Rant 23 March 2005: Bury my heart at Wounded Ass

“Aging is not for sissies.”
–Bette Davis

As I write this, I am in pain.

Something is strangling the sciatic nerve that runs through my hip and down my leg. When I stand up, I stumble with momentary weakness as the nerve responds to the change in spinal position. Instinctively I curl the leg, twisting it inward to protect it, like cradling a baby animal gently. It is literally a pain in the ass.

Rant 22 February 2005: Groundhog day

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a jaded TV weatherman doomed to repeat the day’s events, over and over and over. He knows the future but is unable to do anything with it, until he makes major changes in his actions and his attitude.

Often when I speak to clients and trainees it is as if they too are stuck in their own Groundhog Day. They repeat the same negative patterns over and over without really learning anything or fundamentally re-evaluating why things did not work. They also look to external sources to tell them the future: a new “magic” diet or fitness plan, a new “guru”, a new celebrity shill, or a new product. They often feel that a new supplement is the groundhog that will control their future success. Or, perhaps they feel that genetics is the groundhog that predicts their failure. This occurs despite them often “knowing” the right thing to do. But as the saying goes, knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing at all.

Aside from chance or random events such as giant tidal waves, plagues of locusts, being discovered as the next supermodel on the New York subway system, or being hit in the cranium with a frozen mass discharged from an airplane’s bathroom 20,000 feet overhead, most of our future is well within our control…

Rant 21 January 2005: You say you want a resolution?

Contemplating our excesses generally leads to a resolution to improve. Throwing up the previous night’s cerveza invariably leads to some kind of vow never to ingest alcohol again in between lying on the bathroom floor thinking how nice the cold tile feels against one’s face. But memories are short, and often we need to repeat our mistakes several times before we learn from them.

This is, of course, a time of year to make resolutions. And in about two days, the time of year to forget about them.

There are many reasons why resolutions fail…

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…