Archive for ‘Exercise’

February 19, 2012

The Strength Part of the Gym Is Not Male Exclusive

Sometimes I do weird stuff in the gym. I stare (to learn new moves), I make badass psycho faces (to amp myself up), and I mouth the words to almost every single song I listen to (because it’s fun). But today, I think my weirdness reached a new level: I walked around the gym and counted people.

There were 27 people doing cardio work. 20 of them were women.

There were 19 people doing strength training. 2 of them were women.

Are men & women really that different that our bodies require completely different forms of exercise? Absolutely not.

I watch a lot (read: all) of The Biggest Loser for a number of reasons, and something that I have been recently paying attention to is that the workouts that the trainers put the men & women through are essentially the same. You don’t see Bob screaming, “Ladies–ellipticals! Men–squat presses!”.

I’m not a fitness professional, but it’s easy to see that both strength work and cardio work are crucial for fitness. Strength work  builds muscle, and cardio work uses muscle — they balance each other out. If your muscles are stronger, they’ll be more effective during cardio.

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January 22, 2012

Why Minimalist Running Resulted in a Stress Fracture & Why I’m Still Doing It

There actually is a piece of footwear that causes strangers to stare more than vibrams do, and this fall, I wore it for 6 weeks.
I also had a “going out option” for when I wanted to look even cuter: No lie — the podiatrist called it a “going out boot”.

Over the summer, I was training for an October half marathon in Vibrams. This didn’t end up being the smartest thing a new minimalist runner could do — if you’re curious, here’s the post where I decided to accept that I was injured and stop running so much. After 2 wasted months (and many wasted dollars) of the podiatrist not trusting my google-diagnosis of “Stress Fracture in the Outermost Metatarsal” (which ended up being 100% correct) and having him inject me with cortisone numerous times, the MRI revealed a little stress fracture & I was instructed to wear the Boot for 4-6 weeks.

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September 30, 2011

On Not Running

So many of us who struggle with weight stuff get into this constant mode of “exercise exercise exercise you need to exercise if you want to be healthy GO GO GO It’s good for your body and good for you RUN RUN RUN WHY ARE YOU NOT EXERCISING? Oh, I guess it’s because you’re a lazy butt GO TO THE GYM.

or something

But way more important that exercising, I think, is to listen to your body, and, when this is what your body is telling you: maybe stop running so much in the vibrams.

I’ve got some tendonitis in my pinky-toe foot tendon area, and haven’t been able to run for almost a month now. I’m best friends with my foot doctor, and after the cortisone shot I got on Wednesday and the anti-inflammitories I am poppin’, it should be better within the next week or so, which is great.

My initial frustration with getting injured was very brief, and, to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself for not being a dramatic baby and curling up with a pint (I’m talking ice cream, but if you’re thinking beer, that’s fine, too) & a box of granola on the sofa, taking this as a sign that I was destined for eternal fathood.

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August 29, 2011

Thanks for the wisdom, Knee Doctor

I am too fat to be a runner and I should swim instead.

That’s what the sports medicine knee doctor told me. The man I had to wait a month to see. The man I am sure I will have to pay a bajillion dollars for the twelve minutes of his time that I got.

“You’re built like a swimmer,” he says, “maybe a triathloner. Runners are about 110 pounds.”

Yeah, I sure see a lot of fat swimmers and triathloners–they’re all over the place! It’s a miracle that I didn’t stab this man, let alone curse him out.

“Well, I started running when I was 260 pounds,” I say, to show that, while I am fat, I could be fatter. “I build up slowly, in a smart way. And I get the pain when I cycle, too.”

“You’ve lost some weight. You’re doing too much, too fast. You have to stop pushing yourself. Cross training is good.”

He’s such a brilliant man. I should open up a sports medicine branch with my associate, Google.

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August 15, 2011

You Should Just Go Try On Vibrams

I’m serious. They have real life-changing potential, and I don’t want any of you to miss out. 

Trying them on is not a big deal. Staff at athletic type stores are used to curious people coming in just to check out these curious shoes and, since they’re such a change from typical sneakers, it’s reasonable to leave without buying them (“wow, these are so neat and different! I have to do some more research and think about if I really want these kinds of shoes — I’ll be back if I decide they’re for me!”).

Just try them on. See what you think. I’m going to try to keep the soapboxing to a minimum — I really just think these shoes are great and make sense and I want everyone to have them.

Here’s my list of Why I Think Everyone Should Try On Vibrams.

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August 8, 2011

Commuting with The Bike

Here's me & the bike I had when I studied abroad in Germany (in 2007) when it was last appropriate to say "I commute with the bike." This was actually the first time I had a bike for practical reasons, and it's also when I learned how to ride in a city without getting hit! Ah, that bike was so great.

That’s how I say it. When I travel to work on my bike. That I commute with The Bike. Sometimes, I steal german word order in my English talking. I cannot help it, and I have no intention to try to.

I am lucky enough to work a bikable (10 mi) distance from my home, so, every once in a while, when I wake up and any of the following are true, I bike to work:

  1. I don’t want to shower immediately
  2.  I have to watch TV at night, and won’t have time to go to the gym after work & cook dinner before Prime Time (this is only relevant during So You Think You Can Dance)
  3. I have errands to run for work in the town where work is, and these errands are bikable
  4. It is a beautiful day and I don’t “have” to run for exercise that day
  5. For some reason or other, I can’t be at the mercy of the train (I’m usually a car-less train commuter)
  6. I don’t have professional well-ironed-outfit requirements for the day
  7. I don’t want to shower immediately

Of course, please add, “and the weather is cooperating” to each of those items. Because communing with the bike in rain is certainly possible, and while it’s fun, too, I don’t ever tend to do it (on purpose). Because it’s messy.

As you have likely guessed, biking to work requires a bit more organization than the normal commute. If only workout clothes were business casual, my life would be a lot more streamlined. 

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June 28, 2011

Ride Recap: Cape Cod Getaway

2100 people biked the 150 miles from Boston to Provincetown this weekend. What lunatics.

Of course, I was one of those lunatics.

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June 22, 2011

A Vibram Five-Finger Update

So I’ve had these crazy toe shoes for about two months now, and I’ve just gotten to the point where  I can go out and run for an hour+ like I used to do in sneakers.

The pain I had in my leg that eventually brought on this whole vibram curiosity? Completely a thing of the past. My entire running form has completely changed, and with every additional vibram run, I find something else to tweak in order to make running more natural and more comfortable.

Back straight, hips forward, upper body relaxed, knees up, heels kicking back, legs circling through, almost pedaling over the ground. The consistency in momentum is kind of remarkable with this running form — it’s not pavement pounding, it’s pavement gliding, I’d say, or maybe pavement…cycling? Whatever it is,  it’s a LOT more fun.

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