Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The peasants are revolting

After my last crabby post, it strikes me that what actually annoys me slightly about yoga, and Zumba, and (also! sorry I'm not sorry) pilates*, is that the poses or the steps or the equipment or the entire franchise gets trademarked and named. Because of course it wouldn't be possible to make any money off 'dancing', or 'stretching and strengthening' or 'cycling on a stationary bike', or off training instructors to do non trademarked versions of the above.

My beloved RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) Ballet is of course guilty of the same thing, as is its main 'competitor', the Vaganova school. Except it's a style of performance art, much like the difference between Impressionist painters and Surrealist ones. The difference has a purpose...

Anyway, away from all that. that's what I like about running. Running's running. It can be as no-nonsense as YOU want it to be. Shorts, shirt, shoes, out the door. Running's a broad church. There's no trademarking running. (Except sometimes I worry that one day, someone is going to come up with a trademarked, franchised 'running class' that takes place in a studio full of treadmills. I'll take Prancercise.)

*while in a contemporary dance group in college I took a lot of pilates matwork classes and was also annoyed by the New Age jargon, except there's less of it in pilates. Yoga and pilates would probably help about equally with stretching and stability, so I endure. Also, my mild annoyance at the trademarking of Zumba fitness classes doesn't mean I can't find them fun...


In other news, my body is still revolting.

So the last time I ran...was on Sunday. This week and a half has been quite a change from six days a week.
Yesterday I was about to go for a very short run, but my knee hurt in a place that it has essentially never hurt before: the inside front of my left knee (that's the medial bit, right at the bend, worryingly near the medial meniscus for all you anatomy folks). So instead of running, I was so good. SO WELL-BEHAVED. I did 41.5 minutes on the bike trainer*. This morning, my right hip seizes up and sends spasms of pain shooting up and down my leg when I walk. My glutes and piriformis are punishing me for something I either did or didn't, except I have no idea what it is.

*41.5 minutes is the exact length of one CSI:NY episode, without ads.

Worse still, this morning I woke up feeling EVEN WORSE than I had the previous few days. The cough still hasn't gone away. Nor has the interesting neon green phlegm (sorry TMI). There's only one remedy for this: CALL MY MUM. Antibiotics, I can haz.

Things had better start looking up real quick: Perth is 6 weeks away now...


  1. I'm going to be a downer and mention Chi Running and the POSE Method (is that what it's called?). They may not have succeeded in trademarking the entire sport, but they've trademarked specific ways of doing it! I agree with your overall point, though.

    Being sick is the worst! And even worse if rest doesn't seem to have helped. I wish I had kinder words than "You'll get better eventually!", but you will? From what I've read (new reader!), you seem to have put in some pretty solid training, plus there's still six weeks until your marathon so you've got time!

    On an administrative note, your posts always get cut off in Feedly after videos. I have no suggestions for how to remedy this (it's probably a Feedly issue and not a Blogger issue) but thought I'd mention it!

    1. Thanks Jean! Anyway, the fastest way to get better is to complain to the internets about it. :) Certainly makes one FEEL better!

      Ha, you're right about Chi Running and POSE...I think of them as sort of extra-fancy coaching methods.

      Hm - that is a weird and annoying thing about Feedly. I know no other way to fix this, but to circumvent it I'll try to put videos right at the end instead...?

  2. A lot of people get lead-up-to-marathon tweakies. Hopefully the knee gets itself in line soon.

    Now, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate on the "trademarking and franchising" issue.

    1. NOT all of ANY of the practices you mention are trademarked (except maybe Zumba? I don't really know the Zumba story. I stay far away from Zumba). there are lots of different kinds of yoga: Hatha, Iyengar, Hot, Power, Flow, Yin, etc. You could open a studio that espouses to practice any of these kinds of yoga, and you'd probably be just fine. In fact, MANY yoga studios are "independent". Sure, the instructors are trained in one or several "schools" of yoga, but that is all about the philosophy behind the yoga, the poses used, and the goals of the practice. Ditto with cycling. [Yes, there ARE names that you could use that would get you in trademark trouble - Bikram and RPM are two.]

    2. There are plenty of studios that ARE independent. I may have already said that, but it bears repeating. This is totally true for both yoga and spin.

    [Even Fitness First has some independent instructors. Sherlin, for example, doesn't typically teach the branded, Les Mills RPM spin class. She's hired to teach her own class.]

    3. I think the majority of the places you find the "branded" routines are gyms, who can afford the licensing fees, and for whom the branding makes practical sense. The owners are running a gym, not experts in yoga or spin or aerobics. If they were to bring IN independent experts on every topic, they would have to do quality control - possibly in areas in which they are unfamiliar, and could likely have to charge more - and might have trouble finding instructors. By using a branded program, they allow someone else to take responsibility for training and certifying instructors, who then come to the gym with a minimum standard of competence. But there are tons of independent, non-branded yoga studios. Just Google "Yoga, Singapore".

    [And at Fitness First, for example, that minimum is actually not too bad, in my experience.]

  3. (cont'd)

    4. Branded programs also provide some consistency for patrons - I could move back to the US, find a Les Mills RPM class, and know *exactly* what I'd be getting. I can feel comfortable walking into ANY Fitness First in Singapore to attend an RPM class, and I have a basic idea of what I'm going to get. Not having to constantly adapt to a new instructor's 'style' increases the chance that I'll ultimately take more classes - I'm less likely to skip, knowing that the instructor won't be a lot of a factor. [Really good instructors will bias me to return to a class; but even the ones I don't love are still good, and I'll go to their classes for the sake of convenience.] If that makes people comfortable and more likely to work out, why not?

    5. A branded program might lower the barrier to entry. Even as someone who KNOWS the importance of weight training, and could even design her own program for it - I wouldn't spend almost 2 hours a week lifting, if left to my own devices. But I take 2 Body Pump classes almost every week. I'm not sure there are non-branded lifting groups out there - but branding has MADE lifting accessible and sexy for lots of people who otherwise wouldn't be doing it.

    5. A brand gives something for people to coalesce around. I could discuss RPM with friends in the US, and we are ALL doing the same tracks (although after the first 3 weeks, instructors can - and do - mix in old tracks. With almost 60 releases, that's plenty of variety/selection). Community is one thing that keeps people coming back to exercise. If some branding helps encourage community, what's so wrong with that?

    In short, I understand your complaints. But ultimately, I see branding as a way to provide consistency, quality, and community - for gym owners, instructors, and patrons. I'm SURE that more people are working out today, thanks to branding. And how could that be a bad thing?

    [Confession: I put a copyright reminder on my training plans when I send them to folks. Why not? It's my research, time, and effort that put that plan together. If someone goes sharing it willy-nilly, that's not to my advantage, as a business owner.]

    [And Conflict of Interest Statement: I'm taking my RPM Instructor Training class this weekend.]

    1. All great and valid points! Thanks for the fine discussion. You don't have to apologise for branded programmes (enjoy instructor training!) - such franchises can work very well for many, many people. I have a dear friend who swears by...I kid you not...Jazzercise. And my being very mildly annoyed by branding doesn't mean I can't also ENJOY the classes.

      And...of course you should put copyright reminders on your training plans - it's your time, training and expertise as a running coach that people are paying for. In the end they will have to put in the work on their own, but coaching, for various reasons, can make a lot of difference.

  4. Are you doing City to Surf in Perth? I have a cousin over there who sometimes runs it but I'm thinking that since his wife had a baby just a week ago he might be banned from any frivolous outing for a year or so.

    1. I am indeed! And it's in only five weeks, now! Yes, he'll probably be a bit sleep-deprived...