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.
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?
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?
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?
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!
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.