Friday, April 29, 2016

High Stress -> Poor Results

I mean, how many times do we need it reinforced?

"Daily" seems to be about right for me...

Most people only look at the training performed in the gym or on the track when assessing levels of fatigue. However, the body doesn’t differentiate between mental, emotional, or physical stress. As far as the systems of the body are concerned, stress is stress.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Financial Fun

Off my usual topics, but something I am intimately familiar with: the mindset of personal finances.

This isn't a how-to-save post, but a "find your WHY" post:

And it's highly accurate, my own experience tells me. I label my various savings accounts for specifics (vehicle, vacation) that keeps it practical (new tires, no problem, tap the savings account) but also ensures I don't mindlessly blow money on daily Americanos, so that I have ample funds stashed for this summer's mountain vacation.

But for some people, a daily Americano will light up their life, because travel isn't all that important to them, or because they have perfectly-placed friends ensuring free vacation lodgings, or whatever.

On the other hand, I don't need enough funds for a trip to Europe, so instead I will spend a lot of my money on my personal trainer, who is vital to my daily happiness.
The point is to know what you're working your ass off FOR, adjust your spending habits accordingly, and ignore what everyone else is doing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Shame on...Almost Everyone

Dallas Hartwig is a genius, yo. And I just discovered he has his own blog, which I am currently devouring.

Here he writes up a great post about how subtle tidbits of body-shaming are used to promote just about anything & everything, and it made me rage-y to recognize how pathetically often these tactics are used - and accepted.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Low Carb Danger Signs

I recognize a lot of my old struggles in this post about low-carb eating:

Additionally, a lot of "Paleo didn't work for me!" stuff I've read lately seems to be completely misleading and should actually be called "Low-carb didn't work for me!"

Tangent: It pisses me off that Paleo is automatically translated as "low-carb." it may start there, but every GOOD source will tell you that if you're active, add carbs; if it's intense add A LOT. People seem to ignore that immensely important detail, along with this one: you have to figure out what works FOR YOU, precious snowflake.

For me, low-carb worked for a while, and then it completely didn't, although it took me a long time to realize it. I now eat significantly more carbs than I used to: I consume roughly 250g per day as a minimum, and on deadlift day I typically justify an extra 100g beyond that, because moar deadliftz yo. (Also, because potato chips are delicious.)

If low-carb doesn't seem to be working for you, if you're experiencing the sort of symptoms Stefani shared, try adding quality carbs back into your diet (and even some junk carbs, if the rest of your diet is en pointe). I predict that, like me, you will realize how much better you feel with more carbs.

If you do well without carbs, hey, congrats! But do keep these tidbits in your back pocket, because nothing lasts forever.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Deadlift or Die

I have fallen in love with deadlifts this winter.

They used to frustrate me to no end, because I just didn't make much progress, and I couldn't understand why. This winter, I finally found my perfect stance & grip, and I have enjoyed painless progression ever since.

And while they can't outpace my deep bro-love of bench or pulls, there is something completely primal about picking up seriously heavy weight. It makes you want to scream a giant "FUCK YEAH, BITCHEZ" every time.

Or that might just be me, I guess.

Anyway, go read this if you are interested in getting started, or improving, or can't quite figure out why you have pain (you shouldn't have pain).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eating Disorder, or Disordered Eating?

I've often wondered if the difference was a matter of severity or what. Turns out, it's a matter of fitting into the precise definition of an eating disorder, or no.

Stefani lays it out:

This helps me understand that I did not technically have an eating disorder. But if the definitions expanded just an inch, then yes I did. In fact, I had every symptom she lists as disordered eating.

If only people were better about recognizing these borderline issues as a real problem, I think we could make things a lot easier for those who aren't technically fitting the definitions. I was not a borderline mess, I was a legit hot fucking mess. I needed help. I did not know how to ask for it, because I was not anorexic or bulimic, the only two eating disorders I understood.

Please educate yourself, and your loved ones, and maybe help prevent future hot messes from floundering for years.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Social Media Rants

Last week I set a habit to keep my phone in another room during Reading Time (if I am on the couch with my book, it's Reading Time). I love getting lost in a good book, but I had found I was grabbing my phone now & then to look at something legit (What does the Salt Lake City library look like? Where in Alaska was John Muir?) and then losing endless buckets of time down the rabbit hole of various social media apps.

By throwing away my phone during that time, which is about an hour each night if life is going well, I have learned how much time I was wasting, and how much I don't miss it. I like seeing details of my friends' lives, but most of the time, that's not what I'm getting. What I'm getting is truly fucking obnoxious bullshit: political and religious rants, not-funny memes, endlessly shared links for no discernible reason, crap I would never choose to see, but is cluttering up my view. And that's AFTER I have his all the obvious weirdos, narcissistic jerks, and relentless ranters.

But mostly, the fitness posts make me want to scream. I follow many fitness peeps on IG, via my employer account, that makes me want to reach through the phone and punch them. There's a dude who constantly posts his crazy yoga poses that are unrealistic for 99.99999% of people to even consider, which frankly makes them completely pointless - but he likely thinks he's being inspiring.

One woman in particular steadily shows vacation pictures and selfies professing perfection, even if they explicitly say shit like "I have such awful bags under my eyes!" (while standing so that we can see the lights of The Big City behind her) or "It's so hard to share a 'before' picture!" (that displays better abs than me at my smallest) or mindless quotes about loving the simple things in life as she stands on a beach in paradise. I am positive she means well, but she has absolutely NO FUCKING CLUE that she comes off horribly narcissistic because she has absolutely NO FUCKING CLUE how far removed her life is from the masses.

I can practically track the change in my mindset when I see these kinds of things. I have a critical eye that sees the bullshit, yet I feel myself asking why HE can bend so easily, why SHE has such wealth, why didn't I get the kinds of genes that mean six-pack abs? LIFE IS SO UNFAIR, YO.

And yet, fuck that, I love my life, when my mind is on straight. The problem is that these sorts of things incessantly warp your view, your thoughts, your beliefs, until you are a changed, miserable-by-comparison person.


And don't be part of the problem!

This Girls Gone Strong post is a far more moderated take on social media. It asks the right questions to help ensure your life is enhanced by social media, not worsened. It is intelligent and well thought-out, unlike my rant above.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Making Your Bed Is Stupid

Recently I watched a video about making your bed, and it was basically touted as the solution to all your woes.

Well, I call bullshit.

I never make my bed, and here's why: it absolutely doesn't fucking matter.
  • Other things can give you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. Like, make coffee before you've had coffee, or cook up a big breakfast. BOOM, you rock.
  •  Your bed should not be used for anything but sleeping & sex, so why should it look pretty? You only see it when you're about to crawl in or out. You want pretty, look at a flower.
  •  When I leave my bed in the morning, my husband is still sleeping in it; I'm pretty sure HE wouldn't think it important for me to make it. 
  • Also, we don't even share blankets, because I like to be tucked in like a child, and also I overheat easily. How does one make such a bed? Why WOULD one?
Does all that mean I'm destined to be a failure in life, Admiral?

No, but it might mean I never have bedbugs or stupid allergies from the wee critters who try to live in my sheets.


Just another reason you must not let people convince you that one simple thing will change your life.

It's not that easy.

MANY simple things will change your life, sure, but there is no silver bullet.

(Unless you're being hunted by a werewolf, I guess. In that case, you surely don't have time to make your bed.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

That Post-Goal Slump

Hitting a huge dive in motivation after achieving something awesome is pretty damned common.

Here's a great perspective on why you're in it, and how to climb out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Burpees Aren't Universally Hated?

This article explains how burpees can be beneficial, and you'll note that nowhere does it say they should be used as a tool to beat people into the ground. THAT is why burpees have gotten such a bad rap, from being forced to do endless burpees when already exhausted. Okay, but you're a grown-ass adult, no one can force you to do them. Here's why you should, though:

I used to teach group fitness classes at my old job, and at most we would do 45-60s of burpees before a break, or at the tail end of class. They were encouraged to dial back the intensity if they needed to, or ramp it up with pushups and jumps if they were feeling super BA that day. But never did I insist they be "all out" - where's the joy in making your friends cry?

A few times I had them do a "100 burpees" class. It sounded daunting when I would announce it, but it was never as badly as they expected, because it was over the course of 25 minutes, which means 4 burpees a minute, which means you actually rest more than you work. I have often used this as a hotel room workout as well. Zero equipment required (maybe a towel for your sweat), very little space required, and you don't have to deal with any other people. Win win win!

I'm no expert, but if you can find a way to make a tough exercise fun, you should try doing it that way, not the way that makes you want to cry and punch unicorns.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What's Wrong With The Fitness Industry?

A lot, yo.

Here is a fantabulous rant about various aspects of it.

Strap in, it's a long one - but worth it.

The narcissistic atmosphere of the fitness industry and the focus on the aesthetic has combined with our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation to destroy our ability to improve people’s health and fitness.
WE ARE DRIVING THEM AWAY. People want to belong to the group. To do what everyone else is doing. We live in a culture that loves to believe in individuality and that everyone is unique. Unfortunately, this is just not true. People actually want to fit in, not stand out, and be a part of the group. That is basic human behavior.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What If?

Oh man, my eyeballs produced tears of recognition as I read this...profound.

...But sometimes, they have a really hard time BELIEVING that it can happen for them, so they start hiding, settling, lose steam. They have ten thousand examples why they can’t lose weight, how people don’t love them, how they are outsiders, unworthy, unloveable, unsuccessful, that they are broken or defective in some way. They have evidence for their stories, and it feels pretty damn air-tight to them. When we try to dis-prove the theory, it just doesn’t really shift things for them. Again, it FEELS so real. Why bother when you are going to fail anyway? 
So, what do you do when the story feels too real?

Missing from the blog post, but in her newsletter (so, duh, SIGN UP!), the ending clincher that hit me full-stop:
It may be time to somersault into the inconceivable.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

No More Girly Fitness Bullshit

Jessi Kneeland is a woman after my own heart.

This comprehensive takedown of the awful crap spouted constantly in women's "fitness" magazines, and online versions of the same, is fantastic fun.

And, more importantly: it's highly accurate.

I see lots of moves being performed wrong, explained wrong, and attributed to the wrong muscles. I see a tragic lack of understanding of anatomy and kinesiology being demonstrated by anyone who says an exercise will “tone up those inner thighs” or “melt those love handles.” I see a complete disregard for the principle of Specific Adaptation, and progressive overload. Because these girls have enviable bodies and are being regarded as “experts” and “gurus” however, they are helping this inaccurate information become even deeper embedded into pop fitness culture.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Yeah, but WHY?

Neghar drops some knowledge bombs about her switch from leanness to easy comfort:
I was hustling to be lean… because I was hustling to be lean. 
I wasn’t competing.  I wasn’t even modeling at that point. I just needed—desperately—to be lean. There was no other reason, or no real reason, anyway.
Why did I need to be so lean? Why was my body fat the main focus of my entire life? Why did I struggle, and hustle, and cry when the scale showed a one-pound gain?

Read it all, and ask yourself for your own WHY:

I've said it before, and I'll say it until I die: no one who matters cares how lean you are.

Go live your life, darling.

Friday, April 1, 2016

How To Eat Cake Again

Let Them Eat Cake: My Weight Restoration Story

This is fantastic reading for anyone who is tired of the diet cycle, and wondering if they dare to get off. My experience has been true to this one.
Let me tell you what happens when you finally get skinny: You still can’t eat cake.
You still can’t eat cake. You still can’t wear crop tops. You still can’t skip yoga without feeling guilty. You still can’t order the cheesy pasta. You still can’t enjoy pizza. You still can’t fuck the love of your life without self-judgment. And — did I mention this? — you still can’t eat cake.
You spend all this time and energy being hypervigilant so that one day, you can cross the “UGW” finish line into ease, into relaxation, into normalcy. But that day never comes because no matter how far you run, the course ahead of you grows longer or, at least, the obstacles along the way change.