I’ve never been to America (Jack’s been several times) so I was intrigued as to how things actually were in regard to health, fitness and nutrition. They are one of the biggest nations in the world and leaders or pioneers in many things. Every year the American College of Sports Medicine produces the top 10 fitness trends for the year (2015 Body Weight was 1. and HIIT was 2.) and what is on top is a good indication of what is ‘hot’ or what will be ‘hot’ in the UK, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere in the not- too distant future.
Our first stop on the US tour is Hawaii and as much as we wanted to drink Mai Tais and stand-up paddle board all day, we also knew we could learn a lot from the local fitness and yoga community on the North Shore. Bikram Yoga has been on the North Shore for 12 years, owned and run by Vicki, and is a small studio with very experienced teachers. While we were there, we were lucky enough to be taught by two of these yoga experts! It was so good we went every day for four days in a row. These guys were effortless in their teaching style and were quick to pick on us new kids on the block, and highlight both our strengths and more importantly our weaknesses.
After 4 days I felt like my yoga practice had improved and flourished under the tutelage of Kerry, who after 17 years as a teacher can spot you leaning on a hip or sinking into a side bend in seconds and offers you a personal adjustment. I heard my name a lot during those classes and tuned in to get as much out of it as possible. It helped that the studio can only take a maximum of 20 people, so Kerry was able to offer up so many suggestions from her razor sharp observations. I never managed to get to Chokai’s class, the other teacher, but Jack had the pleasure. Chokai asked him during class if he’d ever boxed, noticing the difference in strength & flexibility from one side of his body to the other: a very astute observation from a teacher whose very first Bikram class was with Bikram Choudry!
Chokai is a teacher, healer and a great guy (we had the pleasure of sharing a few beers with him) and we hope he comes to see us in Scotland if we ever have a yoga studio of our own.
We also went to a TRX Flow class at a local resort, where they offer a range of TRX suspension training classes. Again the class was taken by an experienced yoga and fitness teacher who knew her stuff. I’ve been doing TRX for years and as an instructor you become complacent and ‘compensate’, overly, for weaker muscles or injuries. These become patterns and habits which form over time and it takes a confident and experienced person to pick up on these things and correct them.
I received some great feedback and suggestions for my dodgy bent elbows in TRX Pike, and some good info on managing my sciatica. We also picked up some great moves, which we know, but when performed slower and sequenced differently, they feel completely different.
I get the feeling this trip is bit like being back at school and we are going to get picked up and picked on for all our little habits, movement patterns which we’ve honed over the years. San Francisco and TRX headquarters will be an eye opener for sure, in a good way……Jack’s besides himself at going to the ‘Source’……….well, it’s me really….he just carries the bags!
We purposefully booked a self-catering apartment in Hawaii so that we could make the most of our meals as we knew the North Shore had limited restaurants (there’s five at Turtle Cove Resort, but we’d be broke after 3 days if we ate there every day). We found a great organics shop called Celestial Whole Foods in nearby Halewai and we survived on groceries from Foodland, which had awesome Marlin (just like tuna) and Moonfish, fresh and wild caught and a great selection of fruit and vegetables.
Whilst traversing the shopping aisles at Foodland, a quick look at the products and the ingredients made me realise how lucky we are in Australia. The packaged goods, including all the breads are packed with not just one type of sugar but at least three types: from high fructose corn syrup, to molasses and evaporated cane sugar (this is in nearly everything). I gave up trying to read the ingredients list, the contents are triple what is in the foods in Australia and I’ve never heard of half of them. Poached eggs and fish and salad were the order of the day! Plus a few gluten free beers called ‘Mission’ created by a guy who suffered from Celiac disease but loved beer: so created one he could drink.
Hawaii is super-chilled, very friendly and the coffee is awesome (thanks Coffee Bean)! Every house has at a couple of Cruiser-bikes in their front yards, and this is the preferred form of transport on the North Shore, at least! ‘Sundowners’ is a daily occurrence, everyone surfs and the life guards take life at the beach seriously. One spot we visited, experienced the most spinal injuries in the States and had 6 drownings in 6 months! Our last ocean swim was at Waikiki and we savoured every minute knowing it could be our last for a very long time! San Francisco will be a bit cooler, wethinks!