Rant 20 December 2004: Process, not product

I get very many kind emails that assume I am some kind of champ. Big Mistress smooches go out to the guy who wrote me to settle a bet with his buddy about how much I could squat: both proposed numbers were much higher than I could ever expect to see without the assistance of vitamin T, but the fact that they assumed I could do it was extremely gratifying…

Rant 19 November 2004: The fitness fascist

My husband and I joke that we work in two of the most misunderstood fields. As a nuclear physicist, he gets subjected to Homer Simpson and “glow in the dark” jokes ad nauseam. Either that or someone accuses him of poisoning the planet. As a researcher and writer in the field of women’s studies, I get subjected to “what is there to know about women?” questions, women who say, “I’m not a feminist! I like men!” (apparently not noticing that I don’t hate at least one man or I wouldn’t be married), or “you know what the problem is with feminism” lectures from men with mother issues who couldn’t even name a single feminist including said mother. In either case, people assume that they are well qualified to comment on our professions and we take a lot of shit at parties. It’s enough to make one want to hole up in the corner, get drunk, and go face down in the cheezies within minutes of getting in the door.

I also work in another misunderstood field: fitness and nutrition…

Rant 18 October 2004: The Ritalin Kid

Canadian Thanksgiving, for you folks not living in Soviet Canuckistan, is in October. In my opnion, this is a better time than the American November Thanksgiving. It’s more clearly harvest time, the temperature is still nice, and you get over two months’ recovery from turkey and family dysfunctionality before Christmas (for those of you who moved straight into family dysfunctionality during Ramadan, or who are still recovering from high holidays in September, sorry about your luck).

Rant 16 July 2004: All roads lead to fitness

I was having dinner with the charming and witty Phil Caravaggio the other day, and naturally, as happens with gym nerds, the conversation turned to training and nutrition. We talked about this research and that research, and the challenges of working with clients who come in with a variety of half-baked nutritional theories.

Rant 15 June 2004: Against perfection

To me, images of fitness models and other types of so-called perfection exist in the same universe as the Smurfs, Pokemon, and Santa Claus: a fun idea, but not real. Watching some studio set with perky people is about as inspiring to me as two weeks straight of November sleet. What particularly fills me with apathy is the emphasis on training for appearance. Sure, if I had to choose between the two, I’d rather resemble Salma Hayek than Jabba the Hutt. But in general, an excessive focus on appearance as a training goal is intensely DE-motivating to me.

Rant 14 May 2004: Weed the garden

We don’t say that teeth brushing fails because 95% of people regain tooth plaque once they stop brushing. The point is that fitness and nutrition are good habits that have to be repeated, over and over and over. Gardens look best once they’ve had time to mature over several years, as the consistent care of the gardener becomes evident in healthy, vibrant plants…

Rant 13 April 2004: Adapt or die

Pandas suck.

Oh sure, they’re cute and fuzzy and we’re supposed to care about them and save them, and biodiversity is rapidly being eliminated worldwide, and this is genuinely a global concern, and blah blah. But come on. Unlike other bears, who are clever enough to be opportunist omnivores, pandas pretty much only live on bamboo. Talk about high maintenance. It’s sort of like the kid who will only eat Cheerios. Eventually, reality sets in. The world is not made of Cheerios, nor do Cheerios provide 100% of human nutritional needs…

Rant 12 March 2004: Hit me with your best shot

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be afraid of such a tumble.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rant 11 February 2004: Just do it

I know many people who are very wise about other people’s problems, or who are good at finding solutions for their jobs, but when it comes to themselves they are paralyzed by their over-intellectualization. They can tell me in great detail exactly what they are feeling and what is wrong with them, but they do not act to change it. It’s like they’re holding a road map and sitting on a well-marked road, but they can’t make themselves turn on the car’s ignition. They just keep going over the map again and again.