June 08, 2020

Cheers! The Penultimate Post

So today I turn 60. And even with all the horrors going on right now--a lethal virus allowed to run rampant by a reckless leader, the rise of an authoritarian regime bent on destroying democracy, millions of citizens on the brink of economic ruin, and racism, sexism and xenophobia run amok--I'm still superficial enough to be a little creeped out about having a milestone birthday.

I always imagined 60 as the portal through which middle-aged people traveled to arrived at official old age. Now that I'm stepping through the threshold myself, I find myself shrieking: "Noooo, not me, not yet! I'm not ready to be old!"

And sure, aging is natural and 100% organic, just like dying. I should embrace the whole life-cycle, right? Not just the younger, firmer, prettier parts. Because, um... wisdom? Perspective? Getting to shop at the grocery store at 6 am if you want, before the younger less-vulnerable people buy up all the toilet paper?

Nah, I'm still grumpy about it. On the plus side, it's mainly the number that's bothering me, not any meaningful physical limitations.  They'll be heading my way soon enough. But for now, except for the gray hair, wrinkles, and having to scroll through drop-down menus for twenty minutes to find my birth year when I fill out online forms, this aging thing has been a pretty benign process.

But on approaching the big Six-Oh, it seemed a good deadline for addressing some Unfinished Business.  Like: Cranky Fitness, this blog with the wonderful readers who have meant so much me, has been sitting out here for a couple years all by iteslf, still on-duty, looking all awkward and expectant.

December 21, 2017

Bring it On

By Crabby McSlacker

photo: U.S. Air Force

So it's Holiday Season!

But wait, where's Santa Claus? No Menorah? No sugar cookies or snowmen or pine trees? And what's with the spunky aviator gals in leather jackets, that's not very Christmassy!

Well, okay, traditionally the holidays are a time for festive celebrations, fun, frivolity, togetherness, and generosity. But also they're a time for year-end reflection. And my goodness, what a year 2017 has been!

What a year indeed.

So, setting aside any bright moments you may have enjoyed in your personal life this year (and I'm hoping there were many, many of them!)... does anyone else think that 2017 may have been the most toxic, noxious, depressing, abysmal, terrifying nightmare of a year we've ever experienced?

October 31, 2017

Live Longer, Stay Sharper: Now, With Substance Abuse! Er. Use. I mean Use.

 image via artstack

By Crabby McSlacker

This post is a classic example of Selective Reporting: You see some headlines you like, so you skip merrily over the exhaustive research and analysis you should be doing in order to decide whether they're even valid. So much more fun to simply embrace the results!

Welcome to Cranky Fitness. Perhaps you mistook this for a scholarly health resource?

Anyway, in the spirit of "sounds good to me"... How about a couple of studies saying that (1) drinking impressively large amounts of coffee every day may increase longevity and (2) drinking alcohol moderately, or even heavily, as long as it's not "excessively," may boost your chances of living to a ripe old age without cognitive decline?

Again, we are just looking at a few studies and ignoring for now whatever research there may about the downsides of these practices. But it's only fair, right? People who don't want to booze it up, or consume bucketloads of coffee, can find plenty of ammunition, pretty much everywhere, to feel smug about their lifestyle choices.

But those of us who do like to alter our brains with various chemicals, whether because it makes us feel happier, or more alert, or more gregarious, or less likely to collapse into a paralyzing puddle of depression because somehow we've come to live in a country governed by a belligerent orangutan...  some of us might appreciate a little positive news for once.

October 18, 2017

Processed Snacks and Desserts: What the Hell, Let's Have Some!

 via flickr

By Crabby McSlacker

Are you one of those people who eats only healthy whole foods, having absolutely no desire to consume tasty and convenient items created in some huge factory somewhere, packaged up and shipped thousands of miles away to your very own neighborhood grocery store?

Well, congratulations!

Enjoy that little cute little plate of fresh cut veggies and hummus. Savor that teeny-tiny handful of raw nuts. Arrange those fresh apple slices into a Pinterest-ready photo broadcasting your virtue.

Me? Sometimes I buy processed stuff in boxes and bags and cartons and resealable pouches.

My meals are generally pretty damn healthy, and there are whole food snacks I'll eat too. (Hello, nuts and fruit and a few select veggies). But if I don't have a few good indulgence foods on hand, things I truly love... then I'll soon end up on the Dark Side of the Snacking Street, on the Wrong Side of the Right Track. You know that neighborhood, right? It's where the nachos and the bakery sheet cakes and pepperoni pizza and the Ben & Jerry's all live.

And try as I might, I just can't love a fucking carrot stick no matter what I dip it into.

Yet so many snacks and desserts that are advertised as "healthy" are no such thing. If I weren't an obsessive nutcase, I might not ever have found my current favorites among all the zillions of faux-healthy offerings crowding the grocery store shelves.

So what do I eat?

(Note: No one is paying me anything or offering me anything free for this post. I'm done with that, having discovered that $7 worth of free snack foods is not worth all the angst and procrastination and misery that comes with actually having to write a review on command. These are just things I like, many of which I've mentioned before).

October 10, 2017

Hate Strength Training?

By Crabby McSlacker

Strength training, alas, is still considered a crucial ingredient in the ever-changing recipe for a fit and healthy life.  Omitting this key ingredient is like trying to make meringue with no egg whites--the results may be disappointingly gloppier than you were intending.

But it's not just about looking more buffed or losing weight more easily. There are plenty of important health benefits from strength training that I'm too lazy to list. But trust me, strength training is good for you in ways that cardio is not! You need both.

Of course I realize that many people love weights and hate cardio. To me this is hilarious, like someone saying "no, I'll have to skip that cupcake-tasting party this evening, I've been really looking forward to cleaning up all the accumulated dog shit in our neighborhood."

There's no accounting for taste.

Me, I loathe strength training. Yet I've been doing it pretty damn regularly for over 25 years.

From this you may conclude:

(1) I've figured out a couple of tricks to make it less horrible. And,

(2) I obviously need a few more tricks, or "loathe" wouldn't be the first word to come to mind when I think about lifting weights.

So I'll share of a few of my sneaky motivational tips and maybe some of you have some better ideas?