Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E60: Inclusive Coaching with Gabby

March 21st 2022
On this episode, Marybeth & Marcia chat with trauma mindful strength coach Gabby Brost on working towards inclusion and becoming a better coach as well as lifting with chronic illnesses and building a... More
this is disabled girls who lift. We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time, it's mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mhm, mm hmm. Okay, fantastic. Hello everyone Welcome to yet another episode of disabled girls who lift. Thanks for having us. Thanks for listening to us. Thanks for sharing us. Thanks for commenting on our instagram striving to our patriotic etcetera etcetera. Anyways, so this is Marsha on Seminole tribe land in florida. She, they, I'm wearing my blue bandana, clear glasses, big old headphones and microphone. I'm just a little gray tank top dress. Just a little cool over here in my part of town, but probably not as cold as some people, but I'm living life. I like this. I don't like hot weather anyways onto mary Beth I need me some hot water. Whether it's like I'm wearing a super knitted sweater over here, it's freezing, it's about to rain in a few days in California, but we're missing some, I need some of that florida.

Um Heat, my name is mary Beth I'm sitting on a lonely land here in northern California wearing a rust terracotta type sweater. Filipina. Um wearing black glasses, black headphones, black hair. So excited for today. It's been so long since we've had an episode. It feels like a whole month. Um but we're inviting an amazing guest, A good friend of Marcia's Gabby Gabrielle abreast. Um Frost roast. Um coming in from Richmond Virginia, sitting on power 10 land and we can have you just give a visual description of yourself. Sure. So I'm Gabby, thanks for having me. Um I am a brown fam wearing gold hoop earrings with red and black hair and a gray crew neck. I'm sitting in front of a cabinet that has a lot of half dead and half alive.

Plants, it is the plant half dead or half a look. I mean There's like several plants, so it kind of depends on which one that's all of our lives, especially after the winner who made it. Um but Gabby is an inclusive trauma, mindful strength and fitness coach. You are a multi sport strength athlete. I believe you've done powerlifting, olympic, weightlifting, strongman, pretty much all of the above that we've done here. Um that relates to barbell strength. Um You're also an author, avid half dead, half alive. Plant collector and terror reader. But yeah, I mean, shoot, there's a lot to talk about a lot that's been going on. I think on your feet that we want to hear about. Yeah, there's so much, so much happening. Um I think probably my first question is this is always interesting to find out is what made you go from lifter to coach.

So I, my professional background. Um I was a professor at a for profit. So I've always been in education and when I started lifting I realized that, oh, this is like what I actually like teaching actually like educating on and to me coaching is such a blend of like education and a couple of other disciplines and so I was really drawn to doing that and after doing that part time for a while um I just decided one year to kind of go all in and I've been all in ever since, wow, so you went from teaching at a university to teaching in a gym, like in person stuff? Right. Mhm. And I've done, I've done online coaching since like 2016 as well um so I've kind of, I've done both for a while, I've been in person coaching longer, but um the translation was not all that different, although I do wish I had a white board sometimes because like you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but like, I love a white board, let me draw you a Flasher, hold on, hold on.

Yeah, no, I feel that sometimes it just helps to write things out and down also. Um how long were you lifting before you decided? Um I have been lifting for about two or three years um and I was at a gym where I was sort of taking on a little bit more like coaching opportunities of like co leading things and stuff like that and so that was like my first foray into coaching dipping your toes in and how are the coaches that you had before, so it wasn't really like, I hate what's out there, I'm going to do this myself. It was actually like, oh, this is kind of cool. I just want to Yeah, well my first coach was really abusive mentally and psychologically and so when I got into coaching, a big part of it was like I want to do this better to make sure nobody ever feels like this again. And then I've had some great coaches since then and like my coach and I was great. Um but really when I really got into coaching, I didn't know that being inclusive and trauma mindful was like a unique thing.

Like I only knew like that I had a really bad experience and I knew like a couple other people, but in my mind it was just like how you do things, would you put people first and you operate from this like inclusive lens because that's how that was just my orientation from my background. I have a bachelor's in psychology and I have a Master's in criminal justice and Sociology and all of my research is focused on like justice system and equity and like trauma and things like that. So I just always been oriented in that fashion. So when it came to coaching, I just carried that over and I didn't really realize that that was a unique thing, which I hope it's like, yeah, like controversial, controversial even to some people like some of the ship something flat out disagree. Yeah. Like I didn't know it would be controversial to want clients who are in line with your values. Like that was that was a hot take. That's crazy. But it also sucks you know that you have to come from, you know, somewhat of a toxic toxic environment or have toxic relationships like that to kind of change that environment for other people and hey sociology, that was my degree to.

But you learned so much honestly by learning like how other people move and work and speak in the gym or at work and these patterns you pick up on right and wait. So can you tell us a little bit about how it is controversial like being so um intentional about that like and putting that you know in your description as a coach and Yeah, so I mean the strength world is super like white male cis heteronormative, very patriarchal um very like pro police and all that sort of stuff. Which is a lot of things that I am not. Um so especially being very open about my values of like trans lives matter. Black lives matter, like all those sorts of things. I definitely received like several DM especially like in 2020 and since then being like just stick to fitness, like your values don't need to come into to this and and things like that and I think you know, talking to other people who are oriented in a similar lens that I am having them share similar experiences is really eye opening to see just how toxic the mainstream fitness industry really is.

But there's definitely been like cases of like, oh well I would have like hired you if you weren't so vocal about like defunding the police or if you weren't so vocal about like abortion rights, I hate this is not an airport. I don't need you to announce your fucking arrivals and departures. Hell do you go up to every strawberry in the grocery store and I was going to choose you. However, I didn't like the way you were shaped or exactly the color. I just want to like you don't do that ship moving my response to that stuff is always just okay. We're like cool story. But it's great that you found out early, right? Because if you would have been stuck with a client who you didn't even know what their beliefs were until one or two years in, you're not kind of surprised by each other. You know? Yeah. Comes up. I think like the nature of my coaching is it is like very high communication and like taking into account a lot of different things in all of my lifters lives and like their actual humanity.

And so like inevitably these things are going to come up like I am going to have to alter programming for my clients who got to your guest for my clients who are disabled for my clients who have chronic illness and stress flares it up with all that's going on in the world. Like that's just how I've always coached. And so it is really good to find out early. And yeah, it's just very strange that people feel the need to announced their departures like that or be like, I'm going to an follow you now. Cool. Go for it great while you're at it. Post a review on yelp. Let everyone know why Travelocity please. Yeah, I don't know. And don't come back. Is it usually white women just wondering lots of white women. Um lots of white men. I mean the white men. Yes. But I feel like the announcement of like whatever you're saying doesn't apply to me and I'm so used to everything applying to me is like peak white woman.

Yeah. And there were definitely a lot of situations, especially I would say like in 2020 where I had like a lot of white women come into my DmS and be like, but actually, or like here's why this and and just do that sort of behavior. Um or like somehow try to make me feel bad for my advocacy and like ability of like the things that I was doing like my own activism Because I was like very active on the ground in 2020, I'm and still am in a lot of capacities and like my local community. But it was just like the strangest phenomenon of being like, like number one, like why do you care? And number two, like you can literally just scroll by like it's not, it's very weird and very, very old news, but I mean really some people are so used to the world revolving around them. Um it always makes me think of the skit they had on SNl I don't watch it too much so I couldn't even tell you how old it is, probably years old.

But they have the skit where it's like Beyonce his music isn't for us. Black people had a meltdown like one album where she really shifted Yeah or wasn't it after like that one Super Bowl. I'm not sure when something something happened and she shifted, she got like extra black, you know, before that she was just like cute and cool. And then at some point she got like extra black and people are like, oh my God, I can't stand this. Just do your music, keep the politics out of it. It's like everything always has politics in it. It's just, this is the first time. It has nothing to do with you. You can't handle it. Yeah. And that was like a lot of conversations I've had with other coaches who have been like wanted to be vocal about their values but have felt really intimidated to do that because of all the things that we've described is like bodies are political like bodies have been a political battleground for freaking ever and there's still such a political like battleground and I think if you work with anybody and you work with their money and their health, like it is inherently political.

Especially if you work with any type of population who is not like essentially like white women and white dudes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There's no way you can get around it and there's so many levels to a lot of us, right? Like all the intersections, whether it's like, you know, your political because you're the child of immigrants or because you're not white or because you're disabled or anything, you just keep adding all those things. You can't just pretend like that ship doesn't affect the way you lift weights at a gym. That's stupid. Yeah. And especially it's like, you know, clients not being comfortable being in the gym environment and I'm like really selective in the gyms that I physically work at for that exact reason. And like having clients who um are trans who are like, I can't find a new gym because there's no like transforming jim's here or having clients who have to like leave the gym mid workout because some sort of micro aggression has happened and things like that. And it's like that obviously affects not just my job, but like how I hold space and care for the people who are paying me to do so and it's not a responsibility I take lightly.

And so it's like really kind of pisces me off when I see people just be very flippant about it because it's like, it's kind of a big deal when people hire you as a coach or in any like caring profession like that because you are working with people's health and bodies and like mental states and things like that, like it's it's a pretty big deal. Yeah, it's a lot of weight to carry and and you're constantly like trying to correct their past wrong, like the past wrongdoings that have happened to them, right? Just like you existing as like a woman of color in that space is already a statement because a lot of what you see in those big box gyms where they're not inclusive, where they're not like a comfortable space are cis white men who don't know like the lives and and nutrition and lot like everything different reality and scientific. Yeah, so I mean that in and of itself is just enough I think.

Yeah, and I mean especially in the spring sport world, like strength sports is just so still like male dominated. Um so even just being like a queer woman who exists in that space is like something in and of itself and to add like, you know, the layers of intersection, like on top of that, especially like for other clients that I have as well like and myself, it becomes something where, you know, the gym shouldn't feel like you have to battle for validity to exist in a space like it should be an accessible and inclusive space for all people and it should be sort of like just a space that people feel comfortable in. Um but that in in in and of itself is kind of a radical act um because it doesn't exist. It just is so rare. Yeah. That's strange. It should piss more people off to be, but it doesn't, you know, people are okay with the status quo so unfortunately it doesn't and then, you know, they'll have their one token whatever friend right and be like, well sally's fine with it.

So I don't know what you're talking about. I hate that. Yeah. But I think a lot of people don't even view coaching as like uh an education role or a relationship. It's just like I'm a person who knows things and you'll listen. Yeah. And there's so much, especially in the online world where you're having like these interactions that are a little bit different, right? Like you're getting to know somebody over social media, you're getting to know somebody's curation of themselves because a lot of social media is just so curated. They're like, and so much like business advice for social media is like, you know, like project yourself as an expert and as an authority. Like make people trust you, but trust is something that is like cultivated. Like no one should come to my page and automatically trust me. I don't want that. Like I want to, you know, I want to like earn people's trust like through a relationship or through something like that. Like I don't want to be perceived as an automatic authority because at the end of the day, like my clients no themselves best.

They are the experts on themselves and their bodies. Like I can't tell people what they're feeling, but that happens so often like in coaching roles and people are like, oh no, you're fine. No, that doesn't really hurt. Like, no, you're just being lazy or you know, whatever that may be special treatment or whatever. Yeah, well I give you, you got some same area, but no, can we talk about gaslighting and like the fitness industry, jesus christ. I was going to give you a perfect example of that one in, in our spoon e chat some of this panel spoons um on instagram talking to each other and I was like, hey, does anyone else take like weeks to notice they're in a flare up. Um yeah, so yeah, the only reason I snapped out of like oversimplifying and overthinking things because Gabby was like, yeah, listen, so then I'm like, wait a minute now that she mentions it, That's true. So that I typed that in the chat, I was like, hey, you guys ever take like weeks to notice.

I wasn't really thinking about it until my coach was saying this or that and they were like, damn, your coach said that my coach has only ever told me you don't get special treatment holy crap. And that's just so ridiculous to me because it's like working with humans, like you're working with human beings like and humanity has so much wrapped up in it and it's such a weird way to frame it as like quote unquote special treatment versus just addressing the human being in front of you. Um and not even like it goes beyond like meeting somebody where they're at, it's just like having that space for somebody to come to the like to come to the table with their full humanity and say like look, I'm not feeling well, I am in a flare up or like these things like this pattern of things that's happening and I as a neutral observer can ask questions for like, additional introspection. But yeah, it's not like special treatment, it's just special people. People just regular treatment considering life happens, wait for some of you that didn't get that reference.

We I don't think we mentioned this in the intro, but Gabby is Marcia's strength coach, she'd be my coach. That's right. So go on and and hire her again in her D. M. S after this, thank you. But that's that's such a good point to also be like humble. You know, like yes, you are trauma informed informed, but you don't know everything and like anything and everything about the client coming in into your um into your space, right? So you're constantly learning from them as well, you're not. Um I just love the relationship of give and take and it goes, you learn both ways, but it's so rare like why is that so hard to find because colonizers on honestly like it takes effort like and it takes a lot of like self checking because like the reality is like as a human holding space for other humans, you're going to do harm.

And so like resisting reducing the instances of that involved being open in your communication and holding that space for people and it's a lot less effort to just like throw programs together and like send it to somebody and be like cool, you're good to go like text me if you have a question situation than to actually take, take the time to get to know people, which to me is just like I think about it like from my educational background, like people learn differently and you know, like people are visual learners or auditory learners or kinesthetic letters and all that sort of stuff and it's like people need different things and so it just takes more effort and so I think a lot of people number one, they don't want to make the effort, they just want to make a quick buck and they think that especially online coaching is a way to do that when I really think online coaching is harder than in person coaching because you don't have somebody directly in front of you. And then to, it's become the standard that like everybody expects this type of like shitty treatment because that's what they're used to when it really does not have to be that way.

Like there are awesome coaches who exist out there. Um, and I wish that they took up or not even took up, but I wish they were given more space to show that to the world. And I think we're seeing that shift a little bit with people sort of recognizing like influencer culture and stuff like that being like, wait a minute, it seems a little suspect, you know? But it's still just such a slow thing to change because you're changing like a major cultural narrative. You're right. There's way too many cookie cutter programs out there. That's how I started. I mean, we've all been there, right. We've all like every client I've ever had has come from a background of like I had a trainer and they didn't really listen to me, I did the cookie cutter thing and like, you know, all that sort of stuff and we've all been there. So it's like if we can show people that you don't have to go there that there are other alternatives. I think that's why like this podcast and like, y'all social media and everything like that is so great because it just shows that there are alternatives that exist out there that people don't have to settle for like the bare minimum.

Yeah, that's legit the bare minimum. Absolutely. Or it's just like the other part of the relationship of going back and forth is you go back to that coach, like you said earlier, mary beth the gaslighting you tell somebody like this isn't gonna work and they just feel like, well I'm the coach. Yes, it does. The only time I've ever gotten hurt is when a coach wouldn't listen to me. Yeah, like lifting wise, I mean, yeah, because it's just there is a lot of pressure to, I think for for like newer coaches to feel like they're the expert and everything and that they know everything, but there's so much value in like recognizing what you don't know, especially like if you work with people who have chronic illness or disabilities or just like any special condition, that is something that maybe isn't in your wheelhouse. And I think a lot of coaches also don't know when to say no, like they don't want to say, hey, this is not something I'm comfortable doing, let me refer you out or literally just say, I don't know like it's okay, you don't have to have the answer, Yeah, I'm just like, and I think a lot of coaches can get a lot more answers if they're just approach things from a more collaborative standpoint with their clients.

Like, like you said, it is like a relationship, there is a back and forth and a give and take and y'all are learning about each other through that relationship. And so if coaches were more likely to approach something from like a collaboration standpoint rather than like an authoritarian standpoint, it really does make the coach's job easier because you have more information to work with. Yeah, that's true. It's just it's so funny too, because as an adaptive athlete who has been in power lifting for a long time, I've only had like coaches or people who were able bodied, but since there's nothing but trial and error, right? Like 78 years ago, there was nobody around me dead lifting with one hand or benching with one hand for the first time. Um, they had to learn from me. They had no choice to just ask like, hey, is this possible? Let's try this. Let's, I found this tool.

Look, there's another person on instagram that does something similar, let's adapt. Like these conversations are so necessary for these types of adaptations and another person like could be missing an extra 6, 12 inches off their arm. It's always going to be different, right? Even I think adaptive strength coaches who specialize in that they constantly have to learn as well. It's just, i, it just sucks that a lot of um disabled or people of color um um, that get into strength and fitness for the first time. It's, they don't know where to turn, I don't know where to go? And that's why like I really love making kind of like more educational type content because my my ultimate goal is like I never want my clients to feel like they have to need me. Like I always want my clients to feel empowered with knowledge so that if they decide like one day, like, hey, you know, like I'm kind of done having a coach, I want to go off and do my own thing.

Amazing. I hope you have learned so many things and that is like the only thing that I want clients is to have that. But like you said, there's just so many instances where that's just not the case, it's just like do this thing because I said so and doing this exactly because some old white guy said so or not really teaching people think so they have to depend on you. Like right? Like that forced dependency is so toxic, so toxic. That's pretty gross. What what advice would you give for anyone that is looking for a coach to at least try not to step in. Sh it, what should they look for? I think really looking for, you know, looking for a coach who aligned with your values and thinking about values in a way that is just like more broad, like the values of your life in general um like leading with that, like looking for that really having conversations with coaches.

I love when people send me long D. M. S. Or emails and they're like what's your style of programming? Can I talk to current and former clients? I did yes. All to all of that. Ask as many questions as possible so you really get a feel for it. Um and then also check their social media. Like how do they speak about their clients? Are they speaking about them with consents? Like are they showing people of like a wide variety of people or are they only working with certain people? Um are they advocating for important political issues that are close to your heart that you want your coach to advocate or? Um and doing things like that and just kind of leading from like a values first lens I think is a really great way to start and then don't be afraid to like interview multiple coaches because it is a relationship, like not everyone is going to be the best fit and that's totally okay because not every coaches for every person. Yeah, that's all very very great. Great tips. Yeah.

I think along the way you will weed out a lot of people because I'm sure some of those responses you'll get on any of those like steps or checks, you'll see the red flags. Yeah. You know it's just, and I always think like have a coach that you can have an actual conversation with like paying attention to the language they use, how they're speaking about their services, how they're speaking about their clients. Those are all really big indicators to, in my opinion, that makes sense to me. Um hmm mary beth do you have any other question about picking coaches? Um I just thought about inspiration porn and how some coaches I've chosen in the past, like, chose me as their client to kind of use me, you know, on their page. That is also something you might want to avoid if you see that um like, trending on their profile or their website, especially if they're an able bodied coach, that's just um it's really hard to get out of, I think, Yeah, that's such an excellent point.

That's gross. But I get exactly what you mean, you know? Yeah. Are you proud of me? Are you really trying to help me out or you just trying to boost your views? Yeah, I ain't that cute online anyway for your life. And I think to like that, that happens with a lot of like, inclusivity type stuff because inclusively inclusive have become such buzz words that people like do the performing of inclusivity actually interactions behind it. And it it it becomes like, so performative and I think it's really easy to see, like, who wants to be known for doing the thing versus who's actually doing the thing because the people who are actually doing the thing, it's significantly harder and that they're really, most people I know who are really doing the thing are dedicated to it for reasons above and beyond making money and being trendy.

Um and like, I think another kind of going back to like picking coaches, like asking about what the protocols are for if there's an issue comes up. Like people who have a system in place for if harm occurs, that's really important. And people who are just sort of performing inclusivity are just gonna be like, well you're either gonna do what I say or I'm gonna fire you or whatever. The case may be one 100% two snaps in a circle for that one. No. Oh gosh, nobody's going to get their reference. Um, I think before we change topics we could take our baby break. So we're just going to stare at each other for about five seconds for the Youtube on the audio version, nobody will even know. Excellent about the steering. Yeah. Okay, great. Great work. That's it. That's all we need. two seconds. I just chop it playing, playing boom, add great pay for the podcast. Great job. Everyone we're doing amazing. Um, yeah, so I think that was a lot of great stuff about picking a coach or just understanding or maybe reframing how some people think about coaching.

Um, but I would love to hear more about your personal experience with, I don't know if it's new for you or not new for you, but lifting with chronic illnesses. Yeah, so I have Hashimoto's in celiac, I've been diagnosed celiac for like 13 years. The Hashimoto's is a fairly new diagnosis. Um and I also have a brain injury that I sustained in 2020. Um So lifting definitely has taken a different turn in terms of that, especially like post brain injury and having more cognitive disabilities in that way. Um My focus took a really big hit, my ability to um just focus for long periods of time, um having headaches, stuff like that. So I've had to adjust my lifting and really adjust my expectations of myself and not necessarily in a bad way. Um My lifting has really adjusted in that I know my capacity better and I'm more aware of it. So some weeks that looks like I'm doing every single thing in my program, I'm crushing it.

It's great. Some weeks that means I'm only doing my main movements and I'm not doing my accessory movements. Some weeks it means I'm adjusting things up or down um and just really learning how to pivot and make those decisions for myself to help myself feel my best in the moment and in the future because so much of like lifting with chronic illness is about that recovery piece and looking at the long term view versus just the session in front of you. Like I can go do a hard squat session but don't be wrecked for a couple of days after. Um If I don't take certain like precautions or if I don't do certain things to help enhance my recovery and just honor my capacity in that way. And I took a long time to be able, it'll take like really two years because I just did my first powerlifting meet back like almost a month ago um to get to a place where I could train in that way again um into train like super heavy and do things like that. And I think that my patience has really grown for lifting because I remember even just a few years before that if I had a minor injury, like I'm very hyper mobile, so I get like kind of random stability related injuries, so I would get something and I would just be like devastated because my entire identity like hinged on this one activity or my ability to be an athlete.

Um but so like diversifying my life, diversifying my identity really did a lot to help me manage my expectations of myself as a lifter with chronic illness. Yeah, I think that last part is definitely peak, at least for somebody that you might not have had a congenital issue where they just, you know, they already come into fitness and they're like, well I'm gonna have to adapt. Like you already have that mindset, so that might go differently, but for somebody that's been lifting and it's like doing pretty fairly okay and then you're not, it's hard, it is hard and it's, you know, I think the same thing can apply to like mental health flare ups as well is it is hard to learn where that line is. I know for myself I'm an incredibly stubborn person, so I have red line myself probably more than I've ever needed to to learn where that is. Um and the benefit of having a coach, I mean my coach can kind of tell when I'm there and he can pull me back and like, I think that's a huge benefit to is for having like even not just a coach, just like a support system in some way to say like, hey, let's look at what's going on here and kind of take a bigger picture of you so that we can keep lifting for the long term because I think especially in sports like powerlifting, everybody wants to burn so hot and fast, you wanna get there right now and you want to be at the peak of everything right now, the lifting can be a lifelong endeavor, competitive lifting can be a lifelong endeavor.

There are people who compete well into their 60s and 70s and that's freaking rad. Um but we have nothing but time, so it just takes the patience to get through that time, that I think is really the hardest part, you know, everything is now, everything is, is right now, or even like um how many competitions people do or how often people even choose to sign up for competitions across sports right? Like, there might be like, I'm doing a strongman event this month, next week I'm doing powerlifting and it's just like, but why? Yeah, like I've done that, I remember one year I did to strongman competitions two weekends in a row, I can't wait pretty hard for that ship, It was awful, it was horrible. And like, I think also, especially for competitive athletes, the way you compete really matters. Like, the competition I just did at the end of february, like I pushed hard, but I did not empty the tank fully because I know that I'm competing again in May, and then I'm going to have like, a pretty long break after that.

So even just knowing sort of what those limits are for yourself becomes really important and then like, I can't compete all year round, like, competing is fun, I love it, but there's no way that my nervous system and my body can take that. Yeah, not really well, it's kind of hard because um you know, at the main, which called the mainstream strength elite people or whatever, whoever you're looking up to write or like the people in your gym, everybody's doing that 34 competitions a year, you know, or, or there's like, even the local shit, you know, like, oh well, every, every february, there's this guy's thing and then every, every september is this guy is saying, and you don't want to miss it because everyone's doing it. Yeah, and I think that there's like, there's ways to not miss stuff, but it means that you don't necessarily go out for a pr every single time. Like, you can have a competition experience out totally trashing yourself, and it just becomes a matter of, like, do you want to prioritize the experience, or do you want to prioritize the Prs, and then, like, framing that out for the year and seeing, like, you know, like, there's people who winter's a really hard time for them mentally and physically, so maybe that's not the time to compete.

Maybe we aim for summer competitions and things like that, you know, summer in spring, and we pick one that's a fun one, and we pick one that's a pr focused one um type situation. But yeah, there's definitely ways to adapt to that. It's just really about having that flexibility and being able to pivot in that way, wow, I didn't even realize that season, like, had a huge effect on how we perform mentally and physically, because, like, you're right when winter comes along, like, it's a darker time of the year, I don't know why, but it just is there's seasonal depression and it's just not the right time to compete sometimes. Yeah, and it's just, and that's okay, and that's totally fine, and I think it really helps when um you know yourself, and you can like, map your patterns. I'm really big on like energy mapping for people throughout the week or throughout the month type thing. Like knowing what days are best for you in terms of lifting, um what days are the busiest for you?

So maybe we don't lift those days and knowing kind of like your general energy patterns and mental health patterns can be really beneficial in that way because you can organize your life in a way that is more fun and so you're not constantly feeling like you're butting up against something, like you're butting up against obstacles constantly, you can kind of pivot around them instead. Yeah, that's a really fair point. Yeah, I think especially for programming where it's like, that takes me back to when I've had to switch from training five days a week down to four down to three or whatever, that's so important for a coach to keep in mind. It's yeah, and it's just, you know, I think people get really caught up in like what is optimal and at the end of the day, what is optimal is whatever you can do, Even if that's done a one day a week, that's great, that's wonderful. One day a week is great. Um if that is a 30 minute session, excellent, like all of those things are totally valid and totally worthy of like the same respect as somebody who trains five days a week for like three hours at a time, which I would not advise because that just seems kind of miserable but you know, teach Oh my gosh, that's so true.

The the fact that they all, it all deserves to be respected right? Because people, if you're like, oh I'm a competitive, whatever, I'm a competitive powerlifter, strongman, Oh yeah, how often do you train twice a week? They're going to be like, she's probably gonna leave, you know, you have to be like four days a week for three hours until I bleed like hello, you know, like I've been there and I've been that person to like but that is again going back to like so much of your identity hinging on this constant like performing for worthiness, like we do in a lot of other arenas in our life too, I think that really bleeds over into the gym and so it's like once we start to like divest from that hustle culture and divest from those ideas of like only these types of people deserve respect, then we can really like open up the possibility and kind of make lifting more fun and enjoyable. Again, especially for people who have like additional different like needs, whether it's mental health or disabilities or just whatever.

Like kids, kids like just have life stuff because life gets real life e it's just gonna be like that and so we know it's going to be like that so why not build out a toolbox accordingly to make it so that we can navigate around those things and keep people doing what makes them happy and what makes them feel good Yeah, I feel that I know in the beginning for me when I first started getting um whatever sick, power lifting, that was rough and that's that's why I dropped our listings to for so long because to me it was like well if I can't train four days a week or you know, if I can't finish twice a week and then I can't be a brow lift er I guess I'll just do strongman for a bit because it's a little more flexible mm hmm That was like stupid, like the fact that I even had to think that, but that's how she is presented. Yeah it is, and then there's so much, like, I think especially like the Arnold just happened right?

Like, so there's so much social media content revolving around that there's a real sense of like, you have to be, I think in strength sports, especially there is a sense of like, if you're going to do it, you better want to be elite at it, you have to want to be elite, you don't have to have it be your entire life, the entire identity, if you don't want it to be, if you want your entire life to revolve around powerlifting, Cool, that's great, but it doesn't have to be like that in order to do power lifting, like you can just do it as a fun hobby and that's totally valid. Yeah, there's an in between, I think it's a part of that all or nothing problem that a lot of us have. Yeah. And I was gonna say to like, it's it's funny because I feel like we've I don't want to say I've aged out of power lifting, but there is like, like a mental maturity in these types of sports and I can compete every three years or not as opposed to three times a year.

But like if you've come like you've come across a brand new client or a brand new athlete in that sport, they're probably wanna gonna want to go over the top and if they do, you kind of just, you know, it's kind of good that you have the, the energy meter right every week. Yeah. And like I do a lot of um readiness metric tracking with my clients so whether they use something like a whoop or whatever that gives them like an HR V. Or sort of like readiness score or I have like a little um survey for those who don't have those tools that just asked about like their hydration, their stress, their emotional state and stuff like that and they just kind of rank it On a scale of 1 to 5 just for a little bit of introspection that says like, you know, if we're having a lot of days where we're in the lower end of those things like maybe now is not the time to try and compete in a meat, Maybe we wait until this season of life is through and we change programming a little bit so it becomes something that's enjoyable rather than dreadful and that is helping you live your best life instead of draining all of your energy.

Yeah. Yeah, that dreadful thing is, that's a big piece. There was a long time where I absolutely hated draining, just dreaded it and that's kind of not the point. Why would I, why did, I don't know, it's not like it's free, right? Like I'm spending money to make myself miserable. Why? Yeah, I mean I felt that way a lot too and I'm like, you know, I think there's a difference between like dips and motivation, like nobody is motivated all the time. That is very true, but we can like look forward to something, we can still enjoy something, but when it gets to a point where it's like a real sense of dread and it's impeding on your daily life and kind of bleeding over in that way. I think that's when it's really time to sort of evaluate like how can I do something that makes me happy? Maybe it is changing like training modalities, maybe it's stepping away from training for a bit and just doing something totally different. Um but like all of that is very, is very valid and very human and I think that most people who are training for any extended amount of time go through that?

Mhm definitely. I don't think any anybody would go through that. Um I think it takes like an extra level of what do you call it, a reflection or self preservation when you're disabled because it's like nobody really knows what you're going through unless you got a gaggle of disabled folks to like check in with right. Usually most of us are the only person that could like set that meter and be like, you know what, this section doesn't make sense for me. Yeah, and it can be a really hard decision because I think that there's, I know for myself I really struggled with, well I can't do things like I did in the past. Why is this so hard now? Why is this thing that was, that didn't feel hard before, feel hard now and that sort of just higher level sort of evaluation of capacity really can make that a very difficult thing, especially when you're hardheaded, like you said, definitely when you're hardheaded, it's weird, one of my last big powerlifting meets was like a raw nationals.

Um I did a ship job, but I just remember like after the fact um the hubby and my brother came up and they were like, yeah, you know, there was actually a lot of people in the crowd like talking about you and everybody was just confused. They're like, she usually does great. I don't know why she did so bad. Why don't you know where her openers like what's going on with her? And they were like also so surprised that there is like literally like audience discussions on today's topic of Marcia's energy and health. Yeah. But you know, even with that, I was still just like it was a fluke, Let's do the next meet. We got this. I and I literally competed two months later, so still still inland. Yeah, it's definitely been there. Just so hard. I just relate to that so much. It definitely helps to have somebody that you can check in with.

But it's hard. Yeah, it is. And I think, you know, like you said, having a support system or just even people who like kind of relate to you makes a really big difference. And even just having like from a coaching perspective, having somebody who actually cares about you as a human being and not just like a name on a spreadsheet is such a big difference for especially disabled lifters or anybody with chronic illness because there are just days and weeks and months and things like that where it's just not gonna happen sometimes and like we need to move around it and that's totally fine. Mm hmm. Yeah, definitely hard, hard, definitely. Um, is there anything that you wanted to talk about that we did not quite touch on. Um, I think we touched on some really awesome stuff so I'm I'm good with what we talked about. Yeah mary beth yeah, I mean no, thank you for sharing that.

It's it's really great to know that there are people out there that will listen to you, listen to your body and your mind because that's changing on a constant basis. Like even if you're prepping for me what eight weeks from now it's going to change every single week and sometimes it's not going to go as planned and to be understanding like I always felt bad like telling my coach even though I knew they were understanding that like I didn't hit my numbers that day or I didn't hit it all week. But just hearing that from you makes me feel like validated and in like, I don't know, just resetting we like we have to kind of tell ourselves that sometimes. Yeah. And I think people get really caught up in like, especially with meat prep, like having a perfect meat prep, there is no perfect meat prep. I had a meat prep where I was in the hospital with appendicitis two weeks out and I did not have surgery, thank goodness.

Like training obviously was not going well the last two weeks of the peak, but I still had a great meat, like pulled a lifetime double fpr and like people are so like resilient and adaptable that even if things aren't going perfectly. It's okay and it's okay to like de catastrophizing that because There's like one bad week Or one like tough week is not going to ruin an entire year's worth of progress. And that's and that's okay. Like we all have different needs and it's okay to expect those needs to be met from the people you're paying to meet those needs met. Let's not forget. Exactly, so true. And like you said, it's like longevity. I want to be able to, you know, lift my groceries at the age of 67 years old, not break your back.

I mean that's fine too, but be careful with it adapt, it's the all or nothing and everything is right now or it's never like you get to just like get out of it. Yeah, I mean that's just such like, you know, capitalist hustle culture is just in green so deeply and so many of us and so divesting from that, it can be really difficult. And then it's just one of those things where I always encourage my lifters to build their own toolbox of tools for themselves so they can self regulate on training days because I can only anticipate so much even though I check in with my lifters like every week or like multiple times a week, you know based on their comments and feedback. Um but I want all my lifters to have tools to say like, you know what today is maybe like a day where I'm not feeling that great. Something is flaring up. What can I do instead? Can I do like an at home workout with dumbbells? Does that mean my capacity, can I go for a walk?

Can I lower my percentages? Can I change up my rep scheme? And I think that you know, it's important and this kind of goes back to choosing a coach. Like it's important to make sure that a coach recognizes your sovereignty and your autonomy and your own efficacy. Because like you said, nobody really knows what you're going through. Especially as like a disabled person with chronic illness. Like it's important to have those tools so that you can regulate and do what's best for you at the end of the day. Ours. Mm hmm. And not feel guilty about it at the end of the day, you're still that same person. Like I'm gonna wake up week one day and strong the next. There's a balance in life. That's fine. But you know, that's that's I'm we're laughing. But that's really hard for a lot of us to like realize as disabled people like we're constantly trying to prove society wrong. That's already a that's you know, its own chapter in a different book.

But hearing that it's okay. Yeah. And it is it's just like such a valid human thing. And I don't know when we took so much humanity out of like coaching in athletics and sports and things like that because like at the end of the day we are human beings doing these things and it's okay to have very human experiences and very human emotions and differing human capacities. I'm with it. Yeah, I think we had a great, I think we're having a great time because last, last year, what was that last year? Right, serena biles and Naomi Osaka pulled out of things. They're like, you know, this isn't gonna work for me and people in a fucking uproar. This is a great time period where I think we're finally at least having the conversation of remembering that people doing the sports are people Exactly like people are real humans behind screens and stuff. The Conversation as of 2022 is at least starting. Yes, it's terrible.

But better than nothing like funk the double standard because only when it's women do people complain. Right? Oh, don't even get there anywhere. Great advice. Thank you so much. Yes. Let's remind people where they could find you on the internet. Um, so my instagram is gap strength, G A B strength. Um that's my main platform there. I am frequently on the internet. I am an online person. Um, but that would be the main place to find me. I've got a bunch of links for different things like for coaching applications also. I'm pretty much always in my DM um and all my contact information is on that page as well. Mm hmm. And we didn't talk about the tarot stuff or the writing or any of that. But that page is linked in there too. Right. Yes. Yeah. I have a different page and it's got a lot of symbols in it. But if you search the gift of gab, a picture of me will pop up eventually. But I did write a book that has nothing to do with fitness or health.

It's a book of poetry and essays that is for sale. Um And I also do tarot readings. So it's just a little bit of everything. I love it. Yeah, maybe we have to do another episode on that. We gotta bring, we gotta bring we've got Gabby with Taro, we've got to get Monica back so she could fund us all up with crystals. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We gotta get out the gaggle of people have a whole thing going anyways. That's it. That's my word of the day. Baby gaggle. Good word gaggle of people. I don't know. I got one good word of sticking with disabled girls out. I was I'm talking Alright, fantastic. So this this is not gonna work. Hold on, pinching me. Alright, great. Welcome. Hello, disabled girls who live Patreon. This is Marcia Sheen on Seminole Tribe land. I've got my bulky headphones and my microphone. I'm sitting in front of my colorful wall with my clear glasses and a black spoon.

E fem Feeling very chatty today mary Beth you're next with your hair done, don't forget about that looks good, looks good mary Beth she her uh sitting on a lonely land here in northern California wearing a rough sweater, black glasses, black headphones, black hair in my living room. Welcome to my space. Um Just kidding and our lovely guest who we just had a fantastic episode with, I feel so healed and empowered. Um Gabby, please introduce yourself. Hi, I'm Gabby, is she her? I'm sitting on Palestinian land in Richmond Virginia. I am wearing a gray crew neck with gold hoops. I've got black and red hair sitting in front of my little curio cabinets with some plants on it in a brick wall behind me. Fantastic! Um So mary Beth wanted our patreon bonus content to get into the tarot steps. We didn't really talk about it at all at all.

What's going on? Yeah, so I read tarot um which is a wild thing that I never thought I would say, but I have like a whole separate instagram account for my tarot in my writing because I have also written a book of poetry and essays. Um and I we were just kind of talking about this offline. Um but I come from a family of tarot readers. So my grandmother and my great grandmother and my great great grandmother were all have all read tarot and I actually owned my great grandmother's tarot deck, which is probably like one of my favorite possessions. It's really cool. It's from like the seventies, like Really need 70's artwork. It's pretty powerful. Yeah, it's kind of just, it has like a special place like that sits on top of my bar where all my other stuff is and I will read from my family with it and like read with it for special occasions. Nice. So do you keep an altar or like a working space where you do tell the reading specifically?

Yeah, I do keep like an altar and that will have um I have like a little corner for my ancestor, so that's where that tarot deck sits. Um and some offerings for them and just some memorabilia over there and I'm usually doing something with candles. So I've got like, I've always got a seven day candle going and lots of candles going and some crystals up there as well. And then I actually typically end up moving a lot of that stuff to my dining table where I'm sitting now to do readings for clients um because it's just a bigger space to do that. But I keep all my tarot decks up on my altar. Yeah. I always wondered how the practical side of that work because I have the altar and I'm like, how do people do this for a living? They just pack the whole thing you can choose based on the person has told me that their intention or question is um and kind of like intuitively pick some things I also read with like a couple of different decks, so I'll just intuitively pick the deck um and stuff like that, so people have usually have a specific question, right?

Like it's not, you know, just pull it into something like going on in their life that they want to know more about. Yeah, it's usually like a specific question or like you said something going on in their life, or I even have clients who, it's like every three months or every six months, they kind of just do like a check in reading and we do something like that. Um So it just kind of depends on the person, but most people come to terror with like a specific question or a specific intention of mind. Yeah, that's cool. So I don't um I don't know whether I come from a family of tarot cards, specifically readers um because in Hoodoo or an Haitian vodou, it's not really a tarot, it's kind of playing cards, but playing cards are essentially the minor arcana, so it's pretty interesting that the concept is still pretty much there. And is it actually called hoodoo or you, so you um I might be saying it wrong, but like if you're practicing it generally, like, you know, you have an altar and maybe you have some sort of divination form, whether it's tarot or smoke or don't know crystals, whatever, right, that's a divination tool um but that's it then that's who do, but Haitian vodou is like, like you are in it, you know, like you don't like, you don't say you're catholic without having being baptized and doing like all the ships, you know what I mean?

It's like that, so I wouldn't say I'm I'm practicing that or I'm like doing that because I don't go to any meetings or nothing, like I've never done any of that kind of stuff. And so Gabby was your grandmother, like a really huge influence on that, or did it start with you receiving the deck of cards, So I didn't receive the deck until a little bit later in my tarot journey. Um but it was something that I had always been interested in and I had met somebody locally who is like a psychic medium and also does a lot of tarot and we had met about a bunch of different things and she had started like reading for me um and kind of encouraged me to develop my own skill around it because she was like, you definitely have something going on here, and I was like, well this seems like coming from such like an intellectual space, I was like, well if nothing else, this is like a great processing tool to like having a great meditation and self reflection technique, exactly, you know what I mean, like that was my initial thought going into it because it was like, I was trying to like intellectualize the process so much and so like archetype based and stuff like that and so that's how I started doing it and then I was like, oh I feel really really connected to this and really really connected to like part of my culture, like I'm part mexican, like that side of my culture, I feel really connected to it in this way and that's when I found out about like my great grandmother really being in Utero and my great great grandmother being a spiritualist and stuff like that.

And so then after that my grandma for whatever reason had hung on to her mother's deck um and she, she sent it to me which was like so cool. That's one of my like christ questions that's so great and just like the accidental discovery, it sounds like a movie. Yeah, well it's funny like my mom kind of got into it too, like she has a deck um and things like that and I think it's really like the last time my grandma was out visiting and stuff we were talking about it and it really was like such a big part of our like families culture that really got suppressed um you know in like how every other culture gets suppressed in terms of like colonization and things like that and trying to fit in and all that sort of stuff and so it's been very lovely to see sort of the rebirth of that come through. Yeah, that's how I feel doing that stuff too. It's like all everything was always hush hush. But like when ship is going down and you have like a Haitian auntie or whatever, like best believe she's gonna put up a fucking shrine, like she's gonna go to her like type top priestess lady like every week and pay her like, like come on.

Like I used to find like my mom um I used to I found this thing with my name and my boyfriend at the time now husband and then like some fucking candle wax in a circle, stuff under my mattress. I was like, yo what the fucky is mom? And it's just something for your relationship, you know? That was it. It was like, she didn't tell you beforehand, you know, she's like alright, go reach, you know? But if she if I, you know like rest in peace. But you know, if I called her up and I'd be like, yeah, I feel like somebody has it out to me, some weird shift is happening. Should be like, all right, here's what you're gonna do at strike of noon every day, you're gonna psalm 42. I'm like, like it was there, you know? But I really wish it was more open. There's so much sh it I could have learned. Yeah, and that's you know, there's just like little quirks and like little things that were like quote unquote. Like old wives tales that were really rooted in so much like, like mexican witch folklore type stuff.

But like my family didn't like my aunties did especially and things like that and then like coming full circle and learning more about that. I was like, oh like I see what you're doing here, we just can't talk about it openly. No, we just, yeah, all the, all the weird random little things like don't ever give anybody a wallet without money in it. Like okay, whatever you say mom, like just weird ship like that, right? But I think all of this to that, that empowerment coming from it is so recent thanks to social media because I mean you know the reason why it was so hush hush people literally died for this, you know people which is got burned which is got burned um alive and it's a scary thing, it's probably still happening in other countries right now. But um I don't know, I just, I love because spiritually ghosts also have always been like so heavy and like heavily ingrained in my family when our um ancestors have passed, like we always know that there's a presence around us specific houses that we visit.

Specifically. My dad's right now and you have that fear as a child. But as you grow up, you like I found like a sense of safety and I feel like that's what you two are kind of going for as well. Like when you experience something so heavy, you find a way to cope with it as well. That's what I'm sensing. Yeah. No. Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. I'm with you on that one is there. Um I would guess because the fact you said you went to catholic school, a lot of syncretism in the spirituality because that's the other part that I like realized too, is that a lot of it was like literally using psalms in the bible as spells. Yeah, like a lot of mexican gulf magic is very, very heavily catholic, which is, I don't practice a ton of that. I do some like candle work with that and stuff like that. Like I have like a botanical, I go to and I get my candles and like I wear my red bracelet and like do all that sort of stuff.

Um but it was so interesting to me like learning all this to see how much was just taken from like different older traditions like in terms of like Catholicism, Christianity in general obviously. Um and to like see those synchronicities come up. It was very interesting. Yeah. Um yeah, if anybody has time, it's a lot of fun to google syncretism and see how people because like you said, people were literally getting killed for this and see how people hid their spiritual or ancestral religions inside Christianity or Catholicism. So like for me, I, I know that of the um the organ, like the gods and whatever right? Especially from the Haitian culture, a lot of them are very african or whatever, there's some names that are different whatever whatever, but you could find like the mother mary mother of christ version right? Like oh it's mary which is also um I think er silly or something right? Like there's like a parallel person for each one so you might go as a 10 year old to your aunt's house and be like wow, she really loves her, some saints but to her like they're all different whatever gods of you know like her great great great great grandmothers like that ship is nuts right, right, and that's ah it's very interesting and I just, I really relate to like, especially like talking about ghosts like I so the building I live in is from the late 18 hundreds, I live in a very old city and it was a factory that was converted into a hospital during the civil war and like a bunch of people died here um it's supposed to be like one of the most haunted buildings in my city like we're on the ghost tour in Halloween and stuff like that and so and like I love living here because there are so many ghosts um and like feeling but like like you said like I feel a sense of safety, especially like with my ancestors and things like that and like even talking about like ghosts and spirituality and Tarot was something that I didn't do until very recently because it felt still so hush hush, like you wouldn't be taken seriously um or like that aspect of spirituality like wasn't allowed, especially like in the profession that I'm in which is just so dominated by like a lot of toxic things in general.

So it's been a very interesting experience to have all those things kind of line up at once. I love that. It is very interesting. Most of these kind of conversations for me, what happened in D. M. S for sure. Yeah and people are like what? Yeah, that's why I like it started a whole different account because I was like, I want this to be a thing and I want a place to have my art be in the world in a way that was like a little bit different. It was like a little bit less pressure to make it fit something else other than just like our existing for its own sake and like tarot existing for its own sake and stuff like that. What a fantastic discussion. I love that. And I'm gonna go check out your book because I love poetry as well. Oh, awesome, thank you. Yeah, let's do that. Alright, um disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love don't forget to subscribe rate already.

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E60: Inclusive Coaching with Gabby
E60: Inclusive Coaching with Gabby
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