December 22, 2014

Can You Be Fit and Fat? (Great Plus-Sized Fitness Giveaway)




By Crabby McSlacker

Can you be both fit and fat?  An email arrived in my inbox posing that question, and I'm not a total idiot, so I knew the answer.

Of course you can!

And Cranky Fitness readers know this too. Not just hypothetically--many of you have first hand experience. You guys come in all shapes and sizes and are doing all sorts of challenging workouts and activities, and most of you could totally kick my ass were I ever foolish enough to engage in any sort of competitive activity with you.

However, going by the fitness magazines, workout dvds, and other media representations of fitness? You'd think "fit" and "fat" can't inhabit the same universe.

Well, I think that's insanely stupid and untrue.  Which is why Cranky Fitness is hosting a workout DVD giveaway from Louise Green's Body Exchange, a Plus Sized fitness and adventure company. This giveaway does NOT require you to live in the U.S., and there are multiple copies available, so given that most people this time of year are off shopping and not blog surfing, your chances of winning are excellent!

More details below!

December 16, 2014

Proper Elliptical Form: How Do You Use the Arms?

Well, that's one good use of arms I guess.
Ecard by gina1234

First off, my apologies to those of you who don't give a crap about elliptical machines.  But I'm afraid they're my go-to indoor cardio option, and I use them at the most fully caffeinated time of day when I'm having all sorts of Thinky Thoughts and am obsessively narrating in my head. So yeah, this means it's time for yet another post, more specifically about the whole "Arms" aspect.

Now some elliptical machines are mercifully armless, and these are the kind I've always preferred. There is a place you can put your arms for balance if you need to (after so many years, I don't) but they don't have the upright vertical handles that swing back and forth in time with the leg pedals.

When I use the elliptical, I pump up my tunes and get all wild and crazy and weird on it, which you can't do when grimly clutching a pair of clunky moving metal pipes. When I've had to rock out on an elliptical machine with handles? I try to pretend the handles aren't there.  But then my spastic dance moves and fist pumps get interrupted when the handles get their revenge and give me a sound whomping.

But dang it, as old machines get replaced, the armless kind of elliptical machines are getting harder to find!

Gotta love the book stand set-up too
image: wikipedia

Some of the new machines are kinda "bi" and swing both ways. There are vertical arm handles for those who like them, but at they're far enough apart to allow room for people like me who want pump their arms or spazz-dance. These I grumble about, but can handle.

But having recently confronted a couple of the narrow punitive kind, and feeling strangely averse to getting battered by the damn handles yet again, I decided to suck it up and attempt to actually use the arm handles.

(It's part of my lastest "let's loosen the hell up and and try a few new things" initiative. These come frequently and are good for about 5 minutes, but whatever).

So anyway, as I suspected, my first reaction was: Acck! The movement felt totally unnatural. Grasping onto the handles was a total buzz-kill and destroyed any sense of rhythm or momentum or joy. (Note: because my back is still f--cked up, I can only use the elliptical sparingly. So it actually IS a joy if I get to use one of the right kind and can dance and bounce and carry on.)

But I'm guessing other no-hands elliptical people, who have spent many years powering the machines with just their legs, might have a similar issue when they attempt to employ their arms. There is some technique involved!

So, how do you best use the arm handles on an elliptical?

December 11, 2014

Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet

photo: wikipedia

Guest Post By Meg White, with Intro by Crabby McSlacker

Please welcome Meg White, blogger at CavemanCravings.net!  She was willing share her success with the whole Paleo thing here, despite the realization that Cranky Fitness is not exactly a paleo blog. 

Unless our primal ancestors had a few packages of this stuff stashed away in their caves?


Anyway, I know there are lots of hard-core CavePeople as well as some Primal-Curious folks among the Cranketeers, so enjoy!

How I Lost Weight on the Paleo Diet: An Ode to My Past Love, Bread


Some rights reserved by jeffreyw

Oh, ye bread. How I would have missed you. That is: I would have missed you if I didn’t toss you out along with my chubby clothes—the clothes I had to purchase post-one particular lost summer of extra carbohydrates topped with sucrose, thank-you-very-much.

That’s right: I, along with so many other people, had a very, very lost couple of months, when turning to food seemed the only option. Backed by my sure-and-sturdy comprehension of “what we’re meant to eat” via the Food Guide Pyramid, I chased every full-tier spaghetti meal with my standard helping of … Oreos. Sometimes extra helpings; this depended on my mood and how long the television program I was watching lasted.

Clearly, I needed help.

December 08, 2014

The Problem With Gratitude

Photo found here: Lack of Gratitude

By Crabby McSlacker

Seriously, a blog post dissing Gratitude? Have I gone completely bonkers?

It's hard to think of a more ridiculous target for complaint. Gratitude is pretty much universally acknowledged to be the most healthy, positive, healing, transformative, awesomest mental state we can possibly cultivate. Right?

Gratitude practice is a Thing now, backed by libraries full of gratitude research. Short of advocating that we step up our efforts to club more baby seals, or start tossing crippled old people out of their wheelchairs for sport, or convert all our national parks into nuclear testing sites, it's hard to imagine a less defensible position than one griping about gratitude.

But hell, I'm up for it!

November 24, 2014

Meditation Motivation

photo: original source unknown.
Now it's all over the freakin' web.
By Crabby McSlacker

I know that meditation and other forms of mindfulness are good for me. But I have a horrible time sticking with any sort of regular practice. Anyone else?

When I do manage to make the time to meditate, I'm often obstinate, ornery, and resistant, probably because I have a very thinky mind. It loves to plot and scheme, to analyze and narrate, to fantasize about the future and reminisce about the past. The last thing my busy brain wants to do is shut the f-ck up and just be in the present moment.

So last time I checked in on this topic, I had bailed on meditating again.  Why? because I was under too much stress. Yep, what an awesome reason to ditch one of the most well-proven stress reduction methods on the planet!

But the good news is, I went back to it right after I wrote that post. (Blogging=free therapy.) And guess what? I think I'm finally getting a little more traction.

And, as you may recall from the post about why Cranky Fitness Sometimes Sucks, I can't resist sharing advice about things I am spectacularly untalented at.  So, here are a few things that helped me get my meditation mojo back again.