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Be strong for life…not just for the gym

Dallas in July

Every year, I commit to studying something at least a little bit outside of my comfort zone to broaden my knowledge base and bring fresh perspectives to my students. A big fan of MobilityWOD, I knew within minutes of watching Kelly Starrett chat with Jill Miller that I wanted to learn more about her approach that interweaves yoga, anatomy, physical awareness, self care, movement, FMS correctives (though she doesn’t call them that but they are), mobility and strength. So this July, I headed to Dallas, Texas for the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 Teacher Training.

Ah life. So full of surprises. Getting into my rented apartment was challenging enough without an actual number and armed with a faulty door code…thank you pool guy for lending me your mobile phone to call help. But that’s not all. Upon finally gaining entry, I was greeted by a three-headed welcoming committee. First, the air conditioning didn’t work. Second, it’s over 100 degrees and humid in Dallas in July. Apparently I figured that anywhere would be cooler than Dubai in summer…errr, capital W R O N G. Third…thermodynamics. Hot air rises. And this awesome little apartment had a second floor bedroom. Great.

With very little fanfare, I picked up the double bed mattress and carried (admittedly there was a fair amount of pulling, pushing, dragging and quite possibly the smallest amount of colourful language involved but there were no witnesses) it down what can only be called a U shaped staircase (read: not rectangular). My thought was that the living room fan would at least offer SOME relief. Unfortunately, some plans are only good in theory. It was like sleeping next to a hair dryer. Again, great.

While sharing a behind the scenes glimpse of my travels is fun, it’s not today’s topic. That is to highlight a living example of strength having a greater purpose.

Strength has a greater purpose

You might think that my strength’s purpose that day was to be able to ‘wo’manhandle ridiculously cumbersome bedding around a staircase. Sure being strong came in handy. It usually does. But that’s just a small part of it. My strength’s greatest purpose that day was that I was not an obstacle in what I wanted to do.

Life has a way of throwing enough challenges, pitfalls, mountains, twists and bends in our paths. I never want to be one of them. Sure I appreciate my limitations. But they don’t stop me. I don’t let them define me or close doors to opportunities. I don’t dwell on what I can’t do. Instead I focus on what I can do. And I want to do more.

I was faced with a problem to which several options were available: 1) sleep in the upstairs heat, 2) go to a hotel, 3) move the mattress. One was intolerable. Two was expensive. Three was, well, obvious. It didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do that. I train to move as best as I can. I can trust my legs to transmit power through a stable spine to my arms. Maybe a mattress isn’t the same shape as a kettlebell or barbell, but solid principles of movement still apply even though the modality changes. Hmmmm, maybe I need to start a new workout trend focused on moving furniture…

Strength is an attitude. And attitude is a choice.


Apparently Dallas has a crazy breed of squatter ants that invade AC units and resist evacuation, or so I’m told. But after four days, the ant war was won (Martine 2, Ants 1). Great (this time with a smile). Short-lived elation…I couldn’t leave the mattress in the living room now could I? That’s so un-Canadian.

My Dallas adventure has given me so many opportunities to learn, reflect and appreciate. I am happy for the gumption to attempt to defy gravity. I’m quietly pleased that I didn’t need any psyching up to evoke a can-do attitude that seamlessly shifted into action. I am thankful of the trust I have in my physical training, body awareness and grit to know when to hit the common sense switch (and to know when I’m working within my means so don’t have to). I am thrilled that math & physics schooling comes in handy to figure how to get around corners with a mattress (or other unwieldy objects). I’m proud that Canadians are usually regarded as being polite and that I’m not bursting any bubbles by not living up to our reputation. I am shocked at my lack of restraint in using even more colorful language on the way up the stairs. I am grateful not to be my own obstacle.

Let me know about your everyday strength experiences. Comment below, feel free to send me an email at or comment or tag me on instagram @kult_fitness.