Welcome to the second installment of Ask Cranky Fitness. And guess what--this time, we actually received a real reader question!
Oh, wait... um, those other questions? Sure, they're real too! But in a different, more virtual sort of way. Let's just say this first question is even realer than real. It's a follow-up from last week's discussion about exercising in winter.
(Note: some editing of reader questions may occur, and hard questions or those requiring serious answers may be ignored entirely. However, it is not the policy of Cranky Fitness to be malicious about editing your questions for our own amusement. If you write "what can I do about my skin itching when it's too dry?" it will not appear as "my ass itches all the time, help!" That just wouldn't be nice).
Anyway, first (really real) question:
Dear Cranky Fitness,
I live in Minnesota where it is very, very cold. My problem is with my iPod. It is my best friend and closest companion when it comes to exercise, and it just can't take the cold! If I do not put it in an internal pocket, or inside my mitten, it freezes.
The obvious solution is to just put it in the pocket of my long underwear, but then I can't fiddle with it, and I can't keep the stopwatch function visible. Also, I wear mittens while running, and I don't want to have to stop running, take off my mittens, and fiddle in my underwear every time I want to change music or check the time! What do I do?
Oh, and I have tried using my watch for its timing function, but that's also a pain, because then I have to slide up my jacket and down my mitten and hit the indiglo button with my other mittened hand, and the whole process just annoys the heck out of me!
- Musicless in Minnesota
What a dilemma! Flinging off your mittens and digging your hands down into your underwear while running could indeed be awkward--and could subject you to the snickering of uncouth bystanders!
Crabby hopes there are Smart Readers around who have dealt with this problem, or that Mary has a solution, because she has never had to personally deal with a Tunesicle. She can offer one high tech solution to seeing your time displayed more easily while running--problem is, you have to wait until 2009 and pay a lot of Euros for it. Perhaps you could tweak your playlists enough that your iPod could be listened to from the warm cozy comfort of your underwear without any additional fiddling. And then you could buy an ugly sports watch made for a Humongous Male Wrists that you could strap outside your jacket to clock yourself.
Good luck! (brrr)
I think you're in an excellent position to start a whole new fashion trend: transparent running clothes.* If you had a windproof see-through jacket, you wouldn't need to slide the sleeve up to see your watch. I tried to include some useful links to transparent clothing, but apparently the people out there in Blog Land had a whole different idea about which articles of clothing should be see-through.
Also, I've got the tireless
Ditto on the good luck!
*Except, of course, in places such as Providence, Rhode Island, where transparent clothing is illegal.
Dear Cranky Fitness,
I know I should go to the gym to work out, but I hate having people look at me while I’m exercising. I’m hot, sweating, red-faced… it’s not pretty. It feels like everyone is looking at me. Do you have to be a Muslim to wear those full-body-scarf things? For that matter, do you have to be female?
- Man with a paper bag over his head
You think people at the gym are going to notice if you’re red-faced and sweaty? What do you think they look like? And there are more embarrassing things than being sweaty at a gym.
Crabby would just like to add that a man who is too self-conscious about his own appearance to be staring at the breasts of the women jogging on the treadmills or flying around on the ellipticals would be quite welcome at most local gyms.
Dear Cranky Fitness,
I really want to be fit, but I also want to keep out of the unemployment line. My job requires me to sit at a computer 10 or 12 hours a day. What can I do?
- Grammar Geek
Do you have high cubicle walls at your work? Or do you want to entertain your co-workers? If so, you could try taking 10 minute breaks every couple of hours to stretch and do lunges or situps. You need to take a lunch break, you know that, so why not spend 15 minutes or so taking a quick walk around the block? Cranky Fitness can enthusiastically recommend investing in an iPod, to make this more fun. (Note: authors do not have any stock in Apple, Inc., much to their regret.) Best advice of all, find a like-minded friend who would walk with you at lunch. What, you don’t have any friends at work? Then go for the iPod -- it's very friendly.
Imaginary friends are good too! If you exercise with them and shout out encouragement and all laugh together your walk or jumping jacks or whatever, your workout time will go by so quickly you'll hardly mind. Plus, then you will have fewer "real" friends stopping by your cube and bothering you during work and you can go home earlier.
Dear Cranky Fitness,
My boyfriend wants me to go bicycling with him. The trouble is, we live in a very hilly area, and he’s so fit that he regularly cycles 500 miles a week. My idea of a good bicycle ride is one that’s all downhill. What shall I do?
- Worried in Woodside
Have you considered one of these bicycles? You can pretend to pedal, and keep up a cheery conversation to cover the sound of the motor. Or, you could load the bikes into his car, drive to the top of the ridge, and cruise downhill to your car at the base of the ridge.
If you really don’t want to go cycling with him at all, but don’t want to hurt his feelings by a direct refusal, why not take the opportunity of a bike ride to talk about your relationship? It’s a safe bet his enthusiasm for doing sports with you will find another outlet.
Crabby wholeheartedly seconds Mary's last suggestion. A five minute warm-up followed by a simple "honey, we need to talk," repeated for one or two sessions should do the trick.
Clever readers, of course, may have much more helpful advice on all these questions!