putting the quest in questionable since '85

Nicole Uno she/her
introvert  |  kinda weird  |  Hafu-yonsei
in a love-hate relationship with humanity
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Born and raised in Seattle. For over one hundred years, both sides of my family have called this place home. While I love the finer things that the city provides, I love it most for its beautiful setting and proximity to some of the best natural environments around. I much prefer life outside.

I dabbled in many activities throughout childhood and played a few sports (soccer, tennis, golf). Traditional structures of organization have never really suited me. I did not enjoy taking classes or going to camps. I mostly preferred to teach myself things. Though the process is more difficult, filled with more mistakes, and undoubtedly much slower, I have always gained a greater understanding because of the meaningful application, to me. 

Though my high school soccer experience was less than inspiring, I somehow managed to walk on (unknowingly) to a highly competitive D-II collegiate program my freshman year, (which was a fantastic experience, despite the climate of Miami, FL). Senior year I made the difficult decision to 'retire' and not continue playing, which meant exploring a life not structured around soccer for the first time. This gave me the opportunity to seek fitness (and life) on my own terms, and I never looked back. I graduated with a BS in Exercise Science and the intention of transitioning into Physical Therapy but found that personal training could best serve the missing crossroads between health, medicine, and fitness.

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This was right after I scored my first collegiate goal.

It was not the result of time spent in the gym strength training, but it sure was the result of a lot of time spent practicing. I hadn't stepped foot into a gym until college. The sports teams utilized a conventional strength and conditioning program and the only thing I remember about it was my first bench press experience- I couldn't bench the bar. Good times. 

At this time of my life, I didn't really understand the point of warming up, strength training, or anything other than just practicing skills and strategies for soccer. Fitness at this time meant being able to run enough and fast enough to beat opponents. The strength and conditioning we did had no visible application toward what I valued. But, it did make me realize how much weaker I was than everyone else and set me off on a lifetime journey of figuring out what strength means.

I have been refining my understanding ever since. The warm-up has become my everything and strength training has a purpose, enhancing my enjoyment of life and all the activities I participate in. I deeply love movement and learning all that it has to offer, but it is not because I should or that I'm supposed to for this reason or that. I am just grateful to the body that allows me the life I want and I take care of it in hopes that it will continue to provide me those allowances (which are not bound by the physical. I love doing nothing as much as I love doing something). I do not identify as a movement person, an athlete, a fitness freak, or anything of the sort. Movement is not an identity, rather it is an expression of care and responsibility.

My Personal practice

It is less about the repetition of an element and more about the progressing of a bigger picture objective. A practice develops a sense of direction, which guides toward a greater understanding and navigation of self. More often than not, I will think of the work I do in a day's training session as a way of 'paying it forward', to make things easier for tomorrow's self. By not doing so, the greater objective gets pushed further away.

Reflection is a practice of self-care.  It views training as a living thing; 'living' implying a natural right to change, which is often a troubling concept. If we are not careful in how we objectify our practices, it can become a lifeless one, disconnected and not a reflection of self that one should hope to see. 

bigger picture

My philosophy and practice must agree on values, as this provides a purpose to work for and a base from which to direct training goals. Over the years it developed into a universal process- one that applies to a single session, as well as the course of a lifetime. A daily objective is much easier to follow and accomplish than a highly specified training program or protocol. An objective acts as a guiding principle- mine, based on posture which I consider the core as it is the 'keeper' of structure. I work on resting positions and transitions between them to continuously make them more efficient. I then expand the capacity of my resting positions into ones that would not traditionally appear as restful. The idea is to expand the 'safety bubble' by refining foundational patterns and then adding complexity as able. Personally, I would rather have a slow build of progression over a lifetime than burn out chasing goals that don't contribute toward the future body I want, which is a highly capable one that doesn't hurt.

MY process

Philosophy.

[mind]

The development of (my) practice

(my) objectives:

- Increasing quality of life/longevity of activities/expand ability

(my) Process:

- Expanding the safety bubble/efficiency

Practice.

[body]

how.

- Connecting the body together into a loadable system, posture = core

single session/cycle/event/season/etc

1 - connect and build posture
2 - load posture
3 - reconnect and rebuild posture

100%
core

2/3
Foundational
patterns

1/3
specific
work

|

|

refine patterns -> efficiency

expand patterns -> ability

Foundational positions.

- Laying
- Sitting
- Kneeling
- Standing

downward force

from the ground, up

Foundational movement.

weight-shifting

- Transitions
- Gait/locomotion

through the pelvis

rotation 

+/-

Flexion-Extension 

core

Pelvis lead, ribcage support

specific movement.

- Coordination, limbs

core

Ribcage lead, pelvis support

GeneralizeD

Walking & Daily Life
Most of my attention (training) is spent here and most of my strength progress stems from this as well- the gradual build of efficient posture and gait. Mostly it's about awareness, connection, relationships, and the ability to adjust all of these things on the fly. This is a practice simple in concept but difficult in execution.

Rock Climbing

I use this to assess the effectiveness of my current practice (regarding the development of all the qualities I need to feel comfortable doing it- strength, technique, mobility, etc). My primary focus is always core (posture), and I make sure to use it as the foundation for every movement I do in order to maintain structural integrity, no matter how small the base of support for it is. Most of my climbing consists of bouldering for feedback on strength and technique, as well as traversing/circuits for feedback on conditioning and efficiency. I should also note that my greatest training effect from climbing is stress management as I am very fearful of 99% of it.

Strength Training
I utilize movement skills based on gymnastics to provide a general direction for my straight arm and bent arm work (planche/lever/muscle-up/HSPU).  I incorporate minimal and simple exercises to supplement my objectives, using mostly bodyweight, rings, dumbbells, and barbell.
As of recent, my staples include various dips, false-grip/various pulls, shoulder rotation, and back squat. My current foundational patterns involve extension and rotation.

Floor Work
I have days spent using just the floor, which I use to connect and engage the body in a different way but for the same daily objective. I use the hard floor to create more softness in the body, especially when feeling disconnected or a little crusty from too much other training/no training. Floor work includes various gaits/locomotive patterns, fluid/soft movement patterns, and hand balancing.

Typical Time Breakdown
Climbing, 2-4 days per week, (if prioritized, 4-5 days per week. Supplementing strength 0-2 days per week).
Strength, 1-4 days per week, (if prioritized, 4-5 days per week).
Walking, most days, 4-8 miles

Rest  [ most important ]
1-2 days per week & a 4-5 day span off per month
Summer Season - I take off from pursuing any training goals and I get outside as much as possible. It is a practice in 'letting go', which has become the most important part of my training philosophy over the years, a time for reflection and relaxation of the mind. A freer mind has the ability to learn new things... 

Short Term Direction
Muscle-Up/Lever/Back Squat

Long Term Direction 
One Arm Pull-Up/Planche/Back Squat


NOTE  -  it hardly ever looks like this for more than a month or two at a time. Life happens. My blog offers a look into my latest training reflections. But, let's be real- I hardly ever post because I'm too occupied in the doing of these things.