Rant 37 December 2006: Season’s grating

It’s considered deeply gauche and “PC” to express a dislike for the holiday season. And I confess, there are indeed chestnuts roasting on my open fire — my gas range anyway. I love the seasonal food and getting together with my loved ones over a bottle of wine and a good meal. I’ve just made (and eaten half of) a batch of truffles.

Yeah, I’ll be hitting up the nutritional atonement plan just like everyone else in January — my god, I’m only human and premenstrual to boot! Stay out of my way unless you want your fingers bitten off!

Rant 36 November 2006: Exercise and chronic fatigue syndrome

This month’s piece is written by my younger sister Kayla (aka Killer Kayla). Kayla got pretty much all the athletic genes in the family. Until her early 20s, she excelled at figure skating, dance, cheerleading, lacrosse, swimming, kickboxing, and just about every other physical activity she attempted. In 2004 she became mysteriously sick, with what was later revealed to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This past month, she ran her first 10k, and she is an ongoing inspiration to me. Here’s her story.

Rant 35 September 2006: Thanks for the hospitality

I’ve been spending a lot of time in hospitals lately. First, a close friend of mine was having elective surgery. One week after I returned home from caring for her, my aunt and her husband were in a terrible car accident. My aunt’s husband was killed, and my aunt just finished having surgeons fuse an assortment of wires and plates to her bones, in order to repair her hand and two smashed ankles. When she was airlifted to Toronto, I returned to pace the hospital corridors with a sense of familiarity…

Rant 34 July 2006: But out

First, the exciting news: I am happy to announce a new Gym That Does Not Suck in Toronto! The Toronto Newsgirls, under the able direction of coach Savoy Howe, hope to go solo with an all-female boxing gym September 1! I hope to participate in directing a strength and conditioning component, so stay tuned for updates…

Rant 33 June 2006: Choose joy

A recent study examined people’s perceptions of control over their life choices. There was a substantial difference in perceptions of control depending on the health status of respondents. People who rated themselves as being in excellent health, scored an average of 20.0 on the mastery scale, compared to 16.1 for those who reported that their health was fair or poor.

Rant 32 April 2006: The best defense

My training partner is sitting on top of me, choking me. I grab her wrist, slide my foot up next to hers, buck my hips and fling her off face-first into the mat. She flies like the proverbial wet sack of poop. Hoohah!

Rant 31 March 2006: Putting the butch in butch up: fitness and anxious masculinity

If one follows the popular press, the fitness fora, and the so-called blogosphere, it would seem that masculinity is in an unprecedented state of crisis.

In fitness terms, the masculinity crisis occurs at several levels, some of them contradictory: the brute strength guys disparage the “bodybuffers”, while the bodybuffers disparage the “pencil necks”; the guys training for mass rip on the guys training for strength; the guys lifting barbells dump on the guys lifting kettlebells; the guys training with the new technological gadgets regard old-school trainers as a bunch of shambling Cro-Magnon morons; the weight trainers think endurance athletes are wimps and the endurance athletes say the weight trainers are so muscle-bound they can’t wipe their asses, and so forth. Running through this divergent collection of j’accuse is a “lady doth protest too much” level of angstiety over male weakness.

Rant 30 February 2006: Gyms that don’t suck

“The gym… Where musclebuilding takes place: crowded, funky, out-of-the-way, insufficiently equipped, wrong atmosphere and full of smudged mirrors and jerks. I hope that doesn’t describe your local iron-and-steel watering hole. If it does, think garage, Olympic set, squat rack, and a bench. The person who must work out can train in any dungeon, believe me. For the beginning trainees, the last impression they need is the most common scene they are introduced to across our fertile pastures and fruited plains: hyped energy, endless stationary bikes and running and climbing machines in a dazzling fluorescent white convention-hall setting, lined with mirrors and occupied with gaily outfitted, but disillusioned hopefuls strutting in unison. Who are they and where do they come from?” –Dave Draper, Iron on My Mind