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Friday, September 13, 2013

don't believe your eyes + a NEW gym complaint

First of all, an oldie but a goodie.

Next time you get depressed because you're comparing yourself to the people in the supplement ads/fitspo or because you've been working out faithfully for 8 whole weeks yet you don't look like those success stories you see online or in the infomercials or because you've been taking progress pictures in your underwear with your cell phone camera in your poorly lit bedroom and you just look at them and go "meh", think of this video and realize real life and bullshit are two different things.

Now, on to gym complaining.

Those, people, are gym towels.  At my gym, you ask the nice person at the front desk for one and they'll happily hand one over.  Once you have this rectangle of white terrycloth in your possession, you can do several things with it. You can put it on a bench or machine you are using to absorb your sweat. That's a good thing.  You can lay it down on the mat you are stretching on, because lord knows how often the gym cleans those things.  That is also a good thing.

Or you can use it for its most traditional function: you can use it to dry yourself off after going in the pool or taking a shower.  Why, yes, it will soak up the H2O clinging to your body. There's no need to walk about the bathroom area of the locker room letting yourself air dry and leaving quarter inch deep puddles of water on the floors of the stalls or in front of the sinks for other people to step in and for the gym employees to have to wipe up.  Grrrrrr.  Dry your goddamn feet and legs off, bitches, and don't drip everywhere. Do you do that in your bathroom at home?  I doubt it.

Okay, I feel better now. Venting about rude people is so therapeutic.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

the gospel according to Bitty Bro

In our last installment, I said "I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway."  (Quoting oneself--first sign of being a douche?)

This got me thinking. I do however have a few firm beliefs about diet/exercise/the human body that I have stuck with for at least a few years and from which I cannot be swayed, evidence or not to the contrary. Want to know what they are?

1.) Stretching your fascia is much more important than stretching your muscles. Think about it. Your muscles are shrink-wrapped in fascia. You can stretch them all you like, but if the fascia around them is restricted, they ain't going anywhere. This is why I am such a big proponent of stuff like myofascial massage, yin yoga, and foam rolling. Happy fascia means a more pain-free body.

2.) As topical anti-inflammatories go, arnica is the shiz.

3.) NEAT--or rather lack thereof--is why Americans are fat.  I have a friend, a powerlifter, who has a physical job that requires a great deal of walking.  She usually records over 20,000 steps a day on her bodymedia fit and has hit 30,000.  (The average American takes around 5000 a day.)  She also requires well over 3000 calories a day to maintain her weight.  Her always-dieting friends drool with jealousy when she posts up pictures of the, like, entire pizzas she eats, but the fact is, if we were all taking 20,000+ steps a day, we could be eating a lot more calories without weight gain or health consequences.  Unfortunately, a lot of people by necessity or choice or a combination of both live lives where they drive to work, sit at their desks for 8 or 10 hours, drive home, then collapse in exhaustion in front of the tv or computer, lives where they don't have the opportunity to walk for transportation, or would never think of it. Meanwhile, they live in an environment where there is delicious, high-calorie food everywhere. So they are either miserably dieting all the time or they are putting on weight. A lot of public health campaigning seems to hinge on eliminating or resisting the delicious high calorie food. Fuck that. Delicious food (and beer) is delicious. We'd all be better off, physically and mentally, if we were burning enough calories a day that we could eat delicious food unscathed. It's not food that's the enemy, it's the sedentary lifestyles we are either forced into or choose.

4.) However, since most Americans are sedentary, the easiest way to lose weight is to cut the hell out of your carbs.  Carbs are not the devil. When you work out a lot, carbs are actually really necessary and helpful. But if you don't need them to fuel your workouts, you can cut out all/most of the grain-type carbs and lose weight pretty painlessly. Hell, if you actually go keto, you won't even be hungry. And if you're sedentary, fat, and insulin-resistant, it'll even be good for you.

5.) Whatever you do for exercise/fitness is better than doing nothing. You will never see me sneering at "cardio bunnies."  I have mad respect for the 70-something aqua aerobics ladies and the little old guys at the Y who sit on the exercise bikes occasionally pedalling but mostly talking.  I don't mock crossfitters and their kipping.  Run, jog, walk, hike, bike, swim, play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, do Jillian Michaels vids, go to Pilates, go to vinyasa yoga, do Bikram, do MMA...whether or not it's anything I do or would ever do, if you are a physically active person, I respect your efforts to take care of your body in ways that give *you* pleasure.  Anyone who thinks their way is the only way needs to bite me.

And thus spake Bitty Bro.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

fitness blog frauding

I counted yesterday.  I worked out a whole nine times the month of August and twelve the month of July. This is contrasted with my normal average of eighteen times a month--which only includes weight training, which I track. At times that I've been really working on my fitness, there are sometimes cardio-only or yoga days along with those eighteen weight sessions. Needless to say, neither of those things happened this July or August.  I don't think I've actually been to a yoga class since March and I can't remember the last time I went to the gym for an extra cardio day.


OTOH, there's something to be said for being a bad example.  Or at least an imperfect one.   Just as I think it does some kind of a service for me to post pictures that make plain that I do *not* look like one of those twenty year old girls with their fitspo tumblrs and perfect cellulite-free asses, it may be a service to say, hey, I value my fitness and I love working out, but sometimes life gets in the way...AND THAT'S OKAY. Working out only 21 times in two months hasn't led to losing all mah gainz.  Working out only 21 times in two months hasn't made my muscles fall off and I can still sprint to catch a bus. (If I'm not wearing flipflops. Damn flipflops.)  Perfect is the enemy of good. Etc etc.  

That's not to say I don't feel better (bettah!) when I'm getting to the gym more often, but that's as much a function of getting to the gym more often equating with more free time and less stress as it is with the actual benefits of exercise.  I think.  Did I just commit heresy?

You know what I'm like.

Meanwhile, I just starting reading (okay, skimming) this book.  I think it's gonna fix all the problems with my body, except, y'know, I don't really want to follow his advice. Lulz.  I don't want to squat without pointing my feet out.  I don't want to refrain from crossing my feet and bending my knees when I do pullups and dips. Waaahhhhhh. It's too hard, mommy.  Anyway, I'm gonna read it all and then I'm gonna see if I can implement at least some of it.  With my documented problems with authority, I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway. Which is probably why my hip is killing me on and off lately.  Whatever.  I've made it to the ripe old age of 50 without any knee problems and, despite that previously unrecognized congenital abnormality of the spine that was noted incidentally on my abdominal CT scan last year, no major low back problems, so my pointing-out-y feet can't possibly be fucking me up that badly, can they?  Sigh.

If anyone's actually read and put into practice Supple Leopard yet and/or followed the website, please give me your feedback in comments.  Have you really fixed all your aches and pains and stiffness, and improved your athletic performance?