Tag Archives: jobs

What is QC? The Importance of Quality Control

Well, what is QC? Quality Control. You might have already known that, but you still started reading this because you were curious what we might have to say about it. If you didn’t know what quality control is, we’re going to introduce the concept to you and share some insight because we think it’s crucial. Now, there’s a good chance you have a different name for the same concept and that’s fine because at the end of the day we’re all trying to accomplish the exact same task: to provide a quality product. 

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Job Openings in the Swimming Industry

The American Swimming Coaches Association sent all of their coaches an email recently in an effort to try to fill some vacancies for Swim Outlet’s Fitter and Fast Tour. This project is top-notch and travels across the country to provide the highest quality clinics of swim instruction to anyone interested. It’s a huge benefit for experienced swimmers and beginners, and while it focuses on youth, coaches and whole community benefit from its presence.

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Hungry, Fit & Co are Moving!

The whole family is packing everything up again and moving to the West Coast! Los Angeles here we come. At first, we’re going to be staying in Santa Monica but our goal is to eventually move to Korea Town as soon as possible. We would love to stay in Santa Monica or another beach part of LA, but with Alana certainly going back to school, and Chris possibly going back to school, it’s just not going to be affordable!

The chances are Alana will be going to school part-time and maybe eventually full-time for nursing and Chris will start to take part-time classes working towards a Masters in Physiological Science. Therefore, Alana could be working part-time, full-time or just managing Hungry & Fit, while Chris probably works full-time. You, or we, never know until we’ve made the change and hopefully we have good like in finding a place to live and good jobs! All those things could change! A huge part of the excitement of moving is the adventure; we love adventures… like hobbits… well Bilbo, and Frodo. We will be sure to keep you all updated on what we choose to do.

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We will be leaving Boulder August 1st and should get to Los Angeles August 2nd. It is two days of driving and we’ve done the trip before but not with all these animals in the car. We will have to take extra care and make sure to control the climate in the car. Again, it should be exciting and build character! Once we get there, we’ll figure out all the necessary evils such as where to live and how to pay the bills. Chris will probably try to be beach lifeguard, walk dogs, and do personal training… all things he has a lot of experience doing and enjoys. Alana will figure out a school and work schedule that is reasonable. 

There is not a whole lot more to tell you other than this is the big announcement and we better get in high gear to start preparing for the move. Lots of items are being sold on Craigslist and we will be having a garage sale soon. Let us know if you are in the market for anything! We are really trying to be minimalists for this move and prevent Chris from hoarding and collecting things he never uses. He promised to change this time so we’ll see!

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Hopefully, we get to see even more friends and family as a result of this move. We get to spend more time at the beach and although Chris will miss his whiter winters, we will hopefully be travelling to the East Coast more than when we were in Colorado. We like LAX a lot more than DIA. So if you’re living in LA and want to meet up at some point, let us know. We have friends there but building a new network is going to be a challenge. You make something out of yourself in one place and then decide to pick up and start from scratch again. I hope it all works out well for us! Thanks for all your support and look forward to an even better Hungry & Fit in LA!

I’ll Need a Bigger Helmet: Biking in Boulder

This will be a quick one, mainly because we had long days and have an early day tomorrow, but also because I don’t have much to say about this, or perhaps I actually do and want to prevent an all out rant.

Essentially, again today on the way home from work I almost got hit by a car… in the sidewalk. I’m a responsible bike rider and good on my bike. I ride it at least 4 days a week, typically more. Some days I only ride it 2-3 miles to and from work but some days, doing multiple jobs, I can ride up to 12 miles a day. These are all commuting miles, on a mix of flat and graded terrain, typically sidewalks and roads. I have an old Trek mountain bike that has been transformed into a commuter bike and I custom fit it to meet my needs.

 
It has a 17″ frame, and some extra grooved tires for the snow. It has trigger gear shift capabilities that work relatively well and old but reliable brakes. It has a loud bell, a retractable steel grocery basket that fits onto the mountain rack on back, that I use as a makeshift splash guard. I have a decently comfortable seat that is locked to the frame with a wire lock. I keep my heavy duty u-lock attached to the frame and I use a large thick black bell dome helmet. I have all my reflectors in place, plus a flashing or steady rear led red light in addition to my steady or flashing led headlights.
 
Even with my ability and all these flashing lights, I almost always get hit day or night and it happens in the crosswalks! I come from an area where drivers have a tendency to lack patience and manners, but they are extremely efficient in terms of keeping traffic moving but also very aware of the stop signs, lines, lights and pedestrians.
Many of the drivers in Boulder are the opposite and it’s been tough to get used to it, but that’s not the issue. The issue comes with how bike friendly the actual city of Boulder is! There are crosswalks for pedestrians and bikers that have flashing lights and announce to slow down and stop, and there are bike lanes everywhere.
Bike are people too!
So every day I happen to be riding in the bike lane, or on the sidewalk if there aren’t any and someone almost hits me in that safe area! It’s because many of the drivers here happen to think that the stop line is for your back tire or the back of your car! Then they usually try to make some apologetic gesture, knowing that if they hit me, they would be in a big trouble, legally. So please, be considerate of pedestrians, be efficient but aware, and recognize the fact that your automobile is a powerful weapon if not handled properly.

Let’s keep our streets and sidewalks safe for everyone! Biking is a physically and mentally rewarding activity and although I may not like the snobby cyclists that wear racing gear and use $5,000 bikes to commute, I enjoy biking to work everyday. It is great for the environment, which I care much about, and it’s a decent leg workout if done correctly. Plus, it always wakes me up before I get to work on the early cold days. I love riding through the snow in the mornings here when the powder is untouched.

Oh well, enough of that, thanks for reading and remember to use green and alternative transportation!

The Importance of Enjoying Work: Love What You Do and Do What You Love

I know these are hard economic times. I conducted five interviews on Friday with lots of amazing candidates with tons of experience in different fields to accompany their college degrees. People are forced to apply to any job that can pay the bills, whether they know how to do it or don’t, whether they’ll love every minute of it or wish the nightmare would just end. Alana and I both recently went through a lot of interviews of our own trying to figure out post-graduate work situations that would sustain our life in Boulder and, most importantly, for now, help pay off the student loans as soon as possible. But we were either smart or lucky, or a little bit of both. Our stubbornness in terms of applying to the right jobs and choosing the right jobs amongst a sea of interviews and offers seems to have paid off well.

 
Alana and I worked three jobs at one point over the past few months; one full time, one part time, and one very part time unofficial off-the-books job. Alana stopped doing her off-the-books job because it was just too much work for her when she was going seven days a week. Although, it was work that she enjoyed, it was too much and it’s important to know yourself and to know when to say enough is enough. Money is important, but we’re not the kind of people that enjoy the finer things in terms of clothing and cars and the flashy stuff. We’re happy with good food, good exercise, good family, and some nice books and video games. So our income doesn’t need to be excessive or even average, because it just needs to be coming from jobs that we enjoy.

Things we buy

Things we buy

For our personal update, without saying too much, Alana is working as a full-time certified personal trainer at the Longmont YMCA, Monday through Friday. On Sundays, she works as a caregiver at an assisted living home in Boulder. She loves training and this YMCA is very warm and friendly, so the job makes perfect sense. The commute is a little bit long for her liking, but it’s worth it. She works her second job to gain experience in the health care field in order to make her training in becoming a nurse a little easier. She just recently registered as a student with Front Range Community College so that she could take her pre-requisites for nursing school.

 

I am working as a full time swim teacher at the Swim School of Boulder. I also will be, or already am, the head coach of the Swim School of Boulder Club Swim Team. It officially launches January 1st 2013, but I’ve been working hard to make sure everything is prepared. Secondly, I work one or two days and seven to fourteen hours a week also at the Longmont YMCA as the instructional swim coordinator and aquatics advisor. I am trying to rebuild the aquatics department in order to provide the services to the community that I feel they deserve from an Aquatics department. Third, I walk a large dog in North Boulder, some times seven days a week typically for an hour at a time or some weeks not at all so it’s very on and off.

Despite working 45-50 hours a week each, on average, we’re extremely happy with our jobs and employers. It makes the rest of life a lot easier and even though we don’t make as much money as we might be able to, we appreciate the fact that we are employed and able to feed ourselves and stay warm at night. We try not to take anything for granted and remember we’re just the same as everyone else in terms of having to face this struggle.

So even though I can’t do anything to make you as lucky as us, be stubborn, and try your hardest without starving to find a job that you really enjoy, because it will make you that much happier.

Gotta Keep Your Head Up

Lately, things have not been easy. In the past month, I’ve had two major stomach problems. First, either the stomach flu or food poisoning that made me miss two of my busiest days of work during the week. This weekend, a hyper secretion of the acid in my stomach irritated and led to inflammation in my digestive track, which caused me to miss one of my busiest days of work. I hate missing work, not just for the loss of money, but just because it’s how I am. So that upset me.

Along with that, I’m obviously not in physical condition to do the two most important things to get me in better shape, eat and workout. Most importantly, eat. It’s my favorite thing to do, probably. I can eat all day, anything really, although I can be picky-ish sometimes. My favorite combination is working out and then eating. It’s how I got in the best shape of my life really, a ton of each. And with those stomach problems, it’s been a month of not good eating or working out.

In March of 2011, right before we went to Alana’s house for Spring Break, where we took time off working out, I was in the best shape of my life, arguably. Then, when we returned, I suffered a major tear in my left posterior labrum, shoulder. My conditioning was great on land, doing circuit training for sustained periods of time. My pullups and pushups were good, dips were the best they’ve ever been. I wasn’t running much, but I never really have except in youth, high school, and one summer.

My heavy lifts were heavy, decline bench for 365 for reps, olympic squats for 495 for reps, leg press for nearly 1000 for reps, and toe press for nearly 2000 for reps. But that all went to nothing after the injury, and I’ve been dealing with it ever since. I’m not trying to sound sad, but what I’m getting at is that I know I can’t get back to that point without surgery. Thus, I’m not overly critical on myself for not eating and working out to “get in shape.” The thing is, I work out mainly because I think it’s fun.
 

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So, between the stomach problems, Misty’s passing, Sajah’s running away, and us living independently for the most part, it’s been tough figuring out the right job situation, getting all our chores done, working out, eating right, and getting in shape. BUT THAT’S FINE!

Because it’s a great time of year, we’re going to see family in a little over a week in LA, and planning a trip to go back to New Jersey and New York sooner than later. We’re figuring out goals for our always continuing education, how and when to pay off student loans, and all sorts of other stuff. This was a little bit more of a journal entry than a blog post like all of our others, and there might be a few more of these this year before we head out for a great, productive, fun, exciting, and adventurous 2013. That is, you can see them once we’ve figured them out ourselves! But we have a lot to look forward to, so always keep your head up and remember all the good things in your life even when some stuff doesn’t seem to be going your way.

Sleepy lion cub

PS- We found Sajah

Family Addition: Two “New” Bikes

With Alana getting a full time job in Longmont, which is roughly 15 miles away from our home, and us only having one car, it looked like I would have to find an alternate form of transportation. With my job being only about a mile(?) from our home, there were a few choices.

Obviously, we could buy another car but that isn’t exactly in the budget, although it might have to be in the winter. The bus takes too long and is too risky for a mile commute. Walking is an option but is still a bit of a waste of time. And I only have my motorcycle permit, not my license… plus they’re expensive too. So it seemed like a good old bicycle (so rare in Boulder!) was the best choice. Unfortunately, on our cross country trip… my Schwinn Frontier, the bike love of my life thus far, is stuck with my sister in Pennsylvania because of a broken bike rack. Obviously, there was only one thing I could do… Craigslist!

The Classic Schwinn Headbadge

Schwinn!

So to make a not-so-long-but-boring-story nice and short, I bought two bikes in the last week. The first one I bought on the way to work Monday so I wouldn’t have to walk, and the second I bought on Tuesday night because it was a much better bike.

MagnaNickname: Not Given Yet – This is one of the worst bike brands in the U.S. It’s very used with lots of wear and tear, as well as a flimsy kickstand and unstable gears. But is was only $60 cash and it was being sold a block away. The bike is $125-150 ish new from Target, so it’s really not a horrible deal, just an awful bike. But it got me to work two days.

TrekNickname: Packhorse– I paid $120 cash for this one and it was well worth it. Trek is arguably the most reliable bike brand around (and still reasonably priced). This one has lots of miles and character to it but it still rides better. It’s got Shimano gears and brakes, along with a mountain rack/splash guard, and a retractable metal grocery bin. The front suspension makes for a very smooth ride and although it doesn’t have a kickstand and the brakes are very squeaky, it has a cute little bell.

Today, Amazon via UPS will deliver my new helmet, light, and two bike locks ( a u-lock and a cable lock). Bikes are very popular in Boulder and although mine are not going to be stolen first, I don’t want to risk it. I also think you’re not being intelligent if you ride with a high risk of injury and do not wear a helmet. The lights are a law after dark in Boulder and ten dollars is much better than hundreds in tickets.

Oh well, I’m getting between 2-8 miles a day commuting from different jobs so it’s been nice but my knees are hurting. I’m not cycling expert but I think it’s either because I have bad knees or because I’m not high enough on the bike. The frame is a little small for me, a 17.5, but I put the seat far enough up to create about a 30 degree angle when my legs are fully extended towards the ground. Adam, any advice?

Thanks everyone and support green transportation!

How We Are Going to Get Back in Shape (and you can too)!

So after figuring out our job situation, for the most part, we finally decided that it was financially reasonable and responsible to sign up for a gym membership. Ideally, as a personal trainer and a swim instructor, it’s a common perk of the job to (depending on where you work) get a free membership. As I work at a small scuba diving and swimming school, there is no fitness facility other than the pool, unlike the YMCA that I worked at before moving. Alana has a free membership to the YMCA that she works at but as it is over fifteen miles from home, it’s not worth me getting a membership, so she has that. As I look for another job for some extra hours on the extended weekends, it would be great to find a place with a lap pool where I can start some swim workouts, but until then it’s going to have to wait.

Looking around Boulder of all places, and trying to maintain a budget, we passed up on what seemed the logical choice in 24 Hour Fitness and joined the Boulder Rock Club. 24 Hour Fitness is not the kind of gym that I like to work out at because I am against that chain-feeling in general. At this location, I really got that feeling and, unless I am travelling and need a week pass to a place with everything, I don’t feel any sense of attachment to a place like that where it seems members are more so a person that is counted as they walk through the door. Again, since we’re in Boulder, we wanted to start climbing, but we also wanted a location with a general gym feeling… a locker room, a fitness center, weights, machines, etc. At a reasonable monthly rate for all these services, we took a chance with the BRC. Obviously I sacrificed a pool for the time being seeing as I am still very much so in a second job hunt.

So, having signed up two days ago we made our first trip yesterday. Time to try to get back into shape. Now, to go a little bit more in depth, there were some other factors that made us decide on the BRC. This location was a bit of a premature impulse decision but, in theory, we have no regrets because one of the best ways for individuals like us who are out of shape, but were once in shape not too too long ago, is easing back into things. We were athletes and we have ton of injuries that have healed and some that haven’t healed.

Joining a climbing club, and this location particularly, motivates us to do more body weight exercises and start to re-develop what really matters: joint strength and the like. You can have the biggest strongest muscles with amazing muscular endurance, but that doesn’t matter if your joints, ligaments, tendons, bones, and everything else supporting and interacting with your muscle systems are not prepared to handle the routines that you put yourself through. I know from experience. So we took yesterday at a snail’s pace as an opportunity to ease back in and make sure nothing was acting up before we start to kick it into higher gears.

Here’s our workout, then we’ll talk some more.

At 8:40 a.m. with an empty stomach I applied some Tiger Balm Muscle Rub to my shoulders, upper back, lower back, and neck.

Then we went through about a 30 minute bouldering session at a relatively light pace, doing novice level routes, and earning massive forearm and hand pumps in the process.

Next we moved to the weight room, which is modest, and went through a short and VERY modest shoulder routine. (I have a superior lesion from anterior to posterior in my left labrum so this is always a cautious day, especially first day back.)

1. Standing Resistance Band Rear Deltoid Flies: 3 sets with a fitting band, 15-20 reps a set

2. Standing Lateral Dumbbell Flies: 3 sets with 15 lb weights, 10-12 reps per set

3. Seated Shoulder Press: 3 sets, ascending weight from 35-45 lbs, 8-12 reps

4. Olympic Bar Shrugs: 3 sets, ascending weight from 95-115 lbs, 16-18 reps

5. Roman Chair Dips: 3 sets, body weight, 6 reps

6. Back Extension Apparatus, 3 sets, body weight, 10 reps

Now obviously, this was more or less our workout. We had to keep it short because we had to get to work and because we wanted to ease back into a fitness routine, and this was very much so easing. We hit most of our major and minor muscle groups in our shoulders, namely neglecting our front delts, scaptions, and rotator cuffs, which I rarely miss. It was not a tough workout because our warm up was not complete so I did not want to risk anything. I always warm up my shoulders before an upper body workout, especially shoulders, in order to prevent injury.

Also, we always try to incorporate some core-specific exercise into every workout, even on isolation days. Here is was the back extensions, because my lower back is very weak right now. The Tiger Balm also acts as a sort of warm up although it’s not meant to be a replacement. Why didn’t we isolate back, chest, arms, or legs first? Because I need to make sure my shoulder can withstand a workout before moving to another body part. It is extremely difficult to properly workout any body part when something is not working properly. Your muscles work tandem with one another. If something is out of whack, your whole body will be screwed up.  When I further ripped the tear in my labrum, my squat numbers plummeted because I was no longer able to balance the bar with one shoulder. So that is why we started with shoulders.

A complete weight training workout can be perf...

Weight training, brah

Now that it more or less passed the test we are prepared to hit the other body parts, and once they are all conditioned well enough we will begin complex circuit training routines. So my path I am hoping to follow, if all resources are in place, and always injury pending:

1. Mix isolated muscle group workouts with light bouldering and climbing

2. Increase weight and rep range within isolated muscle workouts

3. Increase duration of isolated muscle workouts

4. Begin to build cardio vascular capacity through cardio based workouts (run and bike)

5. Add cardio to muscle workouts through super sets

6. Begin full body circuit training 

The ideal workout week: ( I never allow for enough rest)

  • Isolated muscle workouts every/every other day, i.e. chest and triceps/back and biceps/lower body/shoulders and forearms
  • Full body circuit training, i.e. Spartacus workout version 1, three times a week
  • Bouldering and climbing every day in the gym, with these workouts
  • Cardio-based workouts (bike and run) three times a week

So that might look like: (in no particular order for each day)

Monday: Chest and triceps in the gym, circuit training session, bouldering

Tuesday: Back and biceps in the gym, 20 mile stationary bike ride, top-rope

Wednesday: Lower body in the gym, circuit training session, bouldering

Thursday: Shoulder and forearms in the gym, 3 mile treadmill run (probably not), top-rope

Friday: Core in the gym, basketball in the park

Saturday: back to the start…

I am never good at following those and I kind of ran through that but more or less we will want to start incorporating everything, easing back into our routines while adapting to our new lifestyle and workout resources. In terms of sleep, I try to get seven a night, and I take my vitamins and minerals and try to eat healthy, lots of fish… and dairy. I try to load carbs in the morning and taper off throughout the day, having a protein filled meal at night. I won’t include the scientific explanation for that process unless it’s requested.

But seriously, feel free to ask any questions about our workout or nutritional plan, and PLEASE feel free to ask for some help finding a way for you to get back into shape. Give us your background, resources, and goals and we can make it work. I love helping people achieve fitness goals.

Email us at alana.ppowell@gmail.com