What’s pop’n, ninjas? I love to train barefoot or with minimalist footwear. Some people are nervous to try this, but the truth is, without conventional footwear, you strengthen your feet and improve your connection to the ground. It’s personally helped me fix a lot of problems with my feet, like ankle instability, weak arches, and general foot pain associated with intense bouts of walking.
My go-to brand has always been Xero Shoes, and up until now they’ve only created sandals or huaraches. While I love my Z-Trek Sandals, they are not always weather appropriate for winters in NYC, so sadly they’ve stayed in my closet lately. However, when I heard that they were launching a closed-toe shoe, I jumped at the opportunity to try on a pair of the new Lena from Xero Shoes. It was love at first wear!
Not only do they come in one of my favorite color schemes: black and red (tango red), but they don’t require a break-in period at all, like most shoes do. While I normally prefer slip-on shoes, these come with very minimal lacing and are easy to lace-up in a jiffy. These shoes are so light-weight that it feels like you’re just wearing a sock. You can really feel connected to the earth beneath your feet but the sole is still thick enough to provide some cushioning.
I have small feet but they are really wide. What I love about the Lena is the wide “toe-box” really allows me to walk without my toes feeling too enclosed. I can spread my toes out nicely. As a trainer in New York City, I’m on my feet constantly, demoing exercises, or running around town from client to client and the Lenas are perfect for my lifestyle.
Since I mostly train calisthenics and practice yoga, I often do my training barefoot indoors. But when I train outdoors, the Lenas are perfect for protecting my feet and still providing the feel of being barefoot. They are flexible and they really mold to your feet without feeling “restrictive.”
The first day I wore them I received a ton of praise from my clients and other trainers. They look really “ninja-like” is the word on the street. I like that they offer them in 1/2 sizes, too.
The price point is great for a quality shoe that not only looks good but will improve the health of your feet. If you’re interested in trying out a pair for yourself, they come in a variety of color schemes and are 20% offuntil February 26th — two more days! Click the link below to get yours NOW!
What’s pop’n? I recently hosted a 31 days of Handbalancing Challenge for the month of January that has finally come to an end. I was stoked by how many ninjas joined in on a month-long quest to bust out as many different handbalancing poses as they could manage. At the end of the month it was a tough decision for me to pick a winner because so many of the participants were super consistent and creative with their photos.
Ultimately, the winners were Amy Millar, of Los Angeles, for most likes on one of her photos; Olivier Dubois of France for consistently doing ALL the poses and with the best form; and Rafael Menendez & Cristie Di Matteo of Puerto Rico for bringing the thunder all month together!
Overall, I was super impressed with the high level of skill of many of the participants, some of which had never tried many of these moves before. Here are some of my favorite photos from the month:
This contest had such a great turnout that I’m excited to do another one again, soon! Be on the lookout for that and the chance to win some other great prizes!
What’s pop’n ninjas? When I first began strength training, I had a lot of issues doing certain moves like overhead presses and push-ups because of pain in my wrists. Thankfully, using exercises I learned from my progressive calisthenics training, I was not only able to eliminate pain in my wrists but also strengthen them! Now I’m able to do all sorts of hand-balancing moves that were once off-limits to me.
Click the link below to check out my latest piece for Bodybuilding.com and learn how to BULLETPROOF your wrists!
Don’t forget to share this article with your fellow ninjas, too!
I was born and raised in Miami, then lived in Cali for almost a decade. In both places the weather is warm year round so there is pretty much no such thing as winter.
Then I moved to NYC, and adjusting to the winter cold has been absolutely brutal! So I was thrilled to find out that Dragondoor recently signed a new author, Wim Hof, a.k.a. The Iceman!
If you don’t know the Iceman, he is quite a superhuman. He’s run marathons in the Artic Circle and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro bare-chested and in shorts several times! He swims in the freezing canals of Amsterdam during the winter and he attributes it all to mastery of breathing techniques. He’s also a dedicated yoga and calisthenics practitioner!
So I was excited about diving into his latest book, “The Way of the Iceman” to learn his breathing techniques, with the hopes of eventually embracing the cold weather.
The Way of the Iceman gives you a bit of backstory on how Wim became the Iceman and then goes on to instruct you in his method. I’ve always been a big advocate for breathing exercises in yoga so I knew this book would be right up my alley. Ever since reading his book, Al & I have actually been taking cold showers as part of the “cold training” pretty much every day!
Cold training, according to The Way of the Iceman, is not only good for adjusting to freezing temperatures, but also for improving your immunity, metabolism, and even weight loss. There is a lot of personal anecdotes in the book from some of his students who’ve climbed Mt Kilimanjaro also bare-chested with him as well as the science explained behind his method. I highly recommend you check this book out! It’s a quick read with methods that are easy to understand and apply instantly.
It’s been helping me have a new appreciation for winter this year. Taking cold showers is tough at first, but can be invigorating and energizing the more you practice. Lately when I step outside into the cold, I have more awareness of my breathing and practice the exercises he describes as I walk around the city. This year I’m finally ready for winter!
What’s pop’n ninjas? With a new year on the horizon, it’s about that time when everyone begins to set goals and resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to get better at handbalancing skills, then you may want to get in on my 31-Day Handbalancing Challenge that starts on January 1st!
Learning handbalancing is more than just about impressing your friends with your new tricks. It’s about facing your fears and moving beyond them to achieve amazing feats of strength with your own body. Practicing handbalancing can add an element of fun and skill to your regular training regimen that will keep you excited about exercise for years to come!
Each day in January, I will post a photo/video of a new skill with some tips on how to achieve it. Then you can attempt the move, video or photograph it, post it on your social media page and tag me in it: #DieselGrace. I will post the best photos and videos on my social media daily. Not only will this be a great way for you to learn new skills, but also to inspire others to do the same!
At the end of the month, I will choose 3 winners, the picture with the most likes and comments, the ninja who consistently participated during the month and my personal favorite photo of the month! The winners will receive a signed copy of one of Al’s books, “Pushing the Limits,”Stretching Your Boundaries,” or “Raising the Bar.”
Looking forward to seeing some of your ninja moves! Til next time, peace,
What’s pop’n ninjas? I’m stoked that we recently got our new free-standing pull-up bar for the apartment! The Bodyweight Master is Dragondoor‘s latest piece of fitness equipment and it’s better than just your traditional pull-up bar.
This bar is really sturdy and has several attachments that can convert it so you can practice Australian pull-ups, all types of dips, leg raises, and even train the human flag! Check it out:
We are over-the-moon that we will be able to train all these bar calisthenics moves in the comfort of our apartment during the winter months! Beats going to the park on snow days! 😉
For more information about the Bodyweight Master, check out Dragondoor, and order yours NOW! The holidays are right around the corner, so don’t forget to gift one to your fellow ninja friends and family! ❤
What’s pop’n ninjas? This week I had the honor of chatting with another of my female calisthenics inspirations, Krista Stryker. Krista is a blogger and the founder of 12-Minute Athlete, the popular fitness app and website for all your HIIT workout needs!
Krista and I officially met while she was in NYC a few months ago and we got to finally train together at good ol’ Tompkins Square Park. We worked on everything from handstands, to flags, to elbow levers and even some partner exercises, too! She impressed me with her down-to-earth attitude and high-level hand-balancing skills!
On this episode of Diesel Discourse, we discuss:
How Krista broke into the fitness industry and became a trainer
How she was inspired to start 12-Minute Athlete
Drills she practices to help her achieve a solid handstand
Calisthenics skills she is currently working on
How she fuels her ninja activities on a vegetarian diet
Krista’s favorite places to train around the world
Advice for anyone who needs help staying motivated with their training
Check it out:
For more information about Krista Stryker, check out:
What’s pop’n, ninjas? I’ve learned so much about myself since embarking on my calisthenics journey –from unlocking new skills, to meeting awesome people in the community, including my hubby, Al Kavadlo! When you embrace bodyweight training as a way of life, you never have any excuses not to train because the world can be your gym!
If there was ever an awesome commercial promoting calisthenics training, it would be this video right here! Ch-check it out:
What inspires you to train calisthenics? If it’s the accessibility of being able to train anytime and any place, then you may need to look into getting this awesome pull-up bar from Dragondoor.com! Behold the Bodyweight Master, Dragondoor’s first ever free-standing pull-up bar!
Al & I are super stoked to be getting ours shipped soon! It can be kinda brutal to train outdoors during the winters here in NYC, but luckily with our at-home pull-up bar, we can still get some reps in! This pull-up bar station is super sturdy, and has some cool features, including attachments to do dips as well as Aussie pull-ups, too! Click the link above to get yours now and be on the lookout for our official review coming up soon!
What’s pop’n? Yoga and calisthenics are both beautiful expressions of all the wondrous ways humans are meant to move! I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10 years now, and I’ve learned many different types of arm balances along the way. Arm balances are more than just a “party trick.” They are fantastic exercises for strengthening your entire body, including your upper body, wrists, and arms as well as a legit way to strengthen your powers of concentration.
Here are a few different poses you can try:
How many of these different shapes can you ninjas make? I encourage you to be brave and give em a go!