Class Review Wrap-Up

This year, one of the things I wanted to do was try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

So, I worked my way around local and online classes that I had always wanted to try.  It was a fun year exploring the different class options that are around Boulder.  Even if the class did not sit well with me, I always learned something, saw things from a different perspective, and, usually, I had fun.

Below is a quick summary of the experiences I had over the last year.  What I loved and what I wouldn’t try again.

My Favorites:

Outlaw Yoga  – The best yoga class I have ever taken.  I had the added benefit of doing it outside, on a beautiful, Colorado morning, with friends, but Mark still rocks no matter what setting you put him in.  This class was fun, challenging, and Mark’s organization and cueing were spot on.

Boulder Movement Collective – My exposure to BMC and the movement training of Ido Portal has made a lasting influence on my own training.  Fluidity and rhythm are now as much a part of my training as alignment, balance, and strength.  It has been a fun and challenging year adding these new elements into my training and I continue to get into the BMC studio whenever I can.

Not My Favorite:

Yoga for Athletes – If you have read my reviews, this should not be such a surprise.  I was deeply disappointed in this class.  I thought I was walking into something that would focus on alignment and posture specifically for an athlete, instead I got an unorganized, very informal class on a cement floor.

Additional Reviews:




Sore Knees? Try These.

Knee pain.  It has happened to most of us.  1/3 of Americans will experience knee pain at some point in their lives.  It is the 2nd most common cause of chronic pain and new reports show it is affecting more people each year.  So, if you are experiencing a “twinge” or maybe a “tweak” in your knees, it is time to take some action before bigger issues occur.

The greatest cause of knee pain is, by far, poor body mechanics and poor mechanics are  typically caused by a lack of mobility  which leads to a lack of strength.  For example, due to prolonged sitting, a lot of people experience a tightness in the front of their hips.  This tightness in the front of the hips leads to decreased strength in the back of the leg (glutes and hamstrings), which decreases the support in the back of the knee.  Without the support and strength in the back of the knee (posterior), force traveling through the knee joint is pushed into the front of the knee (anterior) and causes pain across the front of the kneecap (commonly called “Runner’s Knee”).  This is not the only cause of knee soreness, but it is definitely one of the most common.

The knee joint is where the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) come together. All 4 muscles of the quadriceps come together to form the patellar tendon which starts at the top of the knee joint, adheres to the patella as it crosses the anterior (front) of the joint until in attaches at the tibia below.  The patellar tendon lies within a grooved-out notch the allows you to bend and straighten your knee without irritation.  A lot of knee pain is caused when the alignment of the patellar tendon and this specially made notch go out of whack.

The inside of your knees is referred to as the medial side and the outside of your knees is known as the lateral side.  Imbalances between these two sides can cause the patellar tendon the shift towards the stronger side.  For instance, if you have had an injury to your knee in the past, you may remember your therapist trying to get the inner-most muscle of the quadriceps to fire.  This needs to be strong, so that your patella does not start to track to the lateral side of the knee joint and cause you more pain.  If this imbalance continues, a person can start to feel tightness in the IT band and other soft tissue on the lateral side of the knee while also experiencing sharp pain on the medial side of the joint.  The knee has to be balanced side-to-side (medial to lateral) to stay pain-free and happy.

Imbalances front-to-back (anterior to posterior) are the usual cause of pain in the first example of our Runner’s Knee.  However, we also see in the example above, that imbalances medially to laterally can cause different, but equally annoying pain.  The routine below starts with releases of the most commonly tight areas of the hip and lower limb that may cause imbalances at the knee joint.  They are followed by exercises that strengthen the muscles that are commonly weak in people with knee pain.  This routine will not help everyone with knee soreness, but if you have been experiencing sore knees after activity or “tweaks” and “twinges”, this is a great place to start.  Even if you have not had knee pain, this routine will help your knees stay happy, healthy and pain-free.

Class Review – November 2018

This year, one of the things I want to do is try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

So I have committed to trying something new each month and to write a review about it.  By no means do I pretend that these are objective reviews.  Think of this as more my opinion as a fitness expert (it does say opinionated fitness guru in the title).  Also, there may be things I don’t like that you do.  I am not here to debate, just stating my thoughts because my name is in the url. – Yearly Subscription

I know I know, it is December and I am just writing my November review.  Well, I have a really good excuse…November is my birthday month, so I am off the hook.

This review is also a little different as I am reviewing something I have been working on over the course of the year, not just in the last month.  In January of this year, I decided I wanted to incorporate yoga into my regular exercise routine.  I enjoyed not only the movement, but also the focus on connecting the mind and body.  I am no Yogi and there is no way I could come up with a any kind of flow on my own, so I needed some guidance.  The limiting factor for me was finding classes that worked with my schedule.  It was hard to find so I signed up for a year with offers online yoga classes that you can stream from your computer anytime.  You can choose the duration, the body part you want to focus on, the instructor, the type of yoga you want to do, and more.  They have classes that are 2 hours long and classes that last only 25 minutes.  This flexibility in the length of classes enabled me to squeeze in 30 minutes of yoga a couple mornings a week instead of committing to the 1.5+ hours it takes to go to a live class.  This allowed me to take class more consistently and to easily fit into my routine.

I also enjoyed being able to chose the body part I wanted to focus on.  After a bike ride, I would choose one of the yin classes that focused on hip openers.  In the morning, I would choose a vinyasa that focused on opening the chest and shoulders.  In the evening, I could choose something that focused on the spine.  This allowed me to personalize my yoga practice and tailor it to what I needed.

I have done more yoga (both live and online) this year than in any year previous.  The ability for me to have the option to practice on my own was a game changer.  Being more regular in my yoga practice not only helped improve the overall strength and flexibility in my body, but also gave me more confidence and a better understanding when going to live classes at a studio.  I also “got in the groove” by practicing regularly.  Meaning that if I didn’t do it for a while, I noticed, my body noticed, and I would fire up a class ASAP. is less than $100 for the whole year and great intro to a consistent yoga practice if you have no idea where to start.  They have 1,000s of classes to choose from and also provide articles, special series, and even films and documentaries.  There are free yoga websites out there to try, I just happened to choose this one.  Below, I have listed a few of my favorites on if you are looking to increase your yoga practice.

Instructors: Bernie Clark and Clara Roberts

Episodes: Happy Yin Happy Hips, Surya Morning Flow, Deep Release Yin Yoga


Pros:  Affordable, flexible, and easy.  Also, you can do yoga in your jammies if you really want because you are the only one in class.

Cons: Nothing beats a live instructor and the accountability a class provides.