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Saturday, August 24, 2013

let's talk about old people!

Oh, age. One of my favorite topics to rant about discuss.  I saw a birthday card yesterday (did not buy, because all the birthday cards I buy have either wiseass jokes or cute animals [or both] on them) that posited the question "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"  Oooo, deep.  See why I didn't purchase it?  Where's the sarcasm value in that?  N E Way, the answer in my case would be, like, 33.  I sorta kinda refuse to believe that I am any older than my mid-30s, all evidence to the contrary.  It's a mild shock every time I look in the mirror and see a tired old lady looking back at me or put my old-lady hands on a younger person's skin and observe the difference.

Mired in self-deception as I am, I am also brought up short when same-age friends actually think of themselves as old. A very good friend recently had to buy a new washer and dryer. The decision was fraught with drama for her because a.) money is tight and b.) she's not good with big purchases anyway. So she was asking me all kinds of questions about whether I was happy with the washer and dryer I bought back in, oh, 2006.  She was particularly interested in whether I liked my front loading washer.  She was a little leery of them...because, maybe, it would be hard to bend over to load and unload as she got older. Wut?  Luckily, she's a very good friend so I didn't have to pull any punches.  Dude, WTF? I asked.  You're buying this washer/dryer in 2013, so that sucker is not gonna last 30 years, and if you're worrying about being able to bend over to unload it ten years from now when you're 61, maybe your efforts would be better expended making sure you stay in shape enough to bend over to unload a washing machine rather than buying appliances that will be easier to use when you're decrepit.  I felt the same way I feel when I see people in their 50s or 60s in online home improvement forums (shut up, it's a vice) who refuse to buy houses or condos with two floors because they don't want to have to go up and down stairs as they get older.  Fuck that.  If I move out of this house, which has three floors including the unfinished basement, I swear I will buy a condo that has more than one story, just so I make sure I'm going up and down flights of stairs every single day of my life till I'm 95 or dead.  Use it or lose it! What do people not understand about that?

You'll be happy to know my friend saw my POV. She admitted that maybe she was overly influenced by all her elderly neighbors in her condo complex and that she probably ought to talk to younger people more often, hahaha.

^^^ That's the face I see when I look in the mirror these days, but damn, I can unload my washing machine and run up the freaking stairs.

Meanwhile in another online forum, someone made a tangential remark that BMI was actually well-correlated with health in younger women but not older women.  Tell me more! I said. But the commenter did not come back. Another poster took it upon herself to look it up for us, and apparently, in women over 60, BMIs over 25 are actually recommended.  Further research seemed to indicate that fatter old women are less likely to break a hip.  BRB, I said, on ten year bulk...  But it led to an interesting discussion.  Okay, maybe you're less likely to break a hip if you're overweight, but what about the health consequences of abdominal fat, which post-menopausal women are more likely to have?  And can it possibly be good to suddenly put on a bunch of weight in your late 50s/early 60s just to get over that BMI 25 mark, if you've been sitting at 20 or 22 before that?  And how does having more muscle mass and a superior body composition to the average over-60 sedentary person effect any of this?  That last question seems crucial to me.  What is the population of the women in these studies?  I'm betting they draw more from the pool who are afraid to bend over to get their pants out of the laundry than the minority who are still running up the stairs.

In summary, blah blah blah.  Wear your sunscreen and use eye cream every day, kids, or you'll look like me and lolcat.  And remember to keep the door of your front loader open so it doesn't get stinky in there.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

oh, look! a post!

I know, I know.  Content has been sparse, but your blog hostess has been having a very busy, stressful month.  

Being as how I love you all and want to keep entertaining you but am too braindead to actually, y'know, write anything intelligent or amusing, I thought I would post up a little pictorial evidence of how lifting ze weights changes ze body.  I have a set of pictures of me in the same dress and shoes, taken in front of the same wall, three years in a row.  They're interesting, I think.   

2011, approximately 113 lbs, just starting bulk #1:

2012, also approximately 113 lbs, in the middle of a cut, post (aborted) bulk #2:

2013, approximately 118, during bulk #4:

Obviously the dress fits me best in the 2012 photo.  But I'm kinda thinking I like the current version of my body, with the extra weight on, a bit better.  Maybe.  In any case, please just note my ass is two inches higher than it used to be.  They don't call it squat booty for no reason.  (Take that, gravity!)  I wish I had a comparable set of pictures that showed my shoulder/trap evolution, because that's pretty dramatic as well.

I highly recommend doing this experiment if you're training even in the slightest way for aesthetics.  Take some pictures in the same clothes, in the same place, in the same pose, six months or more months apart.  You will see differences and changes that you might not appreciate in the mirror.  Try it!


Thursday, August 1, 2013


One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is the ability to "meet" people from all over the world who share your own particular interests and obsessions, which is especially cool when those people turn out to be quite different from you in ways other than your shared interest and you'd have never crossed paths in any other fashion.

Thus it is that your blog hostess, a city girl so bone-urban that she can tell you how to get anywhere on the T and who is deeply uncomfortable when there's not a CVS in walking distance and who thinks that living far enough from one's neighbors that they wouldn't hear you scream if an ax-wielding maniac broke in is deeply unwise, has become online friends with a lovely weightlifting lady who lives on a farm in Texas and recently asked if she'd ever tried "uneven farmers walks."  Not yet! your blog hostess replied, but they're on the list after reading this article.  Come to find out, Actual Weightlifting Farmer didn't know uneven farmers walks were actually "a thing."  She's only forced to do them when feeding her pigs, because she's carrying a bucket of grain and a bucket of milk and the milk invariably weighs more. Her degree of difficulty is added to by the random cows and chickens that get in her way, attempting to hijack her buckets.  Which is probably more charming than the clueless teenage bros who step right in front of one while farmers walking in the Y.  But I say that as a clueless city girl. Maybe cows and teenagers are equal in their ability to be annoying.

Anyway! I've been farmers walking like it was the key to besting ax-wielding maniacs, kids.  I started a couple years ago when Liz suggested it as a grip enhancer. I continued because it was fun.  I ramped it up after surgery when, as documented, any kind of deadlift movement was off the plate because of my ab weakness and I was looking for ways to add direct trap work.  Heavy farmers walks blast my upper traps in such a way that I swear they are more responsible for my liking how my shoulders look these days than anything else.  My basic move is akin to this guy:

Then, in my quest to build my core strength back up, I discovered the waiters carry:

And then a friend, knowing how enamored I am with the above, sent me that T-Nation article I linked y'all to and since then it's been ALL OVER. I'm doing the one-armed variations.  I've tried the uneven farmers walk (as vouched for by actual farmers, yo!)  And after I reported one of my workouts in number of steps and another friend said she at first misread that as my having farmers-walked up stairs, I've been experimenting with that too.  Yesterday? Up and down a (13 step) flight of stairs ten times while carrying two 25lb kettlebells. Objectively speaking, I gotta say I'm impressed with my bad self for carrying 50lbs up and down 10 flights of stairs without, y'know, having to die afterwards.  I also impressed myself last week when I realized that 4 laps around the perimeter of my gym while carrying the 35lb kbs lasts about minute more than White Wedding, a 4:11 song.  Walking for five minutes straight while carrying 70lbs?  When you weigh 118 pounds yourself?  NOT BAD.  That's not even humble bragging, kids, it's straight up bragging. Deal.

Also? Do farmers walks. They really will help make you strong and fit.