Archives for March 2020

2 Simple Things To Help

I couldn’t think of what to write about today so my incredible wife (the star of the video you can find here: What Are We Going To Do?) suggested that I write about why I can’t think of what to write about.

I alway try to write my posts so that they have some sort of takeaway or angle that people can get something new from but with what is going on right now it seems like there is a lot of overwhelming information and stress and anxiety right now. It feels like anything that little old me has to say is kind of minor in the scheme of things.

Then I thought of my old apartment.

Bear with me. I promise there’s a point coming.

As a young guy living in a small apartment with my cat Sadie, there were times when maybe the overall neatness of it wasn’t quite top notch. Eventually it would start to irritate me a bit and I would actually get the urge to clean. When I’d think about where to start it would feel overwhelming (there’s that word again). What I would do in that situation was take a mental step back and just decide to pick up or clean one thing. It didn’t even matter what that thing was. Dust the TV, pick my jacket up off the floor. It didn’t matter because that one thing, whatever it was, would lead to the next thing. If I dusted the TV then I’d wind up dusting the stereo next to it. If I picked up my jacket I’d pick up whatever else was near it. One thing would lead to another and soon enough I’d have a clean apartment.

Still not with me? What I’m saying is that in these times when things are stressful and overwhelming it’s important to simplify. Do one thing at a time. It’s very easy to be paralyzed by everything.

Today I’m just going to give you two simple things that I hope will help get you through this.

1) Take a step.

In our online Castro Valley Fitness Community virtual meeting (it was supposed to be in-person, but you know the story) one of our members was talking about a project she was supposed to do that has been  put on indefinite hold, although it will have to finished sometime.

One of her big issues we’ve been helping her work through is her tendency to procrastinate. Having a project with no deadline isn’t helping with that. We asked her what the very next step is on the project and we put a deadline of this Friday for her to do it. In this Friday’s check-in (we do invidual check-ins every Friday) she has to report on her progress and let us know how she is going to break down the rest of the project.

The moral of the story? Just do the next thing. I’m paraphrasing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote here: Take the next step. You don’t need to see whole staircase.

2) Be OK with not being OK.

I don’t know too many people who are doing great at the moment. I don’t need to go into the reasons why. I don’t care how “together” you are or think you are, this sucks.

What will make it worse is thinking you need to figure out how to be OK with all of this.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT for short) teaches us the importance of “psychological flexibility”.

Psychological flexibility is defined as the ability to stay in contact with the present moment regardless of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, while choosing one’s behaviors based on the situation and personal values.

In other words, being OK with not being OK and behaving in accordance with that.

One thing that can help greatly with this is understanding that you’re not alone. motivation

Another thing that came up in our meeting yesterday is the role of social media. One of our members was starting to revert back to some old thought processes we’ve been working through due to some social media posts.

I’m not going to be someone who rails against social media as the root of all evil. To me, it’s a tool. Like a hammer or a baking sheet. Those are great if you need to nail a board together or make cookies, but not so great if you want to wash your clothes.

What I’m trying to say is that, for the most part everyone on social media looks they have it together. Don’t buy it. Everyone has problems. Especially now.

I hope this helps a little. Please let me know if you need help with anything else. I have time these days!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, Egoscue PAS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way





Friday Workout 1

Whenever you do work with the weight in just one arm you are working your core. In today’s workout we are going to cover your whole body in this fashion. Let me know if you have any questions.

30s for each exercise with weight in left arm

Rest for 30s then repeat with weight in right arm


Reverse Lunge

Freestanding One Arm DB Row

Straight Leg Deads

One Leg Stand

Friday Workout 2

This workout may be a little different for you today. If you’re anything like the people I’ve been hearing from there has been a lot of stress, sitting and just plain feeling bad right now. That usually leads to some different kinds of aches and pains or maybe just more of the ones you already have. I definitely experienced this myself. (You can read about it here: I Was Pretty Down)

These are the exercises I use as a general warm up with a little variation depending on what I’m doing that day. They are great at getting the body moving better and getting the muscles that should be working, working and the ones that should be releasing, releasing.

They come from Egoscue which is a form of exercise/physical therapy that focuses on full body posture and movement as a way to improve pain and performance. (I happen to be a certified Egoscue Postural Alignment Specialist.)

In any case this workout should take you about 20-30 minutes. If this is the first you’re doing some of these things you may not be able to do all the reps or hold for the entire time yet. (I’m thinking mainly of the Gravity Drop and the Supine Foot Circles/Point Flexes). That’s fine. Just do what you can and build up.

Here’s the video:

Static Back – 5 min

Gravity Drop – 3 min

Downward Dog – 1 min

Runners Stretch – 1 min each leg

Standing Quad Stretch – 1 min each leg

Upper Body Spinal Twist – 1 min each side

Supine Foot Circles/Point Flexes – 40 reps


Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, Egoscue PAS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way

I Was Pretty Down

Generally speaking I have a pretty positive outlook and attitude. I look at the bright side of people and things and situations. There have been some instances in my life where I think I’d have actually been better served taking a more negative view but on balance I feel pretty happy about my outlook.

All that being said, last week was very hard.

I’ve been down. There is just pain and confusion everywhere. For some reason when I went to the grocery store, seeing the completely empty paper products aisle was kind of upsetting. It’s like a sign of something being very wrong.

I started to feel some aches and pains in my left shoulder and right low back. The worst part was that even though I know what to do about it I couldn’t find the energy to get up and do it.

It’s a vicious cycle. The stress and depression cause the pain and the pain causes more stress and depression.

Saturday was pretty bad.

On Sunday I got up extremely stiff and just told myself that I was going to force myself to get a workout in and do the Egoscue moves that I know improve my aches and pains.

I did them and started to feel the cloud lift a little.

It has continued to lift and I’m feeling OK now. I know what I have to do and am doing it and that feels good. Just trying to make the best of a difficult and uncertain situation.

I guess I’m just writing this today to make sure that people out there know they’re not alone. Everyone I’ve talked to had a tough week last week. Everyone. I don’t have the absolute answer. I know we’re all in different situations but we’re going through this thing together. All of us.

We will get through it.

Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way


What Are We Going To Do?

We are all crazy right now!

Stressed and crazy.

If we’re not careful we are going to undo a lot of the good work we’ve spent days, months and years building.

Let me give you a few ideas on how to focus on what really matters during these tough times.

This will be over at some point! Let’s not let it get the best of us!

Over these next few weeks, look for a little more content from me. I will be posting a workout you can do at home each Friday until this is over and please let me know if you need to talk through anything whether you’re a member of Castro Valley Fitness or not. These are tough times and I want to help. Also, I have a lot more time right now!

Lastly, if there are any questions you have or anything you want me to cover, please let me know.

We will get through this!

Mitch Rothbardt

Castro Valley Fitness

2861 Grove Way


March Member of the Month – Rodolfo Hillen

It is our pleasure to recognize Rodolfo Hillen as the CV Fitness Member of the month.  Rodolfo has been a CVF member for 4 years.  He is married with two daughters, ages 15 and 11.  He is a Solution Architect for Amazon Web Services (AWS). He likes to read, movies, technology, travel and cooking.  Ask him about how to use a spice and he always has an answer.

He first came to CVF looking for a more personalized experience where he could get planned workouts, coaching and guidance.  He also wanted to avoid injury that can be caused by not using proper form when exercising.  He has seen improvement in his strength, flexibility and posture.

In the last year he suffered a bulging disc in his lower spine which caused severe pain in his sciatica.   He avoided surgery and after 6 weeks of physical therapy (after a month of being flat on his back), he was able to get back to the gym.  He feels that his time in the gym before the injury helped him during his physical therapy.  After returning to CVF his workouts included extended stretching and more which allowed him to get back 100%.  This experience has reinforced the importance of a healthy body and the ability to move well.

The three words that describes Rodolfo’s experience at CVF are “positive, supportive and community.”