Repost from Reembody.me: The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos

You know when you read something that is so good you immediately have to share? That was my reaction on reading this post on reembody.me this morning. Even before I completely finished the article I knew I needed to repost. I’m going to put an excerpt here, but really, you need to click over and read the whole thing yourself on their blog.

You know that I enjoy most motivational fitness photos, but some do make me uncomfortable. Kevin Moor explains it perfectly, far better than I could have. Warning: there is some foul language, (but it’s totally worth it:)

THE 6 MOST SHOCKINGLY IRRESPONSIBLE “FITSPIRATION” PHOTOS

Join me now, as we stare in shocked incredulity at the worst of the worst:

#1. Your Body is the Enemy

What They Think They Are Saying:

“Don’t give up! You may think you’ve given all you have, but you have so much more! You can make it if you just grit your teeth and push!”

Why It’s Bullshit:

Getting mad at your own limbs sounds less like the behavior of an olympian and more like the crazy-eyed hobo who lives behind my building’s dumpster. Really look at the guy in that picture: that’s the face of a man more likely to have a restraining order than an NASM certification.

It is absolutely true that, if your muscles finally reach the point of failure, an emotional response like fear or anger triggers the release of adrenaline, which can keep you going. It’s called the fight or flight response and it’s been attributed to everything from moms lifting cars off kids to soldiers who refuse to lay down and die.

It’s also not something to fuck around with.

Central heating is for quitters! FITNESS!!

Central heating is for quitters! FITNESS!!

Pushing your body’s limits just because you want bigger biceps is sort of like setting your house on fire because you’re cold.

Routinely stressing your body’s physical capacity is called overtraining, and it’s a massive problem in the fitness industry. It is linked to everything from joint degeneration, ligament tears and bone spurs to depression and—no joke—post traumatic stress disorder. The fight or flight response only kicks during moments of impending danger precisely because the response itself is potentially dangerous. It’s a calculated risk on the part of your own biochemistry: turn it up to 11 and risk the joint damage or become food for a cave bear. When invoking that kind of biochemical gambit becomes less of a do-or-die, last-ditch effort to survive and more of a “Tuesday-at-the-gym-is-chest-day” scenario, you’re inviting in a whole mess of future problems.

Now, go read about the other six “fitspiration” photos on Reembody.me! And thanks so much to Kevin Moor for this great piece. Great work with a ton of good points. I love fitness writing like this.

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The Art of the Squat

bootcamp-squats

Hmmm… I’m pretty good at the first position.

So… I kind of suck at squats. Being able to do good, clean, low squats is one of the challenges I have set myself, and I am working on it… but I have a long ways to go. The problem is the back of my legs. I’ve always walked on tiptoe, even as a little kid. My parents used to tease me about it when I first started to learn to walk, but even today, if I don’t have shoes on, I am likely to walk on my toes. It’s just one of those things. So, naturally as an adult, I love high heeled shoes. Over time I have tightened the back of my legs so much that flat shoes aren’t really comfortable to me. Thus, keeping my feet flat during a squat is a serious challenge. (I can squat like a son of a gun with heels up!)

Right now I am using the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women for weight training, and sure enough, there are squats involved. I’m working on them though. I’ve used chairs to help get myself in the right position, worked on one legged partial squats which don’t require me to go as low, but are still a good workout, and lately I’ve been doing them with weights. Having weights in my hands really does help. I’ll get there eventually – I’m determined. In the meantime, if I look a little like a cross between a duck and a weeble-wooble, I’m okay with that. After all:

"only the fools end up being cool" by we wander & wonder

“only the fools end up being cool” by we wander & wonder

Sleep… zzzzz…..

Sophie sleeping by Peter Hunter on flickr

Sleeping babies are so cute when they sleep. Ever notice that isn’t the case with adults?

I recently heard a fantastic TED Talk by Russell Foster: Why Do We Sleep? (video below) that got me thinking about sleep.

Actually, I don’t need a great TED talk to think about sleep – I am already a bit obsessed with it. I have to be. I know there are people who survive on lesser amounts, but I’m one of those folks that needs a good, solid eight hours of sleep a night. When I don’t get it, you can really tell – it’s in my personality: I am agitated, short-tempered and slow-witted. You can even see it in my face. I am extremely fair-skinned, and after as few as just two nights of short sleep, I get deep, dark, puffy circles under my eyes. I do what I can with concealer, but it is pretty obvious to anyone who looks at me.

Yet, getting enough sleep is hard. I have a set time I need to be at work in the morning, plus I need to walk the dog, get a decent breakfast and get ready for work. (You really don’t want to see me if I haven’t eaten breakfast!) Lately I have also been adding weight training and even the occasional run to my morning routine.

sleeping stone by jo-marshall on flickr

A sleeping otter holding a stone! Animals are also adorable when they sleep.

So logically, I should just go to bed at the same time every night, but life doesn’t always work out that way. Frequently there are necessary and important social things I want to do… like spending time with friends or catching up with my boyfriend. Even the weekends don’t help much. I am still up early – the pooch’s bladder doesn’t understand why two days of the week are different from any other day. The only upside is that sometimes on the weekends I get to crawl back into bed after our walk, (which I looooove). It’s such an awesome treat to grab an extra hour or two of sleep that way, but again, it depends on how busy I am if that is going to happen or not.

I’ve mentioned before that I have another journal where I track my weight, exercise and sleep. I find it useful because it reminds me when I am running low. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes I kind of forget how a week has gone. All I know is that I am blurry eyed and ornery. Then I glance back at the journal pages and can see in a glance that the problem is lack of sleep. It helps remind me to do something about it.

Even Hermes is cute when he sleeps.

Even Hermes is cute when he sleeps.

I do have a couple of techniques I use to sneak in a few more precious Zs. Sometimes, I have to skip working out in the morning. It isn’t my favorite choice, but there are times I dearly need those precious minutes of sleep. I’m more likely to go that route if I know I can move my workout to a different time that day – go for a run after work instead, for example. Another technique is taking a nap in my car on a lunch hour. I know it isn’t elegant, and in fact, it’s a little embarrassing, but if I can find a quiet shady spot to park my car, I’ll throw the seat back, set the alarm, and get an extra hour of rest in. If I am particularly crabby at work or have a big project to work on and feel like my brain isn’t working, it’s the best way to shake off the sleepiness and function again. Finally, I also try to prepare and make up for lost sleep by getting to bed really early on days when things aren’t so busy. It’s a great concept, but not that practical in real life since I’m never not busy. The absolute best thing is to just head up to my cabin for a weekend. That resets all my buttons. I spend the whole weekend just relaxing, napping and restoring my mental health.

The in the talk below, Dr. Foster talks about how sleep effects us. I’ve also read some compelling articles that getting enough sleep is important for weight loss. However, just knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to do. How about you? How much sleep do you need? How do you try to insure that you get it?

Photo credits:

Sophie sleeping by Peter Hunter on flickr

Sleeping Stone by jo-marshall on flickr

Big Bills, Garage Sales and Pup Recovery

Why yes, I am feeling much better, thanks.

Why yes, I am feeling much better, thanks. I think you should give me some ham.

Hermes had the staples from his surgery removed on Tuesday morning. He’s almost like a new dog. He has so much energy right now – I love it! We just started getting back to full half hour walks at close to our old speed. (I’ve been taking it slow with him to allow for full healing.) Having him feeling better has helped my mood as well.

August was a hard month. I can’t complain – everything resolved itself well, but it was still a tough month. For one thing, it was expensive. My house is a two unit with a one bedroom apartment in it that I rent out. As a rental property, it has to be inspected by the city every few years and the furnace and hot water heater have to be checked by experts. The house passed with flying colors, but the furnace failed the inspection. Not a huge deal, it was old and I was expecting it to go any time, but still a fairly large outlay of cash to have it replaced. Then, of course, I had to pay for the inspections as well. Add to those bills all of Hermes’ emergency pet care, and I’m pretty depleted. I had to pull money from all my “extra” accounts to pay for everything. That means a few of my big plans are on hold.

It was a busy month too. I am wrapping up my freelance work for the summer. I am on the final leg, thank goodness. While I love doing it, it will be good to take a break. Plus there are all the “normal” activities that keep me busy – friends, family, my nonprofit work, my for profit job… all this plus working out 5-6 times a week. Life is good and I like doing all of it, but again, you add on extra things like meeting with furnace repairmen and running to the animal hospital twice a day, and it isn’t only my bank accounts that are depleted – it’s my energy levels as well.

That being said, I thought Labor Day weekend was going to be a turning point. While Saturday was really productive, the rest of the weekend ended up being more of the same – especially the freelance work. That took up the most time. I didn’t get any running in and I only got one of the several naps I had hoped for! (I do love naps.) The bright side was that I started work on my annual garage sale – it’s a huge project, and I have just one month.

Every year for several years now, (I think this will be our eighth,) my best friends and I have held a garage sale at my house. We keep the prices cheap, the booze flowing and good people all around. We’ve pretty much got it down to a science and we do quite well most years. I am hoping for a particularly good year – I would love to replenish some of those bank accounts I mentioned! Since the summer was so busy, we’ve pushed it all to the fall. We are planning on having it October 4th and 5th. We’ve found fall sales to be good in the past, people are still in the mood to hit sales, but there are less of them, so we get good traffic.

I’ve got a ton of stuff to do in preparation. Not only do I have a lot to sell, but the house and yard needs to be put into shape. That’s what was great about last Saturday. I managed to get started on it, and started putting a plan into place how to finish it. A plan is needed – four weeks isn’t far away at all!!

Sigh... this is probably true.

Sigh… this is probably true.

This Month, I Turn 40…

Health Today

There are no promises, of course. We’ve all heard about the young, super healthy runner who had a heart attack mid-run, or the fitness instructor who had a stroke. Nature, red in tooth and claw* does what it will. A good fitness regime or an eating plan is no guarantee of longevity. Sometimes even the opposite is true. A dear friend of mine passed recently. He was known for his ever present cigarette. He never drank water, instead preferred Guinness or whiskey. The last time I saw him, we drank red wine out of Styrofoam cups in his hospital room. He was 80 years old.

So, while I hope eating well and working out improves my long term health, I know its a craps shoot. But what I do know is this – since losing weight and starting running, kayaking and lifting weights, I am happier, less stressed and have a lot more energy. I am in the best shape I have been in, in my entire life – and it just keeps getting better.

40? Bring it on!

 

* Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Do’s and Don’ts

I ran across this somewhere on the web and tucked it away as a good reminder:Dos_and_Donts

What I love about it is that it has some good points without being focused on one particular fitness path. For example, while there are several points about eating, the phrase Eat Clean doesn’t appear. (I wrote about why that phrase gets makes me clench my teeth awhile back.) I have heard some conflicting advice about drinking that much water, but considering it is August and high summer in the U.S., if you’re going to be working out outside, it seems like a good plan to me.

I really like the don’s side – especially #1) don’t skip rest days and #4) don’t forget to reward yourself. I think those get forgotten a lot. Since I try to alternate weight training and running, it is really easy for me to skip rest days. (That’s why I don’t get too down on myself when I have a busy week. I just figure they are unplanned rest days.) As for rewards, so far, the results have been their own reward. Then again, taking the time to sit for a while by the river after a long run is an awfully good reward.

Sitting at the river's edge after my run.

Sitting at the river’s edge after my run.