January 31, 2014

Waitin' for the Coffee to Kick In

image: Alsis35

Anyone else feeling a bit slow this fine Friday?  It's a good thing Research Nancy found some health benefits of coffee yesterday because I am definitely snorfing up a big ol' pot of it this morning. If anyone else is spinning their wheels a bit, how 'bout distracting yourself with a few random links before getting down to business?

And an update for those of you who have been kind enough to inquire: Actually, I'm feeling much, much better in these last couple of days! I've gotten back 90% of my energy, ditched the headaches, and reduced the coughing considerably.

However, my lungs still seem to have a fair amount of muck in there and it still hurts like hell when I do cough.  Which means I feel like have to take a pass on cardio, other than walking around, until normal respiratory function resumes.  This is not a wonderful as it sounds!  I get kinda cranky when I can't run around a little.

I'll give it through the weekend to improve, then it might be time to check in with an actual physician. And as to the cold vs flu question: I'm firmly convinced flu. Because otherwise I'd feel like a total ass for dragging this out so long.

(On the plus side: my voice is kinda low and sexy now! I think if I were ever gonna try to cover any Melissa Etheridge tunes on a wild night at karaoke, this would be my week).

Somebody Bring Me Some Water! And some Mucinex and Advil and tea...
photo: wikipedia

Anyway, on with the show!

January 30, 2014

Coffee: Is it Good for You or Bad for You?

cartoon: natalie dee

By Research Nancy

This post is by blog contributor "Research Nancy," with very minimal editorial interference from Crabby.

Research Nancy is too humble to say anything more about herself other than: "I love researching things. I am passionate about fitness and health and love learning about new ways to achieve both."

Since I (Crabby) am someone who downs quite a bit of coffee, I asked Research Nancy to round up some studies on whether this habit will kill me or make me superhuman. Not that I plan to do anything differently if it's the former. 

Anyway, here's her report. Welcome, Research Nancy!


Health Risks and Benefits of Coffee

What is there to know, you may ask, other than “I want it, I need it, it gets me going, causes peristalsis, and I like it!”

Well lots. The Oatmeal can tell you where it comes from and how it gets you going.  But is it good for you?

There have been many studies on coffee consumption. These studies have yielded mixed results from ‘you’re gonna’ die’ to it may prevent some diseases. And you might say, well I am going to die, but I don’t think coffee is going to do it. And you would likely be correct.

January 29, 2014

What Doesn't Suck about Being Sick

By Crabby McSlacker

So this is just a quick post because, on day 3 of The Virulent Virus Adventure, I still feel like crap. And, as Beginning Anew predicted in the comments to the last cold vs flu post, this has me royally pissed off.  Somehow, two days seems like the max to have to deal with the full force of a virus.

But anyway, I didn't want this to be just another catalog of my woes.

(Although may I mention that the catalog has been updated? It now includes a impressively fierce sore throat, one that accessorizes nicely with the cough and the fuzzy head and the 12-ton anvil sitting on my chest. Order now, operators are standing by!)

So here is a very quick list of Things that Don't Suck About Being Sick.

January 28, 2014

Cold or Flu: How to Tell the Difference?

By Crabby McSlacker

So as I was saying yesterday, I seem to have caught some sort of bug. And I'm being a big ol' baby about it.

As someone who frequently claims that I "never" get sick, this was a blow to my cherished illusion of invincibility. I like to believe that a lifetime of exercise, plus consumption of all those damn vegetables, has made me superhuman, someone impervious to disease.  But apparently I am pervious after all.

On the other hand, once I realized that I did indeed did have something, and actually a nasty something that makes me feel like I've been run over by a freight train, one about 7000 cars long, I actually found I wanted it to be the flu and not a mere cold.

Is anyone else this weird?

January 27, 2014

Comment Troubleshooting and Be Real Shoe Giveaway winner!

There was supposed to be an actual "real" post coming later today, after these two housekeeping matters.

But after so many years of smugly proclaiming "I never get sick!"... well, you know that had to come back and bite me in the ass.

I seem to have caught something unpleasant, probably just a cold, but with a weirder and meaner variety of symptoms than I usually associate with a cold.

Or perhaps it's all in my head. The Lobster's been sick too and I could just be super-suggestible.

January 24, 2014

Loopy Linkage

chain link photo: Zen Sutherland
By Crabby McSlacker

So there is absolutely no theme this week...unless "how the hell did it get to be Friday already?" can be said to be a theme.

But y'all have been so patient with the coughing and sputtering engines as I try to crank up the Cranky again--I sure appreciate your continuing to hang out and comment! Especially with more posts and my more sporadic and belated replying. I am queen of going back and replying to comments long after no one cares anymore. I'm super efficient that way.

Anyway, how 'bout a bunch of random links to start your friday with?

January 23, 2014

Beginner's Workout Routine!

This week's guest post was by special request, how cool is that?  It's meant to be short and practical, just like the awesome Beginners Workout it features.

People often google in to Cranky Fitness looking for help getting started working out, and yet they tend to land on an ancient post that tells them how not to get on my nerves at the gym. Which is perhaps not really what they had in mind.

So I asked Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert Dave Smith to bring us a no-equipment series of exercises for people who want to get strong and fit but are new at it and a bit overwhelmed by all the complicated options out there.

You may recall that Dave was the most reliable regular back when we had an "Ask the Personal Trainer" column, so it's great to hear from him again! And btw, I have heard great reviews of his program from Cranketeers who have signed up in the past.

Thanks Dave!


What's a simple beginner's routine for someone just starting off?

January 22, 2014

Back in the Saddle?

By Crabby McSlacker

You may wonder: what sort of an asshat would post blog pictures of bikes and sunny beaches when most of the country is facing bone-chilling, freakishly miserable winter weather?

OK, yeah, so this sort of an asshat.

Hi There!

But it's sort of a photo-journey about facing fears and taking risks and all that sort of crap.

I'm hoping maybe you could put on a couple sweaters and make some hot chocolate or do whatever you brave people do who live where it's cold in the winter and bear with me?

January 21, 2014

Three Annoying Questions...For Charlotte of The Great Fitness Experiment

Number 3 Photo: Leo Reynolds

By Crabby McSlacker

This is the first in a series of "3 Annoying Questions" posts, designed to torture the bloggers and health experts who most inspire us!

The questions may vary, but I will probably always ask, in some form, what people hate about healthy living. This is Cranky Fitness after all.

But otherwise, it's pretty darn self-explanatory.  So shall we get to it?

January 20, 2014

Be Real Minimalist Shoes Giveaway! And Sort-Of Review

Are you curious about the whole minimalist running shoe notion, but reluctant to shell out the big bucks for a pair of Vibrams?

There's a new kid in town, coming in February.  "Be Real Shoes" are an intriguing Vibram alternative with some cool features, and you could win a pair for the price of a comment!

January 17, 2014

Weekend Workout!

photo: wikipedia

By Crabby McSlacker

This Friday's links have a workout theme!  Until they kinda don't anymore. But whatever. Consistency is not a strong point here in Crankyland.

Like last week, there will also be some more "blog chat" in which I yammer on about nothing in particular.

So are you all warmed up and ready to get crackin'?

January 16, 2014

Man Overboard-Can Jack Swim Back?

Matthieu van Plattenberg - A Dutch Ship in a Storm

How lucky are we?  Not only is this a guest post by Jack from Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit, but it's the first in a series!

If you don't know Jack... he's a weight loss blogger known 'round the world for his clever parodies of songs and nursery rhymes.  He is also a notorious abuser of adorable puppies.  

In this series, which begins with an introduction many times longer than the post itself (a practice of which I heartily approve, because that whole "getting to the point" thing is totally overrated) you will notice something kind of exciting:

Jack gets real.

Stay tuned, I think this is going to be awesome.


This is a true story.

And when I say, "this is a true story", I don't mean it the way I normally do when I say "this is a true story"; I mean this is actually true.

Late last year, I started a super-secret project: a second weight-loss blog that had nothing to do with the one that I'm most noted for,  Jack Sh*t Gettin' Fit.

"Why Jack? Why a super-secret weight-loss blog, you magnificent bastard?"

That's a great question.

Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me that my blog had lost its mojo Sure, it had enough fans to keep me from shutting it down, but it wasn't pushing me along toward my health goals. Truthfully, it had become more of a writing and comedy exercise. It was still fun to work on, but not really helping me with my weight-loss efforts.

And I was struggling.

January 15, 2014

Kale and Egg-White Scramble: Easy Recipe for the Culinarily Challenged

By Crabby McSlacker

This post has a secret sneaky agenda:  to encourage readers who can actually cook to think about sending me their awesome healthy recipes and accompanying pictures!

So let's set the bar on the low side shall we?  Here is a quick photo-guide to making...

Krabby's Krapload of Kale Scramble!

January 13, 2014

Fitbit Force Review

Posted By Crabby McSlacker

April 2014 UPDATE:  The Fitbit Force was recalled due to rash issues, so I received a Fitbit One instead. See the more recent Fitbit Comparison post for more info!

The timing of this Fitbit Force review opportunity couldn't have been better! It's as though the PR person just knew I totally pork out over the holidays and begin each new year with a predictable freak-fest of obsessive calorie and exercise tracking. This year was no exception.

And yes, I did consume this entire box myself--
Including the fruit-centered ones I don't even like.

Plus, many of my friends have been parading around with Fitbits and Nike Fuelband etc, and I was getting jealous. I haven't had a daily activity monitor since I fell in and out of love with the Body Media Fit armband.

And the usual disclaimer: I got my Force for free--which could lead a nicer blogger to be be overly friendly and positive in hopes of more loot in the future.  As it happens, I am constitutionally incapable of being nice and friendly and overlooking downsides. The whole reason this blog exists at all is that I love to complain! But you are forewarned anyway.

So, What's it Like when the Force is With You?

I'll answer a few questions in the hopes that even if this review bores regular readers to tears,  I can get some future google traffic I can help people shopping for activity monitors know exactly what they're getting into.

January 10, 2014

Cool Stuff We Didn't Write Ourselves

By Crabby McSlacker

Too Bad Oscar's Long Gone...Wonder What He'd Think about Crossfit?

So for the time being, I'm thinking Friday posts might be a combo of a couple of things:

1. Interesting Things Found Elsewhere 'Round the Web... because Cranky Fitness needs to get out more.


2. Blog Chat... 'Cause there's nothing more exciting, right, than a blogger blogging about blogging? But it's a blogger's favorite form of self-indulgence, or at least it's mine.  And especially with changes a comin,' I'm feeling compelled to blather a bit.

January 09, 2014

Getting a Massage? Ten Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know

Photo: iamos

Insider tips and secrets are awesome right?

This guest post is on a especially great topic because there is Unspoken Etiquette as well as Possibly Mysterious Procedures which leave many fearful of getting massages.  And even those of us who are greedy massage-junkies eager to jump naked onto a table whenever we can spare the cash? We still have questions and concerns.  What if we are screwing up in some way? Would anyone every tell us? 

This post is written by a massage therapist who is also one of my very favorite fitness bloggers. Her blog is Muscle Milk Is Not a Euphemism which you should definitely check out if you have not already.


Guest Post by Malevolent Andrea

1)   You Don’t HAVE To Have The Nature Music

My mind was blown a couple years ago when an online power-lifting friend said that she’d get massages more often, except that the quote, unquote nature music massage places always play makes her feel twitchy and uncomfortable.  “Dude,” I said, “you know you can ask them to turn off the music or change it, right?”  Her turn for mind=blown. No, she had no idea that was within the realm of possibilities.

January 08, 2014

Volunteering: The Slacker's Guide to Contributing a Little

When I think of volunteering, I think of people who sign up for the Peace Corps.
And then I feel shitty about myself.

If you are someone with any spare time, then you probably are either already volunteering or feeling guilty as hell that you're not.

And note: if you lack spare time not because of work and family demands, but because you can't drag your butt away from the Netflix queue after you belatedly discover 3 gripping hilarious brilliantly written tv shows 5-8 seasons after they have begun, and you absolutely MUST catch up with them all, as soon as possible, then you probably feel guilty too.

For some people, volunteering is second nature: you do it constantly, generously, both when it is easy and when it is not. It is part of who you are as a person. You people can probably only scratch your heads in perplexity at those of us who sit on the sidelines and tend not to contribute.

Ever visited MessyMimi's blog?  She rescues orphan kitties and raises them (sometimes mind-boggling enormous numbers of kitties), and does all kinds of other great stuff, and she does it like "of course, who wouldn't!" without any bitching or whining as would be the case if I were doing it.

So yeah, this post is not aimed at you wonderful folks--though of course we Volunteering-Impaired-Slackers will certainly be grateful for any suggestions you have.

Because for others of us... it is not second nature. We may try, we sign up for things occasionally, but we either feel anxious or overwhelmed or bored or it's inconvenient and we start to dread it and there are so many other things we could be doing and so we make our excuses and wander away again.

All that stuff about how great you feel doing it?  Well, for us, as a rule, not so much.

So here are some 5 quick tips from an only Slightly Reformed Volunteer-Slacker as to how to either join the party, or at least stop feeling guilty about it.

January 06, 2014

Games People Play

By Crabby McSlacker

Do you like to play games with other folks?  Softball, charades, tennis, poker, trivial pursuit, soccer, words with friends etc?

Regular readers would probably not be shocked to discover that I don't.  I am that stubborn and peculiar shirker who sneaks off by herself with a book or a laptop when friends take out the deck of cards or the board games or the volleyball net, and no amount of cheerful hollering and laughter will lure me to the join in.

However, when it comes to playing mind games all by myself?  That's a whole 'nother story! And as you may have discovered, it can be a useful secret weapons in the struggle to stay somewhat healthy and fit.

January 02, 2014

Goal Support... and Again With The New Years Resolutions

cartoon by someecards.com

Not everyone does the New Years Resolution thing, and if you don't, please forgive my blathering on about them again this year. In fact, fewer and fewer people are bothering to make resolutions these days. Are people getting more realistic about behavior change, or just lazier?

But some of you may have goals, plans, hopes, or dreams for the future, and may also have at least a vague intention of moving towards your ideals rather than hurtling along at warp speed in the totally wrong freakin' direction.

And a fresh new calendar year seems as good a time as any, right, to reflect, prioritize, and try to be a little less clueless about getting what we want?

January 01, 2014

Happy 2014!

Hope you all had an outrageously pleasant end to 2013, and are off doing wholesome healthy virtuous fun things today!

On the theory that sitting in front of a computer is not the best way to greet the new year, I'll wait 'til tomorrow to reprise the monthly New Year's Resolution/Goals/Check-in Thing for 2014. But I can't wait to hear what you all are up to.

However, fortunately not all fitness bloggers are as lazy as I am, and if you like to greet your new year with a bit of inspiration:

Our pal Jody has a great reminder about the importance of laughter over at Truth to Being Fit;

And a clever trick for optimal use and recycling of gratitude gets two different takes, one from MizFit, and one from the bluntly honest and unapologetically foul-mouthed Starving Bitch who has had a hella tough year;

And Happiness Savored Hot has a thoughtful compilation of advice gleaned from 2013, some of which might be quite useful going forward!

Well, unless zombies attack and meteors destroy the earth in 2014, in which case you'd probably be better off just enjoying a WTF spree of sloth and impulsive spending and overindulgence in all manner of things.  Totally your call.

Have a Happy New Year and see y'all soon!