PG Opens early August at 310 Cal Ave, Palo Alto

It's a true pleasure to announce the opening of our new PerformanceGaines facility on California Avenue. The move to our new home represents a dream actualized, a goal attained, and a new beginning for our team. We are in the business of helping people through movement; we are delighted to join the California Avenue community to offer our partnership, camaraderie, and stewardship to our client athletes, our business partners, and our neighborhood at large. 

Our move to Cal Ave is a tremendous endeavor--and we couldn't be more excited to share what we have to offer. Our new home is so much more than a gym: it's a dojo, a place of learning, for our athletes and coaches alike. Our open floor plan--including a large turf, agility area, monkey bars, and cable machines--provides the physical and mental space to move and flow. Our locker room amenities provide an end-to-end athlete experience allowing you to efficiently focus on your custom fitness program. 

Our team is a collective of movement coaches devoted to the ideal of a training experience focused around more than just exercising. We at PerformanceGaines foster a culture of progression and creativity. We create services that lead to powerful experiences for our athletes, positively influencing their lives today with a focus on their ability to achieve their dreams of tomorrow.

As the business owner, I am here to thank you for the warm welcome we've received from the community throughout the journey of making our new home on California Avenue. My team of coaches and I have poured our every effort into achieving this milestone; the time, drive, and dedication we have invested is all in the name of a vision and commitment to coach athletes of all levels to perform at their highest potential throughout their lives. We look forward to engaging the California Avenue community through our meaningful services, community events, and promotion of a culture of learning.

Physical "Education" class

     If you are like me, you loved P.E. class as a kid.  Although named incorrectly - there wasn’t a morsel of education - boy was it fun.  There was little regulation, no education, it was an hour of fun and games with your friends while catching up on any gossip from earlier in the day.  A chance to use some of the pent-up energy you had from being an angsty teenager stuck sitting in a chair all day.  

     As much as I loved P.E. class, I think the purpose of "Physical Education" needs to be revisited.  To me, it should include: education on physical health and the human body as well as movement through sports and games.  I know there are schools and programs out there, such as SHAPE America who are spearheading this reform and changing P.E. class around America.   Educating youth about their bodies and health as it relates to their physical health is lacking in our country.  Yet every single person who was enrolled in a U.S. school between kindergarten and 12th grade took many, many hours of P.E, a class thats very namesake suggests it should be designed to help educate.

Twenty to thirty minutes a few times a week teaching kids about their bodies and how to maintain a healthy spine, joints, muscles can't be a bad thing, can it?  There are lots of good ideas about how to approach this, but its starts with building a "norm" for the country on what should be taught at what age and what is expected to be learned by the students.  And that is long conversation for another time.  Have thoughts on how we can normalize and spread this reform? I'd love to hear them!

 

 

I'm ready to start, but where?

We posed the following question to PG Coach Alyssa Chang, " I want to start to make some changes because I am unhappy with the way I feel and look, but I have no idea where to start.  Fitness?  Nutrition? Both?  Where and how do I begin?"

Alyssa had, to say the least, an awesome and passionate response:

In my opinion and from personal experience, I would encourage any person to spend some time reflecting on what "body image" they are striving for and to journal about these questions: 

1. How does it FEEL to be in this body?

2. Who are you surrounded by?

3. How would people describe you? How would you like to describe yourself?

4. What are you accomplishing in this body?

5. How would you define "happiness"

6. What activities, hobbies do you enjoy?

I feel, as a coach, that it is important to understand where the athlete's mindset currently is. What language do they use and how do they define words like happiness, healthy, good or bad, body image etc. and also who are they surrounded by? It is important to gather as much information about their current mindset and lifestyle so that the next steps are catered to which phase of change they are in (Stages of Change: Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and recycle). 

After the athlete and I are able to narrow down what exactly this new "image" feels like there are a few different ways I would approach this transformation. 

Happiness and Positivity:

Firstly, I like to coach athletes to find ways to bring more happiness into the their life. I encourage them to practice forms of gratitude, add more activities that bring them joy and remove aspects of unnecessary stress from their lives (whether that comes from cleaning up their desk, contacts list, fridge etc). The act of decluttering will leave more space for them to begin adding in positivity and healthier habits. It will leave more space to foster strong, positive relationships that can heavily impact someone's confidence as they continue on this journey. Overall happiness, has a large contribution to someone's overall relationship with their body. 

Moving:

Yes, movement is important, but going back to the first statement of practicing more of what makes you happy, also move in a way that brings you joy. A lot of athletes/clients believe they MUST go to the gym 5-6x a week, do cardio 60-90 minutes a day and eat like birds to achieve their goal body. If that makes someone happy, then of course I will not be the one to discourage it (but, let's be honest, not everyone wants to spend "Friday night at the 'bar'(bell). 

Make a list of activities that make you happy to be alive. Is it walking with your dog, is it hiking, is it dancing, is it skateboarding, is it lifting weights, is it running...whatever it is schedule it in and enjoy that time moving; moving for your overall happiness. 

Fueling: 

Nutrition is complex, it is always changing and there are so many new diets that people are no longer know HOW to eat. Going back to happiness, I encourage clients to make a list of their favorite foods. Then to grocery shop from that list (with some added guidance and suggestions). Clients aiming for specific goals (let's use body image as an example) their fueling plans need to address a couple of areas: 

Help the athlete get to their goal body while also creating a sustainable lifestyle meal plan. Anytime you're on a meal plan, I encourage you to ask yourself if you can picture yourself eating this way in a week, in a month, in 3 months, in 6 months, in a year? If yes, fantastic! If no, where do you feel restricted, unhappy and or unsatisfied. Then adjust accordingly. The reason why 90% of the time diets fail is often because they are too restricted, too extreme, and do not make people happy. 

"Transformation" and non-scale victories:

I find that it is important to also express that transformation (eh hem, true, long lasting internal and external transformations) do not happen overnight. More importantly they do not not happen if the athlete is not practicing forms of gratitude, positivity, and self acceptance/appreciation throughout the journey towards this goal body.  A lot of social media markets physical transformations as the way to achieve happiness (ex. weight loss= happiness). For example, we see this in before and after photos. The client is pictured with a frown, unhappy and heavier than their "after" picture where they showcase their new body and big smile. But, is the athlete really happy? Or are they looking in the mirror still unhappy with their body? In most cases, if the athlete is not making note of "non-scale victories" it may lead to an over obsession with the scale, with what they eat, if they hit their macros, if they ate and/or exercised perfectly. 

Therefore, taking notes, reassessing often and jotting down all the internal and external progress will lead towards a healthier relationship with their body. Non-scale victories may include the following: improved mood, more energy, clothes fitting better, a less negative relationship with food, flexible eating, enjoying exercise, quality sleep, happier etc.

Therefore, I strongly feel that a client defining happiness for themselves will create more clarity on how they want their lives to look like. By helping them bring more joy into their life through fun activities, through flexible dieting and through practicing forms of gratitude will surely amount to a healthier and happy body and essentially a happier life.  Take away what you feel you NEED to look like and replace it with what you want you life to FEEL like. 

Thoughtful practice with Olympic lifts

     In Olympic lifting, and in any kind of lifting for that matter, the set-up can be the most important factor in determining whether you will be successful or not. From the beginning, all of the cues are hammered into you on what a technically sound set-up should be "Shoulders above or slightly in front of the bar", "Hips above the knees at liftoff",  "Bar over the middle of the foot", "Push through the floor during the first pull, drive through the heels during the second pull", and a slew of other sayings comprise the checklist any lifter will go through as they approach the barbell. Much like a batter performing his or her routine as they enter the batter's box, part of it is designed to put them into position, but it also acts to calm the nerves. The "checklist" is familiar, even when the environment is not. It makes the final lift on a platform to win the meet just another rep in the gym. At that point you shouldn't have to think, because thinking takes too long. All of the thinking was done during the thousands of reps beforehand accompanied by the sweat, blood, agony, and exhilaration of training. The setup is usually the only thing you'll need to worry about because once that's done, its simple; JUST LIFT!

Coming back from an injury

     Losing the ability to do something you've either taken for granted or truly loved doing is a painful thing. There's no way around that feeling. I know. I recently experienced a pretty serious injury - a patellar tendon rupture - that has impacted my independence with day-to-day tasks, halted my ability to drive, and reminded me that I do not have as much control over the events that happen to me as I once thought.

     For me, this experience doesn't necessarily mean the end of pursing my passions. It's a speed bump, or traffic jam, that impacts how quickly I make progress towards my aim to be as strong and functionally mobile as possible. I could get angry, or frustrated, or sad (and don't get me wrong, all those feelings have been felt at some point during this experience), but I choose to not let those feelings consume me because I know they don't help me move forward toward my future self.

     I'm focusing on the things that will help me grow as a person, a leader, and a coach. I'm learning to ask others for help--something I've never been one to do. I'm learning to delegate projects to my teammates--something I've historically always done myself. I'm also developing a new perspective on training. I'm learning so much more about tissue adaptation from an injury standpoint, which is influencing my view on how the human body adapts to training stresses.

     I'm fully committed to getting back to 100%, with an understanding that I was not at 100% when my injury occurred. Everything I'm learning, all the movement drills I'm incorporating into my program, all the people I'm meeting, the relationships I'm strengthening, and the support I'm receiving are experiences that I otherwise may not have had the opportunity to appreciate. How do I stay positive? I focus on the experiences I'm having and the day-to-day progress I'm making. Life is a process. It's not always linear, but there is always progress. That progress is influenced by our mindset and the way in which we respond to the things that happen in our lives. And I'm determined to get the most out of this experience and come out on the other side a better person than I was going in.

- Coach Chris