Whole Moves Fitness Training!

Sebastian Grubb For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, you ought to check out WHOLE MOVES! It's new a fitness class for dancers and others with embodied professions and hobbies brought to you by Sebastian Grubb.

Details: Wednesdays, 12-1pm in Berkeley at the Finnish Hall. $15-30 sliding.

Whole Moves is not your typical exercise class. Instead of focusing on brute strength or basic cardio, Whole Moves fitness is about learning and practicing complex movement patterns, while training all athletic and functional fitness components: strength, endurance, agility, balance and coordination. Extra attention will be paid to learning proper form, safe joint range of motion and building up mobility and dynamic stability.

In this class we will push, pull, jump, throw, run and balance our way to victory and healthier, more athletic bodies.

First Steps to Weight Loss

PART TWO: Eat Salad Every Day Kale Salad

THE BIG PICTURE Leafy green vegetables, especially dark green ones, are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. That makes the act of eating a salad one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall well being and maintain a healthy amount of body fat. As long as your salads are done right (see below), eating more of them will both decrease the calories you take in and increase the nutrients you get. This means salad consumption is very helpful for both weight loss and health gain.

NUTRIENT DENSITY Healthy foods are nutrient dense, meaning they have a lot of nutrients per calorie. Micronutrients are a class of nutrients that are crucial for having a long, healthy life. They keep your body in running order, including your bones, soft tissues, eyes, and immune system. Getting lots of them also significantly reduces your risk of many diseases, including certain types of cancer. Calories are what give you energy. Since you only need so much energy per day, you’re better off getting as much nutrition as you can along with those calories. Most people eating Western diets get too many calories and not enough micronutrients. This almost always leads to too much body fat and ill health. That means most Westerners need to eat more foods that are more nutrient dense, like greens.

Salad is high in many nutrients, including fiber. Eating fibrous foods such as vegetables, beans, and fruit fills the volume of your stomach and makes you feel full and satisfied. That leaves less room for food that is less healthy. And so, one easy step you can take to reduce the amount of calories you eat while increasing the amount of nutrients you get is to eat a salad every day, preferably before a big meal like lunch or dinner. Some people even base an entire meal on salad by adding other yummy ingredients, like the ones below.

WHAT MAKES A SALAD AWESOME? Aside from green leaves, there are many more tasty and health-promoting foods you can add to your salad. Here are some:

-greens: romaine lettuce, spinach, mixed greens, arugula -other vegetables: bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, artichoke hearts -fruits: diced grapefruit, apples, figs, berries, and any dried fruits -nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed -herbs, fresh or dried: cilantro, oregano, mint -legumes: black beans, red lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, sweet peas -whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, wild rice, corn

The more ingredients you add from the vegetables, legumes, and fruits categories, the more nutrients your salad has per calorie. And when you include fruits, herbs, and other delicious foods, the tastier your salad becomes and the less dressing you might want to add.

WHAT MAKES A SALAD BACKFIRE? Adding foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories can destroy the health status of a salad in no time. Meat, cheese, and oil are common examples. If you add these foods, they should be in small amounts (the smallest amount you can muster). Croutons made from white bread are another example of a low-nutrient food often added to salads.

Many salad dressings are based on oil, which is one of the least nutrient dense foods around. Even olive oil, which has been heavily advertised as a health food, is actually very low in nutrients aside from fat, from which it gets 100% of its calories. That means that the more oil and oil-based dressings you add to your greens, the less health-promoting the salad becomes. And the harder it will be to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight.

HOW DO I MAKE A HEALTHY SALAD DRESSING? If you are buying a salad dressing, one of the first ingredients in the ingredient list should be some kind of vinegar or water, not oil. One trick is to just buy vinegar on its own, such as balsamic, apple cider, etc. You can also use hummus, tahini, salsa, and hot sauce as great salad toppings that can be mixed in to add a lot of flavor.

There are lots of recipes for healthy salad dressings, but here’s a simple formula you can use to create your own: Pick a vinegar, a nut butter or seed butter, an herb or spice, and a citrus fruit. Put these ingredients into a blender and add enough water to blend. Keep adding water until you have the desired consistency and flavor power. Lots of vinegar will take lots of water and other ingredients to mellow out. The more nut or seed butter you add, the more calories the salad dressing will have. Athletes needing more calories can be generous with the amount of nuts and seeds their salads--and any meal--include.

Part 1: Stop Drinking Calories!

DISCLAIMER: The author is neither a nutritionist nor registered dietician. Information contained herein was gathered from many sources and can be found in the literature of such organizations as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetics Association, the American Council on Exercise, National Institutes of Health, and others. Consult with a physician before making changes to your diet or exercise program.

For more about the Author, Sebastian Grubb visit: SebastianGrubb.com

First Steps To Weight Loss

PART 1: Stop Drinking Calories!

THE BIG PICTURE When we say “body weight” and “weight loss”, we are usually talking about fat mass and decreasing it. Muscle and other tissues make up a lot of our weight also, but few people are trying to “lose muscle mass”! Bodyfat is generally stored when we eat more food than we need, storing extra calories in our fat tissue for the next famine. The problem, of course, is that in modern, Westernized countries, there is no famine. Instead we have near-constant opportunities to feast. In this article series I’ll be laying out some no-nonsense approaches to reducing calories and increasing nutrients in the food we eat. This strategy, along with appropriate exercise habits and other healthy habits, is the key to maintaining a healthy amount of fat in our bodies.

LIQUID CALORIES Stop drinking calories! Liquid calories tend to increase your total calories (consumed energy) per day, but, because they are mostly nutrient-poor, they decrease your daily nutrient intake. This means a tendency toward fat-gain and decreased health.Sugary Beverages

Examples of Liquid Calories: -Juice, even fresh -Milk, dairy or nondairy -Alcohol -Energy Drinks and soda pop, even sugar-free

Replace with: -Tea, especially green/white/black -Carbonated Water -Vegetable Juice, especially that made from green vegetables (carrot juice is still very high in sugar and lower in nutrients than green vegetable juice) -Whole Food Smoothies, especially those containing both fruits and vegetables

HERE'S WHY Juice, usually made from fruit or carrots, is essentially sugar water with a small amount of some vitamins. So many nutrients, including fiber, are lost when juicing fruits, that the end product can hardly be considered healthy, even when fresh-squeezed. Eat fruit instead!

Milk is also a low-nutrient food. While most milks (nondairy included) are high in calcium and Vitamin D, these are only two nutrients, and there are thousands of nutrients that we should be getting in our food. Also, milks are somewhat high in sugar, and non-skim dairy milk (along with coconut milk) is high in saturated fat and further increases your calories per day without significantly increasing your nutrients per day.

Alcohol is a low-nutrient food. Some benefits are conferred from moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks per day), but these benefits might be outweighed by simply eating another small salad per day instead of drinking alcohol. If you are physically quite active, 1 alcoholic drink per day is probably fine.

Energy Drinks are not healthy. They are generally made out of carbonated water and sugar with a handful of vitamins and stimulants thrown in. Caffeinating oneself frequently as a lifestyle choice is a questionable practice on its own. But regularly consuming energy drinks is like regularly drinking soda pop, also called liquid candy.

What about sodas and energy drinks that are sugar-free? Artificial sweeteners are linked to a slight increase in body weight. Why? The prevailing theory is that consuming fake sugar confuses your body’s ability to sense when real sugar is being eaten. That means that when you do eat real sugar, like from some orange slices, your body is less-well equipped to deal with these sugars since it believes they are fake sugars. Personally, I consume drinks with real sugar those few times per year when I splurge on super sweet beverages.

HEALTHY REPLACEMENT DRINKS Tea, from the tea tree (different than the “tea tree” plant from which “tea tree oil” is obtained), is green, white, or black, depending on how much the leaves are processed after harvest. All three are full of nutrients, free of calories, and will benefit your health. Black has the most caffeine, green the least.

Water and carbonated water is healthy stuff. Drink in abundance! Actually, a sign that you are well-hydrated (but not over-hydrated) is having urine that is slightly yellow, but mostly clear.

Vegetable JuiceVegetable Juice, especially that made from green vegetables, is very good for your health. Low in sugar but very high in nutrients, green vegetable juice is a great addition for anyone. Watch out for vegetable juice that is based on celery or cucumber, since this is lower in nutrients than juice made primarily from vegetables like romaine, kale, broccoli, and spinach.

Whole Food Smoothies contain all the stuff that the whole food has, it’s just mixed and “pre-chewed” for your enjoyment. As long as you drink them somewhat close to when they are made (try 10-20 minutes), drinking whole food smoothies can be a super healthy way to go. Try mixing fruits and green leaves. You’d be surprised how many leaves (like spinach or romaine) you can add before you taste them. It’s like a fruit salad meets a green salad, and super convenient. You can also add other flavors by throwing in some cinnamon, unprocessed cocoa powder, ginger, etc.

What About Athletes? Athletes have higher--sometimes much higher--calorie needs, and liquid calories can be a good way to get those additional calories. It’s still smart to get calories from nutrient-dense foods though, since the body needs more nutrients to repair from increased physical activity. I recommend that athletes consume 1 or 2 calorie-dense smoothies per day that include lots of fruits, green leaves, and nut butter, like the one below:

Recovery Smoothie: 2 bananas, 3 cups mixed greens, 1 cup blueberries, lots of cinnamon, whole food hemp protein powder, 3 TBSP peanut butter, water. Blend until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

Part 2: Eat Salad Every Day

DISCLAIMER: The author is neither a nutritionist nor registered dietician. Information contained herein was gathered from many sources and can be found in the literature of such organizations as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetics Association, the American Council on Exercise, National Institutes of Health, and others. Consult with a physician before making changes to your diet or exercise programs.

For more about the Author, Sebastian Grubb visit: SebastianGrubb.com

Catching Up With Sebastian Grubb

Sebastian Grubb Enforced Arch 'Mover' and contributor, Sebastian Grubb takes life one step at a time but carries the world in his arms. Tackling fitness, nutrition and dance in one lifetime may seem overwhelming but for him, it's done with grace. He is thrilled to share his expertise with the world and has recently launched a website where you can get the best of all three worlds in one place. I had the opportunity to briefly interview him and here's what he had to say:

You have a very diverse background of expertise. Why did you choose to bring them together into one website? My life is organized around bridging my different interests. Movement, food, creativity: balancing these make up what I consider the foundation of a good life. In the end, my primary pursuits are health and happiness, and professionally that means working as an artist and trainer. I also don't see such a big divide between the categories; you need to eat well to move well (over the long-term), and dance certainly fits into the pursuit of fitness also.

What do you expect someone to get when they stumble upon SebastianGrubb.com (supposing they came for nutrition and they peruse the dance section)? I hope they might see the connection, see how different pursuits aid each other. Dance is an ancient, ancient human tradition; every culture has their own dance. That's strong evidence for the importance of everyone dancing. So someone can come to my site and think, "Hmmm, maybe I'll go out dancing this week or take a dance class." On another track, I notice that people who do pursue dance and/or fitness do not necessarily also pursue healthy eating, or have misinformation about what is actually healthy. That's why I have written and posted nutrition articles on the site.

Sebastian Grubb

Please tell me about Sebastian Grubb's philosophy of movement and lifestyle: My philosophy around healthy living is: to make time to move creatively and vigorously most days of the week, to eat almost exclusively whole plant foods, to sleep well and foster healthy social relationships. In more specific terms, exercise for at least 1 hour on 6-7 days per week; eat as many vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains as possible; sleep 7-10 hours a night, depending on need; practice sensitive, mature communication and healing psychological wounds.

What is a typical day in the life of Sebastian Grubb, what do you eat, what companies do you spend your time with? I have an unfortunately chaotic schedule, owing to shifting dance rehearsals, performances, and touring. That said, I generally dance 20-30 hours per week and train fitness clients 12-15 hours per week, in small groups and 1-on-1. I often train clients in the morning and evening, with a rehearsal in between. I work like this 6 days a week. And I perform about 20 weekends per year, with about 12 of those being outside California.

As you might have guessed, I eat a lot. Here's my basic structure: Breakfast based on fruit, lunch based on salad, dinner based on steamed vegetables. Add to that a lot of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. And add a snack mid-afternoon, and an additional meal, usually a second dinner. This past year I have been learning a lot about training less to avoid injury and burnout, and about eating denser calorie sources, like nuts and seeds. It's funny that part of my challenge has been moving less and eating more, but that's just how it is.

I also do fitness-specific training for myself, like circuit strength-training, running, etc. This totally depends on the intensity of my rehearsals, if I am doing a lot of lifting of other dancers, learning a new style, or getting ready for a performance weekend. In general I fit in 2 strength training sessions per week, usually right before a rest (or low-intensity) day. Again, it's about the whole picture and a long-term perspective of sustainability.

Here's who I'm currently working with in the dance world: AXIS Dance Company hired me in 2009 and it has been a phenomenal learning and growth opportunity for me. We work 12-20 hours per week, on average, and I do almost all my touring with AXIS. I have been performing with Scott Wells & Dancers since 2008, which is a project-based gig. And then I freelance and make my own work. Currently I'm rehearsing with Christine Bonansea on a dancetheatre piece inspired by Sartre's play, "No EXIT". I'm also choreographing "WORKOUT", a dancetheatre piece based on fitness training and fitness-specific subcultures. It's very entertaining, vigorous, and interesting for me. WORKOUT will premiere this December in San Francisco.

Sebastian Grubb

What legends in the dance community, or perhaps not in the dance community, inspire you? I have always been inspired by older dancers. This started when I was in college and looked to young professionals in their twenties. Now I am inspired by dancers in their thirties and beyond. I love watching someone dance who is in their fifties or sixties and has this whole body of experience and movement history. It really shows. I'm looking to cultivate that in myself, as an aesthetic choice and even as a subtle spiritual practice. In the Bay Area I've been most inspired by Joe Goode and Scott Wells, both of whom are remarkable dancers, but who've also attracted communities of dancers and audiences around their work, which continues to evolve.

Growing up I performed in musicals and also saw a lot of them performed, some live and some on video. I remember being particularly inspired by Gene Kelly. I also watched most of Charlie Chaplin's films and draw from them to this day.

I should add that I am inspired by watching athletes; I love the pure effort, and the grace that comes from finding efficient ways to move. In college I was really inspired by bodybuilders and strongmen, both of whom have taken this process of molding and changing their bodies to an extreme. It takes such diligence and belief in their own ability to shape their world. I really admire that, though I would say my own fitness practice is much more balanced today than it was when I first pursued fitness via bodybuilding.

What's coming up for you and how do we follow your inspirational work? Thanks for asking! I have a lot of upcoming projects. Earlier I mentioned "WORKOUT", which premieres in December. I am also about to begin making a commissioned work for AXIS Dance Company. And AXIS has two big projects this Fall, making long works with outside choreographers Amy Seiwert and Victoria Marks. We will basically have two rehearsal intensives back-to-back over three months. Those will all be more like 30-hour dance weeks. You can catch all this in video and social media on-line via facebook, twitter and youtube. Here are some specific websites to check:

http://www.axisdance.org http://www.sebastiangrubb.com/gallery http://www.youtube.com/sebastiangrubb http://www.youtube.com/user/axisdancecomp

Images of Sebastian Grubb from The Narrowing, for AXIS Dance Company. Photography by David Papas

Thank you Sebastian Grubb for taking time to share this information with the Enforced Arch community. We are looking forward to all your upcoming creative projects and celebrate your achievements thus far!

Be sure to check out his new website HERE!


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For those who only consume plant foods ("vegans") or those who have a hard time absorbing B-12 (generally, the older we get, the harder it is), taking a B-12 supplement is highly recommended by many medical practitioners and health organizations. B-12 is one of many B vitamins, but it is the only one not provided in plant foods. It is made by a bacteria that lives in many places, including dirt and animal intestines. For animals, B-12 stores up in their bodies; hence, if you eat another animal's body, you consume B-12 too. Humans also have this special bacteria living inside us, but we don't get enough B-12 from them. Since plants tend to have the dirt washed off them, if you only eat plants you will not get adequate B-12. If you are not sure about your own B-12 status, you can get a blood test done at a doctor's office; ask specifically for them to check your B-12 level. If you believe you could benefit from supplementing it, B-12 supplements are easy to find and painless to take.


For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!

Rise and Fall of the Machines

Rise and Fall of the MachinesUsing machines to workout has become commonplace in our culture. For many people they are irreplaceable. But let's pause for a moment: is there anything strange about using machinery to train our bodies? Well, it's certainly a good way to become proficient at using machines! But what about high-dynamic or everyday activities that use our full body in a coordinated way? Workout machines (with a few exceptions) just don't replicate that. And relying on them can actually detrain your nervous system and its ability to coordinate many muscle groups efficiently and effectively. Not only that, but machines do such a great job of creating a stable environment that little-to-no balance is required on your part. And that means you need far fewer muscle groups to accomplish a given task. In the end that means you do less work in a machine-based activity and hence less you get benefit for your muscles and overall fitness. Many such machines were developed in the 20th century and are a mainstay for physical therapy and helping patients recover from injuries. For these patients, having a more stable environment is often necessary because of a previous injury and the need to isolate a specific muscle or muscle group. But for the rest of us what we need is actually a less stable environment and less isolation! (Not to mention that many people recovering from injuries can benefit from stability training too.) I see the popularity of workout machines being due to a few things: increased comfort from an indoor workout environment; sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are working a single muscle and what that muscle is; sedentary workouts - most machines require that you sit down to use them; and simplicity of participation, e.g. press a button or move a weight pin and adjust seat height, then begin. Simplicity is good, but maybe we would benefit from taking some time to learn more complex, non-machine-based movements. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that traditional exercises without machines are better for you and more worth your time. And in the end, what is so complicated about a push-up?

In my personal workouts and my programs for clients I emphasize 'functional' training and 'stability' training. These are closely-related training methods and, in my opinion, make the most sense if your goal is total fitness and long-term health. An exercise is "functional" if it trains you to accomplish tasks that might come up in your ordinary life, e.g. lifting boxes, opening heavy doors, recovering from a fall, running up stairs, etc. But functional training can also go beyond these more everyday activities to include any activity that uses most of your body to accomplish a specific task, e.g. climbing a rope, throwing a large object, and jumping onto a high surface. When we are moving in the world, most of our body is required (hence the argument against machines). This means complex coordinations are performed by the nervous system to organize one's entire body toward attaining a set goal. There are major muscle groups activating to generate power, but there are also smaller muscle groups that bear the responsibility for keeping you from falling over, keeping your joint surfaces aligned, etc. And it is the activation and training of these smaller muscle groups that 'stability' training focuses on.

Stability training is composed of movement patterns and environments that have intentionally unstable aspects. An example would be a movement that requires some time balancing on only one foot. Another would be accomplishing a task with a moving object, so that you have to compensate for your center of gravity constantly shifting. Balancing is all about managing how you fall. Overtime, the falls become smaller and smaller (think of an infant learning how to walk) until you are proficient at the given task. And, just like the infant, once you are proficient it is time to try something more difficult and unstable again (like jumping, spinning, doing a handstand, etc.). In fitness training we call this a progression, and the idea is simply that your training increases in complexity as you increase in your own ability. In short, your fitness training should evolve with you.

To train my clients in functional movement patterns and stability exercises, we perform movements in the real world (often outside) and with simple equipment (bodyweight, floor mats, benches, playground structures, resistance tubing). The only time I use more equipment is at my private studio where my clients train themselves with medicine balls, stability balls, and dumbbells, but all in ways that recruit numerous muscle groups and increasingly challenge their coordination.

For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!



Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb and utilize calcium. Without enough Vitamin D in the body, one will not be able to keep one's bones strong by maintaining their calcium balance. Vitamin D is available to us in three forms: synthesis via sun-exposure on one's skin, consuming certain foods, and supplementation/fortification. Most whole foods that contain Vitamin D are not otherwise the more nutritious of foods (e.g. cow liver, fish liver, cheese, and egg yolks). Hence most experts recommend obtaining adequate Vitamin D via the other two methods. Supplementation is relatively easy to do and is recommended for many categories of people: those living far away from the equator, the elderly, those with known difficulty in synthesizing Vitamin D via the skin, those living in a wintry climate, those who remain indoors, those with dark skin who get little sun exposure, and those who always cover themselves completely with clothes or sunscreen. Aside from people living on or near the equator, most people will for some part of the year be helped by Vitamin D supplementation. Near the equator and elsewhere in summer, most people can get enough Vitamin D by exposing the skin of their arms and face to sunlight for 15-20 minutes. For those with darker complexion, more time is required. Far from the equator or when it is no longer summer (i.e. the sun remains within 45 degrees of the horizon), consumption of foods fortified with Vitamin D or supplementation of this nutrient is recommended. It is of course possible to get too much of a good thing, so please check with a physician about your daily recommended intake (400-800 IUs is typical).


For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!



Enforced ArchThe less one exercises, the more one is likely to develop weak bones. This is especially true for women because of their particular hormone levels and patterns. Bones that weaken tend to do so as one ages. However, this may not be due to age itself but rather to the propensity for reduced activity later in life. What kind of exercise is best? Weight-bearing exercise. This category includes those activities that place a stress on bones, which in turn causes a strengthening response in those bones, just like muscles. Examples of such activities are walking, running, dancing, muscular strength-training, and sports based on any of these. Examples of non-weight-bearing activities are swimming and bike-riding, because in these activities one's relation to the ground remains relatively constant and so the bones bear less stress. If the bones are needed less for bearing stress such as one's own weight, they tend to weaken over time, which is why astronauts lose bone mass while in outer space.


For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!

Scott Wells & Dancers

A Walk In The Parkour

Scott Wells & DancersI first heard about Scott through a friend who basically said, ‘You should work with this guy. He likes using athletic dancers in his pieces.’ At that time I wasn’t living in San Francisco, but I commuted from Santa Cruz every day for a week to take his summer workshop. The workshop was great and afterward I was sure I wanted to work with him. A few months later I moved to San Francisco. We ran into each other again and he invited me to perform in his annual home season. That was three years ago and I’ve been dancing with him ever since.

Scott’s work is known in the Bay Area for its use of contact improv, deft partnering, acrobatics, and humor. To me his performance pieces are refreshing and satisfying, both as a performer and audience member. By the time the curtain goes up, most of the material has been set into repeatable choreography, but there are almost always a couple of sections that are loosely structured with plenty of room for spur-of-the-moment improvisation, inspiration and risk-taking.

This year, his home season features last year’s “Ball-ist-ic” and premieres “A Walk in the Parkour”. Ball-ist-ic creates unique environments and movement possibilities with dozens of balls: physio balls, medium-sized ‘gertie’ balls, and juggling balls. The work places heavy emphasis on ensemble choreography, as with 7 performers and all the equipment bouncing and rolling around the stage, there are many factors to work with in making sure the sequences go according to plan. Or at least mostly according to plan.Scott Wells & DancersA Walk in the Parkour displays a new hybrid form mixing contemporary dance, contact improv, and parkour. Parkour is an athletic discipline based on efficiently traversing an environment with one’s body. The roots of parkour are in the urban landscape and moving through it with high dynamic. In the past 10 years or so, parkour has gained popularity and become well-known enough to be featured in a number of big budget films. Most cities around the world now have parkour crews practicing together.

Our rehearsals for this piece have taken place at The Athletic Playground, where we have been using vaulting equipment and crash mats to create new vocabulary. Some moves are new versions of parkour standards, such as vaulting over an obstacle only to be caught by another dancer and thrown onto a mat or rolled to the ground. The final piece is quite exhilarating and acrobatic, to say the least.

The show runs at CounterPULSE May 20-22 and 27-29 at 8pm, with a matinee on the 29th at 2pm. www.counterpulse.orgScott Wells & Dancers

Following this Home Season, Scott’s annual summer workshop takes place June 8-12 in San Francisco. The workshop features a variety of exercises in contact improv, lift vocabulary, acrobatic partnering, etc. Participants are encouraged to work at their own level, so you don’t need a lot of improv or acro experience to participate. I have attended six of Scott’s workshops (summer and winter) and assistant-taught a few of them. Each time I have had a total blast and place high value on having that week to build kinetic community and hone skills. scottwellsdance.com

For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!



There is strong evidence showing that consumption of various foods and drugs and excessive consumption of others change the PH of the blood. Some make the blood more acidic and others more basic. When the blood is made more acidic, the body responds by releasing calcium, which is basic on the PH scale, from its stores in the bones in order to buffer the acid-load.

Some acid can be buffered by ingesting more calcium, especially before or with the acidifying food or drug. The problem with this practice is that the additional calcium has to eventually be processed out of the blood by the kidneys. And excessive calcium moving through the kidneys can lead to kidney stones, which tend to cause tremendous pain and require surgery to remove. So the best advice may be to avoid supplements (unless prescribed by one's doctor) and instead rely on whole foods to provide what your body needs. Remember that the category of whole foods that are shown to be the healthiest to ingest are green vegetables, legumes, fruits, other vegetables, and so on, with these first 4 being considered the best for your body in both an immediate and long-term sense. Note also that the more of these foods you eat, the less room there is for less-healthy, more-acidifying foods.

So what are the foods and drugs that acidify the blood? Excessive intake of sodium, caffeine, supplemental Vitamin A, isolated protein powders, excessive animal protein, alcohol, sugar, and heavily-processed foods. (In addition, nicotine such as from cigarettes can inhibit calcium re-absorption in the body.) For all of these, the less one intakes, the less likely one is to require calcium supplementation and/or lose calcium from the bones. Insofar as your bones and kidneys are concerned, when faced with a choice between one of the above "acidifying" items and an "alkalizing" food from the previous list, pick the alkalizing one.


For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!



Two nutrients currently receiving a great deal of attention are calcium and Skeleton, Enforced ArchVitamin D. This is in part because inadequate levels of Vitamin D in the body have recently been linked to higher risk for a host of diseases (including multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer's, certain cancers, heart disease, and all-cause mortality). It is also because many populations living in wealthy areas such as the EU, UK and U.S. have been seeing a decrease in their bone-strength (e.g. osteoporosis). And it is calcium (with the help of Vitamin D, Magnesium, and other nutrients) that is the primary raw material for making and maintaining strong bones.

This increasing trend for weak bones has contributed to the popularity of calcium supplementation. Yet those populations around the globe that consume the most calcium (such as Americans in the U.S.) actually have the highest rate of osteoporosis. And often those in other populations (with different lifestyles) who consume much less have bones that are surprisingly stronger. In the end, it seems that calcium intake is not the most important factor for having strong bones. Rather it comes down to three others: 1) quantity and type of exercise, 2) dietary intake, aka food, and 3) Vitamin D via sun-exposure, certain foods or supplementation.

Safe, health-promoting exercise and strong bones are mutually dependent. Movement that is both vigorous and safe requires strong bones to support it. At the same time, maintaining an active, movement-based lifestyle is key to having strong bones. This, coupled with elevated rates of osteoporosis and people seeking healthy ways to treat it, is why bone health is an important sub-topic for the Axis Syllabus student and practitioner.


For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!


Supplementation: Part 1 of 7The supplement industry is strong indeed, but few supplements actually confer health  benefits. Two of the few that in many cases do are Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12, which I cover below. Nutrients work in relation with each other in order to be utilized within the body. Often nutrients are required in the right proportion in order to provide the necessary ingredients for the well-functioning of the body. The good news is that eating a variety (wider is generally better) of whole foods virtually guarantees that we get enough of what we need. This is because our bodies can, in most cases, selectively absorb varying amounts of different nutrients from the foods we consume. And the spectrum of whole foods available (at least in moderately- and very-wealthy countries) is brimming with a full array of essential nutrients. In short, the best scenario is that we get a lot of nutrients and specifically that we get them from food, not supplements. SUPPLEMENTATION: Part 2 of 7 SUPPLEMENTATION: Part 3 of 7 SUPPLEMENTATION: Part 4 of 7 SUPPLEMENTATION: Part 5 of 7 SUPPLEMENTATION: Part 6 of 7

For more on the Author, Sebastian Grubb, visit his ‘Movers’ page!

Strength Training

Strength Training, Enforced ArchStrength training may be defined as engaging in activities that take increasing muscular strength as their primary focus and benefit. Examples include pull-ups, push-ups, and many acrobatic movements and other specific 'moves' that train many muscle groups at once. Sprinting at top speed is a great way to improve cardiac output (how much blood the heart can put out), and it is also a great way to increase the strength of the major leg muscles.

Strength training can improve one's ability to perform certain movement sequences, including dance and sport movements, as well as defending oneself from the ground in a fall. One can also increase the speed of reflexes and reactions required to adequately protect oneself.  Additional benefits of this type of training include increasing bone density, which is a key  in preventing osteoporosis.

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Apple No multivitamin can take the place of a healthy diet. That's because there are thousands of known and thousands of unidentified nutrients (a large portion are phytochemicals found in plants) in whole foods and no supplement contains these thousands. At best there will be a few dozen, but it is theorized that the real benefits from nutrients depend on how they interact together. And scientists are still guessing at how that happens. The bottom line is: get your vitamins, minerals, and the rest from food, not supplements. It's important to note that a number of studies have been done on supplemental Vitamin A and Vitamin E. These studies have shown a *decrease* in health associated with supplementing these vitamins. Again, get your vitamins from food.

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FOOD: Part 6 of 6

Increase Intake of Clean Water

Water Tryptic, Warhol Tribute, Enforced ArchWater Tryptic, Warhol Tribute, Enforced ArchWater Tryptic, Warhol Tribute, Enforced ArchAdequate water intake is vitally important. And the more one sweats from being physically active and in hotter environments, the more one ought to drink. Water is a component of many foods and beverages; the healthier of these would be fresh vegetables, fruits, soup made from veggies, and teas. Though it's a point of contention, moderate consumption of coffee and alcohol may also be considered in this group, though these beverages are certainly not necessary for good health. In the end, drinking more pure water is obviously the most reliable way to increase the amount of water your body receives. It is possible to drink too much water, but this is rare. Generally speaking, if your urine is mostly clear or only slightly yellow, you are getting enough water. If it is dark yellow, you are dehydrated and your body is not functioning at its best.

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FOOD: Part 5 of 6

Ensure Regular Consumption of Nuts and Seeds

NUTS and SEEDSNuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients, including healthy fats that play a role in  reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of nuts and seeds is often quantified at 1-2 servings daily, depending on one's level of physical activity. If you are so physically active that you have a hard time eating enough food, nuts and seeds are an energy-dense (i.e. calorically high) food. A serving is loosely defined as a small handful. Some members of this food group, such as ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds and walnuts, contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an extremely important -- and an often missing--dietary component. Generally speaking, increasing one's intake of omega-3 fats is a good way to improve one's health.

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FOOD: Part 4 of 6

Decrease Intake of Processed Foods and Animal Foods

Decrease Intake of Processed Foods and Animal FoodsIn general, the more nutrient-dense the food one eats, the healthier one is. Eating more veggies, fruits, and legumes is a direct response to this principle. But since you only have so much room in your stomach, the only (comfortable) way to eat more of these foods is to eat less of other foods that contain fewer nutrients per calorie. On the spectrum of nutrient- density, unrefined plant foods are at the top and processed foods such as pastries, cookies, candy, most food bars and breakfast cereals, bread made with refined (e.g. "white") flour, oil, and others are at the bottom. Higher consumption of processed foods is associated with decreased overall health. This could be due to many reasons, but a likely one is that eating more processed food means eating less unrefined plant food, and it is the latter of the two that can actually protect your health.

Animal foods, such as meat, fish, yogurt, cheese, etc., also are less nutrient-dense than veggies and fruits, but generally contain more beneficial nutrients than processed foods. Therefore it is prudent to eliminate processed foods, begin to eliminate animal foods as much as you can and opt for the base of your diet to be unrefined plants instead. An additional reason for most westerners to eat less food from animals is that animal foods are virtually the only source of saturated fat in the human diet. And consumption of saturated fat is considered one of the main contributors to heart disease, a disease that increasingly strikes Westerners. And some animal foods, such as fish, contain the highest level of contaminants such as mercury, PCB's, dioxin, and others. These contaminants pose a serious threat if eaten in too high a quantity, especially for children and fetuses. Again, the main issue with over-consuming animal foods is likely that it means under-consuming health promoting plant foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes/pulses, nuts, and seeds.

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FOOD: Part 3 of 6

Replace Refined Grains with Whole Grains

Grains are refined primarily so they store longer and for the 'lighter' texture. When a grain is processed and refined, such as whole wheat into white flour, many valuable nutrients are lost.

This is because a grain is made up of a bran, germ, and endosperm; the bran and germ are typically removed with processing even though they contain the highest concentration of many nutrients. What is left is the endosperm, which is mostly starch. Almost without exception, when given the option one should eat a whole grain instead of a refined grain. Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, corn, rolled oats, etc., and have traditionally been the dietary staple of the majority of human civilizations.

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FOOD: Part 2 of 6

Increase Intake of Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are the two most nutrient-dense foods in the Fruit Vegetable, Enforced Archworld. This means, per calorie, they pack the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other health-promoting nutrients when compared to all other foods. This is true of vegetables and fruits that are raw or minimally cooked, and as close to their natural form as possible. (A french fry comes from a potato, but it is not a health-promoting food.) Consuming a higher quantity of nutrients from food (versus from supplementation) is considered one of the most important things you can do to protect and ensure your health. I won't get into detail here, but the science shows many exceptionally high correlations between higher consumption of these foods and increased lifespan.

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-improved health of the cardio-circulatory system (better circulation of blood, reduced heart disease, reduced incidence of strokes, etc.)

-decreased risk of a number of diseases, including various cancers

-improved and quickened recovery from disease (stronger immune system)

-decreased mental decline with age (better thinking)

-decreased ocular degeneration with time (better vision)

The implications reach far and wide, and there are many other Fruit Vegetable, Enforced Archbenefits not listed here. But it is also important to mention that, among those populations already consuming high levels of these foods, those who consume more dark leafy greens (e.g. salad) and more legumes/pulses (i.e. beans, peas, and lentils) have even better health and live even longer. (Disclaimer)

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