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A Personal Journey, Week 5: I Discover I’m a Cheese Filled Burger

I knew heading into this journey that I’d have to make some changes in my life in order to have a real and lifelong impact on my health and wellness. But, in order to make healthy changes you first need to know your baseline. So I decided it was time to meet with a personal trainer.

BKB has a bunch of personal trainers who specialize in training for many activities, not just climbing. The first rule is to not get intimidated by how incredibly fit these folks are. They are all genuinely wonderful human beings who do this job because they truly believe in the power of training and helping people achieve their goals. I met with Felice Lopez, a new trainer at BKB. I chose her mostly because we both frequent the at (and I knew if I started shame crying, she’d understand).

Felice and I met, and she walked me through my current stats. We talked about everything: my normal activity per week, my diet, my family history, and what my goals are. Then she weighed me (gasp!) with a special scale that has conductive panels for your hands and feet. This scale sends a small, undetectable electric charge through your body to measure your current percentage of body fat and muscle. I won’t go into too much detail here but, needless to say, my stats aren’t… the best. Years of eating whatever was around with limited activity has taken a toll on my body. My fat percentage is way too high and my muscle percentage is way too low. I’m sorta like that delicious cheese filled burger at Shake Shack (which I’m never eating again), all gooey in the middle.

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After my weigh in, Felice prescribed me a great workout plan that blended strength training, stretching, and cardio. She also offered up some great diet and nutrition advice, as well as set up weekly training sessions for us.

And then I went back to my work day. Which proved difficult.

The next few days were tough and sorta sent me into a spiral of shame. No wonder my knees are hurting all the time. No wonder I’m winded when I walk up stairs. How did I get so far in the wrong direction? I suppose at least now I knew just how far I needed to go to get healthy, but I found myself at a “make-or-break” moment. I could either say, “Oh well, too hard!” and go back to a sedentary lifestyle full of delicious, gooey cheese and quadruple bypass surgery at 60, OR I could download MyFitnessPal (a fitness tracking app), do three, 30 minute workouts a week, and eat delicious, healthy food in moderation.

So, I woke up the next day, downloaded MyFitnessPal, walked 4 miles with my extremely excited dog, logged my steps, did a kettlebell workout the next day, did yoga, ate a metric ton of quinoa, and started taking steps.

Real, honest steps toward my goal.

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Oh! I didn’t mention my goal yet, did I? My goal is to dance on my 90th birthday wearing high heels. The work I do now at 39 will, hopefully, get me there. And if not, it will at least make walking up stairs in my 40s, and 50s, and beyond, much, much easier.

So, to those out there reading this, my message to you is to take a chance. Find your baseline, no matter how far you believe it might put you from your goal. , consider it a challenge.

Make a playlist of all the songs that pump you up, put your headphones in, and start walking until you can start running. Go out dancing with your friends and dance all night. MOVE. Stretch deeper. Breathe deeper. And eat a metric ton of quinoa because that shit is actually pretty delicious.

Be a champion of your own body. Become superhuman.

I believe you can do it, because I believe I can do it.

Last Week

Why I’m doing this

Why BKBeastmode?

Humans are social animals. With partners, we are able to develop bold strategies and consistent execution. We see their weaknesses as our strengths and we see their fortitude in our flaws.

We are able to climb harder. Think faster. Endure longer. We are stronger together.

yoga fitness

A Personal Journey, Week 4: I Found My Zen in an Unexpected Place

Lots of natural light, mirrors, and a beautiful mural on the wall make the yoga room at BKB Somerville one of my favorite places. Nestled in a corner, away from all the activity happening on the floor, I sometimes find myself in there, sitting, and taking a moment to breathe. So, after the last few weeks of hardcore activity, I was really looking forward to taking a nice, peaceful yoga class to see how being active felt inside the room. And, besides, as everyone knows, yoga is all about stretching, heavy exhales, tea tree oil, and fancy, strappy sports bras. (Right? Right???)

Well, while I was not necessarily wrong in painting that picture, (there were some awesome sports bras in that room, lemme tell you) what one might forget is that when yoga is done with power and intention, it also provides you with one heck of a workout.

Such was the case when I took instructor ’s* Open Level Yoga class.

Her classes are based around the phases of the moon, and while I don’t know much about the moon phases, I quickly realized this particular moon phase must have something to do with DESTROYING YOUR LEG MUSCLES FOR DAYS. Which is basically what happened (but it was awesome and you’ll find out why). We did lunges, squats, planks, and, my personal favorite, chair pose. (Disclaimer: chair pose is NOT my personal favorite.)

I know what you’re thinking.

“Abby, It’s just like sitting in a chair only… without the chair. Don’t you, basically, sit all day? What’s the big deal??”

While I get why you might feel that way, think about that for a sec. There’s no seat to rest your butt under. There’s just you and your thighs and a slow burn that gets more and more intense the longer you hold it. So, I’m awkwardly squatting there and my thighs are burning like two hot dog buns on a smoking grill. AND then Laura, bless her heart, is all “sink deeper” and I was like:


But, I tried it and…suddenly…I felt this burn start to radiate throughout my body. And, then, I started to feel my mind become so… quiet. It was just me, my burning thighs, and my breath. I realized this is real yoga. Not sports bras, or crystals, or fancy oils.

Just me, my breath, and my body.


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For the following three days I could barely walk, but each time I used those sore, thigh muscles, that feeling of zen came back, for just a moment, and reminded me of that clear space I found when in chair pose.

With all the craziness happening in the world and in our lives right now, it’s so important to recognize and relish in these moments of pure clarity and connection. It made me feel grateful that I have access to a place that can provide this for me and others.

*Laura is a really cool yogi who also bring yoga classes outdoors into nature through her own company, .

Next Week: I take a personal training consultation!

Last Week: Climbing


ARTober 2017

“Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people—the beauty within themselves.” -Langston Hughes

With each piece of art serving as a visual history into the culture of our present, BKB aims to push imagination, passion, and physical potential.

Since BKB’s inception in 2009 the boundaries of art and culture have been intentionally pushed. The line between satisfaction and evolution has been drawn over and over again; constantly erased, thickened, moved, and restructured while always boldly, and emphatically, crossed.

Art not only serves as a pillar of Brooklyn Boulders but as an integral stone in the foundation of a culture almost a decade in the making. Without creativity we deprive our community of innovation and without art we lack transformation.

​BKB​ ​is​ ​stoked​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​you​ ​ARTober–a​ ​month​ ​of​ ​showcasing art at BKB. We​ ​invite​ ​you​ ​to​ ​join​ ​us​ ​in​ ​tapping​​ ​our artistic​ ​side​ ​as​ ​we​ ​highlight​ ​art​ ​at​ ​BKB. To kick us off, we were inspired by #inktober and the creation of daily,​ ​ink​ ​drawings​.

Our​ ​designer, Sergio Ordonez​, will​ ​be​ ​producing daily​ ​ink​ ​drawings​ ​for​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​month​ ​of​ ​October.​ ​Each​ ​unique​ ​piece​ ​will​ ​be​ ​given​ ​away​ ​to​ ​those that​ ​join​ ​us​ ​in​ ​#BKBartober​ (while supplies last).

Get​ ​INKvolved​ ​in​ ​4​​ ​Steps:  

1.​ ​Make​ ​a​ ​drawing​ ​in​ ​ink
2.​ ​Post​ ​it​ ​on​ ​Instagram
3.​ ​Hashtag​ ​#BKBartober,​ ​#inktober​ ​and​ ​tag​ ​us!
4.​ ​Repeat​ ​every​ ​day​ ​of​ ​October

See below for the daily prompt list with recommended words to inspire your ink drawings.​ And check​ ​back​ soon ​for​ ​more​ ​showcases​ ​and​ ​spotlights​ ​during​ ​BKB’s​ ​ARTober! ​ 

Interested in art at BKB? Got a story you’d like to showcase? Email us at [email protected].

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