How to Choose the Right Personal Trainer on any Budget


How to Choose the Right Personal Trainer on any Budget


The new year is almost here and many people have begun to research ways to make their new year's resolutions come true. When it comes to fitness and health goals, whether it is dropping 50 lbs or simply working on your golf swing, teaming up with an educated, experienced personal trainer can often help ensure success. Think about it this way... most of us see our doctor a maximum of 1-2 times a year for 15 minutes a session. Trainers are often working with clients 1-3 hours a week on their health. So finding a qualified, educated trainer is crucial. Afraid that you cannot afford a personal trainer? Even if you are on a tight budget, seek out a trainer that can efficiently pass information on to you with your paid sessions occurring just once a week, or even once every 2 weeks, with homework assignments for you to complete on your own.  DIAKADI founder and owner, Billy Polson, recommends considering the following six key elements when searching for your ideal match.

Billy's Top Trainer Matchmaking Tips

1- Education and Certifications: It is always best to locate a trainer with a college degree in Exercise Physiology or Kinesiology and/or a certification from one of the leading national certifications. The top personal training certifications in the US are: NASM CPT (National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer),  ACSM CPT (American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer), and NSCA CSCS or CPT (National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist or Certified Personal Trainer). I also highly recommend looking for trainers with multiple certifications, internships, or individuals that have taken more specialized coursework  (i.e. NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist or Performance Exercise Specialist, Corrective Massage or Bodywork class work, C.H.E.K Exercise Coaches or Practitioners, Egoscue, CST (Circular Strength Training), FMS (Functional Movement Screen) coursework, Neurosomatic Educators postural analysis, etc).

2- Years of Experience: Honestly, no education can ever beat being in the trenches and working with all types and levels of clients day after day. So I recommend finding a trainer that has been certified and been training clients with this certification for a MINIMUM of 3 years.

3- Personality: All the years of education and experience in the world does not necessarily make someone a good teacher. Make sure you find a trainer that you will enjoy learning from. You need to be comfortable opening up all your weaknesses and issues to this person and trust they will always have your benefit in mind.

4- Staff Trainers in "Chain" Gyms vs. Independent Trainers: When trainers first begin training, they tend to work on staff for a private membership "chain" gym in order to get their feet wet and help build their clientele. Often as these trainers gain experience, they will graduate to training independently  in trainer only facilities such as DIAKADI. An experienced, successful independent personal trainer tends to be more well rounded not only in experience and fitness education, but also in proper business practices and professional responsibility. Either way, I recommend asking for a list of current clients as references so that you can look into more details about the trainer's style and dependability (on time, new material, safe, etc).

Independent Training at DIAKADI
Independent Training at DIAKADI

5- Assessments: EXPERIENCED trainers will ALWAYS perform a VERY detailed assessment of the body with their new clients BEFORE starting any type of workout program with them! A solid, thorough assessment should include, but not be limited to:  a posture assessment (spine, pelvis, shoulder alignment), muscle testing (flexibility and joint range of motion screen, strength/weakness testing), movement screen (studying how the body moves in all the basic movement patterns including squats, lunges, pushing, pulling, twisting), and body measurements where applicable (weight, body fat, body circumference). Always ask a potential trainer about the details of their assessment before starting to work with them. If they do not appear to have an upfront assessment of your entire body, this should be a BIG RED FLAG! Check out this DIAKADI Blog on Assessments for more details of a thorough assessment.

6- Documentation of Workouts/Progress: Again, responsible trainers will document every client's workouts in terms of the exercises and weights they are lifting in order to accurately track their progress and results from week to week. If your trainer does not show up to your workouts with a  plan of what they want to accomplish on that day= RED FLAG! Also, if you want to have copies of your workouts in order to do them on your own, it is VITALLY important that your trainer's documentation of the workouts be exact and accurate and EASILY UNDERSTOOD by you. When interviewing trainers, ask to see a sample program or file from one of their current clients. Are the trainer files hand written on paper, typed and printed, or stored electronically on an iPad or tablet?  Ask if the trainer offers videos of the workouts to assist you with your homework. Then decide on which method works best for your needs.

If you have further questions about personal training or workouts, feel free to contact Billy at  Good luck with your hunt, fitness, performance and life!

Author: Billy Polson, Founder & Owner


Top 5 Valentine's Gifts Turned Workouts


Top 5 Valentine's Gifts Turned Workouts


Valentine’s Day can rack up quite a big bill. According to the U.S. National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend at least $116.21 on this holiday, a number that can skyrocket when gourmet chocolates, bouquets of flowers, and a fancy dinner get involved. Instead of showering your loved one with big materialistic gestures today, try taking part in something more memorable and intimate: a sweat-inducing, heart rate increasing, and endorphin empowering workout. Yes, you can get tangled up in the sheets, but before you even get there, grab your partner and try this workout inspired by the tangible things you thought about getting them. If they get mad at you for skimping out this year, we’ll give you a pass: just hide in a sweet gift in at the end.

Instead of … Do this…burpees

DIAKADI's Valentine's Day Workout


Dozen roses = dozen burpeesTo perform a burpee, begin standing and then bend your knees to  lower down so that your hands touch the ground. From there, hop back into a plank position, perform one push-up, and then hop or step it back in. Jump back up to standing to complete one repetition.


DIAKADI's Valentine's Day Workout


Conversation hearts = “Can’t speak heart rate intervals.” Hop on a treadmill and perform 12 rounds of tabata sprints. Extra points if you let your Valentine control the speed!chocolate

DIAKADI's Valentine's Day Workout


 Chocolate Bars = Body bars. Grab a bar and perform 8-10 reps of weighted

DIAKADI's Valentine's Day Workout


Diamonds = Diamond Push-ups. Opt for 15 of these variety, where your hands are positioned in a diamond

DIAKADI's Valentine's Day Workout


Couples Massage = Partner Yoga. Help each other into new yoga poses or just breathe through a similar flow. Have fun with it!


Disclaimer: As always, it's important to check in with a fitness professional for form and technique before performing any of these exercises.


Top 5 Ways to Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions


Top 5 Ways to Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions


Somehow the New Year has come and gone, and we're now on the fast track to February. How did that even happen? Nevertheless, the "new year, new you" mantra is in full swing and if you are the type of person to make resolutions, let's do a quick check-in. How are they going? If they're no longer going, don't stress. Our DIAKADI trainers say it's time to regroup, start over, and get this show on the road.  


1. Create specific and attainable goals leading up to your bigger goals.

Instead of generically saying, "I want to get stronger", focus on spelling out goals that you can check off and complete. For example, "I want to deadlift 10 more pounds within two weeks," or "I want to perform 20 continuous push-ups," are two goals that will help you get on track to becoming stronger. A common method to effective goal setting is making them S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Adding two or more of these elements into a goal help make them feel easier to accomplish and therefore motivating for you to take on more goals. Jackelyn Ho,


2. Write it down.

Whether you make a vision board, write it on the bathroom mirror, or place a post-it note at your front door, choose a method that works best for you. If you're not sure what works, then try 'em all! The more you see your resolution, the more you are likely to subtly make your way towards completing it. Be sure to acknowledge your notes every time you see it instead of letting the message glaze pass you. Gina Gutierrez,


3. Schedule it.

Putting it into the calendar helps you stay on track because when it's in your schedule, you feel obligated to make it happen. Instead of only scheduling time for hard work, make sure you include restorative time as well. Allow yourself time for both mind and body. You deserve it! Stephanie Dale,


4. Ask a friend to hold you accountable.

It's hard to get off track when you have someone checking in with you, simply because our brains are wired in a way in which we don't want to disappoint. Canceling on a running meetup is not fun, so keep it real and don't be a flake to yourself or your friends. Jan Milano,


5. Prioritize your goals and focus on one thing at a time.

It's easy to get caught up in wanting to achieve everything yesterday, but that's how you end up on the fast track to chaos town. Take a hard look at your list and decide what's most important to getting you where you need to go. Having a hard time deciding what's important? Ask a friend to review your list and help you make some hard decisions. Dustin Eastment,


The Best Just Got Better


The Best Just Got Better

DIAKADI Announces Expanded San Francisco Facility and New Cutting Edge Equipment 
Award Winning Personal Training Gym Now the Single Largest and Most Comprehensive Facility in San Francisco 
San Francisco – April 9, 2015 – DIAKADI, San Francisco’s most comprehensive fitness, performance, and life facility, today announced it has expanded its SOMA headquarters by an additional 2,400 square feet, making space for new equipment, including an obstacle course, speed training tools and small group training facility.  The expansion comes on the heels of explosive growth for the facility, which was recently voted the “Best Gym” and “Best Personal Training Center” in the Bay Area for the eleventh year in a row by City Voter’s Bay Area A- List Awards.
DIAKADI’s newly expanded space has the same open and inspirational feel as its current facility, with an old-school gymnasium twist. With the expansion, DIAKADI will be introducing small group training sessions and will begin hosting continuing education seminars with two of the nation’s leading fitness educators, The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and The CHEK Institute. From the reclaimed basketball bleachers to the climbing ropes, the new space combines a classic gym feel with the industry’s cutting edge training tools, including:
  • An obstacle course training center complete with monkey bars, a climbing cargo net, gymnastic peg boards and sand bags.
  • Athlete speed training tools, including a Keiser Functional Trainer, an expansive new section of training turf and a VibePlate.
  • CrossFit-inspired training equipment from Olympic lifting platforms to Rogue dog sleds, sledge hammers, gymnast rings and tires.
  • A boxing training area with heavy, double-ended and speed bags, gloves and kickboxing pads.
DIAKADI provides truly individualized personal training by helping clients to develop an intelligent plan to achieve their ideal body and lifestyle. This style of one-on-one training has resonated with clients and trainers alike, and DIAKADI has continued to attract and support the most experienced personal trainers in the Bay Area.


“I am so excited to open our new space to DIAKADI’s trainers and clients,” said Billy Polson (CSCS), founder of DIAKADI. “With the expansion, we’re now the single largest and most comprehensive personal training center in San Francisco, and are looking forward to continuing to provide the ultimate training center, education opportunities and business development support for the city’s top trainers.”


Game for a Caffeine Free Challenge?


Game for a Caffeine Free Challenge?


Have you ever felt sluggish a few hours after your morning coffee wears off? Has excessive caffeine consumption ever affected your sleep? On the flip side, does caffeine help you kick more butt on those powerlifting and endurance days, or increase your focus during crunch time in the office? Around the world people consume enormous amounts of caffeine, about 12,000 tons per year as an estimate. It is an essential part of our culture here in SF and as much as we love it, it is always good to take a look at its effects and re-evaluate whether it is right for you! Given the information below about our beloved caffeine, this April we are issuing you a 30 Day Caffeine Free Purity Challenge! Whether or not you find coffee to be positive or negative force in your life, we challenge you to take a break, take a closer look inside the caffeine-free you, and reflect on your relationship with caffeine using an open mind and a clearer head. Untitled-1

Caffeine Tips:

Consuming a healthy dose of fat with a caffeinated beverage can reduce the toxicity level of the caffeine and inhibit overproduction of acid in your stomach. Try mixing your coffee with a spoonful of coconut oil or your traditional full fat dairy creamer.

Caffeine acutely alters the method in which your body metabolizes nutrients for energy. Caffeine effectively increases the bodies use of fats for energy, and thereby decreases it’s immediate use of carbohydrates. This is why mixing sugars with coffee can be a bit problematic when trying to lose excess fat. Instead, go for the stevia or no sugar at all.

Avoid coffee beans from conventional farms. Go organic with your coffee to reduce its level of toxicity in your body and promote organic earth-friendly practices.

Coffee beans are fast oxidizers. In order to keep toxicity levels down, it’s a good idea to grind your beans just before making your cup of coffee. Also, don’t allow your coffee to sit out in the pot for too long.

Did you know that Starbucks has made a stance against the labeling of GMO’s in Vermont? It never hurts to know who you are giving your money to, and to avoid conflicts of ethics.

It’s always important to moderate caffeine consumption. The bodies response to caffeine consumption is to produce adrenaline and cortisol. This is the same fight or flight stress response your body produces when in immediate danger. Too much caffeine over time can actually wear out the bodies response and cause adrenal fatigue. If your tolerance is through the roof, and you feel persistently low energy, it might be time to cut back on caffeine.


We asked some of the fitness professionals here at DIAKADI about their caffeine habits and here is what we found out:



How often do you use caffeine?

“I only drink coffee on the weekends as to not interfere with weekday sleep cycle.”

Do you use caffeine before your workout?

“No, just a good ole banana!” How does caffeine affect you?

“I tend to not sleep as well after drinking caffeine.”

What is your favorite caffeinated beverage?

“Almond milk Latte, or iced coffee.”

Where is your favorite place to get you caffeine kick in the city?

"Four Barrel"

Will you be taking the 30 Day Challenge?



[divider] [/divider]

How often do you use caffeine? 

nnnn"Daily morning coffee."

Do you use caffeine before your workout? Why?

“I used to drink coffee before my workouts, but not anymore.”

How does caffeine affect you?

“Caffeine helps me wake up in the morning, and I enjoy the ritual, but If I drink too much it can alter my mood, In moderation it works well with me."

What is your favorite caffeinated beverage?

"Jacob's brew from Phill'z coffee."

Awesome side note:

Nate is the author of " The Truth About Carbs" and has done extensive research on the effects of caffeine on the diet.





[divider] [/divider]

How often do you use caffeine? zz

“I try to not drink caffeine more than 4 days a week”

Do you use caffeine before your workout? Why?

“Yes, if I feel i need it”

How does caffeine affect you?

“If my adrenal glands respond in a healthy way, it’s a slight and pleasant stimulant, but if my consumption has been too high, and I enter a state of adrenal fatigue, it can make me tired and jittery”

What is your favorite caffeinated beverage?

“Yerba Matte”

Where is your favorite place to get you caffeine kick in the city?

“Four Barrel”




[divider] [/divider]


How often do you use caffeine? 1403121_10100230203432754_8705357377879861126_o_edited-1

"I used to be quite the coffee addict. I loved the high and up feeling associated with it, but I no longer drink coffee." 


"The amount that I was drinking was dramatically altering my mood, and causing a strong physical dependence. Now that I am coffee free I feel more balanced, focused, and in touch with my natural energy levels. Everyone's experiences are different, but I learned that coffee just doesn't work well with my body or mind."

What is your go-to drink of choice now that you are coffee free?

"I enjoy green tea and chai, my favorite spot in the city is Samovar."



If you'd like anymore info on the topics covered in this article feel free to review these sites:

7 things you didn't know about Caffeine

What You Should Know About Caffeine

15 things you should know about Caffeine

Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals.





Kicking Ass with the DIAKADI Difference


Kicking Ass with the DIAKADI Difference

I began working with The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women/HIV Circle shortly after I moved to San Francisco in 2008. This opportunity allowed me to create theater with women who were living with HIV to help release the stigma around the virus. While working there, I met Cassandra Steptoe, a survivor of sexual abuse, addiction, incarceration, and HIV. I also learned that Cassandra was a thriving and radiant grandmother of nine who was raising her beautiful seven-year-old granddaughter, Vassidy, who we call the “Cupcake of Light.” Check out Cassandra's video below:

Meeting Cassandra and the other women of Medea opened my eyes to the realities of poverty. I grew up in an upper middle class suburb of Boston, and while I had long understood that poverty was ‘problematic,’ it wasn't until meeting these women that I truly grasped the harsh realities of economic disparities. Wondering how you would afford to buy your child a birthday gift. Growing up in a community plagued by crack addiction and gun violence. Choosing to walk instead of taking the bus just to save a few dollars.

"Through my work with Medea, it became clear that we are not brought into this world on an equal playing field and it no longer felt responsible to ignore this fact."

Therefore, when Cassandra mentioned that she was struggling with her weight two years ago, I invited her to come train with me at the gym for free. What emerged was a two-year training period where Cassandra not only lost 20 lbs, but also learned to love exercise and had more energy for her granddaughter (who sometimes joined us for sessions!). What emerged for me personally, was the honor of getting to closely know an extraordinary woman who had literally been through hell and back. And to see, first hand, that anything is truly possible.


Inspired by my experience, I reached out to Billy and Gina to see if they would be open to creating the DIAKADI Difference Program, where other trainers could also offer their services to people who wanted to make a big change in their health and fitness routines, but couldn't due to financial constraints or difficult life circumstances. Met with an enthusiastic “yes!,” the three of us set out to design the DIAKADI Difference Program, which allows a participant to work with trainers once to twice a week for three months, focusing on fitness, diet, and lifestyle choices.

We are thrilled to announce that the program successfully launched a few weeks ago! We have two trainers, Jon De La Torre and Elaine Williams, who are kicking ass with clients Kathy, a mother of three and Nicole, a mother of five (read about their experiences below)!

I am so grateful to Jon and Elaine for committing their time, energy, and resources to this program and to Kathy and Nicole for showing up with so much enthusiasm, readiness, and dedication. Step by step, person by person, my hope is that the DIAKADI Difference Program can help improve the lives of those who are ready to make a change in their health, regardless of their life circumstances.

Do you know someone who could benefit from the DIAKADI Difference program? Have them fill out an application here!

Come check out the Medea Project at their upcoming show, Birthright?, at Brava Theater in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, April 9-19, 2015.

What the DIAKADI Difference Participants have to say:

Kathy James-McWay (Participant): I’ve wanted to get myself in shape and in good health for a while. I was tired of being out of breath when I would go down the stairs and back up, tired of being overweight, and not being able to walk for a long distance.

My goals are to lose at least ten pounds, get some of the body fat off, and to tone my body, and turn the fat into muscle.  I would also like to be able to walk up and down stairs and not be tired, and turn my long walks into jogs.

My experience has been totally new to me; I’m doing things I’ve never done before, but it’s all good and I’m having a great time.  Jon is a great trainer. He pushes me and encourages me at the same time; I need that.  Thank you all for the opportunity!

JDLT Kathy DIAKADI Diff Mar 2015 103
JDLT Kathy DIAKADI Diff Mar 2015 103

Jon De La Torre (Trainer): When Polina first presented the DIAKADI Difference program, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. To have the chance to help another person enhance their life through exercise and wellness, sign me up! Though it's only been a short amount of time so far, I've really enjoyed working with Kathy, and feel like we've been doing so for years! Our sessions are always so enjoyable, and Kathy always comes to work hard!

I look forward to helping her reach her goals and beyond!

Nicole Rodriguez (Participant): I'm so blessed to become part of such a huge loving family at DIAKADI. Since working with Elaine I have felt encouraged and supported in every way possible. Elaine has such positive energy that its contagious and her feedback motivates me to make healthy choices. I look forward to our weekly meeting she is such a perfect fit in my life having someone like her by my side makes working out fun and exciting.

Elaine Nicole DIAKADI Diff Mar 2015 045
Elaine Nicole DIAKADI Diff Mar 2015 045

Elaine Williams (Trainer): When I first heard about the DIAKADI Difference program I felt an absolute YES in all cells of my body, it's like the physical alignment that I strive for when I'm doing any exercise!  So, with my inner wisdom on board, I knew this would be a fun journey and it would allow me to step outside of my box--it's not everyday I go looking for clients that can not afford my services:)  While I've been told that "I INSPIRE", I know "Like Attracts Like", and Nicole is my greatest Inspiration right now!  Given Nicole's life experiences so far, she could have given up on her health a long time ago, but she didn't and that's why she and I are working together.

We Both agree at a deep cellular level, that We deserve to be healthy, strong, sexy, beautiful, full of energy, and overflowing with Love! 

Since we both said YES to this process, and are truly excited about it, we are learning a lot from each other and are gaining the knowledge we need that comes from giving ourselves 100% to the process!  It's only been the 2nd session and Nicole has had some amazing breakthroughs in her mind & body that will only increase her energy levels, bring about more balance, and lift her up in feeling more playful and free in her body!



Hold On: When Everything Changes in an Instant


A year-and-a-half-ago, the Stager-Radavich family experienced something that we all fear: While helping a neighbor with a simple chore, Peter Radavich fell and suffered a devastating brain injury. Jen’s beautiful story—of holding her family together during Peter’s long and ongoing rehabilitation—is really about navigating change, in a compressed span of time.

“I’d forgotten you exist!”

I don’t quite remember my response, although my smile remained frozen. I was attending the fortieth birthday of a colleague from my PhD program at Berkeley and her childhood friend, a neurosurgical nurse practitioner. The nurse’s team had overseen part of my husband’s care in Intensive Care. During my three-month hospital vigil I’d returned to Peter’s bedside every night once the children were asleep, thanks to a rotation of generous friends. This party was my first social foray out of our house after dark.

“I’d forgotten you exist!”

I turned these words over in my head over the following year of mostly single-parenting, spousal caregiving, intermittent working, and relentless homemaking. I can’t fault her honesty. In some moments, I’ve forgotten that I exist, too. Just over a year ago our family of five moved back to San Francisco, after five years away in Athens, Paris, DC, and LA. During our travels, I researched and wrote my dissertation (on theories of color) and Peter worked as an IT engineer from the living room of our apartment in each new city. He owns a killer set of headphones.

Our first child, Soren, was a souvenir from an idyllic trip to Tuscany and Rome. We’d been so surprised that I’d taken four pregnancy tests, prompting Peter to question the statistics on false positives. Very low, it seems. Soren was born in San Francisco shortly before I began researching my dissertation. Felix, our middle child, was born two and a half years after Soren, in Paris, at the Maternité Mona Lisa. Soren gave his little brother the middle name Delphi in honor of our travels to what was once called “the navel of the world.” Our daughter Astrid was born under a blue moon in Los Angeles, on the last day of August, four days before I started a post-doctoral fellowship. We’d left San Francisco with one small child. Five years later we returned with three.

Such a small thing: we never used the bureau that we’d kept in storage all those years away so we offered it to our new neighbors. On a regular Monday just after work, our neighbor came over. The guys hefted the bureau and moved toward the door. Peter tripped on a recent repair to the landing. With no railing to catch him, he fell over the stairwell. I heard the loud crack of the bureau smashing to the uneven pavement a story below. I know I ran to the landing, because I saw the shattered bureau. Then I saw Peter sprawled about a foot away, unmoving.


My memory and our children’s memories of what happened next are brutal pictures. They reassert themselves daily, whenever a siren sounds, when we drive by the old apartment, when someone around us trips or bleeds. Peter lives each moment with the injuries themselves, but remembers nothing of the accident, the emergency response, his time somewhere between life and death, his craniotomy, the month in intensive care. He woke up five weeks later in a rehabilitation hospital in a beige room papered over with get-wells cards and our children’s drawings. Peter and I are bound by this traumatic experience, yet in that instant our lives diverged in ways that we still struggle to reconcile.

Our neighborhood in San Francisco is gritty, loud, and proximate to two freeways. It has one other crowning jewel: San Francisco General Hospital, the city’s only Level One trauma center and a microcosm of the city itself. If you’ve been shot, wrecked, run over, overdosed, or felled in San Francisco, you’re taken to the General. As a public hospital, they accept everyone with or without insurance, and they also have a renowned approach to emergency care. The head of neurosurgery at SF General hospital, Dr. Manley, also treated Bob Woodruff, the ABC journalist who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb, while reporting from Iraq. He also oversees some of the longest running studies of brain injury today. Remarkably, he answers his own cell phone.

Our friend Elly set up two playlists for Peter’s room in the ICU: Peter Heals—Day and Peter Heals—Night. He had no windows by which to distinguish night from day; instead, music and the shift changes divided time. Day was Ryan Adams, Tom Waits, and Billie Holiday; Night was Brian Eno, Andrew Bird, and Zen Magic Garden. One nurse liked the music so much she asked me in earnest to help her track down the musician Peter Heals. We moved the music with Peter to each successive hospital, creating a cocoon in each new space.

Well your old hometown is so far away/But, inside your head there’s a record/That’s playing, a song called/Hold on, hold on/You really got to hold on/Take my hand, I’m standing right here/And just hold on.

One night in the ICU, Peter was certain that we were back in Paris. Another night when they lowered his sedation he insisted that I was not his wife.

“My wife,” Peter rasped, looking around with frantic eyes.

“I am your wife,” I said.

“No, you are not,” Peter insisted.

“Yes, I am.”


“What does your wife look like?”

“Like you.”

“And what is her name?”


“Oh, she looks like me,” I answered with false brightness. “My name is also Jennifer. That is because I am your wife.”

“No, you are not.”


Soren and Felix are dressed in shiny, elaborate armor and duel with leather swords.

“My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father. Prepare to die!” shouts Felix. We’d watched The Princess Bride, which added specificity to their regular duels. At times one is Wesley; at others, the six-fingered man, but one of them is always Inigo Montoya, avenging his father.

“Stop!” cries Astrid. “Stop, saying that! Papa is not dead!”

Astrid’s protest stunned me. She’d barely begun to speak at the time of Peter’s accident, and I’ve never been sure how much she understood. Like the rest of us, she was present at the scene. She’d been, however, small enough to accompany me regularly to the hospitals, tucked in a carrier on my back.


Her objection shouldn’t have surprised me. His accident has dominated more than half of her life. There are other signs that she thinks about what happened. She doesn’t have bedwetting nightmares like her brothers, or their daylight flashbacks to the scene. She hasn’t drawn Papa’s bloody face, or commented that cerebral spinal fluid looks a lot like pee. She does scroll through the hospital photographs stored on my phone to watch the video of his first halting steps in relearning how to walk. She recounts the story stripped to its bones. “Papa fall?” She asks. And then together we repeat “Papa fell, but now he is ok.”

Peter is easier with Astrid’s laughter and hugs than with the angry movements of his sons, who miss being tossed into the air with the certainty of being caught, of roughhousing on purpose, and not because their father no longer understands the strength of his damaged hands.


Over dinner one night, Felix said in his clear, sweet voice:

“Papa, you were a much better dad before your accident.”

While Peter’s intellect has not diminished, his capacity to grasp emotional nuances certainly has. Within the walls of the rehabilitation hospital it was easy to be grateful for how well Peter was doing, how smart and familiar he seemed. When we returned home, however, it became harder to hold on to that gratitude and easier to compare him to his pre-injury self, or to the uninjured fathers around us.

In intensive care, when the nurses lowered his sedation to check his cognitive status, they would place a photograph of the children in front of him. I’d brought a family shot taken in front of a fake volcano from the Pompeii Family Festival at Los Angeles’s Getty Villa. The boys had glued volcanic rock to the frame. Astrid is wrapped to my chest in a blue cloth, the boys and Peter are wearing matching Nordic sweaters; Soren’s head is bowed to hide his face and Felix is trying to escape stage left. Only Peter and I are smiling at the camera.

When I think of that day, I realize how much I took Peter’s involvement with the children for granted. I have always been the default parent, but through these years of traveling to faraway archaeological sites, innumerable museums, and even Mt. Etna itself, Peter has always been my companion de route. Now I cannot leave Peter alone with more than one child at a time. Slowly, with the help of therapists, we are rebuilding lost skills.


“How is your libido?” every doctor and therapist seemed to ask, adding to the layers of privacy that this injury had stripped from both of us. Even Peter’s seventy year-old Qi Gong teacher, who had visited Peter weekly since the accident checked in. “Uh, ok?” Peter would answer, often looking at me for confirmation.

As soon as we were certain that Peter would not die, I started to worry about our sex life. Perhaps sex was an easier or more tangible worry than others the accident presented, or perhaps sex offered the kind of affirmation of life that contact with death demands. We’d only just gotten our post-baby sex life back on track—our youngest was fifteen months; we no longer lived in communal academic housing; we went on regular date nights. Aside from the monumental tasks of recovery from the trauma itself, brain injury can dramatically alter a person’s libido, in all kinds of ways. The nurses and I noticed Peter giving an uncharacteristically smirky smile when they lowered his sedation in the ICU and they rushed to check his records for major frontal lobe damage (the kind that can make you pathologically flirty and unable to keep your pants on in public). Although his brain had bounced around a lot, most of the direct impact was to the temporal lobes. The nurses offered me a genuine smile of reassurance.


Once Peter had been discharged to residential rehab, the first step towards coming home, my worry increased. On my drive back to the rehabilitation hospital for my evening visit, I stopped by Good Vibrations, a local sex-positive supply store, and bought two books: the Guide to Sex with Disability, which the salesperson recommended, and a book of erotica. I somehow imagined Peter might read the erotica, with his double-double vision, in between sessions of therapy. In seven weeks, he didn’t crack the spine. The erotica sat on his bedside shelf sandwiched between different volumes of easy Sudoku, which we also haven’t learned to play.

One night we tried to make out in Peter’s rehabilitation room. To facilitate surveillance, his room had a curtain in place of a door, just like my room in my first year of boarding school. Despite years of practice together, we kissed tentatively. Many of the nerves on the right side of Peter’s face had been damaged in the impact from his fall, we hadn’t gone for more than a peck in months, and neither of us knew what would and would not work. I was nervous, but committed; Peter seemed eager, but not in command. Just as we were finding a groove, a perfunctory knock on the door-frame signaled the arrival of his nurse, Pablo, with Peter’s bedtime medications. We broke apart just as Pablo ducked past the curtain. He handed Peter a paper cups filled with pills, winked at me, and sailed out, calling over his shoulder “You must feel like you are sixteen again!”


In late February, Peter came home. As an academic, I naturally signed up for an online sexuality course with a local sex educator. The course included readings, weekly homework assignments, and a weekly Skype session. Having homework was fantastic. I worried that Peter’s injuries might have altered the particular landscape of his desires. The course’s homework gave me a framework for asking specific questions and experimenting. The weekly Skype meetings with the teacher offered a safe space to talk about desire and disability.

I empathized with what Peter might be feeling from my post-partum days. We had not been together long enough before our first child was born for that early haze of lust to have worn off, and then we had a newborn who woke up every two hours. The pitch and roll of all of those postpartum hormones took a long time to settle. We did not have a basis for how to talk about it. Peter was hurt to be rejected, and I was hurt that he had not intuited my need for space. It took ages to excavate ourselves from this cycle of miscommunication.

It was now Peter’s body that had changed, his hormones that needed time to regulate, and his muscles that needed time to knit themselves together. I empathized, but I was also frustrated. One friend had just started dating again after a divorce, armed with a sex bucket list, and another friend had started swinging. I was surrounded by people getting laid. An endocrinologist suggested the age-old recipe for static libido: the more sex you have, the more sex you will want to have. The Qi Gong teacher suggested goat soup and an acupressure point at the base of the spine. Armed with my homework assignments, we gave it our best shot.


Days after Peter’s fall my sister-in-law, who is a therapist, sent me a text that read:

“I trust that Peter is in excellent hands with his doctors and nurses. What are you doing to take care of yourself?”

Her words both touched and alienated me. Peter lingered on a precipice between life and death. Now was certainly not the time to focus on myself, I thought. And yet, days into his ICU stay, a friend who is a massage therapist gave me her time and hands. After that stolen hour at her house, some of my panic eased. There is a strange urgency to the time that a loved one spends in the ICU, although every mechanized breath, shift in heart rate, brain and blood pressure, is measured. Despite this surveillance and Peter’s lack of consciousness, I worried about spending any time away from his bedside. One night a seasoned trauma nurse gave me her ICU speech—a pneumonia scare is more likely than not, things often get worse to get better, this is a marathon and not a sprint. That last running analogy is one that I heard again and again throughout the hospital. While the analogy makes sense, I struggle with how to pace myself for a run of unknown duration.


A year after the accident, all of my resources have dwindled. Understandably the many friends who rallied to our aid have re-focused on their own lives. Friends have had babies, published books, and made career moves. They’ve also faced their own challenges, and I feel ill-equipped to be the friend I wish to be in these moments. Each indicator that other people’s lives are moving on jolts me from what feels like stasis. That is not really the correct word for our lives right now because so much is always happening—ophthalmologist, physical therapist, soccer practice, trauma therapist for our oldest child, rock band land, trauma therapist for our middle child, school drop-off or pick-up, follow-up with neurologist, neurosurgeon, neuro-psychiatrist, ear/nose/throat specialist, physiatrist—but once we reached the visible milestones—walking, talking, homecoming, working—our lives took on a duller sheen. I suspect, however, that this less obvious space is where the truly hard work unfolds.

For years our lives moved so swiftly—every year a new city, every few a new baby, endless research trips, new languages, new jobs, new friends—and we are now struggling to accommodate ourselves to a different pace. Every word and action requires so much more effort for Peter that the act of being out in the world, with its noise, jostling bodies, and everyday hazards, takes his full concentration.

Peter returned to work seven months after his fall, encouraged by his colleagues at CloudPassage. This choice was right for many reasons: so much of Peter’s identity is built around his computer work and the only way to rehabilitate those skills is to use them. Peter’s co-workers remained loyal to him throughout his long hospitalization, even though seven months in the life of a start-up is a lifetime. The part of his brain that handles complex backend operations has emerged far less scathed than the part that handles complex frontend emotions. That Peter is back at work, however, has become a kind of false short-hand for him being ok.

He works because most days I drive him to and from the office. My own work has taken a back seat to rebuilding our family. Like many women, I fit work into the interstices of therapies, playdates, and cobbled together childcare, often falling asleep at the keyboard only to wake up before the sun in search of a quiet moment. On the other hand, that cliché about necessity and invention has proven true. Since Peter’s accident my career has taken a slower, but more creative path and one to which I’ve held on because work is an important part of my identity. My academic work is not particularly lucrative—and I’m sure it seems crazy to many that I haven’t shelved it to focus solely on Peter and the kids—but feeling like I, too, am making headway and moving forward, is one of the only ways to make sense of these days.


One other thing that I have done for myself, almost from the beginning, is to carve out time to exercise. As a young girl competitive rowing had taught me to value my body less for how it looked than for what it could do and I needed that same sense of capability now. Exercise has always brought me up, but in the years after having children, I’d let that need go. Once Peter was out of the ICU, I started exercising again, not as often as I once had, but regularly. On the day of and after concentrated exercise, I feel calm and able to manage this crisis. If too many days intervene, panic arises. I grow shrill and easily angered. My body has grown stronger. When you are a caregiver, sick days aren’t an option because there is no one else. I have slowly come to realize that taking care of myself is one part of taking care of everyone else.


Each day brings a new insurmountable bill, another child’s tantrum or rage, more unfinished work, unwritten thank-you notes, or vegetable-less meals. The amount of help that friends have extended humbles me, yet we still fall short. I know that this is not something that we alone feel.

A friend wrote me recently with news of her own recent health issues. In addition to my worry for her, I felt so grateful that she sought me out. A strange, but unsurprising, result of the aftermath of so extreme an accident is that friends hesitate to share their own burdens with me, as though they cannot compare, or do not wish to add to my load. Shared vulnerability is one hallmark of intimacy and without it I’ve found that I feel particularly alone.


Also, as extreme as our problems might seem at times, this accident has compounded a series of quotidian stresses that most people face at one time or another, over the span of years: Maintaining intimacy in a long-term relationship, co-parenting through adversity with different styles, coping with aging or absent parents while being a parent oneself, helping children process difficult experiences safely, knowing when to seek outside help, balancing work, family, and identity, figuring out how to pay for everything, feeling good-enough, making time for friendships, planning for the future while living in the moment. For us, these challenges are stacked like Matryoshka dolls, one emerging from the next, with little space between.

I do not want to be this new version of us, but I am trying to overcome the desire to keep pretending that we are who we were before Peter’s accident. One of the children’s trauma therapists said something difficult, but important to hear: If you do not live in this life right now, you will never get to the places that you are imagining. Every part of my body tightened in resistance at her words as she said them, but I hear their truth.


One morning Astrid and I turn past the General—Papa’s hospital—on our way home. I slow for the pedestrian mix of visitors, doctors, nurses, and patients crossing to the shuttle. From her seat Astrid exclaims:

“Papa is alive!”

“Papa is alive!” I respond with enthusiasm. And then she carries down her list as a call and response:

“Mama is alive!”

“Soren is alive!”

“Felix is alive!”

“Astrid is alive!”

And in this moment, I know that we exist.


The original post can be found on Gwenyth Paltrow's blog goop. 


Whole Body Vibration Training

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Whole Body Vibration Training

Over the last few years, Whole Body Vibration Training has become a popular and widely discussed exercise application. It is categorized as more of a passive workout, or in other words, a workout where you’re able to achieve more results with less effort. Although it seems like a fluky infomercial waiting to happen, Whole Body Vibration Training or WBVT is progressing as more of a scientifically proven exercise technique.  We are excited to announce that we now offer one of the leading tools used for WBVT at DIAKADI:The VibePlate.


Based on an article written, vibration training was first introduced during the “space race” in the 1960s by scientists from the Soviet Union. Their goal was to ensure that their astronauts could stay in space for longer by reducing the adverse effects that no-gravity atmosphere causes, such as muscular atrophy and decreases in bone density. For 60 years scientists, therapists, and trainers have tried to find a way to perfect WBVT for the rest of us on earth.



There are range of different benefits to vibration training that can be prescribed to a wide spectrum of people. Improvements in muscle recovery and power, as well as overall flexibility are the most common uses for this type of training. WBVT is said to influence increases in bone density, so individuals with osteoporosis may also benefit from vibration training. Also some research has found that WBVT can have a positive effect on balance, which would be helpful for aging individuals.

Links to research articles that study the advantages of WBVT:

The Acute Effect of Whole Body Vibration Training on Flexibility and Explosive Strength of Young Gymnasts

Effect of five weeks of whole body vibration training on speed, power, and flexibility

The Short-Term Effect of Whole Body Vibration Training on Sprint Start Performance in Collegiate Athletes


Standing on a standard vibrating platform, such as the VibePlate, emits oscillating vibrations that are measured in Hz. Basically, if you have the machine set to 10 Hz, it means your body is receiving 10 vibrations per second. Your muscles contract and relax with each vibration, and whatever part of the body touching the machine will obviously receive the brunt of the vibrations. For strength work and exercises, the vibrations allow for a more effective motor unit recruitment, which means that your entire muscle is contracting more effectively than it would if you were to do a squat on a normal surface.

During general exercise, varying combinations of more fatigue resistant type I muscle fibers and power based type II muscle fibers are in use, depending on the movement, load, tempo, and duration of the exercise being performed. Type II muscle fibers are often times neglected by the average person because they aren't implementing enough high intensity resistant type exercises into their workout routines. This neglect may be due to injuries or simply inexperience. Instead of forcing the muscle to perform an exercise it's not ready to do, or adding a resistance it's not conditioned to overcome, vibration training allows the individual to perform basic movements like lunges or body squats, and recruits the hard to stimulate type II fibers in the process. An interesting article written on, details some of these findings as well as more interesting benefits to WBVT.

Strength and power are not the only benefits found with vibration training. Flexibility and range of motion have been shown to increase significantly with WBVT. How this is done isn’t exactly clear, but a study written in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Roland Van Den Tillaar, alludes to 3 mechanisms which may cause ROM increases by way of vibration training. The first one is that added vibrations generate increases in blood flow to your muscles, which in turn causes heat production. This heat production enhances muscle elasticity, leading to better ROM. Another possible reason is that vibration training activates one’s muscle spindles. To put it simply, muscle spindles are sensory receptors inside your muscle that detect changes in length. So when you’re stretching and you feel a “wall” that seems impossible to go beyond, that’s your muscle  spindle telling you that you don’t have enough ROM to stretch that far. With vibration training these receptors are constantly being stimulated, allowing for a far more intense and effective stretch. It is also said that the added vibrations increase pain threshold for the first 10-15 seconds into training. There isn't a whole lot of research done on this theory and we at DIAKADI don't recommend risking injury by testing pain threshold.


Using vibration equipment as a way to warm up before traditional resistance exercise, is probably the best way to utilize its effectiveness as a training tool. It’s clear that WBVT works your muscles at a rate that is impossible to achieve naturally, and is a wonderful way to get loose and ready for whatever workout. Vibration training also works your muscles more efficiently, and therefore allows you to get warmed up faster than you would be able to otherwise. Great applications of WBVT could consist of everything from static stretching and myofascial rolling, to more dynamic warm up exercises like body squats. The frequency of the power plate should be moderate to high ranging from 25 to 50 Hz and the amount of time spent on the power plate should be divided up into sets of only a couple minutes long. The parameters obviously change for specific populations and the application referred to in this article should be utilized by individuals  looking for improvements in strength, power, and flexibility.

Here are some examples of stretches, myofascial release techniques, and dynamic warmup exercises. Included is the suggested range of vibration frequencies that you should use while performing these examples:


Standing Calf Stretch / Frequency: low / Duration: 30-60s each leg
Hip Roll-Out / Frequency: medium / Duration: 60s each hip



Body Squat / Frequency: high / Duration: No more than 30s at a time

If you're having trouble with finding different exercises you can do on the VibePlate, here are some great workout routines from YouTube that have a ton of variability:


There are some risk factors you should be aware of before including vibration training in your workouts. VibePlate lists a few contraindications on their website that are helpful for people just getting started with WBVT. If any of these risk factors pertain to you, we at DIAKADI recommend speaking with your physician before training. DON’T USE THE VIBEPLATE IF YOU ARE/HAVE:

“Recovering from surgery, current damage to the spine (Acute hernia, discopathy, spondyloysis), tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, serious cardiovascular disease, known    neurological conditions, pregnancy, thrombosis or acute thombrosis, joint implants, pulmonary embolism, known retinal conditions, severe diabetes, pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, poor somatosensory receptor sensitivity on the plantar surfaces of the feet, severe migraine, gall stones or kidney stones.” -



Whether you're looking for a way to add variability to your warmup routine, or you’re having trouble stimulating certain hard to reach muscles, vibration training can and should be utilized. It’s a wonderful tool for those who may be restricted by time, and can allow you to get more done in your workout that you normally would. Hopefully this summary was helpful to you and will spark some interest in WBVT. Our VibePlate at DIAKADI should be available for use in the near future so feel free to get creative and explore vibration training for yourself!

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Jenna of Fitness and the City Talks Goals


Jenna of Fitness and the City Talks Goals


Our friend, Jenna Pardini of Fitness and the City, wrote an amazing review of her experience at DIAKADI. Read how she is taking new year's resolutions to the next level! ***

Happy New Year! I can't believe that came around so fast. I'm pretty excited to start a fresh year, with a lot more goals on the top of my mind. It's a great time to rejuvenate and get motivated again! In the past years, have you made a resolution to get healthy and fit, only to turn out in a month or two? It's not uncommon at all, but this is the year you will stick to it!


Speaking of resolutions and getting a jump start on new fitness goals, I recently visited DIAKADI- San Francisco's most comprehensive fitness, performance, and life facility. If you haven't heard of DIAKADI (like myself before the visit) I HIGHLY suggest you check them out!


Since opening in 2004 as San Francisco's largest personal training-only gym, owners Billy Polson and Mike Clausen have worked diligently to gather a portfolio of San Francisco's premiere health and wellness services. The key distinction of the facility is definitely its personal training. DIAKADI has been recognized to have the BEST personal trainers in the city based on their custom-design, detailed assessments and individualized programs for all types and levels of clients.




I HAVE NOT had a better personal training experience then I did with Billy. Before my session I filled out a comprehensive client intake form and when I arrived he knew exactly what I needed to work on. Honestly, going in I felt like he would show me the basics (which I already knew) and try to sell me on the gym. This was not the case AT ALL. I have a lot of neck and shoulder pain often causing headaches and Billy cut straight to the point, noticed my issues and showed that he cared to do anything he can to help me. He showed me new exercises which I'm almost positive will change my life (not even kidding), he gave me advice on how to de-stress, as well as nutritional goals, which I have begun to implement this new year. Since our session, he has checked in with me to see how I am progressing, given me a plan of action, as well as sent me videos he took of me during our session so I can look over at home. I could not have had a better experience at DIAKADI. They are SUPER friendly, action oriented and entirely focused on your goals. The facility is amazing, great locker rooms, juice bar and snacks. They also have a relaxation room, TRX ropes, an area for boxing and pretty much anything you need to reach your goals. You can't go wrong. I look forward to going back!


DIAKADI is also expanding their facility to provide even more room for training and new equipment. Same location, more square footage! They are also thinking about starting group fitness classes, so stay tuned for that.



After my session at DIAKADI I was clear on what I needed to focus on this year. Here are a few on my list of resolutions for 2015:

  • Eliminate all of my neck and shoulder pain by continuously working on my posture and exercises.
  • Eliminate processed foods from my diet (breads, powders, bars)
  • Eliminate caffeine (this is a tough one for me, yikes!!)
  • Start my day with eggs and green smoothie, rather than a starch.
  • Stress LESS! Enjoy more. (Billy mentioned I check out Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin)

Thank you so much for having me DIAKADI! You guys rock!


The Power of Instagram + Fitness [Scott, Update in process]


The Power of Instagram + Fitness [Scott, Update in process]


For fitness industry professionals, building a following through social media is a great way to attract new clients, grow your brand, and keep current clients and your community engaged. With more users than Facebook, Instagram is now the fastest growing social media app out there. For those of you who don’t know: Instagram allows you to create a basic profile, post pictures, and aggregate those pictures using hashtags to share with the world and your followers. Increase the awareness of your business by taking advantage of Instagram’s 300 million active users to share your brand with. Here are some quick tips to get you started with a successful Instagram account for your business.  




Start by creating a catchy handle that includes your business name or title.This is how you will be 

  • Start by creating a catchy handle that includes your business name or title. This is how you will be identified so keep it simple.
  • Briefly describe who you are what you do in your profile. Include a link to your website and/or facebook URL.
  • Create your profile photo with an image of your logo or brand. Reinforce your brand as much as possible. Instagram is all about the photo!





Get creative with your photos. Don’t be afraid to shoot outside the box and be unique. You want to @

  • Get creative with your photos. Don't be afraid to shoot outside the box and be unique. You want to represent your brand and attract peoples attention. Pictures should be worth a thousand words.
  • Integrate your brand in at least half of your photos. Afterall that is why you are here.
  • Get personal. Throw in some photos of yourself and your clients. Stay away from stocked photos or photos with just writing.
  • As a fitness industry professional your posts can range from healthy food, lifestyle, and nutrition to intense workouts, sports,and adventure.
  • Use flattering filters and pick a few that suit you best.
  • Switch things up and add short video clips or use the split screen option. In the fitness industry, videos are a great way to let people see what you are made of!




Choose several keywords that represent your brand and business. These will be your core hashtags

  • Choose several keywords that represent your brand and business. These will be your core hashtags. Allow one to include your business name: #DIAKADI, a few basic relating popular hashtags: #health #fitness #muscle, and 1 or 2 local identifiers: #baytrainer
  • Take advantage of popular hashtags. This is how you will be seen by more users.
  • Avoid using too many hashtags for each post. Keep it around 4-5. You don’t always have to stick with your core hashtags. It’s important to be diverse.





B an active member. When a user likes your post, return the compliment, or better yet mention 

  • Be an active member. When a user likes your post return the compliment, or better yet, mention them in a comment by using a @mention. (@username)
  • Find relevant users to follow. Search hashtags that relate to your business and find people that pique your interests to follow. It’s advantageous to find users with a lot of followers.
  • Post frequently. Try to post a few a day, but don’t overdo it. Keep people engaged by being consistent, but don't let them get tired of you taking up their feed.
  • Keep your followers engaged by asking questions or using quotes with your photo.
  • Build a captive audience by creating a recurring event, storyline, or campaign that people can look forward to and participate in: #TBT or #tenyearsbest are great examples.


2015 is already becoming the year of Instagram. Allow your business the opportunity to become one of the many success stories of their free platform. Remember, the more times people come across the brand, the more likely they are to becoming your next favorite client!



Top 5 Most Shreddable Snowboard + Ski Runs in Tahoe


Top 5 Most Shreddable Snowboard + Ski Runs in Tahoe

Looking to hit the slopes this snow season? DIAKADI team members have some of the top recommendations for snowboarding and skiing in Tahoe this season! From secret runs, to ideas on fun family activities, this is truly the inside scoop to the best spots in Tahoe. Read below for some of the best recommendations in the Bay Area.

Northstar | Backside and Lookout Mountain


I am a big fan of natural tree runs and glades because I feel like a kid running through the woods when I am boarding them. That's why the tree runs on the Backside of Northstar and on Northstar's Lookout Mountain are hands down my favorites.

On the Backside between all of the groomed runs are miles of incredible tree runs. They vary from steep to mellow. I recently discovered a secret run along the property line that is awesome fun when the snow is deep. Take a quick left off the very beginning of Sierra Grande and follow the left side property line all the way down to Challenger. It's a fun roller coaster ride.

On Lookout Mountain, I can get lost doing loops in Sugar Pine Glades for hours. It starts steep and levels out into a gorgeous natural slalom course of evergreens. Every time you go down you can find a new route, with new kickers and obstacles.


Heavenly Ski Resort

When the snow is deep and fresh like it was 3 years ago, off of the Olympic Express chair of Heavenly, you can go through the ski boundary gate and board down the face of the mountain under the gondola. It is a wickedly FUN ride all the way down. Save it for the end of the day because it feeds down into a single track, luge style run that ends at the chain link fence behind the Albertson's grocery store. No chair ride back up from there! Just hop over the fence and walk back to the gondola..or straight to the hot tub. One of the most fun runs of my life!

Northstar's village has great restaurants, usually live music for acres ski, good drinks, ice skating rink, fire pits and free s'mores. There is also a new free champagne toast everyday at 2p near the top of the Comstock lift. There is also the Ritz for a beautiful, cozy apres drink.

Learn more about Billy Polson  Resort | Northstar // Difficulty | All Levels

Kirkwood Resort | Fawn Ridge

Kirkwood is super special to me because it's a locals only mountain. It's a smaller resort which actually means it tends to be less crowded. Fawn Ridge is amazing on a powder day!

It's a great run because it's nice and long and it features a big open bowl at the top with lots of beautiful trees in the middle, a great place to bring yourself into gratitude.

This run is for the diehards, so you won't see a lot of beginners out there. Also, it's often closed down, so it makes it really special when you get to ride it. There are lots of little secret places in Kirkwood, mainly because they are harder to get to and they're black diamonds. If you're feeling up for the challenge, find your way to Thunder Saddle.

The shops, dining and non ski/snowboarding activities aren't great at Kirkwood because it is pretty secluded. If your group doesn't at least enjoy snowshoeing, this may not be the best place to hang out for hours. You have to make your way to South Lake Tahoe if the natural beauty of the mountains and forest aren't entertaining enough for you.

Learn more about Stephanie Foley // Resort | Kirkwood // Difficulty | Advanced

Kirkwood Resort | The Wood


Kirkwood is special to me because it is ALL about the mountain.

Skiers and boarders go to "The Wood" for the snow and challenging terrain

. I go to ride the trees, the bowls and the steeps. With a base elevation of 7,800 and a top elevation of 10,000, Kirkwood offers over 2000 shred-able vertical feet. If you want to ride the best snow in California, Kirkwood is the spot.

Learn more about Shelby Jacquez // Resort | Kirkwood // Difficulty | Advanced

Squaw Resort | KT 22 Run


This is my favorite place to snowboard because of its epic terrain!

There are so many features, verticals, and different lines to choose from.

There are lots of special spots that many people don't know about but that's for me to know, and you to find out!  Squaw valley is awesome for the common gapper. There is plenty of shopping, food, and adult beverages.

Learn more about Ross Steiner // Resort | Squaw // Difficulty | All Levels

Squaw + Alpine Resort | Far Right Off Moseley's Run


My favorite place to snowboard is Squaw/Alpine. Between the two they have lots of great terrain and a lot of variation depending on what you're in the mood for.

It's open and steep enough to get that ski movie powder mountain turns and the advanced slopes have trees and rocks to maneuver.

They have all levels of slopes in the area but it is more of an intermediate/advanced mountain. This resort is unique from the others because of how challenging some of the terrain is. The best skiers in Tahoe ski at Squaw. Squaw is a destination resort so it has a village and lodging at the base. Its probably one of the best resorts in Tahoe as far as this goes. There are secret spots and hidden gems in the area but I'd like to keep them that way!

Learn more about Jeff Kaditz // Resort | Squaw + Alpine // Difficulty | Intermediate/Advanced


Top 5 Habits to Embrace this Year


Top 5 Habits to Embrace this Year


Bad habits are difficult to break. Let 2015 be the year that you conquer your goals and live the life that’s best for you! Don’t think for one second we are about to begin the new year by emphasizing only the things you should stop doing. Instead, we have put together a list of good habits to start in the new year allowing you to reach the ultimate goal of happiness...  

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

- Leonardo Da Vinci


Number 1

Break Free from Consumerism and Live Simply




Whether it's money, luxury cars, or designer brands serving as status symbols, the accumulation of products and wealth as the primary goal in our consumer society has lead us astray from a culture of humanity and happiness. Imagine what life would be like if we removed ourselves from the comparisons of what others have, rid ourselves of the ideas of ownership, and worked only to provide basic necessities. This year let's look within ourselves and ask: What impacts do our consumerist habits have on our health, our relationships, and our planet. Do things and money really equal happiness? What are we sacrificing to have it all? Listed below are some simple ideas to help you break away from consumerism and live more freely.


  • Find comfort in owning less. Living with fewer things will allow you to actually live more freely and with less stress.
  • Avoid the middleman, chain, convenience, department stores, and brand names. Learn to make what you need, borrow or share with neighbors, and buy local. This creates community and relationships as well as a culture of art and individual expression, not to mention saves lots of money!
  • Resist the urge to have the newest and shiniest electronics, toys, and apparel. Ask yourself if this is an absolute necessity or if it’s just a temporary want. You will be surprised how quickly your needless desires will fade.
  • Don't compare yourself and property to those around you. Instead, find happiness in what you already have.
  • Create a sharing economy. Participate in a community garden, build a neighborhood library, or form a children's clothing and toy swap as children grow out of things quickly. This saves a ton of money allowing you more time to do the things you love.
  • Gift experiences instead of products. Nothing is more valuable than creating memories with the ones you love.
  • Buy refurbished, longer lasting reusable products that can be easily upgraded or fixed without creating waste. Invest only in things that will last and not depreciate in value.
  • Place more value in people, experiences, and nature. Without these things life is arguably not worth living.


“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

-Abraham Lincoln


Number 2

Achieve Maximum Productivity


mikesnowboardingSome of of us work well under stress, but stress kills. We are all guilty of putting tasks off until that last minute. Buying a gift on the way to a party, staying up all night to finish a project by the deadline, and paying late fees on bills are all different ways that we procrastinate. This is a stress-inducing habit that is both common and hard to break. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with what is in front of us that it’s difficult to see the big picture. Sometimes it’s fear of failure or success that causes us to put things off. This year let’s overcome unproductivity in both life and work. create an environment for success, and reach your goals with these simple steps to overcome procrastination:


  • Write it down. Make a to-do list with dates for completion. Set it out in a place that you will see it daily. Let this be your advertisement to yourself.
  • Begin. Don’t set a date to start working on your task, let that be now!
  • Stay positive. Focus on the feelings associated with completion of the task successfully instead of the feelings of failure.
  • Reward yourself. Highlight each step in the process of accomplishing your goal and provide a feel good moment after each accomplishment. None is too small.
  • Prepare for obstacles. Avoid behavior or actions that might hamper completion of your goals, and don’t allow mistakes to bring you down.
  • Stay focused on the big picture. Imagine the benefits of completing your goal on time, and remind yourself what it is all for.


“Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not A Lot”

- Michael Pollan


Number 3

Celebrate Real Food





You are what you eat. Yes, this is certainly true, but when you eat, how you eat, and why you eat are nearly just as important as what you eat. In today's society it's rare to find the time to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal, much less grow the food yourself. The detachment that has grown between us and what we eat, eating poor quality foods, on the go, and always in a hurry affect not only our physical health, but our mental health, and our relationships. With so many crazy diets being marketed today it's difficult to know what to eat as well. Healthy eating guidelines are not one size fits all. It's important to have balance, so start by setting small goals for yourself, and build from your successes with these suggestions:


  • Eat real whole foods. Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store. Avoid processed and packaged foods; It's important to see your food as nature made it.
  • Know your food. Become aware of the origins of your food. Avoid mass produced meats and veggies. Reduce your carbon footprint and gain a higher level of nutrition by eating local foods that are picked fresh or raised healthy without pesticides or antibiotics.
  • We prefer organic. Organic foods are known to contain a higher level of important vitamins and polyphenols (antioxidants) than non organic food.  Nitrogen in the organic soil allows for vegetables to grow at a natural rate, keeping their nutrients in balance.
  • Buy fresh and shop for food often. This cuts down on food waste and helps you save money. Fresh food tastes better, and is healthier!
  • Celebrate your food! Let dinner be the evening. Take the time to cook your meal and enjoy it slowly. Step away from your distractions and sit down at the table when you eat. Invite friends or neighbors over for a healthy dinner and share a bottle of wine with some laughs.
  • Listen to your body. Figuring out what diet suits you best is challenging. Become aware of your body and gut after you eat. Stay away from foods that make you feel less than ideal.
  • Eat often. Don't let yourself get too hungry because this can lead to overeating and bad food decisions. Keep raw nuts and fruits handy when you are on the go and need a snack.
  • Drink mostly water. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive alcohol consumption. Fruit juices are not a whole food. When the fiber is taken out, the sugar is digested differently. Blended smoothies are a better option.
  • Indulge! Allow yourself a cheat meal every now and then. It's important to reward yourself for being good. Try and stick to the 80/20 or 90/10 rule: eating clean and healthy most of the time, and allowing for a small splurge without the guilt.


“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” - Albert Einstein


Number 4

Spend More Time Living



It's easy to admit that most of us spend way too much time in front of screens. Over the past 20 years our society has become extremely reliant on technology. Sitting in front of a computer all day attributes to poor posture, muscular imbalances, and a decrease in metabolism. In order to live a healthy life we must be able to balance the real world with our virtual world. This new year, let's turn off the t.v.,put down our smart phones, look up and start living the real life around you! Below is some great advice on how to stay focused in the real world instead of the virtual one behind your screen. 


  • Keep technology out of the bedroom and bathroom. Fall asleep after a few chapters of a good book or a nice conversation with your partner. Get a better night's sleep and wake up less stressed.
  • Cut back on t.v. time. Try going a week or longer without watching television. Imagine how much more productive you might be without the distraction. You might even be inspired to get rid of your cable subscription.
  • Remove social media apps from your phone. Build relationships with the people that are around you. Focus on maintaining yourself instead of the image of yourself online.
  • Get rid of those mindless computer and smartphone games. That time is better spent learning a new skill or going outside to enjoy nature.
  • Live in the moment. Instead of constantly updating your facebook status with comments and photos, live each of life's moments when they happen, and enjoy it while it lasts.




“ Great Minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

- Eleanor Roosevelt


Number 5

Find Greatness in Yourself and the Ones Around YouDCIM100GOPRO

It’s easy to get caught up in a culture of negativity. Gossip columns, political gridlock, and violence on t.v. have the ability to taint our thought processes and poison our minds. We all hold greatness and the ability to spread that positive energy. This year is the perfect time to turn a new leaf by building up your community. Start supporting your peers with encouragement and gratitude, love and respect. Hold positivity within yourself and spread it around with these ideas:


  • Open up a judgement free dialogue with your friends. Make them aware that you love them for who they are, flaws included, and that you are not there to judge them.
  • Show empathy. Put someone else's shoes on, acknowledge your shortcomings, and gain the respect of your peers.
  • Practice consent. Some people have different limits to displays of affection and touching. Always ask for permission before reaching out for a hug or giving a kiss. This will establish trust when first meeting.
  • Listen. Invite your peers to share their feelings with you openly and avoid negative reactions.
  • Show honesty and respect. Being clear with your intentions, expectations  and boundaries is vital in forming a solid relationship.
  • Tell someone that you are proud to be their friend. A simple show of appreciation can mean an incredible amount.
  • When out in a social situation, invite others to join your group. Inclusivity is a wonderful trait that carries many possible benefits.
  • Show tolerance for opposing viewpoints and beliefs; your tolerance will beget tolerance in others, leading to a more peaceful community.
  • Do something selfless. You will find great satisfaction in the unintended benefits of helping your community.
  • Become a leader. Bring out the goodness in others by finding it in yourself.


Be grateful for what you have, find greatness in yourself and others and share it with the world around you. We only have one life so starting this year let's devote it to simplicity, real food, productivity, real world happiness, and community. Happy New Year!