Tasha Hansen has been teaching yoga classes in Berkeley and leading weekend retreats for more than ten years. She is a graduate of the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program in Boston; has studied at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India; and was certified by Sivananda in Quebec. Her classes combine attention to detailed alignment in individual poses along with occasional unbroken sequences of poses inspired by a love of dance. Tasha’s succinct instruction provides clear guidance yet offers generous moments of silence to deepen internal awareness. In addition to yoga, Tasha teaches English for Art Purposes to international college students.
Our client of the month is Kyra Millich. Kyra has trained with the Fuse Fitness since Fall 2018. An avid athlete for most of her life, Kyra was looking to get her strength and confidence back after several years of inactivity due to an MS diagnosis in 2013. We developed a plan that focused on helping her build balanced habits, steadily making improvements to boost muscle mass, improve agility, and regain mobility.
In late 2018, Kyra decided it was time to regain trust and strength in her body, but she was hesitant to join a typical gym. She was concerned that she might not be able to perform on par with others in the class. She had imbalance issues and dragged her left foot. She wanted a more individualized and attentive approach for her journey back to great health.
“I was afraid that I would fall or not be strong enough. Not trusting my body was really scary, and asking for help was difficult. I used to be in great shape and had a lot of guilt, self-loathing, and embarrassment. I eventually realized that I just had to accept my feelings at that time,” said Kyra. “ Kristin and Pascha were caring, considerate, non-judgemental, and fun. Their approach was very gradual and attentive. I felt very safe in their hands. Through their support, encouragement, and deep knowledge of fitness fundamentals - I got the strength, trust, and balance back in my body.”
With our personalized guidance and support, Kyra has transformed into an active member of our community. She is now focused on looking good, feeling fit, and continuously challenging herself.
“Anyone who is suffering from an injury or physical condition might have to deal with their ego, but should strongly consider personal training. Merge with the pain and just keep moving forward. If not now, than when?” - Kyra Millich
Maya is a modern dancer who has studied yoga for over 20 years. She received her BA in Dramatic Art - Dance and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and is a recent graduate of the Yoga Room’s 500-hour Advanced Studies Program. Maya’s classes focus on alignment, building core strength, inner focus and breath. She excited to share the benefits of yoga with her students.
Our client of the month is Kristin Long, who we met at an outdoor bootcamp at Memorial Park. She had been a member of the Berkeley Y for many years and was looking to push herself physically.
Kristin was a competitive figure skater as a child and enjoyed pushing herself to new heights. Exercise was her stress reliever as well, and she wanted to stay active in order to maintain her mental health.
We consulted with Kristin to achieve several goals:
Weight management, specifically increasing muscle mass, boosting metabolism, and strength-building
Maintaining a balanced and sustainable outlook on health and wellness
Incorporating nutrient-rich recipes into her fast-paced lifestyle
We have witnessed an amazing transformation in Kristin’s energy levels, a process that she is excited to keep working on every day!
“After several outdoor bootcamps with Kristin she announced that she would open The Fuse Fitness Studio with Pascha and I knew I had found my place. I love the challenge and variety of workouts at The Fuse. It's also quite apparent that they are very thoughtful about finding just the right trainers as I have never been disappointed!
The classes are difficult and different every time. I have been a member since they opened and I don't think I have repeated a workout yet!” - Kristin Long
Kristin had some interruptions due to injuries over the years, but we have always been on hand to make modifications in order to keep her moving. Our supportive fitness community allowed her to work through those hurdles and maintain accountability throughout her fitness journey.
Kristin’s long-term goals include continuing to build strength, maintain a healthy weight, and fight off her genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease.
As always, we are proud to work with Kristin every step of the way.
Nutrition is fascinating. It can cure nutrition-related disease, improve health and prevent illness. Since the connection between early day scurvy treatment with foods high in vitamin C, and more recently, folic acid intake during pregnancy to prevent brain and spinal cord defects, individual nutrients have gained our attention. Historically, the study of nutrition dates not so far back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s—one of the “newer” areas of science. And we’ve learned a lot over the last 120+ years. But we’ve also been subjected to inaccuracies and myths about nutrition.
Interest in improving health often comes with increasing awareness of nutrition, and focus on optimal dietary intake. So what do you do? Is a varied diet enough to deliver all the nutrients your body needs each day? Or do you need a supplement to provide optimal nutrition?
Here are some considerations when deciding if you are getting sufficient nutrients or if you need to add additional nutrients to your diet.
1. Is your daily food intake meeting your nutrient requirements? Certain ways of eating truly lack adequate nutrient intake. For example, diets high in processed and fast foods or reduced calorie diets. Consider using a diet and nutrition tracker or visit a registered dietitian nutritionist to evaluate your intake and determine if you are deficient or low in any macro or micro nutrients. Variety is the key to getting all the key nutrients.
2. Are you following a diet that excludes specific food groups? This can put you at risk for deficiencies of some nutrients. For example, a vegetarian or vegan diets that exclude animal foods is low in iron and vitamin B12.
3. Do you have a health condition that causes nutrient loss due to increased needs or decreased absorption? Intestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease can interfere with nutrient absorption; food allergies or intolerances that exclude food groups can cause deficiencies; a gluten-free or dairy-free diet that eliminates specific nutrients like B vitamins, calcium and vitamin D.
4. Does your physical activity increase nutrient requirements? For example, extra protein for building muscle mass; greater calorie intake for high intensity or long endurance exercise. Often, eating the extra food to meet calorie and protein demands also means you are getting additional vitamins and minerals as well.
Over-nutrition is the consumption of one or more excess nutrients. For example, excess calories, excess fat or excess protein. Supplementing with excess vitamins or minerals or even specific amino acids can also cause over-nutrition.
Under-nutrition is the inadequate intake of one or more nutrients. Causes include poor appetite, fad diets, eating disorders and diseases that prevent intake or absorption of nutrients.
A healthy, well-balanced diet does not require nutrient supplementation unless there is a specific reason as in the above examples. Concentrate on choosing fresh, whole foods that are nutrient dense. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low or nonfat dairy products, lean meats or plant-based protein sources and healthy fats.
We are so proud of our client Vicky - who was overweight and diagnosed with prediabetes in 2010. When she joined the Fuse Fitness, she had not worked out in two years.
While Vicky had always been relatively active, regularly walking her dog and hiking - she was ready for a more holistic fitness program that focused on her core needs. A previous personal trainer referred Vicky to Pascha and Kristin - who encouraged her to enroll in a circuit program in 2011. By 2013, Vicky’s quality of life had dramatically changed.
Pleased with her weight loss, boosted metabolism, and higher energy - Vicky enrolled in boot-camp-style training at the Fuse Fitness. At this point, she was determined to maintain a more rigorous training schedule as well as maintain balanced habits and a positive outlook.
It was not always easy for Vicky to maintain lifestyle changes, but as a pre-diabetic, she knew the leap was necessary for her long-term health and wellness. Vicky found herself happier and energized throughout the entire week - without the energy crashes so often felt by those with prediabetes or diabetes.
In addition, Vicky enjoyed the ability of the supportive trainers at the Fuse Fitness to create a personalized plan to address chronic issues, as well as accommodating for injuries and varying abilities throughout her journey.
While Vicky had the intention of returning to a personal training program for about a year before joining Fuse Fitness - she has been able to sustain progress for more than five years with the support of our attentive certified personal trainers and caring community.
As a busy working professional, Vicky enjoys the flexibility of each trainer at the Fuse Fitness - each with a unique style, which helps her overcome plateaus to continuously grown and improve. She’s found that the greatest challenge was simply waking up and getting to the gym each morning.
Through the encouragement of her son, close family, and friends, Vicky has been able to achieve significant weight loss. This is by far her greatest accomplishment.
What’s next for Vicky? She says the sky’s the limit. “I feel motivated to continue further developing my strength and fitness.”
If you’re ready to kickstart your journey to a better body, contact us today!
Yours in health,
Pascha and Kristin
This month we are celebrating our amazing client Portia Pirnia, a Kensington resident and member of Fuse Fitness since July 2017. Portia has been doing private training sessions between Kristin and I for almost a full year now! She is also our neighborhood realtor at Marvin Gardens who knows the East Bay neighborhoods like the back of her hand- you can find her listings here (http://www.pirniahomes.com). Portia is not only a successful realtor, but a successful client as well, and today we are celebrating her!
Portia’s initial fitness goal was to become pain free after she had hurt her back a few years ago while awkwardly lifting her daughter’s car seat out of the car. Her adorable daughter Bea (who’s 9 years old) makes a mean fitness obstacle course here at the studio. We will definitely need to add her to our instructor sub list J. Portia also suffered from cervical nerve pain in her neck and the back of her shoulder when she joined Fuse, and attributes the injury to lack of exercise during and after being pregnant. So Portia made the decision to commit to private training sessions three times per week, to rehab her injury and increase her strength and fitness level.
We asked Portia what challenges she encountered when she began training and this is what she had to say:
“Everything was sore during and after the workouts, Kristin and Pascha were encouraging- showing up for them made the workouts bearable that first month. After a month or so, I started to look forward to our sessions and now working out feels like an important part of my weekly routine.”
Portia brings such positive energy when she comes into her training sessions and she’s so happy to be here. We appreciate her always telling us how good she feels after her workouts.
Portia has made amazing progress this year towards her goals thus far, and we are so proud of how hard she has worked! Portia not only loves the endorphin kick she feels after her workouts, but exercise and moving her body have become healthy habits again. Portia feels much stronger and confident, and has learned to trust her body again, understanding her limits and knowing how to listen to her body. Portia recently told us that carrying luggage through the airport used to cause her so much pain and that she wasn’t able to lift her carry-on luggage into the overhead bin any longer. However, according to her, she is now pain free! What a huge success, for both her and us!!
We’ll let Portia wrap up how she feels about her time here so far. “I love the energy here at Fuse. Everyone is friendly, focused and upbeat. I really appreciate that the studio fosters a non-competitive environment. I feel like myself there--not on display or in a fishbowl, as I have at other studio/gyms. Pascha and Kristin have created an environment where I can come as I am, feel motivated to be there and get a great workout every single time.”
It hasn’t been an easy path and Portia has consistently shown up and worked at getting better one day at a time. The results have been amazing J.
Keep up the amazing work, Portia! We are all inspired by you and so proud of your awesome progress. Bring on the rest of 2018 and year #2 with us!
Yours in health,
Pascha at Fuse Fitness
P.S. We would also like to give Portia a birthday shout out! Happy Birthday Portia!
“I didn’t care or think much about taking care of myself for a long time. Now, it feels really good to exercise. I like getting better, I like how it feels when I’m doing it right and everything is connecting.”
In Jan. 2010, Rick reached out to me to begin working out. Inspired by his wife Kim, who had been working out with me regularly for a few years already, Rick was ready to make a change.
At 52 years old, Rick was just a year younger than his dad was when he passed away of heart disease. Approaching age 53 was something Rick had always been a bit fearful of, and at 52, something really clicked—he wanted to get fit, lose weight and be healthy so that he could live a long, healthy life.
About six years before beginning personal training, in the midst of helping coach his son’s soccer team, Rick realized that he couldn’t really run a full lap around the track anymore. Having played soccer and basketball throughout his childhood and in high school, this startled him.
So he made the decision to start riding his bike to commute to work, telling himself that even if he had to walk his bike up the steep hill home, he wasn’t going to quit.
Fast forward to 2010, despite having continued biking regularly to and from work for about 6 years, Rick found himself about 30lbs overweight. He was ready to commit to making a bigger, more effective change.
As of today, Rick is down 30lbs, continuing to crush his goals, making huge changes in his health, and most importantly has a renewed outlook on the importance of and satisfaction from making his health a priority.
Rick had an incredible year in 2017, winning our 8 Week Clean Eating Challenge in the spring, as well as taking third place in our burpee challenge in March 2017. He has continued to progress, consistently attending classes in addition to his personal training sessions.
“With the cleanse [Clean Eating Challenge], I really changed my diet and really started hearing what you had been telling me. I have become way more intentional about eating, and not just taking seconds because it’s there. I try to have healthy snacks on hand so I’m never starving. It has become so much easier to make healthy decisions and be in control.”
Over the past 8 years of working together, Rick has stayed committed to his health and fitness, with a couple frustrating setbacks from injury, but overall persevered and stayed on track.
“This time has been different. I am and have been inspired by Kim [wife]. I am inspired by watching other clients get stronger and do awesome things. You have continued to support me. You know how to push, but you listen and adapt. You always have a plan of what I can do, and you continue to motivate and inspire me. I see you [and Pascha] push yourselves, like doing the Tough Mudder, which is inspiring. You walk the walk.”
This 8 year and growing relationship with Rick has been an awesome journey to be a part of and witness. I have seen such an incredible amount of growth, perseverance, and commitment from him.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Rick, because it truly brings the biggest smile to my face, I’m so proud of him. “I have learned to turn off the internal critic. I have stopped caring if I was the weakest or slowest or if I had to walk my bike up the hill. And now, when I finally take a moment to look up and see where I’m at, I’ve surprised myself….I feel strong, and really feel like I am sometimes right up there at the top of the class. And it feels really awesome.” This folks, this is what it’s all about.
Endurance training, such as running, can seem intimidating when you haven’t been active in a while. The key to success is consistency and customizing workouts that are realistic and appropriate for your particular stage of fitness.
Our clients come to us at all stages of health, age, and ability level. Don’t get frustrated if you can only do ten to fifteen minutes of a workout at first. Some days you may be able to do more - and some days less. What’s important for beginners is tracking your progress in a journal or an online tool and checking in with your trainer to ensure that you are constantly progressing in your abilities.
The ultimate goal is to aim for moderate endurance activity at least three times a week. Once you hit a plateau or would like to challenge yourself - first build up the time you spend doing an endurance activity and then increase the intensity of the workout.
Endurance exercises are known to improve your breathing, circulation, and heart rate - allowing you to power through everyday activities. They also mitigate many diseases common to older adults such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Here are some tips to help you get started on building your endurance:
Exercise caution in rural areas - try exploring a new trail with a friend or a group and wear layers appropriate for the weather in your area. When exercising alone, bring a cell phone, ID, and pepper spray.
Be sure drivers see you - wear reflective clothing at dusk and bright colors during the day. Be careful when crossing a road and do not assume drivers will stop for you.
To make sure motorists can see you on a bicycle, get a flashing red light for the rear of your bike and a white light and/or reflectors for the front. Always yield to pedestrians and make sure to alert them of your presence when passing on their left.
Remember foot care - wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Warm up properly to prevent painful injuries.
If you aren’t used to vigorous physical activity - speak to your doctor and personal trainer. Seek consultation especially if you often experience dizziness, shortness of breath, heart problems, or recent surgery.
Yours in health,
Kristin and Pascha
Founders, The Fuse Fitness
There are many types of meditation, but they all have a common goal - creating synergy between spirit and mind. Here at Fuse Fitness, we are encouraging our clients to take five minutes of each day to meditate. Doing so before your morning routine is recommended, but fitting some time in during a work break or before an evening workout is fine. We find that our clients benefit from meditation because it increases awareness, mitigates stress, and improves circulation.
Meditation is a positive addition to all stages of fitness. Aging and elderly adults benefit from decreased blood pressure, decreased anxiety and even cessation of chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis as well as susceptibility to infections. Craving and binge behaviors such as smoking or overeating have been shown to decrease in some instances as a result of meditation.
Here are some tips for creating a relaxing space for meditation in your home!
Clear out a space - big enough to lay a yoga mat. Natural light and good ventilation is recommended. Make sure that you can make this space noise and distraction-free for five minutes or more.
Record your progress. As you improve your ability to focus and tune out life’s distractions, you may be able better to assess factors that are holding you back from reaching your fitness goals. We find that keeping a small notebook or even recording notes on your phone helpful. For those new to a fitness regimen - tracking your progress can increase your sense of accountability and pride in how far you’ve come!
Find your groove. For different lifestyles and fitness goals, there are so many ways to balance your body and spirit. If you are just beginning, seek out public classes when possible to get a sense of the best-fit type of meditation for you.
As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have about incorporating meditation into your fitness routine!
Yours in health,
Pascha and Kristin