Getting Creative | Zo Northcutt on the Home Training Diaries
In this Home Training interview, Premium Plan client Zo Northcutt — training with Maddy Cope — talks us through the struggles she has had to deal with training at home, how she has gotten both creative and mindful to make her training more interesting, and fun antics from climbing over tables, piggy-backing her partner doing squats to naked hangboarding!
How have you found training at home compared to your pre-corona schedule?
Training at home is so different! I have learned so much about myself during this process. Training at the gym is compartmentalized for my mind. Everything is in one location and all I need to do is show up. I would tell myself this to get out the door as I struggle with time management. Being at home requires a different kind of focus and ingenuity. This is not entirely bad though! I get to be creative and that engages me in a way I truly enjoy. I can play my music aloud instead of using headphones, I can train in my pjs or sans clothing entirely! I miss the social aspect of the gym, but also really enjoy the peace and the personal process of training at home alone.
How has having a coach to adapt your training helped you during this time?
Having a coach has been a tremendous help! It’s so important to be seen and validated. I love sending photos and videos to Maddy to share my progress and silly antics. Training for me has been a very personal process, and now with being so isolated it’s really sweet to share my experience with my coach. Equally important though, is her guidance and help structuring my plan. With being at home, so many of the exercises have been conditioning based as it’s what I have access to. For me, this all looks like a big blur with no real outstanding priorities. I felt so lost and overwhelmed. Maddy helped demonstrate schedule options making it easier for me to come up with plans that work well for me. She provided many examples of how I can complete exercises at home with limited resources and still get the most out of each session. I don’t think I would be able to train without her support during this time.
What’s your favourite home training session and why?
I have a few that I really enjoy. I love anything involving the TRX. There is so much you can do with such a simple set up. I like how mentally engaging it is as I focus on having proper form. I video tape myself and watch between sets while I am learning new exercises. I love the mindfulness of honing in on details as I try to envision my body in space. I watch the video and make adjustments as I try to feel even the slightest of differences.
Even more than TRX, I love 5 on 3 off for similar reasons except I get to do it on rock! I have been so fortunate in that our mountains have remained open during this time. I struggled with the ethics around continuing to climb and decided to only go to nearby bouldering areas when there is nobody else there and/or to create my own problems on undeveloped boulders along my hiking trails. I find that doing 5 on 3 off is a fantastic way to work on creating a circuit and practicing route reading. I love focusing on each movement. What does the rock feel like under my fingers, how does my body feel with each small shift of weight, change of hand position etc. I can become engrossed in allowing my body to experience the smallest details and I focus on experiencing the joy of movement. It’s simply divine.
Have there been any challenges you’ve faced whilst training and have you managed to overcome them?
Oh most definitely! I started this training program in order to better cope with some of my own personal challenges in fact. I have been in treatment for a brain tumor who I have named Fred. Fred caused me to have personality changes, hormone imbalance, thyroid problems, memory loss, migraines, and cortisol imbalance (which means my body was unable to regulate it’s flight or fight reactions). All of this was happening when my mom had a heart attack and passed away suddenly last May. I decided I needed some structure and guidance while I recovered physically and emotionally, so turned to Lattice.
Maddy has helped to tailor my program to my body’s needs as I recover, while also making me feel totally capable and cheering me on. She has even gone as far as to map my training schedule to my menstrual cycle, which I think is a huge help for anyone who has a period, but especially helpful while I am in a hormone replacement therapy.
Another challenge I have faced specifically during COVID, as I mentioned previously, are the ethics of climbing at all. I stay close to home within cell range, I do only low ball and/or traverse routes. I commit to leaving if there are too many people there no matter if my heart is set on an area. Lastly, I play in areas that are undeveloped and make up my own circuits. This process has been the most rewarding.
Lastly, and perhaps more subtly, I have faced the challenges of motivation to do exercises that are not so exciting to do alone at home. To help with this, I try things like wearing fun outfits, a sparkling yellow tutu, or a favorite band t-shirt. I have started syncing my hang boarding training with an Instagram live stream hang board training session put on by the owner of Coral Cliffs rock gym in Florida. I love working out with them, and feeling a part of a community even from such a distance.
Do you have any interesting or creative at-home setups that have worked well for you?
I do! My favorite thing right now is my homemade bar for weighted squats. My partner made it for me from a wooden dowel and we use clamps and wooden blocks that are fastened to the bar to keep the weights in place. I have climbed around my dining room table to do laps when I don’t go up to the mountain which is a ton of fun.
Lastly, we have a wooden structure in our back yard for plants, sort of like an archway or gazebo. We have nailed wood pieces to it so I can work on dynamic movement across the structure and hung wooden dowels (kind of like ice axe handles) from it to do pull ups in different grip positions.
Do you train with anyone in your household and is that fun/helpful?
Yes! My roommates and partner will sometimes join me in an ab workout, or cheer me on and play encouraging music for me. I love the partner ab exercise Tom posted on YouTube! It’s so much more fun to do abs with a friend.
In order to find my max squat weight, my roommate, Rachel, piggy backed onto me with additional weights in hand. We had a grand time laughing at how silly we looked but it worked!
What has been your funniest training at home moment so far?
Oh goodness… Well, as I mentioned, one of the benefits of being at home is not having to get dressed up for training, or dressed at all. haha! So, my hang board is out in our shed in the backyard. We have fairly high fences and so a nice private yard. I decided one day to be “cheeky” and do some naked hang boarding as that’s something I could never do at the gym. I was half way through my session when I noticed our neighbor was on his roof! I laughed so hard but wouldn’t come off the board, I was committed to finishing the exercise!