WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

August 20, 2013

The WordFood of Permiso

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 6:17 am

Ever since a friend inspired me to commit to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro a number of months ago, I’ve been putting in longer hours at the gym, at Red Rocks, hiking around the neighborhood, hitting the hills, cycling, swimming, and taking on all kinds of athletic challenges to up the game in preparation for this adventure. Part of what that’s done is put me in contact with body parts that I’ve not spoken with for a while, and it’s also given me a chance to see a great many other people who are in various stages of training, at all ages, shapes and conditions.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a learning lab for anyone who is curious about exercise physiology. There are those who do the three hour free boot camp that is held from 8-11 on weekend days for anyone brave enough, and then there are the folks who bring their entire families to simply climb once to the top and watch everyone else sweat. As a journalist, and someone who has come to love Red Rocks for the beautiful surroundings it provides for my exercise routines, I love the place for the people I meet and their stories, especially about how they’ve learned to work within their limitations. Hence, Permiso. Permiso is about permission- when we learn to politely ask our bodies whether or not we can do this today, in this heat, at this age.

For example, the other day I met Lisette, an African American woman. She’s about 5’3, runner’s body, energetic and enthusiastic. A few years back, Lisette weighed 305 pounds. Astounded, I asked her how she did it. “No special diets, no pills, nothing,” she said proudly. “I just started out slowly and steadily, watched what I ate, and exercised as I could.” That’s what Permiso is all about. Not demanding that our bodies do what they cannot, but working within the limits and asking them to perform as they can. With respect.

Another woman, Annie Bitsy, comes out regularly. Annie is one tough cookie. Afflicted with cancer as a child, she lost her left leg. Annie does the stairs on crutches, smiling all the way up and down. Nothing slows her down. When she gets tired, she takes a shade break. That’s Permiso.

There are days that I get to Red Rocks after 8 and the sun has warmed up the concrete stairs. It gets hot fast, and running eleven laps or going up with a weighted vest is demanding. You need to slow down. One part wants to be the drill sergeant and push on. The wiser part says, “take a 30 second break here. Have some water.” That’s Permiso. You ask your body permission. When we treat ourselves with respect, feed our physical machines with food for fuel as well as pleasure, they will respond magnificently.

It is humbling and inspiring to see so many amazing people take on Red Rocks- octogenarians and Millennials alike. But what I admire most are those who tackle the facility despite a challenge, and they are working within a limitation. They teach the rest of us humility, and courage. Physical fitness is all about working with what we have, not some unreasonable and unattainable ideal. That’s Permiso, asking ourselves what we need, for a bit more effort. It’s astounding what we can do when we treat ourselves with respect- the mountains we can climb, the marathons we can run, the fitness levels we can achieve.

Ask yourself Permiso today. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Then as Nike says, just do it!

April 21, 2013

WordFood at RedRocks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 3:37 pm

Red Rocks represents a variety of experiences for Coloradans and tourists. For some it’s a venue for concerts. For others, a hiking paradise. For others, like me, it’s a boot camp. While I don’t partake of the seriously challenging boot camps that are run by ex drill sergeants on weekends (but highly recommend them), I take to the stairs regularly to keep legs and lungs in fighting shape.

Sunday was a case in point. By 11 am, most of the boot camps were done and the crowds of seriously athletic folk had dissipated to their brunch spots or the next challenge. The rest of us had hit the stairs and bleachers to do our thing, albeit a bit more slowly. Many are long time regulars.

What I so love about Red Rocks is that it is a community. I joined it last September, a couple of months after knee surgery. Like many others, I got a little winded a few times on the way  up those 190 stairs. After several more visits and many more laps, I was hooked. By late September I was doing 2200 steps a day, five to six days a week, rain or shine. And I was part of the community.

People offer WordFood of encouragement to those who are having a tough time. We love on each others’ dogs. There are regulars whose dogs know that I offer the Dreaded Butt Scratch and they drag their owners down the steps to collect their affection. We get a quick break and I get precious puppy love.  For months one man gave me the high five every time we passed on the stairs. I don’t know who he is, but the times my knee wanted me to quit, those high fives kept me going. And my knee rehabbed quickly.

Red Rocks regulars range from elite athletes to the obese, struggling to master one flight at a time. We stop and talk to each other, and share stories that encourage people to keep going.  Women, in particular, stop and compliment each other on their progress, on the shape they’re in, on coming out consistently. I hear it all the time. It’s music to the soul. That’s my Red Rocks concert.

For most of us who aren’t boot camp aficionados, making it to the top a few times is effort enough. For many others, it’s taking this on day after day, building our strength and stamina in a place of unworldly beauty. Where else but in Colorado do we get to exercise in such stunning beauty?

If you’ve never considered taking on Red Rocks as a place to exercise, come on out. There’s plenty of parking, and plenty of room. People are welcoming and it’s a dog heaven. Very early in the morning, firemen in their bunkers are pushing themselves to the limits. It’s an environment of encouragement, and you get back what you give.

Come on out and create your own concert of WordFood. Bring friends. Make it a party, make it playful. Have fun. That’s what exercise is supposed to be.

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