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Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Welcome back to FOURWORDS by TORIAL Media. Each issue, expect to see our take on fitness, wellness, and cultural topics. Next up: fitness certification superlatives, lifting heavier stuff at home, and exercise as a spiritual practice.

A word on…the alcohol-free movement

Recently, I discovered Surely non-alcoholic Pinot Noir and while it’s admittedly not quite the same thing as the real deal, it’s definitely closer than, say, a cup of chamomile tea as a substitute.

And it seems I am far from alone in my pursuit of drinking less, but not entirely cutting it out. Here are three other signs this trend that's been budding for a couple of years is going full-blown mainstream:

  1. On a stroll through NYC’s West Village the other day, I noticed a new store front—Boisson—which looks almost like a regular wine/liquor store, but chicer. Upon closer inspection, it only sells non-alcoholic beverages.

  2. One of our go-to nutrition experts, Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, just sent me a pitch for her upcoming book, CRAFT: The Eat Fit Guide to Zero-Proof Cocktails. Kimball was inspired by the annual 40-day alcohol-free challenge that her team of Eat Fit dieticians hosts through Ochsner Health. After seeing before and after labs and physical metrics from thousands of participants, the results (from improved liver enzymes and body comp to reduced cholesterol) led her to seek out healthy swaps. The 50+ recipes in the book are iterations of bartenders' favorite “real” cocktails, making them much more imaginative than the generic virgin spritzes she got when asking specifically for booze-free recipes. And all of them are low or no sugar, sweetened only with plant-based natural sweeteners. FOURWORDS subscribers can get 20% off the book with code TORIAL.

  3. In addition to ordering the Surely wine, I signed up for an app called Sunnyside, a service that bills itself as a way to help you cut back on drinking "with no pressure to quit." According to them, 146 million U.S. adults drink alcohol, and 47% want to cut back. Pretty telling!

-Caitlin Carlson, TORIAL co-founder

A word on…a few favorite fitness credentials

NASM. ACE. ACSM. NSCA. CSCS. If you’ve ever looked into becoming a certified personal trainer (or actually went through the process), these probably sound familiar to you. They certainly do to me—over the last several months, I’ve been building up my knowledge of the various fitness certifications that are out there, from CPT to yoga teacher credentials and everything in between. Below, just a few *potential* cert superlatives—and plenty of others captured my attention, too.

  1. Most Demanding Advancement Criteria: The USA Triathlon coaching certification pathway stands out as one that’s pretty intense. Just to get to Level I, you have to complete a series of core coaching courses. And one of the eligibility reqs to move on to Level II is to have earned at least eight Professional Advancement Units. To give you an idea of what that entails, take these examples: Having a doctorate in sport science or 10+ continuous years as a Level I Certified Coach is worth just three PAUs.

  2. Most Creative Curriculum: I’m still most intrigued by the Rockstar Spinning Instructor Certification. This is one of four instructor certs offered by Spinning, and it’s meant to teach you about exercise science as well as guide you toward becoming “the instructor that everyone lines up for.” Some curriculum highlights that sound like a genuinely good time: choosing music for playlists, using visuals, and diversifying your language for a mind/body experience.

  3. Most Unique Continuing Education Process: It’s common (and encouraging) to see recertification and continuing education requirements for fitness certs. But the continuing education process for UESCA (United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy) certs stood out in a positive way. Essentially, UESCA coaches have three options: take an online recertification exam and pay a fee, take another UESCA course, or write a paper on an endurance sports-related topic of your choosing. Here’s the rationale behind that third option: “It is our belief that individuals are more inspired to learn and retain information when the subject is something they are genuinely interested in and are an active part of the learning process.” I love that sentiment and appreciate UESCA’s demonstrated interest in facilitating their coaches’ learning.

-Erin Warwood, TORIAL managing editor

A word on…lifting heavier stuff at home

I love going to the gym, but sometimes I like home workouts too. I’ve got a pull-up bar, bands, a stability ball, foam rollers, percussion therapy guns, infrared mats, and more scattered throughout the place. But I recently added three new pieces of equipment, courtesy of our friends at Titan Fitness and Spartan. Titan Fitness makes quality equipment at an affordable price and they’re also the official equipment provider of Spartan and DEKA, two brands we work very closely with.

When the weather is nice here in the northeast, I like to get more workouts outside, but I needed a little bit more weight than I typically have around and wanted some things that were a little different. At the same time, they needed to be relatively mobile or easy to bring to the pool, toss in the Jeep, or carry down to the beach.

Here are the three pieces I went with, why, and how I’m using them for my home workouts.

A pair of 40-pound dumbbells

I’ve always loved a good pair of 40s. For my weight and level of strength, it’s a nice pair to have. While I do have 15s and 20s as well, those are usually a little too light in a lot of instances. Sure, I can slow the tempo down and do eccentrics on a lot of exercises, but the 40s are a nice challenge. It’s not like getting under a heavy barbell, or ripping a heavy barbell off the floor, but it’s still relatively heavy. I typically do lots of variations of squats, rows, deadlifts, floor presses, and more.

A single 53-pound kettlebell

I absolutely love this kettlebell. Similarly to the dumbbell situation, it’s great for my own weight and level of strength. If I want to do some single-leg deadlifts or single-arm rows, now I have something that’s a bit heavier than the 40-pound dumbbells. I also enjoy doing goblet squats, sumo deadlifts, and swings with it. Speaking of swings, doing them with a super light kettlebell is awkward, it’s nice to have some weight on it. This one does the trick for me.

A 40-pound slam ball

This is a relatively new piece for me in general. I never used a slam ball or dead ball much until my participation in a DEKA event. I like to do lunges, squats, and shoulder overs. They are awkward, and that’s the point. I like getting stronger in awkward positions because I feel like it helps me mitigate injuries to some extent. I basically want to be as strong as possible in as many different positions as possible. For example, a squat with a slam ball is a lot different than one with a kettlebell or dumbbell. And the shoulder overs are an excellent power and endurance exercise that the slam ball is perfect for. This is a fun, and effective new addition.

For three of my favorite workouts using each of these pieces, check out my new blog on

Disclaimer: Titan Fitness gifted us this equipment. This is not a sponsored post and we do not receive any commission on any sales.

-Mike Simone, TORIAL co-founder and creator of humanfitproject

The way I view workouts is almost like a spiritual practice. So, my advice is to be more mindful in terms of connecting to your body while you're moving. People are often focused on just getting their workouts done, but your workout can be so much more of a mental practice—it can help you appreciate your body and how it shows up for you on a daily basis, even when you’re feeling fatigued. In my experience, the easiest way to do this is to bring your attention to your breathing.

DISCLAIMER: This content is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It’s not intended as medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.

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