Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Exercise Machines belong in Hospitals NOT the Gym

 Free Flow Academy does not use exercise machines.  At Free Flow Academy you can expect to use your own body weight as well as minimalist free weights (kettlebells, dumbbells, and sandbags).  The truth is, most of America has been brainwashed into believing that a "Gym" should have exercise machines, when in fact, you don't need a machine at all to exercise.  Your body is the machine.

Why do this???
When you could be doing THIS!!

Contrary to the title of this blog post, this is actually an article in the spirit of #Thanksgiving.  Our bodies are incredible machines that do everything for us.  They come in all shapes, sizes, forms, and have the ability to perform an endless array of functions.  The fact that I have the ability to type this post, is pretty amazing.  The fact that your eyes and brain can recognize different sizes, characters, textures, and patterns, let alone read, is amazing. A lot of these basic functions are often overlooked. Instead, weirdly, there is this hyper focus on body image, and forcing that image to be molded into a Disney cartoon character.  It's weird that the fitness and health industry relentlessly names their "health" regimes to be "Fat Shredder" and "Fat Burner" and "Fat Melter".  What's wrong with fat anyway?  Well, according to Science, excessive fat and obesity is correlated with Type 2 Diabetes. Fair enough, no one wants diabetes.  But it's not that simple.  Fat has consistently gotten a bad rep, so I'm one fitness professional that is here to tell you that Fat isn't that bad at all.  Actually, it's pretty good.  Hate those love handles?  Why?  Love handles are like having a little extra food storage in your pantry.  Would you reprimand your friends and family members for stocking their pantry with a some extra cans of beans, rice, flour, and basic essentials for survival?  Of course not!  You would commend them for being so prepared, organized, and self reliant.

A little extra flub, is actually just that.  Your body is super smart, and knows that it's good and safe, to tuck away some extra food for later, because it just may come in handy.  But it's also not smart to stuff your pantry with food storage, that you never use.  You are supposed to rotate it out, eat up those cans of food, and don't leave them for years on end.  Just like your pantry, you need to do that with your body.  You don't want to keep adding to your food storage, because at some point, you are going to be busting at the seams, literally, and that's not good either.  There are a variety of different exercise machines designed to target our "problem" areas.  But the fact is, you don't get to control where your body stores fat.  It does that all on its own, because your body is designed to survive and adapt.

I'm a defender of visceral fat.  In moderation.  Roman gladiators were known to consume high carb, high plant based protein diets (yes they were vegetarians) so that that they could be ready for competition.  These athletes weren't "shredded".  Rather, they had a some extra flub, around their core, to protect their vital organs from blunt force and trauma.

Now there is nothing wrong with looking shredded.  Humans have every right to create and accept beauty in a variety of forms.  But I want to remind people, that health and beauty really DOES come in a VARIETY of forms.  You don't have to be "shredded" in order to be beautiful or healthy.  

Okay, so let's talk about Exercise Machines.  Here's the thing, I believe your body is meant to be enjoyed.  Exercise machines are quite limiting if you consider the fact that spending all that time and energy running statically, could be simply done outside, while enjoying the sunshine (and getting your daily dose of Vitamin D).  You would receive more overall health benefits from taking a leisure stroll outside, than you would indoors on a treadmill.  Perhaps it's raining, and you want to get your sweat on, plus you live in a dangerous neighborhood.  Fair enough, I'm not saying a treadmill is useless.  But I hope you get what I'm saying.  If not, I'll go further.

Alright, so what about all that manpower you are putting into a machine?  It seems completely inefficient to consume calories, with the intent of burning all those calories running, stair stepping, or biking statically.  When you move, (even when you are on a machine) you get the endorphin rush.  But when you do something like #Parkour, Martial Arts, or Aerial Dance you get to move AND connect with people/friends, plus learn valuable skills that improve your quality of life.  I think that is a much better use of all those calories you worked so hard to purchase and consume.  Why not put your hard earned calories into something fun and enjoyable, and invest in a discipline, rather than a machine that will NOT hold you accountable, nor be your friend.

Discipline and Trust are a few things you gain when you step away from the machine, and choose to BECOME the machine, while joining others on their journey. #Aerialsilks

Team #NeoFlow cheering on their fellow #Traceur comrades during a demo
I consider exercise machines to be utilities that belong in a hospital, to rehabilitate human bodies that are extremely sick or injured, and need a hyper controlled setting in order to orchestrate movement. If you can stand, sit, walk, run, jump on your own, then it's very likely, an exercise machine is just holding you back, and preventing you from living up to your gladdest potential.

This summer I turned 34 years old.  In the passing years I have felt a renewed reverence for my body, and ultimately this sacred vessel that carries me through life.  My hope is that Free Flow Academy is a place where people can feel a great sense of appreciation for their amazing body.  It's important to me that boys and girls, men and women, see and experience great joy, health, and abundance through movement, mindfulness, and connection with others.  

7/30/16 Instagram Post - Tomorrow I will be 34. That number represents the amount of years I have sustained my human self, on this planet Earth. My body is young, vibrant, fertile. My body has created life. My body is desired. My body is magnificent. My body carries my soul. This vehicle... this incredible machine that lives; that has its own intelligence, is something to be revered. To be respected. To be loved. To be cared for. With each passing year, my body is to be given more attention, more love, than before - because my body deserves that kind of gratitude. It has functioned continually, without fail. Not without struggles, not without imperfections. My body has fought many battles. My body has been there for me, even when I despised it, even when I destroyed parts of it. Even when I didn't protect it. My body is resilient. Forgiving. Powerful. Divine. #lovethyself

Miss Elle coaches #Kungfu on Monday's @ 4:30pm at Free Flow Academy

Miss Elle at Mono Lake.  Check out this link to read about her Mono Lake adventure.  #quicksand 
Miss Elle with two of her boys #paddleboarding #folsomlake

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We are seeking new Apprentices and Hiring!!

Free Flow Academy is accepting new Apprentices!  Our apprenticeship program is a 3 month program designed to train upcoming coaches who are interested in working at Free Flow Academy as a Junior or Head Instructor!  We only open up this program once a year, so NOW is the time to act if you want to get in, and you are considering coaching as a career, or part time job.  We are looking for applicants in the following departments:

Parkour/Freerunning (Beginner to Advanced)
Tumbling (Beginner to Advanced)

If interested please fill out our Apprentice Application and email it to freeflowacademy@gmail.com

Age Discrimination - It's a Thing in the Gym Community

A lot of people often ask, "What was your inspiration for Free Flow?"  The true answer is a long one. A culmination of life experiences, and motivated, passionate individuals are the reason Free Flow came to existence.  We all have a story.  For me, while working as a stunt professional in Hollywood, I trained at a variety of world class facilities and stunt gyms, and there were certainly some that were better than others.  I'm a vibe kind of gal, and I need to feel a strong and energetic vibe that is positive and safe.  As an artist and athlete, I have to be feel safe mentally and physically to push and challenge myself without the fear of judgement or negativity.  In Los Angeles, it's normal to see all ages, artistry, and movement backgrounds at stunt gyms.  It's normal to take classes with 50-60 year olds who can school a 20 year old in tumbling, gymnastics, and high falls.

When my husband and I decided to move out of LA, it was a tough decision.  But we were in a place (mentally and spiritually) where we wanted to focus on raising our kids, out of the city.  My husband went to Law School, and I started 2 home based businesses.  Along the way, we had 3 more kids (bringing our grand total to 4 awesome boys).  We taught Kung Fu out of our garage to neighborhood kids, and were continually encouraged by friend's to open a school.  My husband and I were never interested in opening a school.  For one, it's really hard to make a living, and with 4 tiny little kids, law school, 2 businesses, it was just too much to take on.

After a few years, we met some people in the community, and they happened to be awesome Parkour athletes.  We started training with them.  And it reawakened a passion that had been dormant. I LOVE movement, and I love sharing that with my kids.  Along this journey I enrolled my kids in several gyms.  I was disappointed to find out that EVERY SINGLE gym would not allow adults to take classes or participate in open gym with our kids.  This idea was so foreign to me.  I had just spent a decade of my life training in gyms, where adults up into their 60's were training in gymnastics, stunts, martial arts fight choreography, parkour... you name it.  My first thought was, "Hmmm... that's a terrible example to set for the children.  You train them from the beginning that they can only move this way until they are 21?  Then after that they'll be too injured, or too old to continue moving in the way that brings them joy?"  

CONFINE YOURSELF! Don't even dare to do anything more than THIS.  Walk in place zoohuman!!  Walk in place for hours on end!!  This is what Adulting looks like.  Look forward to it.

Finally, a glimmer of hope.  I found a gym that offered one adult gymnastics class on a late weekday evening. Alright, it was good enough.  I could enroll myself and my kids as members, take that class, then on Saturday's play with my kids during open gym.  I was soooooo excited.  I thought... FINALLY!  A place that I can move in the way that brings me joy, and a place that I can make memories with my kids.  I took the class.  The other people in the class were in their late teens, early 20s.  They were friendly, but maybe a little judgmental.  "You're pretty good for how old you are".  Uh... "Thanks... I think?"  I didn't let it bother me.  I was just super excited to be able to do my thing.

Meh... I'd rather be awesome.
Then Saturday came.  I was really super excited about open gym.  Not super excited that as members we still had to pay an add'l fee that added up to around $60 for an hour.  But whatever.  My kids and I started out on the tumbling floor.  We started practicing our handstands.  Within moments, a 16 something year old marched up to me, "Exxxcuuuuussssee me, but YOU cannot be on the floor."  I looked at her with surprise.  "I'm signed up for a class, I signed the waiver, I paid the fee."  She retorted back, "That doesn't MATTER.  YOU are too OLD to be here on the floor.  They (circling her pointer finger in the general direction of all the kids) can be here.  But NOT YOU."  At this point I could feel my blood boil.  I was being discriminated against.  Harshly discriminated against, because of my age.  And not only that, I was being discriminated against in a two-fold manner.  My age was an issue AND the way I wanted to move my body was an issue.  I realized that this "age" thing, which is just a number we assign to humans to keep track of how long they have lived on planet Earth, as well as my personal choice of how to move my body, was not tolerated in this environment. "Fair enough, your business has it's rules, you don't have insurance to cover adults.  I get it.  But this is a wrong.  It's wrong to discriminate based on age, gender, race, religion, or sex.  I hope you guys change your policy."  With that, we left, and never went back.

This incident made a profound impact on me.  I realized that there was a serious discrimination issue happening.  The next clue was during a conversation at one of our Parkour training sessions.  A few of the practitioners were discussing "Movement Discrimination."  Some reported being stopped by police officers if they were walking on their hands on the side walk.  One of them was even ticketed for "Disturbing the Peace".  My thoughts, "No one can tell you how to move your body.  That's a basic human right.  I'm not okay with this."

A deeper sense of purpose started to flourish within me.  This Greater Sacramento area in particular, needed a change.  There was a whole community of people who wanted to be free to move their bodies in a way that brings them fulfillment.  Like running, jumping, climbing, handstanding, cartwheeling, flipping... there's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't matter if you are old or young, you have a right to do that with your body.

Then the light bulb went off.  Hey... let's start a school.  Let's open a diversified movement and Parkour Gym and welcome all ages, and people.  The community NEEDS this.  And that is where the vision began.

5 years later, we have a beautifully diverse group of athletes and artists, of all ages, of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, doing their thing.  So let's all keep doing our thing, because it matters.  Us doing our thing creates a better world, a healthier world, and can be a catalyst for change and good.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

10 MUST READ BOOKS & RESOURCES for Athletes and Artists

Most of these recommendations are relevant to all areas of your life.  Some of them are mostly relevant to the courses and disciplines we offer at Free Flow Academy.  But even those specific Niche titles add a ton of value to the non-practitioner.  This list is not ranked by importance or relevance. With that said, here we go:

1) Get an Audible account:  Here's the thing, you'll be glad you did.  It just makes sense to make use of dead time.  Like when you are in the car, getting ready in the morning, taking a walk, ect.  You have access to thousands of titles, in every genre available.  Plus you have access to lectures!  Want to experience 12 weeks of lectures in Neuroscience or Biochemistry from a renowned University? Cool!  It will only cost you $14.95 a month.  It just makes sense.

2) Listen to podcasts:  So not exactly books.  But they are conversations, that are up to date - no need to wait for publishing, hubs for knowledge and inspiration.  Podcasts allow artists to discuss their ideas, as they are having them.  If you want to be on the cutting edge of fresh new ideas and perspectives, podcasts are the way to keep up.

3) The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.  This book explains how people achieve great talent.  It explores a variety of different cultures, and talent "hot spots" From Olympians, to musicians... this is a must read for anyone wanting to develop and master a craft of any kind.

4) Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman M.S.  Movement nutrition is a principle introduced by biomechanist and author Katy Bowman.  She explores the importance of giving your body the feedback it needs from a cellular level, she creates pain management solutions with simple straight forward approaches that every minimalist can appreciate.  

5) The Gift of Fear By Gavin De Becker - Fear can be a gift or a curse.  Learn to understand the difference.  This is the gist of the book.  The subject matter discusses survival signals to protect us from violence, but the underlying message can be applied to your own practical psychology.

6) Medical School for Everyone by Roy Benarock M.D. - This one is a no brainer.  If you had the opportunity to go to medical school, why wouldn't you?  This is a straight forward approach, in plain English, how doctor's investigate, treat, and diagnose illness and disease.  As an athlete, as an artist, as a human being - your health should be a priority.  And part of being proactive in your health is knowing how the system of health care works, as well as understanding the logic and science of health care providers.  This course is available on Audible.  Again, a great reason to sign up for Audible.

7) Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg- Science and reporting serves to help the reader create powerful habits that will give you the tools you need to be more productive and efficient.  Since Millenials are pretty much obsessed with being efficient, this is likely going to add a lot of value and effectiveness in your daily life.

8) Clinical Anatomy made Ridiculously Simple by Stephen Goldberg M.D. & Hugue Ouellett Studying human anatomy is a must for any athlete or artist.  How can you optimize your abilities and your function, if you lack an understanding for the vessel that carries you through this life?  Leonardo DaVinci is an example of an artist who understood the importance of knowing and understanding the human body.  He created a large body of anatomical drawings.  During the course of his work, Leonardo made many important discoveries, such as the first accurate depiction of the human spine.

9) Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins - Sculpt and create yourself.  Take an honest look at your reality and feelings, and discover what you need to change that reality into the vision of your dreams.  Tony Robbins is hands down an unstoppable catalyst for self awareness and accountability.  He has a unique skill to create experiences that lead to breakthroughs for people wanting to grow, change, become more self aware, and take massive action towards their goals.

10) Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) - Struggling with ANY subject in school?  Khan academy delivers simple explanatory videos on pretty much every subject you need to know.  Athletes and Artists need to be able to function in all aspects of their lives, keep up with grades, and research topics to enhance their abilities or supplement learning projects.

About Elle Beyer 

Elle got her start in the movement arts as a dancer, then later participated in competitive sports such as basketball, track and field, and swimming.  The daughter of a professional boxer, she was no stranger to the way of the warrior, having wrestled on her High School Varsity Team, and training in a variety of Martial Arts – Kung Fu being her greatest source of inspiration.  From 2002 - 2009 Elle worked as a stunt performer, and traveled the world working for companies such as ESPN, Fiat, FOX, ABC, and many more.  Elle went on to delve into sports journalism but found that was not her path.  In 2008, Elle and her husband decided to change gears and move to Nor Cal to raise their 4 active boys.  Shortly thereafter, they began training in Parkour.  In 2012 Elle Co-Founded Free Flow Academy with husband Lon Beyer and friend/partner Corey Romines.  Together they built the largest and most diversified Parkour gym on the West Coast.  Elle teaches workshops and seminars in Parkour, Martial Arts, and Self-Defense, and continues her work as an artist, a choreographer, and producer of creative projects. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Follow your Dreams and be Glad... it's Still Okay to Do That.

So hear me out, this blog post IS indeed, about a success story.  And it IS about following your dreams.  If you are a skeptic and reading this, before you allow the sarcasm to consume your thoughts, about how this is just another story about someone who quit their corporate job to follow their dreams and join the circus in the Caribbean... let me tell you... following your dreams is hard work.  Everything is work, in some capacity or another, energy spent, energy consumed, and energy traded.  So a dream, is being able to expend your energy in ways that bring you great joy, and fulfillment.

Coach Katie - after teaching Lyra at Free Flow Academy for nearly 2 years accepted a job with Cirque Du Soleil at Club Med in the Dominican Republic.  
Now... I'm not saying anyone and everyone should quit their jobs to go pursue their dream, or passion.  Life comes in various seasons, and sometimes it is our season to enter the grind, put in our hours, and go home.  But if you don't see yourself working the grind day in and day out for the rest of your life, you may want to consider exploring or developing a passion for something, and start your custom "Lifestyle Design".

I grew up playing organized sports.  I was a competitive athlete, and loved nearly every moment of it. And like many competitive athletes, you work hard toward goals to get a scholarship, or maybe even play professionally.  It wasn't until I was introduced to the Arts that I realized I was missing out on a whole other world.  And I transitioned from the world of being a Competitive Athlete, to a Movement Artist. Funny enough, my involvement in the Arts landed me a career as a Sports Newscaster for a cable television station in San Bernadino County.  It was interesting to see how so many children and professional athletes had ended up in sports, only because the parents hoped their child would get a scholarship. Even if the kids didn't like the sport, that's what they did. Sports was not fun, it was a job, a chore, a means to an end.  A thing you did because it might possibly lead to money, and success.  It was then that I realized that the whole point of sports is to teach important life lessons in a safe setting.

I remember interviewing a star athlete; he was prospective recruit from High School to the NBA.  He had absolutely no interest in talking about Basketball.  His only interest was girls, and that was that. This kid seemed to have it all, on the surface, but I could see his passion for Basketball had long subsided.  But even though his passion had dwindled, he was still going to receive an incredible opportunity, that would lead to more opportunities. Training can feel like a chore on many occasions, but I think if you have goals, and find a real, true passion that can carry you through the mundane and the difficult, the skies the limit on what dreams may come true.

We live in a First World.  And with that, comes an exercise of privilege.  Many of us, do get to follow our dreams and explore the things that make us happy, excited, and passionate about life.  What an incredible life and gift to be able to follow, create, and live our ideal! Everyone has challenges, and certainly limitations, but it would be a gross underestimation of our capacity to create, if we live in a mental state of limiting beliefs about ourselves.  It is a also a gross underestimation of our capacity to innovate if the voices we most often hear in our mind is that of sarcasm, and offense taken to those who promote following your dreams with enthusiasm.  You have to admit, in this swankin' First World, So much of what we need to survive, is readily available.  And everything we could ever want, to thrive, is at our fingertips.  So why not follow a dream?  Why not create your ideal day, day in and day out?

When Free Flow Academy was created, our vision was to bring together movement communities from all over the world to collaborate and create together.  When we look at our business model, we see that we are truly in the business of building up communities.  And with that, we have created a support network for our students, and clients to truly thrive.  We have had many clients and employees go on to do incredible things, like compete on American Ninja Warrior, or like Coach Katie, become a performer for Cirque Du Soleil.  Whatever your passion, or your dream, we're here to support you and help you achieve your goals.
Katie's skills and connection with the youth landed her a position that allows her to continue her career as a professional aerialist, but also a Cirque Coach for kids on holiday.  She has expressed that her life has achieved a balance full of beauty and rewarding connections.

And there is also this reward.  When Coach Katie isn't performing or teaching, she's enjoying the vastness of beauty in her natural surroundings.  Not a bad gig I would say.

Now, if you are feeling a slight twinge of jealousy, and thinking, maybe you need to get off your computer, or phone, stop reading this blog, and get moving on the things that really excite you, consider that their is a whole network of people that have goals, who are trying to get into shape, have fun, build a new skill, meet new people, and/or find a creative outlet... Sometimes we just need a fresh dose of energy in our lives, and other people and networks can be just the thing that provide that.  If you feel you don't have a passion, or a purpose, maybe it's time you surround yourself with people who do, and see what happens.

Consider that it's a lot more fun to share your experiences with others, and to allow yourself a little room for exploring and being creative on a solo quest, with the balance of a little friendly competition with your peers.  One thing I have found that I LOVE about the Movement Arts, is that there are no set positions to play, you get to explore all the avenues you want, and see for yourself, the opportunities that are out there.  And if the opportunity doesn't exist, well, you can create it.  When you put yourself out there, and don't allow yourself to be limited by the possibility of failure, and you approach your challenges, or lack thereof, with optimism, you find that you grow inside and out, you make new friends and connections, and you give yourself the tools to find balance, beauty, and joy.    

And hey, if you're looking to join the Circus, we have just the thing for you.  Check out our Circus Camp next week:

6/13 - 6/17 - Circus Arts (Aerial Arts, Poi, Acro, Sword Wielding, Facepainting)
12:30pm – Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include the following technical performance skills in the following order Mon - Fri: Balance, Poise, Stage Presence, Theatrics, Facepainting/Makeup application)
2:00pm – 2:15pm – Break/Snack/Open Gym
2:15pm – 3:15pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include the following:  Aerial Silks, Poi, Sword, Acrobatics, Performance ready!)
3:15pm – 3:30pm – Open Gym

We will have a performance for parents on Friday at 3:20pm

Knowing the Code - A Guide to Mental Awareness

Free Flow Academy works with thousands of youth each year, and what we have learned is that kids often need visuals in order to assist them with conceptual learning.  One of the things we are offering this year is our "Child Safety and Youth Achievement" summer camp.  This is an afternoon summer camp series that will teach kids the following principles in the realm of what it means to be mentally aware:

Our goal with this camp is to instill principles of situational awareness and develop skill sets such as threat analysis and risk calculation.  These concepts are useful in any scenario, including water safety, getting lost or separated from your group, fire and natural disasters, terrorist attacks, wild animal encounters, stranger danger, and more.

When it comes to "Stranger Danger", we've learned over the last 30 years, that "Stranger Danger" is not the most effective method of teaching kids about risks.  Statistics show that 93% of kids are victimized by people that they know.  39% of the time it is a family member.  We believe that empowering the kids, and teaching them to discern potential threats, as well as give them mental and physical tools, is the best way to keep our kids safe.

By playing games we can teach about the color code of mental awareness.  Having children as young as 5 be able to identify different colors and associate those colors with an emotion and mental state is a good way to instill principles of mental awareness.  Here is a brief summary of games we have developed and intend to use in our Child Safety and Youth Achievement Camp:

Game 1)  "Color Condition"

Objective:  To teach kids how to identify the "Color Conditions" and how that relates to mental awareness.  To teach how to quickly change your mental state in order to overcome any stressor that is introduced.  This is a fun and active game.

The Game:  This game is similar to "Red Light Green Light".  The kids line up and are taught that when "White" is called out, the kids drop to the ground and assume the "sleep" position.  When "Yellow" is called out, the kids stand up and are alert.  When "Orange" is called out they position themselves in the ready to run and hands up to defend position. When "Red" is called out, the kids sprint across the floor, until the next color is called out.  When "Black" is called out, the kids ball up and put their head down.

The goal is to associate "Condition Yellow" "Condition Orange" and "Condition Red" to be empowering states of being.  As the kids warm up to the association, we introduce "Stressors".

Stressor Variations:

A "Stressor" could be a coach dressed up in a Dinosaur suit, that hides and then jumps out to scare the kids during one of their Color Conditions.

Or it could be a a Coach armed with a foam noodle that intends to attack the kids, and if they get smacked with the foam noodle they have to do jump squats.

Another Stressor is that we will have the kids group up in teams, and the teams have to obtain a hidden object.  The ground rules are established ahead of time (such as, the team cannot separate and must stay together), but at some point the Coach will try to trick them and get them to separate or break the ground rules.  If  anyone breaks a ground rule, then the whole team has to do burpees.

Game 2) "Condition Yellow"

Objective:  To teach the kids the importance of staying in "Condition Yellow" as often as possible, as well as practice this mental awareness so that it will become an automated state of being. This is a fun and meditative game that brings lots of smiles and laughs.

The kids must sit in lotus position for 1 min - 4 min, depending on the age group.  The Coach has a foam noodle, and if a child falls out of condition yellow, the Coach "attacks" them with the noodle.  If the child blocks or dodges the noodle, then they don't have to do jump squats.  But if they are caught in condition white, and get smacked by the noodle, then they have to do jump squats.

There are lots of great programs online, books, and literature that give parents, teachers, and educators powerful tools to help keep their kids safe.  We have compiled some of those great resources below, for you to use and review.   Much of our programming is based on the resources we provide in this list.  If you have some other great resources you would like to share, please feel free to post in the comments!

Click the link to sign up for Free Flow Academy's Child Safety and Youth Achievement Camp, which takes place 6/20 - 6/24 & 7/18 - 7/22 from 12:30 - 3:30pm.

Child Safety Resources:









Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Summer Camp Schedule & Itinerary

Free Flow Academy Camp Rules
Know Before You Come!
All students are “Challenged by Choice” and will have the option of participating or sitting out.  If they choose to not participate in an exercise due to fatigue or injury, they can sit out of the exercise, or call their parents to be picked up.  We allow certain times for open gym, and students not participating in the exercises will not be eligible for open gym privilege.  Camps are designed for practicing and fine tuning the fundamentals, as well as allowing plenty of time for students to play and connect with each other.  Please have your child dressed in proper work out attire (comfort fitted shorts or pants, low soled shoes, and comfort fit tee or tank).  Please pack high calorie nutritiously dense snacks and/or lunch.  Students will train at a steady pace throughout the day.  It is not our goal to send them home considerably exhausted or fatigued, unable to come back the next day.  They will have vigorous training, as well as steady low impact training, creating a good balance that should be able to sustain them throughout the entire day, as well as the week.  Considering students are at varying fitness levels, we ask the students to pay heed to their own bodies signals, and to work at a challenging but sustainable pace.  If a student feels fatigued, they should not attempt new movements.  Proper hydration and caloric intake is a must throughout the day.  All other gym rules apply during camps.  Those rules can be found at the following link: http://freeflowacademy.blogspot.com/2016/02/new-member-rulessafety-orientation.html

Camp Itinerary

6/13-6/17, 7/25 – 7/29 – Parkour & Freerunning (Half Day/Full Day Schedule)
8am – Half Day (HD) Campers Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
9am – Full Day (FD) Campers Arrive/Half Day Campers take Break
9:15am – Skill Building Game
9:40am – Break
9:45am – Parkour Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
10:45am – Snack/Break/Open Gym
11:00am – Freerunning Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
12:00pm – HD Campers go home/FD campers take lunch break
12:30pm – Parkour & Freerunning Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
1:30pm – 2pm – Open Gym
2:00pm – 2:30pm – Game
2:30pm – 3:30pm – Conditioning & Flexibility

6/20 – 6/24 – Parkour & Tumbling (Half Day/Full Day Schedule)
8am – Half Day (HD) Campers Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
9am – Full Day (FD) Campers Arrive/Half Day Campers take Break
9:15am – Skill Building Game
9:40am – Break
9:45am – Parkour Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
10:45am – Snack/Break/Open Gym
11:00am – Tumbling Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Rolls, Cartwheels & Roundoffs, Front/Back Walkovers & Kickovers, Handsprings, Front/Back Tucks, Hand Balancing)
12:00pm – HD Campers go home/FD campers take lunch break
12:30pm – Parkour/Tumbling Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions, Rolls, Cartwheels & Roundoffs, Front/Back Walkovers & Kickovers, Handsprings, Front/Back Tucks, Hand Balancing)
1:30pm – 2pm – Open Gym
2:00pm – 2:30pm – Game
2:30pm – 3:30pm – Conditioning & Flexibility

7/11 – 7/15 – Parkour & Martial Arts (Half Day/Full Day Schedule)
8am – Half Day (HD) Campers Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
9am – Full Day (FD) Campers Arrive/Half Day Campers take Break
9:15am – Skill Building Game
9:40am – Break
9:45am – Parkour Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
10:45am – Snack/Break/Open Gym
11:00am – Martial Arts Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Threat Analysis, Conflict Diffusion, Straight Strikes, Hooking Strikes, Straight Blocks, Hooking Blocks, Standup Defense, Ground Defense, Hard & Soft Weapons)
12:00pm – HD Campers go home/FD campers take lunch break
12:30pm – Parkour/Martial Arts Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions, Threat Analysis, Conflict Diffusion, Straight Strikes, Hooking Strikes, Straight Blocks, Hooking Blocks, Standup Defense, Ground Defense, Hard & Soft Weapons)
1:30pm – 2pm – Open Gym
2:00pm – 2:30pm – Game
2:30pm – 3:30pm – Conditioning & Flexibility

8/1 - 8/5 - Intermediate/Advanced Parkour & Freerunning (Half Day/Full Day Schedule)
8am – Warm up/Open Gym Jam Session
9:15am – Game/Skill Challenge
9:40am – Break
9:45am – Parkour Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
10:45am – Snack/Break/Open Gym
11:00am – Freerunning Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
12:00pm – HD Campers go home/FD campers take lunch break
12:30pm – Parkour & Freerunning Skill Building (Stations will include any/either of the following skill sets:  Vaults, Bars, Acrobatics, Precisions)
1:30pm – 2:30pm – Open Gym Jam Session
2:30pm – 3:30pm – Conditioning & Flexibility

Specialty Afternoon Half Day Camps 12:30pm - 3:30pm Schedule

6/13 - 6/17 - Circus Arts (Aerial Arts, Poi, Acro, Sword Wielding, Facepainting)
12:30pm – Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include the following technical performance skills in the following order Mon - Fri: Balance, Poise, Stage Presence, Theatrics, Facepainting/Makeup application)
2:00pm – 2:15pm – Break/Snack/Open Gym
2:15pm – 3:15pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include the following:  Aerial Silks, Poi, Sword, Acrobatics, Performance ready!)
3:15pm – 3:30pm – Open Gym
We will have a performance for parents on Friday at 3:20pm

6/20 - 6/24, 7/18 - 7/22  - Child Safety & Achievement Course (Self Defense, Anti-Bullying using the "3T" method, Parkour & Ropes Course)
12:30pm – Arrive/Warm up/Game/Open Gym
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include skills and exercises in the following: Be Watchful of Tricky People (in life and on the web), Know the Code! MentalAwareness Exercise, Peer to Peer Conflict Diffusion with the “3T” method, Parkour Fundamentals, Martial Fundamentals)
2:00pm – 2:15pm – Break/Snack/Open Gym
2:15pm – 3:15pm – Skill Building (Days will Vary but will include the following:  Tactical Escape in a Vertical Environment, Stand up Defense, Ground Defense)
3:15pm – 3:30pm – Open Gym

Friday, May 20, 2016

Navigating the World of Body-Shaming. And Yes you CAN do Parkour and Whatever else...

As of late I have been pondering the many culture wars that are prevalent in our society. Rape Culture is a culture war that I have decided to get involved in, and become an advocate of justice and education through our Survival Science self defense program, which is the first of it's kind to incorporate fundamentals of Martial Arts and Parkour. But rape culture has bred some wicked offspring that have grown into something that is even more widespread and is grossly sickening. I would deem the offspring to be our society's habit of body shaming. Health, Happiness, and Well-Being come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Our bodies are divine gifts, that are one of a kind, unique organic machinery that is designed to survive and adapt to its environment. When I hear people say things like, "I hate my body" or "I wish I was skinny" or "I just want to lose weight"... It kills me. Stop shaming your body. Stop judging yourself. Stop allowing sick horrible ideas to control and influence your mind! Love your body for all that it is, and for all that it can do, for all that it can become. If you decide you are only going to love your body when you lose 30 lbs., that's like saying you are only going to love your children when they grow up and make something of themselves that will make you proud. Your body is one of the greatest gifts you receive in this life. Do not waste it. Do not judge it. Do not destroy it. Furthermore, do not tolerate anyone who disrespects your body. Advertisements that are passive aggressive attempts to shame you into buying into a mold is no different than a cruel joke or a snide remark that insults your body or image. Do not allow anyone to desecrate your image, your body, and ultimately your spirit. I think it's time to make a stand, to bring to light the destructive nature of body shaming. Let's move past this and ultimately conquer this war. Your body is not somebody else's property. You are not a tool for a predators gain. A predator gains control by strategically breaking down the victims confidence in themselves. No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. ‪#‎bodyshaming‬ ‪#‎culturewar‬ ‪#‎itstopswithme‬
Hmm... I suppose "How hot can I be?" is a question we should all be pondering.  And I certainly want to keep up with Kim and Khloe.  Hotness is a competition you know.  Or is that just my brain starting to melt?

Bravo.  Just Bravo.  At least we can take away that perfection lies within the construct of this relentlessly manipulated image.

Phew!  Thank goodness.  Real people doing real cool things.  And they come in all shapes and sizes.  That was a close one! Photo from Julieangel.com

Thank goodness for community.  Community and Friendship rather than judgement and competition based on skin deep standards?  YES!  I'll take it!!
Photo from Julieangel.com

Truly impressive.  And she was able to achieve this in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt?!?!
Photo from Julieangel.com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Movement. Artistry. Activism. The New Forefront of Health and Fitness Motivation

Movement. Artistry. Activism.  It's the New Forefront of Health and Fitness Motivation.  Millenials are making activism cool again, and there are a lot of reasons why we are seeing Post Modernism revival and how it is effecting every industry in America, including the health, fitness, and recreation industry.  Everyone has a cause, and everyone is looking to do more than what we did before.  Greener initiatives, more ethical standards, and efficiently using every ounce of energy we have to produce maximum results. The bikes we use in cycling sessions are producing clean energy.  Parkour isn't just a movement discipline, it's a way of life, leaving no trace.  

Team Neoflow leaves no trace in and around business parks, roads, and training areas.

It makes perfect sense.  Humans generate more energy every day than almost any other resource on the planet. Every movement we make is energy produced.  And it's a diverse road ahead on how new companies and innovations are going to create efficient ways of multi-tasking any and all energy produced by humans.  

Since we are already thinking outside of the box, what about using human innovations as platforms to effect change?  That is something human's have done for quite some time.  Athletes, Rappers, Musicians, Artists, Poets, Writers, Filmmakers, are using their craft, artistry, and innovations to spread messages about social change, political reform, substance abuse prevention, and much more.  Recently Free Flow Academy partnered with CALY (Coalition for Auburn and Lincoln Youth), and Auburn Hip Hop Congress, to promote an understanding that you can achieve a "Natural High" by pursuing a craft/passion of some kind, rather than turning to drugs or alcohol.  Placer County has a high concentration of substance abuse among the youth.  The reason for that is accessibility - we have the I-80, I-5, 99, and a multitude of corridors for drug and human trafficking.  It's depressing, but at the same time, the data shows that MOST youth are making good choices and choosing to concentrate on the things that are positive.   

What is also exciting is that more youth are getting involved in activism, and are recognizing that the fitness industry and media has deceived them into thinking that they have to fit a certain mold to be healthy.  Which is the opposite of the truth.  Health comes in all shapes and sizes.  Now that the youth are becoming more educated and aware of "Body-Shaming" marketing tactics, they are finding that they feel pulled to activities that promote health and fitness, with a worthwhile cause that is in alignment with their values.  Wearing minimalist shoes, for example, as well as getting involved with companies and organizations that share their vision of participating in socially and environmentally conscious pursuits.

Miss Elle speaking out at Auburn Earth Day Festival.  

Parkour is about adapting and overcoming your obstacles.  It's not about trying to destroy what's in front of you because it's in your way and challenging you.  It's not about you moving out of the way either.  It's about adaptation and change.  You have a wall in front of you, take a moment and observe that wall.  Build a relationship with that wall, and learn to respect the wall for what it is, what it stands for, and what it is designed to protect.  Then you take some time to change yourself, your body, your physiology.  YOU take the time to grow YOU.  And then, you teach the wall how you can co-exist, and help each other out.  That wall is your opportunity to be more than what you were yesterday, today, or a minute ago.  These are the life lessons Parkour gives us.

Activism doesn't have to be all seriousness.  Free Flow Academy puts on free workshops at a variety of events to promote positive change in a fun, friendly, community focused setting.  Pictured here is Coach Rob with Boys and Girls Club of Auburn.
Many students find they are not motivated by fame, fortune, looking cool, ect... With each generation we are seeing a trend of  youth seeking deeper meaning and purpose in their work and in their lives.  Technology and accessibility to information is creating a multitude of fragmented markets, incredibly diversified planes, and a need to explore more than what exists in mainstream culture.  Here team Neoflow students check out how DJing technology works, new ways of mixing music, and the process of local artists to create new and dynamic tunes.  Team Neoflow went out to the Boys and Girls Club to perform to music that was created on the spot.  We're looking at a trend where kids are not afraid to fail.  They want to explore, and to find out what works and what doesn't.

Miss Elle speaking at a substance abuse prevention assembly.  Here we have an opportunity to affect positive change, within our own lives, and in the lives of others.  We have so many options, so why waste those options on things that will not serve us?  Why waste our bodies, our minds, on choices that do not build us up to be stronger, better, faster, smarter?

One of the things we do at our presentations is that we put on a parkour and nun-chuck demo. People often wonder why I would spend so much time training in a self-defense weapon (nun-chucks) that is illegal to carry in California, the State in which I reside.  Many people consider this an enormous limitation.  But the way I see it, that very limitation is what makes this weapon so powerful.  I know I cannot carry it with me where ever I go for protection.  That limitation forces me to train in a way that allows me to put on a lens of resourcefulness and adaptability.  I have to think that whatever I am holding in my hand is a potential nun-chuck.  That could be a purse, a rope, a chain... I could put a rock in my sock and turn that into a nun-chuck.  My skills translate to anything and everything I put my hands on, and there is a fundamental understanding that I am the weapon, and anything I place in my hand is a tool to orchestrate whatever I need to protect myself or the ones I love.  What's more is that my limitations, give me LIMITLESS options.  We need to challenge molds and ideas that perpetuate limiting beliefs about ourselves and what we are capable of.  Often our limitations are the very thing that empower us, elevate us, and bring us to a higher plane of understanding.  With that said, raise your fist high and ACT. 

#substanceabuseprevention #Naturalhigh #bodyshaming #ecogym #greengym #artandactivism #parkour #nunchucks #selfdefense