I Can Do It, but Should I?

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.“

I use this quote in many areas of my life from designing in the studio, to cooking in the kitchen; from parking my car, to navigating on a trail; from planting in my garden, to choosing my exercise. I see a trend whenever I get really involved in something, that I want to do more, get complex, take the challenge: it must be a natural tendency to push past the boundary and excel. But is there more benefit when you go past that arbitrary line? For example, when cooking, we’ve all done it, you take a simple three-ingredient recipe and add a little more of this, and throw in a little of that, and suddenly you put the black beans in with the broccoli and the dish is ruined. Of course you CAN put spinach in the apple pie, but SHOULD you? Of course you CAN parallel park the car on the hill in the ice, but should you? Do you see where this is headed?

When it comes to different movements at the gym, 10 out of 10 times I can do them. I can often do them well, and I can often go up in weight each time I do them. But I now always ask myself, “should I?” I thought about this going into this month’s new workouts, coming off a successful four weeks of progressions. We get to a point where we are hitting personal records, or lifting heavy in a familiar movement, and then we set up to start at square one, or close to it, with a new movement. It is very tempting to pick up a 20# dumbbell for an overhead press on the first rep because we were just doing curls with 20# and the weight is so familiar. So yes, I can do that, but wait, should I?

Of course there is a trainer in the room and in a perfect world they are able to see everyone’s range of motion, mobility, and ability, but in reality, some of this is so subtle, that we really have to also self-assess. And only we can answer the question “should” for ourselves. Time and again I’m told I CAN do it, and I love when a trainer believes in me, but the next question I am responsible for is– should I?

The overhead press is one of the tricky movements in strength training. It is tricky because it is relatively simple, but our range of motion does not naturally lend itself to this rotation of our shoulders. We might have built-in limitations because of our individual habits or anatomy. To avoid greater limitations later, it is critical to be smart about shoulder exercises now. A good way to assess if you are ready for overhead presses is to simply lift your arms overhead with your palms facing each other while standing against a wall. Are you able to keep your head above your shoulders, or does your neck push out forward? And does your spine stay straight or do you curve at your lumbar away from the wall? If either of these happens, you have just answered the “should I” part of the question and you should ask your trainer for help with regressions and tips for better thoracic mobility and stretches for your lats. Overhead press limitation is not a life sentence. There are lots of stretches and mobility exercises for shoulders and lats that you can do to improve your technique (and your posture), and it’s worth it for long-term shoulder health.

It appears there’s a fine line between can and should, and it appears that even if you can do something you have to be sure the benefit for you outweighs the risk. In the case of the parked car, I can parallel park on the icy hill, but it might slide, or the car in front of me might slide. Will I be just as well off if I find a spot on the next block out of the ice and off the hill? I still get the benefit of parking, but I don’t have the risk of damage later.

For maximum benefit, the exercise must mimic the natural range of motion of the working muscle. So if your body has a different range of motion than the person next to you, or demonstrating a movement, your range of benefit is also going to differ.  In addition, for maximum benefit, you must be doing the movements correctly. As Hunter points out in the previous post, form should not be compromised for speed or quantity. Even if you can do 100 push-ups, should you? Is your form correct for all 100? Does the repetition feel safe for your joints? Take all of this into consideration when you next ask, “Just because I can, does this mean I should?”


New Workouts, Better Progress

This week on our walk around Beauchamp Point in Rockport, I pointed out to Hunter that the wind was coming from the south. This southerly breeze is a tell-tale sign of summer coming. As a sailor this is a welcomed change, one that brings new opportunities and new activities for the months ahead. This change in my routine keeps me engaged, challenges me, and is exciting! You might have noticed that we changed routines at the gym this week too.

One of the luxuries of going to a gym that offers group classes is the advanced programming. I love not having to think about my workout routine. I never have to walk in to Hybrid Fitness, look at the weight room and say, “What am I going to do today?” At Hybrid we have a team of trainers who puts together our workouts for us. Thank you!

Improving our fitness and gaining strength both come from a consistent routine. Our muscles adapt as we challenge them, whether that is through heavier load, higher reps, or faster cardio, and this is where we get stronger. But we cannot achieve these gains by doing the same thing at every workout. Switching to a lighter load, fewer reps, or a change of movement overall is necessary at certain times. Just when you were used to last month’s routine, we mixed it up on you, didn’t we?

Why do we do this?

  • Build new muscles:

Recreational exercisers (that’s us), can build a little bit of everything and be physically ready for anything. Rather than training only one part of our body we can share the love and build powerful legs, a strong upper body, and our endurance through a variety of exercises.

  • Move off the Plateau

My favorite reason for change is avoiding the plateau. Once we do something over and over our bodies get very efficient at it and we eventually adapt, which means burning fewer calories and not experiencing strength gain. Mixing in new movements makes us work harder and progress more.

  • Prevent overuse injury:

When we do something over and over we are more likely to experience a repetitive strain injury. Changing it up, gives our joints, muscles, and connective tissue a chance to rest. We are training for life, and this is why we want to have a well rounded training program. We do not need to over-emphasize any specific muscle as though we are an Olympic shot-put champion.

  • Prevent boredom:

This one is obvious, but important. If we aren’t having fun, or feeling challenged, we will lose interest. Mixing it up keeps us coming back for more!

With our Hybrid workouts we go from high volume and low intensity to develop our foundation and build our muscles, and then we progress to low volume, high intensity where we are reaching our top performance in those movements. As we hit that peak we move on to other movements and develop a new muscle group. Through these cycles we are reaping the benefits of our hard work, and as clients, we don’t have to give it a second thought. Workouts that have their own winds of change~ What a luxury!

Motivational Personal Development Strength Training Uncategorized

Healthy Fear and the Seduction of Deadlifts

Growing up, our neighborhood sentinel stood watch from his front porch, alert and ready to seize upon any passerby. His bark echoed between the houses, and we were dutifully warned by all the adults to give him a wide berth. He was a troubled dog, with a mysterious past. I imagined his face behind the screen door, an angry pairing of daggered teeth, slimy, dripping gnarled lip, and dark, menacing eyes. On our side of the door his swift canine canter would break into a full-speed sprint across the lawn, a black blur with a single glistening highlight at his flapping jowl. In our young minds it became a survival art to navigate to each other’s houses and back without waking the beast. Palms sweaty, on tiptoes, we’d walk in pairs with one suspended breath from the edge of his property to the next, one eye on the door, and one eye on the safety zone. From paper boy terror, to cyclist wounds, the dog’s ferociousness became legendary and walking by his house was no longer an option. Fear’s invisible hand guided us like marionettes; first one house away, then eventually two, and finally, we never walked within three houses of our local, furry vigilante. Our neighborhood boundaries of safety were prescribed, our path and playground dictated by a healthy fear.

Practical fear serves us well when it keeps us safe; it is a self-defense mechanism. With that in mind, I listen to my fear, but I try not to be a marionette in its hand. The dog is long gone and I have since left my neighborhood, but my boundaries of safety are always being established, informed by the combination of my experiences.

About 8 years ago I sprained my hip lifting a crate of artwork that weighed 220 pounds. I was immobile, and needed help to do even so little as tie my shoe. I was in agony not just from the pain, but because of my dependency on other people. As a “strong, independent woman,” being stripped of my capability, stripped part of my identity, and it was unnerving. After weeks, even months of recovery I operated in a newly defined safety zone. My boundaries included lighter lifting, even baskets of laundry were questionable, and I NEVER approached 220 pounds. The number itself invoked a visceral response, sweaty palms, stilled breath, as if 220 was my new ferocious beast just around the corner, whose bark echoed between the houses.

There has been a lot of growth in the last eight years, including learning how to be comfortable relying on other people, welcoming new definitions of my identity, and being more fluid with my ideas about safety, comfort, and risk. Despite the growth and awareness, strength and (a reasonable degree of) independence continue to be a priority for me, as made obvious by my work at Hybrid Fitness. These last few weeks with deadlifts in our workouts, I’ve been staring down the dog of 220. It has been waiting for me around the corner. I’m perfectly comfortable and safe “2 or 3 houses down” in the 190-200 range, working on my form. I can stay here quietly, but honestly, there is something seductive about the deadlift. And for all my convincing of myself that I am fine to steer clear of 220, there is a powerful part of me that wants to tame the beast, to walk right up to it and have it eat out of my hand.

I think a lot of us share a love of the deadlift. It is a movement that is new to many of us since joining Hybrid and at first may have seemed inaccessible or intimidating. But many of us convert after walking up to that bar with those big weights, squeezing our glutes, driving our weight through our heels, popping our hips out and our chests up, and BOOM! We’re deadlifting and going back for more. We use this movement to measure and express our comprehensive strength and power, and we celebrate this success.  In strength training, we learn to trust the process of progression. We learn technique; we get better; and we get stronger. While I have been milling around in my safety zone these weeks, I have reinforced my technique and gained strength. This progression led me to my next step.

I’m standing in the front yard of 220, its gnarled lip and frothy mouth inches from my own. I know I can choose to go home, but I chalk up and let my body do what it knows how to do. I walk right past my own imaginary boundary and dance my way to 225. Fear is not even in the room, not a single shadow of an echoing bark.

In order to progress I had to think about what message my fear was sending. Was I the marionette of fear directed by arbitrary boundaries, or was the fear protecting me from doing something harmful? As soon as I knew I could handle what I was doing, I did it. I made sure there was no ego, no bravado, and it wasn’t about anything other than my own strength in that moment. The arbitrary boundary dissolved as I allowed my knowledge to surface. Listening to fear in a practical sense protects us from certain dangers, while trusting our experience frees ourselves from other types of fear. What are your growling dogs and 220s? Is your fear good self-defense, or is it something to face and move past? Explore the difference, and dance yourself safely to the best version of you!

Exercise Tutorials Motivational Personal Development Strength Training Uncategorized

Why is my trainer happy that I’m not at the gym?

When I broke the news to Hunter that I was going to miss class because I would be out of town, he was so happy for me. I joke about my perfect attendance when I sign in at the gym, but my commitment to wellness, all kidding aside, is a priority. I’m not just a fair-weather exerciser. So when I lamented I’d be missing class because I was traveling I was surprised by his response. “Great,” he said, “Go do what you love.” My first response was, “Aren’t you disappointed I won’t be keeping up with my workouts this week?” And he simply reminded me, “Dorrie, you don’t come to the gym to come to the gym.” What a simple, brilliant, statement.

I don’t come to the gym to come to the gym.

Like any of us, I come to the gym for all sorts of reasons, many of which support my mission to be healthy so I am able to give to my community and to live a full life. This month at Hybrid Fitness we are talking about why we do things, so I wanted to take a look at the exercises I do and why I do them. I don’t just deadlift so I can walk around town and deadlift. That would be weird! All of these movements improve my overall strength which in turn support me in being able to give the most of myself and have a full life. Of course I love the big, complex movements and the measurable gains of the isolated movements, but today I want to talk about what keeps it all together-the core. This is the foundation of our exercise regimen.

What is our core?

Our core is made up of a series of muscle groups, including the upper and lower abdominals, internal and external obliques, lower back muscles, hip flexors, pelvic floor, and I like to include on my list, the powerful glutes.

Why is core strength important?

These muscles provide a framework of support for our inner organs; they protect our back; and a strong core improves balance and stability; promotes better posture; and lessens our risk of injury. We don’t just need a strong core to be able to protect our back or have balance at the gym. A strong core helps us shovel snow, carry groceries, help an injured pet, carry bags of mulch for the garden, hike a mountain, put a suitcase in the overhead compartment, tie our shoes, cross the deck of a moving sailboat, or hold a child in our arms. A strong core impacts our lives every day.

How do we strengthen our core?

The following core movements are the favorite five at Hybrid Fitness. These are all body weight exercises. If you find that you might miss a week at the gym because you are off doing what you love, you can always do these core strengthening exercises on your own.

  1. Plank- targets the upper and lower abdominals and the glutes
  2. Russian Twist- targets the obliques
  3. Superman- targets the glutes and lower back
  4. Dead bug- targets the pelvic floor and promotes hip stability
  5. Glute bridge- targets the hip flexors, the pelvic floor, and fires up the glutes

While I don’t have to know all the what, why, and how of the exercises, I think it helps. Giving your body the cues to engage certain muscles sets up a pathway from your brain to the muscles in a way that supports them. Paying attention to building your core through these movements helps you put the extra effort and intention into those twists or lifts rather than just going through the motions. Knowing why your core muscles matter for you can help keep you motivated to do these motions as much as knowing why you come to the gym. Remember you don’t just do planks to do planks, and you don’t just come to the gym to come to the gym.


Motivational Personal Development Uncategorized

On Being a Beginner

Midcoast Maine hikes
View from weekly walk up Beech Hill

Hi everyone! I thought I’d give you a little background on how I came to be a guest blogger for Hybrid Fitness. About a year ago I invited Hunter to join me on my weekly walk. I use this time to clear my head and get some fresh air. He joined me, and now my walk is our walk. Our conversations meander from business advice, to personal development, to fitness, to general wellness. We talk about books we are reading, ideas, goals, relationships, challenges, and I always try to leave him with a little nugget of wisdom. It was only a matter of time before he decided he wanted to start sharing some of these nuggets of wisdom with all of you. It didn’t seem quite right that he kept them all to himself. Hunter is a big fan of the live camera, as we all know, and he’s a big fan of pushing me outside my comfort zone. One day he put the camera on me and said, “Let’s go live on Facebook!” What?! I’m not a Let’s Go Live kind of person. As an introvert, I’m a listener, and I think A LOT. I am not shy, but I do not perform, or give on-demand wisdom. Going live is not my style, but I agreed that some of the things we talk about and I think about might be interesting to all of you. He’s always thinking of ways to enrich everyone’s experience at Hybrid Fitness, and so our compromise for the past few months has been the Weekly Thought from Dar. I take a picture and share on Facebook one insight from that week with the hope of bringing you a new perspective, a challenge to grow on your path to the best version of you. Given that platform, I realized there’s so much more to share. Hunter and I agreed that these little nuggets of wisdom could be expanded to blog style articles with more depth.

It’s not easy for me to put my thoughts out there, but this community is the perfect venue. We all come to Hybrid Fitness because it is judgment-free. We are supportive and encouraging of one another. So while I am not going “live”, I am outside my comfort zone (another win for Hunter). I hope to bring you quality content for your own personal development, while sharing a little of my story. I am not an authority on any given topic, but I am passionate about wellness, including fitness and nutrition. Over the next few months you will learn more about me, but more importantly, by bringing you information about wellness, fitness, and nutrition, hopefully you will learn more about you.

And now what you came here for…the weekly thought from Dar…

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” –Meister Eckhart

It takes courage to be new to something. We reach our adult lives and most of us have become professionals in a field, or we have our routines that are really familiar. Being a beginner is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. When we walk into a new place, a new job, a first date, or the weight room at the gym, it can be a little scary. Try to remember in the midst of that fear, that it is never as scary as it seems. We’ve all survived the scariest, newest times in our lives. That’s how we got here, right? On the other side of the beginning, all of the new possibilities are waiting for you. In anything you do, you are a beginner first. What possibilities will be open to you if you let yourself be a beginner again?


Moms Around the Country Discover Fitness Program that Eases “Empty Nest Syndrome”

Mothers throughout the US have been dealing with the effects of “Empty Nest Syndrome” for years.

“Empty Nest Syndrome” happens when children have grown and left the home, leaving parents with a physical and emotional void.

Although its known that fathers can also fall victim to this, mothers tend to be more susceptible and have severer mom-sending-son-off-to-collegesymptoms.

Its not uncommon for women to experience other life changing events simultaneously, such as menopause or caring for elderly parents, which can cause added stress.

Studies have shown women who are empty nesters can suffer from severe grief, anxiety, and in some cases, depression.

One mother said,

“It’s like I no longer had a purpose. I felt lost.”

Many psychologists recommend finding a new hobby, working on yourself, and exercising to help relieve the symptoms.

Luckily, there is a solution that has helped many empty nesters already.

It is a new but challenging fitness program that pushes both your physical and mental wellness. It meets you where you are at and progresses you steadily physically as the endorphins for the workout improve you mentally.

“When my son left for college in 2015, I faced the dreaded empty nest. Having time to myself for the first time in a long while, I joined the fitness program. Through the program, I reconnected to my identity as an individual. After years of prioritizing other’s needs, I rediscovered the joy and value of self care. I explored this new interest and made new friends. The program fulfilled many needs and eased the restlessness that comes with the empty nest syndrome”.

Looking back after taking the course, one of the mothers said,

“Having an empty nest is like staring at a blank canvas, and what better master piece to work on than yourself?”

Don’t leave your canvas empty and find out how you can start creating your masterpiece by clicking the blue button.

Get Started

Nutrition Uncategorized

Fish Oil: Why Omega-3 is Better Than Omega-6

Fish oils are a staple of many people’s diets, but you have to know WHICH you should be taking.

In this video, Hunter Grindle of Hybrid Fitness discusses why omega-3 fish oil is better than omega-6, and other options.

Omega-6 oils have many bad side effects, such as inflamation. These side effects outweigh the benefits and can harm you over time.

Omega-3 WILL help you focus, have a better recovery, and MANY more benefits. —- More Training Videos, Workouts, and Content!



Tour of the NEW GYM

It’s finally here! Although still a work in progress, finally see our new gym in all of its glory!

In this video, Hunter Grindle shows off the new gym located on Main Street in Thomaston, Maine. This gym will be open soon for monday classes.

We also want to thank all of you who contributed to setting up this past week! We assure you will love the new gym! —- More Training Videos, Workouts, and Content!


Motivational Personal Development Uncategorized

Learn To Make Sacrifices for YOURSELF

While sleep and free time are good, there are always things you can do instead to make yourself happier. Learn how to make these sacrifices.

In this video, Hunter Grindle of Hybrid Fitness discusses a recent night he had where he learned how to make certain sacrifices to better himself and make himself happier.

Not only will this better yourself, but it will improve your relationships with the people that matter most to you. —- More Training Videos, Workouts, and Content!


Motivational Personal Development Uncategorized


Courage is essential to achieving your goals, whether they may be fitness goals, career goals, etc. It is important YOU know how to obtain YOUR courage,

In this video, Hunter Grindle of Hybrid Fitness reminds you to have courage in your life, and the importance it has to achieving your goals every day.

Having no courage will make you refrain from reaching out and making it possible to better yourself.

It helps give you the drive needed to not let your body take and over and inhibit you from improving. —- More Training Videos, Workouts, and Content!