Re-entry back into the United States after 5+ years living in Costa Rica has been a serious adjustment. Ok let me rephrase that, it’s been really hard. No change is ever easy. I get that. But there is no way I thought it would be this tough. 

Life was simple in Costa Rica. The water was warm, the roads dusty, and the dogs wild.

Here in San Diego it feels like everything is too much. Sidewalks are perfectly manicured. Every block with beach access has multiple signs telling you what you can’t do on the beach. There are workers with leaf blowers blasting the sand off the stairs leading up from the beach. My Costa Rican friends would think that is fucking crazy – a guy clearing the sand from the stairs!

But nowhere is the stark contrast more palpable than driving on the roads. Giant freeways scatter the landscape here in Southern California. Major intersections are 5 lanes wide with multiple turning lanes where 2 minute waits are standard at each light. Strip malls on every corner. Did I mention people everywhere?

Get this – A busy day in my life in Tamarindo, I might see a few hundred people. Here in San Diego, I drive 5 minutes on the freeway and my brain is processing thousands of cars. It’s a little overwhelming to say the least.

Here’s a fun fact:

Southern California population = 23,000,000.

Entire country of Costa Rica = 4,700,000.

I’ll be sharing more about this transition in the coming weeks and before you start feeling sorry for me, know this –  we chose this. Julie and I knew it would a be difficult transition, but we wanted to grow, to learn new things unavailable in Costa Rica, to expand our horizons, and to experience more. So while I am hopeful these things will manifest in time, what I know now in this moment is that it’s a hell of shock to the system.

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But the one constant shining light is our commitment to fitness and health.

Access to Awesome People

One of the coolest parts about being back in the states is the access to resources, especially when it comes to fitness. This past weekend I attended an 8 Hour HKC Kettlebell Certification Workshop. It was taught by Max Shank, an awesome teacher and straight-up beast, the owner of Ambition Athletics here in Encinitas. It was 8 hours of squatting, swinging, turkish get-ups, and lots of other fun. At the end, we were required to pass the following test in each of the 3 basic kettlebell moves: The swing, goblet squat, and the turkish get-up. 

HKC group pic

The HKC workshop crew

I’ve been using kettlebells for a few years now, but this workshop really helped me solidify my understanding about how to use kettlebells and more importantly how to coach people using kettlebells. 

3 Lessons From the Workshop

1) Find your physical weak points and work to correct them

Most people have flexibility and mobility issues. At the very least, these limitations will prohibit you from doing some really fun stuff. And even worse, left unchecked, they will most likely lead to some sort of injury. You have to do the work and figure out your limitations. For me, I know it’s my ankles. I suffered multiple ankle sprains from playing basketball over the years and therefore my ankles don’t have proper range of motion. This lack of range in my ankles doesn’t allow me to squat with good form. It puts extra stress on my knees and hips. I try to work on this everyday to get better. You have to address your weakness. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to us and we’ll figure it out.

2) The goblet squat is an amazing, user friendly exercise that most people should be doing

Just about everyone should be squatting, ideally with some weight. But the reality is normal body weight squats wont do the trick and using the barbell to squat can be technical and not everyone has the correct mobility to do them properly. The goblet squat is a safe and effective way to squat. It’s awesome for increasing hip mobility, but also can be used to build strength in the legs.

3) The kettlebell swing might be the perfect exercise

Rarely do you get the benefit of resistance training with cardio in the same move, but the kettlebell swing does exactly that. I’ve talked about the swing before here. But this weekend only solidified my love for the swing. The simple take-away is do swings and do them often.

I could go on and on about other things I learned. My brain is good for now. I’m thinking this acclimation process will take a little while. In the meantime, I’m using fitness as my unwavering rock that grounds me in this unsettled, new world. I’m getting my workouts in, staying focused and that has made all the difference for me. 

Amongst all the chaos, all the uncertainty, all the unknowns, you too can have this commitment to yourself, your body and your mind that you do no matter what. It’s been a transformational part of my life and I want to help you make it part of your life.

This is the power of fitness.

If you don’t know where to start, reach out to us and we’ll set up a free session to discuss how we can help you!

Enjoy your weekend, 

Nick

 

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