Archive | August, 2012

Selling the Sizzle But Not the Steak

31 Aug

There are lots crazy things out there in health-and-wellness-land:  Shake Weights, Free Flexors, this thing.  It can be tough to figure out the good information from the bad, especially for women.  Women are ripe for the picking when  it comes to diet and fitness marketing.  We need to be educated consumers when it comes to what we will and won’t do to our bodies.

When I decided that it was time for me to make fitness a part of my life, I had reached a point where I no longer liked to look at myself in the mirror – certainly not in any state of undress.   When I first started trying to figure out how to get fit, it was like fighting my way through a jungle of information.  Some great, some not so great.  What most of us (myself included) end up falling back on are the things that we see the most often.  That’s how marketing works – top of mind awareness  It’s not necessarily about convincing people to buy your product right away.  It’s about being the first thing on their minds when the time comes for them to buy.  That’s what fitness infomercials sell.  That’s why people buy GoodLife memberships.  Familiarity.  If you see it every night on your TV, or you drive by three on your way home from work, when the time comes for you to get active, the popular choice is, well, popular.

I have never been a gym-rat.  I’ve been to a few gyms a few times.  They never really jived for me, so I sought out in-home fitness options when I decided to get fit.  The ones I bought were the ones from the infomercials – Turbo Jam, P90X, Insanity!.  I tried them all.  And I was one of the lucky ones – I program-jumped – doing each program for a few weeks then getting bored and moving on, I didn’t change my eating habits, I didn’t really know what I wanted and didn’t have defined goals – and I still got results!  And didn’t get injured!

Why?  Because I was just starting out.  I was going from doing relatively nothing, to doing relatively lots, and my body made gains.  It was fantastic.

But here’s the thing: it wasn’t sustainable.  Like I said, I would jump around.  I couldn’t stick to one course of action, and there were a couple of reasons why.  First; I didn’t have clear goals.  I didn’t know that I had to have clear goals.  In the end, I think my goal ended up being to fully finish a program (which is not a bad goal, and is often more psychologically challenging than you think).

The second reason ties into the first; information overload.  The health and wellness industry is CRAZYTOWN when it comes to competing information.  Especially for women.  Pick up any women’s lifestyle magazine.  Look at the front cover.  There is almost certainly an article proclaiming “One Week to Flatter Abs!” or “Drop a Jean Size in 21 Days!”.  Or both.  Probably both.  And then a couple of diets.  That don’t say the same thing.

And then you turn on the TV, and there’s one trainer telling you to lift no heavier than 3 pounds and do lots of cardio – low weight, high reps, so that you can burn lots of fat.  And then there’s another trainer telling you to lift heavy – high weight, low reps, so that you can build muscle and burn fat while you rest.  And then there’s The Biggest Loser, and Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition and all those transformation shows showing a myriad of dramatic diets, intense training protocols, and huge results.  And it gets confusing.  Shouldn’t there be one answer?  Isn’t that one answer what everyone is trying to sell us?

That’s the trouble.  There isn’t one answer.

There is science to back up almost any claim that the health and wellness industry can make.  Our bodies are always evolving.  Experts are always learning new things.  Trends come and go and those in the industry want to be on the cutting edge.  The diets and training programs in magazines, or on TV, or that you hear from the wellness guru of the day will offer you an answer.  But it might not be the right answer for you.

There are lots of folks who do really well with Intermittent Fasting, or Paleo, or Gluten-Free, and maybe you will too.  And maybe you won’t.

There are lots of folks who really love lifting heavy and hitting PR’s, and maybe you will too.  And maybe you won’t.

There are lots of folks who thrive on marathons and heavy endurance work, and maybe you will too.  And maybe you won’t.

Here’s the other trouble: Health and Wellness Experts don’t always listen to what you are really saying.

So, I like to lift heavy now (in addition to sport-specific derby stuff).  That’s where I choose to plant my flag.  It’s easy to set performance goals, I like the way it has shaped my body, and it makes me feel bad-ass.  And, yes,  my increased muscle mass helps me to burn more calories just going about my life (and it’s much more enjoyable than an hour on the elliptical).  But I need to remember – that’s how I feel.  Not how everyone feels.  As a fitness professional, it’s my job to give you the science and to tell you what I think will work best for you.  But it’s just that – my opinion.  And my opinion is biased by what has worked for me personally, or for my other clients.

And my opinion is also coloured by wanting to stay current.  I need to know who’s getting results with IFWho loves their Paleo protocolWho thinks that Prowler pushes are the best thing since sliced breadWho’s changing the way we do metabolic circuits.  And because I have to stay current, I get sucked in.  I find something cool, something that seems to be working for a lot of people, and I want to bring it back to my clients so that they can think it’s cool too.  The challenge is to always ask, “is this the right thing, or is it just a cool thing?”.  There’s nothing wrong with cool things, but too many cool things are the equivalent of me program-jumping for my client.

On top of that, I want you to be fit and healthy.  I want you to feel good about yourself and develop positive, lifelong habits.  BUT I CAN’T READ YOUR MIND.  I don’t know exactly what your ideal shape looks like to you, or what your ideal diet plan is.  It’s my job to figure it out (and believe me I will try my darndest to do so), but I can guarantee what I see in my mind’s eye when I look at you and what you can accomplish with time, and what you see when you look in the “future mirror” are not exactly the same.  They should be very close, but they won’t be identical.  It’s like bringing a picture to your hairdresser, if they’re good at what they do and you trust them, you’ll end up with something you love – but it probably wasn’t exactly what you imagined before you came in.

So, how do we figure it all out?

Short answer – we don’t.  Health and Wellness are ever evolving.  So are you.  It’s exciting to learn about your body, what works for it and what doesn’t.

What you need to do is learn to trust your intuition.  Question WHY a particular piece of information is being given as law.  At the Canfitpro conference, in John Berardi’s session on Intermittent Fasting, he said that the “don’t eat after 8 pm rule” is totally not based in science so much as it is based in calorie-control psychology.  BLAM!  Mind blown.  My whole life I’ve felt like I was bad at eating because I typically eat dinner around 9 or 10.  Now I don’t.  Because that’s what works for me and I can keep my dietary intake under control that way.

If it helps, find a trainer or coach that you trust, who can guide you through all the information.  When you find a good one, they’ll have done a lot of the research for you.  And even though they’re trying to sell you something too, when you find someone you really connect with, you’ll know that the opinions they bring to the table have your best interests at heart.

So, every time you hear something new, be it a diet, or exercise, or training protocol, or piece of equipment, ASK WHY.  Why is this person selling this idea to me?  What do they have to gain?  How does this jive with what I believe and what has worked for me in the past?  Know that you are being marketed to.  For sure, there is room for your opinions to change.  Mine certainly have.  But be a critical consumer of health and wellness.  Think before you buy (and before you buy in).

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What My Gym Looks Like: Episode 2

27 Aug

The painting has stalled, since I’m still trying to come up with the best way to get some cool designs on the walls.  But that hasn’t stopped the awesome! 

I tested my patience with gym design and the weight-bearing capacity of my car yet again this weekend.  As a result, the gym got some very necessary additions:

Why yes, I am an Olympic Bar. Guess what comes with me…

  

I’m something new! Whatever could I be?

More bands than Woodstock.

Who you callin’ Dumb?

   

Things are coming along swimmingly.  I need a few more pieces, the paint needs a few final touches, we need some storage and some character.  But all in all, as much as I want to get everything in, done, and organized, I’m loving the process and the way things are coming together.

What I Learned At: The Canfitpro Conference 2012

24 Aug

Sorry I’m late with this one, lots of information to process – Last weekend, I had a whirlwind of a time in Toronto at the Canfitpro International Fitness and Club Business Conference.  Canfitpro is a HUGE conference.  Let me say that again, it is a HUGE conference.  Lots of sessions to choose from, thousands of fitness professionals (of every stripe), and a big trade show.

I started the conference off with a panel session about the state of the fitness industry with Mark de Wit, Jan Middelkamp, Darren Jacobson, Sara Kooperman, Libby Norris and Jennifer Wilson:  Clients drive the trends.  Start with PLAY, do things people WANT to do.  We need to rely on trust, not trends.  As an industry, we lose the trust of our clients, members, employees. 

Fitness professionals love to exercise and use their bodies as science experiments – this, coupled with shiny new fitness toys, is how trends start.  The trend should be that we get back to the basics and focus on keeping out clients engaged.  We need to make exercise fun for a population that may not think that way coming in.  It’s not even necessarily about results right off the bat – it’s about helping people find what they love about moving their bodies.  We need to build relationships, not the bottom line.  If clients trust that we have their fitness goals in mind and their best interests at heart (rather than the newest, sexiest exercise trend), they’ll relax, buy in, and find the fun in fitness.  If we make the gym a space where people come to play, to explore, and to feel good in their bodies, we’re on the right track.

Derby Application: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, be brilliant at the basics before jumping into the sexy.  If you’re a coach, progress your skaters at an appropriate pace, which is not necessarily the pace that you (or they) think it should be.  If you lay the right foundation, your house will stand for ages.

The opening ceremonies featured Simon Whitfield, who was an awesome speaker.  He talked about focusing on the process rather than the product and gave some interesting insight into the mind of an Olympian.  It was especially cool to hear him talk about process rather than outcome after his performance at the London 2012 games.  To bounce back and keep training (now for long course) after crashing and breaking his collarbone is amazing and demonstrates the kind of sports tunnel vision that we all could use a slice of.

Fraser Quelch: Conditions change, standards remain.

I had a great early morning workout with Mr. Quelch.  TRX can be a super valuable tool in metabolic conditioning, so his major point was that form can’t suffer just because we’re pushing hard.  Miss once, try again.  Miss again, rest for two minutes, try again.  Miss again – you’re done.  I like that plan.  It forces you to be mentally and physically tough, but not so much so that you risk injury or become discouraged and quit trying.

Derby application: Exactly as he said – conditions change, standards remain.  Know your skills, execute them perfectly.  No matter what the game throws at you, know that your form will be rock solid.

Todd Durkin: Writing creates clarity, clarity precedes genius.  If you sprint a marathon, you will die. “Contagiasm”. 

Todd is an awesome presenter and a powerful motivator.  His masterminding class was one of my favourite sessions of the conference.  His enthusiasm for the fitness industry is contagious, hence “contagiasm”.  He said that life is not a marathon, it’s a series of sprints and rests.  Without the rest periods, you are trying to sprint a marathon – not a strong choice.  Manage your time – set aside admin time, money generating time, vision time and rest time.  Schedule the rest time first or you won’t take it.  His goal-setting exercises really helped to clarify what my real goals are and the process steps I need to take to get there.

The bigger your dream, the more important your team.   You are as strong as the people you surround yourself with.

Derby application:  There can be tons of derby drama, poor morale, clashing personalities, tense leadership – that’s often par for the course.  Keep in mind, though, if that’s your normal – that’s how strong your team will be.  If you want to accomplish great things together, you need to be great just being together.  You are only as strong as your weakest link – make all your links strong.

Why wait?

Yes.  Why wait?  Not why should I? Not what will go wrong? – Why wait?  There’s almost always no good reason to wait for your dreams to come true.  You need to take action and build momentum to get where you want to be – waiting won’t get you there.

Dr. John BerardiPhysical hunger is not the same as psychological hunger.  Eating is a privilege and a responsibility.  If you make good food choices and control your calories, meal frequency is not that important.

Dr. Berardi’s session on Intermittent Fasting was the highlight of my conference.  He’s a fantastic speaker and he’s super smart.  If nothing else, I’ll try a 24-hour fast to see how my body reacts.  His session was cool for me, because I’ve always been someone who likes to eat one big meal a day.  When I started training regularly, the common wisdom was to eat 5-6 small meals a day.  This was awful for me – I just don’t feel like I can eat that often.  And because I could never achieve compliance, I would get down on myself for not really caring about my nutrition and making it happen.  Dr. Berardi focused on the idea that the science suggests that WHAT you eat matters way more than WHEN you eat.  The common wisdom out there is more about caloric control (don’t eat after 8 at night, etc.), and less about actual biological processing of nutrients.

I love Precision Nutrition’s take on compliance and habit-forming.  Nutrition coaching is the future of health and wellness, rest assured I’ll be hearing more from Dr. Berardi.

 Greg Roskopf: We need to understand the muscle system’s role in pain.  If we avoid the problem, we magnify the imbalance.  What you can’t do is breaking you down.  The neural response to instability is tension.  The system is only as good as its parts.

Muscle Activation Techniques is an interesting system – it’s basically PNF stretching in reverse.  The idea is to repattern muscle function, rather than to stretch the opposers (or in addition to stretching the opposers).  MAT suggests that chronic tightness is an issue of muscle contraction timing and that’s what we should try to address.  It seems like a sensible, back-to-basics approach.  More and more we’re hearing that it’s not about training the muscles, it’s about training the brain – patterning, neural firing, muscle function, improving these elements will help to increase stability and promote tissue healing.

Chad Benson:   Load may help you get into a posture, but it will not solve any problems.  Be empathetic to poor movement patterns, but not to individual complaints. 

Chad ran an assessment-based workshop on the last day.  There were some great ideas, and a few assessments that I’ll add into my personal arsenal.  He spoke a lot about pain.  For genuine pain, always refer out.  We train pain-free.  We can work around injuries, we can repattern faulty movement, but persistent pain needs to be dealt with by a professional before we can help.  Progress at the speed of your client’s progress, not the speed of your client’s (or your) ego.  Don’t load up a bad-looking pattern, take the time to do it right.

Derby application:  When Chad said, “be empathetic to poor movement patterns, but not to individual complaints“, he was suggesting that if you always baby your athletes and give them a pass for each ache and pain, the number of aches and pains will grow.  That’s not to say that we should ignore pain, quite the opposite – real pain, poor patterns, these need to be addressed.  But, as a coach, you can’t be a pushover.  Those skaters who always have something wrong with them, always have an excuse for why they can’t – tell them to go to a professional to get it dealt with.  If they won’t, look at their movement patterns.  If the patterns are sound, push them.  People can achieve WAY more than they think they can.  Be supportive, be encouraging – push them just a little further than they think they can go and gradually you’ll train them to push themselves.

The Canfitpro International Fitness and Club Business Conference was quite something.  The trade show gave me more samples than I know what to do with and the conference gave me lots of tips to take back to my clients.  It was cool to be around so many fitness professionals, and I had a lot of great conversations throughout the weekend.  It’s nice to know that there’s such a vibrant community here in Canada, helping people to define, achieve, and maintain their health and wellness goals.

On the Road Again

16 Aug

I’m heading out to another conference this weekend.  This time it’s the Canfitpro Toronto International Conference.

I’m pretty excited to get some serious learning in, and meet some cool fitness professionals.

Since I’m busy getting packed and ready to go, here’s a post from Elsbeth Vaino, via the PTDC that pretty much sums up why I go to conferences, work 16 hour days, and push to make this my full-time career path:

Do You Love Personal Training?

My life is challenging right now.  I still work full-time at a (non-fitness) job.  I work full-time on my training business.  I work (what feels like) full-time at derby.  Some days I wonder when I will finally get there.

Sometimes it’s tough, but the tough days melt away when a client reaches a personal best, or tries something they’ve never been confident enough to try before, or has an “aha” moment.

I love the learning, I love the research I do for my clients and skaters, I love knowing that I help people change their lives every day.

Some days/clients/practices are a challenge, for sure, but there’s always something good that comes from fighting through.

Soon, fitness will be my full-time job.  Like Elsbeth says in her article, satisfaction is working in a field that you love.  It has a positive impact on every other area of your life.  I’m getting there, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ll share everything I learned this weekend at the conference in Monday’s post.  Have a great weekend – I know I will!

Maxing Out Your WFTDA Minimums

13 Aug

photo courtesy of Joe Mac

There’s one week left before our new fresh meat test their minimums.  We have a great group of girls this time around – super motivated, keen, and really encouraging of each other.  The training committee and I are excited to get these girls scrimmaging, and integrating them into regular league practice.

But first, they must pass the dreaded WFTDA minimums test.

I’ve been on the training committee for a few years now, and I’ve administered many, many minimums tests.  Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if you are the star jammer of the charter team, or the freshest of fresh meat, everyone gets nervous before they get tested.  Even those who are 100% certain they’re going to pass.  Everyone gets nervous.

Think back to your driving test.  You were pretty sure you could drive, right?  But when that Ministry of Transportation employee sat down beside you and busted out their clipboard, you panicked.  You doubted what you knew, and began to second-guess yourself and your abilities.  It took me three tests to get my G licence (a full licence in Canada).  I had been driving for ten years, had a totally clean record, not even a speeding ticket.  Even so, I freaked out.  I drove fine, but I cried the whole way through.  I don’t test well – I don’t like to know that I’m being judged, it undermines my confidence and makes me feel all icky.  Lots of us are like that.  And when it comes to minimums testing, it’s just like a driving test – if you don’t pass, you don’t get to do this thing that means a lot to you.  So there’s pressure.  And panic.  And general badness.

As I said, I’ve given a whole lot of tests.  Here are my tips for rocking your WFTDA minimums:

Practice

Make sure that you’re comfortable with all of the skills you’re required to do for the test.  If you’re not comfortable, practice.  Instead of chatting at the start of practice, grab someone and work on your skills with them.  Push each other to be better and more confident.  Work on skates.  Skate outside.  Work off skates.  Work on your balance – you have no idea how many people struggle with the one foot glide. Maintain various postures on and off skates so that your body knows them cold, and nothing will feel too new or too challenging on test day.

Focus on Form

On test day, your testers are looking for safety, not perfection.  If you don’t do something the same as the girl next to you, don’t freak out – as long as you’re safe, and you do what’s written in the test, there’s room for personal style.  Perform each skill in the way that you’ve been taught, coupled with what you’ve found works best for your body.  You’ll know what that is because of all the practice you’ve been doing, right?  There are particular markers that each tester looks for, but the A Number One thing is safety.  You don’t need to be a rock star.  Your goal, especially in the partnered skills, is for both you and your partner to succeed.  Also, if you do fall or miss, you will almost always get more than one chance at a skill.  Keep that in mind, dust yourself off, and nail it the next time.

Don’t Over Think It.

This is by far the biggest and most important piece of advice.  You know how to skate.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have made it this far in the fresh meat program to begin with.  I always tell my girls to find their rhythm.  When testing laps, find your stride, count it out if you want, sing a song with a hard beat in your head, recite a monotone play-by-play of what is going on around you.  Skate to a rhythm, and then if something crazy happens (you get cut off by another skater, you lose your footing, whatever), you can jump right back in because you have a solid head space that you’re occupying.  The biggest obstacle for most girls, whether testing the first time or the fiftieth, is their own mind.  Keep a clear head, stay positive, and have fun.

Here’s another thing: Sometimes skaters don’t pass.  It sucks.   It sucks for the skater, and, trust me, it sucks for the trainer.  If you don’t pass, allow yourself to be frustrated, allow yourself to sad, allow yourself whatever emotion you feel.  We all invest tons in derby, both physically and emotionally.  Not passing your minimums is a crappy situation.

BUT, and this is important, it’s not a permanent situation.

We trainers want you to pass.  We want you to be safe, skilled, and ready to mix it up with the big girls.  You are the future of roller derby, and it is our job to make sure that you come in prepared.  We love it when you take a missed test as an opportunity to develop lightning focus on the skills that need work, fix them, and come back to dominate your next try.  Usually, if you miss something on the test, your tester will explain to you exactly why.  If they don’t, ask.  And then ask them to help you get that skill up to a pass.  If they can’t help you personally, they’ll at least be able to point you in the right direction.

Tests are stressful, there’s no getting around it.  But practice your skills, be comfortable in your skin and your stride, and keep a positive head space and you’ll be awesome.

Good luck freshies!

Go Nuts! (for nut butter)

9 Aug

It’s no secret, I freaking love almond butter. 

I was never a big peanut butter fan growing up, I always found it too sweet and couldn’t quite get into the whole pb&j craze.

Fast forward to now, for some reason, I just can’t get enough of the almond-y stuff.

There are a number of reasons that almond butter is awesome:

It’s Heart Healthy: Almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats, the kind that reduce bad cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart trouble.   Decreasing cholesterol levels can also help to lower the blood pressure.  Also, no trans fats.  In addition, almond butter also contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are minerals that help to reduce blood pressure.

It Can Help Moderate Blood Sugar: Almond butter is delicious, but is not a sugary, carb-filled treat.  This means a slower increase in blood sugar and insulin, but a totally satisfying dessert.

It Can Help With Weight Control: Here’s the challenge – nuts are super high in calories, but they are also high in protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.  You need to be mindful about your intake, but almond butter is so rich and delicious, that you’ll need less of it to feel satisfied.  It’s a great snack and a good way to curb hunger without turning to junk food.

It’s a Great Way to Get Your Protein:  Almond butter is made from actual almonds (and nothing else, another great reason to eat it).  That means it still contains as high a level of protein as the whole almonds it’s made from. Nutrition Data states 1/4 cup of plain almond butter contains 9.5g of protein and no cholesterol. That’s more than one large egg.  These days, we typically don’t get enough good protein, so almond butter is an awesome way to add it in.

Sold?  Good.  Here are some tips on which almond butter to buy.  There are all sorts of varieties out there.  I think this is a case where your dollars are well spent getting a higher quality butter.  You can get almond butter roasted or raw, organic or not.  So far, all of the types I’ve tried have almonds as the only ingredient.  Trader Joe’s has a bunch of nut butters with various nut combinations.  You can explore and find what suits you best.

The two main almond butter staples in my home are:

Maranatha Roasted Almond ButterIt’s decent and you can get it at Costco super cheap (which my mom does all the time, and the passes the good stuff on to me).  It’s a little oily sometimes, and not quite as delicious as my favourite, but it fills the need.

My favourite almond butter so far is from Nuts To You.
It’s super great, and was the almond butter that got me hooked on almond butter.  Not too oily, not too hard, not too sweet.  It’s just right.

President’s Choice also offers an almond butter, but I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know quite what it’s like.  You can also find a variety of providers at any health food store.

By now, you’re probably elbow deep in almond butter.  But if you’re not, let me finish with my top five almond butter delivery systems.  Any and all of these options will help to bring deliciousness straight to your face:

  1. Bananas: This is my go to option.  You can dip the banana right in the jar.  Make sure the banana is structurally sound and doesn’t break off though.  If it does you will end up with WAY more almond butter than you bargained for.
  2. Granola bars: Again, a good option, provided they’re simple and not loaded with sugar.
  3. Celery Sticks: Celery turns almond butter into lunch rather than dessert.
  4. Drizzled on yogurt and berries: Makes the butter into breakfast.  What an awesome way to start your morning.
  5. Your fingers: When dipping stuff into the almond butter jar, it will happen, your fingers will get nutty.  Embrace it.

As I said before, moderation is key, watch your intake and don’t pile loads of almond butter on everything just because it’s “healthy”.  Calories are calories, but I would argue that almond butter gives you good bang for your buck calorie and nutrient-wise, and the more good things you can fuel your body with, the better off you are.  Go nuts!

What My Gym Looks Like – Episode 1

6 Aug

In my home, it’s so uncommon to have a full day that I can devote to renovations that they rarely take place.  But today was the exception, today was a blissful day full of no plans whatsoever.  So, obviously, I decided to spend the whole day starting on the updates to my in-home studio.

When we first moved in five years ago, the basement was finished (score!), but with some pretty shoddy craftsmanship and some glaring changes needing to be made.  We puttied the walls, primed to builder’s beige (from a very, very bright yellow), stuck in an old couch and a big TV and called it a den.  Naturally, my husband thought this was perfect and nothing more needed to be done.

Then, when I started training (myself at first), the basement needed some changes.  Mostly, we just added equipment and flooring.  Then more equipment.  Then got rid of the couch.  Then the TV.  We fully relocated the man cave upstairs, and I had the beginnings of my studio.

This gym is very beige. Also, there are dropcloths.

I’ve been wanting to do some updates and today was the day.  I decided to tackle the first round of painting today, nothing spectacular, just 3 coats on 4 walls.  And the stairwell.

I bought two different colours of blue paint and a couple of pails of white semi-gloss. 

PAINT!

I thought the light blue would be the base for all of the walls and then I would accent with the dark, but as I got into the job, I realized that for a basement, the light blue was too dark.  So I mixed my own and hoped for the best.

Made-up blue makes the basement look less like a basement.

I think it turned out okay.  The challenge was making the same colour every time I needed a new batch.

I also decided to paint one wall the light (dark) blue.  I’m going to use it as a feature wall, since there won’t be too much equipment in front of it.

It’s like watching paint dry…

Finally, I did some testing of the dark blue that I’m going to use for the stairs.  I am in love with it.  I’m going to coat the baseboards with it too, and use it for some cool stuff once the basic painting is all finished.

It’s Superman blue. And it’s awesome.

I’m pretty glad that I got the grunt work out of the way today while I had time.  Now, I can spend the whole week designing and planning the special touches that will make the studio look like MY studio.  Next up, stairs, feature wall, and CHALKBOARD PAINT.  So excited.  I’ll keep you posted.