can be used as a repellent (directions for use are on the bottle). There are also certain flowers that will repel bugs. Hydrogen peroxide is another great natural solution to spray on plants in order to ensure healthy PH levels and immunity for maximum growth. You will want to spend some quality time with your plants every now and then, meaning you might have to pull some weeds.

“I’ve been crazy about kraut lately! Especially while learning about the importance of gut health (and actually applying it in routine.)” @ farmhouseculture has some amazing products to try out. This is the Ezekiel toast with lactose free organic cream cheese, smoked wild salmon, onion, avocado and a little kraut for probiotic action!

Fourth P: Prune Also known as harvesting. This is the fun part!

Reaping what you sow in the garden is such a reward. You’ll know exactly where your food is coming from. Some plants can be harvested and planted right away for a second harvest (like carrots), while others are best harvested in a certain season. As a beginner gardener, you will most likely plant herbs and veggies that are annual. However, some plants will come back every year like mint or asparagus. Whatever you decide to plant, harvesting makes it all worth it!

“Veggie spread! Last night was the perfect night to sit by a bonfire with good friends and roasted veggies!”

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o t w ne LIFESTYLE


West Nash Fit Body Boot Camp 7088 Charlotte Pike, Suite B, Nashville, TN 37209 West Nash Fit Body Boot Camp is already burning up the West Nashville scene. Located at the intersection of Charlotte Pike and River Road, WNFBBC is laying claim to results oriented fitness. Co-Owners Emilee and Vance Nardin have teamed up with Lead Trainer Gavin Sheasley to create this fat burning machine. WNFBBC has fine tuned a proven model and taken dynamic High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to another level. By combining constantly varied resistance training, free weights, battle ropes, and other equipment with nutritional coaching and an incredibly positive environment, WNFBBC ensures that their clients’ goals are in the crosshairs. The sessions are co-ed group fitness style and last 30 minutes. This style creates a camaraderie that feeds the culture. Members at WNFBBC are more than clients, they are a part of the “Fit Family.” There are 11 convenient session times each day, and two on Saturday to fit your busy schedule. West Nash Fit Body Boot Camp welcomes those interested in improving their health and fitness, to come in and experience the intensity and precision of our programming and the camaraderie and sense of empowerment from our Fit Family. We are 100% dedicated to your success! Welcome to fitness! 20

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Float Horizen 1012 Russell St., Suite 204, Nashville, TN 37206 Float Horizen is a new float therapy and alternative therapy spa located in East Nashville-Five Points where you can enjoy floating in their state-of- the-art float tanks and unplug from the stress of life’s daily pressures. Float Horizen is an innovator in the float spa industry creating a space for you to relax, recharge, and recalibrate. Float tanks create a zero gravity environment where you will enjoy reclining comfortably to escape into deep relaxation in a completely stimulus free zone. Float therapy is proven to reduce stress, pain, inflammation, speed injury recovery, muscle/joint repair, improve focus, regulate sleep, reduce hypertension, anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, and more. Did you know, floating also helps boost creativity?! Float Horizen is truely a one-of-a-kind wellness center also offering: Salt Therapy – inhale healthy salt infused air to relieve allergy/asthma symptoms, sinusitis/rhinitis, ear infection, eczema/dermatitis and psoriasis. Harmonic Therapy (sound emersion) – foster positive thinking, relaxation, and meditation to relax and renew your body, mind, and spirit through harmonic vibrations. Yoga/Salt Therapy - practice gentle/restorative yoga in our salt room. Take time to unplug at Float Horizen and get your ZEN on today my friends! Soul to Sole Wellness Soul to Sole Wellness is an educational yoga company bringing you a new outlook on a traditional flow. Founded by Gabby DeLorenze, Soul to Sole specializes in bringing you anatomically sound yoga classes, workshops, and yoga anatomy trainings for every body type and style of yoga. Gabby’s educational background is in Athletic Training, specializing in evaluation, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of orthopaedic injuries. She then obtained her Master’s degree in Biomechanics – the study of movement and forces in the human body. Gabby was born with a love for the body, she was called to help others. Centered around her love for the body you can expect to find complex concepts of muscle, fascia, planes of motion, and joints simplified. Sharing knowledge from her Ebook, PowerPoints, hands-on movement, and out-of-the-box demonstrations, you can expect to be moving and sharing “ah-ha!” moments throughout. Gabby’s true passion is educating others. From trauma patients, soldiers, yoga instructors, and yoga teacher’s in training, Gabby is equipped to teach people from all backgrounds. Allow Gabby to guide you, your staff, and students through the marvels of your body today! To book a training, e-mail gabby@ For more information or to order her Ebook, visit M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 • N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E





n April 13, 2017, Ethan Alexander and M.E. Sorci set out heading north from the Crazy Cook Monument on the US/Mexican Border. They were embarking on a journey to conquer the Continental Divide Trail, a expedition that would take them 150 days to complete. They would document their journey on Instagram (@ourtrailingthought) and their blog, Trailing Thought. Throughout their trek, they would travel through five states, three national parks, twenty-five national forests, average twenty to thirty miles a day, and use three pairs of shoes each. This was no easy hike. Here are a few of their photos. Visit them at for a closer look at all of their adventures.


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Meet the Hikers Ethan Alexander, 24 trail name: garbelly

M.E. Sorci, 25 trail name: critter

Ethan grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois wandering around the Shawnee National Forest and his family farm. After high school, Ethan moved to Mississippi for four more years of school making life-long friends and getting a degree. Something was missing though. Ethan had spent time in mountainous regions, working on a sheep and cattle ranch in South Africa and traveling to the high mountains of Peru, but for some reason he kept living in flat farmlands. When he turned 20, Ethan and his roommate took a week long trip to hike the Great Smoky Mountains. It was freezing cold, the wind was blowing ice on them, yet to him, it was paradise. After this trip, Ethan could not think about anything but the high feeling of being on the crest of a mountain. At 21, he returned to Illinois to work, operating heavy machinery seven days a week. This would pass the time, but Ethan was never able to outrun the feeling of the rugged unknown the mountains provided him. He romanticized the idea of a through hike and decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail that next summer. So he did just that. Ethan finished his west coast hike in September of 2015 and soon after moved to Nashville. Ethan works closely with M.E. at Cumberland Transit and spends most of his free time climbing, fly fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, and doing anything he can to stay outdoors.

A native to Nashville, Mary Elizabeth, or M.E. for short, learned how to walk, talk, and ride a bike here. Having a love for all things outdoors can create it’s challenges living in the city though. “We do not have the “Great Outdoors” in our backyard,” she says. “It is more so in our neighbor’s backyard.” M.E. has learned that it takes motivation and determination to maintain happiness, especially when it is driven by the need for adventure. Growing up, she was was drawn to get outdoors and heavily influenced by her parents to not just to explore, but also to create. Once she got back to Nashville, she studied neuroscience, worked with rehabilitated birds of prey, and became certified to identify mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies. On top of all that, M.E. adopted an amazing pup, Milo, to tag along on all her adventures. When she isn’t studying or working, Milo and M.E. will find themselves rock climbing, trail running, fly fishing, or stand-up paddle boarding. They have even been known to frequent to western New York to fish for steelies, adventure through the “Lake Effect” snow, and spend time with her dad. She also recently started teaching classes pertaining to fly fishing and paddle technique. M.E. also recently had the opportunity to race in some local SUP races and compete (and finish) a 31-mile race through the Tennessee Gorge. Through all of this, she has been working at a charming outdoor gear shop since 2012, which is where she met Ethan.

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Nashville does things differently. “Dressing up” means lululemon lifestyle wear or a pair of skinny jeans. A walk or run at Percy Warner in the middle of the work day is completely normal. Setting up your own office space at a local coffee shop is welcomed with open arms. We have communities of hippies, hipsters, artists and fitness gurus—most of which are progressive about being expressive. The art form of tattoos, in particular, are part of the cultural landscape here. Walk into any gym, yoga studio, or fitness facility, and it’s highly likely you will encounter someone with a sleeve, a shoulder, or at least a bicep displaying some personalized art work—many with a story behind them.


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LINDSAY BROOKER VERTICITY CO-OWNER & CYCLING INSTRUCTOR Mid Back: The phrase “abbracciare il frattempo” or “embrace the meantime” is Italian. There’s a book by Iyanla Vanzant titled “In the Meantime” and it’s all about the valleys we walk through between life’s peaks. Those moments where life gives us circumstances, situations, relationships, and decisions that are hard and hurt to teach us more about how to find love and acceptance within ourselves so that we can then give love and acceptance to others. She calls these moments our meantime. The premise is that we are each responsible for everything that happens to us and we must learn to know ourselves in order to heal ourselves. The “meantime” is the place where we do our learning. It was a book that found me in the midst of my divorce seven years ago and it quickly became my bible. It changed the way I see myself, the way I see the world, the way I respond, react to others, and the way I approach every decision I ever make. It taught me how to take back my control and my power to be the person I needed most, to be unapologetically me and build the life that I wanted and needed with complete confidence and no questioning, to fully trust myself. “Embrace the meantime” became my motto and my way of life. Instead of running from the hard stuff, I lean in to the lessons it has for me. Right Shoulder: I have always been fascinated by big cats. All of them. Lions, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs, pumas. They have so much power and strength but also so much grace. They live in packs and care for each other so well. But they can also be super fierce when necessary. And they are beautiful. They are sleek. They are fast. They are fearless. Left Shoulder: Owls are a symbol of wisdom and of motherhood. They watch over the world below them and have an almost majestic nature about them as a result. To me they have almost a silent strength about them. They command such attention without moving a muscle or making a sound. Just perched above the world. I respect that about them. Inner Bicep: As cheesy as it sounds, underneath it all, we are the same. What sets each of us apart is what exists outside of our physical bodies. It’s our minds and our hearts and our souls that connect us to each other and to the world. Our bodies carry us from one destination to another, but they are merely vehicles that allow us to express our hearts and our minds in a physical way that can be seen and felt by those around us. I want to always be more interested in what people think, what they feel, who they are, and where they are going. The skull and roses reminds me to always seek out what lies beneath the surface. Forearms: The planets on my forearms were a design that my tattoo artist (Joe Bostick, Bostick Art) came up with and posted to Instagram offering to tattoo on someone. I jumped when saw it. I’ve always loved the arm placement to separate an image across both arms where the images on each arm are interesting by themselves but together create a whole new piece. It’s how I view human interaction. Everyone is so beautiful in their own right, but put people together and they create a whole new beautiful thing. Given this image encompasses the universe but also brings in such a human quality with the hands fell directly in line with the idea I had for the placement on my forearms. M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 • N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E



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JOSHUA (JJ) GOFORTH ARTISTIC MUSCLE CO-OWNER & PERSONAL TRAINER Left Shoulder: The cross and Bible verse on my shoulder are my most meaningful tattoo. I was born on January 18th and was named after Joshua, a central figure in the Bible. Tattooed below a cross is the verse Joshua 1:18 and reminds me to always be strong and courageous. The verse says, “Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” Shin: I have always wanted to start my own business, so looking at this tattoo is a reminder how far Jordon Hull and I have came with our company. this was our first logo that was created in January 2016, Artistic Muscle. The Roman numerals underneath it are also the year my sister was born. She encouraged me to journey down this path and become my own boss. Chest: My chest piece is a heaven and hell scene. If you’re looking at my chest, the left side is heaven with two of my family members names on it, Ethan and Victoria. They are my brother and sister and represent the “angels of my life” guiding me through this journey and giving my strength when I need it. The other side is a verse surrounded by fire. The verse states, “In whom we have redemption through the forgiveness of his sins.” This verse is surrounded by fire representing a life of sin. The meaning behind it is no matter how dark or dirty your past is you can always be forgiven.

Back: The meaning behind my back tattoo is a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, always be yourself and do what you love regardless of what others think. Any tattoos planned for the future? I want to get a Native American themed tattoo as a heritage stamp. Part of my family is Cherokee. I’m hoping to get it above my shin tattoo, so I’ll have a half sleeve on my leg.

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GILLIAN ST. CLAIR STEADFAST & TRUE YOGA OWNER Wrists: I have a cherry and a bomb on my wrists. Nothing crazy here. I just like them! It was one of my first tattoos also. Left Shoulder: I have a strawberry tattoo that is for my mom. Growing up, I remember she had some needlepoint of strawberries that I always loved. I can now look at my left arm everyday and always have a memory of my beautiful mom right there. Foot: My sister and I have matching lady bug tattoos for her daughter Delaney. We’ve always called her Laney Bug. She is precious! Armpits: Oddly enough, those were a wedding present. I knew I was going to be wearing something sleeveless, and, honestly, I have never been a fan of how armpits look so I decided to make them beautiful. Plus it’s pretty badass, right? What do your tattoos say about you? I think of tattoos as an artistic expression. I like colorful things and individuality. My tattoos are an investment, and a way to store memories on my body. It think they also bring me closer to my husband, this is his skill, effort, and art. I like that I have him with me all the time. All of my tattoos were done by my husband Jason St. Clair from Flash City Tattoo. They do incredible work!

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David cook COOKIE CUTS CO-OWNER & PERSONAL TRAINER What do your tattoos say about you? As you can see from the photos, I have several tattoos. The first tattoo I ever inked though was on my right side (not pictured). It says, “Know Yourself” in Latin. I was 19 years old and thought Latin sounded cool. As I’ve matured in life, I have found that my tattoos have become expressions of greater meaning and emotion for me though, not just expressive artwork. Right Shoulder & Arm: My first large tattoo was my Phoenix shoulder plate that drapes across my chest and back. I tore my pectoral muscle when I was younger, so I wanted a big tattoo to cover the scar from the surgery. I also got this tattoo shortly after a very difficult period in my life. A time when I didn’t want to live and attempted to end my life. The Phoenix represents rebirth or the start of a new life. Just as a phoenix is reborn from its ashes after death, we too are in a state of preparation to change at our lowest point in life. We must choose that change though and embrace it for what it is. Around that same time in my life, about 10 years ago, I decided to get a full sleeve. I was going through a lot of intense changes during this time. One of the biggest struggles I faced was my relationship with God. I had been through a lot of hardships in life and tended to blame Him. It was hard to find the words to express my feelings, so I went to my tattoo artist and just said, “I want my sleeve to represent my relationship with God. The good and the bad.” My arm is what we came up with. It’s a constant reminder of both my struggles and triumphs. Chest & Rib Cage: The quote on my left rib cage and the name “Charlie” on my left pec represent one of the most painful experiences in my life. It was a time when I thought I was going to become a father, but it ended in a miscarriage. The quote says, “I never met you, but I love you.” I’ve never wanted anything more than a child, but I do believe making it through that situation and growing from it made me a better man. That’s all we really can do: Grow from our struggles, or let them break us. Ears & Hands: The tattoos “Love” on my hand, and “Cali” behind my ear are very special to me. I used to think it was ridiculous to get a girl’s name tattooed on your body. Cali is short for California, my fiancé’ Dani’s nickname. Sometimes I have no idea what the hell I’m doing with my life. I question everything, always have. Yet, she is the only thing in my crazy life that I’m sure about. Now it makes perfect sense why having someone’s name tattooed on you means so much. The semicolon I have behind my ear is my smallest tattoo but one of my favorites. Semicolons are used to extend a sentence that could have been ended with a period. Or, in my context, to choose to extend one’s life after contemplating suicide. It’s used to increase awareness of mental illness, specifically suicide prevention. I have personally attempted suicide in the past and will suffer from depression for the rest of my life, so this subject is very close to my heart. The tattoo being in an easily visible place sparks conversation. It’s a subject that needs to be discussed more, not swept under the rug. Too many lives have been lost.

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CAMPING WITH KIMBERLY It’s hard to imagine a better place with as many nearby camping options as we have here in Nashville. In a couple hours’ drive or less, the options are multitudinous for campsites near hiking, trail running, climbing, canoeing or kayaking, and so much more, right out the “door” of your tent. These are a few of my favorites. #Beelsewhere


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FALL CREEK FALLS STATE PARK At over 26,000 acres two hours southeast of Nashville, Fall Creek Falls is Tennessee’s largest state park. It’s been a favorite of mine since college for simple camping getaways. The hike down to the falls is a short and relatively easy one, though if you want more hiking here there’s plenty available (more than 56 miles!). If you’re not much of a tent camper, there are 30 cabins here as well, or if you’re like me reserve one of their 222 campsites, bring a cooler and a fire top grill, and enjoy a calm and peaceful weekend off the grid. For the backpackers, backcountry camping is also available with permit on two long distance overnight trails.

Photo credit: @thetylerwebb

MONTGOMERY BELL STATE PARK Only 45 minutes southwest of Nashville, Montgomery Bell State Park has 94 campsites and 47 cabins. Favorite activities here are hiking, biking, golf, and fishing at any of the park’s three lakes. There are also several boat types including kayaks and canoes available for rent. Hiking includes 19 miles of trails, with one of them circling the perimeter of the park. With its close proximity to Nashville, Montgomery Bell makes for the easiest quick trip, but make sure you book your campsite in advance because they often fill up. Photo credit: @austin.kurtis

FIERY GIZZARD TRAIL Just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Fiery Gizzard Trail runs from Tracy City to Foster Falls. Named by Backpacker magazine as one of the top 25 hiking trails in the United States, it boasts stunning waterfall views and a combination of steep climbs and easy miles. I suggest hiking in about 2.5 miles from Foster Falls where you’ll find a number of large campsites right along the trail. There’s a water source nearby by way of a clear, flowing stream. The trail isn’t a loop, so hike as far in as you like (about 6 miles from camp to a feature waterfall) and then turn back to camp or hike out. A perfect weekend spot!

Photo credit: @ricknbrown





3 1/2-year-old Lab/Husky/Wolf Rome has the energy of a puppy and an adventurous soul. She loves to be active all the time. For the first year of her life, she grew up mostly on a farm. Rome enjoys kayaking and relaxing in the hammock with her owner. She loves going on hikes and taking trips to the beach for a swim. Her favorite game is playing fetch with her tennis balls though. She is also a very talented singer. Whenever she hears a guitar, she sings right along to any song.

“rome is a very talented singer. whenever she hears a guitar, she sings right along to any song.”

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3-year-old Red Heeler This girl is the energizer bunny of dogs! Ruby fetches, jumps, dives, rolls , and flips through life. Nothing makes her happier than spending hours playing soccer or flying through the air to catch a frisbee then cooling off with a swim in the creek. Ruby’s ideal date would be a wooly mammoth-sized bone dinner followed by a dip in the ocean and then chasing horses into the sunset. #whatsuproo


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2 1/2-year-old Boxer Loretta, or Lo for short, has endless energy and is always the first to throw a punch. She can triple wiggle mid-air and counter surfs like a champ. The most unique aspect about Lo is that she is deaf, but it’s never held her back from living her best life. Lo frequents to the gym with her owner, Jamie Bullock, and joins her for weekend runs with her sister. Jamie even says Lo looks “way better than her in a bikini.” Lo has even developed her own form of CrossFit under-the-bar burpees. One of the fittest indeed!


“The most unique aspect about lo is that she is deaf, but it’s never held her back from living her best life.”

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emma 5-year-old Mutt

This is Emma’s second time to make the “Fittest Dog” list. You can mostly find her working at getFIT615 with her mom where she greets every athlete as they enter, but she really enjoys the outdoors and is ready for anything. Her favorite places to hike are Beaman Park, Edwin Warner Park, and Fiery Gizzard Trail. @readyforemmathing


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1 1/2-year-old Golden Collie Chewy loves all things outdoors and is keen on running and jumping the whole time! She has an incredible amount of energy. She mostly enjoys helping her mother train clients at Percy Warner and runs the steps far better than any human! @chewynyoda

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1.5-year-old German Shepard Evey is a big ball of energy that never stops. You can see and feel her high energy when you look into her big brown eyes, sometimes even before you open yours (with a little bit of dog drool on your face). This sweet lady loves to challenge anyone she meets to a fun game of tug-ofwar! She’s a tough opponent for anyone and will not allow you to give up. She doesn’t believe in quitters. Drop the rope 100 times and Evey will put it right back in your hands, give you a paw on the shoulder, and stare at you with those empathetic brown eyes until you get back in the game!


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jordy & polly

3-year-old and 2-year-old Aussies Jordy and Polly are inseparable and are the first brother and sister Fittest Dogs! Never lacking energy, you can usually find these two Aussies walking through Sevier Park or trail running at Percy Warner with their dad. Jordy has great core stabilization, often posing sitting up on bollards in their “hood”. Both enjoy playing at The Belmont Pet Resort & Daycare usually running circles around their four-legged friends for hours on end. They are looking forward to summer where kayaking trips to local lakes and rivers are a regular family outing. In spite of their herding instinct, both enjoy swimming and playing in the water. Jordy is a pure bred Aussie from Kentucky. His energy level is typical of the breed and he excels in learning new tricks. Jordy is named for his favorite ex-Green Bay Packer, Jordy Nelson. Polly is an Aussie mix and is a rescue, a perfect addition to her active family. She enjoys chasing rabbits, squirrels, and birds whenever she can. @12SouthAussies

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6-year-old Newfoundland Gertrude, or Gertie for short, loves to swim, run, and play with her sister dogs, but she also loves playing fetch in the park. She’ll sometimes retrieve a dead squirrel or two just to mess with her mom and dad though. Gertie is a real farm (or yard) to table dog. She’s more of a sprint vs long distance runner, but she’s passionate about jumping head first into snow banks, chasing her tail, and getting to the dinner bowl as fast as she can.


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Melbourne, Australia • Vienna, Austria • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • Zadar, Croatia • Kakheti, Georgia Munich, Germany • Poznan, Poland • Pretoria, South Africa • Zug, Switzerland • Izmir, Turkey • Taiwan • Sunrise, FL, USA

MAY 6, 2018 | RIVERFRONT PARK, 6:00 A.M. CST Join 100K+ people from all over the world at exactly the same time. Nashville runners will begin at Riverfront Park, run over the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, around Nissan Stadium, and back until a virtual Catcher Car catches you. Download the Wings For Life World Run app in the App Store and join the movement at WINGSFORLIFEWORLDRUN.COM


Find Your Fit 2018

August 4

Franklin, TN



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o be at the level of a CrossFit Games athlete outweighs the average gym goer for a multitude of reasons. For starters, they are professionals: Professionals at working out. Their volume of training ranges from 3 to 4 workouts a day and can demand weights on a barbell heavier than the athlete’s body weight. In some cases, this work load is doubled. Chris, Jessica, and Cole Martinez are the epitome of a family dedicated to fitness. Jessica has competed in the CrossFit Games for almost 8 years and is currently competing in the Masters Division. At the age of 34, she battled with younger individuals while the Masters Division only existed for those 40 and over. The year she turned 40, the CrossFit Games dropped the age brackets to begin the Masters competition for those 35 and older. When she turned 40, she finally surpassed Regionals and made it to the big stage at the CrossFit Games. An estimated 500,000 people signed up, paid a mere 20 dollars, tuned in for the WOD (workout of the day) announcement on Thursday night, and participated by submitting their scores online each week for five weeks in order to win a spot to compete on a regional stage. At the time of this writing, out of the estimated 500,000 people, Jessica sits in 17th place worldwide and 1st place overall for the Central East region. Her 15-year-old son, Cole, qualified for his second year in a row by placing 9th in the world and 2nd for the Central East region. The CrossFit Games begin with the requirement of qualifying through the CrossFit Open. This is the series of workouts announced on Thursday night, in which the athletes have until Monday evening to complete and submit their scores to the CrossFit website. They consist of multiple movements and can be any rep scheme for an allotted amount of time. They span over 5 weeks with each workout and submittal happening one week at a time. As described on the CrossFit Games website, “The purpose of the Open is to find the fittest athletes in each region to move on to the Regionals, but it’s also an opportunity for any athlete at any level to participate in the competition.” However, the Teen and Masters Divisions are handled slightly different. Instead of appearing and performing on a regional stage, qualifiers are given four days to complete four workouts on their own and required to submit their scores for each. This process is handled the same as the Open and the athletes are ranked, yet again, to determine if they will advance to the Games. Before submitting scores, athletes are also given the option to repeat the workouts if they choose. One workout alone is a daunting task, let alone four workouts in four days with the potential of doing them more than once. “Ideally you want to maximize every attempt so you don’t want to be repeating them,” Cole explains. But in terms of the Teen and Master stages, Cole says, “It has more of a competition feel than the actual Open and you have to strategize how to spread them out over the four days in order to recover and achieve your best performance.” Recovery is a popular topic among the Masters athletes. Jessica says, “The recovery isn’t the same at my age and

it requires smarter training. With the Teens there is a mix, because they can handle more volume, but they need to be safe for the purpose of longevity.” She further explains, “Teen athletes at the CrossFit Games have higher volume, but still not the same amount you would see a normal 20-year-old working with.” Jessica has a background in Exercise Physiology and has participated in sports her whole life, including college basketball. She has been a trainer for almost 20 years now and before finding CrossFit she was marathon training at local health clubs. “I had come across CrossFit affiliates online multiple times but never committed because I was concerned with cost and child care.” With her husband and Cole’s father, Chris, traveling for work, Cole would be with his mother while she trained to run the Boston Marathon. Jessica loved high intensity activity and had a background lifting weights from college sports but wanted to incorporate other forms of training. She says, “I started to get tired of spin class, so I finally bit the bullet and signed up for the on-ramp class [a community term for foundations training]. I knew I would like it, I had just been hesitant.” In November 2011, Jessica brought Cole with her to her first class and was surprised when the instructor said to Cole, “You can join your mom if you’d like.” Cole remembers wearing jeans and an Old Navy t-shirt at the time, but luckily the instructors had children the same age, so he jumped in and ended up going through the foundations class with his mom. Cole was 9 years old at the time. The instructor eventually said to Jessica, after getting to know her and her hopes to run the Boston Marathon, “I don’t think you are a runner. I think you are a CrossFitter and you are really going to take to this.” The following January the gym encouraged Jessica to sign up for the CrossFit Open online. “I had no idea what the Open was. I didn’t know anything about CrossFit. I just knew I loved this. I loved flipping tires, I loved lifting weights, and it was everything I had been looking for all in one place,” she reminisces. Once she returned from the Boston Marathon, she reluctantly signed up for the Open. After some online research and YouTube videos, she discovered she still had a competitive edge. Jessica laughs, “I still didn’t know what CrossFit really was or how the Open worked. Chris would come home and be totally clueless, so all he knew about CrossFit was what Cole and I had told him.” Jessica made the team with CrossFit Murfreesboro after only 3 months of starting their programming. She would now be going to the Regional platform with a team that had gone to the CrossFit Games just one year before. The atmosphere of the Open and the bigger stages of events like Regionals and the CrossFit Games, have a magnetic effect on the attendees. Just ask Chris. “All they did was talk about CrossFit at home,” he says. “Saturday workouts were free to the community, so Cole finally took me one weekend to show me in action what they had been talking about all this time.” Chris played every sport growing up, but was constantly looking for something more as he grew out of organized teams. He says he was going to the gym periodically while M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 • N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E


LIFESTYLE out of town for work, but the traditional back, upper body, around the Nashville area, including the infamous CrossFit lower body routines were few and far between. Once he Mayhem in Cookeville, they primarily complete their proattended the Regional event to watch Jessica compete, gramming requirements at home. he says, “It was just electric! It was just awesome! Being in Cole and Jessica both follow a program put together by the stands and watching made me want to do that. MayBen Bergeron, the most well renowned CrossFit Coach in be not actually compete in Regionals, but compete with the world. Jessica began following the CompTrain programmyself at the gym. It made me want to be an athlete again.” ming in 2014, and in 2016 they started a Master’s program. Chris started CrossFit 6 months after the 2012 Regionals As Jessica transitioned into using their Masters programand immediately became ming, she still did extra work hooked. He adds with a from the higher level of laugh, “Besides my expeathlete’s regimen. According rience from the stands, I to the CompTrain website, “ “I was tired of hearing them talk was tired of hearing them the daily programming is about CrossFit all day, so I finally talk about CrossFit all designed to maximize Open caved and signed up.” day, so I finally caved and and Regional performancsigned up.” es. The Masters level is not While Cole had been about training less. It’s about following his mother in training smarter. the gym since the age of 9, he steadily progressed into a Chris actually has a background for building websites steller athlete. “We started him with the PVC pipe and upand handles the business side of things within the family. graded to a training bar [15 pounds] and eventually allowed From sponsors like PaleoWorks, Barbell Voodoo, and Midhim to add a little weight here and there,” says Jessica. dle TN Spine and Joint Center to organizing competitions “Because I was coaching the classes, I would allow him to like the well-known and successful Battle of the Barbells, also work on gymnastic and body weight movements.” he is a master of operations. Chris says he likes to ask, Organized sports were a brief part of Cole’s childhood. “What is the end goal and how do we get there? Since “For a period of time soccer and CrossFit were overlapevent planning is a part of my day job, we’ve been able to ping, but I discovered I wasn’t much into soccer. I played put a lot of processes in place to help people get there.” tee ball and baseball for a little longer but I didn’t love it,” Chris is the founder and creator of one of the largest and Cole admits. It’s a common misconception that one has most popular event competitions in Middle Tennessee with to give up the things they love in order to compete at the the help of his partners John and Josie Parsons. Battle of highest level, but Cole had a different experience. He says, the Barbells ranges from team to individual competitions “For me personally, I didn’t give up sports for CrossFit. and includes Teen and Masters comps. CrossFit was something that was extremely fun for me. The event originally started in 2013 while the family Other sports became a chore and it didn’t make sense to attended CrossFit Murfreesboro. Initially a fundraiser for do something I didn’t enjoy when I already had something I the Murfreesboro team to offset the cost for the Open, it loved doing.” has outgrown its space and become a business for the “We just wanted him to be physically active,” says Chris. Martinez family. Jessica was a part of the CFM team that “Jessica and I both grew up playing sports and all we want- qualified and Chris volunteered his talents to keep up with ed was for him to not sit on the couch all day.” scoring and event planning. Since then they have branched Cole highly anticipated the day he would become eliout as the size of the competition continued to grow. Chris gible for the Teen competition. He even practiced for the teamed up with his friends and partners to create an LLC CrossFit Games by winning medals in weightlifting compeand have now become a company that manages and cretitions. Cole says, “In 2014, I set a reminder on my iPad to ates competitions in and outside of Middle Tennessee. sign up for the 2017 Open, because I would finally be 14.” This year, they will host a number of events again. Chris In order to pay the online fee, he immediately went to his says, “The team competition is in June, a Master and Teen parents and said, “I need your credit card!” With the help competition will be in August at CrossFit Trivium, and we of Cole’s experience and strength, he earned a qualifying are in talks of potentially a third in the fall. The larger, indispot the first year he entered. vidual competition will be held in November.” The Martinez family mostly workout in their garage, Jessica and Josie, two members of the original qualifying which they have converted into a home gym. This gives the team out of CFM, create the programming and have friends family the access to train as often and as hard as needed test the workouts. Cole says he is usually left in the dark so for the programming required. Cole also trains in the morn- the workouts are left “unknown and unknowable,” a coming at CrossFit VTG, which is an acronym for a latin phrase mon CrossFit phrase. translating to “strength rejoices in the challenge.” While It’s not unusual for the sport of CrossFit to appear intimiChris also goes to VTG, Jessica works out with a team at dating to the outside world, especially mothers with young CrossFit Hendersonville. Although they drop into gyms kids tagging along to their daily workout. Although Chris 50

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Instagram: @jmarti522 @chainsaw77kg @cmartinezd2

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travels for work most of the time, Jessica and Cole are coaching and training in the gym. No matter the reason or level of competitiveness, they have made it work as a unit and it has very much become a part of their routine as a family. It has brought them together by challenging them individually. Even though they may do the same scheme and workout together, they use different loads on the barbell and scaled movements as needed in order to participate together. CrossFit may not be for everyone, but everyone is capable of doing it. This family has not only proved that, but they have made it sustainable on so many levels. Most people couldn’t fathom a life where the day to day tasks are meticulously factored into their training similar to a full time job. Cole’s fresh outlook on nutrition, hard work, and dedication is not only inspiring, but motivating to both his parents. Jessica’s understanding and experience provides a deeper mental and physical aspect to overall wellness that sets an example for her family. Chris’s intelligence and devotion implements a daily balance that allows his family to compete, but also to enjoy and celebrate good health and overall fitness. Each member of the family is in love with the sport for different reasons, but as a family they simply use the sport of CrossFit as an avenue to better themselves and the community around them everyday. We wish them the best of luck on their venture to the Games!


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magine it is Saturday morning and you are walking slowly outside on a trail. You come across a beautiful waterfall and look around encompassed by the forest. You spot a log to sit on and rest for fifteen minutes with your eyes closed allowing all your senses to be naturally awakened. You relax and listen to the organic rapids from the waterfall traveling through the rocks. You notice how the air tastes when you breathe and how the log feels supporting your body that you are sitting on. When you open your eyes fifteen minutes later, you see the same space but in a completely different lens. You have now connected with nature by being fully present. A new thought or sense of gratitude naturally flows inside of you. During spring time, you may envision the beauty of beginnings as you see new growth of flowers from the seasons changing. This experience in Japan or South Korea is referred to as Shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing in the United States. Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing was first developed in Japan during the 1980’s and has become a favorite practice of preventative medicine and healing. Over the years Japan and South Korea have conducted many proven research studies on the health benefits of spending time outside in nature. The findings of the research studies all conclude the same results. People who consistently practiced forest bathing were known to have decreased levels of stress, lower blood pressure, increased energy level, greater ability to focus, improved sleep, and an overall increase in happiness in their lives. The practice of forest bathing looks different for everyone. In its simplest form, forest bathing is a person walking gently in a forest or natural environment allowing their senses to be awakened through an organic experience. Even though forest bathing and hiking both take place outside, they are completely different. The goal of hiking is to walk for a long distance over an extended period. For many people, a hike will often raise their heart rate and they will gain some form of exercise from the experience. On the opposite spectrum, the traditional forest bathing practice is walking less than a quarter of a mile in a two to four hour time span with no intention of a workout. In the United States today, the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy is leading the movement of combining nature and forest bathing or therapies into health care, education and preservation of wildlife. In 2012, M. Amos Clifford founded the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy in California. The association has certified professional guides who are trained in an extensive certification process. For anyone interested in guiding people through organic outdoor experiences or advocating for natural health care strategies email The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy provides a beginner’s guide to forest bathing. Before you go forest bathing, research to see if there is a certified professional forest therapy guide in your city. If you prefer to practice solo or there is not a guide in your area, follow the next six steps to learn the general guidelines of forest bathing.

power yoga + strength training

2218 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Big Gu



1) Find a natural environment for forest bathing nearby. 2) Arrive at your location and be mindful of the place you are in, the

way your body feels and tune into your senses.

3) Walk slowly. 4) Be aware of your surroundings and notice what you are most

drawn to.


Find a sit spot. Twenty minutes is encouraged as the minimum time for a sit spot. The longer you sit, the more you will notice.

6) Give back. Notice what things exist around you and acknowledge

it. Find something to offer it, such as a statement, poem or a song.

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The Plus Side of Running

We gently train plus size, beginner, and returning runners with one on one specialized coaching for 5K, 10K, and 13.1 Call 615.810.4273 or visit us on Facebook at Big Gurlz Run!



If you’re itching to-explore Nashville while burning a few calories, take a tour with these two up-and-coming businesses.


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Nashville Running Tour by Joe Fleenor

For seven years my work-life revolved around conventions – both in planning and attending them. I was traveling the country, visiting some of the most iconic cities in America, yet I would find myself and our convention attendees rarely leaving the confines of the hotel and experiencing these destinations that we had been hyping up for months. That all changed midway through my tenure during a convention we were hosting in Philadelphia. I opted to bypass the hotel treadmill one morning and instead hit the streets before sessions started. What began as a casual run, ended with me sprinting up the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s famous steps and throwing my arms up in celebration when I reached the top, à la Rocky. When I told our attendees about the run I had that morning, many of them begged to join me the next morning. That first convention “group run” had ten people joining me and someone even turned on the Rocky theme music as we scaled the Museum steps. Group runs were added to all our events, growing from ten people on our first run to over thirty people within a year, and we were able to experience hidden gems in cities that included Miami, Vegas, Dallas, and Denver. My company loved the increased retention and the evaluation scores we were receiving, and our attendees loved being able to experience the cities in a unique and fun setting, all while getting in a great workout and getting out of the depressing hotel gym! It was from these experiences that I decided to bring the concept home to Nashville and help showcase the city where I was born and raised. In the fall of 2017 I launched Nashville Running Tours (NRT), a passion project turned business opportunity that offers a unique, fitness-geared tour offering to the rapidly-growing Music City tourism and convention markets. NRT offers six guided group tours around town (with routes traveling through Music Row, Downtown, East Nashville, the Gulch, and Bicentennial Park) as well as custom tours for conventions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and team-building events. There aren’t many things more satisfying than playing a part in getting people to fall in love with your city. Visit us at and see for yourself!

Green Fleet Bicycle Tours by Lindsay Miller

We’ve seen everything from redneck tour buses to pedal taverns in the downtown Nashville area for years, but for a fitness enthusiast, the idea of admiring the city landscape behind a glass window is almost torment. Thanks to Green Fleet Bicycle Tours, anyone from experienced cyclists to travel buffs alike can enjoy the best way to soak in Music City: pedaling through them at their own pace. Besides, why just look at a landscape when you can hop off your bike and be a part of it? This is founder Austin Burke’s vision behind Green Fleet Bicycle Tours. The company is taking its bicycle shop, courier service, and bike tours from 1200 16th Ave. S. to the new location on 934 Jefferson Street. The move will allow Green Fleet to expand the retail portion of its business and stay in close proximity of the downtown area. Where bike paths are located all along the way it is a safe and efficient use of the green strips down every street. Being close to downtown was important to Burke, considering the people who use bikes for their lifestyle have the best remote access in and around this area to daily needs . Green Fleet Bicycle Tours also offers a courier service, currently assisting buissness-to-buisness deliveries, while avoiding the popular traffic on the streets of downtown Nashville. The guided bike tours take participants on city-wide rides around town with stops at different food favorites and landmarks. According to their website, they offer a “Stories of Music Row Tour,” a “Signature City Tour” and a “Downtown Highlights Tour,” averaging a cost range of $35 to $85 per person. Although launched in 2009, Burke is introducing adventure cycling and the exceptional experience of Nashville to anyone willing to work at it. Adding bike tours only two years later, it has now become a full-service bike shop with retail sales, repairs, and rentals.

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in a position to be on the podium. There was still a glimpse very challenge we successfully conquer serves to of hope and no reason to give up just yet. strengthen not only our will, but our confidence, and When he woke up in the middle of the night feeling intherefore our ability to confront future obstacles. Pain tense pain in his lower back, he discussed possibilities with and adversity can easily strip us of energy and heart. A his wife, who is luckily a nurse. Although able to fall back crippling illness or injury, any devastating event, no matter how big or small, can leave us discouraged and exhausted. asleep, he woke in the morning, made coffee, took a sip, and immediately ran to throw up. His wife recommended Will Moorad knows all too well the effects of bad news. He going to the hospital, seeing as this activity was not normal. is known as a professional CrossFitter, but the last year of “I called my coach first,” Will remembers. He was still ups and downs has changed his life forever. reluctant to remove himself from competition because, he In 2015, Will competed at the Central East CrossFit says, “at this point, I was an insane athlete with not a lot of Regionals and missed out on going to the Games by one balance in my life.” While his wife was pushing him to see spot. In 2016, he missed again. He was a fraction behind a doctor he still questioned whether or not to leave and it the last spot allotted to compete for the Fittest Man on wasn’t until his coach, Max El-Hag with Training Think Tank, Earth. When it is coming down to that finish line, and you realize agreed he be admitted for medical attention. At the hospital, Will’s creatinine level read close to 5.6 that a tenth of a second could decide the rest of your year, when it should have been closer to 1. His Glomerular Filtra“that is real racing,” Will says. The 2016 Regionals came tion Rate (GFR) was around 14 when it should have been down to two tenths of a second and that doesn’t sit easy around 90. Put simply, his kidneys were failing. Kidney with most athletes, especially at this level of competitivefailure symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath, ness. With such small margins of defeat or victory, CrossFit lethargy, swelling, confusion, and back pain, like Will’s pain is sometimes hard to ever feel confident or comfortable. in the middle of the night and his inability to speak in the The sport values this edge because it challenges the medic tent. Kidneys are the organ that filter your system thresholds of mentality. and their failure leads to the inability to remove potassiTwo tenths of a second can eat away at you or drive you um from the bloodstream, potentially leads to abnormal for the upcoming year. Whether it enhances training or fills heart rhythms and sudden death. Body fluids can rise to you with remorse, it is your choice. “I had real issues after dangerous levels when kidneys lose their filtering ability. that,” Will says. But rather than regretting his performance, he says he was just sad. “I think I had post traumatic stress! The condition will cause electrolytes and waste material to accumulate in your body, which can be life-threatening. I was sick to my stomach and would wake up with night “I spent a week in the hospital but didn’t have to go on sweats.” dialysis, thank God,” he says. Anyone can have an acute But let’s fast forward from past experiences to the 2017 kidney injury. Dehydration, too much Advil, too high protein season. “I was back on the train, prepping for competition diet, and stress, can all affect how your kidneys function. and feeling really good,” Will explains. Will was doing an abnormally The event competition high level of training, eight Wodapalooza is held in hours a day, for four years January each year in Mileading up to this moment. ami, Florida. It’s one of the “ “It’s just a barbell, don’t take it too “So I guess I was stressed,” last major competitions seriously.” he says with a laugh. The before the Crossfit Open doctor decided to take a and usually gives athletes biopsy of the kidneys and a good idea of where they returned with information stand in a high intensity on IgA nephropathy (pronounced nuh-FROP-uh-thee), also atmosphere. It’s also a good time to compare yourself to known as Berger’s disease. Will was diagnosed with a rare some of the top athletes in the world. For most, this event autoimmune disease the same day he set out to conquer tends to spike adrenaline for the next coming months as the competition ball starts rolling. For Will, this would begin the podium. At the age of 27, Will was a professional athlete and a different spiral; a series of doctors appointments and a looking forward to starting a family. He was young, married, life altering roller coaster for the following year. and planning to be around for that family in the future. He “I finished the first event [at Wodapalooza] and then I was training six to eight hours, five days a week when the got really sick,” he begins. “I was throwing up and really doctor dropped a major remark: “You probably shouldn’t nauseous. I was totally destroyed. I was in the medic tent do that anymore.” unable to talk. I ended up kind of recovering, but this was Naturally, Will’s mindset had to change due the realizawhen things started to come unwound.” tion his career was over. Training would come to a screechHe didn’t do too poorly in the second event, but was ing halt. He says, “Looking back, it was a good thing.” sitting in 14th at the end of the day. 14th could still put him M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 • N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E


But once discharged in Miami, he found his nephrologist, Dr. Chanda in Nashville and started regular visits. “I would like to think I am good at dealing with trauma. I have had a lot of situations in my life that taught me to cope,” Will says. “But I had to realize this happened and I could be upset, but at the same time I had to think, ‘maybe this is just what’s next.’ I’ve had a great CrossFit career. I got to do a lot of things most people haven’t gotten to do. I had amazing sponsors and previously competed in the 2014 CrossFit Games. I can be happy with that.” Leaning more towards the silver lining, Will chose to focus on the diagnosis as a way to look back on the positive experiences the sport gave him. He says it’s more about short term memory, but his modesty is underrated. He is more of an optimistic guy and doesn’t dwell on the negative. The average CrossFitter fights a constant battle to push themselves through workouts daily. As a professional, sometimes doing seven workouts in three days, he couldn’t afford to dwell on one bad performance. He had to learn how to bounce back. His approach to his newfound health crisis would be no different. “I just looked forward to what was next and went full steam ahead into that,” Will says. He owned a gym at the time but decided to sell in May 2017. Within those months, he began working for a tech company in order to focus on a new career path. Although he wasn’t training like his previous days, he continued to Olympic lift and take his time with lighter workouts all through the summer and fall. “I had forgotten what beer tasted like,” he jokes. He enjoyed the summer with his friends and got back to living a life more like an average 28-year-old. He would tell himself, “It’s just a barbell, don’t take it too seriously.” When his friends, Noah Ohlsen, Travis Mayor, and Max El-Hag texted him to join a team at the 2018 Wodapalooza, Will was tempted to give it another try. This time it would be for fun and not without consulting his doctor first. I warned them though, he says, “Guys, I am not where I was. I’m not an athlete anymore.” Regardless, they wanted him to compete so he started training again. The major plot twist? Will’s condition ended up being a misdiagnosis. After January of 2017, he regularly went to his physician and his health continued to improve into August, when he went back for a full check up. After his blood work came back perfectly healthy, the doctor said, “Look, I studied your pathology report, and I don’t think anything is wrong with you. I think you have been misdiagnosed.” Will and his family were shocked. “You are free to do what you want,” The doctor told him. “Just be conscious of your health, seeing as you have had this scare.” It’s been determined that Will’s acute kidney injury led to kidney failure, but the staff in Miami coincidentally found the autoimmune disorder because of the biopsy. “My nephrologist in Nashville had a lot of thoughts about this disease being misdiagnosed, but even doctors are still human. He made a mistake. I changed my life because of it, but we are all just human.” Although this news would essentially change Will’s outlook, yet again, he was hesitant to jump back into heavy training. “It was a traumatic event and it scared me. I was worried about going back into that pain cave,” he admits. So while continuing to work full-time, he timidly eased back into old habits and slowly got comfortable with the psychological components. Mostly because competing at a high level demands extreme levels of suffering. He had to relearn how to turn off the normal response to pain in order to keep going and to continuously

Instagram: @willmoorad @mogli.moorad

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improve, all the while knowing this would take him to a dangerous place. “It’s a lot on your body,” he states. “You can do everything you can to control what you eat, not over training, sleeping eight hours at night, staying hydrated, getting routine blood work, but at the end of the day you can’t control what happens out on the competition floor. You can try and control anxiety, but the strain of profoundly difficult events over multiple days will still take its toll.” Will, Noah Ohlsen, and Travis Mayor ended the 2018 Wodapalooza competition standing on the podium in second place. “I was really happy,” he says, “seeing how this event put me in the hospital last year.” He reminisces, “This year I was standing on the podium with two of my best friends after I thought I was done and never doing this again.” Shortly after the event, Will left his job at the tech company. In reality, Will came back as a full-time professional athlete in February 2018, only a few weeks before the Open workouts would determine his fate. With such a short time of training hard, he did not have expectations for making the CrossFit Games. He is realistic in terms of the volume, time, and training it actually takes to make it where he wants to be as a Games athlete. The infamous song reads, “Don’t call it a comeback no / This witness was injured and overthrown away / ...By will alone we set our minds in motion / ...Setback after setback the need to play remains.” And although he cannot change the past, Will is fighting like hell to regain his present, and working every day, multiple times a day, to set himself up for the future he has envisioned for years. Will Moorad did not make the 2018 Regionals this year. He tied for 31st in the Central East, missing by 11 spots. He has already put his focus on the 2019 season though. And this is why we don’t call it a comeback... yet.


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N A S H V I L L E F I T M A G A Z I N E • M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8

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he Concept2 rower, also known as the erg, has become a widely popular piece of fitness equipment over the last decade, playing a big part in both group, fitness studios and large, box gyms. As the erg gains popularity, it’s important to understand how it works. The Concept2 rower, along with many other brands of ergs, have an internal fan called the flywheel. The flywheel catches and rotates air based on two things; the amount of force being created by the user and the infamous damper setting. The damper setting is the lever labelled one through ten on the side of the flywheel. If you’ve ever been on a Concept2 rower, you’ve probably wondered what number you should have your damper on. Like gears on a bicylce, the damper setting affects how rowing feels but it does not directly affect the resistance. Incorrectly, people believe this determines the resistance behind each stroke. From this they tend to conclude that

against the air. More air also slows the flywheel down faster on the recovery, requiring more work to accelerate it on the next stroke. For example, a sprinter or powerlifting athlete with finetuned, fast, twitch muscles would likely go faster with a lower damper setting. While a long distance or endurance athlete with superior, slow, twitch muscles would likely go faster with a higher damper setting. Another example would be an individual having difficulty with form. They would surprisingly benefit greatly by using a higher damper setting in order to feel more connected to the stroke. This would allow them to move slower and focus on improving technique. Whereas an individual with solid machine/body connection (aka good form) would benefit by using a lower damper setting in order to reduce fatigue. It’s very rare for an individual to find peak performance with a damper setting of either one or ten. Try the workout below next time you’re on a Concept2 rower to find out which damper setting works best for you. Set the display to Watts Set the workout to 100 meters with 3 minute rests Keep your strokes per minute at 24 every time 100m @ 24spm @ 2 damper setting (ds), 3min rest 100m @ 24spm @ 8ds, 3min rest 100m @ 24spm @ 4ds, 3min rest 100m @ 24spm @ 10ds, 3min rest 100m @ 24spm @ 6ds Look at your workout summary.

the stronger you are, the higher you should set the damper setting. This could not be further from the truth. The only thing that occurs when the damper setting is changed, is the amount of air allowed in and out of the flywheel. To simplify, the damper controls how much air flows into the cage. When the damper setting is at one, the air flow is pinched off, allowing the flywheel to spin easily and quickly. Higher damper settings allow more air into the flywheel housing. The more air, the more work it takes to spin the flywheel 66

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Photo credit: Rogue Fitness and The Box Mag



Now ask yourself: At which damper setting did you go the fastest? At which damper setting did you reach the highest peak force/wattage? What feels differently? There will always be variables like muscle fatigue, but this workout will give you a better idea of which damper setting works best for you as an individual. Everyone is different. Many people confuse the damper setting with intensity level or resistance. Instead, the intensity of your workout is controlled by how much you use your legs, back, and arms to move the handle—in other words, how hard you pull. This is true regardless of where the damper lever is set: the harder you pull, the more resistance you will feel. Good luck and row on!

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he man strides onto the trail and turns to face the expectant crowd. He is tall. He is handsome. He is athletic. He is dressed like a leprechaun. It is eight o’clock in the morning. He is drinking beer. “I promise to push myself!” the man calls out. “I promise to push myself!” the crowd roars back. The man is John Hardin, founder of HardWin Adventures, the Nashville-based, outdoor adventure challenge company. The crowd – men and women of a wide-range of ages, backgrounds, and skill levels – are runners who have turned out on St. Patty’s Day, March 17th, to take on The Music City Trail Ultra. Through call and response, they recite the Runners’ Oath, the words that precede each HardWin Adventure and help transform a disparate group of people into a kind of tribe who, for the next several hours, will literally share a difficult yet rewarding path through life. “Protect my fellow runners!” John shouts. “Protect my fellow runners!” the people shout back. The promise is a serious one. The participants are seconds away from embarking upon a scenic, fifty-kilometer tour of the 20,000-acre Cheatham County Wildlife Management Area, enjoying such sights as fallen trees, icy-slick stream crossings, and sick-steep hills. Along the way are roots and rocks and uncertain footing and patches of briars providing cover for snakes and ticks. In short, the setting is the perfect playground for yet another HardWin Adventure. “Respect the Earth that I run on!” John continues. “Respect the Earth that I run on!” the runners respond. There will be no cups on this race or in any HardWin Adventure. At the aid stations, runners will fill up their own containers with hydration, cutting down on waste. The only containers handed out will be the pint glasses at the finish line, customized with the logo of The Music City Trail Ultra and all set to be filled with delicious Jackalope beer, one of the event’s sponsors. There, finishers will also be able to wrap themselves in John’s new towel with a waterproof membrane in the middle – No Swet. The towel protects runners’ car seats on the ride home, and John donates two 68

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dollars from the sale of each one to the Friends of Percy Warner Park. But, at eight o’clock in the morning, the comforts of a cold pint of Jackalope and a warm, fuzzy towel still lie hours into the future for these intrepid athletes. First, they must meet the challenges of the course. And, to do that, they must meet the challenges within themselves, overcoming whatever inner obstacles stand in the way of attaining a difficult yet worthy goal. It’s a paradox, but completing a HardWin Adventure requires both pride and humility. Pride in the sense that your spirit may choose to persist even when your body begs to quit. Humility in the sense that a HardWin Adventure pits a participant against the vastness of nature, and – while God may indeed love you – nature does not give a rat’s ass if you trip and bust your teeth on a rock. A HardWin Adventure celebrates both our human vulnerability and our capacity to overcome it. “And always be humble!” John pledges. “And always be humble!” the HardWin Adventurers pledge, too. John means it, too. For a man with lots of reasons not to be humble (not only is he tall, handsome and athletic, but also smart, young and affluent), John embodies humility and practices what he preaches. As this article goes to print, John is pushing himself to earn the fastest known time (FKT) of the Sheltowee Trace. It won’t be easy. The Sheltowee is 323 miles of twisting, turning trails, running through the Daniel Boone National Forest for almost the width of Kentucky and deep into the Big South Fork of northern Tennessee. To beat the record, John will have to average well over fifty miles per day, arising at 4:00 a.m. each morning to be gaining ground by 5:00 a.m. It is not an attempt to be taken lightly, and John has trained for this, getting up at 3:30 a.m. – that’s not a typo – for the past few months to run each morning until 7:00 a.m., the time he must put away his Superman cape to don his Clark Kent duds: John is a happy husband, doting dad, and busy businessman. So why put himself through all the effort? “I believe that we humans have won the cosmic lottery,” John observes. “So, I go out and make good use of this golden ticket. I seek extreme things to see if they can break me, and – from that – gain insight. Getting uncom-

fortable can build you.” And helping others get uncomfortable, too – in as safe and inviting way as possible – is the essence of HardWin Adventures. Whether rock climbing, paddle boarding, or trail running, athletes of all ages and levels have challenged themselves with their own humble pride to complete successfully one of John’s events. It’s a humble pride tribe that just keeps on growing, and you’re invited to come play, too. Check out for a heads up on the new challenges coming your way. Also, while you’re there, say hi to John. He’d love to hear from you.

Photo credit: and John Hardwin Music City Trail Ultra – 2018

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If you can stand on one foot, you can do yoga on the water. Get your feet wet with these simple SUP yoga poses from Megan Wage of Nashville SUP & Yoga.


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First Flow: Gate Pose Flow 1st Pose - Start with one knee down stacked under the hip, the other leg extended toes point in the same direction as the body. Arms extend out to a tee. 2nd Pose - Release arm towards extended leg and gaze up sending the other bicep by the ear lengthening the side body. 3rd Pose - Move back through center sending opposite hand down towards the board. Stretch the top arm by the bicep and lift extended leg making a straight line from foot to hand. *Repeat on the other side.

Second Flow: Chaturanga Flow 1st Pose - Downward dog. Align pelvis with the center of the board. 2nd Pose - Chaturanga. Keep hips in line with shoulders as you lower strengthening the core. 3rd Pose - Upward Facing Dog. Pull the heart forward and take in the sun.

Third Flow: Chair Pose Twist 1st Pose - Feet should be hip distance apart around or slightly in front of the handle. Sit down in your imaginary chair engaging core. 2nd Post - With hands at hearts center twist your elbow to the opposite knee. Keep the weight even in both feet so you don’t rock the boat.

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Tips for getting into a headstand position: 1. Find the widest part of the board and place your forearms down with hands interlaced. Tuck in your bottom pinky so you have a flatter surface. 2. Lower the head down into the hands. 3. Tuck the toes and lift knees. Tip toe the feet towards the head stacking the hips over the shoulders. 4. Pull one knee into the chest and follow with the second knee. 5. Lengthen the legs into the air squeezing them together to keep them active.


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body supercharge your performance



FIT FIELD TRIPS Training in Nashville, while beautiful, can sometimes become a bit monotonous. If you’re looking to change up your outdoor runs, hikes, and long bike rides, getting out of town and exploring some new trails can make the miles fly by. Here are three great options to get you out of town for a day, knock out a solid workout, and then spend the day seeing the sights. Day Trip 1:

Mammoth Caves National Park, Kentucky Route: Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail Route Length: Up to 8.5 miles one way / 17 miles total Driving Time from Nashville: 80 minutes The Workout: Park at the Mammoth Cave National Park Headquarters and find the trailhead to the Hike and Bike Trail by the Camper’s Cave General Store. Right after the start of the trail, the surface transitions to a soft, crushed gravel that is great for taking the impact off of your legs if you’re running. This route is great preparation for a hilly race course. You’ll get a combination of long, gradual climbs as well as a couple of steep climbs along the way. Turn around at the end of the gravel path at the Interstate 65 overpass and come all the way back for a solid seventeen mile long run or turn around earlier depending on your needs.

Photo credit: @heazra

The Day: Spend the rest of the day exploring Nashville’s closest National Park! Mammoth Caves offers tours ranging from an easy quarter of a mile mile walk through the main part of the cave to some of the most grueling, claustrophobia-inducing cave exploration tours in the world. Reservations are encouraged.

Day Trip 2:

Elkmont and Huntsville, Alabama Route: Richard Martin Trail Route Length: Up to 10 miles one way / 20 miles total Driving Time from Nashville: 85 minutes The Workout: The Richard Martin Trail is the flattest of the three options. This crushed limestone converted railway bed, with just a few very gradual rises and falls, offers up to twenty scenic miles. Park in the middle of the trail in quaint downtown Elkmont, AL just a few miles off of Interstate 65 Exit 361 and head out either North or South on the path. Each direction is about 5 miles out until the trail ends. Go out and back in both directions to get a full twenty miles. This trail offers beautiful countryside views, a swampy marsh, and the site of the Civil War Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle.

Photo credit: @fox_track_farm

The Day: Post workout, drive another 40 minutes to the southeast and visit the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. This museum offers a glance into the early years of the US space program, including flight and gravity simulators (maybe not the best idea right after a long run), bus tours of the NASA facility and famous spacecraft including the Pathfinder shuttle and the massive Saturn rocket.


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Day Trip 3:

Chattanooga, TN Route: Guild-Hardy Trail on Lookout Mountain Route Length: Up to 5 miles one way / 10 miles total (with plenty of opportunities to add distance on the Upper Truck trail) Driving Time from Nashville: 2 hours The Workout: Park at the Guild-Hardy Trailhead (labeled on Google Maps) on Ochs Highway to begin this out and back route up to the top of Lookout Mountain and back. The Guild-Hardy Trail is a long, very gradual incline all the way until it dead ends into the Scenic Highway at the five mile mark. The path is entirely crushed gravel and dirt expect for short stretches on the road that takes you past Ruby Falls (1 mile into the trail) and the historic Craven’s House (4 miles into the trail). After climbing for the first 5 miles to the end of the trail, let gravity do the work while you cruise back downhill to your car over the last 5 miles, enjoying breathtaking views of Raccoon Mountain, Signal Mountain, and downtown Chattanooga far below you. Add on an out and back on the Upper Truck Trail to add distance to the workout. NOTE: 2.2 miles into the trail, you’ll reach a T in the trail. For Guild-Hardy Trail, take a left and for the Upper Truck Trail take a right.

All three of these paths are soft surface-mostly crushed gravel, but are smooth enough that you won’t need to run in shoes different than your everyday road trainers. Your legs will also thank you for a break from the hard concrete. Don’t worry about getting lost either! These routes are out and back, so no confusion or turn by turn directions, and it allows you to tailor the workout to the specific distance that you need to complete that day.

The Day: Chattanooga has plenty of options for post-workout activities. If history is your passion, explore the battlefields at Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga. If cheesy tourist fun is more your style, take a tour of Ruby Falls and Rock City, both a very short drive from the trailhead. Downtown Chattanooga offers the Tennessee Aquarium, a great way to spend the day learning more about both marine and river life.

Photo credit: @joshcmorton

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5/28/2018 Yoga Under the Stars Adventure Science Center JUNE 6/2/2018 Battle of the Barbells Team Competition 3 Star CrossFit 6/15/2018 Go Ruck Tough Challenge Nashville, TN 6/16/2018 UNplugged in Nashville Hike & Yoga - Long Hunter State Park 6/30/2018 Yoga Under the Stars Adventure Science Center




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