December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012!

Just a quick post to wish all a Happy New Year!  And to warn you there will probably some sort of resolution-related post Jan 2nd, as well as an announcement about the winners of the Awesome Sports Bra Giveaway.

And are we all grown ups here?  New Year's Eve does tend to skew a little more Adult that other holidays in terms of celebrating.

December 25, 2012

Happy December 25th!

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but at least for some of us, December 25th is a lovely time to give and get presents.  Hooray for presents!

Er, wait, no. Of course not. How crass! That's not what Christmas is about.

December 24, 2012

Renounce the Bounce! Holiday Sports Bra Review and Giveaway--Heart and Core

Sorry dudes, you may have little interest in hearing about the features, performance, and clever engineering of a new line of sports bras and tank tops from Heart &Core.

On the other hand…this post is all about large breasted women and their undergarments!

So here ya go:  a totally gratuitous image of female boobage NOT encased in a supportive brassiere from the Heart & Core Catalog.

You're welcome.

Also, if you're a guy, you could try to win a bra or top for your wife or girlfriend or mom or, well, for yourself if you are the owner of particularly jiggly moobs. We won't judge.

For gals, especially those who are C cups or larger, or who have post-surgical medical needs, you’ll have the chance to tame those tatas and enjoy exercising even more in the coming year. And it'snot just for U.S. residents. International folks are eligible too; we'll have 2 winners one of whom is NOT from the U.S. for a change!

December 18, 2012

Secret Holiday Weight Loss Trick

So yeah, while this is actually a handy weight loss tip if you can take advantage of it, the post could be more accurately be titled: Warning, Fitness Blogger With Shitty Camera Phone Ahead.

Anyway, what's the Secret Trick?

December 16, 2012

What to Say About Sandy Hook?

It feels too weird to continue on with normal blog posting without acknowledging the horror that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday.

Does anyone else feel more than usually rocked by this tragedy?

December 13, 2012

Cranky? I'll Give Ya Cranky

This is a just a quick post, which I originally titled:

Dear Planet Fitness: F--k You.

However, just in case you have children nearby who can fill in blanks, I re-thought.

So I came across this "funny" Planet Fitness video over at Fit and Feminist. (A great site, btw). It's just 30 seconds; what d'yall think?

Here are a few thoughts of mine:

December 12, 2012

Quest Peanut Butter Cup or Power Bar Winner

The Random Number generator has spoken and is not often the case, it actually picked a Cranky Fitness "regular" and not a "just here for the giveaway" commenter!

December 10, 2012

Rotator Cuff Advice; Finding a Personal Trainer

Yep, it's time for our next installment of "Ask the Personal Trainer!"

There are two questions this week for our esteemed panel of trainers.  And how about I just jump right in for once with the first question instead of blathering on for countless paragraphs?

But don't worry about getting too much sensible advice all at once. I plan to make my own shocking suggestion, one that any legitimate personal trainer would find annoying and counterproductive at best, and possibly illegal and dangerous. Welcome to Cranky Fitness!

December 05, 2012

Sweet Giveaway and Review: Quest Bars and Peanut Butter Cups

Guess what I got in the mail to review and give away?

Well, I suppose with the title and picture and all, it's not a big surprise.

I got seduced with a pitch for Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups--a high protein, low sugar alternative to a regular Peanut Butter Cup.  And they sent me some Quest Protein bars to try as well.

Those who leave a comment will be eligible to win a big ol' box of their choice!

But first, what did I think of the Quest Bars and Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups?

December 03, 2012

What Makes a Great Holiday Gift?

Hey Santa...Still Waiting!

So last week we looked at some of the awful holiday gifts for 2012; how about this week we look at some good ideas for gift giving?

And for those of you already sick to death of my unrelenting ebook whoring, be reassured that the newly released Cranky Fitness Exercise eBook does NOT appear on this list best gift ideas!

November 26, 2012

Why Turning 50 Need not Suck at All

Fear not, young people, this is not a post about chin hair removal techniques nor hormonal replacement strategies. There is helpful and hopeful stuff in here for you too!

In fact, I almost titled this post  “Hot Cougar Secrets for Any Age!”

Mrs Robinson was a Cougar before it was even trendy.

November 23, 2012

Awful Holiday Gifts; 2012 Edition

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America, I hope you had a good time? We sure did!

And now Cranky Fitness would like to officially welcome you all back from bountiful feasts and subsequent comas with a "Happy Black Friday" celebration... all about gift giving!

Photo: Plan 59

Holiday gifts can be a wonderful excuse to show off show affection and appreciation for people you care about. And they're fun to get!  Research says that both giving generously and feeling gratitude lead to more happiness, so we can even pretend this post has something to do with health and wellness.

But there's a downside to the holiday gift exchange. Have you ever given or gotten a really sucky gift?

(And isn't it strange that so many people have received awful presents yet so few have ever given them?  There must be just a handful of incredibly prolific shitty gift givers out there hell-bent on spreading disappointment throughout the land).

Of course you always give wonderful gifts.  But if there is someone in your life who could use some assistance, consider sharing this post under the guise that it was something you came across that has absolutely nothing to do with them!

So here is an illustrated guide to the Ten Worst Holiday Gift ideas I could find... followed by one Pleasant Alternative.

November 19, 2012

The Power of Partnership

Is there someone in your life, whether a spouse, pal, family member, deity, pet, or even a deceased person or fictional character, whom you can always call on for support?

Hint: not a pet, a sibling, or a deceased person!

Some people don't seem to need this sort of person or presence in their life and they do just fine. Me, I'm basically a crotchety misanthrope (or let's just say "independent," shall we?) but I gotta say, even for a prickly loner, having found such a person?  It Rocks.

I could prattle on and on about "The Lobster," as she is known on the blog--how funny, generous, resourceful, patient, talented, charming, hard-working, forgiving, and adorable she is.

Or I could try to twist this into a post about exercise or dieting or personal development! Or hell, even make it a pitch for life coaching.  I could come up with a list of 10 bullet-pointed tips, enumerating all the cool ways you can leverage the power of partnership to accomplish more in your life.

Or I could get all political and make this a post about gay marriage!  (And speaking of which, if you're not overly offended by (mostly positive) stereotyping and haven't seen this video yet, check out this hilarious pro gay marriage video.)

But the heck with all that.

Instead I'll just say,  "Happy 22nd Anniversary Robin, You Are My World and I Don't Care Who Knows it!"

Anyone else got a partner or support system of some sort you'd be lost without?   Or if not (yet), what would you look for?

November 15, 2012

In The Cranky Fitness Laboratory

The Plucky, Yet Unfortunately Imaginary, Cranky Fitness Research Assistant

Would you like to know some of the exciting develoments now taking place in The Cranky Fitness Laboratory? (Which I feel should be pronounced la-BOR-a-tory, the way it is in old horror movies; it's that kind of place).

The Cranky Fitness Laboratory is situated on the campus of Frittering-Dawdling University, should you ever care to visit.  The lab's Research Director, Professor Crabby McSlacker, will be happy to show you around!  However, be sure to call in advance, because Professor McSlacker is a busy little nutball.  She is always experimenting and tinkering and inventing things. Her research interests include exercise physiology, nutrition, psychology, and, depending on how piggy she's been lately, weight loss.

Let's find out what's going on in there, shall we?

November 12, 2012

Brains and Marshmallows

So I was over at Dr. J's place recently and discovered there was an update to the famous marshamllow study.

Remember that? Researchers put young children in a room with a marshmallow and told them if they could wait 15 or 20 minutes and not eat it, they could have 2 marshmallows instead of just one. They timed how long kids could hold out--generally about 6 minutes, but some gobbled it up quickly and others held out much longer, up until the entire time length.

Follow-up studies as the kids got older showed that the ability to wait longer was correlated with greater self-confidence and interpersonal skills, higher SAT scores, less likelihood of substance abuse, and the ability to go to Costco on a Saturday and not eat 35,000 calories worth of free samples.

OK, I can't quite find a source for that last one. I may be remembering that wrong.

Anyway, the implications are that self-control is a fairly stable aspect of personality over the course of life, and that it leads to success on a variety of fronts. 

I always loved reading about the marshmallow study, because I was the kind of kid who would have sat there patiently with that single marshmallow until I was in a nursing home about to expire of old age.  Seriously, if that's what it would have taken to (a) get more sugar, and (b) demonstrate to the adults in the room what a very very good little girl I was? I would have kicked marshmallow ass.

Well, if you haven't seen it already over at Dr. J's, there was a twist to the latest update that sparked a major epiphany for me. That's right, a mental shift of the sort that leads to insipid journal entries and tedious blog posts.   Lucky readers!

But what about the "brains" part of the post?  Well, I love to talk about brains, and not just because of my propensity to work in totally gratuitous brain-eating references in otherwise zombie-deficient blog posts.

Sorry, there are no zombie studies reported here.
But I'm guessing they wouldn't hold out for a second brain.

So what is the study twist, and the major f--cking epiphany it led to, and what does this all have to do with brains?

November 05, 2012

Hysterectomies, Core Exercise, and Firing Clients: Ask the Personal Trainer

Hey kids, it's time for the next installment of "Ask the Personal Trainer!"

And notice how I'm using photo selection as a subliminal way to butch it up around here, so the whole hysterectomy thing doesn't scare off the boys?

Oh wait. A cute vintage image of a body builder, however muscular, is perhaps not all that manly and macho a design choice.  Dudes: just pretend there is a photo montage featuring football heroes, pitchers of beer, big juicy steaks, large-breasted women, and any other gender stereotyped eye-candy that will help you sneak past references to womens' malfunctioning uteri and the surgical removal thereof.

If it's any consolation, we feel the same way about sitting through those endless erectile dysfunction commercials. Do we really need to have to visualize a bunch of elderly guys walking around with 4-hour erections?

And actually, you don't have to have a uterus to require abdominal surgery, so there's good info for anyone who recently had a surgeon hacking around in their insides.

Plus, deep core work is good for everyone's physiology, and might be the actual answer to all those searching for the "one rule for a flat stomach".   (Though I think the REAL rule is stay the hell out of the cookie jar).

And we're also going to talk about unmotivated clients and whether to kick 'em to the curb or not.  

Note: there was also going to be a rotator cuff question this week, but I realized it was crazy to run so many questions at once, so that will appear next time.  Stay tuned!

November 01, 2012

Middle Aged Exercisers: On Not Throwing in The Towel

I can't speak to Old Age, 'cause I ain't there yet myself.  But I'm 52.  When I hear people bitching and moaning and sobbing about the toll hitting your 40's, 50's can take on the body, I respond by...

Bitching and moaning and sobbing right along with them! Cause yeah, it's amazing and amusing all the varied ways the human body can fall apart over time.

But when formerly active people with garden variety age-related deterioration (as opposed to serious injuries or medical conditions) try to use middle age as an excuse to drop cardio and strength training and intervals and anything more challenging than a trip to Costco, that's when I call bullsh-t.

You do not have to throw in the towel when your hair starts to turn silver, unless it's your gym towel and it stinks really bad and you're only throwing it in the washing machine so you get don't kicked out of your Zumba class.

October 29, 2012

Keeping a Journal: Kick-Ass or Kinda Barfy?

Do you keep a diary or journal?

Research says keeping a journal fights stress and depression, plus it can be a powerful tool for sorting things out, achieving goals, solving problems, arriving at insights, and improving relationships.

And yeah, I recently offered some tips for keeping food and exercise journals, but that's not what I'm talking about. This time I mean the old-fashioned, Dear-Diary-here's-what's-on-my-mind sort of thing.

You would think as a neurotic, over-thinking, narcisstic blogger, that journaling would be a no-brainer, right? Something I would have started when I was 6 years old? But no. Way too damn self-conscious.  It's only been about 9 months, and it's been... well... interesting.

So does anyone else feel like a total ass keeping a journal, or is it just me?

October 25, 2012

Cranky Fitness, Heading West!

Back soon!

As regular blog readers may remember, Crabby and the Lobster live a very odd bicoastal life, spending half the year in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and half in San Diego, California. 

This time we are not driving but flying!  So no excuses about not posting because of a cross-country trek.  Just excuses about packing and unpacking and not being able to find stuff and internet screwups and just generally being lazy and disorganizized and distracted. 

But hey, notice how the Lobster is getting all clever with the photoshop??

Anyay, hope you all have a great weekend, and  I'll be back soon with more of the usual nonsense!

October 23, 2012

Barefoot /Minimalist Running, Should You Try It?

Is anyone else totally confused by the conflicting advice out there on what the hell we should be wearing on our feet to run, walk or otherwise work out in?

Probably Not a Good Idea

As with most other fitness debates, this seems to be one of those questions where there may be no universal best answer; everyone is different and you may need to (carefully) experiment. But after much research, pondering, vacillation, hair-pulling and cursing, I've reached a tentative decision about what may be best for me.

Here's what I've come up with, and I discovered a couple of magic tricks which may only work for me, but what the hell.  But I'll be quite curious to see what you all do about the question of appropriate footwear.

October 19, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Dang, I so wish I could find some giveaway where EVERYONE wins; loved the comments.

The random number generator bestowed the Les Mills Combat DVD's upon...

October 18, 2012

Clueless Gym Behavior: Ask the Personal Trainers

Who is THIS moron? Oh wait...

Welcome to our first installment of  "Ask the Personal Trainers!"  We have four personal trainers lined up to answer your questions, and they're a diverse, knowledgeable, and amusing bunch.

Plus, since I can't keep my mouth shut, I'll weigh in too! Sure, I have absolutely no qualifications whatsoever.  But when has that ever stopped my from offering advice before?

This time, since we have introductions to make, there's only one question and it's mine.  This is because it's my blog and I'm a greedy control freak I wanted to start off with a general question that could reflect each trainer's overall fitness philosophies.   

However, we gotten some great reader questions! I haven't forgotten them, and some of these have already been submitted for next time.  (These involve rotator cuff problems, core work and post-hysterectomy recovery, and unmotivated clients, so stay tuned!)

What's today's question?

What is the most clueless thing you see people do in a gym, and what should they be doing instead?

But first, let's meet our trainers!

October 15, 2012

Les Mills Body Combat Giveaway; Introducing the Fit It!

A couple of product announcements today, both of them rather cool.

So first we've got a reader giveaway of a 5 DVD martial-arts style workout video from the Les Mills folks called Les Mills COMBAT.

And next up, I thought I'd let you know about a brand new Pinterest style photo-sharing and pinning site aimed at the fitness community called The Fit It

These both look like promising ventures, so wanna find out a bit more and see how you might win the DVD set?  This time, Canadians are eligible too!

(And I swear more "real" posts that are not reviews or giveaways are on the way. I'll spare you the usual 10 paragraphs of apologies and rationalizations and philosophical thoughts about health blogging and commercialism).

October 11, 2012

Need Sleep? Can Zeo Help?

So, do you get enough sleep?

Many Cranky Fitness readers have probably come to loathe that question. You guys tend to be well-informed, health conscious, and busy (not to mention clever, kind and adorable). And the answer to "do you get enough sleep" may frequently be "no, goddamn it, I don't!"  Yet you've already read the grim statistics on how screwed you are, in 87 different ways, if you're prone to insomnia.  And you've googled for sleep hygiene tips and you've tried most of the suggestions at some point or other and you still can't sleep.

Yet strangely enough, scaring the pants off of people by detailing all the dire health consequences of not sleeping is a really crappy way to help them drop off when they are staring at their ceilings at 3 a.m.!

So fear not, those of you who are sleep-deprived. This review of the Zeo sleep coaching system is custom-crafted to avoid making you feel any worse if you are not sleeping, and it will not pester you with suggestions you already know.

Now what the heck is a Zeo, what does it do, and should you think about springing for one? 

October 08, 2012

Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks

So hang in there, this will eventually be a post about exercise, but first off, meet Seashell, the new Cranky Fitness spokesdog!

So who is Seashell and what the heck is she doing here?

October 03, 2012

Got Fitness Questions? Plus Gaiam Giveaway Winner

The Random Number Generator has spoken!

And the winner of the Gaiam TV subscription plus Yoga mat or other comparable accessory is...

Oh wait! A brief pause first before we get to that for Yet Another Blog Announcement!

A new feature which may or may not be called "Ask the Personal Trainer" is coming up at Cranky Fitness, which will probably run once or twice a month.  Since Crabby is decidedly NOT one of these well-informed creatures, she has recruited a panel of 3 actual Personal Trainers to answer your questions. Crabby may also contribute her thoughts, a fake question or two, some whining, a completely irrelevant picture of an adorable animal, and probably some swear words, just on general principle.

I'll wait to introduce them until we get started, but it's a fun, well-informed panel.

So if you've got a question for a Personal Trainer, either leave it in a comment below or email me (email address cleverly concealed on the schmooze page). 

And if you're a Personal Trainer yourself, we can always squeeze in more expert opinions, so feel free to inquire and we'll see if it's a good match!

OK, and NOW let's announce the Gaiam giveaway winner, who is.....

September 30, 2012

Calories: Even Sneakier Than We Thought

So it's old news to many of you that all calories are NOT created equal. (Equal? Equally? Hmm, any English teachers or editors wanna help out here?)

Good Calories, Hooray!

This means there are obvious limitations to the traditional model of counting calories to achieve weight loss.

And yet, using calories a measurement is still one of the handiest tools we have for assessing the relative dietary impact of various foods and serving sizes.

For example, when you are contemplating a "healthy smoothie" at some new takeout place you've never heard of, does it make a difference if the smoothie comes in at 175 calories versus 935 calories? Well, for many of us: F--ck yeah! We may still reject the 175 calorie version if it's full of Bad Things, but I don't care how much seaweed or spirulina or other virtuous antioxidant-rich secret sauce is in the 935er, I ain't going there.

But sadly, even though many of us have had reasonable success in the past counting calories to lose weight, it turns out it's way more complicated than keeping a fastidious record of Ins and Outs. And new research has turned up even more reasons why that reassuring number on your Lean Cuisine lasagna or your Skinny Cow treat or your Expensive Organic Exotic Granola Bar may be full of crap.

On the other hand, it's not all bad news: there may be other stuff in your kitchen that you feel guilty about that you could be scarfing up gleefully.

Let's look at some interesting specifics, shall we?

September 26, 2012

Gaiam Giveaway!

So, hi there! I'm finally crawling out of my dark cave-like hole (blinking furiously and weaving a bit), attempting to re-enter the bright light of Real Life again. The first Cranky Fitness eBook has been sent off!   It should be coming out sometime in October, unless the publisher takes one look at the first effort and says, "Reeeaaally Crabby? Reeeeallly?" In which case who knows.

But it's been a while since a giveaway, and this one is kinda fun! It's from Gaiam, and they'd like to introduce you to the Gaiam TV channel.

They are kindly supplying a 3 month subscription to their streaming video service as a prize to a random winner, on which you can watch any of nine billion or so exercise videos. (OK, that number may be approximate).

It's not just exercise either: they also cover personal growth and travel and relationships and sustainability and a ton of other topics, in case you'd like help with meditation, metaphysical questions, or have a pressing need to troubleshoot your compost pile. (Seriously, they have that covered).

AND THAT'S NOT ALL! (to quote my favorite line from infomercials). For this giveaway, they're also tossing in a yoga mat or some stretchy bands or other similar accessory from their catalog for a value up to $60.

Wanna find out more?

September 17, 2012

On Being a Quitter

I was originally going to title this: "Dead Horses... When to Stop Beating Them."

But then I thought, do I really want to encourage people who are googling "dead horses" to find us here, where we prefer our horsies not dead and, in fact, frisky and rarin' to go? Oh, and sporting wings if possible.

Plus I also wanted to offer a nod over in Rick Hanson's direction, since he's a constant source inspiration, and watching one of his recent "Just One Minute" videos on accepting the limits of your influence was the impetus for this post.  Plus Rick is moderating what looks to be a very cool, FREE online seminar in October called The Compassionate Brain and I wanted to let folks know about it.  And then I thought, sheesh, would Rick really want to be found in the company of dead, depressing, and possibly rotting and smelly horse corpses when he could be in a post about the joys of being a quitter instead?  Oh wait... that doesn't sound much better, does it?  But hell, coming this blog, it could be a lot worse.

This post also contains an Exciting and Totally Premature Announcement, which I will most likely regret but what the hell.

September 10, 2012

Do I Have To? On Warming Up, Cooling Down and Stretching

There are lots of virtuous angels out there who don't just do some form of cardio and strength training, but are also religious about always warming up, cooling down, and gently stretching their various hard-working body parts.

Others may think all that sounds like a very good idea, and do it sometimes... while frequently blowing it off and just feeling guilty about it instead.

And then there is a third camp--those who just jump in cold, exercise as hard and as long as seems warranted, and then... screeech! ... come to a complete stop when they feel done. They then head straight for the shower, or more stinkily, back into their cars or jobs or lives, without doing any of that sissy in-between stuff that makes exercise take so much longer without really "counting" as exercise.

I've generally been in the second group, the guilty-semi-slackers, though as I've gotten older I've been getting closer to the first angelic-anal-compulsive category. So I was all prepared to jump right in with some tips about how to become better about doing all that stuff.

But, I figured first I better warm up with a little research, just to be able to scare you with a good list of Horrible Consequences that might ensue if you skip these pre and post workout rituals.

And guess what?  Well... crap!  Turns out it's all more complicated than I thought. I had to really stretch to reconcile my discoveries with the "expert" advice I've been reading for decades.  How annoying! But then I cooled down a bit and decided I did not actually need to report every damn conflicting research study or expert opinion on the matter. Reading and then ignoring research is something of a specialty here at Cranky Fitness.

(Especially since for some reason the malevolent blogger platform has recently been refusing to save my drafts, but passively-aggressively failing to tell me that before I innocently shut down the computer to go raid the refrigerator. So I'm now starting this over for the third f--cking time and hunting down the links all over again. Grrr.)

Anyway, here is some of the shocking information I discovered about stretching, warming up, and cooling down, as well as some thoughts on doing or not doing them.

September 04, 2012

Same Ol' Story... Hooray?

(Same Ol' Story is a great Cyndi Lauper song, although the chorus is actually Same Ol' F--cking Story, which makes it way more fun to sing along to. That was the original title of this post too but I edited as that seemed like asking for trouble. Oh, and obligatory copyright disclaimer below if you're an attorney with a mean streak.)

So labor day weekend has come and gone, summer is over, and for many people this may mean going back to old familiar routines.  The party's over!  After various adventures, vacations, celebrations, and a multitude of both reasonable and ridiculous excuses for doing things we might not "normally" do, it's time to get back to business.

I'm psyched! Anyone else?

Because as much as I believe that shaking up your routine every now and then is crucial to long-term health and happiness, it's equally crucial to have an awesome routine to shake up in the first place.

And this is not to say that I didn't have an absolutely fantastic summer.  Between travel and various festivities, I had a boatload of fun and a lot of fantastic excuses for consuming too much of the wrong things and exercising too little.

In fact I'm still buzzing from last night, where we attended the euphoric insanity that is the "Last Dance" at the Boatslip.  This is our preferred method for marking the end of the season, which we do in a most undignified fashion, packed like sweaty sardines on a dance floor shoulder to shoulder with other crazed revelers, jumping up and down, screaming, laughing, and having a grand ol' time.

Wanna see what I mean?   (Of course you don't give a crap, and I know that, but I'll post a minute and a half of last years "Last Dance" anyway to give you an idea--takes about 25 seconds for the nuttiness to ensue, and even though we were there you can't see us.  Ah, the tedious oblivious narcissism of bloggers with invisible readers!) 

Anyway, do you have some favorite healthy routines to go back to that make life easier?  Or do you find yourself making unsatisfying compromises and screwing around and being all inefficient or self-indulgent in ways that aren't even fun?

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions, all of them totally obvious 'cause that's how I roll, so I'm hoping some of you have some to ideas to share as well.

August 30, 2012

Heading Home

What better way to wind up a fantastic Scottish adventure than by enjoying a rendezvous with Shauna Reid, her lovely husband Gareth, and... an armoire full of tasty desserts??

Shauna, as many of you know, not only wrote the must-read book Amazing Diet Girl, but also keeps her great blog Diet Girl humming along, has another wonderful blog What's New Pussycat, has done informative and entertaining podcasts with the awesome MizFit as part of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone, and she's part of an inspiring online program Up and Running that helps women just starting out become happy healthy runners. WHEW!

As I expected, Shauna and Gareth (the mad cyclist) were totally delightful. (I have a cute picture of the two of them as well, but you will just have to imagine it. It's not really polite to go around snapping innocent blogger's family members and broadcasting their images all over the web where any random crazy googler can find them! But trust me, Gareth is adorable).

Unfortunately though, whilst I was in the middle of consuming a vast and delicious slice of chocolate cake at Lovecrumbs, Sneaky Shauna mentioned the upcoming Fitbloggin' 2012 conference, damn her. Now I'm totally jealous and want to go. All the cool people will be there! I could put together an impromptu lecture on how to leverage a grumpy personality and a complete lack of work ethic into a health blogging empire, can't you just envision it?  Sigh.

So I'm cursing myself that somehow it totally slipped off my radar. Being a cheap crab and contemplating last minute plane or train fares, booked-up hotel rooms etc, this is alas, not looking too likely, but what the hell, I'll put it out to the universe. Perhaps there is a sponsor of some lovely product, service, website or whatever that also didn't think ahead about the conference either and needs a lazy fitness blogger be their ambassador! I could spread the word to my 6 twitter followers, 3 Facebook fans and legions of "1 rule for flat stomach" and "fitness porn" googlers! Or maybe someone's best blogging pal who was going to be their roomate got plague or... wait, that's too mean, let's say they got appointed to a cabinet post or won a round-the-world-cruise, and so there's an extra room or bed or spot in a Partridge-Family style bus going from Boston to Baltimore or... well, obviously the possibilities are endless.

C'mon Get Happy at Fitbloggin '12! I'll bring snacks!
Photo: Telstar

Oh, and in other news, the lovely folks at Blisstree (which is a great health website with an actual sense of humor) ran an interview of Crabby McSlacker! Read all about the care and feeding of a crabby health blogger and learn her shocking and amazing motivational secrets.

So we start the journey home in a few hours, which will take a couple of days and involve various planes and ferries and automobiles. Once the huge duffle bags full of smelly laundry are done, I'm hoping to get back to blogging about actual health and fitness issues.  Although hmm, there are still a few vacation photos left...

Thanks so much all of you who stopped by while I was traveling, I really appreciated it!

August 27, 2012

Time Management Secrets for Self-Employed Slackers

Cartoon by: Natalie Dee

OK, so it may seem ironic that someone who has done nothing on her blog for the last month other than to explain why she is not posting would presume to give advice on time management.   But hang in there, that's actually Secret Number 7.

And hey, did I call this post "Time Management Secrets for World-Dominating Super-Achievers?" No I did not. Super-Achievers do not need time management tips, other than the usual "stop and smell the roses for f--ck sake, you accomplishment-obsessed workaholic chore-whore. "

Wait, that's not how you're supposed to help super-achievers? Oh well, sorry go-getters, all 2 of you who hang out at Cranky Fitness.

Note: you may, however, read this post if you are not self-employed. No alarm bells will go off or anything.  It's just that several of these tips presume some sort of flexibility in how you plan your day, which could be extremely annoying to people who have bosses (or spouses, pets and children) who do not permit such liberties.

So what are the secrets already? 

August 23, 2012

Are Low Fat Foods Making Us Fat?

Hey kids, it's Crabby!  Who is once again not posting while on vacation. So yes, this is a guest post, as you can tell by the fact that there is actual nutrition research involved. If I'd written it, there'd just be a bit of nagging about not trusting slick advertising campaigns, followed by some whining about the lack of healthy convenience foods for lazy people, and then perhaps some gratuitous pictures swiped from icanhascheezburger.

(Photo credit:

Whoops, sorry--not sure how THAT got in there!

So thank goodness this post is by Brendan Wilde, who is a health and wellbeing writer over at and the UK National Register of Personal Trainers (where you can learn more about personal trainer courses if you're so inclined). While he does the hard work of explaining the metabolic implications of various dietary variables and particularly the impact on insulin resistance and weight gain, the Crab and Lobster will be kicking back enjoying their final days in Scotland.  Which, as it turns out, has a more incredible scenery than any human can absorb without exploding, plus many delightful ways to screw up your metabolism six ways from Sunday.  Um, unless beer and shortbread cookies have been declared health foods in my absence?

Anyway, I'll shut up now.  Take it away, Brendan! 

Is the low fat food fad all it is cracked up to be?

Do reduced-fat foods help us lose weight? Or could they actually be contributing the rise in obesity?

Processed foods may well be low in fat, but we all know that does not mean they are low in calories.

In fact many low fat foods have just as many calories as their full fat counterparts. And furthermore, many low fat foods are ‘adulterated’ with additional, high glycaemic carbohydrates, to improve the taste. Especially popular and troublesome is the controversial sweetener high fructose corn syrup.

August 19, 2012

"Travel is Broadening"

I am not the first person to note that this cliche can be true both figuratively and literally. My mind, and waist-line, are expanding as we speak!

Gosh, I wonder what's up with my mysteriously shrinking jeans?

So we're about two thirds of the way through the Great House Swapping Adventure of 2012, and, as I feared, I still seem to have no ability to blog away from home.

There are some good reasons for this (internet access issues, having too much fun doing things) but also I've been struck by my usual travel-induced web paralysis. Strangely enough, this condition does not prevent me from surfing aimlessly or reading email. Yet I can't seem to get it together to respond to anything, or even find my Twitter and Facebook passwords. And as to blogging? Yikes, suddenly it's way too hard! Too much to say, but none of it seems to cohere into any sort of theme, let alone one related to health and fitness.

However, since many of you... er, several of you... um, well ok, two of you have said "at least post some pictures fer chrissakes you lazy crab" (not an exact quote), it seemed time to suck it up and throw some crap up here. Also, there's a guest post coming up and I wanted to at least pop in once before turning over the reins again.

So what follows are some highlights and lowlights of our adventures, complete with obligatory photos.

Because gosh, viewing other people's travel photos is as fascinating as hearing them describe their medical ailments! Or that funny dream they had last night with the Russian mafia and Lady GaGa and the stolen Mercedes that kept changing into a pink tricycle. So, um, enjoy!

August 12, 2012

Hate to Exercise? You Got Company.

(This is not actually Munchberry demonstrating the proper use of a treadmill--Photo by normanack)

Hi everyone, Crabby here!  But only for 2 paragraphs, which trust me, is a good thing. I'm still at the "hey, we're having an awesome time, wanna see 18,000 photos of us standing in front of a bunch of old European shit?" stage of our journey.  That plus a few miscellaneous observations about cross-cultural differences in public lavatories** is about all my tiny brain is up for.  So instead, how about a great guest post by the awesome Munchberry of I'm Just Puffy?

**In Berlin and vicinity, we discovered you have to pay to use the restroom everywhere, even if you are in a fancy shopping mall. And at the train station, a trip to the toilet costs $1.50! In Edinburgh, the WC's we've encountered have been free, but despite using thousands of gallons of water per flush, they are powerless against a couple of squares of toilet paper...OK, so now see why I'm psyched to have a great guest post?)

Hello Cranky Fitnessites!

Munchberry here at the helm today while The Boss is plowing through haggis and doing squats over the Blarney Stone. OK, not the Blarney Stone – unless she is really long-legged and ultra bendy (as she claims to be). [Crab note: Oh yeah, that's definitely me, long-legged & bendy... I also have abs of steel, massive guns, a bootylicious posterior, an IQ of 743, and some prime real estate on the moon you may be interested in purchasing.] And no, I guess I am not at the helm, but more broadcasting to you from the crustacean basement where they have me chained to their treadmill.

Why, you ask, am I chained to their treadmill? Because Cranky knows that the only way to get me to exercise is to lock me in the room with the equipment and force reconcilliation or at least detante. For I am the only person on earth that hates to exercise. What? You too? Pfft. The things I do in order to avoid exercising! OY.

Instead of exercise I will read my old organic chemistry book from 25 years ago. I will clean toilets and possibly even dog barf. I will clean my oven. I have been known to go down to my own home workout room that is filled with every manner of exercisy things, flip on a Jillian Michaels DVD and then LAY on the weight bench and twiddle my thumbs for 45 minutes while Jillian screams and I fake grunt (sounds very much like a fake orgasm but with less happy excitement). I then will spritz my face with the fern mister, toss water under my arms and trudge upstairs and LIE to my husband about how Jillian has it out for me. That is how I conducted myself for a while until my husband heard one too many fake gruntings, came down and caught me in the act. I was assuming my regular reclined position on the bench, plugged into my I-Pod and was singing away and grunting for a LONG while before I noticed him watching me with such a look of disgust that I had… HAD to change my ways.

So how do I manage to exercise without falling into a major depression?

July 28, 2012

Giveaway Winner and... See Ya in a Bit!

Congrats, Solarity, you are the winner of the Wun Jo!

So we're heading off soon for our month-long adventure: a week or so in Germany to visit a friend and then 3 weeks doing a house swap in Edinburgh.

We are psyched!  There may be a post or two before I get back... but then again maybe there won't.

I'll be missing you all and looking forward to catching up when I return!

Anyone got any fun plans or horrible annoyances coming up in August? I'll look forward to hearing what transpires!

Photo: Christopher Chan

July 27, 2012

Let's Make a Deal!

No, there's no need to peek behind a curtain, as in that insufferable show.

This is a different kind of deal-making.

Have you got something you've been feeling guilty about, even if that guilt is unproductive and is not actually motivating you to accomplish anything?

If so, would you like to put that guilt aside for a little while?

Well relax, we gotcha covered!

July 24, 2012

Remembering Sally Ride

Photo courtesy of Sally Ride Science

Sally Ride's death has hit me hard.

And I know how weird it is for me to be writing a post like this on Cranky Fitness; this is not that kind of blog. So, kind readers, please forgive today's rather self-indulgent wallow in grief and know that normal whining about health and fitness aggravations will return soon.

The thing with Sally Ride and why the loss feels so personal...

She was one of the few role models I've ever welcomed and internalized into my own bizarre psychological  landscape--a spooky but ultimately hopeful place in which conventional "heroes" and "celebrities" don't tend to venture very often.  But kind, brainy, brave, self-effacing, determined gals who accomplish amazing things without ever getting big-headed or braggy...they tend to loom large.

Plus, I knew Sally Ride and she changed my life.

July 23, 2012

Getaway Giveaway: The Wun-Jo!

Yep, once again the spoiled crab is taking off for an out-of-town adventure. So this will probably mean sporadic posting, a possible guest blogger or two, and self-indulgent photos of Crabby and the Lobster grinning happily at the camera in far-flung locations. Oh lucky readers!

Is there any chance I will write something informative about health and fitness while on a house-swap to Edinburgh, Scotland for almost a month?  Gosh, I bet there's nothing better do during the freakin' Fringe Festival than stare at a computer screen composing blog posts!  

And seriously, do you really want to read yet another post on how to exercise while away from home and avoid eating too much crap? No, you do not. I've written countless "how to stay fit while traveling" posts and so has every other blogger who ever stuck a pair of running shoes into a suitcase, ordered a salad at a burger place or bought a guest pass at a gym. You know the drill by now. Happy traveling involves shaking up your normal routine, not blowing it off completely. (Though thanks to Shauna I have been warned about the Edinburgh Cake Ladies and other Scottish temptations--some of which I may have to investigate... purely for research purposes.)

So instead, here's a pre-trip giveaway of the Wun-Jo, a clever fitness contraption that coincidentally, would make a perfect traveling companion. (Though if you win, the thingy might not arrive for a month or so, so be prepared to be patient).

So what the heck is a Wun-Jo and what does it do for you and how might you win one of your very own?