CAMPer of the Month: Kristin!

Kristin Thurston is not just our CAMPer of the month for July- she also happens to be a straight badass, and we're so thankful that Che brought her into our studio. First of all, she is the co-owner of the USA Ambassador Pageant, which is much more than your typical beauty pageant. She's also a cancer survivor, and she'll be celebrating her third year in remission next month. We love getting to see her smiling face at CAMP, and we're pumped to have all of y'all get to know her as well! Read on for more info about why she loves coming to CAMP and how she treats herself after a tough workout! 

 
 

1) Where are you from? What do you do here in Tampa? 

I grew up in New Hampshire, but I have called Tampa home since 1999, when I made the choice to attend The University of Tampa. My day time job includes being a regional trainer for Edmunds.com, covering the the entire state of Florida. My passion is being the co-owner of the USA Ambassador Pageant with my mom, which is a charity driven organization that promotes success through leadership, integrity, character and confidence to its pageant contestants. I love to travel and recently came back from Iceland and Ireland and have a trip planned for August in Cuba. I spend my time with my 2 fur babies, volunteering with various organizations, and I now can say I am proud to include being a Happy CAMPer :) 

2) What first brought you into CAMP? 

Che, who I have known since college, had been telling me about it for months...I knew in my heart that I would finally give it a try when the timing was right. He was very persistent and finally convinced me, and I have been hooked every since.

3) What kept you coming back after your first time? 

All of the staff and instructors are fantastic, as well as the people who attend CAMP... it is a very encouraging, passionate, and dynamic environment, and the energy is contagious! Also the fact there is such a variety of classes to choose from is key for me and my ever-changing work schedule. 

4) Favorite class, if you have one? Favorite instructor? 

That is such a difficult question for me to answer, because all the classes and instructors have been fantastic. Each time I take a class I walk out feeling fantastic, and I enjoy each one for different reasons. The Cycle/Yoga Blend on Monday morning is a great start to the week, and a Circuit class in the evening is a great way to tone. Lauren B is probably the only person who can get my butt excited for a 6AM class, her energy and smile is contagious. Lance's classes probably push me the hardest, and Nancy "Coach Oates" is always fun and challenging.

 
 

5) What makes CAMP different from other fitness studios in the area? 

The energy is so different here... everyone is competitive, but supportive. The variety of class types and instructors combines several boutique style workouts into one- previously I had tried studios that focused on just one element (Cycle, Barre, or Circuit). I love the fact that I now have a facility where I have so many choices, and that each instructor brings something different to each class, so it never gets boring. Plus the fact that classes are offered at all hours of the day including weekends makes it a definite plus. Working out every day never gets boring because of this. You can always change your classes up depending upon how your body is feeling that day- it's fantastic. 

6) How has CAMP changed the game for you, in terms of fitness/health?

Although CAMP is still new for me (I have been only attending for 1 1/2 months), the fact that I look forward every day to attending classes is unbelievable. I have found a new love again for fitness... when I was younger, fitness and sports was a huge part of my life. After battling cancer almost four years ago (I celebrate my 3 years in remission next month), it was difficult getting back into a routine of working out...I always knew I had that drive deep down inside, but I needed something to bring the motivation out in me again. While I have some personal goals that I would like to achieve, I have never felt better both physically and mentally. CAMP has brought fitness back into my lifestyle, instead of just a temporary fix to lose weight.  

7) What is your favorite way to refuel post-workout? 

Depends on the day, but a good low calorie fruit smoothie from Smoothie King is my treat on occasion after a workout. 

8) How do you treat yoself? 

A good glass of wine is the easy way I treat myself...I also enjoy traveling, so I will now be incorporating fitness while traveling, to stay on point with my goals. 

 
 

9) Favorite workout apparel brand? 

Honestly I am not picky at all when it comes to my favorite work out brand. I wear Under Armour, Nike, Old Navy... whatever makes me feel good, and if it's on sale, even better :) If I want to splurge I love Lorna Jane Apparel! 

10) Do you believe in having a workout buddy? If so, who do you work out with? 

I think having a workout buddy is a fantastic way to keep you on track, as well as a fun way to keep you motivated. I was fortunate I started this journey at CAMP with my dear friend Dustin, although what I love about Camp is that it has given me the self-motivation to attend classes regardless. But having someone is definitely a plus and always fun. 

WTF is Inflammation?

At CAMP, we're big proponents of treating yourself post-workout with whatever your heart desires, whether that's a donut from Dough or a six bowl from Fresh Kitchen. Diets are a waste of time, and we work too hard to skimp on food. However, we love the idea of improving our performance here at CAMP through what we eat. Inflammation has been a big buzz word in the health community for a while now, and we wanted to investigate the truth behind the term, as well as how it impacts our workouts and our lifestyles. We asked Danielle Bertiger, a close friend and future RD who is pursuing her Master's in Nutrition at Columbia, to enlighten us and help us understand why inflammation is important. Beyond the Western perspective, we also sought some insight from one of our yoga teachers, Brittany, who is currently in school at the Ayurvedic Institute. Read on to find out why inflammation sucks and what you can do about it! 

So to start... what exactly is inflammation? From a scientific perspective, Danielle tells us: 

"Inflammation is the body's immune response reacting against internal damage. Acute inflammation is more visible to the naked eye, quickly resolved, and less harmful long-term. It manifests as swelling, redness, heat, and pain. (I.e. a cut, bruise or burn). Chronic inflammation, however, is usually undetected until it becomes a serious problem, such as hypertension or coronary heart disease. Even though both activate the same response system, chronic inflammation starts out on a cellular level- it's low-grade and unnoticeable, but overtime the cumulative effect of activating these inflammatory response proteins in the body can overwork the system and lead to irreparable damage." 

Essentially, inflammation can be a good thing when it activates our immune system and helps us heal injuries or minor illnesses. For example, if you've ever wiped out doing a headstand in Yoga and bruised yourself, inflammation would help you heal and get right back into your practice, pain-free. However, inflammation can be harmful when it's insidiously occurring in the background, and it can manifest in a number of ways before it becomes truly life-threatening. Some say that depression, fatigue, and stomach issues are symptoms of inflammation, so if you've been eating a ton of donuts and noticing that your mood has been a little off lately, it might be time to check in with what you're eating. 

But what specific foods cause inflammation, and what can we do to prevent it? Danielle states that "Omega 6 fatty acids, trans fats, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, red meat, and dairy are pro-inflammatory," while "Omega 3 fatty acids, dark leafy greens, extra virgin olive oil, blueberries, ginger, turmeric, and green tea are anti-inflammatory." As a future RD, Danielle is all about reducing inflammation by focusing on incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet- not necessarily cutting all of the inflammatory foods out. So maybe you substitute one of your daily coffees with a green tea and go meatless at Fresh Kitchen by subbing tofu or even poke for your typical order of steak. The options are truly endless- it's just about finding ways to sneak health into your lifestyle without driving yourself crazy. 

 
 

Danielle also recommends changing up your lifestyle, because inflammation is a result of much more than just our food choices. Stress is a major cause of chronic inflammation, so getting your butt to Yoga could be a game-changer, especially if you work a stressful job. Also, make sure you're getting enough sleep, even if that means hitting snooze and skipping an early workout. Sleep is your body's chance to recover, so make sure you're always getting enough, especially with how hard you're pushing yourself here at CAMP. Danielle also recommends cleaning up your personal care products and treating them like food- "your skin is your biggest organ and it absorbs skincare products into your bloodstream, so you should understand what the ingredients in your products are!" 

We found it pretty interesting that Brittany, coming from an Ayurvedic perspective, had very similar things to say regarding inflammation and how to heal it. This shows that the issue is of equal importance, no matter which school of thought you agree with, and that it can be effectively fixed, if you implement the agreed-upon suggestions. Brittany states: 

"Ayurveda considers most, if not all cases of inflammation are usually due to excess pitta in the body. Our digestion and our mind are usually the two places we notice our first signs of Pitta in excess. If you notice you've become agitated more easily or even noticed changes in your stool, it's quite possible your Pitta is in excess. To help pacify pitta and reduce inflammation, try eating a good balance of lightly cooked and raw fresh vegetables. Try implementing cooling spices like coriander, fennel and cardamom. Avoid highly processed foods, anything fried, red meat, stimulants, salty, pungent and sour tastes. Sweet and calming music and smells don't hurt either." 

So instead of loading your plate up with spicy, salty foods, try focusing more on cooling foods and herbs. And it might be time to finally invest in some essential oils! Taking a whiff of a calming blend can be incredibly helpful when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and according to Ayurveda, it can reduce pitta in the body, which contributes to chronic inflammation. 

Long story short: take care of yourself. You're working your butt off at CAMP, and you deserve to feel your absolute best. But never (NEVER) allow yourself to feel guilty for eating what you love. CAMP is a part of CRG, and we love food more than y'all could ever imagine. So run on over to Green Lemon, get yourself some chips and guacamole, and then come home and sip on some green tea. Because #Balance. 

Ask A Physical Therapist!

This week, our guest blogger is Brittany Davis, a physical therapist and a devoted member of our CAMP family. If you've ever had any aches and pains after class, this post is for you. Read on to find out how to prevent muscle soreness and so much more! 

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that we’ve probably all heard the quote, “Knowledge is power.” You may not agree with that statement completely, but when it comes down to it, I think we can all agree that knowledge gives us the ability to make better decisions. This applies to everything, including our health and fitness. As a physical therapist, my duty is to help my clients feel and move at a optimal and pain-free level, and also to make sure they have the power (in terms of knowledge) to continue to do so.

The questions and answers I am about to share with you are the most frequently asked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve wondered these things yourself… and maybe even during or after a killer workout session at CAMP. No need to fret, though! You’ll now have the information you need to keep making those gains.

 
 

Question #1 – Should I stretch before or after I workout?

The confusion regarding stretching comes down to the fact that many people mistake “stretching” with “warming up.” It doesn’t help that different stretching techniques add to the confusion. So, you should understand that it’s not so much a problem of “when” to stretch but more of the “how” that matters.

To start, a warm-up is very important and should be an essential piece of your exercise routine since it can help prevent injury. So, how should you warm up? The most beneficial warm-up routine would be made up of light aerobic exercise and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching actually involves movement and is held for shorter periods of time, typically less than 10 seconds. The easiest way to perform this type of stretch is to complete your normal stretching routine with only six repetitions, holding each for six seconds. Stretching this way prior to your workout can actually increase your muscular performance.

What you want to avoid before exercise is the long-hold static stretches, where you sit in a stretch for 30 seconds or more. Because this type of stretch is meant to improve your range of motion, it actually causes micro-tears in the muscle causing decreased muscle performance. Ain’t nobody got time for that during Circuit! If you are looking to increase your range of motion though, try this type of stretch when you aren’t about to hit the weights… or the curved treadmill.

Question #2 – My hamstrings are always so tight, even with stretching! What gives?

Real talk… Until you figure out why your muscles are feeling tight, you will not resolve the issue. But, if you’ve been stretching consistently without change and you are wondering what the deal is, it may be that it’s actually not the hamstrings that need to be stretched.

Your pelvic tilt can play a huge role in how the muscles in your back and legs feel. Shortened hip flexors at the front of the pelvis pull the front of the pelvis downwards. This causes the back of pelvis, where the hamstrings attach, to be pulled upwards putting those hammies into extension! So, stretching the hamstrings wouldn’t be fixing the issue at all. You actually would need to balance the pelvis out by stretching your hip flexors so that your hamstrings could settle into their normal length.

 
 

Question #3 – I have pain during a certain technique/position, does this mean I should stop doing it?

The first thing to come to terms with is that our body’s ability to feel pain/discomfort is a very good thing. The reason you feel pain is because you did something that your brain perceived to be a threat. If you are training without focusing on technique and causing irritation, your brain may associate a certain movement with pain so that you avoid that positioning long enough for the area to heal.

Next time you are performing a technique that doesn’t feel so good, there are a few steps you can take to get back on the right track. Very rarely does someone need to completely avoid or stop a certain exercise due to pain.

·      Grab your phone and take a video of yourself completing the exercise in question. Check out your form. What’s it looking like? Is there anything you can change or improve upon that may be contributing to the pain?

·      Let your class instructor check it out too. Maybe they’ll see something that you are missing!

·      Pay close attention to the movement to see if it’s at a certain range in the particular motion. If so, don’t push through that pain zone. The exercise can be performed, if applicable, without hitting that range until the irritation has calmed down.

·      Lighten the load and focus on form!

·      You want to be sure to figure out why the pain is there. If you have trouble figuring it out, get some help!

Question #4 – Is there a “right” way to squat?

The ideal squat form is individualized and depends on your unique anatomy. Gone are the days where everyone’s toes are facing forward! Even though proper form differs from person to person, there are things you should be mindful of.

Here are some pointers for overall form that everyone should focus on:

·      The feet are your stable base. Your weight shouldn’t be shifting too far forward or backward. If there is instability, check out your ankle mobility to see if it’s lacking.

·      The knees should track over your feet in a symmetrical position. If the knees fall inward or outward, this could be coming from a lack of control.

·      Your spine should remain neutral.

·      When coming out of the squat, your hips and chest should rise at the same time.

Adequate squat form is a balance between mobility and motor control. If you find that your form is out of whack, test your ankle and hip mobility first. To check ankle mobility, half-kneel with your front foot about four inches from a wall and try to bring your knee to the wall. Your hip mobility can be tested while lying on your back. You should be able to bring your knee to your chest. If you find that you aren’t lacking in either but your form isn’t the best it could be, it may be due to insufficient motor control. That’ll take some re-training.

 
 

Thank you for reading! Stay golden, y’all! If anyone ever has any questions or concerns, feel free to find me around CAMP or shoot me an email at Brittany.Davis.PT@levelupphysio.com! I’d love to help!

Brittany Davis, PT, DPT, ATC
Owner of Level Up Physiotherapy
Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer

*All content created for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing pain or looking to optimize your movement, schedule a free 15-minute phone call with me to discuss steps to handle this. Always seek advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read online.

Alex's Lemonade Stand: Our Charity of the Month

CAMP <3's our charities of the month. We especially love linking up with local businesses who support charities in unique ways. Northwestern Mutual has been a part of CAMP since the very beginning- we've hosted numerous group rides for their team, and we've loved getting to know their employees. So when it came time to pick a charity for June, we decided on Alex's Lemonade Stand, NM's charity of choice. You might have heard of this organization through Lauren B- all proceeds from her birthday ride went toward supporting Alex's Lemonade Stand. Read on to find out more about this amazing nonprofit and all of the ways you can help support it. 

Did you know that less than 10% of cancer research-related funding goes toward childhood cancer, making it the least funded? There is still so much work to do in terms of supporting childhood cancer research, and Alex's Lemonade Stand is doing its part to fix this problem. It all started with a little girl named Alex who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Though she was the recipient of cutting-edge research and treatment options, she wanted to help the kids who weren't so lucky. She hosted her first lemonade stand when she was only 4 years old, so she could help other kids afford the treatment she was receiving. She went on to raise over a million dollars, and though she eventually lost her battle with cancer, her legacy lives on to this day. The focus of Alex's Lemonade Stand is to provide and pay for cutting-edge research for kids with cancer, but they have also started to fund travel arrangements for families, so parents can be with their kids no matter where treatment is occurring. 

 
 

Northwestern Mutual is passionate in its support of this amazing nonprofit, as they host four signature events each year with all proceeds going towards Alex's Lemonade Stand. The Superhero Pub Crawl just occurred a couple weeks ago, and it was a major hit. We can't wait until next year! Night at the Museum is coming up on July 8th at 6PM, and its goal is to be a family-friendly occasion where all ages can get involved. The theme this year is superheroes, so get your costumes ready! The Love McKinley Golf Tournament is being held on July 14th- you can get more information about it here. We're looking at you, golfing dads! Their biggest event is the Lemon Drop, which will be held this year on November 9th from 6PM-9:30PM at The Vault downtown. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this amazing event- we had some members of the CAMP fam attend last year, and they couldn't stop raving about it! 

If you want to support Alex's Lemonade Stand, you should start by attending Lauren B's Pedal With Purpose ride this week on Saturday at 8:30AM. She loves teaching these charitable rides, and it's bound to be a really special experience. However, there are so many other ways you can help outside of just attending this ride, and we'd love to see our CAMPers in action in the community! Maybe you might consider attending one of the above events, or even getting your company to sponsor Lemon Drop in November. Email dayana.dorman@nm.com if you're interested in sponsoring! And if you have little CAMPers, consider hosting a lemonade stand in support of Alex's Lemonade Stand. You can find more information about doing this here

Can't wait to see y'all at the Pedal With Purpose ride on Saturday! 

Instructor of the Month: BRYAN

Bryan has completely changed the game for Circuit since he joined our team several months ago. His energy is infectious, and even though you'll break a major sweat in his classes, you'll be smiling the whole time. But Bryan has a lot more going on in his life outside of CAMP, and we were interested to find out what that entailed. Read on to find out more about this dynamic, inspiring trainer- we're so happy to have him! 

1) Where are you from originally?

I am from Geneva, Switzerland.

2) What brought you to Tampa?

While I was playing soccer at IMG academy in Bradenton, FL (academy/high school level), I met a friend who told me to have a look at the University of Tampa for their soccer program. I was too stubborn to play college soccer and decided to go back home and try to make it professional. However, after 2 years, my friend really convinced me and I fell in love with the school. It allowed me to do something that I could not do back home- playing at a high level while studying business.

 
 

3) You're in school, right? What are you studying? Career goals?

Yes, I am a senior at UT majoring in Entrepreneurship. We have an excellent Entrepreneurship program. The board of directors has invested a substantial amount of money for us to have a unique facility and an outstanding environment. My personal goal is to become the best version than I can be of myself, and this is why I keep trying to improve myself every single day. I will probably never become satisfied, but I am working towards it. Regarding my career goal, as a young and ambitious entrepreneur, I am aiming to have my own company one day. Whether it is in the fitness industry or somewhere else, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I just can’t accept the fact of sitting in an office 8am to 5pm working for someone else's dreams.

4) What got you into the idea of training?

Well, I have always been into fitness and sports in general, as I played soccer my entire life. However, following my last soccer spring season, I made a major decision. Being a student athlete requires a huge commitment, and soccer was extremely time consuming for me. I wanted to focus on business as well, and soccer prevented me from being involved in the business community. I, therefore, stopped soccer and started to study to become a personal trainer. I got my license, and I started to built a customer base last summer. Everything then went very quickly. I became a personal trainer and group instructor at UT. My two roommates and I also launched a fitness start up where we used to provide 25 minute fitness classes in underutilized spaces such as hotels, apartment complexes and corporations in downtown Tampa and St. Pete. And now, I am here :)

 
 

5) First memory of working out? What got you hooked?

Wow, it was probably when I came to the US for the first time and played for IMG Academy. I did not know anything and was totally clueless to be honest with you. I did not speak English at all and the trainers were getting mad at me because when I was doing something wrong, they would try to correct me and I would not understand haha. But after workouts and workouts, I got better and I really started to enjoy it and this enthusiasm never left me!!!

6) What do you hope to achieve through your work at CAMP?

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I received to train in such a fantastic fitness boutique. I truly believe in the vision and potential of CAMP, and I am convinced that we are going to accomplish unbelievable things. Jen and Jamie are such amazing entrepreneurs and keep inspiring me every single day. I try to learn as much as I can by their side. They are putting so much confidence in me and I cannot be more thankful. The trainers also play a huge part in my development. They all have so much experience and expertise in the industry (way more than I do) and I try to listen to what they say as much as I can. I have learnt so much from them already and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without their advice and help. I work hard and hope that one day I I will play a key role within the company and become an influential role model for others. Let’s see how it goes :)

 
 

7) What do you love about teaching at CAMP?

I love the flexibility and freedom that we have. I can literally do whatever I want inside the Circuit room- to a certain extent obviously. This allows me to be able to relieve my entrepreneurial spirit and this is why I would never be able to sit in an office for hours every day!

8) What makes you unique as an instructor?

I usually don’t like to talk to much about myself. But, if I had to say something, I guess my accent can set me apart a little, and I have been receiving positive feedback from people thanks to my energy and music. I constantly try to diversify my workouts, and if you have been attending my classes, the only thing that remains the same is my energy and attitude.

 
 

9) What do you do in your free time? Any passions?

I love reading business and inspirational books. I also love traveling, discovering new fitness concepts, and I absolutely love great food. I try to learn a new concept every day.

10) Favorite place in Tampa?

Without a doubt, CAMP. I love the atmosphere that has been created there. It is hard to believe that this place has only been active for the past 9 months. I also enjoy spending time at Oxford Exchange and Foundation Coffee to read and have my espresso.

 
 

11) How do you get pumped up before teaching?

Definitely through music and looking at people’s energies when they walk in the door ! Nothing can replace that.

12) Favorite way to refuel?

Well, if my schedule allows me to do so, I love leaving for a day or so to go to Miami and relax a little- try fitness places, go to my favorite place in world “Joe and The Juice,” and just spend time with friends. I also try to stay in touch with my family as much as I can, and it’s always a great way to refuel to talk in your native language.