If you grew up in the 80’s you probably know Midnight Oil and their popular protest song.  If you’re living in Vancouver in 2020, it may feel like our world is burning.  We certainly have the smoke.  And we’ve lost a historic pier.  Not to mention some gondola cables, a whole swathe of forest south of the border.  And very nearly our minds.  Pandemics, house arrest, racial injustice, cancel culture, riots, protests, political and economic unrest, businesses closing, masks in public.  It’s a bit much to take.  And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  As the dark smokey skies replace the clear blue sunny ones we’ve enjoyed we’re all growing a bit more fearful, withdrawing a bit more inside ourselves, distrusting strangers just a little bit more.  It is easy in times like these to grow a bit unfriendly.  It’s hard to smile at someone from behind a mask.  All we see are closed off faces.

All the work we’ve done to socially distance ourselves is working to control the spread of COVID but it is a double edged sword.  The perpetual fearful messages, being cut off from our communities, the constant concern about contagion, the self-appointed social distancing vigilantes, there is real damage being done to our psychological and emotional health in the name of protecting our physical health.  But it is all connected, you cannot be physically healthy if your mind is not at ease and you’re living in a state of constant fear.

We’re wired biologically, for our own survival, to focus on danger or expected danger so if you find yourself being sucked into the negativity of this week’s news that’s just your amygdala doing its’ evolutionary job.  It doesn’t mean that the world is ending.  Even if it feels like it is.

We are fortunate to have a fantastic support network in our Empower community, a group of friends who come together to sweat, smile, strain and groan with us daily.  Not everyone is as lucky.  So it is up to us to shine our smiles out there for the people struggling against the oppressive fear of current circumstances.  Because the world isn’t ending.  And if it was, would you want your last interaction to be a scowl at a stranger?  Let’s find the love within ourselves and share it with those around us who need it the most.  And if someone is on edge, please forgive them, they’re going through hard times.  You are too, but I know you, and I know that you can rise above it because I see you do it every day in the gym no matter what fearful torture I throw your way!

Thanks Empower for creating an island sanctuary where I get to see the best of people everyday.  I get to see Dr. T score his first bar muscle up.  I get to see Pepper get 3 consecutive double unders, then 8 consecutive double unders and then 20 consecutive double unders.  I get to see you helping each other, encouraging each other and laughing with each other.  It may feel like our beds are burning but the world had it’s share of problems in 1967 too, especially for a black man living in America, and yet Louis Armstrong managed to sing about it being A Wonderful World, I’m still inclined to agree!

And speaking of the 80’s, all children of the 80’s can be forgiven for our lousy hair choices, to be fair the style options of that decade just weren’t at all flattering.  Can you guess who this hair belonged to?

Friday WOD
Friday’s workout is a bit more space and equipment intensive but there are some ways to accommodate members so that we all get to play.  While there are only 6 pull up stations available, members without stations can do pull up alternatives like bent over kettlebell rows + L-raises and Lying Leg raises instead of T2B.  If you haven’t a HSPU kick up station you can do these from a box or even pike push ups on the floor.  If you cannot access one of our 7 rowers, you can use an airbike or the ski erg or even substitute a 400m run.  In the gym we can do KB SDHPs instead of the barbell version to create more space.  And couples can tag team this one and share a single station, working together you might even be able to get it done before the time cap!

Equipment: Kettlebell, Rowing machine or alternative

Warm Up
1 min OS Full Body Rock
1 min KB Deadlifts
1 min Cross Crawls
1 min Ring Rows
1 min Russian KB Swings
1 min Judo Push Up Rock

WOD movements and substitutes

50 cal Row
50 L-Pull Ups
50 Inverted Burpees
50 T2B
50 cal Row

Cool Down
Lat Stretch
Samson Stretch
Pigeon Pose