Killin’ it at the Gym

The past few years have brought no shortage of incredible boutique gyms to the masses. Pilates, bar, boxing, interval classes, yoga, hot yoga, megaformer, zumba, spinning, crossfit… the list goes on and on. Layer these upon the already plentiful mega-gyms, in-office gyms and recreational centers littered across our towns, and nobody really has an excuse not to get a workout in anymore.



But something is awry.

We go to the gym, we workout, we eat well –  but then we are unknowingly bombarded with chemicals through the equipment we use and the air we breath. Even those of us who do know can’t do much about it unless we chose to forgo our favorite workouts.

From the yoga mats, to the chlorine filled pools, to the barrage of cleaning supplies and toiletries covering the vanities…we can hardly finish a class before we are hit with chemicals that are worse for our heart than the big macs we so adamantly stay away from. These chemicals are linked to things such as asthma, cancer, heart irregularities, allergies and more. Some gyms even pipe in their own “air fresheners” via a system like this exposing us to indoor air quality that rivals that of the the worst cities in the world.

We can’t really blame the gyms because just like our doctors who have no formal nutritional training yet who everyone turns to for food advice… most gym owners have no idea that air quality has as much to do with health as a good workout.

Rewind to a recent conversation I had with a friend to talk about the new gym he is opening in town. After reviewing the materials and learning about the concept, I told him he had me at “steam cleaning.” He laughed. I was serious.

The good news is while it is counterintuitive to change what so many of us have
been doing our whole lives, it really is pretty easy to be green. There are already examples of gyms like this and this and this (locally!!) doing amazing things to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.

Here are some simple ways our gyms can do BETTER with minimal effort and cost:

First off, the products in the bathroom are a waste of money and none of us need to use them. Let’s bring those $24 a pop class prices down a notch and agree that cleanliness, safe soap, water and toilet paper are the only things we expect out of our gym bathrooms. Bring your own toiletries if you’re showering at the gym.

The times when I have cleaned up after my workout I felt like I was back in younger days hotboxing (not me personally, but you know – friends of friends) …yet this wasn’t quite as fun. From the spray deodorants, to the hair sprays, perfumes and such, the smells overwhelm. And, unlike being poolside when someone sprays their aerosol sunscreen and you can move out of harms way – you’re pretty much trapped when you’re inside a gym bathroom.


If the cleaning supplies you see have words like “warning”and “hazardous” on them, that’s your cue that it’s time to swap them out for less toxic options which are effective, economical and won’t cause human health problems. Need suggestions? Hit me up. If your management won’t budge, in the very least, ask that they reserve deep cleaning for after hours as most schools and offices do.

Those wipes we use to “clean” our equipment after use aren’t doing anything for us either. The kill claims on them are only valid when they are used for a certain amount of time and I can assure you a quick sweep does nothing to help. There is a reason that the fine print on wipe packaging frequently recommends that you wash hands immediately after use.

Hand sanitizer is so 2015. Some of the ingredients commonly used are not even legal anymore. You just worked out for an hour… you can walk the extra 10 steps to the bathroom and wash with soap and water. Plus, if you just used a wipe you are supposed to go to the sink and wash anyhow.


If you’re using a yoga mat opt for a sustainable one made of natural rubber, organic cotton or hemp. Skip the PVC. Try one like this or this. Nowadays they are easy to find even at stores like Target.

If you’re swimming in saltwater, consider yourself lucky. If you swim in a chlorine-filled pool be sure the levels are checked often and shower after your swim.

Finally, next time you buy workout clothes, check out how they are made. That’s a conversation for a different day and another post…

Share this info. with your favorite workout spot. It’s likely they have no idea and may even welcome a cleaner environment themselves, after all –they are the ones who spend the most time inside their space.

xx,

Angela

 

What in the World?

Have you ever googled “plastic island?”

It’s crazy.

Every bit of plastic ever made, still exists somewhere. 

Every. Bit.

Plastic pieces in our ocean outnumber sea life 6:1. 

Seriously.

93% of Americans have BPA in our body. BPA alters hormones and disrupts our endocrine systems. 

What the what?

The average American tosses away more than 4.5 lbs of garbage every day. 

No shit.

More than one million plastic bags are used every minute.

One million. Every minute.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Insanity.

When plastics break down it forms teeny tiny little pieces that fish eat. Then people eat fish. So people eat plastic. 

Do you want to be eating plastic?

So, what can we do? 

Choose reusable bags and bottles.

They are cuter anyway.

Refuse single-use, disposable plastics.

Just say no (thank you).

Ditch the microbeads in your toothpaste and exfoliator.

There are safer alternatives.

Reduce the use of everyday plastics like sandwich bags. 

Choose other alternatives like stainless steel and silicone.

Say no to straws.

Just drink from the cup!

BYO Cutlery or to-go containers.

Who really likes eating with a plastic fork?

Teach your children well.

Remember we are just borrowing the earth from them.

Go plant a tree or at least hug one.

Then just breath…

Happy Earth Day to the Mother of all Mothers.

For more tips on ditching the plastic, click here.

 

 

 

On Bread, Bikes and Making Things BETTER

If you ever wondered how one person can change the world – meet Markey Culver.

In 2012 Markey was working in Africa as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. She was hungry for more than the routine meals she was consuming day in and day out. Markey decided to plant her own vegetable garden and construct her own oven (yes, you read that right) to bake bread so that her lunch could be a little more exciting. Bread did not exist in Bushoga and the women of the village were in awe. So, Markey began teaching the women how to bake. From that small act, a huge idea was born. Today The Women’s Bakery teaches women in places where nutrition, education and jobs are scarce, to build businesses that feed communities and support families.

The Women’s Bakery has changed the way I think about an everyday staple forever. 

This program allows women to learn about business, life skills and nutrition. And why women? Because when a woman in a developing country earns $1, 85 cents is invested in her family. “By empowering a woman, one empowers a family, and in turn, an entire community.”

It’s incredible how we can go through life taking seemingly simple things for granted. Take bread and bikes as an example.
So, what about the bikes?
For many women in Africa riding a bike is considered a no-no. This is based on perceptions that cycling causes negative health consequences and false beliefs about the sex drive of women who ride bikes. The Peace Corps Let Girls Ride Campaign sought to do something about these perceptions by organizing a women’s ride and educational event to teach lessons on gender equality, stereotypes and empowerment. The Women’s Bakery participated in this event and was a recipient of funds raised during the campaign.
Of course bringing bikes to bakeries made all the sense in the world. It would allow women to make bread deliveries faster and further. But sometimes the simplest concepts are brutally hard to achieve where small mindedness runs rampant. Once again, The Women’s Bakery is breaking gender stereotypes by empowering women to ride.
When I saw this picture of a grown women riding a bike for the first time, my heart wanted to burst from my chest. I sent an email to my local friend – one of the people who made the dream of this charity a reality –  to find out how many more bikes were needed and how I could help secure them.
Now, each of their bakeries has (or will soon have) a bicycle. I want to work to ensure that each bakery that opens in the future will too.

Please join me at CycleBar Chesterfield on Saturday April 29 at 4:00 for a Let Girls Ride, ride.

In leiu of payment for the class, your donation will contribute to funds that will be used to purchase bikes for bakeries throughout Africa.

I look forward to seeing you there!!

#breadpower #letgirlsride

xx