We went to the pool first, because going to the pool once before I get gone was the goal. With the very principle of play at stake.

I appreciate the way the lifeguards work. Hard, to keep everyone safe. Strict, but some rules make sense.

And many don’t. I tend to mostly agree with the pool rules, though.

This #NeighborhoodWorkoutGroup rendezvous was our final in this location! South Philly will continue to go strong through the summer — if you want to swing through, email me and I’ll get you in on the details. (As always, it’s free.)

“What are the most beautiful things about you?” I asked her.

It was a pull from Abiola Abram’s goddess affirmation deck: Gnowee, the Australian Aboriginal Goddess of Tears/Emotions. Symbols: yams, sun, food, sadness, motherhood.

“I recognize the divinity in me” in larger type, just above the illustration. A mantra. It was Abram’s questions that got me.

I am going home to Iowa this summer, packing up and saying goodbye to this three-year nest and welcoming what’s next. What’s next?

I’m excited to see what #NeighborhoodWorkoutGroup looks like there.

I answer that I am sensitive, and that means I learn a lot. My friend Erin (cofounder of Ferine says I am good at figuring out what we are playing for, and sorting teams. These feel related.

I don’t mean that there is rivalry. There needn’t be. Love is the answer. And finding joy and community, even in struggle.

I answered, too, that I am good at believing in people, in appreciating the genius and gifts of them. I am a hype person.

“Are you as much of a hype person for yourself?” she asked.

I cried.

I cried in part because my grandfather is dying, and I love him so much. Everyone does. He is like that. I cried for a lot of reasons, and felt better during and after. Beforehand I am starting to notice that the sensation is that of a lot of birds flying around inside my torso. Damani and I talked about birdfeeders, and feeding the birds so that they settle and roost. Nest.

A time of fecundity, especially so.

Abiola’s Goddess Lesson: 

What are the most beautiful things about you?

How would your life be different if you decided that you no longer need fixing?

What if you embraced what is working for you instead of picking apart what isn’t?


You are a creative expression of the power of the Universe. Welcome this thought with the essence of Gnowee, Australian Aboriginal Goddess of Emotions.

(That deck is on sale.)

Double-Birthday Delight
Happy happy birthdays, Kirby (26) and Steph (31)! Cancers and feelings 4ever.

Equipment: Dumbbell(s) or Kettlebell(s)//
tote possible to do with just one

Pairing 1
(3 Rounds)
60:31 Work-To-Rest Ratio
1) Kettlebell Goblet Squat
2) Kettlebell Jerk (or Push Press: Left
3) Kettlebell Jerk (or Push Press): Right

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

  • Stand holding a kettlebell at your chest by the outside handles (the horns), and support some of its weight with your forearms and chest.
  • Initiate the squat by pushing your butt backward and bending your knees.
  • Keeping your torso upright and your knees in line with your toes, lower yourself as far as you are comfortably able. (If it’s not very far, adjust your foot position and try turning your toes slightly outward, but don’t force anything.)
  • Again keeping your knees in line with your feet, return to the starting position. Repeat.

Kettlebell One-Armed Jerk 

  • Clean a kettlebell to the racked position, against the outside edges of your chest and, thumb pointing back toward or against your body. The kettlebell should be resting on the back of your wrist, and your wrist should be straight.
  • Keeping your chest upright, dip slightly at the knees.
  • Immediately reverse the movement, extending your hips and knees explosively to launch the kettlebell upward. Note: This step is not pictured! Picture extension of your back, tips, knees, and ankles. Think standing as tall as you can, popping the kettlebell and sending it upward. Become an arrow shooting straight up.
  • As the kettlebell clears the top of your head, quickly bend your knees and drop your hips slightly, simultaneously straightening your arm fully overhead. (Mantra: Dip, Drive, Duck!)
  • Stand up with the kettlebell overhead, then carefully return the weight to your front rack position. Repeat.

Kettlebell One-Armed Push Press 

  • Clean a kettlebell to the racked position, against the outside edges of your chest and, thumb pointing back toward or against your body. The kettlebell should be resting on the back of your wrist, and your wrist should be straight.
  • Keeping your chest upright, bend slightly at the knees, then stand up quickly, using the power from your hips and legs to move the kettlebells quickly overhead.
  • Use the strength of your arms to finish the movement, completely locking out the kettlebells overhead.

Pairing 2
(2 [to 3] Rounds)
50:26 Work-To-Rest Ratio
Hand-to-Hand Kettlebell Swing
Alternating One-Handed Stiff-Legged Sumo Deadlift
Tight Rotations

Kettlebell Hand-to-Hand Swing

  • Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you, gripping the handle with one hand only, your butt high in the air and knees bent in an athletic stance.
  • Hike the kettlebell high up between your legs, slightly straightening your legs as you do this.
  • Quickly stand up, using the power of your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to “float” the kettlebell up to about shoulder height, taking care to keep your shoulders pulled back and down. (Don’t let the kettlebell pull your chest forward.) Your body should form a straight line from head to heel as the bell reaches the top of the swing.
  • Reverse the movement by pulling the kettlebell back down, staying upright as long as possible before you push your hips backward and swing the kettlebell high between your legs. Keep your chest up as you do so. Someone across the room should be able to read the writing on the front of your shirt throughout the movement.
  • Once you reach the bottom part of the swing, reverse the movement by using the power of your posterior chain to pop the kettlebell forward and up.
  • The kettlebell should be “weightless” at the top of the swing. Just as it reaches its apex, before the kettlebell starts its descent, quickly switch the hand holding onto the handle.
  • Repeat swinging for the desired number of reps, always switching hands quickly at the very top of the swing.
  • When you’re ready to stop, gently park the kettlebell on the floor in front of you after a backswing.

Alternating One-Handed Stiff-Legged Sumo Deadlift

  • Place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet and stand over it with a wide stance — feet about a shoulder and a half to two shoulder-widths apart, and turned out slightly. (A good width for you is when your shins are vertical when your hands are gripping the kettlebell.)
  • Push your butt backward to hinge at the hips and slightly bend your knees until you grip the the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  • Keep your back flat and push the floor away to stand up with the weight, keeping your upper arms close to your sides during the ascent.
  • Stand tall with your shoulders back and your chest up at lockout. Return the kettlebell to its starting position between your feet on the ground and switch hands. Repeat.

Tight Rotation

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight.
  • Extend your arms in front of your chest and press the palms of your hands firmly together.
  • Keeping your palms pressed together, your hips facing forward (keep them as still as possible!), your abs braced, rapidly rotate your upper torso left and right so that your hands oscillate as fast as possible between two imaginary walls at each shoulder. (The speed, or intended speed is what’s important here — go for those tight turnaround times to stimulate core musculature.)

Pairing 3
(3 Rounds)
30:15 Work-To-Rest Ratio

1) Bodyweight In-and-Out Squat
Bodyweight Stay-Low In-and-Out Squat (an option I spotted on @PrettyHealthyAndThick’s IG page)
2) Side Shuffle

Bodyweight In-and-Out Squat

  • Start standing tall, your feet together and arms relaxed at your sides.
  • Quickly hop your feet out to whatever squat stance feels comfortable for you that day (could be wider, could be more narrow), while simultaneously lowering your hips and keeping the weight high at your chest.
  • Immediately when you reach the bottom of a squat position, hop back to your starting position, bringing your arms down and your feet close together again. Make sure your knees remain tracking in line with your outside toes all the way down and all the way up.
  • Repeat for desired repetitions.

Bodyweight In-and-Out Squat

  • Same as above, but don’t pop up: Stay down!

Side Shuffle

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart. Lower yourself into an athletic stance by pushing your hips back slightly while keeping your chest up and raising your slightly arms in front of you, elbows bent to about 90 degrees or so.
  • From this position, initiate movement by leaning to one side without twisting your head or chest. Be a little teapot. As you lean, quickly side step in that same direction while keeping your toes pointed forward.
  • Continue sidestepping, without letting your feet come together to touch.
  • Travel the distance you prefer, then reverse directions.
Unapologetically Strong’s founder, Jen Sinkler, is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and personal trainer who has been working in the fitness realm since 2003. Her goal is to foster a fitness space that allows people to explore a variety of fitness pursuits, connect in ways that honor all aspects of their identities, and generally flourish as their strongest selves.